Today is USA’s National Day of Prayer. Every 1st Thursday in May our nation takes a portion out of it’s day to celebrate and embrace our freedom of prayer. In 1952 president Harry S. Truman signed it into law. And has been recognized every year since.
For some, today will be a day they will pray for our nation and it’s leaders. Their prayers will plead with God to heal our land, to hear our cry, and to unite the American people. For others, their prayers may be of thanksgiving that they live in a country with the freedom of worship, the freedom to choose who, what, when and where to worship. Our children will assemble at their flag poles, bow their heads and say a student lead prayer; as it is their right to do so according to the Constitution.
But I can’t help to wonder about those who don’t usually pray. Those who believe in God, know He’s real but just don’t “practice” their beliefs. Will they pray today? Will they hear that it’s National Day of Prayer, will their hearts will be prompted to simply pray/speak to God? Maybe not so much for their country’s sake, but maybe they will turn their faces toward God and just have a talk with Him.
With that thought I wonder if Heaven will be busier than any other day! No worries, our God is big enough to handle all those knocks on His door! Happy National Day of Prayer. Did you pray today?
Do you realize what that means? Quick, Blink your eyes! That is the speed at which we will be caught up with Jesus when He returns for His bride.
Yesterday I posted No Answers Its about questions I have that will never be answered. I will never know why.
There’s so many things science has been able to answer. Why we have two eyes instead of one. Why we grow hair here but not there. Why it takes a human life to develop nine months in the womb. But science cannot tell why a baby is born still. Or why some are born blind. Why a man had to die in a tragic car accident at such a young age. Why little children are raised in a traumatic environment, terrified most days.
In an instant, as quick as you can snap your fingers, in a twinkling of an eye; we will know why to all of our questions. And that for me is worth picking up my cross every day and following Him!
I went in search of answers today. Nothing much, just tell me why. Why couldn’t she love me? Why was she so careless with me? Didn’t she know? Couldn’t she see the admiration in my eyes? Where are my answers?
What could I have done differently to get her to see me, beyond her? Was I ever really there, in her view? Still no answer, I’m getting angry.
“Do as I say, not as I do” Did she know how ignorant that statement is? Did she know I vowed to rise above? To break the generational cycle….Did she smirk when I failed? Why was she satisfied when I became the same as her?
Why was she bothered when I was washed in His blood and robed in His righteousness? Why didn’t she rejoice with the angels? Was I ever really there, in her view?
Does she know that I am a princess? Will she ever know my Father, the King of Kings?
The bell dings! You go to your corner, sit on your stool, and your manager squirts water in your mouth, wipes your brow and pats you on the back. “You’re doing good!” He yells in your ear. “When they hit you from the left, duck towards the right like you’ve been doing. Round twelve is coming up, you got this! Just keep getting back up!” This is how I felt most of today with my two kids. 6:30am my 5yr old woke me. By 9:30 am she had to wash down her door and dresser because she drew on it with markers! Thank you Crayola for washable markers!
You ever heard that saying we do not remember the days, we remember the moments? I think I even have a frame somewhere with it on it. There was a one hour period of time where all went well with the kids. We watched a movie all together in the living room. Blankets, pillows, popcorn and they even got cups of sprite to guzzle!
I just wanted to comment on how parenting can be tiring even on the easy, everybody hang around the house and do nothing days. The elders I look up to and seek advice from, tell me frequently that I will miss these days…No my friends, I’ll miss the moments!
This goes out to K.E. who is on day 26 of sobriety. Today is a Saturday. For me in the past, that would have been excuse enough to use/party. And if it was a bad day then it was a good excuse. And if it was a good day, yes you guessed it, more of an excuse. Part of the problem for me, and maybe you can relate, was it became a routine. Friday and Saturday were the big party days, while Sunday was hangover and try to forget the things I did and said, day. It was like crawling out of a hole on Monday with my chin in my chest hoping not to see anyone that I may have hurt over the weekend.
I’ve heard it said before that when a person starts addictive behavior they stop maturing at that point and stay that “age” until they stop the addiction. So I was 20 years old for 15 years. And I can look back and say, yep I was. While others around me progressed and moved on with their lives and families, I on the other hand was always going through some turmoil (self induced, no doubt) wondering why I couldn’t be like them.
There are many regrets I could list, but where would that get us? Where we need to go is to a list of ways to make it through today. And if we have to, we make a list again the next day.
