Addiction · Hitting the bottom · Motherhood · Recovery

The Tender Twenty Paradox (and Miley’s big mistake)

Miley Cyrus – Chrisa Hickey [CC-BY-3.0 (, via Wikimedia Commons

By: Jana Greene

I must admit that curiosity got the best of me, and I watched the clip of the Miley Cyrus debacle at the MTV VMA awards.

My first reaction was total disgust. Miley is only twenty years old! And then a primal urge to find this world-famous woman-child, and smother her in hugs. Sometimes the mother in me just overwhelms every other instinct.

She is so in-between.

In her racy act, her suggestive wardrobe and antics  tried to convey woman; but her poor judgment screams child.

Her ‘twerking’ tells the world she knows what to do with her lady parts, but the fact that she flaunted her lady parts publically lets us all know that she is still a child. Or that she is high on more than just life, or could be mentally unstable. There is more to being a grown-up than grinding. Nothing says “paradox” like a simultaneous display of tongue and teddy bears.

Miley’s performance brought to mind other Hollywood lost girls…the freckled-face Lindsey Lohan, whose fall from innocence has been so stark, or more recently, the amazing Amanda Bynes, whose comic timing was always spot-on, and whose mental stability seems to be crumbling for all the world to watch. Both of these girls began a public decent around twenty years of age.

Oh, the tender, tender age for girls that is twenty.

I witness a mercifully less-dramatic  paradox in my own lovely daughters – all of them so unique, as both succeed and struggle to grow up.

I’m a grown up!……Mommy, can you….?

Watch me soar!……I screwed up.

Get out of my business!….Please give me advice….

All of that is completely normal.

Twenty can also be point in a woman’s life that the dual demons of addiction and mental illness begin to manifest.

It is also a time for a woman to use supremely horrible judgment. I know I did.

When I was 20, I started drinking. Right from the start, one drink was too many and a thousand not enough. How many times did I embarrass myself? Too many to count.

By 21, I was married. My family tried to talk me out of it. Many people who loved me warned me about marrying so young. But never you mind.  I was an “adult” and I KNEW EVERYTHING.

I wonder if anyone tried to talk Miley out of her over-sexed musical proclamation. I would bet that many did.

I’ll bet just as many people advised her that it any publicity is good publicity. And in her mind, fresh and pliable and utterly riding the wave of invincible-ness, said what so many of our minds say in youth: I know what I’m doing!

It is so easy to buy a ticket to the train wreck at that age, to become the train wreck.

To my mind, the beautiful, talented trio of Miley, Lindsey and Bynes  –  girls that daughters grew up adoring – have fallen victim to addictions (if even only to approval) and the increasingly unshockable world….a planet full of people who expect celebrities to debase themselves more and more, so that they can become more and more numb to the spectacles.

Perhaps, these girls suffer from undiagnosed or under-treated mental disorders.

We have to blame somebody, naturally.

Blame Miley, Lindsey and Bynes. They are  accountable for their own actions. They should know better! Miley likely thought that the performance shake the Hannah Montana persona forever (it has) and that wagging her tongue at the world would keep tongues wagging about her all over the world (it did).

And then forgive her, because she made a horrible mistake that people will never forget, even when she gets herself together.

Blame the parents, who thrust their little girls into show business.

And then have compassion for them, because they made bad choices themselves (and nothing – NOTHING – is worse than someone being mean to your child, much less the entire world.)

Most of all, blame the obviously broken-down world that is a paradox as well…..

A world that is trying its best to be godless and celebrate human nature by worshipping sex, and making sex cheap and valueless in the process.

And consider it a big, fat, red, waving flag for us, as a society, that we are eroding by our own hands, and need Holy Help to be redeemed.

Consider it an opportunity to talk to our daughters about the demons that Miley, Lindsey and Amanda are trying to battle with their own two hands (and too many handlers to count) and failing at;  and let them know that – no matter what – Love wins and there always the chance to start over with grace.

