The Cure To An Identity Crisis

Without the love of Christ, devotion, and most importantly obedience and knowledge of his word I was in an impossible situation that had no happy ending. In order to receive the full healing in the deepest parts of my soul I would need to bring every aspect of my life into the submission and will of God. What I so desperately needed along with every other hurting person was a spiritual overhauling that included casting off and turning away from my flesh and putting on my new identity that absolutely had to be rooted in the Christ. From that foundation miraculous healing could absolutely occur, along with a daily dependence upon my Creator, walking out my salvation, I could be made new.
Without any of the knowledge and soul reformation I now have today, I became dependent on the things of this world to fill the void that could only ever be filled with Christ. Without a firm identity in the one who made me I was a child lost in a losing battle I didn’t have a chance at winning. I was immersed in Spiritual warfare I was sorely surely underprepared to fight. So I used the only tools I knew how to cope with.
I chose these weapons because of the culture I grew up in. It was totally normal thing to drink heavily and do drugs recreationally. It was completely normal to lash out and hurt people. I believed upon watching those around me that it was expected to use people to make myself feel better and only care about myself.
This was the kind of environment I grew up watching and learning. Children see everything. They learn how to live and cope by the example set by their parents and community. That’s why it is of upmost importance to set your house in order and bring it under the will of God before bringing any child into your home. Children grow up and they become responsible for themselves. My parents are not responsible for the sins I’ve committed as an adult. I do not blame them for my mistakes and my pain. I know now they didn’t know what they didn’t know. My dad died in chains to his addiction and without the full understanding and revelation of the love of God in his life. He believed in God, but he never walked out the salvation of his soul. I pray that he received it before he met the one who created him. He died a very hurting and broken man and I know he wanted better for me. I can happily say that his prayer has absolutely been answered, because of the work my parents tried to begin in themselves through their love and examples I was pushed into the arms of Christ and He has broken the cycle the enemy tried to trap me in.
I grew up in a very chaotic environment. My childhood at times seemed like one big party. It was totally normal to drink and party every time family came around. It was normal to soothe momentary issues with drugs and alcohol. This was my understanding from watching the adults in my life. Family time and visits with extended family members and friends were low-key drinking events that usually got crazy late into the night. As a teenager most of my extended family and my sisters gave me alcohol to drink. It was all very normal to me as a kid. I really didn’t see any issue with it. Mainly, because I didn’t know any better and neither did anyone else.

As a child and a preteen I was neglected emotionally. Nobody poured into me and if someone did they were as broken as I was. I wasn’t fed or decipled well. My mom wasn’t around and my dad distanced himself from me emotionally. I had no boundaries of any sort. My mom tried to late to put her foot down and parent me. I was about 13 when she really started to realize how damaged I was. She was terrified of me turning out like her and my dad. She constantly told me that I had to beat the cycle of addiction.

She was out of state most of my preteen and early teenage years. My stepfather had no clue how to manage three teenage girls. We ran wild. My mom could only set so many rules over the phone. There was no one to control me. Most of my acting out was a cry for attention and help. She didn’t respond till I was 15. When she did, her answer was to leave my stepfather and move me out of state and tear me away from every comfort I had ever known. She still did not know how to mother me. She met my emotional trauma with anger. She refused to have compassion and mercy for me because she had finally gotten her act together so in her mind my behavior was all my doing and I needed to get over it and move on like she had.
I now understand my mother only knew how to use the tools she had been taught to use. That her solutions to life had been passed down to her from her broken support system. Most of her actions were rooted in fear and she absolutely did the best she could and she is not to blame for my actions. We are not fighting against flesh and blood enemies. We live in a fallen world where the prince of lies reigns in the hearts of men who don’t know who they belong to.
After moving to Texas I met a guy. He paid attention to me and I ate it up, because at this point I felt like I had no value. I wasn’t worthy of attention and love, because my own parents had rejected and neglected me. I treated those internal wounds with boys, cutting, drinking and drugs. Growing up in the environment I did, it was all I knew how to do. I hadn’t ever been shown any different. At 16 my dad died. I broke completely. Out of both my parents his love was the only thing I was certain of. My mom was incapable of nurturing me in that time period of my life. I know now, it wasn’t because she didn’t want to, but she didn’t know how. Nobody had loved her well. She didn’t have Jesus, what could she have provided for that broken and angry teenage girl? She responded with anger and fear. Three months after his death she essentially told me to get my crap together and get over it. Again, she was terrified of me turning into her. My aunt died and then my grandfather and then my best friend. I had no one. My sister cut me out, because she had her own hurdles to deal with. I was bleeding out and my soul was desperate and aching. I used anything I could to soothe my pain.
My mom put me in treatment for the first time at 17. I found a place I finally felt like I belonged. People accepted me. I finally had a place to lay my heart. People built me up. I had a family and community. I wouldn’t be the person I am today without AA. For once in my life I belonged somewhere. I had no identity. I was a troubled young girl without the love of Christ. AA gave me an identity and it became my life. AA became my religion and gave me purpose. I was no longer the broken and abandoned child I once was. I was a recovering addict with a powerful story that I could use to help people. Without AA I felt like I had nothing. AA led me to God. I believed it was built upon spiritual principles. It echoed the bible in so many ways. Yet, after three years of sobriety I relapsed. The problem was while AA is a spiritual program it isn’t biblical. It is not Christ based and it couldn’t give me the healing and freedom I truly needed. What I needed was Jesus and to be firmly planted in the word and learn my identity through Him. I spent years treating the symptoms, not the actual root problem which was I was a human being in desperate need of a relationship with Christ. I tried everything to fill the void that could only ever be filled with my creator. For me, AA is apart of that list. I had a huge problem with using the things of this word to label me and give me value. I had to have a God and it could have been anybody. Drugs, alcohol, sponsors, men, etc. I was searching for an identity. Whatever seems better in the moment worked for me.
The problem with a man made program for me was that I needed to be planted in something irrefutable and undeniable. My identity absolutely had to be grounded in Christ. The world labeled me a broken person and it started with my environment. Satan has used countless lies to keep me in chains.

I am unloved.
I am not worthy.
I am a mistake.
I am nothing.
I can do nothing.
No one cares about me.
My friends don’t really care about me.
I am ugly.
I am crazy.
I need a man to feel beautiful.
I can’t be alone.
If I am alone then I will always be alone.
I will turn out just like my parents.
I am a whore.
I am a horrible mother.
I am a bad wife.
I am a bad friend.
I am an addict.
I am an alcoholic.
I am unfixable.
There is no cure.
I am a new creation in all things, but that.
Jesus has the ability to make me new and heal me completely but not that part of me.

I spent the most formidable and impressionable time of my life being raised by people who didn’t know the love of God. I am so thankful for the path I walked, because the lie the enemy has used for so long to keep me in chains and to harm me God turned and used it for good. The enemy pushed me right into the arms of my Creator.

I put on the cloak of an unhealable alcoholic, because I didn’t know any better or any different. I didn’t understand the true meaning of what being made new really was.

As a Christian I am a new creation. I have been given the Holy Spirit. JESUS DIED SO THAT I COULD LIVE. Jesus freed me from slavery and the ways of this fallen world. I am not an alcoholic. I am not an addict. I am Kaleigh Posey and I am a child of God. The only person that has the ability to put chains around my wrist is myself when I fail to do the good I know to do. Not alcoholism. Not addiction. I have been freed. God has been showing me this all along. I am the one that keeps putting myself in chains. He gives me a revelation of His freedom and I turn away from it, because I still truly had not accepted the truth and the power of just how BIG of God He is. My father the one who created the heavens and the earth, the one who created me if he doesn’t have the ability to heal and cure someone like me, then I am limiting Him and putting him in a box.

I was taught that as an addict I have a spiritual malady that can only be cured with a spiritual solution and I am sick in the mind as well as the body. The mind can be fixed, but as soon as I take the first drink or the first drug there is no return. I am off to the races and my mind will be broken again and the only answer to that is working the 12 steps. Does that sound like being made new?
Does that sound like the miraculous healing of Christ?

God gave me a revelation about 9 months ago that AA wasn’t the Spiritual program I thought it was. It had led me to put my faith in a man made thing. I stood for something that told people they could believe in any God to find freedom and that was enough to make a beginning.

That is not the truth. The only beginning is through Jesus. The only path to true freedom is through a relationship with Christ. There is no backdoor to God. The road is narrow and the only way to the Father is through the Son. Upon that foundation is where one can begin to build a sturdy house. About 4 months ago, God gave me a revelation that I wasn’t a recovered alcoholic or an addict. I was a daughter of His Kingdom. I rejected it. I didn’t truly believe that God was big enough to heal me. I was terrified of taking my relationship with God deeper because that meant that I would no longer have control over my life. My flesh wanted the throne of my heart. The enemy attacked me and I failed to do the good I knew to do. I spiraled. I put the enemy’s chains back on my wrist and I relapsed within a week of that revelation. I had just gotten a year sober. Within a few days I realized the stupidity of my mistake and I immediately recoiled from it. I was ashamed and was afraid to be honest about my failure. I thought I could resume life as normal. I immediately began trying to go deeper with God and I would reach out to connect and he was speaking to me every where, but there was no depth. I had built a prison around my soul because I failed to bring my mistake into the light. I was lying to my husband. About a month afterwards I sat outside and I confessed to him. He was amazed. This was the first time I came out on my own. He didn’t find out, I had quit within three days and told him on my own, and not because my life had become so miserable I couldn’t bare it, but because I wanted to go deeper with the Spirit, but I couldn’t because I was lying to my husband. My heart, marriage, and home was not in shalom. Not in order. Once I got honest with my husband I was immediately relieved and everything went back to the way it was.
That was my first inkling that something was different.

I told my husband and I told my pastors. I told my sisters.
Months ago God gave me a purpose and a vision. I started this blog. God gave me a voice and talent for writing. He wanted me to use it for glory.

I was afraid to be honest on this platform and with my community. I thought if I told everyone about my relapse that they would doubt the power of God. How completely self-centered. Another lie the enemy used to keep me in chains. I half way brought everything into the light, but really failed to voice what God was truly doing in my life, which is the whole reason I had began this journey to begin with.

A few months later I relapsed again. On the fourth of July.
The night before I was sitting outside again with my husband and we had just received a revelation of how the enemy uses lies and labels to keep us in chains. The very next day I woke in a very dark and angry place made a decision to relapse.

