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.
When I first entered into recovery for alcoholism, I found it nearly impossible to ask for help for any reason. I would ask God to help me without thinking twice. But not people. What I did not know was how God used people to help me in response. I still struggle to ask others for help for things in general, even when they offer to help. This is a real character defect I must deal with.
My understanding changed as so many in AA reached out to help. I knew then that I needed what they had to offer. Even greater was the understanding of how my prayers were not wasted words. God really cared, really heard my petition, really loved me. Today when I pray to Him, I know He will answer.
I read accounts in the Bible regarding prayer. Two in the Old Testament stand out in my mind. The passage in 2 Chronicles 20, Jehoshaphat, king of Judah, gathered the nation to ask God's help as they were besieged by a massive army. In Isaiah 36-37, Hezekiah, king of Judah sometime later, had a similar experience. Read these awe-inspiring stories. Both give direction to praying in unity, in desperation, in faith that God can and will rescue if we only ask.
Some may say, that was then, or think, what a nice fairy tale. So perhaps an event in recent history may be more convincing. Have you ever heard about the story behind the story of Dunkirk, during WWII ? The British army, numbering nearly one quarter of a million, along with french allies, were backed to the sea, with eight hundred thousand German soldiers closing in for the kill. Hitler was bent on annihilating the Brits.
Winston Churchill earlier, had called for a national day of prayer. I heard a woman, then a young girl account how the people responded, though unaware at the time how dire the army's situation was.
"I remember my mother and I walking to town to the church, to pray, asking God's help for our nation, the military, and our leaders for guidance. When we neared the church, I saw people kneeling on the sidewalk outside of the church, and along the sidewalks, for all of the churches were packed with praying people."
No one knows why, and this is still being discussed by historians, Hitler suddenly decided to halt his charging army, and give the soldiers a little R and R...highly uncharacteristic. Simultaneously, a British leader had a flashing thought...let's gather every boat available, no matter how small, to rush across the English Channel and rescue the soldiers.
Please don't insult God and say, "what a coincidence!" The two events were a result of a people asking God's help in unity, like Jehoshaphat and Hezekiah did, as well as accounts throughout scripture.
We all have an army of problems and mountains of impossibilities facing us in life. We do not have to fight alone, often not at all when we call to God for help. We have to ask. James 1 says, 'you have not because you ask not'...or ask selfishly, (amiss). Jesus said ask and you shall receive, or say nothing and receive it.
So that's it. Drinking was prolonged from my resistance to ask for help. Life and freedom came from humility enough to ask God and others. Great victories are realized when we have the courage to humbly ask God to fix our situations. Start asking, watch for results, be open to receive help from others.
One other thing. The times seem extremely dark, our nation is totally divided and double minded concerning right and wrong, politics, education, et al...A mountain of troubles are in view. We need to pray for our nation as never before. Please do so everyday.
Every meeting I attend has changed of late. It is not the structure, the topics, nor the methods that have changed. It is me. So many that attended have lost their lives to either returning to their misery, or have passed away from sickness of some sort. Each meeting gives me pause to wonder who may not make the next meeting. That is the wrong way to think. The right way is suit up, show up, give what I have been given. This is my realization from attendance to meetings. There I learned I cannot fix anyone. I can only trust God, serve others, and keep my side of the street clean.
My struggle enjoy meetings does not matter as long as I continue on, in disregard of my personal feelings and misgivings. Sure recovery for me depends on the understanding I have of self-forgetfulness. How I feel, what I want, or what I think is not as important as what recovery meetings have ingrained in my thoughts...."meeting makers make it." Without that understanding, I would be back doing what landed me there in the first place.
Many of you that read this are either in recovery, or are tearing through every site offering info on clean and sober living for a loved one's sake. For the one looking for yourself, you are on your way to restored sanity and recovery. Those looking for another, I can only tell you that "recovery is for those who want it, not for all who need it." Not trying to bust your balloon, but they should be the one looking, not you. Don't stop, by any means! As you go through page after page, you will learn how not to help them and enable their lifestyle.
Sure recovery is possible. I have known several, whose lives were like an elevator mechanic, up and down, sober, then drunk again. They eventually "came to believe" they could make it, and did! It is possible, they discovered, when their determination and desperation finally developed faith to believe their need to accept their plight, others help, and finally follow direction. By listening to others story and suggestions, the most important truth of recovery...God's reality, His grace to help, mercy to forgive, and direction to change those hungry to be free.
"I know the thoughts I think about you, says The Lord, thoughts of peace, not of evil, to give you hope, and a future." Jer. 29:11
"...casting all your care on Him, (God), for He cares for you." 1 Pet.5:7
I have been through horrific problems lately. I know these problems would have crippled me without God's indescribable grace that rests on my life through faith in Christ. These problems could add several paragraphs to this page. I will not honor them by giving them that space. That is not sure recovery at all. Sure recovery is hope, turned into faith, turned into trust that when these problems pass, I will be able to look back and see God's hand, pulling strings, and manipulating situations to bring me through. Victory awaits if I fight on, and credit Him, humbly acknowledging His will is done. Keep fighting, follow directions, get into meetings until they get into you.