And if they already know everything?
Tell them anyway.

Addiction · Hitting the bottom · Motherhood · Recovery

A Tree Grows in Prison – addiction and the harvest of God-seeds


By: Jana Greene,

Hebrews 13:3

“Regard prisoners as if you were in prison with them. Look on victims of abuse as if what happened to them had happened to you.” – Hebrews 13:3  (MSG)



I’m thinking today of all the saints in the early church who prayed to you from the cells of prisons. Wrongly persecuted, they mustered their faith and lifted it to you, because they had been stripped of everything else they owned.

I know you’ve gotten your fair share of letters from prisoners.

Jails and prisons are often the venue in which lost souls lift their last remaining possession to you – faith – but the truth is that many have been stripped of that possession, too. Many, before even arriving for intake to be processed by a legal system, were already processed by another captor – Addiction – before ever setting foot in jail.  Addiction is a thief of hope.

Today, I have a broken heart for a dear friend and Sister in you, whose adult son is both literally, and figuratively, a prisoner. He is addicted to drugs, God. He has reached the end of himself. Right now, he seems a shell of himself.

But a long time ago, this friend raised this man up by filling him with God- seeds. She took him to church, and youth group; she talked out her active faith in you….all the way forming rows as she raised him, and planting  seeds in the soft soil of youth.

He is familiar with you. But he has made some bad choices, covering that fertile, planted ground with all the world has to offer, including substances that distract him from You. He has filled his life with all the plastic distraction that keeps the sunlight from getting in; that keeps the water of life from reaching the seeds.

Society sometimes has very little compassion for those who bring woes on themselves. Society forgets that it is only made up of infinite units of just the same kinds of people – sinners.  It’s easy for them to open their bibles to the letters that Paul wrote as a prisoner, and feel compassion.
But you don’t forget to be compassionate, because you never forget that we are infinite units of people who sin, but whom you love dearly.  All people must come to you from their knees on the floor of a prison cell, its only a matter of what four-walls constrain us.

Today, this man – this addict – is on the floor of a cell. I like to think he is calling out to you right this minute, but I know how stubborn addicts can be (being one myself) – I know how insane the cycle is, and how hard it is to let go of that tarp of denial we keep covering ourselves in.

But I am asking you – right now, in Your Holy Name, to crouch down on that prison floor with this man. Scrootch up so close to him that You feel familiar, that the seeds planted in his spirit in his growing-up-years feel like beads under his skin. Crack them open, and as they are opened, let him feel surrounded by love.

The supernatural feeling all addicts crave, that many addicts are willing to go to prison for – to die for – is only just a craving for you, Lord.

This young man is feeling the pain of the chemicals leaving his body, as we speak. Let the suffering he is experiencing  be for the cause of one little Seed of Faith germinating. Fill up the space left by the chemicals, the hurt, the loneliness, the shame and pain. I’m sure he will remember you, God.

Be with his family, who is suffering beyond comprehension. Fill them up, too.

Since this precious son of my Sister in You is currently  in no position to “write letters” in your name, and lift prayers from his broken spirit, mind and body, today I am interceding on his behalf. I ask that everyone who reads this to pray along with me.

For the addicts, the prisoners. The broken, the sinners. For my friend’s son.

Remind them that they are full of seeds of Truth, let them receive water and light, in their own personal prisons, and let those seeds grow healthy and strong and take root in You. So they can go out and tell other prisoners that there is life waiting to be lived.

Give them HOPE, Jesus.

In the name of the Father God, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.



Sweet Bluegrass, My Beloved, and How I Ran off with Moms Gone Wild

A little humor from Redemption Feast about what constitutes a really hot date for the 45+ crowd.

More recovery blogging coming soon – I swear! For just this season, writing humor IS part of my recovery. Come to think of it, I hope all-things-comedic will be a part of my recovery for a long time to come. Happy Friday, all!