Attachment Disorder Revisited

Recently, a friend told me about her trouble with attachments to people because of being in an orphanage for the early years of her life without much human touch or affection. Instead of attaching to people in her life, she attached to things of this world—like cigarettes.

Several days later when I was at a prayer meeting, and we were taking time to “get right with God,” He spoke these words to me: “You are attached to food and to the television.”

I realized these attachments were getting in the way of attaching to the Lord and to other people. I developed these two attachments as a child because I had not formed a strong attachment to my parents, who had eight children and emotional issues. Food and television were where I went to receive comfort when chaos was breaking out in our home. Back then, I went to church every Sunday, but I felt God was not there for me either. Otherwise, He would have stopped all that was going on. I wasn’t saved until I was an adult.

In my present life, even though I have God as my Savior, I knew at that moment in the prayer meeting that I still tend to go back to my former attachments when circumstances became difficult in my life, especially during those times it seems God refuses to answer my prayers. Now was one of those times, I realized, as I agreed with the Lord that I was too attached to TV and food.

Then God said this: “You think if you let go of these, you will have less, but the truth is you will have more—of Me and from Me.”

At that moment, I repented of backing away from the Lord, of often turning to food and TV for comfort during my latest difficult circumstance because it seemed God refused to intervene. I knew, also, that I wanted Him to change the circumstance, but He seemed to want to do something else—change me, as well as give me all I needed to face this trial, such as comfort, guidance, affection, and love.

Today, I remembered I had written a blog about attachments years ago. I read it again, and it helped me. I saw that when various deep griefs come to my life, I tend not to turn to God or I give up on turning to Him, and revert to turning to these other attachments.

I wrote the previous blog as I was dealing with the suicide death of my brother. The anniversary of his death is in two days. He died seven years ago on February 28th.

I pray today and in the days ahead that my attachment to God will grow stronger and deeper, and that the things of this world will no longer have a hold on me. I pray the same for my friend.

Here is that blog from 2013 with two songs added at the end.

ATTACHMENTS  First Posted on May 17, 2013

I have a confession.

I am too attached to food.

Although God has done much to set me free in this area  ie delivering me from bulimia, setting me free from eating only junk food on any given day, ending the destructive behavior of consuming copious amounts of candy to the point of severe stomach pain, releasing me from hiding and hording food and much more, I’m not completely set free.

The truth is sometimes if I had to choose between being with people or food, I would choose food.

Worse, there have been occasions when I choose to be with food rather than with God.

Recently in a seminar I heard these statements:

“The problem is not overeating. It’s attachment issues. “

“In the absence of strong attachments and joy, we find sources of pseudojoy such as food.”

“We attach to the food and not the feeder if the attachment process goes wrong.”

“In seeking attachments there is joy or fear. We attach to the food instead of the fear if there is not a lot of joy in our attachments.”

These statements were from Ed Khouri  from Equipping Hearts Ministry

What this man shared  touched my heart since I knew I still had a problem with food. The issue seemed to be magnified since the trauma of my brother’s death by suicide last year. It seems I’ve regressed to my strong attachment to food which I had in childhood as I dealt with the trauma of not being able to form strong attachment to my parents. Instead I formed a bond to food. It brought joy which it seemed my relationship with my mother and father did not bring.

Even though my relationship with my parents has been healed, I can see that there still seems to be a child within me who goes back to the old ways of coping when hurts come.

The questions I have are, “How do I break this strong attachment to food?” “How do I instead form a stronger attachment to people and to God?” “How do I have sweet communion with the Lord instead of repeatedly turning to sweets?”

This is what I long for:

I shall be fully satisfied, when I awake [to find myself] beholding Your form [and having sweet communion with You]. Psalm 17:15 AMP

When I looked up the concept of attachment disorder online, I found this: “Adult attachment disorder is a term used to describe the emotional dysfunction of someone who cannot form intimate, caring bonds with others. The dysfunction may manifest itself as either a rejection of close relationships or a constant demand for them…”

Here are three ways to deal with this that come to mind:

  1. Fully grieve my past. Sometimes I think I’m finished doing this, but then new griefs come to the surface. I need to deal with them rather than ignore them.
  2. Determine to draw close—first to God and then to others. I need to ask God how to do this.
  3. Be open to healing moments.

