Monday, February 24, 2014

Why I Am Not An Addict

Simply put, I am not. 
"But, you talk about addiction in your past.  It is a part of your story" 
Yes, I do, and yes, it is. 
I was a drug addict. 
One of the worst ones, if there are degrees of just how bad it can get.   
Imagine this: You have this friend, a young lady. You have spent over a year getting to know her.  And you know her heart. She is a faithful wife. She loves her family.  She is devoted to her children.  And above all, she loves God. 
But she introduces herself this way... "Hello, I am so-and-so and I am a prostitute" 
It makes no sense.  Clearly, she is not a prostitute. 
She is a teacher and a mom and there would be no time for prostitution.   
So you ask her why she introduces herself as a prostitute. 
She replies "Well, you see, ten years ago, before God saved me and before I was a wife and a mom, I was selling myself on the streets.  That was the life I lived." 
It sounds absurd to continue calling herself a prostitute.  Nothing in her life indicates that she is a prostitute.  But, there are clear indicators that she is a believer in Jesus Christ, a wife, a mom and a teacher. 
Addiction was the biggest part of my life for years.  It did define who I was. 
Everything I did was based out of the fact that I was an addict. 
I took feed my addiction. 
I feed my addiction.
I feed my addiction. 
I fool my friends and family into thinking I was ok,
so that I could feed my addiction. 
I even went into a career feed my addiction.  
Addiction defined who I was. 
Everything revolved around my addiction. 
I was a bonafide addict. 
But God intervened.  And now, he calls me his. 
“When I passed by you again and saw you, behold, you were at the age for love, and I spread the corner of my garment over you and covered your nakedness; I made my vow to you and entered into a covenant with you, declares the Lord GOD, and you became mine"
Ezekiel 16:8
Please do not misunderstand me.  I am not ashamed of my past. 
I have a blog that talks openly about my past, being a drug addict and alcoholic. 
I can identify with many people who are hurting because of the bondage that addiction causes. 
I shared my testimony a few weeks ago with a group of young ladies at JSU, and I talked a lot about my addiction to drugs and alcohol.  
God has given me a story.
But it is his story, and I choose to let him write it. 
And by his grace, there has been a plot twist and a change in characters. 
 "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.
The old has passed away; behold, the new has come"
2 Corinthians 5:17
I believe in the power of words. And I believe that if we identify ourselves by our past, we will continue to live that way. 
In the way of shame, guilt, and regret. 
If we identify ourselves by who we are in Christ, we will live free, joyful, and abundant lives. 
As a believer, I can't help but think that it grieves the very heart of  God if we live in our past...if we choose to identify ourselves by what we have done as opposed to what Christ has done for us.  Whether that be a drug addict, a binge eater, a bully, or whatever we have done in our past. 
"That, however, is not the way of life you learned  when you heard about Christ and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires;  to be made new in the attitude of your minds;  and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness."
Ephesians 4:20-24
The gospel tells me that Christ died for that. 
The gospel tells me that I can be set free from that bondage. 
The gospel tells me that Christ is bigger than my sin. 

"For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God."
Colossians 3:3

The gospel turns things on it's head. 
The world would tell me I am living in denial by not claiming my identity as an addict. 
God's word tells me I am living in the truth. 
As for me, I choose to live from that identity that I am his. 
I am his beloved daughter. 
I am not my past. 

Thursday, February 13, 2014

...Just As The Snow

There are 2 days that I really dread every year.  
And they just so happen to fall within 2 weeks of each other.  
The first being the ever-so-hated-by-singles Valentine's Day.  
And the second being my birthday.  

Now, I am sure Valentine's Day comes as no surprise to you, if you know me and my desires for marriage and a family.  
But, my birthday?  That one may seem a little odd.  
But after spending many hours hashing this out with The Lord, journaling, and asking myself "why?" and getting to the root of the issue, I see that it all boils down to the same exact thing: 
the expectation of being made much of. 

This is not a post to hate on Valentine's Day, as I am sure it is a holiday that many of you love and enjoy...and you should! It is a day set aside for chocolates, flowers, cards and a whole-lotta red and pink!  It is a time to show that special someone just how special they are (and who doesn't want that?!)
And, I really used to love Valentine's Day so much.  
My dad & brothers would send me flowers and balloons and candy every year!  My mom always made a big to-do of me on Valentine's Day.  It was so much fun because it was about ME!  

And my birthday...whoa.  It was like a week long event.  
I made sure everyone knew it was my birthday for weeks prior.  
Okay, and weeks after.  

But as I have gotten older, it isn't so cool for your family to send Valentine's balloons, cards, or candy.  
And turning 33 just doesn't have the same ring to it as turning say, 7 or 8.    

There just seems to be so much hype around both days. 

I have learned a lesson in humility from the snow about both of my dreaded days approaching.  

There was so much anticipation of the snow coming yesterday.  
I even had envisioned the power going out and me sitting in my living room floor with candles, my lantern, a book, and a jar of peanut butter for days.  
I did all of my laundry because who would want to have laundry piled if there was a power outage?  We all made preparations just-in-case.  
And then the snow came!  
And it was indeed beautiful. 
 I even slept with my blinds open because I wanted to see it as I dozed off! 
I didn't want to miss a single flake falling to the ground.  
But when I woke this morning, it was melting.  

And in that moment, The Lord was so gentle and compassionate with my heart.  
He reminded me that anything that I make much of other than him will fade away, just as the snow.   Birthdays.  Valentine's Day.  Christmas.  
Even a much anticipated wedding day.  
All of these days are days to be celebrated indeed.  
But, if I make any of these days about anything other than him, I will be disappointed.  

If I make Valentine's Day about a significant other, rather than my eternal love, it will melt away.  
The flowers fade. 
The chocolates get eaten. 
The red even fades.  
All of those things are so fun and important on February 14.  
But how long do they stay important?

If I make my birthday about me and not about the one who created me, it will melt away. 
 The balloons pop.  
The cake gets devoured.  
The Birthday cards get tossed, inevitably.  
Again, those things are of the utmost importance on March 2.  But on March 3?  Not as much.  

...but the word of The Lord stands forever..."
Isaiah 40:8

I am so thankful that God is so intimate and personal, even in the times that we should be celebrating, but instead we are dreading.  
He gives new perspectives.  
He uses everything to show us himself.  
Even the beautiful snow, that melts.  

And my prayer is that I can make much of Jesus.  

More of him, less of me.