Wednesday, December 1, 2010

I'm not perfect BUT God is AWESOME!!

Here's a quick run-down of how my day started:
  • Alarm. And before my eyes even open I say, Good Morning God, I love you! And I want you in my day. (wow, I'm a really good Christian, aren't I?)

  • Go downstairs, pray with my husband, snuggle up w/ my little guy, Zachery, and read a few chapters in my Bible. (WOW, I REALLY am a GREAT Christian!)

  • make some breakfast, make lunch for Zach, make a shopping list for after the preschool drop off (WOW...not only am I a great Christian, I'm also organized!)

  • head back upstairs to get ready for school...... and if this blog had sound effects you'd hear the screeching of tires bringing this awesome and organized day to an abrupt halt!

Because right then is when my precious little 4 yr old begins tap dancing on my every nerve. No, I don't want to get dressed. Then he proceeds to hide in the closet, under my bed, beside a cabinet that's in the hallway. After hiding, he lies on the floor... I'm tired, I don't want to go to school. We'll just fast forward past all the details and get right to the point.... I quickly began losing my patience. Which quickly takes me to raising my voice and threatening spankings and going to your room...blah blah blah.

Okay, Wow, I'm a really bad Christian because I can't even remain patient with a 4 year old! And, none of this would be happening if I would have been organized enough to get him dressed and ready for school before we came downstairs in the morning.

So, with lots of tears, we finally make it through getting dressed, brushing teeth and hair. Back downstairs, I decide to make a coffee for the road....and proceed to spill the entire HUGE travel cup of coffee all over the counter top, down the front of the cabinets and onto the floor. Yeah, this day is just awesome and it's not even 9AM yet! Right then Zach comes around the corner and says... what happened? I respond, I just spilled the coffee everywhere. His response to that? "yeah, you're not awesome anymore Mom."

Deep breath.... Then I, sort of in a huff, start praying out loud, something like this... okay, this is ridiculous, what in the world is happening to this day? I'm not handling any of this well! I need Zachery to be obedient, I need me to NOT lose my patience and go off handle. I need YOU to be strong right now because apparently I'm right smack in the middle of all my weaknesses!

And, I hear quietly, Go worship me. WHAT??? But even as I said what, I knew it was right. It connected to a place in my heart that just fit. I can't explain it, but I just knew that's what I needed. But of course, it didn't seem to make sense. I mean, really, how do I go spend time worshipping God when I've just completely lost my mind? I don't deserve to be able to go worship Him. And, so I told Him that.... "Well, this is just going to feel WEIRD! I don't deserve to be worshipping you. But I'm going to do it."

I head to the CD's in the living room and open the door to the TV cabinet where they are. My eyes immediately fell to an old CD by NewSong. Yeah, that's what I need a New Song in my mouth!!! I go upstairs to the only CD player we have, sit on my bedroom floor and put the volume really loud and start singing. I wonder about Zachery.... a quiet whisper in my heart, he'll come, give him time. I close my eyes. And sing. "You put a new song in my mouth."(See Psalm 40) I "feel" someone looking at me and open my eyes. There stands Zach, with his jacket and shoes on. I smile and he sits in my lap. We hug and I sing. At the end of the song, he says... I want to go to school Mommy. We talk about things a little and seriously we both had a HUGE change in our moods and attitudes. It was a brand new beginning full of mercy and grace from God.

I'm not proud that I lose my patience so easily. I know that God is dealing with me about this situation big time right now. Which, I think, is why Zach has a way of just pushing my buttons into overdrive faster than a Porsche with nitro right now. God says, you're weak in this area...let me be strong. I go a few days handling it all fairly well on my own and then slip right back into my old habits. But God! But God! But God!

I just can't believe how quickly, virtually instantly, things changed once I started singing along and focusing on Him. And really, it didn't feel that weird. God inhabits the praises of His people, the Bible says in Psalm 22:3. So it's simply impossible to remain angry and impatient while praising Him, because God is slow to anger, abounding in love and compassion (Psalm 86:15).