Later that night I was horrified. I immediately turned away from it and planned to get honest about it as soon I could work it out in my own mind.

God had other plans. I would have immediately trapped myself off from the Spirit again due to shame and fear. I woke up the next day a bit disturbed, but ultimately at peace.

My husband and I had plans to watch Stanger things, but the Spirit laid something heavy on his heart he couldn’t shake. That heaviness was me and he just didn’t know it, but after some prayer he questioned me. He thought he was going insane, but couldn’t deny the Spirit telling him that I was not being honest about something.

I was terrified, but I thought about the time I spent wallowing in fear and shame back in April and I told him the truth.

The truth was I had relapsed and the crazy thing was I didn’t feel the burning urge to go out and do it again. I reflected back to all the times I had been in that very position of painful honesty and I couldn’t think of a time accept back in April when I wasn’t crawling out of my skin to go get drunk or high. I was at peace. I could not shake the absolute presence of the Holy Spirit in my heart.

Then the most wonderful feeling of absolute freedom floated through my whole being and I finally saw the big picture that God had been painting all along that I had been failing to see. I was and am free.

I don’t want to go out and get a drink. I don’t want to solve my issues with substances. I want to go deeper and deeper with my Creator. I want to be a wife and a mother and I want to use my voice, my story, and my mistakes to show the Glory and wonderful mercy of God in my life. I want to shine a light on every dark corner of my being and I don’t want a single thing in my heart that doesn’t line up with the will of God.

I am FREE. There is absolutely nothing that can separate me from the love of Christ.

Again, what the enemy used to harm me, God used for my good.

I am not a victim.
I am not an addict.
I am a daughter of the King
And his name is Yahweh.

I am not addicted to anything. I am not an addict. That is an absolute lie used by the enemy to keep me in chains and label which I thought I had found my freedom and my community. I am Kaleigh a wife, a mother, a daughter, sister, friend, but more than anything else I am a daughter of God and this is what true freedom in Christ can mean. It means finding your identity rooted in the one who made you. You are His just as I am. Don’t limit his ability and his power in your life. God gave us the Spirit, which gives us the Spirit of self-control and the power over sin in our lives, but only if we are truly and intently living a righteous life for him will that true freedom be found. If you haven’t been given that revelation and your identity isn’t rooted in Christ then your easy pray for the enemy and of course you will use things outside of yourself to fill you up and give you purpose. Doesn’t really matter what lie or label the enemy is using:
Anger
Porn
Drugs
Sex
Alcohol
Greed
Power

There’s many in this world that we live in. Sometimes people have many different struggles all at once, but I’m here to tell you that living a life fully for Jesus can give you power over them and it is a daily thing and it doesn’t happen over night. I’ve been on a long journey of God ripping open my layers of protection and revealing my flesh and weaknesses.
But for the first time in my entire life, I am absolutely certain of one thing that I never thought was possible that God absolutely has the ability heal our souls, but we’ve got to want it because of our love for him and not anything else.
God heals from the inside out and when he breaks chains they are broken for good.

Failing to do the Good We Ought To Do

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There’s an old saying that goes, If we’re not growing we’re dying. Walking with the Spirit is intended to be a daily thing that must continue to go deeper. I’ve got a lot of experience with moving forward in my Christian walk and then growing complacent, then stalling out, and then I look around me and I’m suddenly immersed in old habits, clinging to dead things.

This path I’ve chosen to walk only goes one direction and there’s absolutely only one way to walk it out. I must continuously stay in the word and connect with the Spirit. I must follow His commands and obey his word. I can say all day how great my faith is, but if I’m not actually living out what The Word says to do, then what do I have? Nothing.

There’s a line in the big book of AA that says half-measures availed us nothing. This is true for the Christian way of life as well. If I’m only half-heartedly attempting to connect with God then I’m sure to be met with silence. Don’t get me wrong, God absolutely meets us where we are at. He is always present in our lives, but when I’m failing at staying true to my own commitment to Him I’m handicapping myself. He can hear me at all times, but when my head is filled with worldly things and I’m committing actions that aren’t righteous those thoughts are louder than His voice. I’m literally walking away from Him instead of toward him. The fault is my own. So when you’re sitting there wondering where He is, frustrated with your circumstances, don’t doubt Him, look at yourself.

Even in the worst experiences life can throw at us, we have no excuse to become stagnant. Read through the book of Job. In fact in the midst of the storm, we have many reasons to press forward and rely on the strength of God to see us through it. One of my favorite quotes is, when life becomes too hard to stand, kneel. We must trust that God is good no matter the season. Let him transform your pain into something beautiful. Your pain is a tool that can be harnessed to combat the enemy, not only in your own life, but somebody else’s. God will use what was meant to harm you to strengthen you, to help you, to raise you up and mold you into a warrior. He’s done it for me. Not that long ago I was a troubled and angry girl. I was doing awful and shady things. I had experienced tragic loss and endured what was to me great consequences. In my mind I was the furthest thing from a Christian woman, now I would shout about the mercy of God from the rooftops if I knew it would help someone. His love is life-changing.

I cried out to God in my anguish and he answered me. He met me in my pain and healed me, but only because to the best of my knowledge I obeyed his Word.

But!

When I fail to do so and don’t do the good I ought to do I can’t grow. I shut myself off from the sunlight of the Spirit. It’s a matter of time before old wounds start resurfacing.

The good I ought to do? What does that mean? It looks a little different for each person depending on where they are in their walk of life.

I can only speak for me, because this is the path I’m on. I’ve experienced these revelations through my own trial and error.

The good I ought to do for me is simple, but first:

For each and every one of us we are commanded to all obey the Word and live a righteous life. We are absolutely supposed to uphold the law written in the bible, but we are saved through grace, meaning we are accredited righteousness through faith in Jesus Christ. Meaning, yes, while I’ve sinned, Jesus’s sacrifice covers my sin, when God looks at me he sees me as righteous and holy. That does NOT mean the law does not matter. We are still called to uphold it, but without the power of the Spirit we absolutely cannot.

We must uphold the law, because we are still called to do good works, not to achieve salvation, because we are gifted it through faith, but because we have salvation.

If we are not committed to the the our good works, how can we say we have faith? Our faith is shown by our good works! Faith without works is dead. Faith is an action. Think of the story of Abraham.

The law was meant for good. The law was setup to save us from ourselves after sin entered the world. The law is just and perfect, because God is just and perfect. We are not, we once were. We were created in God’s very own image, but when we disobeyed him we fell from grace. The law was meant to bring us back into right standing, but because sin is in the world as we are in the world we failed it’s purpose. So God gave us an amazing gift. The Holy Spirit.

When Jesus died for us, we were then given the gift of the Spirit who resides in us. He sets us apart. He makes us holy and righteous, no longer a slave to sin. The power of sin in our lives is defeated, but ONLY if we live in a daily dependency upon our Creator.

Why wouldn’t we want too? Why wouldn’t you want to have an ever growing relationship with your creator?

When we fail to do so, sin sneaks back in. I say sneaks, because the enemy is crafty. He’s the ultimate trickster. He lies and deceives us and turns us away from the truth, but that can only happen if we don’t arm ourselves with the truth. How do we do that? Obey the word. If you don’t know it, how can you do it?

Sometimes we know the word, and then choose to not follow it and that’s how the enemy gets a foothold in our lives. Stealing, killing, and destroying everything he can, but only because we’ve left the door open for him to come in.

The good I ought to do is simple and not easy.

As a follower of Christ, I must obey the Word.

As a wife, I must submit and love my husband.

As a mother, I must raise my children up in righteousness.

As a daughter, I must respect my parents.

As a friend, I’m called to be loyal, honest, and giving.

As a citizen, I must obey the laws in my country, state, and town.

As a good neighbor, I must be helpful, loving, kind, and giving.

As an example to other believers, I must do all of those things and more.

Each of those areas are way more in depth than I’ve written, but to save time I’ve kept it simple.

When I fail to do any of these things I’ve listed I’m failing to do what I ought to do, meaning I’m a sitting duck for the enemy and I’ve absolutely allowed this to happen.

Then down the rabbit hole I go. Depression, anxiety, fear, control, anger, indulgence, and all kinds of different multitudes of sin have free reign in my life.

God provides a foolproof way to save us from ourselves and the answer lies within the pages of our bibles. You want to change your life? Read it. You want to be “right” with God? Obey it.

It is that simple. I speak of years of experience in the rabbit hole. I’ve found a way that truly works and that has saved and transformed my life. My way got me at the bottom of a bottle, staring into a pool, thinking it would be totally fine to just jump in and drown myself while my husband was looking on and my child sleeping peacefully inside.

I’m not sure where your way got you. It could be worse, or it could be better, but it’s nothing compared to living in true freedom with Christ. I can absolutely promise you that. So if you haven’t opened your bible today and intimately connected with Christ, you should do so.

I can only speak of these things, because I’ve lived out these experiences. All of this was absolutely learned the hard way♡♡ It doesn’t have to be learned in the way I had to learn it. I’ve lost friends, time, lengths of sobriety, and many opportunities as consequences for my stubbornness and foolish and selfish choices. Yes, obeying the word is a sacrifice. Yes, we must die to our flesh and it’s painful. Yes, for lack of a better word sometimes it just sucks to choose righteousness over flesh, but it’s nothing compared to the Joy that’s coming and the joy it can bring to your present life now. How free do you want to be? Then do the good you know you ought to do.

How free do you want to be?

How free do you want to be? That was an expression I heard many times while I was in and out of recovery circles. The statement echoed through my mind many times as if taunting me. I would turn it over in my head and wrestle with the feeling of conviction that it left with me after I heard it.

‘What did that even mean?’, I would wonder angrily.

Many years later after hearing it over and over again, after I had finally been gifted with true freedom, did I finally comprehend what that statement meant.

Jesus can’t redeem what you don’t bring into the light. God can’t provide a miracle for something you don’t ask for.

If you aren’t willing to have the faith or commit the works, then how do you expect Him to move in your life?

For many years I would pray to God to save me from myself, to relieve me of my misery. Many times I was offered chance after chance at help. Help, I certainly did not deserve. Help, that only a God like the God of Israel could provide. I would be so incredibly grateful, but the peace never lasted. I would be in a worse off condition had you found me several months later. Why?

