Exactly three years ago I set foot on an airplane headed to Hattiesburg, Mississippi. I was exhausted, hopeless, defeated, and lost. I remember the day so clearly when I went to my therapist and told her I couldn’t do it anymore. I told her that if something didn’t change soon, I didn’t think I would live for much longer. A cloak of darkness weighed heavy on me and the walls seemed to be caving in. It was hard to breathe. Amanda looked at me and asked if I was willing to do whatever it took to find healing. I didn’t know what she had in mind- but I said yes. Finally enough was enough.
I used to think it was my brokenness that led me to this “turning point” moment in my life. Brokenness with desperation and despair thrown in. Maybe that played a piece in this-but now that I am three years past that moment- I can see that it was God just drawing me into Himself. He granted me a willing spirit and He has sustained me. (Psalm 51:12)
Three years of sobriety.
I can’t take any credit for the transformation that has happened and continues to happen in my life- because it is His grace upon grace- it is His work on the cross- it is His resurrection power- that has led me to where I am today. So I sit here and reflect on the day before Easter- this Holy Saturday- when thousands of years ago Jesus’ body lay in the tomb. Back then people didn’t realize how miraculous the very next day would be. They weeped. They mourned. They despaired. Their Savior had been murdered in the most humiliating and horrific way. It was the day in between but hope seemed to be gone. Resurrection Sunday was coming though.
I’ve often wished that I did better at living in the in-between. From passion to apathy, from all to nothing. From pessimistic to optimistic. And those are just emotions! From unemployed to employed, from single to married, from sick to healthy- the in-between is uncomfortable. It’s unwanted. Thousands of years ago the disciples didn’t know it was an in-between though. They thought it was over. We have the privilege of somberly remembering Christ’s death with the knowledge that He is Risen!
Oh He is risen indeed. The resurrection power that rolled away the stone is the same power that has sustained me in my journey to saying YES to Christ and NO to the crippling slavery of sin I was living in. I have been learning through these years how to say “No!” to ungodliness and worldly passions. And it’s not any trick or tactic of my own (Titus 2:12). It’s through His grace and Salvation daily being worked out in my life.
I’m going through a book right now called “The Heart of Addiction” by Mark Shaw- and I’m sure I’ll write a post dedicated to it once I finish the book- but one major way I’ve been challenged in just the first two chapters is the concept of recovery vs. transformation. I haven’t been in recovery the past three years. “Recovery” is essentially returning to a previous state of being. Goodness gracious- I should certainly hope I’m not just being restored to my old self. Because take sex and alcohol out of my story and I am still a sinner in desperate need of a Savior. It’s a transformation- a renewing of my mind- that I’ve been going through- a sanctifying journey of becoming more like Christ.
Romans 12:2- “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”
For the past three years I’ve done intense trauma work, I’ve been to rehab, I’ve been to outpatient, I’ve spent 100+ hours in individual therapy- and all of that has played a role in getting me to where I am today. But ultimately- it’s Christ. He’s known every step I would take, every conversation I would have, each person I would meet. He orchestrated my life. And thank goodness because even with all of the help I have received- I would still be a complete disaster without Christ. The deeper I dig into the Bible, the more time I spend in prayer, the time I fellowship with other believers, and the more I honor my husband and let him lead me- the more I fall in love with Christ and the more determined I am to keep saying NO to the world and YES to Him.
Three years ago all I knew was that I wasn’t ready to die. Now all I know is that His grace is sufficient for me- and His power is made perfect in my weakness (1 Corinthians 12:9).
So here’s to three years of massive transformation. All glory and honor goes to Him.