My Truth

A fork in the road

I taught the lesson on Grace last night at my Celebrate Recovery meeting. I heard this story on a podcast for the same lesson and adapted it for the group. And I’d like to share it with you. 

There is this girl that went on a journey. She goes walking on a path, trying her best to be a good person. Life was hard sometimes but over all life is good.

And then she comes to a fork in the road. And she had to make a choice.

One way is clear and easily passable.


The other road seems to be less traveled and on the surface looks hard. She has to decide which way to go.

There is a sign that says This Way to Please God and the other sign says This Way to Trust God. Hmmm, she thinks, well I want to make God happy so I’m going to continue on the path to please God.
 

 She starts walking down that road, and she comes a house with a sign on the door that says ‘striving to be all that God wants me to be’ YES!, I made it. That sounds pretty good. So she goes inside. And all the people there were happy and welcome her and say ‘it’s go good to see you’. And then they go off to do other things. ‘Hmmm, I’m not sure how this works so I’ll just watch what they are doing.’

After the first how are you doing, they are not really engaging with her. Some disappeared for a little while and then came back. She notices the happy exterior, smiling when looked at but when no one is looking, they were not smiling. She looks a little closer and then she notices that everyone has masks on. What she is seeing isn’t really who they are but the idea that they have to do to please God.

So many times I have followed that thinking and I strive to be everything that God wants me to be.

I have gotten caught up because my basic belief system is that I am not loveable and that I am not enough. So I must perform for people to love me and I must perform for God to love me. And so I do. I try to please people and make people like me. And I try to please God.

We live in space where everything has rules and checking off boxes. I try to live by the do’s and don’ts. But I find myself falling short.

I had rules at home growing up. Like, you have to be home when the Church bells ring. Or Did anyone else have Hewho for dinner? Well Hewho in my house was he who is hungry fixes it themselves and cleans up after. And there unspoken rules too. Like not talking about certain things. 

Rules at school. As someone who had learning disabilities, I learned to keep up by cheating. And I was good at it because I never got caught. But I was falling short.

Rules at work. I have always worked in places that I help create processes and create rules on how to handle situations. But I make mistakes and I fall short.

Rules with friendships. Helping to fix problems. Trying to meet everyone’s needs and pleasing them. I have fallen short there too by getting overly involved.

And then there is God’s rules, of going to church and following the 10 commandments. Maybe if I prayed enough, God would be pleased. Maybe if I checking off boxes of His law, God will be pleased. But all of these things come down to me performing well enough, how good I could be as a person. Me striving to be all that God wants me to be.

I check off the boxes and following the rules. I try to live by the do’s and don’ts in all parts of my life. But I find myself falling short.

No matter how well I preformed, I was standing in a room of good intentions. I was standing in a room that I would always let God down. I would let others down and I would let myself down. Because I cannot live up to perfection. I’m tired of failing and I just can’t keep this mask on.

Hmmmmm, what did the sign say back at the fork in the road? Oh yeah, This Way to Trust God. So I’m going back to the fork in the road and take that road. I’m don’t really know what this means but I am going to go down this path of trusting God.

I start going down this new path. It’s less traveled and there are roots to trip on and overgrown brush in the way but i continue. And I start to feel like I don’t have to white knuckle life anymore because I am just trusting God and trusting His word that all things work together for my greater good.

I travel down the road and come to clearing and I find a new house. The sign on the door that reads “Living out who God says I am.” WOW. So I go in that house. And I am again greeted with people. They are not hiding. Some are smiling and some aren’t. But you can see there is genuine joy in their heart. Even in their sorrow, or pain or current trial, their heart is full of love and joy.

And then she realizes she is in the room of GRACE. They didn’t care if I followed the rule or checked off all the boxes. They cared that I just trusted God on my journey. It didn’t matter how good or bad I was.

This journey takes humility. The humility of taking off that mask. To show the world who we really are. 

That is what it takes to get into this room of grace. We have already 

  • stepped out of denial
  • realizing we have a mask on
  • we have surrendered
  •  made a fearless inventory 
  • we confess that inventory 
  • we made a list of persons we harmed 
  • we made a list of those to forgiven who have harmed us.

And now we are in the room of grace.

Now let’s look at the word GRACE.

G is for God’s Gift. Grace is Gods freely given gift. You can’t buy it, and you don’t get it by check off boxes.

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 2 Cor 12:9

We do this every time we introduce ourselves. Hi I’m Mary grateful believer in Jesus Christ and I struggle with codependency. I gladly now boast about my weaknesses.

In the past I preformed for God to love me and today I have a relationship with Him. He gave me strength to make amends and offer forgiveness.

The R in grace is for Received by faith.

No matter how hard we work, we cannot earn our way into heaven. Only by professing our faith in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior can we experience His grace and have eternal life.

Ephesians 2:8-9 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith and this not for yourselves, it is a gift of God not by works so that no one can boast.

Romans 5:2 Through whom we have gained access by faith into the grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope for the glory of God.

 I kinda love that word boast. So the bible is pretty clear on those couple of passages. Don’t boast about what you are doing but rather boast about our weakness and hope.

