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Doing Life Together

Doing Life Together

You Don’t Want to Be This Mom!

posted by Linda Mintle

Melissa denied she was an alcoholic despite two DUIs on her driving record. Mandatory adult alcohol education classes did little to curb her drinking. She had no intention of giving up alcohol because she didn’t consider herself a drunk.

Mornings, however, were tough for Melissa. Hung over from the night before, she could hardly pull herself out of bed. Tired of feeling hung over, she swore she would cut down on the amount of alcohol she consumed every evening. But this morning would prove to be too late and a living nightmare.

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When Melissa awakened from yet another night of heavy drinking, she found herself lying in a hospital room. Tubes were stuck in her arms. Her head pounded and memory of the night before was foggy. The news she was about to hear would change her life forever. Last night, a drunk driver killed her seven-year-old son, Ryan. The drunk driver was Melissa.

The night before was no different than most nights. Melissa began drinking in the early evening hours to unwind from her stressful day. Her son, Ryan, had a scheduled sleep over at a friend’s house. The friend only lived a mile away so Melissa told Ryan to get his things and hop in the car. As Melissa buckled into the front seat, she didn’t notice that Ryan wasn’t wearing his seat belt. Driving through the winding roads of the neighborhood, she lost control of the car and hit a tree. She survived the crash but Ryan did not. He was thrown from the car and instantly killed.

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We know that drunk drivers kill people. What you may not know is what researchers reported in the May 3, 2000 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association—that drunk drivers who are responsible for the deaths of children under the age of 11 are usually relatives or moms like Melissa.

Researchers studied the crash fatalities records of children killed between the years of 1991 and 1996. Two-thirds of the children were killed while riding in the drunk driver’s car. The other third died from being hit by drunk drivers while walking, skateboarding, riding their bikes or being transported in another car.

The sobering reality is that driving drunk makes you a potential child killer. The incredible risk that is taken every time you get behind a wheel is staggering. If you have an alcohol problem, admit it now. You don’t want to end up like Melissa—an alcoholic responsible for the death of her child. The pain from that kind of loss is unimaginable. Help is available.

(Melissa is a fictional character based on a real life story)

 

Click on this link to find resources to stop drinking.

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How Do I Love My Gay Son?

posted by Linda Mintle

Q: Dr. Linda, my son recently told me (his dad) that he is gay. I am having the most difficult time because of my Christian faith. It bothers me to think of him with other men. How do I deal with this?

A. Many parents don’t know how to approach their children and end up cuting off their relationships. But gay sons and lesbian daughters need parental love even when they don’t have approval for the lifestyles.

I talked to a dad not too long ago who said he couldn’t talk or even look at his gay son. Consequently he’d been avoiding him for over six months. He kept thinking about his son with another man and couldn’t stomach the thought. He asked, “Why should I talk to him? He’s living a life my faith does not support.”

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My answer was simple, “He’s your son. He’s a person and he still needs a dad.” I asked him these four questions:

1) Did you love your son prior to knowing his sexual identity? His answer was, “Yes, of course.” Then remember that he is still a part of you. He’s still your son. You don’t have to accept his gay lifestyle, but you  love him unconditionally. That’s the model of Christ. God doesn’t always find us acceptable. We sin, disappoint Him, but He loves us just because we are His children. Love him, he is your child.

2) Does his sexuality define your relationship? Surely there is more between you and your son than his sexual identity. Focus on those aspects of the relationship. Stay connected and committed to wanting the best for him. Many gays struggle with feelings of inadequacy. You don’t want to add to those feelings by rejecting your own child who is desperate for your love.

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3) As difficult as it is to do, try to get to know him. Ask him about his journey  and how his sexual identity has impacted his life. Know his story. It will help you know how to specifically pray for him.

4) What would Jesus do? It’s a cliché now because of all the times we’ve seen and heard it. But it is still a good question. Jesus loves the gay person as much as the straight person. He came to earth to heal the broken-hearted not avoid them. Your child is in a difficult place if he is cut off from you. Ask God for the wisdom to deal with him. Your acceptance of him may be key. Rather than alienating your son, be a part of healing his hurts.  He probably knows your struggle. But he wants your love. Loving him does not mean you agree with his lifestyle.

