Category: Recovery

My Hope Is God Alone (Even If He Doesn’t Save Through The Fire)

Scripture teaches us that it only takes a little faith to move a mountain. Well, I am grateful that I always have at least a little faith. Looking back over the past seven years of walking fully sober with Jesus, I truly believe that I have developed mountain moving faith. I have prayed and believed that God would move some mountains in my own journey and those mountains did get tossed into the sea – a mountain of alcohol abuse, a mountain of a cancer-causing virus, and a mountain of depression. I have seen God move mountains in other lives as well which is so awesome for a young Christian to see God answer prayers in such powerful ways.

Even so, there have been times where I have felt disappointed and maybe even a little shaken. I am sure we all experience this from time to time. Some of us grow stronger and closer to God, and some of us give up. I never want to give up. I never want to go back to a life of hopelessness ever again, so I keep pressing on even when life hurts. There was a time not very long ago when I prayed so fervently for a woman by the name of Peggy who was suffering from cancer. She had such amazing faith and had touched so many lives as a teacher. She was a Kingdom builder for sure. She was not ready to go. I heard her say so. She tearfully prayed for more time to serve the Lord. She knew my pastor and when she could, she would come a pretty good distance to visit our church a few times for prayer. Shortly after, she became too week to come anymore. I never saw her again. I did not personally know her, but I was honored to be one who got to place hands on her with other powerful prayer warriors taking turns praying. I will never forget that moment. When I touched her and spoke God’s Word of healing over her, I felt such a deep spiritual connection with her. After that morning, God put her on my heart to continue praying and believing, and that is what I did. My personal prayer sessions speaking God’s Word of healing for her were so powerful. Tears would stream down my face every single time and I would be thanking God that He had answered. I believed with all my heart that I would be hearing praises that God had miraculously healed her like we have heard for others. I felt like a little child who had no doubt that her Mighty God would hear and save Peggy from cancer. But God didn’t move the mountain. Not this time. I had received word that Peggy’s mountain of cancer overcame her and she passed away surrounded by family. I celebrate the fact that Peggy is now whole and with Jesus, but I would be lying if I said that it did not sadden me greatly that she was not healed on this side of heaven leaving behind her husband and family. I guess it really hurt because I had been so excited for that miracle that I had no doubt would come. And when it didn’t come, well, I do not think I need to describe any further how my heart felt at the time.

Now I could have let that stop me from pressing on in this journey of faith, but I am thankful for the strength that God gives me to keep pressing on no matter what comes. I think it will help me to remember that I am to be walking in His will, not my own, so there will be mountains that He chooses to leave unmoved. I have learned that nothing can get in God’s way for His purpose to be done, so I think I need to be okay when certain mountains do not move. Just because they seem to be in my way or the way of loved ones, it does not mean that they are in God’s way. At least, that is how it seems to me.

There are a lot of mountains – fiery health trials happening lately with people I love. I keep lifting them all in prayer knowing that God is able. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that He can save every one of them through the fire with His mighty hand. But what if He doesn’t? I mean, He didn’t for Peggy, so what if He doesn’t for others that I pray for as well? Well, God is God, and I am not. I cannot know His plan, so, I will continue in faith and pray for healing. I will also pray for the strength for all of us, no matter what, to be able to say, “It is well with my soul.” Our only hope is God alone. Let us not forget what He did for us! (John 3:16) Amen?

While my heart was struggling with unmovable mountains and fiery trials, a Mercy Me song (Even If) was playing and really touched me. If you listen to the song, you’ll see that it inspired this writing from my heart. I hope it will encourage your heart like it did mine. It reminded me of the OT Bible passage in Daniel 3 where Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were about to be thrown into the fiery furnace for not worshiping the king’s golden image. They fully trusted Almighty God to deliver them from the fire, but stood strong in faith stating that even if He does not deliver, that they would not serve or worship the king’s false god. Wow. Super strong faith. They knew they had God on their side no matter what and had nothing to fear but God alone. That is the kind of faith I hope that I continue to develop. When we fear God, we need not fear anything else.

