Last night I decided to read through some of my prayer journals. Five notebooks spanning 3.5 years produces a such a beautiful showcase of God’s life changing touch on my life. I want to share some of these entries, because I know that as I was in the midst of writing each and every one of these-the words were backed with deep emotion and desperation. After spending this past week fighting impatience, it is refreshing to pour over these old entries and watch as God moves across the pages. Some entries are filled with confidence in my relationship with God- and I seem to be really grounded-then you turn the page and it is an entry of me crawling back to God begging for His touch. These journals remind me of my humanness and God’s holiness and the intersection of the two.
March 3, 2016– “I messed up again last night. I feel like I can’t trust people to take care of me. I know I can’t drink, but I did last night which led to immorality. It was with a guy I would never seriously be with. I know i’m so drawn to men because I don’t spend enough time with You. I crave that attention- I need to be enough with who you say I am, but I’m always backsliding. Always failing. It’s hard to choose you when temptation stares me in the face. Re-make me, because I don’t like who I am. Re-shape into a woman who stands on her word, and let me feel conviction deeply. I’m sorry for not being more thankful for the cross.”
August 24, 2016– “Today I’m struggling. My heart is tired. I’m emotionally drained and it’s taking so much to push myself to do anything. I don’t feel like I’m acting with excellence. I don’t know what more to do though. God, I’m a broken person needing your touch.”
October 15, 2016– “Today I’m getting baptized. I’m going to leave my past sins, my hurt, and everything that isn’t pleasing to you- in the water today. I let you down. i broke your heart, and I chose earthly relationships instead of you. I didn’t believe a relationship with you could be more fulfilling than an earthly one, but I was so wrong! You fill me up, you call me your beloved, and you will never get tired of me.”
October 26, 2016– “Even if i never receive earthly blessings, I will continue to give, because eternity with you is more than I could ever desire. I will continue to ask for your blessing though, and I will continue to trust you to show up. I know that my future lies with you- so despite pain and struggles, I know my future will be beautiful.”
January 18, 2017– “I have a jealous and prideful heart. I need to let go of myself and care more about you. I need to fill up more on you. Forgive me for the times I broke your heart this week. I need strength. I need determination. I need accountability. I know I can’t do this without you. I know I am weak and frail in the flesh. But you are strong. You are enough. Bring accountability, stability, and clarity into my life.”
February 24, 2017–“I feel like you led me to rehab, and you have a purpose in me being here. Thank you for your grace and love and everything you’ve extended to me recently. Please keep my heart and mind open to all you have for me in these next several weeks. I want to be a vision builder, an inspiration, a champion charging into battle knowing full well that you have already won!”
June 29, 2017–“Sex is how I feel I have value. Take that away and I begin questioning everything about my worth. I hate my mindset. But despite how much I pray or promise you I’ll pursue purity… I am powerless! I want to be pure. I want to pursue that, but honestly, it’s completely terrifying. It means tossing out my identify and finding something new. It means letting go of people I know will always hold me, despite how unhealthy it may be. And I just don’t know if I have the courage to do that.”
Unfortunately, the rest of my 2017 prayer journals are back at my parent’s home in Kansas City, so skipping on to 2018.
January 24, 2018– “God, may my interactions with others be welcoming and doused in spiritual, holy love. When I’m annoyed, please instantly remind me that love is the goal. Grip my heart and mind and steer it in your direction. Not my own. I can get angry and roll my eyes and just put me first. And I don’t want to do that. Guide me. Steady my heart. Still my mind, and help me discover anything in me that is not pleasing to you.”
February 5, 2018–“Lord, can we talk marriage? Oh how my soul longs to enter into that covenant. Help shape me into a selfless woman-one who find pure joy in serving others. My singleness is yours-you are in control.”
February 9, 2018–“Make my heart confident in you. Steady my heart and shift my longings so that i desire you more than a husband. My this be a year where the desires of my heart change. Align my heart with yours. may my motives be pure. But, this I ask. Prepare my husband, if that is in your plan. Lay on his heart the importance of purity-heart and mind. Stir up in him a passion for your word-seeking you out, day and night. Help him understand you-giving him discernment and wisdom. Give him leadership opportunities where he can develop character traits of honesty, responsibility, self-control, and selflessness. Guard his heart and mind, may he feast on you and find unity in your body.”
February 22, 2018– “God, exactly a year ago I left for rehab and I feel worse off now. I lack all desire to stay sober. I think I could control my drinking. I want to have fun. I’m tired of claiming to be an alcoholic. I need you to work on my spirit and turn my desires to that of you.”
March 22, 2018–“Why do I do what I do? Don’t I have more value than careless choices and throwing out my body to anyone? Drinking again…justifying it whenever I get the urge. God, why would you delight in someone like me? My life is short. A mist. So often I wonder why it even matters.”
May 1, 2018–“God, what is wrong with me?? I’m at my second treatment. And I’ve started scratching my arms with sticks. My right arm is all torn up. The staff did a suicide screening on me. Every day is such a challenge to eat. I hate this. I didn’t even know I had an eating disorder until I got here. It’s so hard.”
