I know your hidden pain. You don’t have to hide it anymore…

This is for those who are struggling with pain buried deep inside their soul. Maybe you’re feeling worthless, lonely, unloved, abandoned, and forgotten. Maybe you have lost all trust in the human race and have put up a giant wall around you so now most of your time is spent in isolation. Maybe the isolation is taking its toll and the depression is becoming more severe and perhaps you’re even feeling that life isn’t worth living anymore – the pain and darkness is just too much to bear for one more day.

Well, I really do know your pain. I pretty much just described my life for over 20 years until just a little over four years ago. For decades I tried to escape it all through attempts to drink myself to death. But I’m still here. I’m here for a reason. I want to share some good news. I want someone out there to find hope like I did. I now have victory — victory that can only be found through Jesus Christ. All the bad stuff I believed, were lies. They were lies of the devil who wanted me destroyed. I’m so grateful that I know that now. I’m grateful that I have learned to turn my thoughts around and have learned to listen to the Voice of Truth, which is my Lord Jesus. It took me a while to learn. It’s been a tough walk, but I don’t regret one moment of fully surrendering my life to the Lord. He has helped me to open my heart up to Him so He could come in and do some amazing work in me. He has truly changed me from the inside out. He sobered me up. He showed me I had a reason to live. About every post in this blog speaks of my personal struggles and how God has given me amazing miracles and breakthroughs – VICTORY.

I pray my personal story of transformation and victory will bring you hope that God has not forgotten you either. Stop believing the lies. I spent over 20 years believing I was worthless and that my life was a waste. I tried to numb the pain with alcohol. Of course, it never really helped. It only made me hate myself even more. I thank God that He rescued me from that horrible, slow and painful death that was once the only life I knew.

It’s been very recent where I received my breakthrough in my emotional healing journey. That was a very painful journey bringing years of deep emotional pain to the surface, but I am finally healed and finally free! My last blog post was about a mentally abusive relationship I was in. I had mentioned that I might share a letter of victory in my next post. I almost backed out of doing it, but I feel that I should share it to show someone who is struggling right now that there IS hope. Don’t give up on yourself, don’t give up on God! In this letter, I speak of a longing that I was praying that God would either fulfill or remove from me. At the time, I hadn’t heard either way, so I kept hoping for that desire that was in my heart. I will share now that a lot has changed since writing the letter back in April 2014. God has answered my prayer in a wonderful way. It wasn’t the way I had initially hoped for. He has removed the desire I was hoping for and has replaced it with a much better one.

So here I go, I think this may be my most vulnerable moment, but I pray with all my heart that the below letter will give someone hope that God can do the same for anybody who seeks. It’s strange to share something so personal, but I hope it will be a blessing to someone out there. Don’t lose heart. Your victory is coming too.

Letter of Victory by D. Bonilla (April 2014)

“This is about true transformation. It’s about how I have gone from years of believing I am worthless, to knowing and believing that I have value because Jesus Christ lives in me. My transformation also means that I will no longer be afraid to trust. The wall I spent years building around me for protection has been knocked down. The protection I need can only come from God. I now have the faith and belief that God will protect me and will bring the right people into my life. I fully trust that He will give me the discernment to know the people who are safe to let in and the people I need to keep at a safe distance. 

So where will these new healthy beliefs take me? I believe they will help me to reach the top of the mountain of God! There won’t be an obstacle I cannot overcome because He is with me and my new beliefs will help keep me from getting in the way of His blessings. 

I am finding that I still have a deep longing for family. There have been certain triggers that have brought it back. Gratefully, I have recently been able to grieve the loss of never giving birth to my own children so I can move on. From years of brokenness, I had made the choice to close the door to marriage and family without knowing or caring what God’s plan is. I was too afraid to even think about letting another man into my life again, especially because the last one almost finished the job of what the others before him had started — complete destruction of my soul. But now with God in the center of my life and now that I have begun to heal and have changed my way of thinking, I no longer feel that the door to my heart is sealed shut forever. 

I actually see the possibility of a new relationship once again. This gives me such hope for the future. I have a new dream that the perfect man for me, a strong man of God, has already been chosen for me. He will have a passion like mine to serve God in ministry. He will be faithful. He will be a family man. He will be a good father. His children will have children. He will have a love for me that I have never known from any other man in my life. And with the heart that God has given me, I know that I will be able to love him the same. I will be able to love his children as if they were my own. In the years to come I can see us serving together in ministry with the kids and grandkids. You see, I don’t just long for a family, I long for one who serves the Lord together. “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” 

However, if it turns out that this desire is not of God, I also trust that He will completely remove it once and for all and will keep me filled with His Peace and Joy. I trust He will fill the void in my heart (perhaps as a spiritual mother) so I can stop wondering and stop longing. I trust He will give me the contentment to remain single and the strength and desire to dedicate the rest of my life to only Him. I have prayed the prayer to remove or fulfill my desire more than a few times. Since nothing has happened either way yet, I am going to hold on to the hope of family. I will keep praying. My God is faithful. 