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5) Consider family counseling. It may be helpful to find a Christian counselor who can help you talk to your son and keep the relationship going. The focus would not be on trying to change each other, but on how to be in a relationship. I am sure both of you know how the other feels. He was raised in your family and knows your position on his lifestyle. Now he is being honest about his. You can talk about why you both feel the way you do, your beliefs and faith, boundaries,  and how to continue to be in a relationship with differences. Having those types of conversations may take the help of a third party.

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Is Buying a Lottery Ticket Gambling?

posted by Linda Mintle

Are you one of many who have said, “What’s the harm in buying lottery tickets?” Have you made a few wagers on Monday night football? Did you help plan Casino night at your kids’ school? Are you constantly hoping you’ll win the lottery in order to end all your financial problems?

If so, are you  gambling?

Yes, according to Rex Rogers and his book, Seducing America: Is Gambling a Good Bet? You may or may not agree but Rogers says

Rogers says gambling is a problem for a Christian for these reasons:

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* Not justified in the Bible

* A dependence on luck and chance rather than God’s sovereignty

* A violation of our stewardship

* An undermining of our work ethic

* The result of covetousness

*  A form of theft

*  Potentially addictive

* Often associated with social and personal vices

Gambling usually begins as a harmless flirtation, but becomes a problem for many people. In fact, it has become an acceptable and mainstream addiction in American culture. The church has been strangely silent on this issue.

Gambling addiction has psychological and spiritual components similar to physical addiction and can take hold of a person’s life. We know that pathological gambling often begins in late adolescence for men and later in life for women. At first, it may be viewed as entertainment. Over time, a preoccupation with the action, excitement and winning develops. The addiction takes hold and all resources are used to get money to support the habit. Some people ravage their savings, destroy relationships and become preoccupied with gambling activities Others engage in illegal activities to keep a steady supply of cash and wind up with significant legal, relationship and moral problems.

A gambling addiction is a serious and often difficult to stop. Left untreated, a person’s life can spin seriously out of control. Compulsive gamblers lie, deny the seriousness of their problems, and become irritable when trying to quit. Like other addictions, gambling fills an empty place, covers depression, anxiety, guilt or helplessness, and allows someone to escape immediate problems.

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Talk to anyone who lives with a compulsive gambler and he/she will tell you about the destructive forces at work with this type of addiction. It’s not a coincidence that the state of Ohio prints warnings on their lottery tickets that say, “Compulsive gambling can be treated.”  If you have a gambling addiction, get help.

 

 

Do you agree or disagree? My Facebook peeps are weighing in but you can also comment here. 

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Can You Train Your Brain to Be More Positive?

posted by Linda Mintle

There is a big push in positive psychology to be optimistic no matter what happens to you. The idea is to show some self-compassion even when you make a mistake or things do not go as planned. For example, you might overspend on an item of clothing. Instead of beating yourself up over it and ruminating about how you really should not have spent the money, you say to yourself, “Lesson learned. I won’t do it again and can recover from this.”

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According to researchers, people who can take the high road when it comes to positive thoughts are happier people. So give yourself a break. Train your brain to be positive.

Here is how. It begins by looking for the lesson or the benefit of negative things that have happened to us. We all experience negative and positive emotions, but it is the way we interpret those experiences that often causes the emotion. Dr. Fox, author of  Rainy Brain, Sunny Brain tells us that for every negative emotion, we need four positive ones to counter the negative effect of that emotion. And this process of training the brain to be more positive can be learned. You train your brain to look for the good. Another example, “I just got yelled at by my boss. Ok, I now know what I need to fix. I can fix this and give a better report.”

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Now don’t worry. This doesn’t mean you live a life of denial. You still acknowledge problems and negative experiences, but you choose to focus on the positive.

I find this fascinating because in Philippians 4:8, we are told, “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”

Paul instructs us to rejoice always, be grateful, trust in God to work for our benefit and to think on positive things. He stays positive, not because everything is great, but because He walks in the confidence of who God is in His life. And that is the basis for any positive psychology. God can be trusted. God is good and God is for us. Think on good things and see how it changes you.

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