Anyway, I'm not sure to how to end this, except to say that in my great moment of weakness in handling a normal everyday problem God rescued me. And it's these moments that I fall in love with Him more and learn more about His character... That He is faithful, kind, true, merciful and gracious. I didn't deserve for Him to speak so kindly to me when He said go worship me. I deserved what I had been doing to my son, raising my voice, threatening discipline. I didn't deserve for Him to love me right there in my pit, but He did and once again He, the Holy King, came down into my unholy, ugly mess and sat me on His lap and rescued me.

God is awesome!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Sometimes God just makes me laugh

So, remember my post from yesterday? The one where I was frustrated because God didn't answer my question and it confused me. Well, He answered me this morning. As I sat down with my Bible and the cute, new journal from the weekend, I said "well, are we going to work on this today?" He said, "wait, weren't we already working on something before?" And then I "remembered" that we had started studying through a couple of behavior issues I need to deal with....mainly anger and discipline. We have been looking at scripture every day concerning anger and how to discipline my children. No, I'm kind of done with that I actually what I thought was...oh, can't we just work on that later, after we do the fun, cute little journal? No. Anger. Discipline. It's what we are working on.

So that's why He didn't answer that question yesterday. Because I was supposed to be doing something else.

Oh, He just makes me laugh sometimes!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

God just confuses me sometimes

Oh, I'm sure I'm not the only one who has ever thought that. But really, sometimes I have to wonder about stuff with God.

This weekend I went on a great women's retreat to connect with God. And we did! We connected. He talked to me, I talked to Him, we had fun, we sang, we danced, we cried, we laughed. I'm thankful that I can have a relationship with God that is open enough to do all of those things.

So, this morning, I sat down with my Bible to read, pray and talk to God. We were given a follow-up journal to the weekend study we did on the retreat. It was an AMAZING study by Beth Moore that really arrested my heart and shook me up quite a bit. So I was really looking forward to working through the journal over the next few weeks to dig into the subject a lot more and grow from what I learned. I sat down all ready to attack the 1st page of that journal. I prayed that God would speak to me, that He would examine my heart and I would have Godly wisdom as I studied. I go to the 1st question and ask God what the real answer is. You see, I can answer it in my own mind and what I think...but that's not what I want...I want God to show me the truth in my heart. I know full well that I can deceive I want, I need God to show me the answer. So I ask. I wait, full expecting God to speak to my heart and I hear...... ummm, I hear....... hummmmm, I hear...... NOTHING, CRICKETS, NOTHING!!!

Seriously? Nothing? And this is where I get confused. I understand that sometimes I pray with a physical need....and I don't hear or receive an answer right away. I just feel like if I'm really sitting and asking God to examine my heart and show me where I am spiritually about a spiritual concept like "loving others"....I kind of expect Him to answer me! I can answer it myself but somehow I'm not quite sure if I can safely, correctly assess my ability to truly love others the way God requires. So I wanted Him to give me a little insight. And I'm still waiting.

And I'm not going on to question #2 until I get an answer. So there!

This post really isn't going anywhere neatly tied up answer or revelation. Just sort of sharing my frustration and confusion.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Stories from Peru

"The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world's deep hunger meet."
Frederick Buechner


That quote really sums up my recent week in Peru. I was there on a short term mission trip. This was my 3rd trip to Peru and it will not be my last. God really stirred up a deep passion in my heart for the country of Peru. I love the people, so full of love and kindness. I love the worship, lively, exciting and reverent all at the same time. I love the children, precious little faces full of hopes and dreams. I know that God has called me there and I only want to be where He calls me, so that is very exciting to me!


Deep hunger..... I saw deep hunger in every sense of the word. Physical hunger on the faces of children and their parents, people hungry enough to dig through trash to find scraps to eat. I saw eyes filled with hunger, a hungry soul knowing that somehow, someway there has to be more out there. I felt the hungry hugs of women desperate to feel worthy and lovable. I heard the hungry cries of lonely children whose parents have abandoned them to the streets. I heard the hungry pleas of Pastors praying for God to move and bring relief to the country of Peru. I saw and felt the hungry spirits of everyone around me. Hungry for God to move, hungry for more of God, hungry to know Him more, to serve Him more, to know more of the freedom He gives. And that's the best place to be because in Matthew 5:6 the Bible tells us that those who hunger and thirst for righteousness will be filled.


