“My name is…” (Yeah, I want the world to know the great things God has done!)

It has only been six weeks, but I am finally starting to get used to beginning with those words when I speak every Friday night in a small group at Celebrate Recovery. I am thankful for the additional Christian friends that have been cultivated already. The Lord is really blessing me. I am grateful the Lord led me to this program where I can help make a difference and also be blessed by people who understand exactly what I have gone through. We worship the Lord together, hear an incredible testimony of God’s grace or a teaching for the first hour, and then we break into specific small groups and share our hearts with each other for the second hour. There’s an opportunity for another hour afterward for everyone to gather once again and continue to fellowship.  It is quite wonderful.

When I first started getting sober in 2010, I stopped going out with friends who enjoy drinking socially. I had nothing against them, it’s just that I decided that I couldn’t do it anymore. I didn’t want to put myself in situations that might tempt me to take another drink. As time went on, I was getting stronger. I had gone out a couple of times to meet up with friends and I was feeling strong enough to be around alcohol, but honestly, I was never comfortable being around it again. I simply still prefer not to be around it at all if I can help it. I had to make many changes to do what was right for me to stay on the right path. That meant that I had to stop doing things with people who enjoy social drinking. I decided to be home most weekends. I find joy when I am working on things for ministry, that’s where my heart is so I keep myself busy with it. I love growing closer to God. Staying home weekend evenings has been a good thing for me, but it also started to feel like it could be a bad thing. Good because it helps to ensure my sobriety, but bad because I started to feel like I was in isolation once again. That’s when the enemy likes to strike so I realized that I needed to be more careful with that. I don’t want to take any chances of opening the door to depression again. This is part of the reason why I decided to start attending CR, to get myself out of isolation. CR is definitely a safe place for someone like me to be.

This past Friday night, as I was headed home from a wonderful evening at CR, I was driving on the freeway and started having flashbacks of the times I took incredibly dumb chances with driving home intoxicated. I had tears streaming down as I was driving, it was the gratitude that I had inside. I was thanking the Lord as I was driving, for His miracles in my life. How I managed to escape getting into an accident or arrested each time I drove, I will never know. Only God knows. All I do know is how grateful I am that the Lord has completely transformed my life and is using all the ugly stuff from the past for His good purpose. I regret putting people’s lives in danger. I have learned to stop beating myself up over that. I can’t change the past. It is not easy to publicly admit what I used to do, but I do it because I pray that it will help someone else open their eyes and realize what they’re doing if they’re taking the same chances that I used to. I believe I was running out of time. I was running out of chances, and if I didn’t change soon, I am sure it all would have caught up with me. It always seems to for people headed down the wrong road. I think I just witnessed that in the last couple of weeks.

The freeways sure look different at night through sober eyes. I remember being so paranoid when I used to drive home after a night of drinking. Yet, it wasn’t enough to stop me from doing it. I don’t know why, I guess I was pretty lost then and didn’t care. I was just too numb inside to care. Now when I find myself on the road at night, which isn’t very often, I am at complete peace. It feels so good to be sober. It’s interesting how the tables have turned because I now have to watch out for drunk drivers. It is scary out there! The last two Friday nights, I have seen the aftermath of two automobile accidents.  One of them I know for sure was a drunk driver and I can only guess on the other one. That could have been me just a few years ago! I thank God that nothing ever happened. I thank Him for forgiveness and for second chances in life.

I felt I needed to put this out there and encourage anyone who is struggling from substance abuse to do something about it before you run out of time. Join AA, join CR, do whatever it takes. Surround yourself with people who know what you’re dealing with because they’ve walked in your shoes. I love being surrounded with Christians at CR.  I feel safe there. There’s so much love because Jesus is there with us. The most important thing of all is that you surrender to the Lord Jesus. Nobody can break their chains without Him. I believe that with all my heart because nothing was going well in my life until I gave Him complete control of it. Don’t keep taking chances like I did, it is not worth it. There is so much to lose. Those two accidents I just saw, I am sure those people who got into trouble are wishing they could go back and do things differently.

