A Different Kind of Love Affair

“Come now, let’s settle this, says the Lord. Though your sins are like scarlet, I will make them white as snow. Though they are red like crimson, I will make them white as wool.” Isaiah 1:18

I remember taking my first drink. I believe I was 12 years old. I was curious and for some reason fascinated by it. I was starting Jr. High School. I was a quiet, shy kid. Easily intimidated by people. I did not hang with the popular group of kids. So then, I was bitten by the bug that attacks so many people…..that drinking lifestyle looks so “cool”. Why was that fascinating?? I had such a rebellious nature. I would sit and listen to AC/DC singing “Have A Drink On Me” over and over. I believed the lie that this was a glamorous thing. I wanted to know that high that so many people talk about and it grew into toxic romance!!

Fast forward about 35 years….it was a lie. I took that plunge in my teenage years and that lifestyle took me to places I didn’t necessarily want to go. I was now a Christian, serving in my church. I was serving in a ministry of music, the drummer for our Praise and Worship team. As I sat on the drum stool waiting for the service to start, my hands were shaking. I was hungover from the night before. How ashamed I was!!! I was facing a divorce from my adulterous husband and alcohol was a quick numbing to the pain inside.

In the midst of that guilt and shame that morning, I felt a sweet presence come up beside me. The One who welcomed this Prodigal Child into His arms a few years ago was right beside me. He wasn’t saying, “It’s okay, don’t worry about it. Who cares that you got drunk (again) last night.” No, He was saying, “It’s okay my child. I don’t condemn you. I am taking your hand and am going to walk you through this storm to the other side. I am going to help you!” And He Did!!!

Being in the presence of Jesus is better than any high I have ever experienced from alcohol or any kind of drug. It is life-changing!!! That sweet, sweet Spirit is unexplainable!!

You see, when you surrender to Him, He makes all things new. He gives us a new passion. This morning my Pastor even preached on this. It was definitely something I needed to be reminded of. Since I gave up alcohol 16 months ago, my body has replaced it with a craving for sugar. Sugar is more addictive than cocaine and so bad for your body. My Pastor reminded us that when Jesus came to redeem us and break the worldly desires, He then REPLACES it with Himself!!! He is a Chainbreaker.

I am under construction. God is always making things new in my life. I start my day off by surrendering to Him, to renew my mind and body. Replace anything in me with Him. To be filled with His Spirit. That is the ONLY way I will succeed!!

Blessings!

The World Needs a Hug!

“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” – Matthew 5:16

Remember the song by Genesis – Land of Confusion? I guess I’m showing my age. I still listen to some 80s music. But some of the lyrics I still remember that ring so true today. “Too many men, too many people giving too many problems, And not much LOVE to go around. Can’t you see this is the Land of Confusion?” We live in a dark, dark place and it’s getting darker. However, the darkness does not have the power to over come light. In my own pain, I have found the best healing comes from lending a hand (or light) to others who are in pain.

I had a co-worker come talk to me last week about her own marital issues. She believes her husband was talking to another woman behind her back. Even though nothing physical had happened, the trust had been broken. My goal was not to bash men or spouses in general, even though I did rant a little since it brought back painful memories. But my goal is to focus on the One who you need to bring into every situation of life whether it be painful or joyful. He is the Great Physician and our Healer. I pray my testimony can be a witness that if we surrender to Him, everything will fall into place. He loves us, He will help us and He will heal us!! I pray that I say the right thing to point this friend in the right direction.

Tomorrow I start my own therapy. I am a little nervous about it, but I believe it is what I need. I need to take care of myself better in so many areas. I am not where I should be, but I am not where I used to be. As we start a new week, let us remember that one kind word can change someone’s entire day!

Blessings!

Stone Cold Sober

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” – Joshua 1:9

Happy New Year!! My first entry for 2019. Today, January 4, 2019, I am also 16 months clean from alcohol.

I am excited about what is to come and also a little nervous. Monday I start therapy. I set this up a few months ago as I try to heal from the trauma of a toxic marriage along with too much alcohol. I have been involved in things such as service work at my church and  this has helped a great deal with healing, but I need more. The damage has been done. I need a professional to look at my situation and help me get through this in a healthy and Christ-like way. It does make me nervous at the thought of having to bear my soul to a complete stranger, but I know I have to face this in order to thrive. I can’t numb my feelings anymore. To heal from the pain, we must go through it.