And fill us, He did!!!


Here are just a few highlights of the week:

  • 85 people were saved, accepting Jesus as their Lord and Savior!

  • Service work at Hope House, a girls orphanage. We painted several rooms, doors and a ceiling. We built cement steps, a huge project that really amazed me when it was finished in 1 day!!

  • The doctor and dentist that was on our team also gave medical and dental exams to the girls at Hope House. The dentist even pulled a few teeth.

  • We spent plenty of time hanging out with the girls at Hope House. Visiting with them, giving them gifts, singing with them, playing volleyball and gave them supplies for their home. Just simply loving them.

  • Visited Villa La Paz, a clinic where many children stay who are awaiting surgery and where they recuperate after surgery until their family can care for them again. Some children live there...their families can't or won't take them back. There are very few doctors in Peru, so adequate medical care is virtually nonexistent. Dr. Larraza, who runs Villa La Paz, was a professor and surgeon at Emory Hospital and University in Atlanta. He gave up his position to start Villa La Paz and now devotes his life to the children that come through the clinic. Again, we simply spent time with the children and gave them gifts and supplies for the clinic.

  • Visited Centro Shama boys home. A boys orphanage that rescues the boys that live on the streets and under the bridges of Peru who are addicted to drugs. The boys come in, get off the drugs, go to school, have chores, learn about God and are rehabilitated. These boys are precious and very talented. They are excellent dancers and singers. They have videos, CD's and perform concerts. It was so much fun spending the day with them playing soccer, seeing their rooms, watching all their great dance routines. We gave them lots of gifts(soccer balls and cleats, toys, books, Bibles) and gave many supplies for the home.

  • Made several visits to the San Pablo area. This is an extremely poor community that is served by Iglesia El Renuevo, the church we partnered with for most of the ministry time in Peru. No running water, no electricity, many of the children had no shoes when we met them, the houses are shacks made out of discarded scraps of metal and wood, some without roofs.

  • At San Pablo we fed the children a meal on Sunday morning and then ministered with a short devotion. On 2 other trips there we played soccer and volleyball with the women and children. We gave out a lot of gifts, including shoes, toys, clothes and toiletry items. As part of our team was walking through the community they came across a group of 9 young girls who were practicing a dance routine. One of our team members explained we were there to do women's conferences to tell people about Jesus and asked if they knew who Jesus was. The girls did not know. The team member went on to explain the Gospel of Jesus and all of the girls accepted Jesus as their Savior right there! Praise God!!

  • Medical clinic for the community near Iglesia El Renuevo. The medical team (which included a doctor, a dentist and several assistants) saw over 70 patients, administered minor medical care, gave out several prescription medications as well as many over the counter treatments, gave lots of toiletry items to the patients, the dentist pulled several teeth and even had to extract 1 surgically! If doctors are rare in Peru, dentists are even more rare; so this clinic was a critical need for the community. 4 people received salvation that day also. One man said this... "I just came by here and all my needs were met. I was hungry and you gave me something to eat. I was sick and you helped me. And I got my spiritual needs met too!" That still brings tears to my eyes! That's just what Jesus would have done.

  • We had a leadership conference at Iglesia El Renuevo, with teaching on what it means to be a good spiritual leader in your home, church and community.

  • One of my favorite nights of ministry was the time we spent with the women of Pat's Place. Pat's Place is a home for women and children rescued from extreme domestic violence situations. We spent time with the women and children sharing stories of our lives and the forgiveness and healing we've received from Jesus. The women also shared their stories and we were able to pray for God to come in and heal their hearts. I know that God really touched those women that night!

