8 Years Sober

Today is an important milestone in my life.  Today I am 8 years sober.  It hasn’t always been easy but it has been the best decision I have ever made.  My relationships have benefited, my mental health has benefited, my physical health has benefited and my spiritual health has benefited.  So much.  Being sober has changed my life for the better 1000 different ways but is an every day fight, I must be ever vigilant and remember all the reasons why this is the only way for me to live happily and healthily.

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Being a Mom is Tough

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When I had my oldest, who is now 18, I was sure I was going to be supermom.  Able to leap piles of dirty dishes and dirty diapers in a single bound.  Having super vision and hearing to see and hear when my child needed anything and super speed to get there and make sure she had it.  I was convinced I had this thing down.  I’d read every book possible – especially when I was on bed rest my third trimester.

Not surprisingly, when she arrived I found out very quickly how I was most certainly not supermom and that realization only gets reinforced daily now that she’s 18 and we’ve had to live through and are still surviving the teen years.  She’s about to start college.  My youngest is 14 and about to start high school.  To say that life is stressful would be an understatement.

I think back to their childhood and I’m overwhelmed with regrets and feelings of inadequacy. Whenever I see them struggling with something or see a negative personality trait I think – “oh they got that from me” or “that’s my fault, I didn’t raise them well enough, teach them enough.”

I am overburdened with mom guilt.  For every time I’ve lost my temper, every time I’ve over reacted to something, every time I’ve said words that hurt rather than help, every time I just plain blew it.

I know I’m not the only one.

But the thing I’m learning in this study of Am I Messing Up My Kids by Lysa TerKeurst is that we don’t need to be perfect moms.  We’re all perfectly imperfect and that’s okay.  What we need to be is moms who turn our kids over to the Lord each day and give ourselves to Him, asking for His help in doing the toughest job on earth, no – not being President of the United States – being a mom.

There are days when being a mom feels like it’s just too hard.  Like we just can’t do it for one more day.  The stress is too much and the kids are driving us absolutely crazy.  What can we do in those moments?

The thing we should be doing every single day – turning to the Lord.

Psalm 73:26

26 My flesh and my heart may fail,
    but God is the strength of my heart
    and my portion forever.

When we feel our weakest – He is there to give us strength and lift us up to carry on another day.

When we feel overwhelmed with mom guilt – we just need to turn to Him to fill us up and refresh us.

Psalm 51:10-12

10 Create in me a pure heart, O God,
    and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
11 Do not cast me from your presence
    or take your Holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation
    and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.

We don’t need to be supermom – we just need to be the mom that God has created us to be and turn to him in our moments of worry, stress, despair and exhaustion.  He WILL be there to restore our souls and give us the strength we need.

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From Religious to Grace-Covered

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I was raised by a very religious step-father.  A man who was strict, cold, judgmental and often cruel. The God he introduced me to was harsh, critical and removed.  But somehow deep down I knew – I knew in my knower there was something more – and God, even at a young age, was drawing me to the REAL Him.

When my Mom got saved when I was 11 we stepped away from the more religious dogmatic church and went to one that was non-denominational and that’s where I learned about Grace. Oh Grace. Beautiful Grace. Grace is the sweet dew of heaven that covers us every day with new mercies in the morning.

Grace has always been what – through all my wandering – has drawn me back to Jesus – Christianity is the ONLY religion of all the worlds religions that has God reaching His hand out to YOU – saying come just as you are and I will accept you – every other one says work your way to me and maybe I’ll accept you if you follow ALL the rules and change yourself first.

GRACE is the cornerstone of Christianity and sometimes I feel it is what is most missing from the “Church.”  Religion so often times has replaced Grace.  Yes we should be strong in our faith and our beliefs but there is so much sexism, judgment and malice filling the pulpits – judging others instead of loving them and showing Jesus’ Grace to them. I think if we were all to grab onto Grace more tightly for ourselves and for others the world would be a much more loving and beautiful place.

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We must cover ourselves and others with God’s beautiful loving saving balm of Grace.

When you run into that neighbor that is so gruff and you think drinks too much – do you judge him harshly or do you show him God’s Grace?

When you run into the gay couple that just moved in down the street – do you condemn them with your words and your looks and your holier-than-thou actions or do you show them God’s LOVE and Grace?

When you see a woman dressed more provocatively than you deem appropriate, do you judge her, do you look down on her, do you think she’s less of a good person or do you show her kindness and God’s Grace?

When you run into that person that believes completely opposite of you politically, do you respond to them in conversation with anger and condescension or are you polite, do you show them respect and God’s Grace?

Think on these things – there are so many other examples.

Jesus was clear on one thing – abundantly clear – we are not called to Judge ( Matthew 7: 1-2 : Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way as you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.)

We are called to Love (John 13:34-35 : ‘A new command I give you: love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.’)

