Category Archives: Faith

Difficult Roads Lead to Beautiful Destinations

The title of this blog comes from my sobriety app. Today wasn’t a good day, but it wasn’t a bad one either.

My goal was to be up by 9:00 AM. I was going to do my readings and then hit a meeting. However, I slept until 11 and was a few minutes late to the meeting, and I felt bad for being late but that’s okay.

During the meeting, I had said something. And someone thanked me for saying what I had said because it just reminded them of what they need to remind themselves and that felt amazing. I guess I did something right.

I came home, and had some stressors but I talked to someone about it and decided to do something to get me out of myself. I called a friend for advice, and followed the advice that was given. I did some housework, took care of the pets, meditated, and left for work. Not really looking forward to the 10 hour shift, however I did my best to stay out of that mindset. The stressor that was there before had gone away.

I always had something to focus on while at work. And I would say I was pretty productive.

We got insanely busy towards the end before we closed, but somehow, someway I managed to keep calm. Normally I’d start stressing out and get really irritated, but I didn’t.

We had some extra help tonight, and I was super thankful for that. Otherwise, we wouldn’t have gotten out at 3 AM. Granted, it didn’t matter to me what time we got out because either way there was always a plus side. If we didn’t have extra help, that would be more money in my pocket. Since we did have extra help, we got out a lot sooner than what we would have been.

Even had a few familiar faces come through. It was pleasant.

I just came home and to my surprise, I came home and my ceiling fan was working. So thanks dad. I don’t know what you did (it hasn’t been working ever since we moved in to the place we live at now).

Plus, I successfully came into the house and didn’t wake anybody up. So that was nice. Otherwise we would have had a problem. Well, I would of had a problem.

I have so much to be thankful for. Tonight would have been a night where I’d want something to drink. I had a long (but productive) day and felt that I would have deserved something. But to be completely honest, I’m way too tired to deal with that.

I need to start my readings up again soon, and I plan to. My main focus right now is not hitting the snooze button 20,000 times before waking up.

I’m thankful for today. I thank God for keeping me sober today.

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

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So About the Weekend,

 

I was sober for almost four months.

I don’t have a solid identity because I was drinking at the age most people try to figure it out. I was drinking at 16.

If someone says something about me, I believe them because I don’t know any better.

Multiple people have told me that they didn’t think I was an alcoholic. That I had only been 21 for a short amount of time and just ran in on some “bad luck” when I got busted for drinking and driving.

I felt that I had to prove to myself that I wasn’t an alcoholic, that I didn’t have a problem. I spent more time comparing  myself to other people rather than relating to other people.

I didn’t lose a home, a car, or kids. Maybe I’m not an alcoholic after all.

My sponsor stopped sponsoring me (I don’t blame her) and wasn’t that serious about another one.

I found out that I was off probation, and I started drinking again. At first I was able to control it, then Tuesday night happened.

I had stumbled to the bathroom (to go to the bathroom) and I stumbled back into my room. I was having a hard time breathing and it felt like something was weighing in on my chest. I thought I was dying and started to freak out.

It wasn’t until later that I realized I had had a panic attack. In the midst of this panic attack, my sober self came to me. I never wanted to feel that way again.

I don’t remember much from that night. I don’t even remember going to bed. It wasn’t until later I realized that I had blacked out.

I felt guilty, I felt ashamed. I was worried people, friends that I had met along this journey would hate me. They didn’t. They don’t. They greeted me with so much love and compassion. It was weird.

I had thought about shutting this blog down. I thought about my testimony and how everything that I’ve worked for within these last couple of months meant nothing because of this brief relapse.

After confiding in a close friend of mine, she told me that it’s all a part of my story and that it’s okay.

I decided to keep this blog going. I’m ashamed to admit that I wrote my last blog post while I was under the influence and I’m thinking about deleting that individual post, but still doing something along those lines.

I’m only 21 years old. What 21 year old wants to admit that she’s powerless over alcohol? I do. I don’t want another DUI, I don’t want to lose anything that I’ve worked hard for. I want a future for myself and if I keep on drinking, I won’t find any of that.

I’m thankful for the panic attack I had. Because it was painful. And I didn’t want to experience more pain. And that’s what alcohol will do to me if I continue.

I know that the thoughts of “maybe I’m not an alcoholic” will come back. But that’s when I’ll do something. Read, blog, go to a meeting, do something productive around the house (which would make my dad happy).

I’m thankful that I realize this now and not later. I’m thankful for the friends that didn’t abandon me.