  • While the women were ministering at Pat's Place, the men from our team were at the church having a men's conference. One of the team members spoke from Ephesians 5, teaching that Christ commands men to love their wives as Christ loves the church. It is so amazing to me to see the scope of what God is doing in the lives of the people of Peru. At the same time in one night, God was healing the broken hearts of the women who have been so abused and mistreated and He was also teaching the men how to love their wives! God is so good!!!!

  • We held 3 nights of women's conferences at 2 different churches. The conferences included special music, testimonies from our team members ( I was honored to share my personal testimony twice), teaching from the Bible on understanding and walking in your destiny as a Daughter of the King. After the teaching there would be a special ministry time of prayer. Our team would pray with every single women who desired prayer for any need. We saw many tears and broken hearts. We also saw God touch many lives and heal those broken hearts. This time of prayer was always extremely powerful. God is faithful to meet those who are seeking Him!

  • We had daily team devotions each morning that turned out to be one of my favorite parts of the trip. God really ministered to me during those times, through the music and the message from my team members. God would take that time and fill my heart up with His love, peace, and joy. He would give me courage and strength and speak His love over me every morning. It was a very special time for me and the Lord.

  • We also had the privilege of praying for a house where Iglesia El Renuevo has recently started cell groups. Life groups(cell groups, small groups whatever your church calls them) are very important to me and a personal passion I have for the local church. So praying for this new direction that Pastor Jonathan is taking with his church was quite an honor for me and I loved being able to take part in that!

  • A really fun and meaningful part of our trip was right at the end. One of the girls from Hope House was having her 15th birthday. In the Spanish culture that is a really big deal! It's like a debutante party and it's called a Quinceanera. She did not want to have the party, saying that she wasn't pretty enough and that no one would want to be there. Deep down, these girls usually feel worthless and unlovable. Their parents have abandoned them and most think it's because they aren't good enough. Well, our team really showed up! One of the young men from our team escorted Maricella out into the party room that was all decorated in baby blue and white. He stood by her side while several people from our team and the house mother and father spoke words of encouragement and inspiration to her. And then he danced with her. That's when the real fun started, all the young men from our team took turns cutting in and asking for the dance! It was quite a sight to see. At the end, the young men all showered her with birthday gifts. It was a party fit for a princess!

  • We did get to have some down time too....we had a fun dinner out one night at Norky's restaurant. A popular restaurant that serves rotisserie chicken. It was delicious! We were able to shop at a fun flea market style shopping mall....lots to choose from and good deals to be found(or haggled for!). We visited a nice outdoor mall in Mira Flores that overlooks a beautiful beach and enjoyed a walk around downtown Lima.

  • But the most fun thing of all was serving God, right where He wanted me to be, right beside some amazing men and women who loved serving God too! It was such an honor and a privilege to work alongside this team in Peru, I learned so much from everyone and that takes me back to the quote.....

The place God calls me too is the place where my deep gladness and the world's deep hunger meet.


I know that I was created specifically for times like I just had in Peru. Introducing people to the deep, great love and freedom of Jesus Christ, sharing my story of the freedom, hope and peace Jesus has given me and being completely surrendered to the will of God brings me such deep joy and gladness that it's difficult to express but I hope one day everyone can experience it for themselves.

If you'd like to see more pictures from my trip you can follow these links to the complete album on my Facebook account:

Monday, April 19, 2010

Everyday Eternal

One of my prayers is that God will give me an eternal perspective. That I will be able to see in my life things that have eternal significance. This is a short little note of a recent moment when I believe he spoke to me about some normal, mundane thing and turned that moment into an eternal focus.

I was at an outdoor party this weekend. It was at night and I had a little jacket to keep the chill away. The jacket is pink so when my friend I was talking to said... "what is that on your arm?", I could CLEARLY see the outline of something huge and black sitting on my forearm! Those of you who know me, know exactly how I reacted. I screamed, squealed, shrieked and ripped that jacket off of me so fast and then I threw it down and ran away from it! One of the guys came over to investigate the noise and subsequent laughter. He picked up the jacket, thoroughly inspected it and's okay, there's nothing on there now. Didn't matter to me at all....I refused to wear it again. It sat draped over a chair until I was ready to go home.