Why wouldn’t God deliver me from myself? Why couldn’t I get it together? I was desperate and in so much pain. There were times I would just pray and ask God to take me. If this was going to be my life, a never ending cycle of addiction and pain, then God, just end it. I don’t want it.

God had a different plan for me and I thank him every day for his purpose in my life.

Why? Why didn’t God enable me back then to be where I am today?

The simple answer is I didn’t really want to be free. I didn’t really want true freedom and I certainly didn’t understand what true freedom was. I could sure see it in people. I could see when people were walking daily with the Holy Spirit. I could see the sparkle in their eye. I could see the light that that shined so brightly when they entered a room, a light that wasn’t even possible to shine that brightly on their own without the Spirit’s help. I saw God work miracles in others people’s life. Where was my miracle that I prayed so fervently for?

Writing this now, all I can see is the sheer selfishness and self-pity that this girl that was once me, walked in daily.

Yet, God came through in ways for me that I never expected and certainly didn’t always like.

You see, God doesn’t see me the way I saw me. Nor, does he see you the way you see you.

We were all made for so much more. When we accept Jesus Christ as our savior we become a part of a covenant.

A part of a relationship that should become the most important relationship of our lives. Not only, do we become a bride of Christ, we become a son or daughter of God. We are adopted into a heavenly family. It doesn’t end there. We also become temples… a vessel for the Holy Spirit. We are gifted with the Holy Spirit when we are baptized and adopted into this new family.

The Holy Spirit then begins a great work in us. sanctifiying us, sharpening us. The Spirit begins to move in our lives interceding on our behalf in our prayers.

The spirit begin to move in our heart and minds showing us which way to walk. We are remade. We are reborn. We are made new. God sees us, all of us, but once we accept Jesus as our savior and begin to repent Jesus covers our sin. We are made holy and righteous through this process. That’s how God begins to see us. Forgiven and loved.

This becomes a daily process, the process of sanctification. It is only possible through faith and works. The work isn’t trying to measure up to a Holy God. The work isn’t about a religious duty. The work also isn’t about the law.

See God, knew, we would never be able to achieve the standard that his law commanded. The law is holy and perfect, because God is Holy and perfect. We are not, because sin entered the world when Eve and Adam disobeyed God and ate from the Tree of Knowledge.

God loved us so much. So very much, that he sent his own son to die so that you and I could live. So that we could find true freedom and live and walk in it. We are given that ability when we accept the Holy Spirit into our lives.

So when my Father looks at me, he doesn’t see the girl that I wrote about earlier. He doesn’t see the broken and desperate girl I was. He sees me, new and remade. He sees me as beautiful and worthy, because I was made worthy by the blood of Christ. He sees me as a child with a purpose to shepperd His sheep into His Kingdom. While, I may not see myself that way some days, that’s absolutely how he sees me. The amazing thing is, I am called by my Father to glorify him, and me, by myself may not be qualified to do that, but he empowers me to do so. He doesn’t call the qualified he qualifies the called.

Can I let you in a secret? None of us are qualified. How can you and I be qualified to do any good works for our Father? As holy and mighty as He is? That’s impossible, but that’s exactly what kind of God He is. He makes the impossible, possible.

Look at Moses, Jeremiah, Isaiah… none of them thought they were worthy to be God’s mouthpiece. God said to them, you are not. I make you so!

God took the broken and lost girl I was and through the blood of Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit fully healed and redeemed me.

How?

I did the work. I love and have faith in God and his word. I believe in Christ. I asked the Holy Spirit to come in and wreck my world. I love God I obeyed his word. When we begin to obey God’s word amazing things begin to happen. Things start shifting. We begin to die to ourselves deny our flesh and we are literally changed from the inside out. We are made righteous.

So the original question: how free do you want to be?

So what are area are you not willing to invite God into? What thing are you not willing to let light be shined on? What place in your life are you keeping in the dark? Is it your anger? Is it some secret sin? Is it something you can’t even begin to acknowledge? Is it unforgivenness? Whatever it is, I assure you God already sees it and all you have to do it do the work and shed light on it.

When we begin to invite God into the very places we want to keep him out of and thoroughly devote ourselves to him through a daily relationship. Daily prayer and meditation. Daily studying the word. Daily surrounding yourself with other believers walking the same walk I’m describing here. Daily taking your thoughts captive and turning away from sin. Daily communicating with Jesus and the Holy Spirit and God, you too, can find freedom and walk in it.

The secret ingredients?

Faith. Your bible. Biblical disciples. Prayer. Discipline. The main ingredient? Obey His word. That’s what he wants above all else. You see, if Eve and Adam had obeyed him in the very beginning I wouldn’t be writing this now. God says if you love me, obey my word. That’s what it truly looks like to love God. Obey His word. You can’t obey his word, if you aren’t committed to studying it.

I made the decision a year ago today to start obeying God’s word and it’s been literally life-changing for me.

On April 2, 2018 I came to the end of myself. I got down on my knees and invited God back into my life. I begged Him to come in and begin a work in me and show me the way out. I prayed for Him to make it obvious so that I would not miss it.

A day later He answered my prayer. As my husband was yelling at me and as I was making the decision to pack my bags and walk out on my life and my family God whispered to me. He whisperd, y’all!! I’ve never been more certain than anything in my life. I was deep in thought trying to figure out where I could go, I was overcome with shame and self-loathing. I couldn’t even see or hear my husband anymore. God, interrupted my thoughts, “This is what you wanted. Here is your way out. Take it.”

I was stunned. I didn’t mean this way, Lord! We never do, do we? It never quite looks like how we think it should.

I just knew and God did too, that if I walked out that door I was lost. There would never be another chance for me. I wouldn’t be able to bring myself back from that. The enemy would have won and it would have been absolutely my fault. We are all responsible for the wrong we commit. The enemy can’t make us do something we already don’t want to do, but there does come a time when we continue to make decisions based on self and commit so much wrong that we won’t be able to find right again. There absolutely is a point of no return. We have one life to live. Don’t waste it living in the dark. One day our number is going to be up and we won’t get another chance to figure it out.

I was amazed. I couldn’t help, but praise God in all His glory… that was the first taste of what it felt like to be loved by God that I had ever truly experienced. It was earth-shattering. I felt seen and heard in away I never had before. The next day I moved my feet. I began to commit myself to Him daily and He came in and truly set me free. He has set me free from things I didn’t even know I needed to be free from!

A year later, I’ve had ups and downs. When I’m not daily plugged in, I feel it. It gets harder and harder to devote myself to His word. My selfishnesss begins to rise to the point where it’s unbearable. I repent and devote myself once again. Yet, nothing I’ve experienced this year has kept me from turning away from Him. Not one thing I’ve had to go through alone. God has empowered me to work through all of my brokenness and freed me from it, every time I bring it to him. The question I ask myself, the thing that keeps me in the race, is:

How free do you want to be?

I Don’t Want To Be Mine

I will fight for you!

I will fight against the temptations and distractions of this world to be close to your side!

I will slay my flesh over and over again to quiet the selfish urge inside of me that tells me not today, maybe tomorrow. And I will do it as many times as it takes.

When I fail I will crawl my way back through my own pitfalls to be in your presence.

I will never stop fighting.

I won’t give up.

I won’t turn away and if I do I will turn right back around until I am with you forever.

I will say no even when it it feels like I’m literally dying to say yes!

I will put you first and I will put myself last!

Their ways are not my ways, no, I don’t want them to be.

I will set the world on fire, I will burn it all down with the light and love that I know is inside of me, because of you!

You! Only you! Brought me back from the gates of insanity, the darkest depths I have ever known was because I didn’t fully know you, Jesus!

Your freedom tasted so good on my lips! I will always be thirsty for the freedom that you poured down on me.

I don’t want this life if you’re not in it.

With out you, I am bitter. I am bruised. I am angry. I am broken. I am useless and burnt out.

You give my days purpose that I cannot even begin to fathom the feeling of wonder when I am close by your side.

The world looks bright with you in it!

Anywhere you are, I want to be there!

You are my hope. My dream.

My life. My hands. My feet. My will, let it be yours!

Use my life for your good, because I have no good for it!

Without your light in my heart, I can be so mean. So angry. So intent of destroying the light around me.

Without you, I am leading me! I lead myself into the darkest parts of my mind that wants to enslave me again, but you saved me. You brought me back! You stood me up and told me to stand tall! You dusted me off and I began to shine as if I were already the diamond you created! You healed me! You redeemed me! You freed me!

I want to love like you love!

I want to bleed like you bleed!

So take this bruised and battered heart! Take this prideful and angry woman that I can be and make her beautiful for your own purpose, for your own will!

I am yours, because I don’t want to be mine!

Amen!

Recovered Alcoholic to Daughter of the Kingdom

I suffered from alcoholism and drug addiction for over a decade. It really didn’t get absolutely terrible until I turned 19. I really didn’t even identify as someone having a problem till I was 17. I just thought, I did it because it made me feel better. The first time I got blackout drunk was when I was 16. My dad had died the year before, and instead of grieving I used substances to cope. I would get so drunk that I would black out, and then I could deal with it, or so my friends told me. That I was an uncontrollable, crying mess. My bestfriend died when I was 18 and I thought it was my fault, because I had ended our relationship. A few months later he passed away due to an accident from using drugs and alcohol. I blamed myself for a very long time. I would get drunk and cry about my loved ones and feel sorry for myself. It was an awful cycle that repeated itself over and over again.

As a teenager it was all fun and games until it wasn’t. I was about 17 when I first realized I might have an issue. I don’t remember much of the night. I don’t even remember what I was doing. I snuck out all of the time as a kid, because my mom pretty much grounded me from the time I was 16 until they finally kicked me out. I don’t even remember if I was coming or going, I just remember asking myself. Why am I doing this? It’s not even fun anymore. The scary thing was, it didn’t even phase me.

One night my mom checked my room and I was gone of course. She called me and told me to come home. When I got there, they just looked at me so perplexed, and asked me, “Why are you doing this?”