I’m also thankful that this relapse was a quick one. There are a lot of people who relapse, and don’t always make it out.

Today was great. I was happy. I even did something I thought I could never do sober: dance. Funny right? It was weird at first, but I did it. And I did it sober. That’s a huge accomplishment for me.

I even went to a meeting that I had never gone before.

As far as my identity is concerned? I need to pray more, study the bible more, and blog more. Do things that make me happy and content, and finding my strength and peace within God, Jesus, and the Holy Ghost.

I don’t know if I’m impacting or inspiring anyone, but I hope that I am.

And to all of my readers that know me personally, please don’t tell me that you don’t think I’m an alcoholic. Don’t tell me that I’m not an alcoholic. I don’t have to explain to you why I think that I’m an alcoholic. The only thing I ask for is support. So far, that hasn’t been an issue.

Maya Angelou once said “You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, and how you can still come out of it.”

Bethany Hamilton is a surfer. A good surfer. A shark bit her arm off and she felt defeated, but she didn’t give up. She learned how to surf with one arm because she didn’t give up.

Ok so what, I stumbled. The point is I’m getting back up, I’m trying again, and I came out of it. I can look forward, I can move forward, I can look back and realize what got me here as long as I don’t dwell on the past. I’m not giving up.

Not every day is going to be as great as today, but all I have to worry about right now is today.

Photo by Vek Labs on Unsplash

 

 

An Open Letter to Guys and Girls

A friend suggested that I do something like this, except I refuse to treat it as a double standard.

If I were to write a letter to the guys and the girls, this is what it’d be:

Dear guys,

Stop trying to turn her on. Chances are she doesn’t want another midnight Romeo. She wants the flowers, the chocolates, and to be surprised almost all the time. She wants to be treated right. She doesn’t want to be ghosted after the first date. She wants to find that love that will consume her entirely.

You know how in the Notebook, Noah brings Allie back? Yeah. That’s what we’re talking about here.

And for a Christian, what I’m about to say is going to be pretty vulgar but someone needs to say it. STOP THINKING WITH YOUR DICKS. 

I mean damnit! I consider myself pretty old fashioned. The guy should communicate with her every once in a while, I mean is that too much to ask? One call, once a day. To tell her that you’re thinking of her and you can’t wait to see her again. I was in a relationship for almost TWO YEARS and if I didn’t hear from him, there wouldn’t be an “us.”

If I didn’t make plans, there wouldn’t be an “us.”

Does chivalry even exist anymore? I mean girls are so afraid now because they’ve been mistreated! I’ve been mistreated.

DOES LOVE EVEN EXIST. 

All you guys want is a good time, and us girls fall for it. Every fucking time.

And the girls aren’t so innocent either.

To the girls:

Stop judging by the looks. We deserve something good. It’s not the eyes that matter, it’s the heart. So if you freak out because you’re being treated well, stop freaking out. You say that good guys don’t exist and yet you put the good guys in the friend zone. I’ve been guilty of it. I’ve done it.

I’ve also been content with being single. With recognizing reasons why I’m not ready for a serious relationship yet, and maybe you should too.

What even is the definition of love?

1 Corinthians 13:4-7. This is the definition

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, It does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”

My time will come. Yours will too.

Just because he is easy on the eyes DOES NOT mean he is easy on the heart. Chances are, we have alot of work to do before we commit into a serious relationship.

But us girls have to stop treating every guy like he is the same guy from our past. That’s not always the case.

And the guys have to stop treating us like we’re the same girl from his past.

We both play a part in this. I’m not going to act all innocent, because I’m not. We won’t find Mr. Right in the back of a club or on Tinder. Or on plenty of fish. Or bumble.

And you won’t find Mrs. Right in the back of a club, or on Tinder. Or on plenty of fish, or bumble.

To the guys and girls: Why don’t we actually give each other a fair chance, instead of acting like we’re better than the other?

I REFUSE to let myself believe that love doesn’t exist.

Why don’t we all start acting like Christians and not some shallow assholes? We will only stay young for a certain amount of time. But our hearts will stay with us.

Photo by Steve Halama on Unsplash

The Thing Beneath The Thing

Today, for the first time in a few months, I went to church. I’m glad I did. I had a breakdown Friday night while I was with friends. I felt like I didn’t belong, that nobody cared, and that I wasn’t good enough.

Today, the pastor talked about just that and he called it “The Thing Beneath the Thing” and he used a pretty awesome metaphor to describe it.

