Tuesday, April 12, 2011

How does Restoration look?

I shouldn't have asked. At least, I should have expected to get what I asked for. 

I was listening to SOS Radio and pondering the current drama with the 16 year old. The man on the radio said: "Don't let your current situation get you down, ask God what He want's you to learn from it". So I did. I said, "Lord, what on earth are you trying to teach me"?

Boy, I'll tell you what; God is FAITHFUL. This morning my husband came home for work, and although I had consumed the standard amount of the vine that should have kept me asleep until the alarm went off, I woke up and stayed awake.

He knows. The teenager was paying attention. And it bothers him. Oh, he didn't lovingly tell me, Mom, it bothers me that you drink every night and I'm worried about your health. Or even yell Mom!! You suck at being a mom!! No, he told his girlfriend, (whom I adore.) via text message. And left it for me to see.

Why doesn't any one say anything? Why is sin bearable when it's seemingly innocuous? Like, why does it only offend my husband when I pass out at 9:00 pm on Christmas Eve? Or on an evening when he's feeling amorous?? Why did I practically have to beg to be able to go to a recovery group meeting??

We just want it to go away. We don't want to have to deal with the messiness of sin. I know that the sin itself is forgiven, but how to deal with why's and the what-for's?

So what is God trying to teach me; I've got way to much support in my sin. And it's killing my relationship with my son. It's easier to judge others in our minds, love them to their face, and not do the messy work of restoration. What is this restoration????

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Convicted, and not condemned.

Ack!! I've had a revelation~~~
Galatians 5:19-21
The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.

I used to have skim over this, because it always made me feel so condemned. That this was proof that God couldn't really love me, because, even though I knew I had accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior, I still had enough of these "attributes" in my daily life, that He could not possibly love me like He does those who seem to be so perfect in their walk. I felt though, that He would love me, once I stopped doing these things.

I now see this as a Promise. That He will not let these things remain in us. The unrighteous have no problem with most of these, reveling and even bragging about them. Some attributes they might judge as "immoral" in others, but see no problem with what they see in themselves. 

God is faithful to bring us Godly sorrow; convicting us in the areas that we struggle with. The enemy wants us to feel condemned. The reason we hate that we occasionally slip, or fully engage in, these areas is that the Holy Spirit is convicting us, not condemning us.

This passage covers such a wide variety of sinful natures. We may not participate in orgies, but who of God's people has never felt the hot flash of road rage? Or indignation at being slighted, overlooked or mistreated? Had impure thoughts? Or, like me, over-indulged at a party or drinks too much wine on a daily basis?

I am Thanking God, giving Him thanks, that He will not allow these things to remain, BECAUSE I am destined to inherit the kingdom of God.

Resist the devil (and his condemnation) and he will flee from you. Conviction leads us to repentance and Godly sorrow; condemnation allows complacency and self-justification.

Are you picking up what I'm laying down?

Monday, January 31, 2011

Stockholm Syndrome

There are chains from the wall ending in opened shackles.  She's still sitting there, eying the open door.  Squatting in the dirt; she's been here for years.  She doesn't yet know she's free.

Stockholm Syndrome.  'The paradoxical psychological phenomenon wherein the hostages express adulation and have positive feelings towards their captors that appear irrational in light of the danger or risk endured by the victims, essentially mistaking a lack of abuse from their captors as an act of kindness.'

You can find the entire theory of the subject of Stockholm Syndrome on Wikipedia.  

It's sad, and I hate to admit; I think I have it.

This morning I woke up with the alarm to make lunch for the teenager.  I could see that girl, squatting in the dirt.  Free from chains and the door wide open.  But unable, or unwilling to walk out into the free air of grace.  Have I so identified myself with the enemy that, even day after day of God's grace and His immense love, I still wander back to the prison and re-shackle myself to the wall of alcohol?

I hate even to think it!!  But I think the Holy Spirit gave me this vision, this idea, to show me.  That's who you've been; it's not who you are.  You are free. Understand that and walk away from the prison.  Walk out and come to Me.