The A in grace is for: We are Accepted by God’s love. God loved you and me while we were still sinning.

Romans 5:8 God demonstrates his own love for us in this. While we were still sinners Christ died for us.

Ephesians 2:5 reminds us that though we are spiritually dead because of the things we did against God, he gave us new life with Christ. You have been saved by God’s grace.

I don’t know about you but I know that there have been times that I didn’t feel that  I deserve God’s love But here is the good news, HE accepts me in spite of myself. He sees all my failures and loves me anyway. And the same is for you as well.

The C in grace is Christ paid the price.

Jesus died on the cross so that all our sins are forgiven. He paid the price. Over 2000 year ago, He died for me. For sins that had not even made yet but He knew I would. He sacrificed Himself for us so that we may be with Him forever. Jesus paid the price and separated us from our sins as far as the east is from the west.

When we accept Jesus dying on the cross we are made a new creation. We can rely on Gods strength and power to enable us to forgive those who have hurt us. We can set aside our selfishness and speak the truth in love. We focus only on our part in making aments or offering our forgiveness.

Ephesians 1:7 In Christ we are set free by the blood of his death, and so we have forgiveness of sins. How rich is God’s grace.

The final letter in grace is E. God’s grace is an Everlasting gift.

Once you accept that Jesus Christ is your lord and savior, God’s grace is forever.

2 Thessalonians 2:16 May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father encourage you and strengthen you in every good thing you do and say. God loved us and through his grace he gave us a good hope and encouragement that continues forever.

 I’d like to close with some final thoughts. That no matter what step you are on. No matter where you are tonight. Know that God loves you. Choose the path of Trusting God that leads you to “Living out who God says you are” and know that you are standing in the room of grace. That you do not have to check off boxes or perform for his love. Just trust him. Know that in your weakness, He is strong.

Thank you for letting me share. 

My journey to serenity continues…

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My Truth

Keep your spoon in your own bowl! 

I heard ‘keep your spoon in your own bowl’ a while ago a podcast about codependency. I just love that visual. 

It’s about not getting involved in others problems. Or help them fix them. To not give your opinion about what’s going on. Or solve it for them. Often times we just need others to listen and allow us to figure it out ourselves. 

There is a thing happening in our world today that for some reason everyone thinks they have to share their opinion even when it wasn’t asked for. And especially if it’s an opposing opinion. Everyone has a solution for every problem because they think they know the answer. 

But it occurred to me today that there is another side to this that I learned about through recovery. 


That is, to be careful who you invite to put their spoon in your bowl. 

Inviting unhealthy people into my problems, it’s actually a terrible idea. Inviting highly opinionated people into my bowl just may change what’s in my bowl. And suddenly I am not trusting my program or even trusting God but seeking others approval or wanting to just rehash the same story over and over and over with no solutions. 

That reminds me when I was a kid, I’d stir and stir and stir my icecream and my dad would say ‘can you please eat the icecream otherwise you are making icecream soup.’

Stirring and stirring and stirring problems just makes problem soup. Stirring problems with the wrong person ends up with just a big mess with spills and arguments and spoons getting in the way. 

I get to choose who and what I share. It’s called boundaries. I know which friends I can share with, and thinking about that they are my recovery friends. Because they get the sharing without offering solutions until I ask for them. 

And they get that often I just need to process what’s going on and they allow me time. 

And they get the thing about trusting God and really We don’t need every detail, all we need to know is that we are heading in the right direction and all we need to do is trust God. And things fall into place. 

And finally, they know to keep their spoon in their own bowl. 

My journey to serenity continues…
And I took the picture of that spoon after I had some icecream =] 

My Truth

Stillness 

There is a maturity that comes with knowing when to be quiet. When to be still. And sometimes in that stillness is when the greatest answers come.

There are things that I have put down for a time because me plate is just too full. Or maybe it’s because I felt I had to put them down as I questioned what I wanted or needed. Wanting to do them but just not having the energy or time. Or maybe I was influenced from outside forces. Likely it was all of those things.

Whatever the reason, it gave me the opportunity to pause, to be still, to be quiet and listen.

But I keep being drawn to that space. That voice inside me telling me that this is what I need to do. And in doing this, other parts of my life will fall into place.

Reminds me of one of my favorite parts of the Bible.

Matthew 11:28-30

 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

I love that, for my yoke is easy and my burden is light. Resting, has given me clarity. Turning down the noise has given me the opportunity to rest, to see more clearly and to define my goals and direction.

Feeling grateful for this time of reflection and rest.

My journey to serenity continues…

My Truth

My 2 year protective order is over, now what???

My 2 year protective order is over, now what???

In the beginning, it was too raw, too new, too emotional and just too much. I was still afraid of him and what he was capable of doing. He had put bruises on my arm and gave me a black eye. He trespassed and scared my son. But it wasn’t until he scared my son, that I did something about it. Funny how that works that we are willing to put up with so much for ourselves but when someone else is hurt, gloves off and it’s game on. 

In the beginning, this piece of paper was just that, a piece of paper and it meant nothing to him but it meant everything to me. This piece of paper gave me power. 

