Beauty for Ashes

Colossians 2:6
"As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him."

This has been my mission as of late.  I've been purging my "old man."  I've had a few bumps in the road - but I am declaring, no more.  The things of old, are just that -- things of old.  

My friend asked me yesterday, "Gina aren't you tired of struggling?"  To which I stated, "yes."  I've struggled my entire life.  I must say - the largest part of it due to my addiction.  I've battled it in one form or another since I was a young person.  Many, many years are a big blur.  My high school years were literally a joke.  I've wasted years preoccupied with the next high, pill, drink, boy friend, you name it.  Absolutely anything outside of myself to feel better on the inside.  Ah, and we forgot the spending addiction.  It's consumed my entire life.  Because?  I felt broken.  I was empty.  Other people had something that I did not possess.  At least that is how I've always felt.  I felt this way from a small child into my adulthood.  I used to want to be invisible - because I knew that I did not matter.  I was so insignificant taking things that I did not know what were was no big deal.  What difference would it make if I were no longer in the world?  Not much.  With exception to one amazing individual -- my dad.  I praise God for having one human being that I felt like truly cared for me -- even though I did not know, in the slightest who I was.  I miss my Dad every single day.  

This past week (or two) has been so many things.  Ridiculously awesome, tempting, amazing, enlightening, painful, I've gained clarity --- and the list goes on.  Two different things have really came to the forefront.  God has blessed me in immeasurable way - and I've became very aware that letting the things go that I am, is bringing up grief.  Yes, I'm grieving my addiction.  As bizarre as this may sound - it's been my best friend, my comfort, my strength, my courage, my passion, my relief, my way out for over 41 or so years.  I got high for the very first time at the ripe age of eleven.  I was using addictively by the time I was a freshman in high school or even earlier.  I have a long history -- and this saddens me so sometimes - what do you say when people ask you about your life?  Ah, well, let's see --- I've made a career out of using drugs.  How nice.  But I digress.  

I made the decision to stop using all substances (with exception to my pain meds, which I have to and take as prescribed).  I've messed up once.  I've stopped smoking cigarettes, but I've messed up a couple of times.  It's okay - It's a might better than before.  Purging yourself is not easy.  What has been amazing has been the blessings in my life.  And I want to be heard - I do not believe in a "do good to get good" type of God.  However I do believe in being obedient -- especially since these have been the things that the Holy Spirit spoke to me about removing from my life.  It doesn't necessarily make me a "better" christian or a better person -- God loved and accepted me anyway - but I truly believe in order for God to take me where He wants to take me, I had to let these things go. I feel God working in my life.  So much it is beyond words.  

Things in life have just been falling in my lap.  My apartment, my job, my new kitty.  Money.  All of these things are the favor of God.  It's abundance and prosperity.  Things that I'm not used to.  Because I've struggled my whole life with exception to a few years.  Those years, I was living a good life.  There just has to be a correlation.  I just cannot see it any other way.  

I've loved God my entire life.  I have cigarette burn marks on my Old King James Bible - where I would try and read while I was high.  It's burned badly in some places and I used to be so ashamed.  My Sunday school class bought it for me and it's a beautiful study Bible.  Now it's an ever reminder of where I've come from.  I used to doze off in church, high.  At that particular time, I could not help it, I was in pain and so addicted to pain killers.  How embarrassing for my Mom and Dad.  God loved me through it.  

By all rights, I shouldn't still be here.  I've caught myself on fire, fell asleep driving numerous times.  Caught my bed on fire.  Woken in the kitchen floor numerous times and I didn't know how I'd gotten there from overdoses.  God loved me through it.  

God loved me, and let me figure out my own way to my present church, where I've found the most amazing gift.  Grace.  I did not know all of those years at the countless meetings that I sat in when they said, "but for the grace of God, there go I"... really what that  meant.  I do now.  I wish there were a way to convey what I feel.  But there just is not.  Now there is joy - excellence, and peace immeasurable.  I don't have to put ANYTHING into my body to be OK.  Every again.
This is a miracle. 



God took my ashes -- and He has given me beauty.  






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