What an incredible year! I never title a post until after I have written it, but tonight I want to praise His name forever. There is nothing He cannot do. It is nearly beyond my comprehension that this blog occurred in one year’s time. It is definitely beyond my comprehension.
Sobriety. Selflessness. Love. I have made a beginning. After nine years of trying to find healing as a “born-again Christian”, I have found it. I have found it in following. I know I began to make the hard choices over three years ago. I cried and cried and cried as I laid my idols at the feet of my King. But this is the year I began to reap some of the rewards of what I perceived to be sacrifice. This is the year I reaped the rewards of letting Him call the shots.
I attended my first service at Hoboken Grace on August 5th, 2012. Who knew so much in my life would change as I decided to submit to Him and not run from what was nearly intolerably hard. (But not as hard as the year before coming to HG.) Sometime that November, I followed God to Celebrate Recovery only because I knew how miserable I could make my own life and I didn’t want to live in hell again. Not because I thought I fit in. What kind of lame people got together once a week to talk about their hurts, habits and hangups anyway? So I came and stayed – only because I could not leave without disobeying Him. I was lost. I was scared, but I was determined to quit digging my own grave.
There were two things I knew when I came to Jersey. I was never going to tell my story again and I was only going to do the things He allowed me to. The latter took precedence over the former. Only in how my life turned out, not in how I thought it would turn out.
The determination to never dance again until He gave me permission changed my life. It prevented me from stepping back into my destructive lifestyle until He gave me permission to do so. Would you know God has never encouraged me to live in misery?! There were so many huge moments in that first year here that I am reaping the rewards of now.
Going on a mission trip without praying about it because what God wanted was obvious.
Sticking with a dinner group even if I thought the girls were snotty and I didn’t understand them.
Quitting my job to pray. (That’s insane, but it changed my life. Following is supposed to be hard. No, it was not insane. It was my first step into sanity. Oh, but I was scared.)
Going on my first extended fast. Sobbing with my head in my knees in the park because I wanted to eat so badly, and had to remove myself from the tempting situation. Self-control, oh, but did I learn self-control! Mainly how to give something to God and allow Him to control it, instead of trying to control my own actions. Submission. Oh, it was painful!
But I still think there is a bigger moment. One no one but God would know if I did not tell the story. It wasn’t pouring my treasured nearly full bottle of vodka down my drain, as my flesh wondered why I couldn’t finish the bottle before quitting. It wasn’t getting rid of, how do I say this delicately, adult things in my house. In fact, I barely remember doing that. It wasn’t the beginning of my one year masturbation fast. It wasn’t any of those things.
Maybe it was the determination I had when I moved to Jersey to only do what He allowed me. If I was going to write a book, I would say it was this:
One Sunday morning, I don’t remember when, early on when I was here, I stood at the end of the service, singing, I would say worshiping God, but the worship soon was to come in a form other than singing. I told God in my mind what a stupid way my church did communion. I didn’t get anything out of it. What was the point? I knew God said “as often as you get together, do this…” It annoyed me. “I don’t care one way or the other if do take it.” I told Him.
“So,” He said, “If you don’t care either way, why don’t you do it?” The all important moment of change within me happened next. I went and did it. I even decided to drop the attitude and submit. I am pretty sure it took well over a year of taking communion before I began to get anything out of it other than obedience.
Obedience. That day I worshiped Him.
Today I set up for CR. I was alone. I cranked up an old favorite. One I sang over and over again in the year before coming to Jersey. I sang with tears running down my face. I sang in desperate submission. “He gives and takes away. He gives and takes away. My heart will choose to say, ‘Blessed be the name of the Lord!'”
Oh, but He has only given! I will praise His name forever. May I obey Him forevermore.
Jesus replied, “All who love me will do what I say. My Father will love them, and we will come and make our home with each of them. Anyone who doesn’t love me will not obey me. And remember, my words are not my own. What I am telling you is from the Father who sent me. I am telling you these things now while I am still with you. But when the Father sends the Advocate as my representative—that is, the Holy Spirit—he will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I have told you.
“I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid. Remember what I told you: I am going away, but I will come back to you again. If you really loved me, you would be happy that I am going to the Father, who is greater than I am. I have told you these things before they happen so that when they do happen, you will believe.” – John 14:23-29
There was that Sunday morning in California, at my grandparents’ old boring church, that they sang “Great is His Faithfulness.” And though I love to sing, I couldn’t open my mouth and voice the words. I could only cry because I was so certain my God had not been faithful. I wept then, and I weep tonight. But tonight it is because He is so incredibly faithful. I will praise His name forever!
(Oh, and it is super awesome to be home again with family. CA was amazing. I am so rested and have such a fresh mind. It is awesomeness in and of itself. Now I shall shush.)