So as I start this new year and this journey of healing, I want to record it. I want other people to see there can be beauty from ashes. God has picked me up, brushed me off and turned me in the right direction. I believe He is holding my hand and walking me through the chaos of life (Isaiah 41:13). He gives me many blessings along the way to help me. He truly is a Good, Good Father!!

Stay tuned as I walk this journey whether it be in the valley or on the mountain top. I hope you will be encouraged by my story. My goal is to show you what Christ has done and is doing in this broken life of mine.

Blessings!

 

 

My Story – Letting Go….

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make straight your paths. – Proverbs 3:5=6

My divorce was final in December 2017 and I had already been 3 months clean from alcohol. I noticed during this time that my body was trying to replace that and I craved sugar constantly. I am still struggling with that one.

It’s funny how God puts certain things in your life to help you through the bad. I was now faced with looking for a place to live. Our house was too much for me to take care of. It was quite scary for me, but luckily I had family that was helping me out. Around that time a friend informed me there was a German Shepherd available at the Humane Society. I went and looked at her and it was love at first sight. She was a rescue and needed someone to take care of. I was the same. We rescued each other. Her name is Bella and she is a God-send. I truly believe God uses dogs for many things and healing is one of them!!

Like I said before I am a co-dependent person and I relied a lot on my ex-husband to do a lot of things. So looking for a house was quite overwhelming. I became antsy and anxious about it. I looked and looked and finally in April I found what I was looking for. It was centrally located in the midst of my family, work, church, gym, hairdresser, etc. Still this was quite overwhelming! I had never taken care of my own house by myself before. I closed on the house and moved in the first of June.

Funny thing is, I thought it was going to be very difficult even part of my “letting go” and moving everything of mine into this house. Guess who showed up……..Yes, God was right there in the midst of it. It was not difficult at all. Even though there at times of tears, depression, anxiety, cravings (liquid courage), God is still there holding my hand.

I decided to become involved with the Youth at my church in order to serve. This has been very healing for me. I know teenage years can be quite difficult. They were for me and I wanted to lend a helping hand to these kids. I decided to be a camp counselor in July 2018 for a week. What an experience. God had told me I would get a chance to tell my story and I did!!! I was able to work with these kids in groups and one on one. What a time of growing for me!!! This was a great experience!!! I want to continue to do something of this level every year!!

In September, I was One Year Clean from alcohol. What an accomplishment. That was absolutely a God thing. There was NO WAY I did that on my own. I learned I had to surrender to Him and He will break these chains in my life.

God put friends in my life to act as mentors and accountability partners. I spent some time in the mountains of WV in October. God showed up and it was again, a time of growing for me.

He is so good to me!!! I know there are so many things I need to work on but He is helping me with everything. He is showing me I don’t have to worry and that He is going to take care of me. I am learning to have Deep Trust in Him!! He knows I have terrible trust issues!!! I am a work in progress!!!!

This December I have been divorced a year. It is strange in a way. I was with my husband for 22 years. I am letting go of things sometimes a little bit at a time, but I am making progress. I was impressed to tell my story hoping it helps someone. There is Hope – Always if you know Jesus Christ.

Now as we start 2019, God continues to write My Story day by day and I will record and share with you what He is doing. It’s an adventurous ride…..I hope you will join in with me!!!

Blessings!

My Story – A New Creation

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: the old has gone, the new is here!” – 2 Corinthians 5:17

I’d like to say that after returning “home” as the prodigal child life got easier, but that would be lying. It began to get a little more difficult. But that’s okay. I had Someone now who was holding my hand and walking me thru life itself. But I also just ticked off the enemy and he was out to make my life difficult.

So I began to go back to church on a regular basis and began to get involved. God put me to work. I felt I had purpose now and belonged to something. I was a drummer in the past so a friend asked me to join the Praise and Worship team. I also helped teach a Bible study class. I think I learned more than anyone in that class. I figured since I was now living this lifestyle I needed to clean up my act. From what I had been taught as a child that was wrong, I tried to break these habits. I had a lot of learning to do. I have very little willpower and am not so great at breaking bad habits. It took me a little while, but being exposed to God’s word and being in a community of other believers, I realized I can’t do this on my own. I had to give it up to God.

