Monday, July 29, 2013


Today marks 500 days of sobriety!  So I am going to make a list of 500 things....yeah, right.

Although I could make a list of atleast 500 things that I am grateful for since this journey began...I will spare you. 
(And no I don't count the days...I have a handy little app that does that for me...)

My first real sober day (March 18, 2012) was horrific. I thought there was no way I would experience many more.  It was the strangest feeling.  I hated it.  And then when I got to treatment, and heard that true sobriety meant no mood altering substances, ever...I just knew there was no way. Count me out.  But that is because I was thinking about how I was going to do it.  I was focused on what I was letting go of instead of what I was to grab onto.  And to me,  sobriety =  willpower.  

But as I am growing in my relationship with God, sobriety is taking on a whole new meaning.  Sobriety by definition is: to make or become more serious, sensible, and solemn.  And the gospel does that for me.  Yes, the absence of drugs and alcohol attributes, but Jesus Christ and his gospel really sobers me. It is changing me. 

My heart has been made new.

"And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh." (Ezekiel 36:26)

Sobriety means letting the love of Christ control me rather than drugs or alcohol...

For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died;  and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised. (2 Corinthians 5:14)

And I better keep my eyes on him.  
Because the minute I give my wandering heart a chance, it is all about me and my flesh again. 

Getting clean was the easy part.  Because once I entered into that real relationship with Jesus, he quickly made it known that he wanted all of me and that nothing was off limits to him.  And true surrender means not resisting him, but letting him really change me.  Letting him sober me has been the most joyful, yet painful process.  

I am thankful beyond words on my 500th sober day to know the source of my sobriety. 

Thursday, July 25, 2013

That Orange Moon

Alarm goes off at 4:30.  I got up at 5:23.  
My face is more broken out than a 15 year old girl going through puberty.  So much so, that makeup isn't an option.
Go to work feeling all off kilter and not very pretty. 
Wednesdays are a closed-office day...whew.  I can get some stuff done. Nope.  Forgot I scheduled interviews all day.  No makeup, mind you.

The rain.  Oh, the rain!  Fighting to stay awake.  Coffee Well's "Jamaican Me Crazy" flavored coffee should give me the jolt I need.  

Work day is over.  Apartment is a mess.  Cooked dinner and it was terrible.  Scarf some of it down because...well, I need to eat.  Company comes by.  Horrible hair day and to make matters worse, I see two very, very shiny gray hairs beaming. Get to church...finally.

Then I start wondering if I will make it to the gym after church (because if I don't this will be my new pattern and I will think it is ok not to go to the gym everyday!!) or if I should go home and clean with my new magic eraser mop. A million things are running through my mind.  

My pastor then leads us in a time of prayer.  We pray through 4 verses in Jude.  How I needed that time to seek my Father's face!  And get outside of myself in my little world. The focus has completely been on me. 

A friend from college came to church and it was so nice to sit down and hear what God has been doing in her heart since we saw each other years ago.  

Go to the gym.  No shoes in my gym bag.  

Go home, start cleaning.  Fold the mound of laundry on my couch.
Feeling a little more settled, I plop down on my chase lounge.

While I am eating my popcorn for dinner (DID YOU HEAR THAT?  POPCORN FOR DINNER!!!!), I realize how ridiculous my thought process has been.  And how unfocused I am.   

"Be still..." (Psalm 46:10)

While talking to a friend, she tells me to look at the moon...the bright, neon orange moon. Gorgeous. 

After we hung up, I just sat in my favorite chair and stared out my window at the moon.  And thought about God's faithfulness, even in the midst of what seems to be my chaos. Something about that moon brought me back to his faithfulness to me, his daughter who had sought security and satisfaction everywhere (other than him)

"I am the same.  Yesterday.  Today.  Forever." (Hebrews 13:8)

So many things are fighting for our hearts.  Whether it be time, vanity, our own sense of control, or "our plans".