So whatever the outcome, I am praising God and claiming victory. I can finally say with confidence that I am NOT worthless. I have amazing faith in an amazing Heavenly Father who loves me more than I can ever imagine. I have a wonderful mother and church family who love and support me and encourage me greatly. I love them back more than they can ever know. The future is so much brighter and exciting than ever. I have incredible HOPE. I am blessed and eternally grateful. My story is just now beginning…”

I’m looking forward to sharing how God has answered the longing that you just read about, I think you will be surprised. I was. But I cried tears of pure joy when I realized how He fulfilled my longing in an unexpected and more incredible way. He’s amazing that way. 🙂

God bless you. I’ll be praying for you.

A Lost Alcoholic Woman’s Quiet Way to Die

This story has been getting a lot hits over the last several months and I felt it was finally time to re-post it. I have been sober for a little over 4 years now and I’m still going through an emotional healing process that has been very painful. It’s been the hardest thing for me to feel my feelings instead of numbing them with alcohol. Some people think the beginning of sobriety is scary because they have to feel their feelings and then they get super overwhelmed at the thought of feeling their feelings for the rest of their lives. It definitely has not been easy, but with God’s help and with amazing love and support from my pastor and church family and recovery ministry AND dare I share that I’ve been having some amazing breakthroughs with the help of a wonderful Christian Psychotherapist that God led me to…well, learning to feel my feelings instead of trying to numb them is saving my life.

I don’t think you found this page by chance. I believe God led you here. If you’re tired of hiding your secret, tired of being in denial, tired of being lost, sick, depressed, tired of feeling alone–that nobody can possibly understand…if you’ve lost everything or are about to because of your addiction, please know that you are SO not alone and with hard work it IS possible to get sober and stay sober! I pray that you will get help before your addiction kills you like it did Julie Kroll. You may get by for years, but eventually the alcohol and drugs kill. The devil is counting on it. So many of us are ashamed to reach out for help. There is nothing to be ashamed of. I pray you will surrender and get help. I have nothing to do with Julie Kroll or the documentary, I just want to share it because I think so many need to hear it. I hope you read about it and watch the documentary mentioned in it that can be found on YouTube or Amazon Live Streaming (for a small cost that’s worth it) or share it with someone you know who needs help. Most important, we can’t do this without God so reach out to Him first. I don’t care what anybody says. Only the Lord can really help us get sober and stay sober. But we also need others who are walking this same walk like the amazing women friends I have in my Christian recovery ministry. They help me stay focused on God and keep on the right path. An addict in isolation is another death sentence.

Then, we need to be vulnerable and share our stories with others so they can find the hope we did. I bet you never thought God could ever use your life to save another…you thought wrong.

Keeping Hope Alive †

I read a heart wrenching story this past December and I have been holding on to it all this time waiting for the right words and the right time to share about it. I guess it’s time. The Lord has been stirring my heart on this extremely difficult and painful subject so here I go again…

This article entitled “A quiet way to die” was about a fairly young woman, who three years earlier at the age of 39, died a horrible and lonely death. Her name was Julie Kroll. A documentary was made featuring her story and four women in the documentary share their shame, hoping they might help another alcoholic woman deal with hers. The name of the film is “Lipstick & Liquor, Secrets in the Suburbs.” In this article, the filmmaker states it’s a pretty film with pretty people. She explains that’s deliberate. Her film shows attractive…

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I hope God makes you cry (too)…

Those words are heartfelt, even though they may come across as cruel. That isn’t my intention. If God makes you cry the way He makes me cry, then you are beyond blessed and I wish that I could sit with you and hear your story of God in your life. If you’re someone who has not yet experienced the awesomeness of God’s power in your life, maybe you’re even wondering if He is real (like I used to wonder), then I wish I could sit with you as well and perhaps convince you to allow me to share God’s amazing testimony in my life with you. Maybe, just maybe, you’d find some hope through it. Maybe you’d feel His powerful Presence through me—I seem to glow pretty darn bright when given a chance to share the great things of God. I can feel the glow every time I write or speak about Him. But since we can’t sit together in person, that’s why this blog was created. Not to tell my story, but to tell HIS story. I hope you will take a look at some of the previous posts, they are all true stories from the heart. Amazing stories of God’s miracles in my life. It’s hard to tell if this blog will continue, I still don’t get to write as much as I wish but I continue to follow my heart and keep taking chances with posts hoping that the Lord blesses a soul or two along the way. From what I can tell, He is moving through it a bit and I am grateful for that.

