Prayer Challenge

I want to ask you to say this prayer out loud, if possible.

“I belong to God. I am a holy vessel, because I have the Holy Spirit of the Living God. The Lord of Heaven and earth has said over me; “I declare you holy!”. I commit to start believing what He says. I AM HOLY! Remind me daily, Spirit of the Living God, to treat myself as holy, open my eyes to every scheme of The Enemy to treat me as if I'm not. You God, are Holy. Your word is truth. This day Father, I chose to believe you! I ask this in the mighty name of your son Jesus Christ, who died on a cross for me so that I could be a coheir to the kingdom of God. Amen”

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Psalm of the Week - 146:3 - June 19, 2017

There is a Son of man ...who is also the Son of God, who will not fail those that trust in him.                                                                                            Matthew Henry's Bible Commentary
Rely on God rather than on man, however rich, wealthy, or high in society that he may be. There is a work of protection and salvation which no man, however eminent and elevated he may be, can perform for you; a work which God alone, who is the Maker of all things, and who never dies, can accomplish.                                                                                       adapted from Barnes' Notes on the Bible

Learning I am NOT the Boss in Sobriety - Romans 9:20 - June 19, 2017

After I stopped drinking, I  found out that I thought I was the boss of life around me. 
Here are some examples to illustrate this way of thinking:
  • Everywhere I went, I would change the toilet paper roll to come off of the top.
  • I had an opinion about everything I saw around me AND voiced my opinion about it.
  • Church people were hypocrites and I wanted nothing to do with them.
  • Other women were my enemies. I didn't like them. 
  • My boyfriend, or partner needed to discuss everything with me, or I was MAD that I was left out of the decision making.
  • I believed in Jesus, but I only wanted to pray when I was in trouble. Then I wanted to bargain with God rather than submit to God. 
My way of thinking brought me crashing down to my knees and submitting to God, but it took a life threatening situation to do it. 

During the first 6 months of my sobriety, I had to face some harsh truths about myself. 
Many of the faults that I had blamed on alcohol - wasn't the alcohol - it was me. My perception of who I was as a person was fractured and broken like a dropped mirror. Tears streamed down my face easily when I was alone. My best friend had died and I was my best friend. 

My understanding of my role in life slowly, but surely underwent several revisions. 
The first revision was that I dusted off my Bible and admitted my life was unmanageable and I was powerless over alcohol. Additionally, my mom made sure I was turning to Jesus and I rededicated my life to him. 
Let's Go to Church
Although I was reading my bible and turning to Jesus, I didn't return to church until I had about 18 months of sobriety. This revision happened after I was told,"What better place for hypocrites to be than in church? Maybe they will finally see the light."
Sisterhood is Good
At 3 years of sobriety, I found myself wanting to rejoin the sisterhood of women because of all the help I was receiving FROM a couple of ladies with long term sobriety. Those ladies had something I wanted; they both knew how to stay sober, how to stay promiscuity-free, and how to apply biblical principles to 12 step recovery.  Yes, my sisters were no longer my enemies.
My Way isn't the Only Way
Somewhere around the 3rd-4th year of recovery, in a conversation with my husband, I found myself saying," ...After all, my way isn't the only way." 

My husband stared at me like I had suddenly developed an extra head atop my shoulders before saying,"I had hoped this day would arrive, but I had about given up on it!"

Pow! understanding smacked me in the face as I thought about what I had just said. Silently, I congratulated myself on getting better. 

Why Did You Do This?
When I reached 14 years of sobriety, I was still struggling with God over why I was me. One night I looked at the ceiling and cried,"Why did you make me this way? I am MAD at you!" At that time, silence was the only response I received to my angry question. 

God's Answer
Two weeks later, God answered me during my morning prayer and meditation time. One word kept popping into the stillness of my brain, "Clay." 

"What? Clay? Really Lord?" Never in a million years would I tell myself to read about clay in my bible. 

However, I obediently turned to the index of my study bible and looked up the word, clay. Carefully, I began to read the first verse and write down my thoughts about it. Five bible verses later, I was reading and writing down my thoughts about Romans 9:21. As I read the scripture, I found my eyes drawn to the previous verse, 9:20. 