My goal is to have a secure attachment to God and people and to completely break my unhealthy attachment to food. God wants to be my primary source of joy, and He wants me to experience a deep joy—instead of fear–in my relationships with people.

God, give me the grace to deeply and fully want what You want.  Heal me of my “attachment disorder.”

“Control” by Tenth Avenue North

“Who You Say I Am” by Hillsong Worship


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Overcoming Emotional Eating

Not long ago I joined a loved one at a recovery meeting at a local church. This individual faced a battle with drugs, and I came along to give support. During the class time, we were given a handout to write down a goal for the week, and I wrote down, “Conquer Emotional Eating.” I saw I turned to this because of some harsh circumstances in my life.

We were instructed to write smaller goals, which would help us reach this goal. One of the four of my smaller goals was, “Stop Negative Thinking,” which I realized was connected to overeating brought on by emotional turmoil.

As the week went on, I kept track of when negative thinking occurred, and the actions which followed that kind of thinking.

These four Cs comprised what I did when negative thoughts came to mind: Criticizing, Contending,  Controlling, Complaining.

All four of these behaviors were carried out to try to change the situation which lay at the center of my negative thoughts.

Usually, it was a person my negative thoughts focused on. At times, the person was me.

One negative thought that came to mind was, “She is never going to stop this negative behavior.” First, I criticized the person about their behavior. I considered it constructive criticism and being helpful, but the person just got angry. Then I turned to contending—arguing about why it was necessary to change this behavior immediately. When the person argued back, I then moved into trying to control. One way I realized I did this was to tell the person what I would do if he/she didn’t change the behavior.

After criticizing, contending, and trying to control didn’t change anything, I then moved on to complaining to others about this person and their behaviors which were getting me down. The people I chose gave some negative remarks, which kept me in my negative thinking.

At the end of all of this, I felt discouraged, and the cure for this discouragement surely lay in eating comfort foods such as sweets.

Ever since I saw this pattern which led to me feeling depressed and then turning to food to self-medicate, I’ve been able to repeatedly stop these four actions which involve my mouth before the words came pouring out. Yes, I slip at times, but the good news is that I have accomplished my goal of conquering emotional eating.

Now I can first identify the negative thoughts I have, “this situation is hopeless,” “he’s never going to change,” or “I will never be able to stop doing this (some ungodly behavior).” Next, I can stay aware of what comes out of my mouth. If criticisms come, I can apologize and stop the flow and keep myself from moving on to contending, controlling, or complaining. I can also work on replacing the negative thoughts with positive/godly thoughts: “My hope is the Lord,” “Lord, change me and my attitude toward that other person’s behavior,” and “He who began a good work in me will be faithful to complete it” (Philippians 1:6).

If I identify the four Cs before I realize my thoughts have become negative again, I can go back and ask myself, “What negative thoughts are in my mind right now?” Sometimes, I’m not even aware that they have crept in again.

Another issue that comes up with the four Cs is that sometimes it’s another person laying them on me, which also brings on discouragement and depression in me. Not long ago someone called me and started complaining about another person. She then moved into criticizing me for how I related to this person. I disagreed, and she moved into contending. I confess I kept up the argument for a time. Then the person attempted to control me through telling me what I must do and how I must be.

The key when others try to lay the four Cs on me is to bring God into the conversation quickly, i.e., by saying, “Let’s pray about her.” I can mention a Bible verse that has been helping me with relationships. I can speak positive statements. At times, I’ve had to politely end the call or walk away from a negative conversation. The worst thing I can do is join the other person in negative thinking and speaking and hit back with my own criticism, complaining, contending, and controlling, since this brings us both down.

I feel grateful that the Lord wants to help me with everything in my life that holds me back from being all He wants me to be. As I present myself to Him as being willing to overcome behaviors that hurt me and others, I’m amazed how quickly He gives me insights to conquer those sins. The first step is to let go of denial. With the emotional eating, which is really turning to food instead of the Lord, I need to admit that I’m back to doing it instead of making excuses like, “I’m just enjoying more food than usual,” or “there’s just lots of food around, so I just eat it.”