May 22, 2018–“I love you. I love who you are and the person you are making me into. You are holy and mighty and so good-such a good daddy. Thank you for clinging to me even when I kept slapping you across the face. I don’t deserve you. Not at all. I’ve betrayed you and hurt you. But still you call me home. I just want to have a pure and holy heart.”
July 2, 2018–“Abba, I feel messy. I feel like I can’t do this. I feel empty. I feel like a shitty person.I feel like I will not be able to stay sober, sexually or chemically. You say, ‘Many are the plans of a man, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.’ God, I need to see that purpose! I need to be reminded of why I am here. I need the assurance that recovery is something you have purposed for me. Give me the willingness and desire to go wherever you are leading me-even if that is Jackson, MS. Goodness, I’d rather go back to Kansas before Jackson-but I know you see the big picture so I’m trying to trust you with it. Keep guarding my heart and help me get better at regulating my emotions. Continue to open my heart and mind to the healing you’ve designed to take place.”
July 30, 2018–“God, it is so hard to just stop fantasizing. The pull is so strong. The fight is so hard. Please help me fight this battle. You say you will ever leave me nor forsake me. I’m scared to release control because I don’t know what will happen when I do. I want to see your heart. I want to live out of conviction so that the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you. I know I can’t stay sober without you. Direct my attention on you!”
September 18, 2018–“Where you go, i’ll go. Where you stay, I’ll stay. Just open my eyes to what you want to do in and through me. Guide my steps. I just want to be in your will because I trust you way more than I trust myself. Thank you for loving me through my darkest moments and still taking delight in me.”
November 23, 2018–“God, I want to be dedicated to sobriety in every way, not just the ways “I’m willing” to be. I don’t have the authority to choose right from wrong. Please help me make the right choices. Give me a desire to honor you in every way. May conviction stop me from taking what isn’t mine-including men and love. I want to be proud of who I am, but I’m not right now.”
January 1, 2019–“God, I don’t know why you are keeping me at Chick-Fil-A, but thank you for teaching me humility and acceptance. Use me and my story to light the way for others to find you. May I illuminate your glory, your kindness, and your compassion, but especially your gentleness this year as I learn what it looks like to be a woman of faith and integrity. At the end of each day, may I be brought back to your heart and your sovereignty.”
February 14, 2019–“We love because you first loved us. Thank you for being so present and caring about even the smallest details in my life. Thank you for showing me what ultimate, untainted love looks like by experiencing the most horrible abuse and death–to save me from the lake of fire. I love that you are just. I love that you are kind and compassionate. I love that you place dreams in my heart and then open the doors to pursue those dreams to glorify your name. Thank you for the life I have and for leading me to Jackson- of all places.”
April 16, 2019–“Jesus, I don’t like the longing I have to be with a man. The desire to be wanted, to be invested in. Help me see that my life is enough and complete without a man by my side. Bring me someone in your time, not mine. Let it be a man who pursues you first, and then pushes me to you in grace and conviction. I need a man to pursue me-but only if you have blessed it. Anything apart from you is not good for my heart and I don’t want it.”
September 15, 2019–“I don’t want to leave room for the devils schemes. Guard my heart. Give me dignity. I do believe you have given me so much potential and I don’t want to get in the way of your plans for me. Give me wisdom and self-control–and help my heart navigate unwanted thoughts and emotions. I’ll raise a hallelujah with the confidence that you will help me work through this. I love you.”
Of course there are so many chunks of time that are skipped over, pain that is endured, moments of giving in to fleshly desires, along with other intense conversations I had with the Lord. Walking with the Lord has been an up and down journey for me. It wasn’t until just a few months ago that I hit a low point and I called out to God in desperation yet again, realizing that He is truly the one and only who can sustain me. He is the only one who can make me whole. In a span of 3.5 years I attempted suicide more than once, I was gang raped, I realized I was an alcoholic and sex and love addict, along with developing an eating disorder. I went to two different treatment centers, two outpatient programs, and one sober living house. But also, in a span of 3.5 years, I fell in love. I fell in love with a Lord who kept calling me home, no matter how many times I disgraced His name. Somehow I didn’t let pride keep me from coming home. I learned that only Jesus can fulfill my deepest desires. I learned that I am worthy. Not because of anything I’ve done, but because He says I am. I’ve learned that God will show up in beautiful and precious ways when I surrender to Him and His will. I’ve learned how small I am and how big He is. I’ve learned that all my past failures and sins don’t define me; rather, I’ve let Christ define me: Chosen, Beloved, Daughter, Redeemed.
I know that more prayers of desperation and pain will grace the pages of my journals in the months and years to come, but I also know that just as much as I desperately need Christ, so Christ desperately wants me. And if it took 3.5 years of a whole lot of pain to come to that realization, it was worth it.
Today I’m thankful to be a recovering addict, because it is through my lowest moments-one after another, that God’s loving touch became the only consistent source of comfort. It was in my lowest moments that the steadfastness of my Lord saved me. When I think of Jesus, I think of light. Illuminating light. A light that beckons each and every one of us home.
I like being home.