As I read verse 9:20, the words seemed to float up off the page and POW! from my innermost being  outward, from the top of my head to the tips of my toes, I KNEW I was being spiritually spanked for my angry diatribe at God  two weeks earlier. 
But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, “Why have you made me like this?
How arrogant I had been. Yelling at God? Really? 
With a sigh, I started writing about why I was resentful (angry)at God, the cause of the anger, and how it affected me. The cause of the anger was control. Once again, my way of thinking brought me crashing down to my knees and re-submitting my life to God. By re-submitting all control of my entire life to God, I was making a decision to turn my will and my life over to God, again. Consequently while I was on my knees, an apology to the Creator of All issued from my lips. 

In conclusion
At 14 years sober, I realized that God was giving me the knowledge of his will for me because I was seeking Him through daily prayer and meditation. He was molding me, one day at a time, and I had to be willing to submit to his molding in order to grow spiritually and continue growing closer to God, through Jesus. 

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Reaching for Sobriety with My Dad

For by grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves:
 it is the gift of God:
Ephesians 2:8

Growing up with my dad had its good moments, bad moments, and awful, gut wrenching moments.

One of the best moments that I remember is my dad playing "Airplane" with my siblings and I. "Airplane" is a version of "Follow the Leader." The difference is that you stretch your arms out like wings and make motor noises with your mouth as you run after the lead airplane. 

I fondly remember my dad during holiday gift giving, Thanksgiving dinners with a golden brown turkey on the table, visiting my great grandparents and grandparents, riding in the back of the old '49 Dodge pickup truck in the summer, hunting deer with dad, and fishing - lots of fishing!

Most of the great memories are from the years before I turned 10
After that, Dad's drinking took over and he changed into an angry man who took his anger out on my mom. Dad was physically and emotionally abusive. No one should see their mom bleeding and bruised in the aftermath of a verbal and physical assault.  

My teen years were chaotic.
I started speaking my teenage opinion to my dad; it didn't go over well. My brother was the focus of some unpleasant attention too. Both of us found out what it was like to be pinned against a wall by the neck and lifted off the floor. I was 16 when this happened and my brother was 15.

However, my dad changed in 1977. 
One afternoon he came home to find a deputy sheriff waiting for him. Dad was served with papers saying he couldn't stay at the house for 30 days. This situation changed my dad, but I wasn't there to see it. 

I left home at 17 and went into the United States Navy. 
You know what happened when I left home? I started drinking like my dad. I repeated the cycle of alcoholism even though I had sworn that my drinking wouldn't be like my Dad's drinking. My awareness of Dad's recovery was mainly from a few quick trips home because my parents asked me not to bring alcohol into the house, or drink while I was at the house. 

Now I am going to fast forward to 1984. 
In 1984, I was discharged from the Navy and went home to Missouri. I proceeded to meet a nice fellow at the bar I worked at and we ended up together. By 1992, we had 2 little girls and I was drowning myself with alcohol every day. At this point, my dad had been sober for eight years. He and mom went to 12 step recovery meetings. Dad went to a meeting for alcoholics and mom went to a meeting for the friends and family of alcoholics. 

Just like my dad, I had a life changing moment myself. 
My moment came when my partner aimed a .22 rifle at me during my attempt to stop him from shooting our family pet, a little black dog named Scooter. Did you know that a .22 rifle barrel looks as big as a cannon when you are looking into it? Additionally, time seemed to slow down as I looked over his shoulder and saw our two beautiful little girls standing side by side and screaming at him to not hurt Momma. As I looked back at him and the rifle barrel, I was conscious of one thought ricocheting in my head,"Oh my god, I am going to be shot."I wasn't. 

In fact, I managed to get myself, the dog, and the two children into the car and leave. You know where I went don't you? Yep, I drove to Mom and Dad's house. My dad answered the door and looked at us for one long moment - I was bedraggled and muddy as I huddled with my pale and silent daughters and their little black dog. 

The next day I followed my dad into sobriety and wiped the dust off of my Bible. 
During the following day, I read the Bible.  A HUGE weight lifted off of my shoulders and I felt like I was walking 2 feet above the floor. That evening, my mom's friend took me to my first recovery meeting. 