As I stay connected to the Lord instead of forming unhealthy attachments to things in this world—like food—He will repeatedly show me where I need to change, so I can stop staying focused on changing others.

Today my prayer is, “Lord, show me other godly goals I need to make and meet with Your help. Thank You for all the ways You help me to conquer sinful habits in my life. In Jesus’ name. Amen.”

I praise God for setting me free again and again, so I can serve Him effectively, and for the promise that He will keep on doing it as long as I cooperate with the process.

That brings me back to thinking about the Bible verse, which is the theme of this Hearts Set Free blog: “I run in the path of your commands, for you have set my heart free” (Psalm 119:32 NIV 1984).

God longs to set us all free.

“Control” by Tenth Avenue North


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What Faith Can Do

In this new year, I asked myself recently, “What’s my goal for 2019?” In previous years, my spiritual goal centered on growing in trusting the Lord.

As I contemplated my question, a song from a number of years ago came on the radio: “What Faith Can Do” by Kutless.

I don’t recall all the exact struggles during my life when this song first came out in 2009.

Yet I do remember how I clung to the words in the song, “What Faith Can Do” back then. I felt in danger of losing my faith because of all that had happened, and all that was happening. It seemed so much was out of my control, and on so many days I felt God was doing nothing.

I also remember that over time God intervened—not so much in the circumstances of my life, but in my heart. He healed my broken heart. He kept my hope alive. He gave me love for those who were hurting me and grace to forgive them.

As I once again sang the words to “What Faith Can Do” recently, I thought of the troubles that surrounded me in my life in recent days–some of which are a continuation of my struggles in 2009: loved ones who once walked closely with the Lord continuing to go their own way hurting me and others in the process, other loved ones trying to take advantage of me and treating me badly, loved ones ignoring my words of wisdom, loved ones fighting with and acting hateful toward each other and trying to put me in the middle, lots of blaming and shaming among those I love. Physical, emotional, and spiritual unhealthiness plagued the lives of so many that I cared about. And the list went on.

Yes, God had wondrously answered prayers recently, but so many other issues seemed to get worse the more I prayed.

I listened to the song that day, and I knew my goal for 2019 was to grow in faith.

I thought of the definition of faith in the Bible. I like how the Amplified Bible says it: “Now faith is the assurance (title deed, confirmation) of things hoped for (divinely guaranteed), and the evidence of things not seen [the conviction of their reality—faith comprehends as fact what cannot be experienced by the physical senses]” (Hebrews 11:1).

I thought of Corrie ten Boom’s definition of faith: “Fantastic Adventure In Trusting Him.”

The end result of growing in faith would be that I could trust Him more. Faith and trust are so closely related.

After looking at some sites on the Internet and thinking about this, the conclusion I came to is that faith is about believing the truth such as the truth about God—even when I can’t see evidence of it–and trust is having confidence in Him.

Another verse that came to mind after listening to this powerful song, was about salvation. I remembered that it had the word “faith” in it. “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God” (Ephesians 2:8).

I applied this to my ongoing troubling situations: if I wanted to be saved from them robbing me of my  hope in God, I needed to realize that it would be by grace that I would be saved, through faith. It wouldn’t be from anything I did. It would be a gift from God.

I looked on to verse 9 which read, “not by works, so that no one can boast.” The salvation which I wanted from the Lord would not be from any works I did, so that I wouldn’t be tempted to boast. I confess that often I did try to “save” the people in my life to obtain my salvation from hopelessness, thinking if I could just do something, things would change for them and then me. What I really needed was grace from God through faith, where I could believe that He would be Savior in these difficult circumstances. I didn’t need to wait for them to be saved in order for His salvation—His saving grace— to flow into my life.

Right now I realize fear is once again getting in the way of my faith. I hate the what ifs that keep coming to mind about my lost and wayward loved ones and about my own ability to cope with how they affect my life.

Yet I know God’s grace can cause the fear to go away.