So, God makes me cry…A LOT. Much of it has been from growing pains in recovery. I knew I was broken, but I had no idea how much. The year 2013 brought everything to the surface and wow has it been some healing process. Many, many, MANY tears. I’ve been thinking of all the tears I have shed over the last few years since I became sober and made a decision to give my heart and entire life to Jesus. Well, first I gave my heart to Jesus, then about five years after that I gave my entire life to Jesus, THEN I became sober after a couple of decades of alcoholism and rock bottom cry for help. Only God has the power to do that. I believe and know it in my heart. Stories I’ve heard more than once have convinced me of it as well. I’ve heard where people who had been sober for 10 plus or even 20 plus years relapsed. When they fell, they fell hard. They lost EVERYTHING. Each time, the person admitted that they had turned away from God. We get strong and then some of us get foolish. We try taking control again believing that we can do it on our own. It may work for a while, but we WILL fall. It’s just a matter of when. Some of us may take longer than others. I don’t want to be that person. So over and over again, I surrender to God asking Him to help me because I CANNOT keep my sobriety on my own. I thank God that I know that. I had to make some major changes in my life and I see some people not ready to do that yet. I keep praying for them. I pray the Lord will give them the strength and desire to do whatever it takes to get well.

In my church and Bible study at Hope Center of Christ, we are currently studying The Sermon on the Mount, starting of course with The Beatitudes. I love the first one: “Blessed are the poor in spirit…”  I like how The Message puts it: “You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope…” and God’s Word Translation says it this way: “Blessed are those who recognize they are spiritually helpless…” the meaning of Matthew 5:3 doesn’t get any clearer than that. The moment I became “poor in spirit” admitting that I am helpless and powerless without God and asking Jesus to help me was when His amazing power took hold of me and stopped me from succeeding in drinking myself to death.

It is January 20, 2014. If you look to the right of this blog page you will see a milestone tracker counting down to my celebration date for 4 years of sobriety—February 26, 2014. It says “1 month to go”. I’m down to counting the actual days and it’s 37!!! Praise God! My sobriety is a 100% miracle from God after crying out to Him from a hospital room. I will never forget it, I will never regret it. That was February 26, 2010, the morning after my 44th birthday. I reluctantly started a 12 step program at Celebrate Recovery in January 2013. I swore I didn’t really need to do it, but that was a lie. I, of course, was in denial. Well, it’s a little over a year later and I am about two months away from graduating. I almost quit in the middle of it when it got too hard, but God kept me strong and He has blessed me with amazing people who encouraged me to never quit. I don’t think I could have made it this far without them, especially my pastor. After I graduate, it seems I will have a chance to start co-leading a small group in the near future. If it’s God’s will, I will become the small group leader and then who knows what He’s got for me next. I can’t think that far ahead, it gets too overwhelming. I do pray though, that God will bring someone in my life that I can walk alongside and minister to and encourage to never give up and to keep God first. I think I will make a good sponsor, I have learned so much in the last few years and I want to give away that knowledge. I want people to experience God like I have.

I’ve come a long way in the healing process. I’ve made it through the most difficult parts which have really prepared me quite well to deal with future challenges. But God still makes me cry. I cry when I feel His overwhelming love pouring into my heart. I cry when I pray for others because He’s given me a heart that feels the pain of the broken hearted. After all, my heart is broken because His heart is broken too. I cry when I see the amazing stars on a clear night. I cry when I see a breathtaking sunrise or sunset. I cry when I hear the beautiful songs of the birds singing to God in the morning. I cry when I get to sing beautiful worship songs with an amazing praise team in church on Sundays. I cry because I know I am loved and I am worth dying for. I cry because I am a daughter of a King. I cry because I am alive and Jesus has set me free. I cry because I have a reason to keep living–to serve God and help other hurting hearts. I cry because God did not allow me to die in the pit of hell that I was captive in for my entire adult life. I cry because I have seen miracle after miracle. I cry because I am beyond blessed and grateful to God for everything. All this crying is from an overflowing grateful heart. Those are the best kind of tears to cry. And when God is finished with me on this earth I will die. But it will not be the end. It will be the beginning of something unimaginably AWESOME. Man, that makes me cry even more. 🙂

So for anybody reading this…I hope God makes you cry too. There will be some tears of pain, but I pray most of your tears will be from pure joy that comes from the Lord. And when the tears start to wear you down a bit, don’t get discouraged. Be encouraged. If I can do all of this and remain steadfast, so can any of you. Remember, it’s His power not your own that will keep you standing strong. Think about this: You have a reason to live too. Someone else’s life is depending on it and God’s testimony that He’s waiting to write into your life is going to help save a life or two. How awesome is that?! In the meantime, here’s a Bible verse for you to remember about your tears: “Those who sow with tears will reap with songs of joy.” (Psalm 126:5) Amen. I can certainly testify to that.