But there is only one thing that cannot be taken from me. (Luke 10:42)

He wanted me to sit.  At his feet.  Like Mary. 
The whole "Martha" thing comes more natural to me than I'd like to admit.  
That is why I must fight to sit at Jesus' feet.

God used his people yesterday to help slow me down.  A reminder of why I must submerge myself in his church.  And his people. In discipleship. In edifying relationships.

He also used his creation.  That orange moon.  

 So, it really was ok for me not to wear makeup, feel not-so-pretty, have a messy apartment, eat popcorn for dinner, and skip a day at the gym.  Because he was calling me, through all of that, to sit at his feet.   

And to KNOW that he is God. 


Thursday, July 18, 2013

Jesus > Addiction

"Relapse is a part of recovery."   

There are few statements that I hate more than this one. It makes me cringe.  Fear rises when I hear it. 

I think that statement sets those of us in recovery up for failure.  I remember when I expected to relapse.  Just wondering when it would happen.  I thought it would happen at Thanksgiving, or come around my one year sobriety date. 

Jesus is greater than addiction. 

He is far bigger than any relapse.  His grace goes deeper than any pit that pills or booze can throw me into.  His promises to keep me are true. 

I will put it out there: one of my greatest fears my greatest fear is relapse.  Going back into my "Egypt" that God has brought me out of is the last thing I WANT to do. When I first left treatment if you would have told me that jumping off a building backwards would have kept me sober, I would have done it 20 times.  I would have done anything to stay sober.  And I still will.  As long as it pushes me forward in my relationship with Jesus and keeps me sober. 

While relapse may be part of some people's story (maybe even the grace of God, I hope not), it doesn't have to be.  I do not know everything there is to know about recovery in general.   
 But I do know the source of my sobriety.   
It is only by his grace alone that anyone can overcome any addiction of any kind. 
I know that the next right thing in all situations is to keep my eyes on Jesus, the founder and perfecter of my faith.  And be obedient.  His commands are not burdensome. 
He has commanded us to flee.  To make no provision for our flesh.  And to put on his full armor.

Bottom line: Jesus is greater than our sin.  
And his grace is sufficient.  

He is greater than your addiction, whatever that is.  He is bigger than your struggles with homosexuality.  He is greater than your eating disorder.  He is greater than a bad day at work. He is even greater than your shopping addiction.

He has conquered sin and He is greater than the world. 

"...I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” 
 -John 16:33

Thursday, July 11, 2013


I was 10 years old.  Like every good girl at VBS, I got “saved”.  My
dad said he was proud and everyone took pictures when I was baptized.

I was 21 years old.  I was so sick of partying, or so I thought.  I
heard the gospel for the very first time.  The true gospel.  The
you-are-dead-but-Jesus-can-change-that gospel.  I started studying
scripture.  I became a bit of a mini-theologian.  I spent many hours
debating the “L” in TULIP.  I shared this gospel.  I helped others
grow in their relationship with the Lord.  I was baptized in the Coosa
River.  The knowledge I gained during this time was absolutely not wasted.  But I chose to serve the false god of drugs and alcohol instead of the True and Living God.

I was 31 years old.  The concerned looks on the faces of some of my best friends are forever sketched in my mind.  They were tired of the lies.  They were sick of being manipulated and stolen from.  Their hearts ached at the thought of me killing myself.  
 But most of all, they hated seeing me break the heart of God. 
My pastor said they would do whatever it took to get me the help I
needed.  Finally, I was exposed.  Finally, I could get the help I
needed.  Finally, I could take off the unbelievably thick mask.  I
could quit juggling all of the acts required of me to keep this
circus of a thing called life going. Finally—a way out of the cycle of defeat that narcotics and vodka had left me in. 
Finally I could surrender. 

Finally I could be obedient. 
 And that is the difference.