So, in a quiet moment this morning I thought about that whole scene and laughed again at myself. But then I heard God say to me.... that's how I want you to look at sin and this world. When sin "gets on you" or the world "gets on you". I want you to rip it off so fast and throw it down and run away from it. And don't pick it back up. I want you to be more scared of sin than you are of those creepy crawly bugs. I seriously had to think about it, because He's right you know. I seriously freak out over a bug stuck on my jacket but when I have sin creep up in my life I'm so good at explaining it away, sometimes I even sit with it a while and convince myself I'm "allowed" to sin like this because of something that happened to me in my past or because someone has hurt me or pick one of the million other reasons I(we) can justify my(our) behavior. Sin is sin...whether we like it or not. And wallowing in it cheapens the cross. Cheapens the price paid for us.

How's that for an everyday eternal moment? Dude, that's awesome, in my humble opinion! I love that God answers my prayer like that. And He used something very, very relevant in my life. Something so ordinary and mundane to make such a huge point. I totally, completely, insanely HATE bugs. And He turns it around and says....HATE sin. Not only do I hate bugs...I'm scared of them. He says, be scared of sin, Dawn. WOW!

So here's to embracing the bugs and fearing sin! Ummmm,,,,,don't know if I'm quite *there* yet...the embracing bugs part. But I sure have a new perspective on fearing and running from sin.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Breaking Free (pt. 3)

I knew I wanted to stop drinking. God had stirred it up inside of me that drinking was not serving a purpose in my life, that it wasn't good for me, that it was separating me from Him. So I struggled through 2005 with a few periods of sobriety. It was so weird to me that I could go a week(or more) without drinking to fast or a week without drinking when I went on a mission trip in the summer of 2005. But I'd always go back. No matter how much I wanted to stop drinking, I always went back.
I felt like such a fraud. Such a hypocrite. Here I was going to church every Sunday, going to life group every week, even going out of the country on a mission trip! And Sunday night, I'd drink. I'd drink when I got home from life group. And I drank when I got back from that mission trip. What a fraud.
I remember one time of desperation when I finally began to realize that I had a real problem with alcohol. It was late, I'm not even sure where Brian was at this point. Most likely he had already gone to bed. Anyway, it was late and I was drunk. I remember going into the bathroom and stumbling a little. And leaned against the bathroom sink to catch my balance. I looked up into the mirror and at myself. I thought, who are you? Really, who are you? Your whole life is somewhere else right now. Who you were this morning while you praying is not who you are right now, drunk and stumbling in the bathroom. Your husband and child, your family who you love is sleeping and their wife & mother is drunk and stumbling in the bathroom. It was like a slow motion movie.... I backed away from the sink, just looking at myself in the mirror, my back touched the wall behind me and I remember sliding down the wall and sitting on the floor, tears running down my face. Saying out loud, Oh God what am I going to do? I can't stop drinking. Please, God, help me stop drinking. Please, God, take this away from me. Please, take it, take it, take it. It was only a few sentences but I was tired, emotionally and physically. And I sat there. And I remember clearly hearing in my heart..... I can't take this away, you have to give it to me. WHAT? I remember shaking my head, thinking I couldn't have heard that right. God, takes things like this, He's a miracle worker, He heals people. He can make me stop drinking! Again, that still, small voice everyone talks about..... no, Dawn, this you have to give to me. Oh, God, how, how do I do that? Surrender, He said. I'll be honest and tell you that made no sense to me at the time. And really just irritated me. I thought, I don't know how to do that! And then I remembered, with great sadness, the Bible story of the guy with the thorn in his side. And I thought, crud, that's gonna be me. If I can't figure out how to surrender this, then I'm going to be walking around for the rest of my life with this big thorn sticking me in my side, hurting me forever! GREAT! JUST GREAT! I pulled myself together, got up off the floor, wiped my face and went on to bed.
More short periods of sobriety came, followed by periods of drinking and ignoring my problem. I found out I was pregnant and stopped drinking the entire time. Zachery was born in 2006 and for the 1st six months or so after he was born I didn't drink at all because I was nursing.
Bby now realized that I had a REAL problem, so I decided to go to AA. I found a meeting that was just around the corner from me. Gathered up my courage and went. Once inside, I cried and cried and cried. Walking into that 1st AA meeting was the 1st step to admitting to myself that I had a drinking problem. I sat and listened to everyone sharing their struggles....or as they say in AA, their experience, strength and hope. They talked of a Higher Power. Many people told what finally made the difference for them in their drinking problem was when they "came to believe that a power greater than themselves could restore them to sanity". Well, good for me, I thought. I know the *real* Higher Power. You can't really say Jesus in AA....God is okay, Higher Power is better. It's a program of surrender but one that doesn't require you to believe in only one God. Anyway, I sat there thinking... cool, I've got this. If all you need is a Higher Power, then I'm good to go. Because I know the real Higher Power, I'm not like these other people believing in something "out there", I have a personal relationship with Jesus. So, I didn't take any of the suggestions. I didn't get a sponsor, I only went to a few meetings a month. I compared myself to the others, to see how I *wasn't* like them, instead of trying to find the similarities. Never mind that there were people in the room with many, many years of continuous sobriety. I dabbled in and out of AA. In AA, you take chips (looks like a poker chip) to mark you time in sobriety. The white chip is the 1st one, the chip of surrender. I would take white chip after white chip after white chip....until, I didn't take anymore white chips because I was tired of taking a white chip and still drinking again. One nice person who was trying to encourage me and help me, had given me their 30 day chip and said, "give it back to me when you get your own". It took me 6 months but I finally put together 30 days in a row....just so I could give him back his chip.
It would take me another 3 years to get 30 days in a row of sobriety.
I eventually stopped going to AA.
But, I never stopped asking God to teach me how to surrender and to give up alcohol.
(to be continued)