The big thing right now is potholes. They’re everywhere and some of these potholes are turning into major sinkholes causing accidents, and even fatalities all across America. Construction companies are just re-patching them and re-paving them but the problem lies within underground pipes that are leaking which is what causes these potholes that are turning into sinkholes. He did an extensive amount of research on it.

Re patching and re-paving are only a temporary fix to a recurring problem. He used this metaphor to compare it with grace. We sprinkle a little grace on whatever is going on in our lives and call it a day. But sometimes we have to dig deeper. We have to figure out the thing beneath the thing. Once we do that, we can properly fix our “potholes” so they don’t turn into major “sinkholes.”

I wish I could say that every Christian turns to God whenever things get rough. When depression hits, when we’ve taken prescription pills or blow through a fifth a night. But reality is we don’t. We get so hung up on being sad all the time that we don’t want to lean into God and trust his word. And if you say you do, if you lean into God EVERY time  something goes wrong in your life, then you’re lying.

Sometimes, we become addicted to the sadness. Sometimes, we can’t just let go and let God.

I’ve been a walking zombie for the last couple months. I haven’t picked up my bible. I know I should, I know I should lean into His word more, but I’ve become addicted to the sadness. I’ve learned what co-dependency is and realized that I am very co-dependent. With that, I have identified my “pothole” and can properly fix it.

He wants us to lean into him when we get sad or upset. He wants us to lean into Him when we have hit a pothole in our lives, but it’s hard. Sometimes it’s easier said than done.

The pastor then started talking about Peter, and I could relate. Peter sometimes did what God wanted him to do, and other times he didn’t. Why? I don’t know. I haven’t read 1 Peter just yet, but when I do, I’m sure I can figure it out.

In 1 Peter 5:7 it flat out says what we should do. “Casting all your anxieties on Him, because he cares for you.”

When Adam and Eve took a bite of the forbidden apple their initial reaction was to literally hide from God. They were ashamed, they felt guilty.

We are hiding behind the real reason why we feel the way that we feel. Everyday events trigger us, igniting a fight or flight response and I can’t speak to you, but when that kicks in I immediately go into flight. I’ve learned how to manage it better, but I haven’t been able to overcome going into flight mode. That’s something only God can do. I am hiding from the thing beneath the thing and I can’t hide forever.

 

Photo by Marc-Olivier Jodoin on Unsplash

Hold Them Tight

What a crazy weekend. It all started on Wednesday. I have a family member that isn’t doing too well, and my brother asked if we could go see him this weekend.

I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t know where to go. How am I going to pay for gas? How am I going to get out of work? How am I going to do this? How am I going to do that?

Surrounded by some close friends, they help guided me.

I called my boss and essentially told him what was going on. I felt bad because ever since I got the job it’s been one thing after another and I was worried about what he would think.

So we left Wednesday night and got here Thursday morning. It’s about a 5 hour drive from where I live to where my uncle lives. We got to see him today (Friday). And I’m glad we did. I made the right choice.

My boss will get over it. It’s not like I took the weekend off to go gamble, drink, and drug. No.

Family is important to me and I refuse to make the same mistake I did with my piano teacher.

I will never let my job come before my family.

Time is free, but we’re limited. We all have our own personal hourglass. We may think we have time, but God has our times planned.

Hold your loved ones close, make amends with those you care about, and spend as much time with them as you possibly can. We don’t have forever. We aren’t invincible and we aren’t immortal.

Pray. Live. Laugh. Love. Cherish.

God has a plan for everyone, do you know what yours is?

Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

How Paul Listened and Trusted God

So, we left off when Paul stood in front of King Agrippa and shared his story. Now, Paul is setting sail for Rome to go in front of Nero. Since that is what he appealed for.

On his journey to Rome, they had come across a storm. Paul even predicted the storm in Acts 27:10 “Men, I can see that our voyage is going to be disastrous and bring great loss to ship and cargo, and to our own lives also.” However, nobody wanted to listen to Paul and they set sail directly into the storm.

However, what happens next is pretty awesome.

Paul tells them that they should have listened to him, but lives would be spared. “But now I urge you to keep your courage, because not one of you will be lost; only the ship will be destroyed. Last night an angel of the God to whom I serve stood beside me and said Do not be afraid, Paul. You must stand trial before Caesar; and God has graciously given you the lives of all who sail with you. So keep up your courage, men, for I have faith in God that it will happen just as he told me.” (Acts 27:22-25).

The ship does wreck, but everyone does reach land safely. Only because Paul trusted the Lord, and he listened.