Thank you for reading my post. Please share it with someone who may need some encouragement. Ask the Lord for help in whatever your struggle is, have a teachable spirit, and NEVER EVER give up. God loves you more than you can ever know. I’ll be praying…

The Love That Never Came—A Post For Empty Hearts

“You are not alone…” How many times have you heard someone who wants to help say those words to you and when you get home to an empty place and start the battle of a lonely and empty heart all over again, you really wish those people, who can’t possibly understand what you’re going through, would stop trying to help?

I’ve been there. I know your pain. And I’ll be honest and share with you that I still struggle with being single and childless at times, especially this time of year as we start heading into the holiday season. I get the holiday blues. It’s the most challenging part of the year for me and has been since I was 16—when my dad left me and my mom.

I haven’t written since the last post in September over a month ago. Soon after I published it, I felt like I started battling again with a little bit of depression. Funny isn’t it? I pour my heart out on this blog with the hope that others will be encouraged to reach for the Lord and then I find myself struggling again. My first reaction was to be embarrassed by it, but then I realized that I am human like everyone else. I never claimed to be perfect. I’m still working on issues from my recovery journey and I will continue to share this journey and be honest about it. I’m so thankful that I am still strong in the Lord and He continues to help me through it all, along with the most amazing family of God standing by my side. And one of the best miracles of my life is still a miracle—I am still sober and approaching my four year milestone in just four months. Praise the Lord.

So don’t be upset with those trying to help you. They wouldn’t want to help if they didn’t truly care.  Although some of them can’t really understand what being alone and/or what being lonely can be like, I have learned to appreciate them for caring, I appreciate their love. I am grateful I have learned to reach out and let them know that I am struggling. That took a while for me to let go of my pride and reach out. I didn’t want them to know I was struggling or why. Reaching out is not easy, but it has been a great lesson. The prayers have been powerful. Who doesn’t need people praying for them??!! I have so many who have been praying for me and it has been an amazing walk through this latest valley. I may have said this before in a previous post, but it’s worth repeating…the Lord always guides (more like carries) me through to the other side, every single time. And I am always better and stronger than before I started walking through it.  I could not keep up this walk without my loving family of God backing me up.  I can never tell them enough how grateful I am that they are in my life. In the past, I used to keep it all inside and that almost destroyed me…especially because I did not know the Lord at that time.

So you know what I have discovered through all of this? I really am NOT alone…EVER. Even when it feels like I am. I’ve got Jesus in my heart and the most amazing family of God holding me up. Anytime I hear those words “You are not alone” from someone, it doesn’t matter whether or not they can relate to my circumstances, I am going to claim those words. I think it’s good to be reminded now and again.

For the longest time I believed the lies that I was unlovable and would never find love and that it just wasn’t meant to be for me. I regretfully made choices that have kept me single all these years. My last relationship was a severely mentally abusive one (you can read more about it in “I was a lost soul…” posted in September 2012) and after finally breaking away from it, that’s when I had lost all hope. I walked around believing that love never came and that it would never come because  I didn’t deserve it.

I was SO wrong. I am still single with no children but I am surrounded by love—God’s amazing love—I was just too lost and blind to know it at first. It’s true that there is no greater love than His. I don’t know what God’s will is for me as far as marriage. I can’t worry about it. I’ve discovered that I am still in need of healing from that last horrible relationship and I am working on that. So I just keep doing what I have learned to do. I keep God first in area every of my life, I serve Him in ministry which is my passion now, and I trust Him to provide what I need one day at a time and He always more than provides.

For those who are going through this struggle, I am praying for you. Don’t ever give up. And don’t try to walk this walk alone. It’s true that no man or no woman is an island. Don’t be afraid to reach out to others who will lift you up. I pray you have or find a church family like mine. A church filled with the love of God and love for one another—a family that will never let you walk alone. I have even been blessed with many godly people that have their own church. So He has truly surrounded me with His love. I pray that you will seek God with your whole heart and put Him above all. Open up your heart completely and He will fill the emptiness with His love and peace. It’s indescribable when it happens, but you will know without a doubt when it does. He’s the only One who really can fill the hole in your heart—I am speaking from experience. And who knows. If it’s His will that you get married, He will make it happen…in his perfect timing of course. Here’s a good scripture verse that I like to keep on my heart at all times: “Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.” Matthew 6:33 (NLT) Amen. Keep Him first always and you can never go wrong.

I am going to end this with these words because I believe them to be true: YOU ARE NOT ALONE. I hope you believe it too. Be encouraged. Be blessed. YOU ARE LOVED!! ♥