I didn’t know. I couldn’t answer them. All I knew was that I couldn’t stop and it terrified me. My mom put me in treatment for the first time at 17. It was good. I finally started to feel better. I got to talk out my sad story and we looked at alot of root issues. I had my trigger list. I knew my REBT coping tool. I had some really nasty side affects from coming off all the stimulants I had been using, and quite a few from the mood stabilizers, but despite all of that, I was finally feeling better. I felt like I could stay healthy and sober. I remember thinking honestly to myself on the last week I was there, that I didn’t want to do drugs or drink. I wanted to stay sober. I was thrilled at the prospect, but I was so afraid. I had been in a safety net for over 80 days. What would going home be like for me?

Without even a second hesitation I snuck out the very first night and my friend scooped me up. I was drunk within hours of returning home. I was amazed and didn’t understand how I went from being totally wanting to be sober, to drunk in a matter of hours. My mom had enough. She kicked me out. I was staying with a much older man, until he finally had enough of my escapades. The night he kicked me out was totally demoralizing. A few weeks later I checked myself into rehab. From the time I was 16-19 I went to 4 different rehabs and several outpatient programs. At 20 I went to a sober living home. Then I was kicked out and then accepted back in.

Through all of that, I still couldn’t stay sober. When I finally decided that I needed to do what I wanted, which unfortunately was do drugs until I wanted to be done, not because everyone else wanted me to stop. You can’t get sober for anyone, but yourself. Not for your job or for your kids. Not your spouse. If you are the real deal alcoholic or addict, then nothing but a spiritual solution to a spiritual malady will get you sober.

After some harrowing experiences and some real deep soul searching. I finally came to the end of myself. All those treatment facilities and programs isn’t where it clicked for me. I got sober on someone’s couch and the crazy thing was I managed to stay sober for sometime after that. I followed direction. I worked the 12 steps. I got honest and I did whatever I could to stay sober. I was willing to do whatever it took.

I’m not knocking rehabs or anything of the sort. It just wasn’t what helped me get sober and stay sober. Really, the sobriety of any individual isn’t a building or treatment plan. It’s the person willing to do the work. Regardless, I’m thankful for each and every person from those places that tried to help me.

Sobriety was awesome. Working the steps was awful and hard at first. I was like this little kid learning how to ride a bike without handlebars. There was so much emotional work I had to do. It really sucked, but about 6 months in it really began to change my heart and life. I fell in love with life and the people around me. I loved going to my meetings. I loved helping other girls. I finally found something I rocked at that was good for me. More than anything, I fell in love with Jesus.

One of the conditions of me living with the family that took me in off the streets was that I had to go to church every Sunday. I believed in God and I really liked what I saw in my sponsor, but I had a lot of resentment and shame when it came to God. Working the 12 steps really enabled me to start building that relationship with God. The cool thing about the 12 steps, was that I could make God more approachable in my mind. I could throw out those old conceived notions of an angry and mean God and I just pictured an old wise man. Someone that I wasn’t afraid to talk too. I began to read the bible and the more I went to church the more I began to really fall head over heels for Jesus.

Surrounded by people who cared about me and loved me, I flourished. I’m so thankful for that family that took my brokenness and showed me how to live and love Jesus with whole my heart. If it wasn’t for them, I dont know where I would be today. I’d probably be dead.

I stayed sober for nearly three years, but relapsed just shy of picking up my 3 year chip. I stopped working my program. I’d like to say I got complacent, but looking back I had made an error very early in. I was a very codependent person. I had experienced so much loss and abandonment in my life I didn’t feel like I was worthy of love unless I had someone to fill the gaping whole inside of me. Instead of turning to God having him tell me my identity, I had other people in my life fill that gap. Men and my friends. Obviously, that did not work. I got married quickly and had a baby. I stopped praying and seeking God and soon I found myself worse off spiritually then I had ever been.

I contemplated suicide. Tried a few times. I was a mess. It was awful. I don’t think I had ever been in such a dark place before. Once you taste the sunlight of the Spirit and choose to walk away from it, it does really crazy things to your mind.

I spiraled for quite sometime. My husband was a God send. He chose to love me and fight for me every step of the way. He truly showed me what mercy and grace was. He never gave up on me. Not once. There are memories and years I’ll never get back and that breaks my heart. More than anything, I deeply regret all of the trouble and pain I caused my family.

I’m now going to tell you a story inside of my story of how God met me where I was and pulled me out of my self-made pit.

One evening I sat outside and my soul cried out to God. I wanted to stop I didn’t know how. I tried so many different ways. I knew the answer. I knew I needed to have a spiritual overhauling. I didn’t just need to be connected to God, I needed to want to be connected God. I began writing.
It started out about my step child and then morphed into my anger towards God and then ended with me asking him to rescue me. To reach down and throw me a rope so that I could climb out of this pit I had led myself into. I asked plainly, I prayed and asked him to be so completely obvious to me. I wanted a relationship with him.

Do you know that I trusted you?
I trusted you to take care of us.
I know that it’s our own freewill that allows us to encounter the pain that we do.
I know also that it’s the sin and evil that is in the world
But I trusted you.
I grew up believing in all that good that you did, I grew up literally feeling the love you had for us.
I grew up knowing no matter the pain and the hurt we endured, I grew up believing that you would always be there.
YOU HAVE been,
but I came to believe that, somehow foolish me, that you saw me. You saw me in my pain and You rescued me. I trusted you. Life is life, but after all I had been through, I thought somehow foolish me, that I had lost enough. That I had failed enough. Yet, when I finally met you, that was the best experience I had ever gone through. I grew so much. I was thrilled. Life finally felt like an adventure instead of a prison. I was excited. You were driving, I let you. I always got us lost, I always made the wrong turns, you led me to freedom. It was truly amazing. I finally felt all the mercy and grace I knew you had for me. I saw myself the way you saw me. No not all of the time, I’m not perfect, That’s why I have you. I had the time of my life with you in the driver’s seat. Yet, one day I stopped calling, I took the lead, I stopped seeking your truth in my life. I stopped caring if people saw you in me. I stopped caring if I was hurting them and hurting you, and hurting me. I started making decisions for myself, but not very good ones. I started free falling. I’d catch myself by pure luck most of the time, but still I couldn’t commit for very long. I’d sit, I’d pause, I’d talk and you would listen. Peace would reach me, but before you even had chance to really work in my life, in my heart, I’d fall again. I’m not very good at this. At relationships. I ball myself up and remain so closed off. It was better this way, I thought, after all that loss. I had had enough I thought.
When she got sick, I knew. I knew when they told us, I knew. This was a familiar pattern, but rememer, I trusted you, why? I’m asking why, even though I shouldn’t. That’s your business. Their business, I didn’t have a place to ask. I didn’t have a place to fit in that hand I was dealt, but I really did chose it. See all that, it could have been something, had I not stopped seeing you. I remained hopeful and faithful you would come in and save the day. I truly did. I was ready, for your miracle. I know there was one, there’s a miracle somewhere that isn’t about me, but about you, but I wanted that miracle for me, for them, for her. I wanted that miracle most of all for me though, because I’m so utterly selfish, because I trusted you, but I realize now that I really didn’t. I really haven’t. Or I’d be fully committed. I wouldn’t stop calling, I’d be there everytime I could, but I haven’t and I’m hurting. I miss you. I miss them. I miss who I was, who I wanted to be, who I could have been. Will you help me, get back to that, but most of all move forward. You will you take me on that journey again? I want you in the driver’s seat. I’m lost. I’m broken. I don’t want to bring my brokenness on them. I want it gone. I want that freedom. Will you show me how? I’m gonna be honest I’m out of ideas. I don’t want this life. This life I created, this prison I made it. Will you set me free? I know you did. 2000 years ago. You gave us Jesus. We couldn’t do it, you knew it, you gave us love, in the form of your son. You gave us a helper in the form of a spirit, all parts of you, but will you help me embrace it? I’m so selfish so broken so needy, so desperate. I am weak. You are strong, so will you help me? Please answer this time. Help me, help myself. Deliver me, help me, give me the eyes to see you at work, give me the ears to hear you at work. Help me turn my back on the darkness. Shine a light in my life. Because we need it. We so very need it. I’m asking you if you can come back? Will you receive me with joy? Will you forgive me for the hurt? For the destruction I caused? Will you help me say I’m sorry to those who need to hear it. Will you lead me?

Only two days later. My husband meets me in the bathroom he had found a tiny little speck of marajuana. What are the odds? I had been so careful of hiding all evidence of my deciet. I immediately fell into my old habits of shame and guilt. I was ready to leave and walk away from my family. They deserved better. Then as my husband turned to leave me alone in my despair. I heard God so clearly. This is what you asked me for. I have thrown you a rope and I have made it obvious. Had my husband not found that tiny little speck of weed, who knows what would have happened. I was on the verge of no return. I shared my experience with him. We had a long discussion and he gave me some advice and asked me too look at my wounds. Why did I keep turning back to my addiction? The very next morning I began a devotional I had started in the middle of my relapse, but hadn’t really begun it. The devotional was literally about how Satan will use our pain and weakness to cripple us and keep us in slavery. And the first bible verse was 1 peter 5:8, Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. God was speaking so clearly to me. A few days later, I was looking through my old writings. Things I had written as a teenager. As I was reading them I began to cry. My parents were both addicts. I felt so alone and abandoned by them. Over and over again, I wrote and wondered why I was not good enough for them, why did they choose their addiction over me? I had taken their faults and labeled myself as unworthy because of it. That followed me into adulthood. I thought I had worked through it and that I had gotten over it. I had parshely. I had indeed forgiven them, but I still identified myself as shameful and dirty. Those labels that I held onto fiercely was killing me. God spoke to me then, living water fell over me and engulfed me in healing. I again heard him so clearly. He said, you are mine. I made you, you are loved and wanted. You are my child. You are not an orphan. Satan used my addiction to keep me in bondage and slavery. My addiction is my thorn (2 Corinthians 12:1-10). My addiction is my dislocated hip (Genesis 32: 22-32). My addiction is not my end, but my beginning. It is a gift from God, to keep me weak, so that I will always turn to my God for strength. He knew me so well, he knew without it, that I would not turn to him, because I’m so prideful. This was a revelation that he gave me over the course of a few days. Each time it was so obvious to me what he was telling me, and each day it was my prayer being answered again and again. I keep praying and keep seeking him. Every day, I must call out to him. My plight is a beautiful gift in disguise. I am so very blessed. I am not cured, to remain free I must turn to Jesus, my redeemer. My goal is not to remain sober, but to continuously seek God and go deeper in my relationship with him. My addiction is a symptom of being Self-reliant instead of God-reliant. Satan is waiting in the shadows, but my God is my protector, with him I cannot fail.

