Saturday, February 2, 2013
How does one begin to write about God? For me, it has to be my personal experience.
My Father took me to church as a wee child. I learned about Jesus and the disciples. I was taught all the bible stories, by very kind people. From there, it was my Grandmother that took me. My Grandmother was, and still is even though she passed a long time ago now, one of the best versions of the Christian walk - I've ever known. She was the kindest, most giving, humble person I think I've ever known. She did not just talk the talk, but she walked the walk. I admired her greatly. As I did my Father. My Dad was very gentle as well as kind - but Daddy had a bit of an ego in him. I know what pushed him to this limit -- as many things in life will. However, I am immensely grateful for both of them - for laying the foundation of a Godly life for me. I believe that it is the greatest and most important task that a parent has, to teach them the things of God.
I went astray in my teens - until a friend asked me to go to church with her. She was so excited about her church. Being that I knew this was "the right thing," and looked up to her - I went to a revival that her church was having. It changed my life forever. I was a mere 13 years old.
Now this could be then end of this blog - but as with life -- things happened, as with the period between when I stopped going to church with Grandma. Life was not kind. My family was very dysfunctional. The church that I joined was glorious, and my experience, wonderful. Then there came the day when the pastor was leaving. I had adored him. Brother Bill was the glue that held us together - or at least in my ripe christian life, so I thought. I had made him sort of an idol. I was not mature enough to understand. I was devastated. God was strong in me, but I was not strong in God - and there is such a circumstance. My foundation had not been built. Yet and still, the Holy Spirit was inside of me. I would find my way back home, but it would be many long years.
I attended church throughout my life. I would feel God's presence and I never forgot how to pray. I knew that I was a child of God - but because of the things that I'd done, and would do- felt so unworthy. My addiction actually began in my teenage years. I had two brothers that we active users, and I knew all about drugs. My middle brother got me high for the first time in sixth grade. I was drinking by age 11. My addiction plagued my school years and I barely passed high school. I married right out of school and proceeded to use in my marriage - until it too ended. I nearly had a nervous breakdown at 21. I had health problems - chronic headaches and migraines. I became addicted to pain killers. I really would do any drug that I could get my hands on because of the abuse that I'd suffered as a child - and having had a narcissistic mother. To put it bluntly - I was a wreck. A shell of a person, overcome with emotional pain. I had no idea how to deal with any of it. So I'd swallow anything that I thought might make it go away.....But God was with me.
After several more years of this and a divorce - bars, bad relationships, and my addiction taking to heights I hate to even think about - I agreed to go to treatment in 1987. The ripe age of 24. Before I knew it I was on a plane to Minnesota - my first plane ride ever - to meet someone at the baggage claim to take me to Hazelden. I was terrified. It had been actually, by divine intervention that I'd came to the help that I did. And God was with me.
I sobered up - for 9 years. Went to college - and became a counselor. It was the highlight of my life. I had succeeded for the first time in my life. But - after a while I started making bad choices. I was in pain after a fall - a bad fall. At the tale's end of nine years, I was in a bad relationship that I could not seem to get out of -- and a doctor prescribed a muscle relaxer. It was not supposed to be narcotic - nor habit forming. It was. I knew better - but I kept on taking it. It was my downfall. What a downfall it was. I was soon using and counseling at the same time. I regret this to this day. The pain of this has ran so deeply in me, it has taken me years - to try and overcome it. I lost everything that meant anything to me. But God was with me.......
The pain ruled my life for the next 12+ years. I've been reclusive - so full of shame. Shame is a horrible emotion. One that tells you, you don't have the right to exist. It tells you, everyone would be better off if you didn't. I was so wounded - because I am such a creature of integrity - but I'd went against everything I stood for. I blamed myself for my addiction.
So much happened in those years. I was sexually harassed at the last job I worked. It was a nightmare. I feared for my life. He was insane. I began drinking daily when I'd won the case - and he got 18 days off without pay. When he returned - he started in on me again and I broke down. They gave me two weeks off with pay. I drank for two weeks straight. Pain once again had almost devoured me. I went to treatment again - and this time is was humiliating. There I sat, as a counselor - being taught what I already knew. One can imagine the pain of this. But God was with me.....
These last few years have been just as hard. The medicine, the surgeries. I've had no choice but to take the medicine. High doses of it. To the point of passing out. Often times I'd wake up on the floor in my apartment - especially when I had the internal pain pumps. The pain was so intense, they could not give me enough medicine to stop it without almost knocking me out. My family stayed angry with me because I was forever falling asleep. It was a horrible existence. So I stayed to myself. I grieved, even in the midst of the medicine - I talked to God. I grieve and grieved and grieved. I prayed and prayed and prayed. I had various infections due to the pain pumps. I once had to have antibiotics shipped in dry ice and administered I.V. I had such a bad infection. I did that for three months. It was horrible. Nurses in the house everyday, and I could not go anywhere. I had a two inch deep hole in my side - that had to heal from the inside out. It was where the pain pump was. But God was with me.......
I tell you all off this to let you know, I've been through some things. Some very difficult things. About 17 surgeries - from assorted things. My life has not been an easy one. I've been in and out of church. I've came off massive amounts of pain medicine... and the withdrawal was horrific. I've struggled with depression for 22 years. The tip of the iceberg was when my Father passed in 2010. The events that ensued then, were life changing. I got my Medtronic stimulator a month prior to his death. This was to be a new lease on life. Little did I know that my life was about to be torn apart. But God was with me..........
Geographical cures, spending spree's, relationships, food, drugs, just about everything there is to try to cover the wounds of life -- I've tried it. The only thing that works, is hard grief work and God. I've had years and years of therapy as well. Therapy helps, but Jesus is my ultimate Counselor. Him, I don't have to pay to listen to me. He speaks to me through my heart.
For all intensive reasons, I shouldn't be alive - some of the really insane things that I've done. The dangerous positions that I've put myself in. The mixing of narcotics. I cannot tell you the number of times I've passed out. I've shared that I woke up once after catching my hair on fire with a cigarette. I've burned mattresses, couches, and everything in between. But God was with me.
God's mercy. It's almost unexplainable. Most people see God as angry and revengeful. I discovered, He is not mad at me, and He is not mad at you. This is Grace - what Jesus gave us upon the Cross. Grace. It is the only thing that keeps me going. My faith, and the internal knowing that if it had not been for Him, I could not have made it through what I did - little alone have healed from it. I found a church that is indescribable - and it is my home. I'm at peace for the first time in my life. Even with all of the junk (to put it mildly) that I've been through - He still loves me and has a plan for my life. I've seen miracles happen in my (as messed up as they come) family. God's grace is astounding. If He can turn my life around - to where I live in peace just think what He can do for you. He did not come to save the righteous - the righteous don't need God. He came for those of us with difficult lives - to heal and restore. And heal and restore, He does. Prayer works. God is greater than I can comprehend - yet my personal Savior. God is: My everything.