"My eyes finally see you..." 
I tried to think of a cool blog name that had to do with grace and second chances.  But this kept coming to my mind.  It is my heart's song. 
I sort of pulled it from two different verses. 
" I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you..." -Job 42:5
 "And though the Lord give you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, yet your Teacher will not hide himself anymore, but your eyes shall see your Teacher'. - Isaiah 30:20
I had to add in "finally".  Because in all of my searching, I was restless.  I knew there was something more than what I was experiencing.  I had prayed that all of the head knowledge would one day transfer to my heart.  I knew a whole lot about God, and I also knew that I was made for more. So when God brought me to my white flag moment, it was a relief.  Finally.  Finally, I could stand before all of the mess that I created. Because He had sought me out, and I was finally free. Finally I could stop running.  I could rest in his arms, because believe me, I was exhausted.  

And for the first time in my life, I knew and believed with all of my heart that He loved me.  The unlovable girl that I have always believed that I am finally let herself be loved.  And I knew He had been pursuing me for "such a time as this".  All of those "twists" and "turns" that my life had taken now had a purpose. He never gave up.  I was dead, but by His grace, I now can live.  He opened my spiritual eyes to see Him.

He is so faithful!

Monday, July 8, 2013

School of Life

 (Disclaimer:  this is meant to be fun and light...but very true to my life in Recovery.  I never really took being an adult as something that applied to me)

Not sure when this happened, but I guess I am bonafide adult.
Bill paying, law abiding, and responsible ADULT. 
These are some of the fundamental life lessons I have been learning in the past 9 or so months. 
It's ok to rest. No actually, it's not ok.  It is good and necessary.
Because sometimes, you just need to step away from it all.  And have a great cup of coffee or a night in. 

Home is where you  
hang your hat,  
lay your head 
eat your meals.  
And it matters what these meals consist of.  Fast food for every meal just is not ok anymore. And this is part of growing up, but more than that, taking care of my body. 
This is a topic for a later time, but God is doing big things....BIG THINGS in my heart about this. 

Consistency is priceless.
There is something about it that I haven't put my finger on yet. 

Life is messy this side of Heaven. And it is ok to be wrong, and even admit it. 
Because Jesus died for our messy lives. Messiness means that we stand in desperate need of grace.  It is good for me to swallow my pride from time to time everyday. 

And the hardest one....

I am not the sun.  
If it were up to me in my little world, I reckon the planets would orbit differently.  The world does revolve around something, but it is not me.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Glory Moments


God wants all of me.  No reservations.  No portions.  Every single fiber of my being. 
When I surrendered drugs and alcohol, I thought I was doing pretty well...and even patted myself on the back. What I didn't know is that was only the beginning. Then he put his finger on my career.  My nursing license.  That was a little tougher to let go.  But I knew it had to be surrendered in order for me to really walk with God and stay sober.  Then it was the decision to stay in Gadsden and not go back to familiar places that I associated with my addiction. And then smoking.
I could go on and on and on, but the point is this: I will forever be offering parts of my life to the Lord. That is the very nature of sanctification. And some areas of my life have been easier to surrender than others. I am seeing what a white-knuckler I am.  God has to go to extreme measures to bring things into submission in my life.  I want to kick and scream and cry and pitch a fit (and sometimes, I do!) "God, don't take THIS! Let me hold on to it, please?!?"  The answer is a resounding "NO."
And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. -Luke 9:23
But there is joy in surrender. 
Every part of my life that is surrendered is an act of worship to me.  These are the moments when I see more of God's glory.  The moments when I see more of his face.

The more I die, the more alive he is in me. 

 And it makes me thankful that growing in Christ is a process, because I think if we saw all of our sin at once, we would really not be able to handle it.  The same way with understanding and getting to know God.  If we saw all of his glory at once, we would say with Isaiah  “Woe is me! For I am undone; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!”  -Isaiah 6:1
I am still an infant.  A stubborn infant, at that.  But by the grace of God I am not who I once was.  He is bringing everything into submission. 
"And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another." 2 Corinthians 3:18