We are free, but we must rise and walk; walk away from the enemy and walk to the One.  Away from the deceiver and to the arms of I AM.  I must do this.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

God with us

I have often longed to feel the touch of God in a tangible way.  An embrace or a heavenly forehead stroke to move the hair out of my eyes.  I have found this, in my sisters in Christ.  Just when I am starved for Heavenly Affection, a sister offers me a hug that is so strong I hate to break it; the loving song of one who touches my heart with just the right words; a shared coffee and shared testimony, so close and different, and both so heartbreaking; words of wisdom that bring healing to my heart.  The sister who let's me hold her baby for a whole hour, even though he's such a fresh miracle.  And sisters who share their immense struggles and yet, are there to comfort me in my own.  And that's just those who I see on Sundays!!  There are those sister's whose blogs I read that so hauntingly speak God's love to me.  I can't help but see and feel that He loves us.  He loves me.  It's crazy.

I am still completely wrecked from church today.  And it's almost 7pm!!!  He loves us!! Oh, how He loves us!!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Pride and Rejection

I have to start here and work my way backwards.  I don't like to post anything until I've worked it out, but I think, I have to just jump in sometimes.  Otherwise, the epiphany's are lost in translation and the real pearls are sometimes reasoned away and forgotten.  I had the blessed opportunity to meet with a treasured friend tonight for some much needed girl time.  Oh sister!  God has brought us together!!

Upfront, I have a nightly addiction to wine.  ALOT of it.  So, laying that out, I hate it; I'm on a quest to defeat it and learn from God why it has such a hold on me.  Yesterday, (or maybe today) I was pondering pride and rejection.  I just finished reading, for the second time, The Girl in the Orange Dress by Margot Starbuck.  It was about a woman who had been adopted by loving, well-to-do parents, who later divorced, mom remarried, he was an alcohol who dearly loved her, they divorced and yada-yada-yada.  The first time I read it, I was kind of annoyed because, hey, people loved her, she wanted for nothing, and she was basically blessed in ways that I was not.  The second time I read it, I got it.  Her feelings of rejection caused all kinds of reactions; similar to reactions I had growing up and still do.

That being said, it got me thinking about rejection.  I was given a clear visual, I'm sure it was from the Holy Spirit, about the circular path of rejection and pride.  I can see in my actions as a young person how feelings of rejection led me to protect my self with pride.  Which in turned caused me to reject.  Which, in turn, came back to pride, to gird me against guilt.  Which, of course, would lead to rejection because it meant that I had hurt someone in my pride.  Talk about vicious circles!!

My husband recently requested that I get my hair done.  I had been going to my bible study leader who deals in all-natural products producing fabulous results.  But, because it's fabulous, it's also expensive.   So I tried to save money and do it my self using the most natural product on the grocery store shelf.  My hair went from Black Cherry to some weird shade of egg-plant with grey roots growing in.  So, I choked back my PRIDE and thought to myself, "fine, it's your money" and scheduled the appointment, knowing full well that I would have to hide my current status of digging around in the dirt at the bottom of my valley.  (I had been delivered from and then found my way back to drinking in a matter of months.  And I loathed myself.)  So I drove there thinking that I would just have to put on a happy face and pretend that I was alright.  Except that when she asked me if I was all right, before I could fake it, I said "No".  And then proceeded to tell her that I had been drinking AGAIN and just wanted to die.  I told her that, during the period that I had stopped, I noticed that I was extremely prideful and arrogant in my thoughts.  She said, pointedly I might add, "Girl, you're problem isn't the drinking; it's the pride and arrogance!"  She explained that we use alcohol, or food, or relationships, or whatever, to stuff and cover what the real issues are.  I had already heard that, through Beth Moore.

But it was fresh in my ears; the condemnation I felt and feel in relation to drinking has been temporarily lifted.  I know that there are a whole slew of negative sins and emotions that I need to come to terms with.

Sorry if this seems fragmented; I often am.  But after spending time with my Sister (I love you!), I am so excited to begin once again.  In the morning, where my Father who loves me, will meet me and love on me.