I dug a little deeper into this passage and read a Matthew Henry commentary and I love what he said about Daniel 3:17-18, and I hope that it helps you as it did me. Henry said, “God will deliver us either from death or in death.” Yes! It was no accident that I came to that commentary. I really needed to hear those words. It made me realize that Peggy WAS delivered after all. God delivered her from cancer and took her home to be with Him forever. She would have liked to stay longer, but she was not afraid because she knew where she was going. That is a beautiful truth and God will deliver every single one of His faithful ones so we also need not be afraid. I know we would like deliverance and healing on this side of heaven, but whether it is here or in heaven, it is a win-win for those of us in Christ.

If you are struggling like I was, I hope you will remember that the Lord is near the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit (Psalm 34). It is okay to grieve the loss of our loved ones who leave us behind, but it is not okay to grieve like those who have no hope. We are going home to Paradise, to be with our Lord for eternity. We have the blessed hope of heaven and it is not wishful thinking kind of hope!

Oh, breathe on us breath of God, so that we will never die. Be blessed my friends and may God’s peace, which is so great we cannot understand it, keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus whether your mountains move or not.

Psalms 34

God promises that joy will come in the morning, but I couldn’t feel it…

 

“Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.”~Psalm 30:5

I am so glad that I have learned that joy is not a feeling based on circumstances. Yesterday, I had to make the difficult choice to end the life of my kitty Sam. It was not expected that he would get that sick so quickly. I have been caring for a blind kitty with cancer over the last few weeks and I was trying to prepare my heart to let her go, but Sam took me by complete surprise. I am grateful I was strong enough to be there loving him until he drifted off completely. Right before the first injection, Sam had kissed my forehead one last time. He stretched out his paw onto my arm. I could swear he knew it was time to go and wanted me to be okay with it. At least that thought helps me a little. It was a sweet and peaceful rest for him, considering the circumstances. Man, I cried like a baby letting go of him. It would have been cruel to keep him alive since there was nothing that could be done for him. But even so, it didn’t make that decision any easier. The pain of having to make that choice is cruel to my heart, but that’s life. I am trying to focus more on the blessing of having such a long time with that wonderful creature. I have good memories and I am grateful for that. I cried way past midnight. I would be okay for a bit, then the tears would come again and they came hard. As the night went on, the pain in my heart got worse. It has been a long time since I had to say goodbye to a beloved pet. It was like it was a first time again — soooo hard to deal with.

Today was the first day of Spring semester for me. Bad timing!! It was very hard to put my broken heart aside this morning and show up to be a student for 6.5 hours. My eyes were red and puffy and I was tired from crying so much last night after losing Sam. This morning, my heart was just not feeling the student thing. This is only my second year after quitting 20 years ago, but I wanted so much to blow it off. I wanted so much to numb myself again, but reality kicked in and I know how much I stand to lose if I go back to my old ways. So, I pushed through the pain again. As hard as it was, I got out of bed and I showed up. And you know what? So did God. He always does and that is why I continue to push through tough times even though quitting sounds really good sometimes.  God gave me what I needed to be a student today. He put the desire back in my heart. I like my professors and the students. Even being the oldest in the classes did not bother me. I may entertain thoughts of quitting at times, but I am so glad that I know better. Even though I walked with a sad heart today, I was encouraged at how I was able to push through and focus on my mission of being in school to earn a degree. That is surely God’s strength in me. I am way too weak on my own.

When the long day ended and I sat in my car for a moment, I completely lost it again. It was weird how it seemed to come so quickly after being strong all day. I cried…a lot. I got an errand done, and when I got home, I cried some more. I really thought after last night’s tears that I had run dry, but nope. Even as I write this, my eyes are welling up. I hate when my heart hurts and I cannot do what I used to do to lessen the pain. Of course I can if I really want to, but deep inside, I really don’t. I don’t want to undo the great things of God in my life. I am alive and sober and I don’t want to go back to the darkness of being dead and drunk. I just can’t go back.