God's peace to all.
Older and wiser? That's what you hear people say. I don't believe that is the truth. I do believe older and changed perspectives. Yep, the older I get, the physical eyes dim, but I see many things crystal clear. Lessons come hard in life. At least, the lessons we really don't want to learn.
Here are a few things I discover over time.
1. I can be wrong. I am normally wrong at first glance. I am always wrong when I do not investigate.
2. Trusting people will get me hurt. Trusting God takes my power away. Trusting my instincts is expensive when I am not spiritually fit.
3. Don't believe everything my ears hear, don't judge everything my eyes see. Judging anyone puts me under the microscope, and suddenly I am the one being judged. Snap judgments are no-nos.
1. Love at first sight. It is a must. Love for others is the major clue I've had a heart transplant by Dr. Jesus. I don't have to love people, I'm compelled to.
2. Forgive wrongs I have suffered. I finally understand that I'm forgiven when I've forgiven.
3. Serving is a must. Helping alcoholics or addicts is important for my recovery from addictions, but so is serving family, neighbors, church, my community. It is very important to serve at work, do my best, give the most, without complaining. (oops, the complaining part...I haven't perfected)
1. Be resentful. This crushes spiritual maturity, and having one only matters to me, no one else cares. There is no getting even. Trying to do that cultivates the grudge, to grow more resentments.
2. Allow negative thoughts to eat my efforts. Why endeavor what I don't believe in? Believe in my agenda, or scratch it off of the slate.
3. Don't forget. If I forget my past wrongs, I may repeat them.
The sun will come out tomorrow
Here are a few things I work on. The years don't grant abilities to accomplish as an auto-fix.
1. It's hard, nearly impossible, but try not to be a hypocrite. Don't bring reproach on Christ, or make it easier for anyone to say of me, " some Christian he is, there's nothing to religion."
(Negative people always point their finger at anyone marching to a different drummer).
2. Believe. Know the impossible is possible. Every invention was impossible once upon a time. Inventors believed it could be, were diligently worked at it, and the idea was sent from the CEO of the universe.
3. Embrace necessary change. Not all change is good. Some change is painful. The trick is knowing the difference in necessary and unnecessary change. I have to adapt to what causes growth in me as a person. I don't plan to adapt to what society considers "chic."
Nearly every day life offers opportunities to see further evidence of God's grace in my time on the Earth. The years pass quickly, then, you finally learn how to make time to live when it is time to go. What I don't want to waste precious moments thinking I must have anything, or anyone, or be anyplace. With the proper motives, I am where I should be and have what I need.
There's so much to say of what life has taught, but I want to keep this short. But before I sign off, here's a few more little things we overlook that have a huge impact on the quality of our remaining days:
Smile, laugh and make others laugh as much as possible.
Give, not always money, though that may be where your heart is. Give time, give a smile.
If I don't know an answer, say, "I dunno." Don't think of myself too highly.
Take time to rest, reflect, restart your drive.
Rest is important. So is diligence. Work hard to help, take time learn how.
Walk and pray. Talk to God and get fit spiritually and physically at the same time.
Read, read, and read. Fill your mind with good...feast in feast out.
Consider others. Realize we all are imperfect. Don't judge, refuse to hate.
Have no expectations that rely on other's effort, that leads to untold sorrow.
When you have no desire to do something important, that's the time to "just do it."
Be wary of complacency and procrastination. These evil demons are clingy, resilient too.
Have a clean and sober day, God bless all!
In no way can I fix others problems, no matter how much I try. I had a friend, concerned about the one he loves, and their addiction, fearing their demise. I have been messaged by mom's with children often about the same thing. I have also experienced this first hand, trying to fix a broken person, thinking that with all of my study and experience, surely, I could fix them.
If you haven't been there, you cannot imagine the gut-wrenching, powerlessness of watching someone near to you slowly executing their self, lying, denying, and milking you for more without feeling any remorse. You are desperate for them. They are emotionless or happy-go-lucky, as long as they get their way. When enough is enough, watch out. Things and money begin to disappear.
The concern for them is real enough. But there is an underlying self-concern that causes you to hide valuables and personal info, like bank account numbers and passwords. Their addiction somehow will find its way to our buried treasure. How can someone that says they care for you, treat you like that? Sometimes you have to go deep, set boundaries, and take measures you thought never possible. Keep your word if the boundary gets crossed. That measure means everything.
Prayer changes things...and people. When I pray for others tangled by their addiction, or lifestyle related to addictions, God hears me and answers, often specifically as I ask. Others times He may answer in other ways, I am sure you who pray know what I mean. Of late, two individuals I prayed for their going to jail if necessary. Within a short time they were incarcerated. That has happened before, will happen again. Why those prayers were answered so specifically, I believed was because there was no self-concern of personal loss on my part.