After asking him, texting him, telling him, yelling at him and then screaming at him to just leave me alone…..that piece of paper gave me power to say nothing but to call and ask for help because he was not listening to me and it was escalating. He pounded of my front door at 5 am and all I could do was cry on the other side of the door and pray he wouldn’t wake up my kids. As he stumbled way, I called the police. That was the day before the order was given to him. 

He violated the order the day it was given to him. And I called the police. And they took him to jail. And then he called me from jail. 23 times he called me from being taken to jail for violating my protective order and he called me 23 times in 30 minutes. So I took that piece of paper to the magistrates office and got another violation of my protective order documented and my number blocked from jail. 

That piece of paper was my voice and stood for me when I was not able to stand on my own. 

The thing that was hard for me to understand and let go is that he doesn’t remember any of it. He had been drinking to the point of black out drunk for months. And he remembers none of it. 

He stared me down in court. To the point that the judge told him to stop and that she was not going to allow him to try and intimidate me. I mouthed ‘thank you’ to the judge. But I didn’t give him anything. I didn’t look at him, I didn’t look in his direction. I didn’t react to the things he said in court. 

When he got out of jail, he would stand by my mail box or down the street. These were not violations because he didn’t talk to me. For weeks he did that. Watching me come and go. I was paranoid that I would leave the door unlocked and he would be inside when I got home.


My 2 year protective order is over, now what??? 

I’ve had 2 years to process this chapter in my life. And 20 months (today) of working a recovery program to help me process, understand, own my part, identify his, forgive and heal from this chapter in my life. 

So now what???

So I keep living life. I keep working my program. I surround this time of my life with all the tools that I’ve learned. I continue to create boundaries to keep me safe. I continue to make a list of things that I can do when I feel anxious or upset. And then in a safe time look those feelings and identify where I have work to do. Because these things are like an onion and once you figure out one layer, there is another one. 

I meanioned that I had a hard time with the fact that he remembers none of it. I also have a hard time with the fact that he knows where I am. He knows my address. He knows where I work. He knows how to contact me if he wanted to. And I don’t know where he is. 

And then I remember that here is where I just need to trust God. I have no control about that he is doing or if he chooses to contact me. I have no control if he decides to show up at my house or my work. I have no control over what he has told others about that happened and what they think of me. 

But I know like I know like I know that….

  • God is not surprised at anything that happened, then, now or in the future. 
  • God knew I would now be in this healthier place because I have trusted Him through my recovery journey. 
  • God is doing a work in my life and all things work together for my greater good. 
  • I have learned to listen to God. To trust that voice inside me. That has proven to be so much smarter that I am. 
  • And God is working in his life too. And I have witnesses others amazing transformation from alcoholism to truely amazing faith filled men.
  • That I don’t need all the answers. God provides exactly what I need, in His perfect timing. 

My journey to serenity continues…

My Truth

Wishes….

Someone near and dear to my heart was recently in an inpatient treatment program for anxiety and depression. 

I could only visit for an hour each day from x – y.  

I arrived early and sat in my car with windows down waiting to go in.  And a nice warm breeze went by my car with hundreds of seeds with a white fluffy end to carry them away. 


As I sat there thinking about the people in the treatment program, especially the one I love. I couldn’t help but think about all the wishes and hopes not yet wished on those seeds. 

A few seeds even landed in the car. 

So I closed my eyes and made these wishes…

My wish for each of you is that you will always know your worth. That you will always find joy in all seasons of your life. That you will always have what you need and enough left over for what you want. 

Remember that God puts the right people in your life to help you along the way…..for a season, for a lifetime but always for a reason! 
You are awesome and amazing so keep up the good work of just being you! 
I know you are hurting but today you have 100’s of wishes not made yet. 

I’ve spent the last couple of weeks watching these people grow. I’ve watched them find confidence again and find their smiles again. 

Some people may see a weed, but all I see are wishes yet to be made. 

My journey to serenity continues…

I took the pictures used in this post

My Truth

A Season Of Growth

I have never grown more in my walk with God or grown as a person than during times of trials and challenges. 

Life’s challenges are just opportunities. 

Opportunities to identify and then heal. 

Opportunities to learn to cope differently. 

Opportunities to learn to ask for help. 

Opportunities to discover and give hope. 

Opportunities to become who I was always meant to be. 

Opportunities to inspire. 

I find myself in a new season of opportunities. 

What I love most about seasons is that they have a purpose and they change. 

I am so very grateful for my own recovery and for working a recovery program for 600 days today. (1 year 7 months 3 weeks and 1 day)

And for the coping skills I have been learning. Because without that time of growth and healing I would not be as capable as I am today for this season.
I was thinking that all my other seasons have prepared me for this one. A season I did not see coming and wish I knew and understood sooner. But again my faith says to me that I knew in Gods perfect timing because when this season started I did something right away, I took action immediately. If I knew sooner, I don’t know if I would have. 

God’s timing is always perfect and I know that all things work together for my good. And in this case, for the good of those around me. 

My journey to serenity continues….

I took the picture used in this post.