Monday, March 8, 2010

Amazing Grace

Did you automatically default to "how sweet the sound" after you read the title of the post?


A super cool thing happened to me this morning. I was driving down I-77S here in NC, sort of zoning out on my drive, listening to the radio, bouncing all kinds of thoughts around in my head. And God showed up.


I happened to look over and noticed one of those digital billboards. The word "available" was lit up across the span of the billboard, obviously indicating the space was available for advertising. As quickly as I turned my eyes back to the road, God said, "look again". So I glanced back and noticed that the logo of the advertising company was written across the top of the sign. It said, "GRACE".


I read it all together.......

Grace, Available.

It is you know. I heard it so clearly. Grace, it's available to you, to me, to everyone. Grace, God doing for us what we don't deserve. I don't deserve His love or friendship or kindness. But He longs to give it to me. And He longs for me to accept it.


Now, that is amazing grace.


And, unlike the billboard advertisement, we don't have to call a 1-800 number. God's amazing grace is always available. We simply have to call on His name. His ever present, never changing, extravagant grace is always available.


Is there an issue in your life that you are afraid to face? Something that seems so terrible that you aren't sure if you'll ever get through it? Don't lose hope. God's grace, it's available. Run to it.

Saturday, February 20, 2010


Betrayal.... ugly, ugly word. Oh and it hurts so bad, doesn't it? When someone you love dearly, trusted completely, someone you let into your most vulnerable spaces betrays you....the heartache is so real and painful.

Matthew, chapter 26. In the Bible. I was so sad as I read how Judas was betraying Jesus. How could he do that, I thought. Little tears welled up in my eyes. Then, several verses later, Jesus goes away to pray in the garden. He tells his friends, the disciples, to stay and watch out for him. Actually, He says more than that.... He says, I am deeply sorrowed, please stay and watch for me. But they fall asleep.....3 TIMES! Jesus comes back and warns them twice to stay awake. The 3rd time He comes back, He asks... "still sleeping?", "still resting?". I can hear the implication.....despite my warnings you are still sleeping? --- Well, now the betrayer is here!