The Lord has shown me that my sobriety of almost three years gives hope to others who are desperately seeking sobriety for themselves. I love CR because it is Christ centered and we cannot do anything without His help. We can try and we may have success for a little bit, but it doesn’t last. Nothing good lasts if we don’t keep Jesus in the center. I surrendered it all to Him, and He rescued me. He has turned my life around in ways I never could have imagined. I have had to work hard, but I am not complaining. I am FREE. I am not in jail. I am no longer in the enemy’s chains. I didn’t die like he wanted me to—he sure had me convinced that I would be better off dead. Thankful that Jesus showed me a better way. I won’t stop sharing His wonderful miracles in my life, I really do want the world to know about Him!

We’re celebrating Veterans Day this weekend. I am truly grateful to ALL for their sacrifices so that I can enjoy freedom in this country. But freedom in Christ is even better than that. I am eternally grateful to the Lord for my wakeup call as difficult as it was to go through. That wakeup call literally saved my life. Today, I am free in Christ and I will not take that freedom for granted.

So, I’ll end with this:  “My name is Debs. I am a grateful believer in Jesus Christ…thank you for letting me share.”   In Christ’s love… ♥

Are you robbing someone of their blessing?

I knew of a grown daughter who used to get so upset at her mother every time she would try to give her money. Parents are so wonderful like that. They always want to help no matter how grown their children are. I used to see the joy in that mother’s eyes as she was trying to give, be taken away from her by the rejection and “scolding” she received instead by her daughter–like the light was snuffed out.

I know the daughter wasn’t trying to purposely take away her mother’s joy. She loved her dearly. I believe it was too much pride that she allowed to get in the way. It’s hard to say why the daughter would become so upset. I know she didn’t mean harm. Her mother was not super wealthy, so I believe the daughter was truly concerned for her mother having enough money to live on. She was getting up there in age and she was all alone.

The sad thing is that this daughter was so upset she wasn’t able to see what she was really doing to her mother. I believe she was robbing her mother of her blessing. The Apostle Paul tells us in Acts 20:35 that Jesus said Himself: “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” That is so true and I am so gratefully blessed.

It’s interesting. We pray for things like financial help and God touches the hearts of people to give. We need to open our eyes to that—the person giving may be someone we would never expect. It could be someone that doesn’t have much to give, but they give from their heart. It amazes me. We expect God to answer prayers in certain ways so when His answers come in ways we aren’t expecting, we are so focused on our own way that we are blind to see what He is doing. When we do this, more than one person loses out on receiving God’s blessing. Yeah, that means we’re missing out too!

The story of this daughter is not about me, but I was like her. My mother loves to help when she can. Now, I wouldn’t get as upset as the daughter in the story I just told, but I would turn her down all the time. That was before God got through to me and opened my spiritual eyes to see a whole new world.

The Lord has put it on my mother’s heart to give financially. I have been growing so much in the Lord on this journey and have become joyfully busy being involved in ministry. Like so many today, I have been suffering a little financially and I have prayed for a breakthrough. I am barely making ends meet like many of you. The Lord is providing the extra I need through my mother right now. It’s not easy to accept money from her, but her money has been going into my gas tank which has been extremely helpful. It allows me to get to work, church, Bible Study, Celebrate Recovery, and ministry outreaches and I am SO grateful for that! There is light at the end of the dark financial tunnel for me, but this past year I could not have done all that I have for the Lord without those extra funds. My mother lights up when she gives. I will not take that joy from giving away from her, especially now that I am aware of what I was doing. Although my intentions were good (I thought), I will no longer rob her of her blessings.

I had written in her birthday card a few months ago, that when she helps me the way she has been, that she is not only blessing me, she is blessing so many others because I am able to get out there and serve the Lord and share His love with them. That was probably the best gift I could have given her this year. I saw her heart overflow from hearing that.  I don’t think she thought about it that way.