 

These scriptures clearly lay the pathway of Grace.  So ask yourself today – are you living a life of religion or a life covered and acting out of Grace?

 

 

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From Addict to Free

From Addict to Free

It seems, often, that a recurring story in my blog is my breakthrough and victory over my addiction to alcohol. For several years I was ashamed to talk about my struggle, but the Lord opened my eyes to how much of a testimony what He’d revealed to me and done in my life was. I finally realized so many other woman needed to hear what I went through and had to say and see that there is victory to be had over alcohol. I’ve been sober for over 7 years now.

I didn’t know how to truly trust God.  How to truly lay all my burdens down.  I didn’t know how to handle my pain, my struggles, my stress, my fears, my anxieties and instead, I turned to that lovely glass of wine to get me through.  After years of this, it went from a glass of wine to two glasses of wine, to three, and so on.  Eventually I realized I was killing myself and destroying my relationships because of it and so I quit.  I got sober.  That was over seven years ago.  It was a long difficult road.  The first few years were GUT WRENCHING.  But now, sitting here, on what feels like the other side of this struggle, I look back and smile.  Why? Because I know now that every ounce of struggle, every difficult choice, every time I chose to face my emotions, face my pain, face my stress or anxiety or exhaustion rather than drink it away, was a huge success, and each right choice led me to where I am today.  DELIVERED.

I said in a previous post, alcohol is not the enemy, but the way I was using it was. I was using it to self-medicate to deal with many hurts and past issues, to unwind from stress from a long day working in a very taxing and pressure-filled career, to deal with my anxiety in social situations.

God is good and through the help of a good therapist, a good doctor, a supportive loving husband and more than anything, finally giving it all over to God, all my past, my stress, my anxiety, and opening my heart to hearing what HE had to say about it all, I had an incredible breakthrough and found victory.

I think one of the things I wanted to share is that victory doesn’t come easily. It is often found through great sacrifice, hard work and determination. . But not just self-determination but determination that we only get from relying on the Lord.

My first two years sober were very difficult. I had so much to work through, and without the numbing effects of alcohol – wow did it hurt – facing old pains, rejections, struggles and really seeing and feeling what it meant. I had to choose, over and and over, not to take that first drink and remember that what God desired for me, above all things, was a life of truth. He is clear that the truth will set you free. Sometimes the truth is ugly and painful but once we face and walk through it, we can have victory over it.

Giving our addictions and fears and struggles over to the Lord isn’t something that is easy. We may have spent a lifetime building these habits, additions and patterns of behavior in our life, but if we’re really honest, if we dig down under the layers of fake smiles and polite answers to the question “how are you?” we will find just how desperately we need to surrender so many areas of our life to the Lord.

Like Derwin Gray says in Limitless Life – addicts don’t now their worth.  Through many difficulties in life, abuses suffered, losses endured – addicts turn to that which will numb the pain or turn their mind off from remembering those events.  But it doesn’t have to be this way.  You can be free – just as I now know the great and mighty freedom in God.

Know Who You Are: FORGIVEN

Isaiah 1:18

“Come now, let us reason together,” says the LORD.  “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.”

2 Cor 5:17

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation, the old has gone and the new has come!

Know Who You Are: LOVED

Jeremiah 31:3

 The Lord appeared from of old to me, saying, Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore with loving-kindness have I drawn you and continued My faithfulness to you.

Ephesians 3:14-19

 For this reason I kneel before the Father,  from whom every family[a] in heaven and on earth derives its name.  I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being,  so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love,  may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

Know What You Are. FREE.

John 8:36

So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.

John 8:32

Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.

Know Whose You Are. GOD’s.

You Belong to Jesus’ Father and you belong to Jesus.  God the Holy Spirit seals you forever to God the Father and God the Son.  (Limitless Life pg 41)   The life force of Jesus Himself is in you when you give your life over to him.  You are without limits because of the unlimited God who lives in you.

Other steps to find freedom from addiction (Limitless Life pg 45-46)

Confess Your Sins.  When we confess our sins he is faithful and just to forgive us.

Live In Community – find a support group to help you share your struggles with. Many churches have a group called Celebrate Recovery which is a truly Christ Centered group support meeting.  I also would highly recommend AA or the many other forums of Anonymous groups for various addictions for those who need group support when getting sober or breaking addiction.

Get Counseling. – this was KEY in my life.

Have Courage.  I assure you if I was able to get free of my addictions, so can you – through Jesus.

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Limitless Life by Derwin Gray

So excited to be part of the Proverbs 31 Online Bible Studies Study of Limitless Life by Derwin Gray.

This study is already life changing – helping me begin to see that the old labels from my past do not HAVE TO STICK. God has given me new labels.  

 

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Joy

Joy

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Movin’ On

Movin' On

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