God really began to work wonders of miracles and healing in my life.

Some of which I’ve already posted before, but the miracle I want to tell you about now is how God has transformed me from an Alcoholic into a fully healed and redeemed daughter of His Kingdom.

My husband and I began a marriage class given by the pastor of my new church and his wife.

As we poured over the word, I truly began to learn about who God is, what Jesus dying on the cross has done for us. The first thing I learned is that inside of every believer is two parts. Our flesh is our, guaranteed since Adam and Eve, sinful nature. The other is our soul. The part that God created. The spirit that lives inside of us is God. Our soul and our flesh are constantly at war. The helper, the spirit, given to us by Jesus is what leads us and helps us overcome our flesh. The only way we can overcome our own sin, is by knowing and loving Jesus. We actually don’t have the power over our own sin, the spirit is what helps us conquer our sin. The only true way to do that is by living out the word and having faith in Jesus. Living righteously. Which is a daily thing. Daily prayer and meditation. Daily repentance. Daily doing good and feeding your soul with the word of God.

The cool thing was, the more I learned the more I realized I was kind of already doing all of that through my 12 step program. I did daily prayer and meditation. I did daily repentance. I helped other people.

We started diving into the old testament and I realized that I had a lot of faulty ideas about Christianity and God.

Which really got me thinking about my life. I began to question every thing I knew and what I was doing. I became convicted of certain things in my life.

In the beginning everything I was learning matched up perfectly with my 12 step program. Then slowly, it began to become evident that they were very different. For instance, step two of the 12 steps, was

Came to believe in a power greater than myself that could restore me to santiy

Which for me, was no big deal. I already believed in Jesus. I had no issue there, but what about the ones that didn’t?

Looking back over my years as a 12 stepper, I have told many people, it doesn’t have to be my conception of God, but any conception. Your own conception. As long as it’s not something you can destroy you’re fine. The hope of course is that the more deeper they go in their relationship with their higher power that they’ll come to know and love Jesus, but that isn’t the case.

I was completely convicted. I was selling a story I didn’t believe in my own heart. I was telling people to believe or be willing to believe in any God they wanted and that was enough to get them to the next step. I had helped people build a foundation on a false God and that totally broke my heart. How could I be a believer and continue to do that and stay sober?

I knew that the number two things I had to do to stay sober and connected to God was being willing and honest. I wrestled with that forsometime. I loved the 12 steps. My identity was wrapped up so much in being a recovered alcoholic. In fact, my first blog post was mainly about being recovered alcoholic.

I spoke about my fears with my pastor, my husband, my friends, and my sponsor. Basically, from the 12 step side they told me I was looking at it wrong. That step two is to get them to the door and through it and that the rest was up to God. Which, is what many of my Christian 12 steppers told me and what gave them peace about the whole thing. They all have wrestled with it as well.

My pastor on the other hand, asked me if I believe that Jesus has the power to heal and transform lives. I said yes. He asked me, if I had been born again? I said yes. He said you aren’t a recovered addict. You are born again and risen from the dead from coming to believe in Jesus Christ. He said that God doesn’t see me as an addict. He said the God sees me clean and pure because of Jesus.

This rocked me to my core. I thought at first. No, he just doesn’t get it. I knew in order to stay sober I must live in the 12 steps. Without them, I will fail. I shared my fear. He gave a sermon a few weeks later that was the answer to my questions.

The bible tells me how to live righteously. The bible has the steps of becoming sanctified. The bible calls us we who were once dead in our sins, once having been born again Saints. We are called God’s holy people.

But how?

How am I holy?

I am holy by living righteously, Jesus makes me holy, by his sacrifice which enables me to live righteously. The only way to the Father is through him. Apart, from Jesus I can do nothing.

How do I live righteously?

I said it earlier.

Inside of every believer is two parts. Our flesh and our soul. Our flesh is our, guaranteed since Adam and Eve, sinful nature. The other is our soul. The part that God created. The spirit that lives inside of us is God. Our soul and our flesh are constantly at war. The helper, the spirit, given to us by Jesus is what leads us and helps us overcome our flesh. The only way we can overcome our own sin, is by knowing and loving Jesus. We actually don’t have the power over our own sin, the spirit is what helps us conquer our sin. The only true way to do that is by living out the word and having faith in Jesus. Living righteously. Which is a daily thing. Daily prayer and meditation. Daily repentance. Daily doing good and feeding your soul with the word of God.

The books of Romas makes this very clear. How had I missed it for so long?

The Word makes it very clear on how to life in the freedom of Jesus and live a righteous life.

The thing is, you have to read the Word. You have to want to be connected to God. You have to love him and want to know him. You have to obey his command. Obeying the word is more important to God than anything else!

So this was the beginning of my journey into true freedom. I came to the sad and heartbreaking realization that as a believer I couldn’t promote a program that promoted a false or unknown God. As a Christian, I could only point to Jesus. This was radical thinking and I knew it. I knew I would be met with dismay from my fellow 12steppers.

The bible is radical and so I don’t apologize for being radical. The bible is very clear. The only way to the Father is through Jesus.

When talking to my fellow 12 steppers, some tried to reason with me. The point of AA they said, was that it is all inclusive and that people of all race and all religion can partake and find freedom. That’s great, but the bible makes it very clear that the only way to true freedom and eternal life is not all inclusive in the way AA is. While, yes, Jesus is for everyone, may they find him now, but the path to the Father, is only one way and that is through Jesus.

And as the bible says,

After parting from AA I was so in fear of what my daily life would like and I honestly felt as if my identity had been stripped from me. I felt alone and terrified of a relapse. During my time in AA I thought I had found my purpose in helping other addicts to freedom. I was heartbroken at thought of losing that purpose.

Then one evening I shared my fears with myhusband, he said this is great news! I was bewildered by his response. He explained, that my identity was based in a man-made program and now I could finally find and rest in the identity given to me by God.

Not long after, one Sunday morning during worship God spoke so clearly to me. He said, you are mine. You are my daughter. A daughter of my Kingdom. Your purpose is me and to help other lost sheep to my Kingdom.

It totally wrecked me. I realized after all this time, that Jesus totally had the power to heal and transform my life. I was just going about the wrong way. I thought being a Christian meant that I went to church, read my bible, and tried not sin and tried to lead a good life, but it is so much more than that!

I am so thankful for AA, because it showed me the foundational tools on how to live a spiritual and righteous life. I would never have know that, otherwise.

The church should have been my answer to my addiction and brokenness to begin with. The church as a whole has become a lukewarm movement of saying how to live, but not actually living the Word out. The message of freedom and grace has been spun so positively and watered down that, man had to create a program to help broken people find healing. The crazy thing is, AA had the rightanswer. GOD. They just left out the most important part, Jesus. All of the 12 step work is taken straight from the bible, but unfortunately, the only way to an Eternal life and real spiritual birth is through Christ dying for us. Jesus says, apart from me you can do nothing.

Now, I know this message will offend so many people, and I apologize for that, but not for my God. My hope is that many will come to realize that true freedom can be found in the pages of the bible, and that the Christian walk is more than bible studies, church buildings, fellowship, and trying not to sin. My prayer for every man and woman is that they find the love of Christ and walk the narrow path.

If you have any questions please email me at: recoveredmotherandjesuslover@gmail.com

When There’s No reason For Grieving

A few days ago I was driving in my car listening to a secular song called lifeline by We Three. I’ll post the lyrics for you.

The opening verse is what really caught my attention. I know we’ve all been there. There are days where we just feel empty. Stuck. Alone. Sad. Depressed. I’ve had many days like that. I’ve had seasons like that. Where I just felt like I was grieving, but I hadn’t actually lost anyone or anything.

The Holy Spirit put this on my heart and I really wanted to share it. Sometimes, probably most times, when we feel like we are grieving and we just don’t know why. The reason why we are sad is because we are missing the presence of God in our lives.

When I’m not disciplined and I’ve really wandered far from His presence I feel worn out and just freaking miserable. That’s my soul missing the connection with my father.

When I was younger and didn’t have a relationship with God I was diagnosed with several different emotional disorders at 12! 12 years old and in middle school I was labeled emotionally unwell. I was put on mood stabilizers. As a teenager, I became addicted to substances and men. Anything that made me feel alive, because I was dead inside. When I got sober and started to have a relationship with Jesus and then baptized in the Holy Spirit I got angry when I realized all those years I had spent thinking something was wrong with me and trying to find healing in the world when the answer was in a book right in front of my face! I was missing God and I just didn’t know it! My soul was crying out for Him, wanting to worship anything, because we are all made to worship something. We are created that way for a reason. The hope is that we will come to know and love our creator, but when we don’t connect the two, when we worship things in this world we are always going to be left feeling more empty than when we started. It happens to me still to this day. When I go to Netflix or my phone for refreshment I end up more tired than when I started it. The only thing that will ever fill me up, that will ever be enough is Jesus! He is the only one who can make me feel whole. No person, no label, no friend, significant other, no child, parent, family member, job, money- None can bring me peace and quench the thirst of my soul or yours. Only Jesus.

So next time you feel sad for no particular reason, ask yourself when was the last time you connected, I mean really connected with Jesus.

And if you have a friend who doesn’t know Jesus and has issues like the one I described above tell them about Him. I wish someone someone would have told me then what I know now.

Praise Him Even When It Hurts

I haven’t written in quite a while. My family and I have been going through an extremely trying season. Through it I’ve really learned what it means to to remain steadfast and faithful all while praising the Lord.

When things get hard. When it doesn’t look like it’s working out the way I would hope I have a tenancy to drift from God. I get angry and hurt, but even more so when I’m sitting there thinking, God! I’m doing all the right things, where are you? I believe that it’s a common misconception that God will deliver us from hard times if we walk the path. God never promises to deliver us from trials and tribulations. He promises to see us through them, if we rely on him. He demands we praise him in the process. We should want to praise him in the process, but I don’t always want to. Do you?

When we are in the midst of dark nights that seem so long, I often revert back to relying on myself and stand alone on my own two feet, all while saying something different. I often talk the talk, but don’t walk the walk. Then I wonder why I am miserable.

God calls us higher. He calls us to walk joyfully the path he has set before us and the instructions on how to do so are all written.