One of the first things I knew I had to give up was…..drinking. I loved to drink…a lot!!! But I was taught growing up it was wrong. So I would abstain for awhile and then go right back at it. I did this a handful of times and then the light bulb came on…..We got a problem!!!! I could not seem to shake this one. I couldn’t let it go. Unfortunately, I was married to someone who loved to drink also.

The enemy ran with this one!!! At times he was telling me I was not a Christian because I couldn’t quit drinking. Then on the other hand, he would justify it for me. “Well, other Christians drink…..why can’t I?” Talk about confusion. And he’s the author of confusion!!!

In the midst of all of this, my husband became very jealous of my “new found faith”. He would find ways to argue about if God even existed. This began to cause a lot of tension in our marriage.

I remained faithful and stayed involved in church. But I had a “secret sin”. I wore a mask most of time. I still continued my lifestyle of drunkenness and God continued to convict my soul. I prayed and prayed for God to take it from me. I then learned I had to “give it to Him”. Unfortunately, I would give it to Him and then take it back. What a vicious cycle it was. I made many stupid choices while under the influence.

My husband and I began to drift apart. I was trying to hold us together. I was very conflicted. What do I do? The more stressed I got, the more I would drink.

Then one day while I was at work my husband called me at work. He needed me to come home. I could tell he was very upset and he needed to talk to me. So I rush home and sit down to the storm that was about to wreck my life…….

And there it was, my worst nightmare. The confession of an affair. Not just physical, but an emotional affair he had been having with a high school girlfriend (thanks Facebook). My first feeling was I don’t want to even live. My life has just completely changed in one minute. The loneliness, betrayal, rejection, pain, etc. What have I been doing wrong that he would seek another woman? Floods of emotions came over me. I was devastated!!!

Over the next 5-6 years we went through counseling for both of us. He had the characteristics of an addict and I was co-dependent. I constantly prayed for God to heal my marriage. I believe God can do that. He does it all the time. He is the Great Physician, the Creator of the Universe. He can do anything, right? YES!!!! If it’s in His will. I mean it was the Grace of God that I was even able to forgive him for what he did to me. The thing is, you have to want healing and you have to be open and obedient to God and His will for your life. I was doing that. But my husband was not. He actually sought out God and wanted rid of this “cancer” in his life. But he wanted instant results. Like God was his magic genie and his problems would magically disappear. You and I know it doesn’t work that way. So he turned his back on God.

Still I prayed and prayed for God to heal us, soften our hearts, take the chains of alcohol that is wrecking us away. Please God, help us!!!!

I remember the pain, the kick in my gut when he said……….”I think we need to get a divorce”. WHAT??? He tells me he cannot be faithful like he wants to be and that I deserve better. I felt like I had just been kicked down the bottom of a well. So dark and cold!!! I was going to be alone and on my own. The man that was supposed to love me for the rest of my life was done with me! The grief was overwhelming!!!!

“GOD, WHERE ARE YOU??” I THOUGHT YOU WERE GOING TO HEAL MY MARRIAGE? WHAT IN THE WORLD ARE YOU DOING??? Oh the pain. And what do I do when I have pain………………I wanna be Comfortably Numb!!!!! Yes, the drinking got worse. It was a problem!! I couldn’t quit before, but now I went down a darker road. I cried everyday for awhile and when I wasn’t working, I was drinking. We decided to finish out the summer plans we had and didn’t tell anyone for awhile. For about 2 months I lived like a zombie. Going through the motions the best I could. My life was about to change in a big way!!!

God was there the whole time. He began to show me He does have a plan. You see, we have to be open for God’s healing. Well I was, but my husband was not. And God will never force himself on anyone. So, as any Father would do for His child, he took me out of this toxic relationship. Now, I don’t believe it is God’s will for anyone to divorce. He wants us to have loving relationships that honor Him. But mine was very toxic!!! God was going to take my Mess and make a Message out of it!!! The months ahead were going to be difficult, but He promised to be right there with me.

Since the age of 15 I started drinking and at the age of 49 God broke those chains of alcohol for good!!!! It was in the midst of my divorce when I had to give it all up and put complete trust in Him that I was delivered!!! On September 4, 2017 was my first day sober and I have been sober since for almost 16 months. Now, let me say it has not been easy. I have to surrender to Him all the time!!! I have accountability and am in constant contact with Him. I stay away from anything that could be a possible trigger. But God ALWAYS provides a way out!!! I mean ALWAYS!!!! I just have to take it!