Those early weeks were tough, but Jesus kept showing me the path I needed to take. 
I was hired for the first job I applied for, day shift at a nursing home. Two weeks later, I found an apartment and the landlord agreed to let me pay the rent in two monthly payments. Every time a financial situation arose, I let Jesus handle it and everything just fell into place. God, through Jesus, took care of my every need as I continued to learn how to live sober.

My dad and mom were always available to answer my questions about sobriety. 
Both helped me many times. At meetings, it was tough to hear my dad talk about life before sobriety. I lived through those times, too. However, I needed to confront the situations as an adult and leave behind the little girl memories. My dad apologized to me and I apologized to him. We healed together one day at a time. 

This year I celebrated 25 years of sobriety and my dad celebrates 33 years in July. What we found, faith in God through Jesus, works! 

Thursday, June 15, 2017

25 Years Alcohol and Drug Free - My Sobriety Birthday

Today I have been clean and sober for a quarter of a century, or twenty-five years. My first day of a changed life occurred on June 15, 1992. 

On that day, I had come to believe and accepted three things about my life:
  • Step 1 The Personal Version
I admitted I was powerless over alcohol and drugs-that my life had become unmanageable
  • Step 2 The Personal Version
I came to believe that a Power greater than myself (God) could restore me to sanity.
  • Step 3 The Personal Version
I made a decision to turn my will and my life over to the care of God as I understood Him. 

In short, I had hit my rock bottom and knew that I needed help to learn how to live differently.

Psalm 130:5
I wait for the LORD, my soul doth wait, and in his word do I hope.

2 Corinthians 4:18
While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.

Isaiah 6:3
And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory.

I can't, He can, and I think I'll let Him one day at a time! 

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

An Answered Prayer and Spiritual Conviction

How Do You Use the Holy Spirit?
For several weeks, I have been trying to figure out how to use the Holy Spirit inside of me and let it overflow from me onto others through prayer and conversation. 

Don't laugh, sometimes I can't see the forest for the trees.

Last night I spoke with Bill about my mental wrestling match with this issue because I want to be an effective witness for Jesus. 

Bill and I discussed several Bible verses, but I still felt like I was missing something. Finally, I turned to Jesus in prayer and quit trying to wrestle some understanding from everything I had read, listened to, and talked about.
My prayer was pretty basic; I asked for understanding of the issue I was struggling with. 

Today, my Aunt Nancy posted her daily reading from Jesus Calling.
As I read through the passage, tears began to form in my eyes as I became aware that I was being spiritually convicted. 
For me, spiritual conviction feels like the words seemed to rise from the page and sink into the core of my being.  I started crying tears of joy as I thanked Jesus for listening to my prayer request the preceding evening and providing an answer through my aunt's post.

Answered Prayer
Next, I tearfully told Bill that my tears were joyful ones because I had been given a direct answer to my prayer. Bill listened as I read the words of the post to him. He agreed that I had been given a definite answer to my prayer. 

The Holy Spirit doesn't need any help from me. 
All I have to do is to be still and let Jesus work through me while not taking credit for it in ANY way. My part is to continue to live close to Jesus and be open and willing to the change going on inside me. I am NOT to control the streaming of the Holy Spirit. I AM supposed to keep my focus on Jesus. Pretty simple isn't it? 

I snipped the post and it is now on my computer background. My plan is to read and reread the post as I live close to Jesus and stay focused on him as I walk through today. 

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Psalm of the Week -146:1-2 - June 12, 2017

Verse of the Week - Colossians 3:17 - June 12, 2017

Faith in Jesus is how my Christian life began and continues to grow.
By doing all things in the name of Jesus, I am expressing my continuing trust in and love for Jesus. Jesus loves me and I need to thank God for sending Jesus as a man to reunite mankind with God and restore peace between God and his children. 
I am a child of God. 
God loves me and is at peace with me because Jesus himself sits at the right hand of God and intervenes for me. 
I am a beloved child of God and I have submitted myself to God. 
Jesus is Lord of my life. Everything I do, I do for him.