Recently, I’ve learned I know very little about who God is and who he calls me to be. How he calls me to live. He calls for us to live righteously, but how do we do that?

To begin, I want to share my experience with you that began this walk I’m on. Ten months ago my family experienced a tragedy. My husband’s daughter died of Leukemia. She was six years old. She was a beautiful and spirited child. She was fun and so incredibly smart. She was incredibly strong. She revealed herself to be so much stronger than we knew, because she fought her illness with smiles and laughter.

I wish so much that I had done better by her. I feel so much remorse about how selfishly I entered her life. She deserved so much better than that. I remember I was tucking her in one night. I told her I loved her and that I was so glad to be her stepmom and she looked at me with utter confusion and said your my stepmom? I remember thinking that, that should have been made clear to her long before I was ever tucking her in at night.

When I married her father I was a mess. I meant well. I truly did, but I still caused harm. I didn’t understand what being a parent meant. What a great responsibility it was to be involved in a child’s life. Her mother knew and so did my husband’s family. So of course when they learned of my relapse they fought like hell to keep me away from her and I don’t blame them now, but I did. In my sick and twisted way I knew they were right for getting involved. I don’t agree with all of what happened, but we are human and not perfect. Yet, I was still deeply offended and so utterly selfish that I was still so focused on myself. I couldn’t understand that it wasn’t about me. They could care less who I was and why. Their first and only concern was for her. I never hurt her directly. I never used around her, but I harmed her indirectly by my actions.

After my relapse no one expected my husband to continue on with our relationship, nor did they think he would go on to marry me… but my husband is so very loyal. He believed in me and stood by me when no one else would. He encouraged me and supported me and I thank God for him, He never blamed me for losing visitation rights to his daughter, despite me blaming myself and I do absolutely blame myself. He lost out on so much time because of my choices. His whole family did.

We didn’t start getting her back until nearly a year later. She was weary of me and she was confused. By that time I had been married to her dad for almost a year and she now had a little sister that she hardly knew. It was such a rough transition. She wanted to like me, but she was so confused about my place and although I’m sure she didn’t know why she didn’t get to see her dad for a year, she was such a smart kid, I’m sure she knew I had a lot to do with it.

We were just really beginning to bond when she got diagnosed. We knew something was wrong with her, but we never expected her to have leukemia. She began to get really weak. She was sleeping all the time. She had a really bad ringworm infection that wouldn’t go away. She had cough that seemed to last forever. Her grandmother and her mother took her to the doctor. They did a blood test and sent her over to the ER right away. Her mother couldn’t get a hold of Avery and they called me to tell us they were taking her to the ER and that if we wanted to come we could. We got there as soon as we could. While Kaylynn was off receiving tests, they told us why we were here. I’ve never been a witness to a more heartbreaking scene than watching her mother fall apart as they told us the news. All I wanted to do was hold her mother, but because of our history I stood silent and dumbfounded. I could see my husband reeling at the diagnosis. My husband began to fall into himself. He pulled away. There was so much tension between all of us, but especially between her mother and him. I was the mediator, but I wasn’t her father. I couldn’t will things to be different even though I tried.

Nearly two months after recieving Kay’s diagnosis I learned I was pregnant with my second child. I was filled with horror. I remember thinking how incredibly selfish it is is to bring a child into this world while Kay was so sick. I was terrified to tell Avery and I couldn’t even begin to figure out a way to tell anyone else. Most were supportive. I pulled myself together and decided that I would look at this child as a blessing in the midst of all of this pain.

Looking back now, on the months since we lost Kay, my daughter Elaina has been such a joy. She has brought much needed distraction. She has rooted me in reality. I didn’t have time to fret over our circumstances and my broken husband when I had to care for a newborn and a toddler. She has also been such a light. She was the easiest and most cuddly baby. My first was a handful and still is. Elaina has been my calm throughout this storm.

We got the news on Feburary 18, 2018 that Kaylynn had gone to be with Jesus. It had been months since I had seen her. My husband had completely withdrawn and I feared he would never come back to us. He was present, but not really with us. The worse Kaylynn got, the more Avery pulled away. Our daughter barely knew him, plus he traveled for work and when he was home he was so absent it was like he wasn’t even with us. He made jokes often about suicide. The more quiet he got, the more emotional I became.

My relationship with God was at an all time low the months following Kay’s passing. Without even knowing it I was blaming God for not saving her. The whole time she was sick I expected God to come in and heal her. The worse she got, the more I believed it was to reveal his glory. I never doubted that God would come in and deliver her from her illness. Even when she was sent home on palliative care I had hope. When we moved I packed her clothes, toys, and bed and they waited for her. I had held out hope that one day she would call our new home hers. We moved again after she passed and having to look on her things brought emotions that I hadn’t really dealt with.

So when Avery called me to tell me that she was gone. It was all I could do to keep it together. I was in shock and I felt so foolish for having hope and for the wasted time. My husband had completely given up while she was sick and I felt it wasn’t my place to be there when he wasn’t. While I maintained contact, I hadn’t gone to see her and I hated myself for it and I hated him for it.

There was so much grief. I had grief for her mother who had to go through all of it alone as a single parent. I had grief for my husband. I had grief for his regret. I had grief for all who had loved and lost her. I had grief for my girls who would never know her. I had grief for my regret and the relationship I had tried to build and failed at. I was so ready to love her and take her into my family and love her as my own. Yet, I felt I had no right to grieve. She wasn’t my child and with all of the history I had involving her, the thought of grieving for her felt wrong, like I was doing her an injustice. I felt I didn’t deserve to miss her.

Yes, I blamed God for not rescuing her and I blamed myself for not being better for her.

Sitting in church one Sunday was when I had the revelation that I was angry at the Lord for not healing her. The worship team was performing the song Do it Again by Evelation Worship.

Hearing the bridge was when it dawned on me that I felt betrayed.

I‘ve seen You move, You move the mountains
And I believe, I’ll see You do it again
You made a way, where there was no way
And I believe, I’ll see You do it again

I remember thinking as the music washed over me, this song would have been so inspirational when Kaylynn was sick, but bitterly I thought, but you didnt move that mountain did you, Lord?

Weeks later I was in my car on the way to my sisters and another worship song came on, almost like an answer to the question I hadn’t asked.

The song is called Even if by Mercy Me, the lyrics hit me like a bolt of lightening:

They say it only takes a little faith to move a mountain, well good thing a little faith is all I have right now, but God when you choose to leave mountains unmovable oh, give me the strength to be able to sing it is well with in my soul

Its not that God chose not to heal my stepdaughter. When the first family fell (Adam and Eve) sin and death entered the world. While Satan used Kaylynn’s illness to harm her and those who loved her. The truth is while Satan thinks he’s winning and we all feel like we are losing, the battle was already won 2000 years ago. God made good out of something so terrible, he healed her eternally something our temporal minds have trouble making sense of.

I was reading a blog post written by a mother who had lost her daughter to cancer, a friend of Kay’s actually. I was devouring anything that could give me insight to my husband’s pain during that time and I came across an article that changed my life. She said that God didn’t chose any of this, but we had better believe he’s going to redeem it. God has redeemed it, through Jesus and it will be revealed to all when Jesus finally returns.

Upon this revelation God began working in my heart drawing me in, beckoning me closer than ever before and I desperately needed him in this season of my life. My marriage was crumbling and my security and stability was gone. My husband’s job was unsteady. We were and are constantly in a financial crisis. Nothing was going right, I had no reason to feel at peace, but I did every time I chose to praise him in the midst of all of my fear. When I choose to praise him, especially when it was the last thing I wanted to do, I choose to trust that he is good and that he will see us through this season of doubt and hardship. God blesses me with peace and joy sees me through my doubt and fear.

As I grew spiritually my husband grew even more distant. My prayer became for God to reach him, because I was trying and failing. He was a shell of the man I knew. It was so hard to be patient and wait on God to move in his life like he was moving in mine. I felt that it was unfair for God to gift me with the revelation about Kay and not Avery. I preached and preached at Avery but I only pushed him further away. I was not the vessel God chose to bring enlightenment to my husband. That came much later.

A few months ago my prayers for my husband were answered in the form of a church. They have a men’s group that my husband goes to, at first reluctantly. They began to minister and love on him and life began to spark in my husband again.

We began a marriage class with the pastor and his wife and through that I’ve learned so many things and I’ve also learned that there’s so much about the Christian walk that I had absolutely no idea about.

Through this season of hardship my faith has been restored on such a deep level I never knew existed. My husband is healing and growing. My prayers have been answered. That is my miracle in all of this. We are learning to walk the narrow path with joy and praises on our lips. I am so incredibly blessed beyond my wildest dreams to live in the light of my Father. I will praise him before my breakthrough and I will continue to praise him all the days of my life!

God Is In The Waiting

There have been so many times in my life where I have been living in what seemed at the time a dark and hopeless existence, and I have wondered is this as good as it gets?

The honest answer if I had not looked up, if I had not sought out help, if I had truly given up for good, it would have been.

I remember some time ago I was standing on the ledge of my friends pool staring into the water, questioning would it be so bad? Would it matter? If I just took one more step? I was so gone out of my mind that I knew if I fell in I wouldn’t be able to swim out. I wouldn’t even try. I would just take one more step. I was on the verge of giving up. I had, had enough! I was finished. In my mind at the time I had tried so hard to live my life normally. I was done fighting. What was the point to live out my life if I didn’t care anymore? If I couldn’t achieve happiness? The pain was too great, too dark, too big for me to conquer by myself. I had spent years fighting against my mind. A mind that was intent on killing me.

What if I just finally let it?

The water looked so peaceful, so inviting and I was tired. So very tired.

The only reason I think I didn’t follow through was my husband gently pulling me back inside and I couldn’t bear hurting him like that. I promised myself another time.

Honestly, I barely remember that night, but I do remember the water. I remember the pain. I remember the hopelessness and futility of those moments. The truth is those feelings, are in fact just feelings, not facts.

I didn’t feel hopeless all of the time. Some days were better than others. I had things to focus on, like my family, but sometimes that DARK depression would hit me like a thousand waves and it would seem like I couldn’t breathe or hold my head above water no matter what I tried, but I remembered that there were moments, however fleeting, there were moments when it didn’t hurt as bad. Which gave me reasons to not give up.