I am grateful for how God’s Word helps me through the night. The Holy Comforter is with me. Listening to “Joy Will Come” from our worship songs at church makes me cry more, but I find comfort since it’s about God’s promise that joy always comes in the morning. His joy always comes even if it’s the kind of joy that we can’t feel. I hold on to that promise along with many others because God’s Word never fails. So I keep giving my all to Him no matter what because I believe His promise that He is with me and will never leave me. Today was amazing proof of how He helps us through and gives us a supernatural strength to move forward even with such a heavy heart that without Him, would have had me going the wrong way.

I’ve got 21 days to the 6 year mark of sobriety. I will not throw that away. Satan cannot have me ever again. I am holding on even if I have to cry through it. It’s the only choice worth making now and I will keep making this choice to keep pressing on and keep feeling my feelings no matter how much it hurts being sober. I will have to do this all over again when Zoe shows signs that it’s time to let go. Before letting Sam go, I didn’t think I could handle it at all, but now I know I can even through a river of tears. Thankfully I can remember clearly that numbing always made things worse for me. The temporary relief was always followed by much worse pain than what I have been experiencing since yesterday, if you can imagine that. I think some of you can.

So tonight, when I’m all alone and it’s quiet and the sweet creature from the last 17 years does not come by again, I will remember and believe that weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning — just as it always comes in the mourning. The Joy of the Lord is the only joy worth holding on to. The Lord has promised to always be there for us no matter what we’re going through and I believe Him. I pray more of you will believe too. I would not be here today if that were not true. Thank You, Lord. ♥

I just needed to pour out my heart again, thanks for listening. This is me and my boy Sammy moments before he fell asleep with his head resting on my hand. 😦 It was a bitter sweet moment, but my heart is still grateful for the blessings.

Sammy
So Long, Sweet Sammy

Enduring the pain of life on this side of heaven…

So here we are in January 2016. It is another new year and I find myself struggling a little once again. Although my health challenges are not over like I had hoped, I am grateful that I am not going through anything worse than I did last year. Last year was tests and minor surgery for the prevention of cervical cancer. This year I am going through testing as a precaution to rule out bladder cancer. I would be lying if I said that I was not a little bit discouraged to have to face more tests that I consider torture. I am quite tired of being prodded in such a private and sensitive area of my body. But even so, I am grateful that I have insurance and doctors who care and are doing what they think necessary for my own benefit. I am trusting God that once again, there will be no cancer. But whatever the outcome, I am amazingly ready because God has made me so strong through every single challenge He walks and carries me through. It is all for His glory, not mine.

It is incredible to stop dreading the hard things in life because I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that God is for me and He is SO with me. He has shown me day in and day out. I thank Him for how He continues to watch over me and provide everything that I need to keep on keeping on in this journey to heaven with Him. And of course I have to share that through all the challenges, I have had zero relapses back into alcohol abuse and I continue to hold strong to my 100% sobriety of 5 years and 326 days. Yep, still counting because it is an ongoing miracle that only God can do in my life and I have to keep sharing with the world. My heart is too grateful not keep sharing because I really should be dead today. Jesus truly brought me from death to life and I am GRATEFUL.