He trusted. 

I want to take a moment to acknowledge that trusting in God is a lot easier said than done. As humans, we want proof that something exists. We want immediate answers, and some of us (myself included) wants direct communication with God like the angel coming to Paul.

Prayer is communication, but we don’t always get an immediate response. It’s like playing phone tag with someone for about a week before you actually get a hold of that person.

However, prayer is essential. Trusting in God is essential. Without faith, we are nothing. Trusting in the unseen is basically what defines faith. I’ve made this argument before, and I’ll make it again.

We can’t see the wind, but we can feel it. We can see the effects wind has on the trees, us, the leaves.

We can’t see our internal organs, but we know they’re there. We know that they are functioning to keep us alive and breathing.

Just because we can’t see something, doesn’t mean it’s not there and that we shouldn’t trust in it.

Hebrews 11:1 says “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”

2 Corinthians 5:7 says “For we walk by faith, not by sight.”

 

Paul and his crew were in a crisis. But Paul knew what to do like it was second nature, because he trusted in God. Paul was walking by faith. I can honestly say that with prayer, and reading the word, knowing what to do when life gets you down will become second nature.

God doesn’t create our downfalls, he uses them for the better. He uses them so that we can know Him and trust Him. In the midst of tragedy, there is always something beautiful that can be taken from it. However, our eyes have to be open and we have to be awake if we want to take that beauty from the tragedy.

Are your eyes open? Do you trust in Him?

Photo by Nathan Pirkle on Unsplash

 

What Paul Can Teach Us About Reflections

I finally bought a planner yesterday and have my week planned out until Sunday. How refreshing it is to have something that helps me to stay on task.

Today, we are going to be looking at Acts 26 where Paul is standing in front of King Agrippa over some charges in which Paul was innocent. The charge basically boils down to spreading the news of Jesus and the Gospel.

Acts 26:9-11 is probably one of my favorite verses.

“I too was convinced that I ought to do all that was possible to oppose the name of Jesus of Nazareth. And that is just what I did in Jerusalem. On the authority of the chief priests I put many of the Lord’s people in prison, and when they were put to death, I cast my vote against them. Many a time I went from one synagogue to another to have them punished, and I tried to force them to blaspheme. I was so obsessed with persecuting them that I even hunted them down in foreign cities.”

Reading this passage almost makes me think of a bounty hunter. Except with a bounty hunter, they are hunting for people that haven’t paid off their bail bonds. Not their faith.

However, one of the many reasons why I love Paul is that he’s not afraid to admit what kind of person he was before his conversation with Jesus. It’s almost like he’s not ashamed. He admits that this was the kind of person that he was. However, if you read on, Paul tells King Agrippa about his encounter with Jesus. What happened, and the person that he became after his encounter with Jesus.

I think it’s important that we reflect on who we were before coming to Christ every once in awhile. It’s a reminder of who we were before and what we don’t want to be like. I think it’s important that we compare who we were to who we are now as a way to see how much we’ve grown.

People say we should forget our old selves because that’s not who we are anymore, but if we do that, we won’t know what we don’t want to be.

I’m still early in recovery, and I get these thoughts daily. “You’re not an alcoholic. You’re just fine.” If I want to keep my sobriety, then I have to analyze how I drank in the past.

Not only that, but constantly remembering who we were and comparing it to who we are now helps make for a great testimony. We can record what we were like, and what we are like now.

It’s like we made a copy of ourselves. Same features. Same eyes. Same hair. We’re looking at the copy of ourselves, and they look back at us. We look at our old self and see the suffering on their face. It’s a reminder of what led us to the suffering and what brought us out. What led is to God.

“After they left the room, they began saying to one another: This man is not doing anything that deserves death or imprisonment. Agrippa said to Festus, This man could have been set free if he had not appealed to Ceaser.” Acts 26:31-32

I’m not sure why Paul could have been set free if he had not appealed to Ceaser, but one thing I do know. Paul wasn’t imprisoned at that moment. Paul didn’t die. Paul was doing the same thing other people were doing when Paul was persecuting them.

2 Corinthians 5:7 says “For we walk by faith, not by sight.” 

Paul wanted to appeal to Ceaser. Paul used to work for Ceaser, persecuting people in Ceaser’s name. Do you see how this could have gone so wrong?

Instead, he was sentenced back to Rome, which I guess is more like a parole/house arrest type thing. I’m not 100% sure but we will get more into that next time.

Photo by Brandon Wong on Unsplash