If I had given up on myself, on Jesus, on my family, on life I wouldn’t have got to see the miracle. My miracle. I fought against addiction, depression, and myself for years. For what seemed like an eternity. I remember being in 7th grade something changed, probably puberty, all of sudden the world didn’t make sense any more. My parents weren’t the heroes I thought they were. Nothing seemed right. My home life wasn’t going well. My dad was wasted and my mom was never home, she traveled for work. I felt abandoned and lonely. I didn’t believe my parents loved me. I didn’t understand that they were just people with their own issues doing the best they knew how to do.

That’s really where my spiritual malady began to set in. I started trying to fill that void in my soul. I started harming myself, it worked for me until my sister figured out what was wrong with me. So I turned to people. That didn’t work either. People are not perfect. They cannot meet all of our expectations. Other people cannot save us from ourselves. I got really into music. That really helped. I started writing my feelings out as soon as I learned to write, but sometimes I was too upset to focus. It wasn’t enough.

I met a friend in 8th grade. She seemed so powerful, exciting, and like she just didn’t care about anything. I wanted that. I didn’t want to care anymore. I didn’t want to feel anymore.

She was my introduction to drugs and alcohol.

When the feeling washed over me, I felt like I had finally found the answer I had been looking for, for so long.

I finally felt at peace. My mind was silenced.

And so it began.

I didn’t turn to drugs and alcohol, because I was a bad person and wanted to hurt myself and those around me. I turned to them for escape, because I was drowning in my own sea of despair. They had become my solution, although at the time I didn’t know it.

And it worked, until it didn’t.

I remember at 17 I was sneaking out a lot. I can’t remember if I was coming or going, but I remember asking myself, why am I even doing this anymore? The sense of adventure, the thrill, the fun was gone. My mind wasn’t being kept silent anymore. The pain kept returning sooner and sooner. I was exhausted, but I kept on trying to heal my soul with substances for three more years.

I honestly don’t know how I’m still here. I could have been killed by someone else, by poor choices, or circumstance. After all the situations I got myself in, I should be dead.

My mom tried to get me help over and over again. Thousands of dollars spent on treatment centers and counseling. I would leave thinking finally, I’m not going to do it again. I’ve learned enough about this problem. I know what to do when my thoughts rise up and turn against me. I’ve got plans in place. Before, I even realized what I was doing I was wasted again. I had made so many reservations to stop. To be better. To do better. To try harder, work harder.

The truth was I didn’t really want to quit. Not for me, not really. I wanted to quit because it was the right thing to do. I was really tired of everyone being mad at me. I had lost friends to it, things, my home, not to mention my pride and dignity. While it was painful, I still didn’t want it, not really. I just wanted the consequences to stop.

I was 20 years old at a halfway house and I had relapsed while living there. I saw how happy my housemates were, and how at peace the women who carried the message were. I was so envious of their joy.

On a visit home, my mom caught me in my closet using. (I still do not know why people go to their closets to get drunk or high. I have heard several grown adults, who lived with no one say they always wound up in their closet. It’s a totally common thing, I swear!) She begged me to go back to my halfway house and just figure it out.

Then it hit me, that if I was going to finally get better, I needed to go out and try it my way. I needed to stop seeking out treatment just because other people wanted me to. I knew enough about the program that it only worked if it was my choice for me and nothing else.

So the hardest thing I ever had to do was tell my mother I was going to figure it out on my own. That I was just going to try it my way and see what happened. I still had this delusion that I could control myself. That I could do it on my own. That I could be okay, be happy, and at peace on my own terms.

Lets just say I didn’t last very long.

God had his hands me the entire time. It got dark and terrifying really fast. There was one incident that I am so lucky that I walked away as whole as I did.

Really, what had got my attention was a “friend” got caught stealing and placing the blame on one of us, I can’t remember.  He knew he was caught right handed and he just lost it. I watched him unravel right before my eyes. It was so scary. He looked me square in the eye and told me that I was no better than him. That he hoped I died a horrible addict death like my father.

I suddenly knew that the awful words coming out of his mouth were true. That I wasn’t any better than him, and that I could very well end up just like my father.

A month or so later I finally gave up and I surrendered. I couldn’t do it anymore. I was done. The shame and guilt was eating me alive and I remembered the beauty in those people and the message of hope they gave me and I trusted that and I called for help.

Really what it was, and all it was, is that I realized something that I wish I could go back and tell my 13 year old self. I couldn’t use my own power to save myself. I couldn’t use any other person or thing or substance to save myself. I had to admit that I was powerless over this addiction that I had turned to, to fix the gaping hole inside of me and that the only thing that would ever fix me was and is Jesus.

And I firmly believe this to be true for everyone who feels that same darkness. That same insanity. I firmly believe that it wasn’t my mind trying to kill me, that it was spiritual warfare.

If you are struggling with depression, with anxiety, with shame, with never measuring up, with insecurity, and low self-esteem, with addiction…. it doesn’t really matter what it is, there is a solution and it is so simple, but it’s not easy.

We as human beings make things so complicated, especially when there is feelings involved.

The answer is so simple.

You admit that you cannot fix you, or at least what you have been doing isn’t working and be willing to try something else.

God will meet you were you’re at, as long as you take the action and do the work. It’s not supposed to be easy, but it’s a hell of a lot easier than that pain you’re constantly living in.

A lot of times it’s in the waiting that God is answering our prayers.

If I had given up anywhere along that road I was on, I wouldn’t ever have learned what true freedom feels like. I wouldn’t have my husband, my beautiful girls. I would never have gotten to experience true joy and peace. I look back and I can so plainly see where God was meeting all my needs, but at the time it didn’t feel like it.

I could just as easily blame him for the grief, loss, darkness and all the awful things I’ve endured along the way, or I can blame the enemy and have hope in something greater. I truly believe we are all here for a purpose and that all the pain we’ve endured was and is not done so in vain.

If you are alive and breathing there is still hope, and there is still time.

Please think of that if you ever find yourself standing on the ledge.

 

 

 

My Truth of Becoming a Mother

Becoming a mother to me was like experiencing cultural shock. I was so out of my element and everything was so unfamiliar.

I found out I was pregnant only two months after getting married. I was still learning and digesting that curve. Not to mention months prior, I had relapsed after a three year sobriety stent, and due to my relapse my husband had lost visitation rights to his daughter from a previous relationship (story for another time, one I’m not brave enough to write about quite yet). Needless to say, I had a lot going in my life and I was sorely unprepared for my journey into motherhood. What mother doesn’t feel like that? That she couldn’t possibly measure up to the world’s standard of what a mother should be. That expectation I desperately tried to uphold myself to haunted me well into my journey, and still today I struggle with it.

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I was happy with the news, but it was a fearful happiness. I was extremely grateful, because I had actually been told I couldn’t have children. So seeing the two pink lines was kind of incredible to me, but I was terrified. I wasn’t even sure I wanted children. I was so selfish and broken. I remember thinking, how can I possibly bring a child into this world. I’m still a kid myself in so many ways. I mean really. I was living with my husband at his Aunts house. We couldn’t even support ourselves. No one was overjoyed with our news to say the least. Maybe a few friends, but mostly everyone was hesitant, because the truth was we weren’t ready. They were worried. Eventually, everyone came around to the idea. Today, I know they had every right to react the way they did. I was selfish and unpredictable. Bringing a child into that environment was incredibly thoughtless.

My relationship with God was at an all time low, because I was filled with so much fear, doubt, and shame I couldn’t manage to talk to Him. I couldn’t even look at myself in the mirror, much less pray.

My whole pregnancy was kind of awful. I was anxiety ridden mess. I had morning sickness and I was so upset that I couldn’t use anymore that I sunk into a deep and dark depression. I didn’t get out of bed for months. I literally watched the animal channel for hours each day. My husband would leave for work in the morning and I would be in the same position on our bed watching penguins when he returned home. We joke about it today, thankfully. He tiptoed around me, trying not to upset me. Anything set me off back then. All he had to do was look at me funny and I exploded. He was a soldier, powered through it. I’m so blessed to be his wife. I can’t imagine any other man putting up with me the way he did. I was mean. I was a dry drunk, as they like to call it. It’s amazing we made it through.God had his hand on us then entire time,  but I was so blinded by my own self that I couldn’t see it.

My only solution to my internal condition, my spiritual malady, was substance abuse. I praise God everyday that I refrained from doing so while being pregnant. I refused, I wanted to be a good mom, I just didn’t know how. I managed to stay sober throughout both my pregnancies, I thought that was a good start.

My first daughter was breached, I had to have a c-section, and the little addict inside of me was thrilled. As awful as it sounds, I want to be honest. As Christian’s we are called to be transparent. I know my story sounds shallow and ugly, but that’s who I am without Jesus.

The day finally came and there aren’t even words to describe the crazy emotions I was feeling. I was going to become a mom. I was going to be responsible for another living human being, and I had to keep this tiny human alive.

The moment I heard her cry, my whole life changed. I thought I knew what love was, but upon meeting my daughter for the first time, I realized I had no freaking clue. She was perfect in every way. She was me made over. We called her Isabella, later she became our Izzy.

 

Taking her home was life-changing, and so was the prescription I got to take home for the pain. Through out my pregnancy I made all sorts of vows to myself, to my husband, and to my unborn child. I wanted to do it right. I was going to stay sober. I didn’t want to put her through what I had gone through as a child. I never wanted her to wonder why she wasn’t enough, like I had growing up in a family riddled with addiction.

I tried my best to keep it together. My mother and her boyfriend let us into their home to acclimate to life with a new baby. This was HUGE. Had you seen our relationship just four years prior, they were done with me. In my sobriety God had restored those relationships, now here I was hurting them again.

I quickly went through my prescription and then the cycle began.

I don’t really remember the first few months of my daughters life. I will never get those moments back. I vaguely remember thinking that as I was looking down at her little newborn face, but I couldn’t stop. I was devastated. I had promised myself that I would never ever be in this position. A mother who couldn’t stop using. I once heard from an amazing friend, if love were enough to keep sober, it would have done so long ago.

I love my daughters.

I love my husband.

I love my parents and sisters.

Yet, it was not enough to keep me sober.

I wish my children had been enough to keep me sober. I’ve heard so many stories like that, but it was not mine unfortunately for my family.

