Rustlings (December 17, 2018)

Almost everyone I know cares for, loves or knows someone who struggles with addiction. None of us are immune to the reach of addiction…not even ministers like me. Over a decade ago, I painfully discovered one of my daughters struggled with the disease of addiction. Like most families, we desperately tried to help in every way imaginable. The harder we tried, however, the worse it got. Finally, I found the courage to step onto a path that brought personal serenity to my own life. I also believe this path made it possible for my daughter to find sobriety in her life, although that is never a guarantee. It was not immediate. It was not a quick fix. It took commitment. At times, it was gut-wrenching. It demanded more vulnerability, honesty, and authenticity than I’d ever allowed myself to know, but it slowly ushered me to a new level of faith and serenity. I’ve since applied the philosophy of this path to other areas and struggles of my life. I do not live it perfectly, but it still provides a pace and peace that I need…whether life is going smoothly or not.

I know what it’s like to walk through – what I call – the valley of the shadow of addiction. In early 2012, I wrote a book titled One Pastor, Twelve Steps: Preaching My Way through the Valley of the Shadow of Addiction. At the request of our pastoral care ministers, on Wednesday evenings beginning January 9 through February 27, I will share my story, some of the content of this book and my continuing thoughts with regard to addiction. My daughter’s story is hers to share. I will say little about her struggle. I will candidly share the impact of her addiction on my life, and I will encourage you to find a path of peace for your own life.

The study begins at 6:15pm each Wednesday and goes until 7:00pm. Dinner is served prior to the study. If you plan to enjoy the meal with us, please make a reservation. I hope you’ll attend…and bring a friend, because none of us are immune. I’ll see you there.

— Jim