God is now revealing His plan for my life day by day and it is the most rewarding life I’ve ever lived!!!!

More to come…….

My Story – The Prodigal Child

They overcame….by the blood of the Lamb and the word of their testimony. – Revelation 12:11

We live in a dark world. I just feel the need to shine a light of Hope and Encouragement. I come from a town in West Virginia, the state where drug addiction runs rampant. My state is top on the list for overdoses. I have learned addiction doesn’t discriminate and touches probably the life of everyone somehow. I have my own vices with alcohol. I am going to tell you my story and how my relationship with Jesus Christ delivered me from that. What is important is when He took this from me…..the darkest time in my life.

As stated, I am from a town in West Virginia that is on the Ohio river. I am the youngest of 5 children. My parents had me late in life so while my siblings were teenagers, I was still a kid in grade school. Kind of like an only child. By the time I was starting to Jr. High school, my parents were becoming grandparents.

My parents raised us in church and were fairly strict. My dad said, “A family that prays together, stays together.” He was right about that. I remember when I was saved, around the age of 9. After watching a movie about the life of Jesus during the Easter season, my heart was softened and I was moved after watching scenes of the crucifixion. My dad prayed with me and I accepted Jesus into my life. But as I got older I had developed a rebellious nature about me. I resented the fact that my parents were not so much involved in my life like other parents. Now that I am older, I can see that they did what they thought was best for us kids. But deep down I felt very alone. I battled social anxiety especially going into my teenage years. I was timid as a child and as a teenager I was afraid of everything. Even though I went to church on a regular basis, I did not have a deep relationship with Jesus. I just knew of so many “rules” and knew that I could never keep up with them.

In Jr. High school I experimented with some drugs. I was very curious and was just like any other kid, I wanted to “fit in”. At the age of 15 was when I started my “drug of choice” – alcohol. As stated, I was a timid child and have a lot of fear inside. I battled social anxiety and constant worry. I had stomach issues by the time I was a teenager. So when I began drinking “liquid courage” this one kind of STUCK!!!!

So, guess what my favorite pass-time was?? It was my total focus.

I was also very shy and backward around boys. Well, alcohol took care of that. Only sometimes a little too far. Oh well, I didn’t care as long as I didn’t have to “feel” anything. I liked being numb.

After I graduated high school, I began working. It seemed that my total focus was when was the next time I was going to get drunk. My relationships all centered around that too. Alcohol promises a good time, but doesn’t tell you it will bring consequences. In my early 20s I got my first DUI. I am sure it was a blessing in disguise. I used to drink and drive all of the time. When I got caught by the police, it took me down a notch (as far as driving in town). I spent 72 hours in jail and it was the most humbling experience I have had. But this didn’t stop my “party” mentality. I was hell-bent on a reckless lifestyle.

In my mid 20s I worked with a guy who loved a lot of the same things I did. I would say we started out as “drinking buddies”. He was very adventurous at heart, very outgoing and loved life. He was quite handsome and I was taken back that he was actually interested in me. I fell in love with him. After a year he proposed and we got married. We had quite a bit in common and drinking was one of them. We had so many good times, but underneath there was something brewing. He was used to getting what he wanted. Me being the peacemaker gave in a lot of times to keep from having fights. I began noticing that fighting became more frequent when alcohol was in the picture. Our relationship began to suffer. Alcohol just fueled the fire and our selfishness hardened our hearts. We were starting to drift apart…..

I was drifting, empty inside and had no purpose. You see, it goes back to the 9-year-old girl who gave her life to Jesus. I had turned my back on Him and He wanted us back together. Jesus will stop at nothing to get His children back. My life was becoming miserable because Jesus was not involved in it. I tried to fill that void in my life with so many things, but they never satisfied. They always betrayed me!!!

Then one night while sitting alone at my house (a lot to drink, imagine that), I was playing around with a portable radio. We lived on a hill and could pick up a lot of radio stations outside. I came upon a station and stopped. At time I did not listen to any Christian music so I was not familiar with it. But the song that was on began to speak to me. It was a song about Forgiveness!! I was then tired of the running. My heart broke and I wanted to be reunited with Jesus!! Just like the Prodigal son and his father, Jesus welcomed me back with open arms. He did not judge me or condemn me for what I had been doing for the last 30 years. He just celebrated that I had come home……

To be continued….