My other struggle that I am facing as I write this is that I have a 13 year old kitty who has been an amazing blessing in my life. I think those with pets who never had kids (like me) truly understand. I just found out three days ago that she has cancer and I also got to confirm my suspicion that she has lost her vision. She is an amazing creature. God certainly has created beautiful creatures and allows us so much joy through them. I lost my 16 year old pup quite a while ago and somehow a kitten one day stole my heart. Now I have a few of them. But this one who is dying, Zoe, I have a close bond with compared to the others. They are loving and amazing too, but there is something extra special about Zoe. I held her when she was six weeks old. She came from a feral litter and she took to me right away. If she were to make it to June this year, she would be 14. My sweet Zoe is at the vet at this very moment getting a biopsy that I hope will help me to determine when her time to drift into permanent sleep may come. I cannot have her put down without knowing if it is really time or not. I am surprised that I am not crying as I write this. I guess I got enough tears out for now trying to prepare my heart which is never easy to do for any animal lover. I am really going to miss her when the time comes to let go, but until then, I am going to appreciate and enjoy every moment I have left with her and love on her like crazy.

I think what is helping me through this better than I thought it would is learning not to hold on too tightly to my blessings from God. That includes blessings like my Zoe. I remember when I lost my little dog, how hard it was and how much I drank that sadness away. Just like I used to drink every other painful moment of loss in my life away. I am so beyond grateful that those days are over. Feeling the pain and learning to deal with it has brought me so close to God and now that I have discovered that He is real, I would much rather feel the pain and turn to Him instead of the bottle that almost killed me. This is the better blessing. God really does use ALL the hard things in this life for good.

I keep holding on to God’s promises and the assurance of the wonderful life awaiting me in heaven with Him and that is what helps me to endure the pain of life on this side of heaven. I apologize if this post is all over the place. I am just allowing my heart to pour out and this is what is coming of it. I hope in a small way that perhaps this will help someone else to remember that this world is not our home and that our pain and our tears will end when we finally make it home to other side of heaven for those who believe and belong to Jesus. In my heart, I have been hearing the words of Jesus from John 16:33. He has given me His perfect peace. He is teaching me and is making me stronger to keep my heart from being troubled and from being afraid. Jesus overcame the world, and because I am His, I am an overcomer too. All of us who belong to Him are. So we need to keep holding on to God and His promises and keep on keeping on. We need to keep seeking Him with our whole heart no matter what.

And as I wait to hear about my Zoe, I do not regret one tear of the many I have shed and I no longer dread the hard stuff that comes my way. I will be grateful for every single blessing, even when they are taken away knowing and trusting that something even better is around the bend. It is wonderful to be able to say this after such a short time after giving my life to Jesus. I am always taking a risk of being mocked for what I share from the heart, but I do not care. God is real. God is the God of hope, restoration, miracles and breakthroughs. My life is proof of that. Jesus saved me from the law of sin and death. And as long as I am still in the world, the world is going to know.

Hold on to Him, hold on to HOPE – HIS promises of things to come. Thanks for listening to my heart. God bless.

You Are Loved

“Hope is a golden cord connecting you to heaven. This cord helps you hold your head up high, even when multiple trials are buffeting you…Hope lifts your perspective from your weary feet to the glorious view you can see from the high road. You are reminded that the road we’re traveling together is ultimately a highway to heaven.”  ~Jesus Calling

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” ~ Romans 15:13

A worthless soul changed into one worth dying for — Why I dare to believe…

Just a little more than five years ago, I believed I was worthless and would be better off dead (I wrote about some of that in my last post). I battled suicidal thoughts. Although they were tormenting, they were just thoughts. Other than isolating and drinking my life away, I hadn’t reached the point of doing something drastic just yet. I felt it was getting close, but thankfully it didn’t get that far. A sincere cry out to God changed everything and He sobered me up and showed me love I have never known.

Today, I believe that I am worth something. I have an ongoing miracle sobriety of five years now and I am no longer suicidal. Many more miracles that have taken place in my life have caused me to dare to believe in God, in myself, and that I really am worth dying for. And for those reading this who are battling like I used to, I dare to believe that YOU are worth dying for too. It doesn’t matter who you are or what you might have done that you think is so bad that there’s no way out, I still dare to believe.