The only power great enough to heal my brokenness is my Savior. I had to come to the end of myself and accept that living life for me on my terms was and will destroy me. That is a daily thing. I have to do it daily. We are all given a daily reprieve with maintenance and perseverance of our spiritual condition.

I’ve gone back and reread this multiple times and all I can see is how selfish, manipulative, and entitled I was. I have been afraid to share this dark part of myself, because it‘s ugly.

It’s also true, and the truth is hardly ever pretty and easy to share. All of us have a story. We all have parts of ourselves we hope no one ever finds out about. I think if more people were honest about their struggles, their pain, and how they have overcome it, or haven’t yet, more people would seek out help.

None of us is alone, there is someone out there going through the same pain you are.

We all struggle. This life we were gifted with isn’t supposed to be easy and pain free. I think there’s a misconception out there that we are supposed to be good at living our lives, that we are supposed to know how to navigate all the trials life throws at us.

That’s a lie.

If we are already supposed to know the answer to our questions. If we are already supposed to know how to be perfect and at peace, then why would we need God at all? Why would Jesus have died for us?

The only reason I’m here today to tell you my truth is because I was willing to swallow my pride and seek out help. I surrendered my selfish ego and became willing to do something different. I gave up my life and sought out God and that doesn’t mean I suddenly don’t struggle anymore.

I was provided a solution to live life on life’s terms, or I now try live my life the way God calls me to . I still struggle. I still have trials. I still get in fear about if I’m doing the whole mom thing right. I still fight with myself. I still get into arguments with my husband. I still make mistakes. I still stumble. I still have absolutely no clue what I’m doing in regards to raising my children, but I’m doing a heck of a better job than I was doing a year and a half ago.

But I am sober. I am still trying. I am still fighting.

Motherhood for me has been a blessing. I didn’t even know I was capable of some of the things I’ve done. It’s empowered me in ways I can’t even begin to describe. I have a purpose not just in my own life, but in theirs. I’m a living example. Everything we go through and do, our children are watching us whether we realize it or not. That doesn’t mean we have to do it perfectly, but I think if as mothers or parents, if we can do it honestly, and with love, forgiveness, and with strength in the Lord, those little ones will turn out alright. God blesses us with our children, but ultimately they are his.

The best advice that I’ve ever been given about being a mom was that God’s doesn’t make mistakes. He doesn’t call the qualified. He qualifies the called. I’ve already been given everything I’ll ever need to parent my children. He created them with me in mind. He gave them to me, blessed me with them. Each and everything I’ll ever need when it comes to raising my girls, can be given to me, by me relying on Him. God is the great Healer, the great Redeemer, and the greatest Parent. By trusting him and attempting to the next right thing he has promised that we will succeed.

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The thing I think we all forget is that, we already have won. Jesus won the battle we are all fighting today nearly 2000 years ago. We just need to invite him into our lives and into the midst of our struggles.

Today I love being a mom. I love being with my children. They give me so much joy. They challenge me in so may different ways. I’m so very grateful that I’m not missing out on their lives and precious moments anymore. I’m so incredibly thankful that I get to be present today. That is only because of Jesus and my program. Me, by myself, I would be lost and probably wouldn’t even have custody of my children.

I’m not saying it’s always easy and I don’t have moments where I struggle, but it’s infinitely better than where I was or where I could be.

I hope that if you’re reading this and relate in any way to anything I’ve said, that it helps you, and encourages you, inspires you, to share your story and struggles. Somebody can be helped by your story. You matter and so does your struggle. 

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Who am I, or who am I called to be?

Which is more important?

Who I am called to be? or Who I am?

I’m called to be a loving wife and mother, but I am a mess most the time. I’m a wife. I’m an addict. I’m an alcoholic. I’m a mother. I’m a daughter. I’m a sister and a friend. I am saved. I’m a believer and I’m a christian. My name is Kathryn, but I’m called Kaleigh. Sometimes mama, sometimes sweetie, and sometimes sponsor. My favorite is beloved daughter, by God, my Father.

When I got married and had my girls I had know clue who I was and I’m still learning daily. I spent most of my childhood hiding behind a book and lived in a fantasy world waiting for someone to save me. To love me, to NOTICE me. My teenage years I was so emotionally unstable, because I was so busy numbing my emotions with whatever I could get my hands on that my identity got lost and trampled on by my own choices and failures. I woke up at 20 and realized that I couldn’t go on with my life style. That it would kill me. I decided to seek help and get clean. After starting that journey I realized I had no clue who I was. So I decided to fix that by getting into relationships, because I thought that it would fill that empty hole inside of me. That had been my story for so long, I met a guy…. and then. Every time. It worked for a while, until it didn’t.

NEWSFLASH. Trying to heal and mend your soul with relationships doesn’t ever work. You end up alone and hurting and usually always end up harming someone else too.

So I began my journey with Jesus. I was broken, and desperate, and I needed something to fill my soul. I saw how having a relationship with Jesus worked in others. They seemed at peace and just had so much JOY. I wanted that so bad, because I was terrified and lost.

So I got on my knees. I took some steps. I had amazing people in my life encouraging me and literally carrying me through the worst time of my life. I detoxed on their couch and I opened my eyes and I looked in the mirror and I had no clue who the person was staring back at me. The pain of my addiction brought me to my knees and I met the one person who could make it better, who could heal me. I had met the love of my life and it wasn’t some guy like I thought it was then, I didn’t know it, but it was Jesus.

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My first picture in freedom. Sept. 22, 2012.

I mean, I knew that God was supposed to be my answer, but during that time in my life he seemed so far away… at that point people seemed an easier option to me. Can the codependents please stand up in support??

But, you know what the amazing thing was?

God met me where I was and loved me anyway. Even thought I could barely look myself in the eye, I felt his love and presence so strongly that it quieted that storm inside my mind. Of course, I had to invite him in, and I did. I did the work my sponsor gave me. I got humble, I got willing, and most importantly I got HONEST. For the first time in my 20 years on this earth I was FINALLY being honest. I had been beaten down enough for my taste at that point in my life to be willing to be honest and do anything to save my own life. I was headed for death and it broke me. I came to the end of myself.

The bonus of that was I finally had REAL friends and family. God provided so much more than addiction had stolen from me.

The bottom left picture is of my nephew Ethan. This is the earliest memory I have of being present mentally and emotionally for my sister’s visits. Not too long ago, she was trying to jog my memories of her prior visits and I could not for the life of me remember the events she was describing to me. How terribly sad is that? To have lived half your life and not have anything to show for it? My husband not too long ago asked me if I had any good and wholesome memories from high-school. I had none.

After, I finally got sober my mother and sisters wanted to be around me. I had a beautiful friend, who became like my little sister, and she looked up to ME, of all people. God gifted me with beautiful and real friends.

Today I am sober, I do not have 6 years like I should, but I am still trying. I will never give up. I will never stop. If your reading this and wondering if you can ever be free from the chains of addiction I’m here to tell you, that you can. That it is POSSIBLE. There’s always another chance, it’s not over until you stop breathing. So don’t ever give up. Don’t ever stop trying. Don’t let shame keep you from trying again, as I did so many times. 

Today my relationship with God looks so amazingly different than it did in 2012. Even better this time around.

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After my relapse in 2015, I got married. Thinking that would fix EVERYTHING.

See the thing was I hadn’t completely allowed my self to heal. I jumped in and out of relationships. Instead of focusing on Jesus and me, I was still looking at the wrong thing to save me. When I should have been looking up, I was looking for a man to be the answer. I thought if I got married and had children that I could destroy the label of addict I had tattooed on my life. I wanted to rip it up, and shred it, and never look back. I thought it would make me better, normal.

Guess what?

It didn’t. I was still empty. I had failed to enlarge my spiritual life. I quit working the program which had saved my life. I turned back to what I knew worked. Relationships and substances. Slowly it destroyed everything God had blessed me with and I damaged so many loved ones along the way.

Still God was Faithful even though I wasn’t. 

(And he is. He is Faithful. There are so many dark times in my life, looking back, that it is  so clear and evident that the only reason I’m here typing my story is, because God was there with me, carrying me through it all. Maybe, I’ll tell you about it some day.)

Usually men I dated where all sorts of wrong for me. Other broken and lonely souls.

I met a man shortly after my last boyfriend couldn’t put up with me anymore. He was so polite. A true gentleman. I fell in love so quickly and God was looking out for me. I truly believe that he put us together for reasons I’m sure I’ll post in the future. We had so much in common. We were young and dumb, but we loved the Lord and we loved each other. We made a lot of mistakes along the way and hurt a lot of people, but finally I had met a real live person who loved me in spite of me. He has put up with my shenanigans and loved me anyway. Truly loved me. I have hurt him throughout my relapses and broken his trust more times than I can count, but he believes in me, and believes in marriage. He has faith in God and in us. He has truly stuck it out for good and for worse,  through sickness and in health.

God has truly blessed me in my marriage. We have also been blessed with two beautiful girls.

Beautiful girls, that I don’t want to be raised by an addict, a sick one at least. Girls that I want to raise to love Jesus and be proud of themselves. Girls that I want to raise to be independent and strong.

I’m called to be a loving wife and mother. A daughter, sister, and a friend. I’m called to be leader, a lover, an example, a peace maker, a cook, a maid, an accountant. I’m called to be Christian, a woman, a productive member of society. I’m called to be all these things and many more. Today I wear so many different hats it’s sometimes overwhelming.

Because I’m still just me. Kaleigh. I’m a mess and sometimes slightly unstable. I get anxiety. I can be a control freak. I get angry and I get sad. I break down and I lose it more times then I would like anyone to know. I’m just a person.

I’m also an addict and today instead of cowering behind it. I own it. I let it empower me and strengthen me. It will forever be a part of who I am, and that’s okay with me today. My story has been uniquely useful to other people in so many different ways, it’s incredible. God has made good out of all of my darkness. It’s given every bad thing I’ve endured and done a purpose. I’m so thankful for my story today. So when it’s hard and you feel like giving up, remember that. Your life, your story has purpose. 

I don’t know who I am, but I am free and I’m so excited for what life has in store for me. For what God has in store for me.

Only because of Him am I anything at all. He enables me to go through out my day matching serenity with calamity. He strengthens me, when I ask it of him, and more often than not even when I don’t. By me doing the next right thing, he gifts me with freedom and it’s beautiful and messy, but I truly wouldn’t have it any other way.