How could they do that? How could they just fall asleep?


We---I, am the same! Ignoring the warnings, brushing off the gentle nudgings of the Spirit. "Sleeping" so to speak. It's quite convicting to me to admit that I allow the betrayer to enter the gates of my life because of my selfish "sleeping".

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Breaking Free (pt 2)

I didn't think about my drinking very much for a while after that 1st night I wrote about in the last blog post. I would reason it away and ignore the nagging feeling that I probably drank too much.
In January of 2005, the church we were a part of announced that, as a church body, we could take part of a 21-day fast. If you aren't familiar with fasting, it is simply a time when a person either limits or eliminates all meals for a certian period of time to consecrate themselves to prayer, meditation and seeking God's direction. My husband and I decided to take part in the fast and also decided that our fast would be from all food, we limited our intake to water, juice and broth soups only. I secretly reasoned to myself that once our fast was over, I'd probably quit drinking altogether. I didn't drink any alcohol during the 21 day fast. And, it wasn't a problem either. I didn't find myself craving wine. In the 1st few days, I probably missed it because it was a habit. But drinking was non-negotiable at that point so my brain didn't argue with itself.
The 21-days came and went. It was an amazing time of prayer and worship to God. And I came out of that time feeling very close to and very in love with God. Knowing even more confidently that having an intimate relationship with Him was something I desperately wanted and needed. Knowing that I never wanted anything to seperate me from Him, ever.
I'm not sure, but I'm pretty positive, that it was probably only 1 or 2 days after the fast was over that I drank again. And I really didn't like myself for doing it.
I gave myself plenty of reasons why I did it....everyone does it, it's only wine so what's the big deal, and heck, with all that I'd been through in my life, I deserved to drink and "relax" whenever I wanted to....and so on and so on. I guess I had started realizing deep down that it was most likely too much. But I didn't know what to do about it. I liked drinking. It was part of my life. It made me comfortable. But it was starting to make me uncomfortable.
I think sometime several months after the fast, I decided I was going to quit drinking. When I thought about it, drinking didn't serve any purpose in my life. There was no reason for it. So I decided I'd stop. Probably, it was one morning after waking up feeling like crud because I'd finished an entire bottle(the big one) of wine the night before.
That decision lasted until I was in my car driving home after work that day.
And that began the cycle of trying to willpower myself out of drinking.
(to be continued)

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Breaking Free

I guess I'll start at the beginning, that's usually the best place to start. Trying to pin point the actual beginning of this story is difficult though. I's a big story. And even though it's happening to me...I'm not even sure when it *really* started. But all I know is this, I gotta get it out of my head and heart before it fades into oblivion. The story will never fade..but the details they will, some already have I'm sure. I trust God will bring back every single detail that needs to be told.


I'm broken. In a lot of places. The biggest break was in my heart. It was so big that I'm not sure I could see it spanned outside of my vision it was so big. A, more like a black hole, because it sucked in everything around it to try to be full.


The breach in what was comfortable about my brokenness happened few months after I realized my deep need for true love, realized my deep need for redemption and rescue, a few months after I reached up for the hand that was reaching down for me, a few months after I realized my need for a savior and I gave my life over to Jesus Christ.


I had walked in my brokenness for so long, a lifetime in fact, that I'm not even sure I realized I was wounded anymore. I had gotten pretty comfortable with the hiding, the covering up, putting on my mask everyday. Most of the time, even I believed the lies I portrayed to everyone else. And funny enough, I thought they believed it too. Now, I'm not so sure I ever had anyone fooled.


The breach, the crack that started the shifting in my foundation of lies, happened on a normal weekday night at the end of day that was not out of the ordinary in any way. Normal day, get up, get dressed, go to work, come home, start dinner, blah blah blah. But God had something much more planned. He was about to begin the process of bringing me out of my normal and into His extraordinary.