It has taken much effort over the last five years to learn to fight against the devil — the liar who had me convinced otherwise for over half of my life. I admit that he still finds small openings to sneak in and bombard me with his evil lies on occasion. I continue to get knocked down pretty good at times, but God ALWAYS helps me to pick myself up and dust myself off and learn from it. When the Lord made Himself real to me and kept me from entering the gates of death, He gave me such a passion and desire to completely give up my life and spend the rest of it learning from Him and the great teachers He has placed in my life who lead me by example. I truly have never known so much love before I started this journey with God – both directly from Him and through the people He’s blessed my life with. Amazing love. There is no greater…

Today’s Bible Gateway Verse of the day is 1 John 3:16 — “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.”

God’s message of love is all over the Bible. He reaches my heart in different ways reminding me over and over that I am worth dying for. I choose to believe no matter how many times I get knocked down. No matter how many tears I cry. No matter how many times I mess up. No matter how many trials come my way. He gets me through every single one. Even after all this time of great things in my life, I still have moments of feeling unlovable and unworthy. But even so, I still dare to believe. God is SO real. He rescued me from the pit of hell. He showed me that His grace is sufficient — He is more than enough for me. My heart hurts when God gets blamed for the bad stuff that happens in people’s lives.They believe that He doesn’t care or He is not All Powerful. They doubt that He really exists or that He can really do what He says He can do. That used to be me in the dark days. I thank God for showing me differently. He wants to rescue EVERYONE…ah, if only they would believe.

I think about how I lived all of those years being separated from God. It was painful. It was pure hell on earth. A soul can’t get any darker than that. My soul was absolutely dead and my body was getting close to it. Yesterday morning, I celebrated a wonderful Easter / Resurrection Sunday with my church family and when I think of what Jesus did — the One who had no sin but God made to be sin for us — He willingly sacrificed His life and died that excruciating death on the cross so that I would have a chance to choose to believe and live forever with Him. I can’t even truly imagine what His separation from the Father was like. Every time I think about it, my heart becomes so heavy that I feel like I am going to suffocate from just the thought of what He went through. He took on the sin of the WORLD. Not just yours…not just mine, but the whole world. Wow. I can’t even come close to wrapping my limited mind around what that must have been like for Him. So why don’t more of us see that as being more than enough for us? He conquered death so we may live, why don’t more of us surrender ALL to Him? Why do we search for more? Why do we think we deserve more? I believe it’s because we are spiritually blind. At least, that was the case for me. I am so thankful that God opened my eyes and heart to see and I want to help others activate God’s hand to give them their sight too. It allows us to see the invisible and that is a must in this broken world. This is why I make the choice to be vulnerable and share my heart (His heart) to the world. Only God can make something like that happen and I am grateful to be a part of it!

My spiritual eyesight allows me to see and believe that His grace IS enough. He doesn’t owe me a thing. I don’t deserve anything. No matter what happens to me while I am here, I have the blessed assurance of salvation – the Hope of Heaven. I am going to live forever, because I dare to believe that Jesus’ finished work on that beautiful terrible cross guarantees it. How can that NOT be more than enough for any of us? I am amazed that I can now say that I am willing to lay my life down for others. Was that possible more than five years ago? No way. But I know now that the end of my story here will be the beginning of an even more incredible one – one that will never end. For that, I am so thankful that I am willing to lay down my life. Thank You, Jesus.

So that is why I will always dare to believe. And as long as I have breath, my mission in life is to tell as many as I possibly can about what Jesus has done for me with the hope that they too may be encouraged to make the choice to believe. It’s a life-changing…no, a lifeSAVING decision. Have you hesitated in allowing yourself to believe? If so, I just want to say:

There’s no guarantee of tomorrow, so stop hesitating and choose to believe today. I DARE YOU…

“We have this hope as an anchor for the soul…” Hebrews 6:19 (New Century Version)

HOPE IN JESUS

**This photo reminds me of the darkness I was drowning in, but I found the kind of hope that only Jesus can give and He pulled me out of the darkness into the light — from death to life. I pray this will happen for so many more!