Another verse that comes to mind is this one: “When I am afraid, I put my trust in You.” Psalm 56:3

There’s the word “trust” again.

Then this verse with Jesus’ question came to me: “Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?” (Mark 4:40 NLT). Fear definitely interferes with my faith.

Here are other questions I’m asking:

Will I let go of fear and trust God enough to believe that He is able to save my loved ones and rescue them from their bad choices and help them to turn around and walk with Him? Do I have enough faith to release them to Him instead of trying so hard to save them myself—to believe the truth that He is able? Do I trust that God can and will heal my broken heart and bind up all these wounds? (See Psalm 147:3)

Yes, yes, and yes.

2019, I welcome you. My God is going to do great things in and through me. I’m looking forward to it, and to this being my best year yet.

“What Faith Can Do” by Kutless

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Guest Blog: Hope in the Midst of Calamity

Today I am posting a guest blog written by Kristine Diaz Coffman, who lost her home in Redding, California this past summer. Since then—in November 2018—more homes and at least 86 lives were lost due to California wildfires. I remember the first time I heard Kristine’s story I wept. Her mom is a friend, who attends my church and a weekly Bible study with me.

Here was Kristine, a former fellow Floridian, who moved to California, and then she lost everything.

What impressed me about Kristine is that she wrote this piece shortly after losing her home, while she was still in the midst of intense grief. Also, instead of getting wrapped up in this grief, she looked ahead immediately, staying focused on the call God had on her life to help a specific group of hurting women.

All of us face crises in our lives. What inspires me is when God puts someone in my path who handles their crisis in a godly way, keeping their eyes on Him and maintaining a godly perspective. That’s what I want to do with every calamity and crisis in my life.

Here is the link to Kristine’s blog: “The Carr Fire stole our home, but it can’t steal our hope.” I pray you will be as inspired and moved as I was.

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It’s Me Who Needs You, Lord

I did it again.

When someone who claims to be a Christian suddenly said he didn’t believe in heaven, and he wasn’t sure if the Bible could be believed, I determined I would change his mind.

This led to arguing and to anger on my part because he seemed to ignore everything I said.

At the end of our phone conversation, I wondered if he just expressed unbelief to try to get to me.

This person battles depression and has many physical maladies. He’s elderly, and I felt bad for yelling at him.

Once again I was in the place I’ve been so many times over the years—feeling bad that I failed to get a person to believe biblical truths. God has gifted me with this, and I do have many successes in this through my writing and speaking ministry, but when I get connected with someone I care about deeply who rejects truth, it still upsets me.

I forget what God has reminded me of again and again—to give wise reproof only to a listening ear. (See 25:12 NASB) This man showed no desire to listen to me. I also realized that arguing was a waste of time and didn’t please God. A saying came to mind which God gave me years ago, that sometimes it’s necessary to “pray, not say.”

I apologized to this person for getting angry at him, arguing and raising my voice. The next time I saw him we got along well, and we didn’t speak of spiritual matters.

Another incident happened after a sermon not long ago at my church about answering God’s call on our lives and how God would give us another chance. All of I could think of at first was how many loved ones had rejected God and were not listening to or for Him or answering His call on their lives—even though they were so gifted and could do much for the kingdom if they would only use their gifts for God’s glory.

My mind started thinking of ways to speak to them in the days ahead.

But then suddenly, God spoke to my heart. What about you?

I asked God, “Are there ways I’m not answering Your call on my life?”

What came to mind is that God had called me to pray for my church when I first arrived there many years ago. And for a number of years, I was faithful to do so. He had never removed that call from my life, but I had backed off from doing it for a variety of reasons. A better word is excuses.

I went to the prayer room after Sunday school and repented for backing away from what God had called me to do just as Jonah had when God called him to preach in Nineveh. (Jonah was the main character of the “answering God’s call” sermon I had heard earlier.)

I realized that the issue when it came to praying diligently for my church was unbelief. I didn’t believe my prayers would make a difference. Yet, if I was honest, I recalled that when I was praying in the prayer room on a regular basis, great things happened—not only in our church, but also in my own soul. I remember one week I prayed in the prayer room, and a certain phrase came to my mind about our church. I don’t recall at the moment what it was, but I do remember one of the pastors said that same exact phrase the next Sunday.