Even though I talked a good game of having my life under control, inside I was a mess. Deep down I guess I always believed that the emptiness that existed in my heart and soul would be filled by something outside of myself. I was always on a search for what made me feel satisfied, worthy, useful, better. When I was young, school aged, I just knew that if I had the right clothes, the perfect hair, the best grades then I'd be okay. That's where I found my value. As I grew older, those things didn't fill the void any longer. I searched everywhere. What I can put into to words now that I couldn't then, was that I really believed that if I found the husband who loved me enough, the job that fulfilled me enough, the children I was raising well enough, friends that were loyal enough then that is when I would be complete. The emptiness would disappear and I'd finally be content.

In all the searching and in the trying to fit in and in the trying to cover up all the empty feelings, I started drinking. At first, it was an occasional social drink to calm my nervousness of always feeling like I never fit in anywhere. Drinking made me feel more at ease, more able to crack a joke and clown around like everyone else. It also made me stop worrying about every.single.thing. I did and said. I was always so worried about what people thought about me. I wanted everyone to like me, so I constantly replayed everything I did and said over and over in my head and then I'd berate myself for not being perfect. The drinking made that go away. I'd stop worrying and then if I did do something really stupid, I had the drink to blame. It was perfect!


I met the husband who loved me enough(and he still does!), I had the job I really loved, I had the children I was raising well enough, I had many amazing friends who were not only loyal, I mean, they really liked me! Inside, though, I was still a mess. What a really lonely, disturbing, awful day that was when I woke up to the fact that I had all that I had always thought I needed to finally be full and content and happy. And yet, when I looked in the mirror at myself, I still saw yuck! I still felt empty, void, useless, worthless.


So I drank. It made me forget. For a little while. And like I said before, I got really good at walking in my brokenness.


So, back to the night the things began to change. I came home from work that night, poured a glass of wine, and got dinner started. I decided I'd read while I waited for the darling husband to come home and the dinner to cook. I got my Bible, sat down at the kitchen table, put my glass of wine right next to me and opened up to Proverbs. Seemed completely normal to me at the time. I mean, hey, I always enjoyed reading a good book with a glass of wine. As I read though, this nagging feeling came over me. At first I didn't really understand it, I felt odd, out of place. I remember, I stopped reading and kind of looked up and around and thought, what is going on? And then, I looked over at the glass of wine and I heard in my heart...because it wasn't an audible voice, just a knowing in my heart....Dawn, you can't read my word with that stuff. I thought...WHAT? Again..a little voice in my heart...Dawn, you know you can't read my word with that wine here. I sat still for a minute and didn't think or say anything. And, like any good sinner....after a couple of minutes I started reading again. But the feeling wouldn't go away. And after a few more minutes, I started to get indignant and mad. Thinking in my head....really, just who does He think He is? I *always* read with wine. Seriously, who does He think He is telling me that I can't have it? (Can you see me? Just shaking my head, getting all high and mighty thinking no one, not even God, has the right to tell me I can't have a glass of wine.)

So, I turn off those thoughts in my head and put my eyes back to where I was reading. And read.... "My child don't ignore it when the Lord disciplines you, and don't be discouraged when he corrects you. For the Lord corrects those he loves, just as a father corrects a child in who he delights." (Proverbs 3:11-12). Seriously, my eyes just about popped out my head! What? What, did I just read? So I read it again and you know, it just connected with me, the Lord was speaking to me through His Word, right then. I had heard people say that the Word is alive, that it is living and breathing. I never understood what they meant until right then. It spoke to me....I promise you it was like a person was standing in the room with me and spoke it out loud. I didn't hear it with my ears...but hearing something with your heart is much more audible!


I immediately picked up that glass of wine and took it to the kitchen.....

...........and put it in the fridge to save for later.


Remember, this is just the beginning. That was 5 years ago. And that was the first crack in the foundation of false security I had built for myself over so many years. I didn't know it then, but it was going to take some serious demolition to tear down the walls I had built around myself. Heck, my walls were so big and shielded me from so much that I didn't even know I had them...that's how in the dark I was!


(to be continued)