Charlie Sheen’s Problem is Not HIV

24 Nov

It was with sadness, but not surprise, that I watched Charlie Sheen announce to the world that he is HIV positive and has been for the last four years.

My first thought was of the women. How many women who had known the actor in the past were watching this with shock and horror? How many would reach for the phone to call a doctor? Or a lawyer?

My second thought was for his children – five in all, some of them very  young, and only the oldest had been told in advance.

Then I thought about the weight that he’s been living under for nearly half-a-decade; a weight heavy enough to squeeze millions of dollars in hush money out of him as he sought to silence extortors. Money, he claimed, that wasn’t for him, but his children.

A heavy weight indeed, but nothing compared to the vacuum in his soul.

And therein lies the problem.

Charlie Sheen’s problem is not HIV.

It’s not his alcoholism or drug addiction, nor is it his pornography addiction.

Those are symptoms and HIV is the fruit of his hard-lived life.

As I watched Charlie Sheen sitting next to his doctor, trying desperately to hang on to the facade of “fine,” I was frustrated and angry. I wanted to reach through the television, grab him by the shoulders, and cry, “When will you realize it doesn’t work?”

The world doesn’t work.

The world can’t work, because the world cannot fix what is wrong with us.

What is your big “if only?” You know, that thing that lies just out of your grasp but close enough to see. That thing that you know will bring satisfaction and peace if you could just grab onto it. Maybe it’s a new job or a new house or a new number on the scale. Perhaps it’s a spouse or a baby or an accolade. Is it power? Fame? Money? Recognition?

It won’t work. None of it works, and here’s how I know: (more…)

Melissa’s Pen ~ A Life Season is Not a Life Sentence

18 Sep

“Boys, no!” Melissa and Gavin“Please don’t jump on the stage.”

She looked up at me after burying her face in her hands. “I am so sorry about the kids.”

There is absolutely nothing for her to be sorry about. She is a single mom. She is raising two precious, well-adjusted boys (who WILL be boys) on her own. She is the best mom I know.

On another day, with another friend, the conversation went like this:

“I can’t believe he left. He just left. How am I going to make it without him?”

“You are going to take one brave step toward Jesus at a time.”

And so life goes, with its twists and turns and joys and maddening pull-your-hair-out moments.

I’ve walked in the shoes of both of these women. Stood in their places with tears streaming down my face and wondered how and when this moment would end, or if it would ever end.

Here is the thought I was struck with today on my way in to work:

“What you are going through is a life season, not a life sentence.”

Whether you just moved across the country and are trying to fit in with new people, or just changed jobs, or are looking for a job, or are living in a coffee shop because you are homeless, this is only a season. Life is full of them. You do not have to live out a life sentence of sorrow or depression. Divorce, homelessness, addiction, grief – these are things that happen in life – they DO NOT have to define you. You were made in the image of God. Psalm 139:14 says, “I will praise you because I have been remarkably and wonderfully made (HCSB).”

You were made to laugh, to love and be loved, to enjoy nature, to give back to others.

When I look back over my life I can clearly see that God has not wasted one single bad season of my life. Not one. He is actively using those hard times I went through to help others get back on their feet.

I attend a faith-based group called Celebrate Recovery. The second principle we learn in the group is this: “Earnestly believe that God exists, that I matter to him, and that he has the power to help me recover.” Oh how I wish I had learned this step years ago.

1 Peter 5: 7 says this, “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you (NIV).” I don’t know about you, but I have had enough of anxiety.

Here’s what I want you to infuse into your life:

You matter to God. He hates what you are going through. He catches every tear.  He sees your heart. He alone has the power to help you recover.

What you are going through is a life season, not a life sentence.

Melissa Fairchild is the Senior Editor of LSS Ministries and the LoveServeShine blog. She is also a single-m0m advocate and an activist for women in crisis. Find Melissa on Facebook.

You Have Been Betrayed

3 Sep

betrayedThe year, 1989. The grade, 9th.

She was pretty and popular and wanted to be my friend.

We spent the night at each other’s houses, staying up over half the night giggling. We shared stories and secrets and a love of Cool Ranch Doritos.

And then one day she turned. We were friends, and then we weren’t. And everything I had ever told her in confidence had been spread around the school.

If you have walked the earth for any measure of time you know the sting of betrayal, the pain that comes from discovering that someone you thought you could trust has turned on you. Maybe the one who swore for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, backed out of their promise. Perhaps it was a family member or mentor.

If that is you and you are walking that thorn-filled path, I am so sorry. I pray that the words of Psalm 34:18 become vibrant and alive for you in the midst of your suffering, as you remember that God is near to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

But you have an even greater Betrayer. (more…)

The Fight Against Fear

13 Aug

keep-calm-and-don-t-worry-85I saw this not long ago on twitter: “Worry is believing God won’t get it right. Bitterness is believing that God got it wrong.”

Think about that for a minute.

Worry is believing that God won’t get it right.

At the core of worry and bitterness is a lack of faith.


Here are some things to remember the next time those fears and anxieties invade your peace.

  • God is sovereign. He is. He exists outside of the boundaries of time and space. He knew what would happen to you before it happened and He is already on the other side of it. He has already established the solution and the deliverance is certain. If God is sovereign that means that nothing surprises Him and nothing gets to you without first passing through Him.
  • God is for you. If He allows something in your life it has eternal value. He is supreme over all and contains all knowledge and wisdom. His goal is to strengthen you, sharpen you, and prepare you for the work He has called you to. Training by nature is difficult. Expect life to be difficult, but put bold confidence in the One who says His grace is enough.
  • God enters in. The love of God, in fact, the very Presence of God, is invasive. He created the heavens and the earth, but when it came to man, He entered into the garden and used His hands. Through Jesus, He entered into the world as a baby, thus entering into every temptation, every heartbreak, every difficulty and every trial you would ever face. His Spirit entered into you the moment you believed.
  • God goes the distance. He is not going to change His mind about you. He is not going to get sick of you. Your faithlessness in your fears doesn’t surprise Him. He is patient with you. He is the embodiment of comfort and the epitome of compassion. All grace, mercy, and truth come from Him, and He has vowed to never leave you nor forsake. Place your confidence in this: No matter what you face you will never face it alone.

Jesus conquered death. Because Jesus triumphed over the grave we have this assurance: what you are going through is temporary. There is more to life than what you see. There is comfort, peace, joy, and rest to be had. Because Jesus conquered death we can look at life with a new, heavenly perspective. Paul had that perspective when he penned this:

“I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing to the glory that will be revealed in us.” ~Romans 8:18

If we can remember these four things, if we can live in them and make them our truth, we will know the peace that surpasses understanding.

What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. ~Romans 8:31-34

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