Blessings to anyone who wants them,
He loves you and calls you Precious.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Spiritual Amnesia

There's a feeling of not-quite-connectedness.  Like, I'm not sure of what to do with myself or what it is I should be doing.  Housework, household planning, yard work, vehicle maintenance, my nails, etc.  Everything is noticeably un-done, yet the call to do anything of consequence remains a whisper somewhere in the back of my mind, like an irritating fly.

Perhaps this is typical of stay at home moms, but I wouldn't know what's typical.  I've failed to construct a support system of other moms, because they all seem so busy.  Doing stuff like accomplishing goals, running marathons, creating masterpieces to sell on etsy.com to supplement the family income, furthering their education, decorating their homes according to the season in ways that would make Martha Stuart want to embezzle from them.  I don't know how they do it.

I have a daily and weekly schedule which I followed faithfully for about 2 weeks.  This schedule would have me on track to greater biblical wisdom, a perpetually clean home, laundry done and put away, fabulous healthy home-cooked meals, a 7 minute mile, and meticulously shiny children.

I love the book of Romans, especially 7:15 "I do not understand what I do.  For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do." and 18b "For I have the desire to do what is good, but cannot carry it out."  But thank you God, for 7:24 "What a wretched (wo)man I am!  Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God--through Jesus Christ our Lord!"

I have to say, I've had some amazing conversations with my youngest child lately.  It's like I see him clearly now, in ways I never experienced with the other two.  While they're at school, Aiden and I hang out in the mornings before afternoon kindergarten.  And then we take a leisurely walk to school, taking notice of bugs and leaves and clouds and burps.

We're in a blessed place right now.  I see that God has given me the gift of a simple life; but it just has to be appreciated.  If I can give up my personal plans, interest and ambitions, and allow God to take me into His purpose, then I can have absolute faith in Him and His goodness. (paraphrased from today's devotional, My Utmost for His Highest).

I forget, sometimes, the highs and lows of this life.  They always follow after one another.

Monday, November 1, 2010

The blessing of being broke

Everyday, I am more and more amazed by God.  His creativity is astounding; where the enemy lacks creativity, God is the Author of it.  I have struggled with a wine/cigarette addiction for three and half years.  This is where the enemy lacks creativity: the bible says "Do not become drunk on much wine".   Well, that I had been doing.  I can now say it in the past tense because on August 29th, I woke up and the head knowledge of the fact that God Loves Me thunked down into my heart.  And just like that, the stronghold chains were broken.  That's not to say that I haven't found my way back to it on occasion.  I think maybe 5 times since then, I have been "drunk on much wine".

But recently, just when I thought I would be re-consumed by this addiction, God has creatively intervened:  He's removed the means to obtain said objects of my affection addiction.  We've been broke! Hallelujah!!   He knows that for now, I need this way out.  Because it's still so easy to convince myself that it's not that much money, it's just once in awhile, everybody does it, 1 out of 8 women will get cancer anyway, as long as my husband doesn't find out, my kids don't even know, I deserve it. . .

We just recently had a meeting at our church and I didn't get home until about 10:30pm.  And I was actually strongly contemplating a) taking my kids into a store at 10:30pm, purchasing only wine and cigarettes, or b) leaving them home, awake, at 10:30pm, to go purchase wine and cigarettes.  The imagined results of either of these actions, and the nudging of the Holy Spirit, were almost not enough to quench the desire.  The fact was we only had $2.95 in one account, and the mortgage account was suddenly $50.00 short was what actually put a stop to this nefarious idea.  

The next morning, I received an email from Rachael from church, reminding me that there were only a few days left in October in which to bless our pastors for Pastor Appreciation Month.  In my mind I admonished her, "sure, I would love to, but take a look at these bank accounts! I couldn't rob Peter to pay Paul if I had a ski mask".  And this is the crazy way God works; I checked the $2.95 account and you know, there just happened to be a deposit of the sort that I had not seen in about two months.  So, not only was I able to catch the mortgage account back up, put a little bit into the $2.95 account, but I was actually able to bless our pastor's with $50.00.  Not much, considering everything what they do for us, but I believe that it was the amount that God blessed me to give.

And do you know, I still had thoughts about getting those cigarettes and wine?  But I didn't.

Jer 29:13-14a
"You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.  I will be found by you," declares the Lord, "and will bring you back from captivity."