I also remember that the pastor and I disagreed on a certain aspect of the Christian walk. Instead of talking to him about it, I prayed about it in the prayer room for a long time. Then one Sunday he said he threw away his prepared sermon, and he told us that God had changed his mind completely on what he thought and believed on that particular subject.

God gave me songs in the prayer room and calmed me so often. He also helped grow my love for my church and the people there. With a change in my work schedule and traveling more, I didn’t get to come to church as often, and I felt distant from other church members. But I realized that if I had been faithful in the prayer room, this probably wouldn’t have happened.

Once again I have committed to answering God’s call on my life to diligently pray for my church every week—at my church in the prayer room—whenever I was in town. He knows there are too many distractions at my home and elsewhere to do it at another location.

What I learned from arguing with a man who seemed overcome with unbelief and thinking that I needed to correct the prodigals in my life who also battled unbelief is that when I’m busy trying to fix others, I don’t give God room to work on me. I’m so busy telling others the truths I believe they need to hear, that I’m not listening for truth God wants to speak to my heart. I’ve written about this theme again and again, but I need to hear it again and again. I, too, can slip into unbelief—maybe not total like the prodigals or in what I consider “big” areas like the man on the phone—but it still hurts me and others when I’m not diligently listening for God’s guidance and following it.

The thought that came to mind in regard to various people in my life was that they need the Lord so much. But I realize I also need the Lord. I’ve come so far because I realized this along the way, but I can get into a place where I think I know a lot, and I forget how very much I need Him and how far He’s brought me—that I have not reached this point in my journey by myself, and I can’t move on by myself.

In my Bible study today, God reminded me of another instruction that He gave me in regard to my work with the mentally ill. I have committed to returning to carrying out that instruction. Once again I repented of not continuing to answer God’s call in a particular aspect of my walk with Him.

I praise God for all He’s teaching me lately. I feel willing to receive wise reproof from Him, but I do feel bad that it can take me awhile to hear what He’s trying to say to me. It seems many distractions get in the way.

That’s why I know it’s not just the others who need truth and prayer, but it’s also me.

Please pray for me that I will be able to hear God quickly and clearly and move closer to my goal to obey Him every day in every way.

“Standing in the need of prayer” sung by Bill and Gloria Gaither and others.


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What God Says

When hard times come, I can be tempted to believe lies about myself because of how people treat me. The good news is that who God says I am does not change because of the rejection of others.

As I continue to face difficult days with heartaches in various relationships, I need to remind myself not to be dictated by my own thoughts and feelings, but instead to be led by my faith in God and His unfailing love–even when people who once were loving toward me treat me in unloving ways.

What hurts is when I’ve shown sacrificial love, and another person returns evil in response to help I’ve given at their request in their hard times. That’s one trial I’m facing now. I did good, and the person responded with evil. This harsh rejection from this loved one has caught me by surprise, and the hurt lingers as the rejection continues.

Once I started realizing this person is depressed, I remembered that hurting people hurt people. As I let go of fretting, I prayed to God about the situation, and He calmed my heart and assured me that it wasn’t wrong of me to give the help this person requested. He reminded me of His love for this person and for me, despite her withdrawing love from me.


I’ve discovered lately that when I consult with my own mind and heart instead of consulting the Lord, it brings me down. His words— from Scripture, spoken directly to my heart from the Holy Spirit, from others, and in books and songs in the midst of sad circumstances— lift me up.

The words from Lauren Daigle’s song, “You Say,” have really ministered to me lately as it plays often on the Christian radio station I listen to (The Joy FM). In the song, she reminds me I’m loved, I’m strong, I’m held, and I’m His–even though I can feel these aren’t true when people treat me badly.

God is faithful to remind me who I am in Him. He does it through this song and even when the song isn’t playing as I tune in to Him and determine to receive His truth rather than the lies of the enemy and those around me.

