Monthly Archives: April 2014

From Addicted to Free

Standard

Reflecting on last night, I am amazed at what God can bring people through. As I type that, a little voice inside my head says, “how do you know it’s God?” (I also wonder if that little voice gets steaming mad when I capitalize that “G”) Last night I stood on a stage in front of quite a few people with a sign stating “I WAS ADDICTED TO ALCOHOL AND CIGARETTES.” For those of you who have never taken one of your greatest shames and broadcast them in such a way, I would have to encourage you to do so.
A downward spiral of events led me to believe that I needed alcohol and nicotine as well to deal with stress and drown out the pain that PTSD had brought into my so-called life. Guzzling down a 12-pack (minimum) each night and smoking (a pack-2 packs) until my lungs hurt every day/night is no life at all. Not only was I addicted, but I didn’t care that I was addicted. A feeling of apathy consumed everything. My addiction took me to a place where I didn’t care if I lived or died. I remember having dreams where I would drive off a cliff and being ok with that. I remember a time when I told my husband about such a dream and he said very solemnly, “You’re scaring me.” It’s a sad thing to scare the people you love most. And it’s even sadder when you think about the enemy of your soul rejoicing as you do.
I never thought I’d be in this place. I never thought I would look back on my life at some of the things I’ve been through, wondering how I made it; how God kept me safe all those years I neglected to revere His Holy Name. It’s about so much more than “religion.” It’s about the best relationship you could ever hope to have. Words, spoken or typed on this computer, could never express what God can and will do in your life. If you let Him. He never pushes anyone into anything they don’t want. When I prayed with that beautiful counselor on March 12, 2009, fully intending to hit the drive-through liquor store on the way home (who put that on the same street for cryin’ out loud?) God knew the desires of my heart and rescued me from my enemy and my self. He is so good and so cool and He knows you better than you know your stubborn self. He doesn’t force you to give up things you love. He loves you until you choose to give up the things that don’t love you back.
The other side of side of my sign said: “NOW GOD’S BANNER OVER ME IS FREEDOM.”

Advertisements

Eternity Echo

Standard

As I sit surrounded by my Grandma’s stuff I realize that we get to choose what kind of legacy we leave behind. I am so thankful that my Grandma was a praying woman who knew God better than she knew herself. She said “I fail my Lord daily” but I sure didn’t see it. She prayed, read her Bible, treated everyone with the utmost respect, wouldn’t miss church for any reason, and helped every individual she met, whether it was a homeless man, friend, family, or the new resident at the nursing home she visited.

I remember a time as a teenager I was having some issues and she simply sat on the steps of my aunt’s porch listening. Just listening. No one does that when you’re a teenager. Everyone knows better and wants to let you know how much they know. I don’t really remember her saying anything except we would pray about it. Well, if only it were THAT simple Grandma, I thought. I thought she didn’t understand. Now that I’m not a teenager anymore, I understand a little more. Some days I think a lot more, but inevitably something happens to remind me that God’s the only One Who knows it all.

I am so honored to have her kitchen towels (you know the ones that have lasted for 3/4 of a century and will probably be passed down to my children?) and her loaf pans that she gave countless loaves of bread to anyone and everyone that might be suffering from a “zucchini bread-deficiency” in their diet. I now have her apron, whose strings were probably tugged on by my father’s chubby hands. Her legacy and memories are spring eternal and lovely throughout my home, especially my favorite room of the house, my kitchen.

We get to choose the thoughts and the memories we leave in others’ minds when we’re gone. As any embroidered pillow (I have one of those too) or stepping stone in the cemetery will tell you, “Loved ones live in memory even when they’re gone.” Our lives echo throughout eternity and to the ears of the ones who still have a journey left.