So let’s think about this and keep our eyes, ears, and hearts open to what the Lord is doing in our lives. Let’s not be ones who get in the way of blessings of others! I don’t know about you, but I want to continue to be blessed to be a blessing, and I can’t do that if I am trying to be in control and getting in God’s way. I pray this message blesses many out there. May God continue to richly bless you all. ♥

Dealing with the Holiday Blues—God uses my tears to bring healing…

Just the other night, I was with some of my Christian sisters and we were discussing the holidays…I can hardly believe that they are already approaching! Anyway, I was caught off guard when I was asked to recall a happy memory from past holidays. I was quickly overcome with extreme sadness because I wasn’t able to recall anything, at least not at that moment. I was looking for anything that could bring a smile to my heart that I could share with everyone, but I just couldn’t think of anything. I didn’t spend a lot of time trying to think, but I felt so sad that I couldn’t remember anything. I completely broke down in tears and was barely able to speak. I sure wasn’t expecting that to happen. I spent so many godless years alienating myself from people and drinking my life away. All I could remember were the years of darkness and despair that I put myself through.

I am so grateful to God that this Thanksgiving and Christmas celebration is my third time of being completely sober. What an incredible ongoing miracle He has given me. I remember the first time in 2010 very well (I guess I would since it is not that long ago). I had only been sober for about nine months. Although the Lord had delivered me from depression and drinking, my heart was so heavy with sadness. I couldn’t figure out why. I had so much hope. I had so much to be thankful to the Lord for. He had given me a brand new life and had shown me I had a reason to live, yet I was still sad. Extremely sad. The only thing I could think of was that perhaps it was just left over from all those years of being depressed. I was so used to it. It was all I knew for so long, I think it just became automatic every year. I thought that eventually it would change in time, and instead of automatic sadness, that I would start to get used to the sobriety and spending time with people and it would turn into automatic joy. However, a year later in 2011, I went through it all over again. The Holiday Blues crept in once again, but at least it didn’t seem to be as bad as the year before. There was hope.

So here we are again. It’s already another year later. It’s November 2012, and I was expecting everything to be okay this time. I was wrong. I have much joy in my life these days, but once again the Holiday Blues have arrived. I was hoping for automatic joy this year. All it took was that one question from the other night to make me realize that I still need to work through these emotions that I kept bottled up for so long.

This past Friday, it was my fifth week attending Celebrate Recovery. I have shared many difficult things about my life on my Facebook page and on this blog, but sharing on this same level in an intimate group setting once a week at CR is a whole new world for me. It has been challenging, emotional, and a tremendous blessing all at the same time. I can see that God is using my vulnerability to help others realize that it is okay to open up and to be vulnerable themselves.

I started going to CR because I thought I needed to for myself to stay sober. God has turned it around and has shown me that I am there because I need to help others in their recovery. This is the new desire of my heart. God gave me an incredible miracle of sobriety and I need to share that with others in their recovery walk. I have been growing strong in the Lord for over two years and I have found that I am ahead of many of the people there.

I am certainly blessed to be a blessing. My bonus blessing is that I get healing through my own tears when I share my heart with hurting people. Knowing that God will use my tears to help someone else in their own healing process and recovery, well, that’s just a super bonus blessing.

I see now that the Lord led me to CR to mostly help others, but I believe that He is also going to use it to help me beat the Holiday Blues once and for all. I cried this past Friday night as I was sharing my sad heart that comes each year at this time. I believe those tears have started my own healing process already. I already started to feel better as I was driving home that night. I don’t think I’ve ever talked to anybody much about it before. I mostly kept it to myself, but it was time to let it out. God showed me the way and made it happen and I am so grateful.

I have been thinking about that question from the other night and I have something I can share with a smile.  My memory from the past is that I was a happy little girl when my parents were together—we were a family once upon a time. I will hold on to those memories from so many years ago. We may not have known God back then, but there was love in our home. Today, I know my heavenly Father’s amazing love and I have learned that He is really all I will ever need in this life.

Anyone out there who gets the blues this time of year like so many of us, know you are not alone. You don’t have to go through it alone. Perhaps your sadness isn’t seasonal like mine. Even so, reach out to the Lord. Come to Him as you are. I want to encourage you to find a Christian support group and you will get through it with the Lord’s help. We all have a story to share. Let the Lord use your story to help others. You will be amazed at how much your life will change for the better. You start healing even more when you are helping others to heal.  I can testify to that. Isolation is so dangerous. I regret going there, it almost killed me. The Lord has helped me through it all. Something else that I have discovered on this amazing journey is that nothing from my past has gone to waste.  God is using every bit of it for His good purpose now. He will do the same for anybody. I am so glad I choose to walk in His light every single day. I will never be in the dark again. Thank You, Jesus. ♥


I wanted to share this recording of last Sunday’s church service at my church, Hope Center of Christ. I love the message “Turn Your Hurts Into Healings” I thought how perfect it is for what the Lord put on my heart to write about. I guess the timing of it all was no accident. I pray you will be blessed by it:

Sobriety Relapse: Just one sip and it’s all over for me…and the enemy knows it.