I remember years ago I listened to Elisabeth Elliot on the radio. I loved the two statements she proclaimed at the close of her show, which reminded me of God’s unfailing love for me: “I have loved you with an everlasting love, (Jeremiah 31:3) and underneath are the everlasting arms.” (Deuteronomy 33:27).

No matter what happens, those statements are true. What a treasure God’s unfailing love is to me. He never wants me to forget that it’s there for me through every difficulty—even if I can’t feel it at the moment.

Today I pray for my unloving, loved one that she will come to the point where she feels loved, strong in the Lord, held, and His.

The thought that came to me yesterday, which I’m determined to act on, is to do something loving toward this person who has been unloving toward me. What came to mind is to send an uplifting card and a gift certificate for a massage.

I also pray this person will call out to the Lord, since she is not walking with Him. As I do so, I find myself taking my eyes off of me and how I feel and putting them on her and on the Lord, and He is giving me compassion for her.

I wait in thanksgiving for Him to bless her and our relationship. He has already lavished blessings on me through His love, comfort, and strength in this difficult time.

“You Say” by Lauren Daigle






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Counting Every Blessing

My heart continues to ache over the ongoing, unwise—even life-threatening—choices of a loved one, who is battling mental health issues.

The main gift as a writer, speaker, mental health worker, God has given to me is the gift of proclaiming truth. What hurts so much is that this loved one refuses to receive truth. At times she becomes verbally abusive when I speak it to her.

As I reflect on my own life, I know I’ve been in the place of rejecting truth. That’s exactly where the enemy wants us. Even as Christians, we can be enticed to go there.

This dearly loved individual surrounds herself with peers who believe lies, and they support one another in this.

Other circumstances have threatened to bring me into the pit lately as well: more allegations of sexual assault—even in the writing world, Bill Cosby in the news as he was sentenced to prison, the sad supreme court justice confirmation hearing, severe problems in extended family members, other loved ones with mental health problems, marriages of loved ones failing, other loved ones caught in the grips of addiction and dependence on many other enticements of this world rather than on the Lord.

The sexual assault crisis, especially as it pertains to Bill Cosby, brings back memories of the sexual assault against myself in my college years, which was done in the same way. I was given a drug, and then the person, whom I knew and trusted, raped me. I was conscious, but I could not move.

As I think of these matters and others, I feel oppressed by the evil of this world.

Yet in the midst, a song has been coming on the radio, which has lifted my spirits. It is “Counting Every Blessing” by Rend Collective.

I listen and remember that the world has been evil since the fall, and that’s why Jesus came. Because of that, I have so many blessings, which cannot be taken away.

As thoughts of negative circumstances invade my mind, and fears of the future threaten to overwhelm me, something else invades my mind: the words, “counting every blessing.” And then I begin to do just that.

One blessing is that God’s love for me and my loved ones will never fail. Another is that He will always be with and for me and them. Yet another is the promise of heaven that nothing on this earth can take away. Then there are the many promises in His Word. Each one is a blessing I can count.

At this moment, three come to mind:

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Psalm 46:1 NIV

He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. Psalm 147:3

You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You. Isaiah 26:3 NKJV

God is keeping each of these promises as I go through these latest difficulties.

What I know is that I must keeping holding on to Him. Others have not done as well in the midst of the crises and calamities of life because they chose to hold on to someone or something else. Only He can help us through every dark and difficult day. And if we let Him, He uses the difficulties to make us more like Jesus and to help us grow in trusting Him.

A saying comes to mind, which always holds true: “Life is hard, but God is good.”

During these days, I do not want to doubt God’s goodness. I desire to grow in trust and be a shining light for Him. He wants to give me everything I need to do just that.

God wants my wayward loved one to grow in trusting Him as well. I believe that He will one day use her as a shining light for Him. How wonderful it is that her bad choices do not disqualify her from that.

When I asked God recently how to pray for this loved one, Psalm 139:7-12 came to mind.

Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
10 even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
and the light become night around me,”
12 even the darkness will not be dark to you;
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you.

I pray she will sense God reaching out to her in her darkness, and that she will take hold of His hand.

“Counting Every Blessing” by Rend Collective


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