- Admit that, yes today I will think about using more than once. Tell yourself it’s ok that I thought about it a 100 times, that doesn’t make me a bad person. Makes me human. And hey maybe tomorrow I’ll only think about 99 times instead 100! Yay me!
- Make plans for your whole day. Start to finish. If you’re a list maker, write them down and mark them off. Gives you something to do and something to be accountable to. Boredom is addiction’s best friend.
- Try to walk away from conflicts around you. I said try, because it’s not always easy for us moms…but we can choose our battles with our kids and let some things slide on days that are harder to stay sober.
These are just some ideas. The ultimate thing that keeps you sober today is, you my friend! I can remember days of just collapsing on my bed fighting the mental battle to just go to the liquor store. In a matter of 8 minutes in my imagination, I got in my car, drove to the store, buying the bottle, opening it, drinking it, and regretting it. When I got up from those 8 minutes I felt drained like I just went to battle. But you know, I did! And I won! And the feeling of winning those battles is worth the fight!
Do you hold onto something? A past hurt from someone. Remarks made about you. Did someone hurt you? Do you have deep wounds that won’t heal? Some of us at times don’t even realize how much pain we drag around with us. I heard it explained like this before. Each past pain, regret, harm, mistake and sin you keep locked up inside of you is like a suitcase full of chickenheads. Each one of those pains are a chicken head and you stuff it away in a suitcase. You carry this suitcase with your wherever you go. But what happens to dead things left unburied? They rot. They smell. They fester.
So many times we think that we deserve to hold onto a certain sin or regret because after all, we’re the one that did it. We deserve the punishment of replaying it over and over in our minds. It’s our punishment. But if we serve a forgiving, loving God; why would He require it of us to hold onto these things? He doesn’t. What He did on the cross has covered and taken care of what we are holding onto. The only ones remembering it is us. God has forgotten it. Wiped it clean off the slate. So why keep dragging the suit case full of death and rotteness?
If we open that suitcase we will find that each chicken head are the things we won’t forgive ourselves for. God is not a punishing us. There is no pennance in a relationship with God. But we humans like to punish ourselves and even others at times.
I’ve recently asked God to reveal the things I can’t forgive myself for. And He did just that! It was over a course of a 2 week period, that each day something I did or was done to me, (by no fault of mine) would “pop” into my thoughts. I was instructed to stop and speak outloud these words…By Your grace and only by Your mercy and by Your blood do I forgive myself for….and I would fill in the blank. I release it to you in Jesus Name.
I can tell you that this does work. I am free of so much shame and you can be too! Be blessed!
You’re walking down a street and on both sides are buildings with multiple windows. You look up and see a figure hanging out one of the windows hollering and calling your name. You stop walking and you cup your hand to your ear so you can get a better listen. You hear something like…”Why don’t you stop in here for a drink?” Or “Hey come on in and see the movies we have to offer” But you know this is a trick so you say no thanks and keep walking. The next block there are more figures hanging out the windows again. You think to yourself, “Didn’t they hear me? I said no thanks” But now they say “Hey you got that new job, come celebrate!” Or maybe they say, “I know your friend just died, come on in we’ll talk about it over a drink.”
You say, “No thanks I’m on my way somewhere and I’m in a hurry. I told the people waiting for me I’d make it there soon.” You hold your head up high and have a little pep in your step now because you’re just so proud of yourself for saying no twice!
The next block, same thing. But their words are different now, “You’re never going to make it down this road. You’re not strong or smart enough. Who are you kidding? Just quit trying already will you?”
This is the way the deceiver of this world works. He can’t touch you or force you into anything. But he can talk you into it with enticement, false friendship, and if those don’t work he will speak words of shame. His words not yours. Wll you listen?
We grow as little children hearing adults around us saying things about us. “Look at her isn’t she cute? Isn’t she smart? Isn’t he so brave?” Or we hear them compare us to our siblings. “She loves school but her brother can’t stand it. She’s so outgoing but her sister is just so shy.” And some of those children grow up hearing things like “What’s wrong with you? Are you stupid? Why did you go and do something so dumb?” The last scenerio is when children grow up hearing nothing at all. This is when the child fills in the blanks for them, usually in the form of negative self talk.