I heard something recently that really scared me…the story starts out great about someone overcoming alcoholism. I don’t know if sobriety came through a miracle like mine or through a recovery program, but this person had remained sober for somewhere over ten years. Wow, that sure is a long time. Although I don’t know the circumstances, what scared me is when I heard that this person has since relapsed. If someone who seemed to have victory and have their life straightened out could fall back so hard and end up losing everything they had worked so hard and so long for, who am I to think that I would be exempt from relapse…especially since I haven’t even reached my three year milestone yet?

I’ve shared before how my sobriety is a true miracle of God’s power in my life—I didn’t need a recovery program. Because of that miracle, I started to dangerously think that I wouldn’t have to deal with this ever again. But once I heard of that relapse story, I recognized that I can’t fool myself into thinking I’m safe.  Well, not safe under my own power anyway.

Hearing that story was not a coincidence. I believe the Lord put me in the right place at the perfect time so I could hear it. His timing never ceases to amaze me. Lately, I’ve been battling thoughts of wishing I could have just one drink to relax after a hard day of work. For me, that is just completely impossible. No way could I ever have just one drink. I also know that all it will take is just one sip to destroy all the good that God has done in my life over the last couple of years. The enemy definitely knows this and he has been working hard at trying to make me stumble.

Life has been extra challenging lately. Work is exhausting, and when I spend time alone, my mind drifts and I battle thoughts of unhealthy things such as drinking. I know in my heart I really don’t want to go back there because that will kill me. But the battle with the mind is ongoing. It is tiring. The war being waged by the enemy is fierce, but I have come so far in such a short time that I will not give up. After all, God has given me so much to live for now, I want to continue to fight the good fight and thankfully, I have the Lord keeping me strong and protected. I wouldn’t be able to fight this fight without the Lord holding me up. I am so grateful that my connection with Him is so deep. When I shared with my pastor how this story scared me, she encouraged me by reminding me of my connection with the Lord, and that people with this kind of connection do not relapse. At least it would be a very rare thing to happen. I needed to be reminded of that. I will be alright as long as I keep connected to the Lord. Any of us with this kind of battle will be alright as long as we stay connected to Him and that is super encouraging!

The more I walk this walk, the more vulnerable I become. I know the only way I can help someone in their journey is to be vulnerable and share about what the Lord is doing in mine, so here I am. This journey is tough, but the Lord is giving me the strength and courage I need to do His will. I am grateful.  I have been led by the Lord to start attending a Christian recovery program (Celebrate Recovery) for the first time.  It was one of the most difficult steps of my life.  I think mostly I allowed the enemy to put fear in my heart.  Thankfully through prayer with my pastor and some dear friends, and with the Lord’s help I once again have conquered that fear.  It seemed really strange to me to be starting a recovery program after being sober for a while already.  However, I am following my heart and I am actually attending my second night tonight.  It will be my first meeting with a small group of women who all battle with chemical dependency.

Last week I actually spoke in front of a large group of people where I was one of several who took a turn speaking. I introduced myself and stated why I was there.  Friends, it was only a few words, but it was tough!!  I almost chickened out and was just going to stay seated.  But I followed the Lord’s prompt to just do it and I am so glad I listened to Him.  It was unexpected, but I had received a Celebrate Recovery chip with a special Bible verse on it.  It’s a little plastic thing, but it’s pretty special to me especially because of that Bible verse. It’s a blessing that I would have missed out on had I allowed my nerves to get in the way.

Here’s a photo of it:

“My Grace is enough for you.”

I realize now that the Lord will be using this part of my life to help others who are going through the same thing. Not everybody gets healed and gets sober through complete miracles like I have, so how can I encourage people to go through a recovery program if I haven’t walked that part of the journey myself? Knowing this helped me to make that first difficult step last week. This is a win-win for me because it is also going to give me an additional support group of people who ALL know the shoes I’m walking in. I’m learning that I really need that in my life, especially now.

