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Not sure who I’m talking to here, myself perhaps, but one of my favorite sayings is, “living through someone’s addiction is like going through surgery without anesthesia.”

In other words, it hurts, it is excruciatingly painful and really traumatic. Addicts are semi conscious, they are medicated, but those who love them are often wide awake and feeling every little thing.

I had a great revelation once about guarding my heart, about coping with the pain of watching someone slowly kill themselves. When God decides to take out Adam’s rib, He causes him to fall into a deep sleep. This was centuries before anesthesia was even a  concept, and yet God in His mercy did not want to traumatize or distress Adam. He kindly put him into a deep sleep and woke him up to a beautiful woman.

That really is the Lord’s heart for us, to wipe away every tear, to protect us from harm, to shelter us from trauma and needless pain. It was a great revelation because I realized I wasn’t standing in the Father’s heart, in His will for me, when I didn’t guard my own heart as the Lord once guarded Adam’s.

Addicts and toxic people in general often have no idea how much pain they cause, how much others suffer on their behalf. “Hurting people, hurt people,” right? There are a lot of desperate prayers going up on their behalf, a lot of midnight tears, a lot of waffling somewhere between hope and despair, wanting so badly for loved ones to become whole, healthy, free of the chains that hold them.

A lot of fear. Those of us on the outside just kind of wait for that midnight phone call from jail, the hospital the morgue, and these are not misplaced fears at all, they are real, we have all gotten those phone calls, we have all had to sleep with one eye open. We’ve all felt that sense of relief when someone winds up in jail and not dead in an overdose.

Free of their chains in part because we really  need you, because we want you to lead the way, because we see your potential, because we see the beauty of the person beneath the addiction, in ways those who are anesthetized cannot. So it hurts, it is painful stuff, and often infused with a great deal of powerlessness, an inability to help those who cannot or will not help themselves.

So that’s my grief and my hope today, what’s in my heart, my struggle to care for those who are broken, and yet to remember to guard my own heart, to remember to love myself as God loved Adam.

Often addicts don’t realize it, they aren’t aware of it, but all around you are dozens of hurting people, all living through your addiction, your disease,  much like going through surgery without anesthesia, and it hurts, it is excruciatingly painful, and sometimes all we can do if to offer our tears up to the Lord who collects them in a bottle.

I sometimes imagine those who have died way too soon, those who over dosed, meeting up with Jesus and Him showing them all those bottle of tears, rooms and rooms of them, shelves just filled with bottled tears, from all those who saw you and cared, who loved you and felt your pain.

Somehow it matters to me, it’s important to me that not one person leaves this earth without knowing that there is always  so, so many bottles of tears offered up to God on your behalf.

white and purple flower plant on brown wooden surface

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