All of this is what’s called shame. It’s a portion of what shame is. And it happened to me. For me, it was no words at all. There was no put downs, no comparisons, and there was no praise or words of endearment of any kind. So I filled in the blanks. When I failed at anything, I had some pretty harsh words to tell myself. And it went on for 43 years. Until recently, when I learned what it was and why it was there and how UNHEALTHY it is for a person.
The Lord has set me free from it! I’m so grateful for that. I see now that I always felt unworthy of nice things, unworthy of love, unworthy of normalcy, unworthy of everything. That unworthiness led me to early alcohol and drug abuse. Even when those things were removed from my life, the unworthiness was still there because I was still filling in those blanks. That is until the day I decided to let God work in me and fill in those blanks for me. He has shown me I’m loved, liked, cared for, important and the list now goes on…
We get our strength from the Lord. But sometimes He puts it in others around us to help us look into their lives and see something to admire, something to aspire.
They are around all of us. Those who choose to be strong. Or maybe it’s that they choose to lean with all their might on God. In these hard trying times they are going through; God is using them for people like you and I. The woman with cancer going through chemo, yet has enough strength to show up each time she’s feeling strong enough. The elderly man who keeps going every day although his wife of 60 years, his best friend, has died and has left him behind. The grandmother visiting her grandson in prison, writing him letters, forgiving him, loving him, showing him what Jesus really looks like. The mothers of addicts praying and interceding daily for their children to be freed once and for all. The wives that stick with it and decide to trust.
All of these examples have two important qualities. They all have a drive to fight, to keep going. And they all love the Lord and depend on Him for the strength. Watching them reminds me that if they can do it, I can do it. And that I can depend on Him for strength too.
I walk into a night club on ladie’s night. The place is packed with dancing, laughing people. The music is thumping so hard that I can feel it in my chest. The air is thick with ciggarette smoke and mist coming from the fog machine. I can smell sweat and alcohol on the air that’s barely moving above me. I look down and see abandoned empty beer bottles, ciggarette butts and empty plastic shot cups, that were once filled with tonics with names like liquid cocaine, lemon drop, and Alabama slammer. I make my way to the dance floor area, pushing and squeezing my way through bodies that reluctantly move an inch for me. I receive looks that range from disgust to enticement. But I don’t respond. I’m looking for someone. “I’ve got to find her, she’s got to be here,” I think to myself. I know there’s nowhere else she’d be on a night like tonight. I’m sure she got a babysitter for her 4 year old daughter since it isn’t her ex-husband’s weekend due to the custody agreement. And ladie’s night means she would get in free, so she’d be here since she’s always just getting by financially. Where could she be? She’s not on the dance floor or the bathrooms. There’s 2 other places she could be; the parking lot smoking a joint in a car with strangers or at the bar ordering a drink with money she talked someone into giving her.
I walk to the bar. I can’t even see the bartender because of the throng on people leaning against the bar waiting for the bartender’s attention. I see her! She’s slender in a pair of tight jeans and tight shirt. She no doubt is wearing her clothes tight fitting for the purpose of catching a man’s eye. Her hair is short and dyed a dark color with hints of red in it. Her make up is running and smeared from from so many hours of sweating.
I make my way to her and I lightly tap on her shoulder. She turns quickly and I can see the state of drunkeness on her face. She looks at me with contempt. With tired, insecure eyes. But I see a hint a hope in them as well.
I say, “Excuse me, but I have to warn you! A few years from now you’ll give birth to still born twins. And after you pretend to get over that, you will make decisions that you will regret all your life. You’ll hear the lies from the pit of hell telling you that it’s ok. It will take you almost twenty years to look in the mirror without the heavy shame you’ll feel. You will believe the lie whispering in your ear everyday that what you did is the most unforgivable sin and that God will never shine His face on you. You will become an addict, stumbling and fumbling through your days trying to get money for another pill to dull the pain. It will take you 20 years of your life to learn how to get past the shame of what you have done. Come with me, I’ll show you the way to Jesus now. He can save you from all the things to come. You don’t have to go down this road.”
She looks at me, smiles in her friendly way and says, “I’m 24 years old and I’ve got my whole life ahead of me. I am a good person and I would never do those things. You have mistaken me for someone else”
I recently was faced with a profound thought…If the older you could go back and warn the younger you; would the younger you listen to you? I am eternally grateful for a God who never stops loving. Never stops forgiving. He forgives every sin. He even forgives those who listened to the lies whispered in their ears.