I’ll be sharing things as I go along on this new journey the Lord has me on.  It is wonderful discovering my purpose in life—God’s will for my life.  I am on my way to something beyond what I could ever imagine on my own. I pray that people who are struggling will be encouraged to do something and get the help they need. We can’t do this on our own, but ALL things are possible with God!

This last photo is of me holding my special blessing. What you see is pure joy from God’s miracles in my life AND from discovering a big part of His plan for me. It is so good to be alive, to be sober, and to be used by God! Blessings to you all! ♥

Joy that can only come from God ♥

God never answered my prayers before, so why would He start now?

It breaks my heart today that so many people feel this way and give up hope.  But I understand what it’s like to be there because that used to be me.  I remember all the years I doubted that God would ever think about answering my cries to Him.  After all, why should He?  I never did anything for Him.  Not one thing.  I never knew Him.  I never had the desire to.   I didn’t care to love Him…I just didn’t know how.  Like many, I only cried out when I was in need.  I honestly don’t know why I kept trying for so long, especially because He never answered.  Well, that is of course, until that last rock bottom cry for help that I’ve written about before.

That last cry out to Him was different from all the many other times.  It’s amazing that He answered for the first time.  I don’t think it was because I was finally at the end of my rope.  Nor was it because of my desperation—I was always desperate every time I cried out.   And it definitely wasn’t because I deserved it–no way did I deserve it.  I believe God finally answered because for the first time in my entire life, my cry came with a sincere heart.  I was done trying to be in control of my own life. I know now that I was never in control, the enemy was and he had taken me to such a dark place.  I felt I had one foot in the grave and the rest of me would end up there soon if I didn’t do something about it.  I wasted over 20 years, but thank God I was finally ready to change before it was too late.   I was finally ready to live–to really live.  And I was willing to allow God to do whatever He had to in my life to get me there.

So many times I have heard people say, “Jesus didn’t say following Him would be easy, but He said it would be worth it.”  That is so true.  I can say that it has truly been worth it.  I really had no idea what I was in for at the beginning.  This has been the hardest work of my life.  But, it has also been the most blessed and rewarding experience I could have ever imagined.  I have also experienced many growing pains through this journey and because the growing will continue, so will the pain that comes with it.  But it has all been more than worth it.  My spiritual growth is incredible.  Life on this earth will always be challenging.  There will always be many trials.  Jesus told us so.  But I can’t imagine going through them without the Him on my side…without Him carrying me through.  Not ever again.  I do all I can to make sure that it doesn’t happen again.  The Lord continues to do His part as He has promised, and I believe that’s because I have kept my promise and I continue to do my part.  No matter how hard or what the cost may be.

Today I have the privilege of encouraging others to do the same.  I can only hope that the way I live my life is a good example for them to follow.  I don’t know if I’ll ever get to see the fruit of my labor, but whether I do or not, it doesn’t really matter.  That is not why I do what I do.  I will keep sowing the seeds and leave the rest to God.  That has been a difficult lesson, but I am learning.  People sowed seeds into my life and the Lord has made them grow in amazing ways.  Because I am blessed to still have these amazing people of faith in my life, for whom I am so eternally grateful for, I work hard to pay it forward.  I will keep serving the Lord in faith and try to reach as many as I can while I am still here.  I continue to pray that through my life, God will reach people and draw them near to Him.  This is why I am alive today.  I was given a second chance at life and I am not going to waste it this time.

God has given me so much and I want to share it with the world.  I pray someone who is where I once was, will see this and start seeking God with their whole heart right now.  Not just when it’s convenient, not just on Sundays, but every single day.  He’s waiting and if you open your heart and mind to Him and allow Him to have control, you too will see incredible breakthroughs and miracles start to happen in your own life.  You will know joy, peace, and love like you’ve never known before.  Even during the most difficult times of your life.  Who doesn’t want that?!  God will never be more real to you.  I don’t want you to live another day without Him, there is so much more to life than what you’re seeing right now and God will open your eyes to see things that you’ve never seen before.   Get ready for some hard work, but also get ready for the best days of your life to come.

I hope that in time, you too will pay it forward.  May God bless you richly. ♥