My name is Kailah. I’m 24 years old, born in Trenton, New Jersey but grew up in Virginia. This is my story. This life I have been given could be seen as many things. Some people may even say unfair, tragic, broken, defeat, even hopeless. That’s how I used to see it.
Just a few words of what the world taught me to be defined as. Words played to me by the events of my life to confirm to a broken heart that it was deemed worthless. So this empty soul began her quest of validation. Thanks to the powers of a praying Mother my heart was always seeking; a seed beneath the surface, just waiting for the cultivation of a hardened heart to break through.
That point hit last year and due to a series of events my life changed the moment it ended. The seeker inside of me knew something was missing so I needed to fill what spaces my past had left...
This was originally intended to highlight the next few books our Key Leaders we're going to be reading. But after having a few people come back to and share this article a few months later, I thought it would be neat to update the list and make this an ongoing article with the books we read as we add them.
Since I am also super passionate about reading I will include a third list of books that I discover along the way. I am currently a member of Leader Box, a subscription-based service that sends 2 leadership books a month with a reading guide and allows access to a community of leaders to discuss the book with. Though the pace is fast and it's certainly not recommended for your casual reader.
We have a few levels of Leadership at Shenandoah Valley Teen Challenge. The list will be broken down into which book the particular group of leaders is reading. I'll also create a third list that I'll add my personal selections to as I come across them
Books for Our Key...
Many people enjoy the holidays.
But at the same time, many others do not.
The same season that brings joy, gifts, and fun times for some is the same that brings painful memories, loneliness, and emptiness for others.
Is it possible that you find yourself relating more with those who struggle through the holidays that with those who enjoy them?
If so, you’re not alone.
The key is to learn how to cope with seasonal depression and to rise as high above it as possible.
The good news is that there are 3 ways to do exactly that.
Keep Doing What You’ve Always Done
Just because the season has changed doesn’t mean you have to as well. The key is to keep doing in the valley what you planned while on the mountain.
Take, for example, the man in the Bible known as Daniel.
He prayed three times a day, always.
Then, the king issued a decree stating that anyone who prayed to any god other than the king would be thrown into a den full of hungry lions.
But watch what Daniel does.
Holidays are a great time, right?
Lights, trees, presents, and smiles.
Friends and families gather for warm hot cocoa and fun times around the fireplaces.
But what about for those of us who have lost someone?
It could be that a family member or close friend recently passed away. Or perhaps the person is away. This could be for work or the even more difficult scenarios such as prison or rehab. It’s even possible to have someone physically present but mentally or emotionally distant because of an addiction or other problematic situation.
The reasons why some of us are forced to face the holidays without the one we love vary.
The good news is that the methods for dealing with this dilemma are the same. They involve overcoming the same set of lies those of us who find ourselves in this position often believe.
Thinking that these 4 lies are true is where the battle really lies. Overcoming them and believing what is actually true is how we gain the victory.
Let’s look at each...
My name is Amos and I am a 37 year old “addict” working towards a better life through the Lord Jesus Christ. I am always hoping and praying for that better future, but I seem to catch myself being stuck in the darkness a lot. Wondering when this never-ending nightmare will be over – will I ever move forward? This never-ending battle of addiction.
I’ve come to focus on the things that I can change. Ephesians 5:8 says, “For once you were full of darkness, but now have light from the Lord.” I’ve learned to live as a person of light. The more I live in God’s light the less I will want to be influenced by the darkness of the world around me. Romans 12:2 says, “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think.”
In Proverbs, we are told that wisdom will enter your heart and knowledge will fill you with joy. Wise choices will watch over you and...
“Do Not Attempt This at Home”
Guest Post Written by my Father, Pastor John Franich, Founder of SVTC.
This is a disclosure we often see on TV or newspaper ads when someone is offering medical help or advice on how to solve a problem or repair something. It’s also good advice if we have a family member going through an addiction. Except for this advice, who we all agree is good for others, think it doesn’t apply to us.
I had this very same experience several years ago in the early years of the beginning of Shenandoah Valley Teen Challenge. While trying to build a ministry to help others with life-controlling problems, there was one developing right under my own roof. But of course, with a college degree, I had all the answers. But it is very different when the problem is that close to home. All the education and expertise you think you have when it’s your own doesn’t matter. Even if you have a reasonable IQ your EQ may...
How to Renew Your Hope After Losing It: Part Two
3 Practical Applications
This is part two of a two-part article. If you missed the first
you can read part one: How to Renew Your Hope After Losing It: 3 General Principles
Hope is so important to human life. Along with faith and love, it is the oxygen of the human soul. With it, we can overcome any obstacle. Without it, even simple tasks in life feel overwhelming and debilitating.
In the first part of this two-post series, we discussed 3 general ways we can renew our hope by using our God-given resources to help others.
In this post, we will explore 3 practical ways we can apply those resources and get involved while our hopes get renewed.
Let’s look at each one together.
A great place to start giving our time, treasure, and talent is in the surrounding community. We can partner with local churches and get involved with some of the programs they offer to people in the local community. Homeless shelters,...
How to Renew Your Hope After Losing It: Part One
3 General Principals
Hope is one of three things that lasts forever (1 Corinthians 13:13).
But that doesn’t mean our hopes are always fulfilled.
In fact, they can often be let down. And when that happens, we can be left devastated. That’s why the Bible lets us know that a “hope deferred makes the heart sick” (Proverbs 13:12).
We all know what that feels like. We get passed up for a promotion we’ve hoped for after many years. Someone we were once close to doesn’t want to speak with us and we try to make it work but to no avail.
But some of us know what a hope deferred feels like on a deep level. And that is when we hope someone we love who is battling a drug or alcohol addiction would find freedom. Only to stay enslaved to the addiction, keeping us and themselves in the vicious cycle of broken promises to change.
In this situation, we have to find a way to overcome the sickening feeling of deferred...
When we love someone addicted to drugs or alcohol, we ride the struggle with the person. We do many things to help them. And in most cases, intervention becomes essential – we end up having to confront the addict about the behavior.
In a perfect world, we’d confront the person. (S)he would see how much their drug use is hurting themselves and the people they love. Change would occur. We’d all live happily ever after.
But we don’t live in a perfect world.
And in almost every case that is not the way interventions play out.
In fact, they often blow up in our faces.
The question is, how do we handle it when it does?
To answer this, we first must understand what happens. Normally, we will get one of three responses from the person when we try to intervene.
This is the outburst personality type. The person flies off the handle. Screams. Curses at us. Calls us names. Yells. Anger is unleashed on us for trying to help.
This is the lack of...
Loving an addict is tough.
Not only does the person go through ups and downs, but we go through them with the person as well.
In most cases, if the situation gets too bad, we can leave.
This isn’t always easy. But it is always an option.
Abused spouses can find support from friends and family and get to safer environments. Boyfriends can separate from girlfriends. Friends can find new people to associate with.
But if the addict is your own child, the situation becomes more difficult to deal with.
The reason is that we cannot (nor should we) separate from our children. Leaving the relationship is not an option.
Therefore, we have to learn to find peace when our children are addicted to drugs and alcohol but refuse to change.
Here are the 4 things we need to do to find that peace.
1. Trust in Christ
Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds...