The mountain of hurts experienced from others throughout your lifetime has likely left you with some deep scars. Some are quick to say they not holding a grudge or resentments from abuse or being mistreated by others. Their words, however, are proof they are still nursing the wounds, even to the extreme, medicating the pain. Like one lady said regarding a friend who hurt her deeply;
"Oh yes, I forgave her alright, but let me tell you what that old devil did to me!"
What about the mountain of hurt you may have inflicted on others? It is, to me, more painful knowing I hurt or let others down. Now I have to ask their forgiveness, but also I have to forgive myself. That is much more difficult to do. I mean, I have to forgive myself or live with regrets ruing over my bad behaviors until remorse sets up fortress inside my heart. And it can, and does. At one time I didn't care, let em think what they think of me, it's their problem. I was very sick back then.
"To err is human, to forgive divine." -Alexander Pope
"Forgive, and you will be forgiven." -Jesus
I believe the gateway to forgiveness is gratitude. I have discovered from my alcoholic past that being grateful for sobriety opened my spiritual eyes to see my fallen nature ruled me, thinking I was entitled to having everything, including my own way. When I didn't get what I wanted, I became ungrateful for what I did have. I became envious of others success. I became angry at my job for not getting a promotion, and jealous even at my church for their blindness to my hard work for God... (oh what a baby). My solution, the bar stool and ears to agree with my whining.
"I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought; that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder." G.K. Chesterton
"When I started counting my blessings my whole life turned around." -Willie Nelson
When grateful, color seems to enter the world, sounds are heard, handshakes and embraces are sincere, suddenly purpose comes into play, and empathy becomes the heart- mate of hope and love. Seeing those who hurt me, including myself in the mirror, as broken by life, poor upbringing, etc., with an understanding that only God's Spirit within could give me. I also feel pressed to ask forgiveness to those I hurt. I am truly thankful for my awakening to the gateway of gratitude.
Well, tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day. I hope you can take the time to be grateful for what you have. A life of gratitude is the gateway to forgiveness, and the mother of all virtue.
Silence is not golden, at least not when it comes to dialog regarding this current drug epidemic. Be silent and lose more lives. We are only deceiving ourselves when we hide our, or our loved ones addiction to drugs including alcohol. The fear of others finding out we have an addiction, or our spouse, our child, or a close friend is strung- out may be a reflection on us personally. Personal pride in self is a terrible addiction too. Thinking for even one second that your or my reputation is too important to say "I need help" will only prove you and me to be arrogant fools if we wind up dead, or in jail from substance abuse. No one will say, "I am shocked! I can't believe they were using drugs!" They know, I'm sure.
Are we paying attention at all? By 2020, according to USA Today, one million will die from opioid overdose at the current rate of users. One hundred and seventy five people will die today from that type of drug. In 2012, there were 156,000 first time heroin users, and 500,000 sought help for addiction to the drug. By now, I am sure that has tripled.
The new epidemic is coming on strong, an old drug with a new batch of users... methamphetamine. This will get very ugly. Secure the hatches, roll up the sidewalks, the living dead are approaching. It was told to me by a police officer that the Mexican drug trade are selling heroin on the condition that the dealers in the USA buy large amounts of meth too.
The wall in the south may be okay by the naysayers before long. Meth will bring violence in your neighborhood if this drug is flooding our country, as many in the law business are predicting. So you don't have to worry about your neighbors finding out about your addiction, or that of your spouse or kids. Chances are good that they are buying the dope from your neighbor. Don't take that too lightly, it is going on.
Some people, actually a few people ask, "What can we do to help stop this onslaught?"
First of all pray. Pray for a spiritual renewal in our nation. Pray that God will use your willingness to help. Pray that you and those around you are not complacent and are silent with their children... everyone is a potential addict, your children are not immune to this evil, learn about it, then talk about it with them. Pray that you do not point fingers and play the blame game if you have an addiction, or your loved one does. Don't say, "he's just running around with the wrong type of friends." He is the wrong type of friend!
The main thing is, pray, get involved through word and deed. Pray also for EMS and the police. They need protection for sure, but also wisdom and patience to deal with addicts.
I wanted to share this short poem written by a man I met recently. He is one of the fortunate ones, still alive and by God's grace recovering in a rehab facility. I hope you take a moment and read his heartfelt words to his younger self and his promise to Jesus, his Savior, to finish his life well in Christ's service.
Dear younger me
I did not see,
What my whole life
Was meant to be.
All the heartache
All the pain,
The guilt and hurt
And all the shame.
The things I did were all in vain,
All wasted now yet I remain.
So I can see my purpose now,
To You Lord Jesus I will bow.
Now I see what I'm to do;
Just follow You, only You.
You will lead me down a path,
Help me to forget my past.
I will tell them of Your love,
And of forgiveness from above.
Thank You Lord for saving me,
What You have done to make me free.
Your true love and sacrifice
Has given me a better life.
Death and sickness have played a prominent role in our families daily life over the last 10 months. First my mother last August, today my sister's funeral. As you may guess, this is unpleasant to say the least. Death may be expected but is never welcome. I remain grateful for the time we had with my mom and sister. Both were diabetics for over 50 years. I really see God's grace in the years they lived beyond their original diagnosis. Neither died from complications of diabetes!
The good news the family experiences through the passing of both is found in the great hope of heaven, made possible through Christ, our faith in His completed work. What mom and sis are experiencing right now cannot be described with words.
I write this today with life in mind, both this life and the life to come. I know death is present for the time being. Their death is two in the number of deaths surrounding us today. The stat is every eleven minutes someone dies. How many die needlessly is my concern. Surely you have noticed the scores that die daily from the current drug epidemic, especially from heroin overdoses. Every family I know have been affected in one form or another. Either death, prisons, rehabs, financial ruin from trying to fix the broken, etc.
Have we had enough? Enough death? Enough watching the living dead looking for their next fix, ruining their futures, their minds, their looks? Enough watching addicts throw away their children or using their kids sexually to provide themselves with their fix?
Below is my dear sister's obituary written by her devoted husband, Ben. Only those know the struggle she experienced that have gone through the same and survived. I felt it important to mention Ben's struggle too. Not only having to do everything for her as she lost the capacity, but facing the possibility of losing the battle, realizing future dreams wiped out. Then there is the children and grandchildren. The grief, the questions, and knowing family gatherings will never be the same. Though we celebrate life these days with our funeral services, you can see why death is still the believer's enemy.
As follower's of Christ, we do not sorrow as the world sorrows. We know past this veil, or phase of existence, the incomprehensible awaits with sights, sounds, and the reason we are welcomed there... Jesus.
I could say more about my older sister. She had a great deal of shaping my life. God's speed dear sister, see you soon.
Karen Diane Purdum age 67 of Orlando, Florida went to be with her heavenly Father on Fathers Day, Sunday, June 18th while resting peacefully with all her family present. She was born in Middletown, Ohio on April 11th, 1950. Graduated from Franklin High School Class of 1968. Then graduated from Middletown Hospital School of Nursing in Middletown, Ohio and worked for Middletown Hospital for 17 yrs. before moving to Norfolk, VA with her family.
She was a great wife, mother and grandmother and Ministered with her husband at church ministries in Kettering/Springboro Ohio, Norfolk/Virginia Beach, Virginia and Orlando, Florida. Karen retired as a Obstetrics nurse from Chesapeake Regional Medical Hospital in Chesapeake, Virginia and moved to 2067 Crosston Circle, Orlando, Florida with her complete family 6 years ago. She worked faithfully as a Registered Nurse but also loved and cared for her family and church ministry.
She was a dedicated wife who was willing to love her husband for 45 years and use her skills, gifts and talents at home, work, churches, and Christian Broadcasting Network in Virginia Beach, Va. She also served as church pianist/organist, worship leader assistant, vocalist and choir director assistant. She was a .Proverbs 31 Godly wife.
She was preceded in death by her mother Loraine Barnes and her brother Steve Barnes. She is survived by her husband Benjamin E. Purdum, two adult children Adam Purdum and Holly (Purdum) Whitmoyer/Alan Whitmoyer and three grandchildren, Hannah, Caitlynn, and Brooke Whitmoyer. She is also survived by her father Marion S. Barnes and her brother Keith Barnes of Middletown, Ohio.
This year Memorial Day seems more real to me than in times past. Perhaps the reason is personal research regarding twentieth century events, and watching the American Heroes Channel whenever docs on war are on the tube. In every conflict throughout the twentieth century, more lives were lost that in all known wars on record.
I honor every person who has served our country and lost their lives, and those who served at all as well. God bless their memory, may their sacrifice never be forgotten.
Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few.
I have this foreboding sense of days to come and potential looming wars to come. Anger and hatred are newsworthy, networks or media from various sources bombard us with possibilities of conflict, their escalation daily. Within our nation there are conflicts just shy of turning deadly violent, but not portrayed as such. We really learned zero from history though warned not to do so.I believe pride has told us we are too smart to repeat historical mistakes, which I believe is laughable.
Keep the memory of the fallen alive by refusing to allow politicians and leaders at any level to stop giving away guaranteed rights our men and women gave their life for. Freedoms are in jeopardy, mainly, religious freedoms, freedom to bear arms, not to forget freedom of speech, which seems only to apply to the press anymore. The rest of us must be politically correct not offend anyone.
We seem to drop all of our differences and prejudices in times of national threats, i. e. 9/11/2001. We come together across multicultural lines as Americans, grieving lost American lives, you know, our family. I would love to see that togetherness thrive in our country, but I don't foresee that ever happening.
Politicians, ethnic leaders, and media outlets are determined to keep unity at bay, increase their personal power, fanning the flame of discord without impunity. I believe their speech doesn't match their actions, they want us to forget those who lost their lives for freedoms they freely give away, pointing out opposition's faults to conceal their own.
Globally speaking, there are many conflicts alive and well. This is not a surprise however. Foretold a couple thousand years ago:
Jesus, questioned by his disciples about the times of the end said, "And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet. For nation shal rise against nation, kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places".... Matt.24:6-7
World-wide conflicts have always been. Yet from the twentieth century until now, never has so many soldiers and civilians died from such. Through in ethnic, political, and religious purging by Mao, Stalin, the killing fields of southern Asia, etc. The numbers are incredible. don't forget to remember, not just on memorial day, but when you pray, when you vote.
Now, how do you say this...Happy memorial day? Have a nice holiday? How about REMEMBER.
Don't think I come up with everything I write about regarding recovery from drinking and drug use Much of what I post comes from what I hear from successful people in recovery meetings. I also ask God's help to express thoughts to the reader. The purpose of this post is the latter statement, God's help.. Time after time I have heard the recovering admit that praying to God was key to their recovery. I totally agree.
The issues of addiction to drug and alcohol are regarded as a spiritual malady. Don't doubt that for a second. even if you do not believe in God, or agnostic. I have witnessed several who had no spiritual belief remain clean and sober as they followed THE program. Yet those who rely on God through prayer have much stronger recovery, my personal observation. If our addictions are indeed a spiritual malady, the remedy must come from the spiritual plane. We could not use physical to fix the spiritual no more than putting a set of wings on one's back would cause one to soar among the clouds, defying the physical law of gravity.
Simply put, physical laws cannot alter the dimension of the spirit. However, spiritual law can, and has, altered the physical and mental realms. This isn't arguable in this reality we dwell in, and only realized by having faith in such. With that in mind, the practice of daily prayer to God for help to remain clean and sober is the key to solid recovery, and much more. As individuals follow what has worked for millions in AA, praying for God's intervention to help just today a clean and sober day, their faith in His reality grows. They find God loving and ready to help them though at first, praying seems foolish, a waste of time. With days passing, their faith grows to ask for His help for other issues, until prayer develops into dialog, a relationship.
I have been asked about what God's will is by several over the years. Why I was asked in most cases was I had been the individuals sponsor, not from having been in seminary. Sometimes I answer that with a question...."do you know what God's will isn't?"
The answer to that is that they do not use drugs or alcohol. That's a given. Also, I believe God's will is obvious to the one asking...He wants you free of addiction, He wants you changed entirely, body, soul, and spirit. That normally means, everything about the individual needs to change. Recovery from addiction programs are programs of "self reduction to others minded." You may enter a rock star, but aspire to be a servant. (God's will leads to real life in spite of how that may sound to your ears).
In truth, most that want to know God's will having underlying reasons. In most cases, the hope of side-stepping consequences, or wanting to have someone agree with what they think. Others really want to know what I feel God wants them to do. That may cover many things, relationships, how to work their recovery out when opposed by family or friends, or for a desire to know God. For me, I find answers in scripture first of all. One particular place I look is in the "poetry sections," Psalms, Ecclesiastes, mainly the book of Proverbs. These books are crammed with workable, godly advice like an atlas insert for my personal locality.
To be honest, I still hit walls often. though I look for spiritual answers through prayer and Bible readings, that doesn't make me a spiritual know-it-all. Example being that I was absolutely sure a my last relationship was God's will. For me, God had to be my priority in life in. Second, I knew whatever I wanted must come second to my mate's needs and desires. Right priorities make perfect relationships...right? Not even close. The other individual has a say too. They may agree verbally, but hold to different priorities. If so, that does not mean the relationship is wrong or doomed to fail. But it may require more effort by both.
Though we agreed at the onset, and marital bliss seemed unending, vigilance was required daily. Even though I prayed before, even had solid counsel throughout, it ended badly. God, how did I miss Your will? That way of thinking can devastate one's recovery if help is not immediately sought. My expectations, God's will, her will, and enemy attacks, etc., all converged to where I could not see God's will at all.
In retrospect, I remembered I had a check inwardly, but disregarded it thinking, "get behind me devil!" (Only comical now). God wanted to keep me from trouble, but my desire for a relationship held sway over waiting for His perfection. Ouch! I don't know what hurt worse, the broken relationship, or being wrong at this stage of spiritual recovery, or...at my age.
In conclusion, pray for God's help as a daily priority. This is the priority for solid recovery. Do meetings, get a sponsor that isn't so cool but has a real spiritual side, do what you hear the successful in recovery have done. If you miss God's will for whatever reason, He isn't mad, ask Him again and talk to your sponsor about it.
We all have problems. Nobody is exempt. When individuals enter recovery from addictions, problems from past actions can be overwhelming. Often, the recovering try to tackle big problems first, which can be a costly mistake. When the attempt proves unfruitful, some give up entirely thinking their situation is hopeless. I advise everyone I can to start with the small problems and work their way to the big ones.
The reason for this approach is with each of the smaller issues resolved, the individual sees success, or progress,they are actually making headway. Each problem is a personal victory removing the impossible bit by bit. Their confidence grows, hope becomes faith, and through diligence, all of their past will be just that...the past. Many times, those attacking from this method experience euphoric self confidence for the first time in their life.
I go a step further by reminding them, (and myself), to ask for help from God. I have listened, over time, to scores of people in recovery meetings, that have given personal testimonies, how their prayers were answered. The trick here was asking. Humbly asking God for help eliminates personal pride and control, proving to self our inability to manage our life.
There are many others that never attempt to amend past problems.
"It's no use, I'll never get through this garbage, there are too many things and people blocking me."
True as that may be, this failure to launch will lead them downward. They do not try, nor ask God's help from looking at the giant as too great. God's specialty is the impossible. David, in the Bible had so much confidence in God that when he went out to battle the nine and a half foot Goliath, he ran out after Goliath, trash talked him, took him down, then took his head off.
Israel's entire army feared this monsterous man. When young David struck the giant down, the confidence poured out of David onto the soldiers...and the soundly beat the opposing force.
Not attempting to amend the past is fear based, or unwillingness to recover from not wanting recovery at all. There is nothing that can be done for the unwilling, but for the fear based individual, daring to go to any length and try, then asking God's help, they will get through. And like David's story, their story will invoke hope in others. Others will hear, receive necessary faith to fight their problems away too.
If this is you, or you have a loved one willing but having no confidence, take this approach. List out your problems or consequences. Don't leave anything off if possible. What is the least important? Then the next least, the next, etc., all the way to the major issues. Once that is complete. Go to a place you can be alone, humbly ask God...
Please God, help me remove these problems from my past. I cannot do this alone, even though I caused them alone. Nothing is too hard for you. Please help me. Amen.
One more thing. As each problem is resolved, thank Him, don't take all the credit. Share your successes with others as each victory is achieved.