My Truth

that I matter to Him

If you have followed my blog for a while you would know that I attend Celebrate Recovery (CR) and have for four years now.

Along with the 12 steps and the biblical comparisons, CR also has 8 principles. These principles are based on the beatitudes. While all the steps and the principles are amazing on their own and how they work together, principle 2 sticks with me.

Earnestly believe that God exists, that I matter to Him and that He has the power to help me recover. (Step 2)
“Happy are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” Matthew 5:4

The first part is easy for me. Earnestly believe that God exists. I know that God exists and that He is working in my life every day. I trust His plan for my life and know that all things work together for my greater good.

The next part is my favorite part of this principle, that I matter to Him. There have been many times in my life that I didn’t feel like I mattered. That I was not heard. That I wasn’t enough. That my opinion didn’t matter.

That I matter to God….is a little overwhelming to even think. That God sent His son to die for my sins. That God works all things for my greater good. That God wants a relationship with me. That God has prepared a place for me. That I matter to Him. God has never turned away from me, I was the one who turned away. He was right there all along. Waiting for me to turn back. He met me where I was because He was there waiting for me because I matter to Him.

The last part of this principle is and that He has the power to help me recover. In principles 1, 2 and 3 and steps 1, 2 and 3, is all about I can’t, He can and I need to let Him.

I am powerless. I have control over very little. Really I only have control over my own actions and reactions. There have been times that I didn’t make good decisions. Not based on my greater good.

God has the power to help me recover and I need to let Him.

That I matter to Him. He hears me. He knows I am enough. My opinion matters to Him.

My journey to serenity continues…

My Truth

Grateful

I recently did a questionnaire that puts in order 24 character strengths. I went into the questionnaire not knowing the names of the strengths.

I was not surprised by my top 5. They are: gratitude, appreciation of beauty and excellence, kindness and generosity, capacity to love and be loved and spiritually, sense of purpose and faith.

We often think and talk about our character defects and not character strengths. So doing this work gives me some great incite into who I am and how I am showing up in the world. The other cool thing is the other strengths can be worked on and improved and moved up the list.

Something I can only contribute to recovery, is having an attitude of gratitude. There have been times in my life that I have felt unworthy. Ungrateful. And not seeing the gifts there are from trials, hard days and even conflict. Over the last couple of years, I have developed a very strong sense of gratitude. So I was not surprised that this is my top strength.

According to The Positivity Project gratitude’s parent virtue is transcendence and this strength allow people to rise above their troubles and find meaning in the larger universe. Gratitude is sometimes resisted due to not wanting to experience a sense of indebtedness. However, gratitude is less about feeling indebted and more about being aware of the consideration, kindness and generosity of others.

I am approaching my 4 year of working a recovery program, Celebrate Recovery (CR) I’m giving my testimony at two different CR’s in the next few weeks. Tonight I am reflective of who I was walking in the doors of CR for the first time and who I am today AND JUST HOW FAR I HAVE COME.

And I find myself just so grateful.

Grateful for where I was. Grateful for those who came along side me. I am grateful for those who stuck with me and for those who walked away. I am grateful for the work I’ve done to find myself. I am grateful for friendships that are not like any other I have ever had. I am grateful for making my recovery a priority for the last 4 years.

I am grateful that I can admit that I am powerless. I do not have it all together. I do not have to try and control all of it. I am not responsible for all of it. I am not that powerful and it’s not my job.

I am grateful that my higher power loves me. That I matter to Him and that He wants to have a relationship with me. That He works all things together for my greater good.

I am grateful that I make the decision everyday to turn my life and my will over to the care of God.

I am grateful for fearless inventories. And identify my part and see character defects because I will grow from this information.

I am grateful for being able to admit to God, to myself and to someone I trust, my wrong doings.

I am grateful that I am a work in progress and am ready to have God remove my defects of character.

I am grateful that I can humbly ask Him to remove my shortcomings.

I am grateful for identifying those that I have harmed and become willing to make amends with them.

I am grateful for making direct amends when ever possible except when to do so would injure them or others.

I am grateful for continuing to take personal inventory and promptly admit when I am wrong.

I am grateful for prayer and meditation. Praying for knowledge of His will for my life and the power to carry that out.

And I am grateful for getting to carry this message to others and practicing these principles in all of my affairs.

I am grateful for the 12 steps and learning how to apply them to me and my pain and hurts.

I am perfectly imperfect and grateful.

My journey to serenity continues…

My Truth

Stability…

At work today I was listening to YouTube (as usual) and a TD Jakes clip played…

You didn’t get to pick what shaped your world. But you do get to pick what stabilizes it’

This to me is so timely and powerful. I have been looking for stability in my life for a long time. I’ve felt like I was white knuckling life got the last 20 plus years. All day. Everyday. Trying to control everything.

And what brought me the stability that I’ve been looking for? A little 12 Step Christ centered program called Celebrate Recovery.

I’ve found a new stride. My new normal. It’s a pretty happy place. Not without challenges. Not without struggles. Not without upset. That’s just called life. And because of that I’ve learned 12 stepping, living the 12 steps daily and by God’s Grace, I can cope in a new way.

Finding stability when life is always changing. Finding stability when the unexpected happens. Finding stability in an uncertain world.

No longer do I need to live in secret, silence or shame. No longer do I worry about what someone may think of my situation or of me. As a mother, sister or friend.

This stability that I thought was so far out of reach, wasn’t. And as I continue to let go of control and trust God and His plan for

my life, the more stable I have become.

And the more stable I become, the more I need to be stable.

Stay on this ride with me, the best is yet to be.

My journey continues…

Ps I painted the pic used in this post.

My Truth

Worry Does Not Change Outcome…

I took this picture outside my office window after a late afternoon storm. I love how the light changes from one area to another. Some darker than others and some with such bright light as sun peeks out from behind the clouds.

Rainbows represent God’s promise. His promise to be with us when we are afraid during a storm and that storms end.

I seem to have been overcome by worry here lately. Which reminded me that I struggle with codependency and that codependency is about control.

Trying to:

  • Control a situation.
  • Control what others know and think about a situation.
  • Control the outcome of a situation.
  • Control my pain.
  • Control others pain.
  • Control being out of control.
  • Control of owning all of situation, when it’s not all mine.
  • Control wanting to make amends when I’m I don’t even know what I’m sorry for doing or not doing.

It wasn’t until yesterday when a friend was facing a health crisis, that I said things to her that I needed to hear for myself.

I sent to her, remember:

  • God is in control.
  • God goes before and with you.
  • God knows the outcome.
  • Breathe.
  • You are so loved.
  • Worry does not change outcome.

Isaiah 41:10 Don’t be afraid, for I am with you! Don’t be frightened, for I am your God. I strengthen you – yes, I help you – yes I uphold you with my saving right hand.

So here I am at 2 am, ready to lift this situation I have found myself in with someone I love very much. God is in control, God is making a way, Thy will not my will, I just need to breathe and remember that I am loved even with this current struggle. And worry does not change outcome…..if I’m worried about or not, what’s going to happen is going to happen without my intervention.

I’ll have to look up the verse but someplace in the Bible it says….in my weakness, He is strong.

After all, am I really that powerful…..no no I’m not but He is.

My journey continues…

My Truth

Changing how I pray and watching for answers from unexpected places…

Ever felt like prayers are not answered? Ever wondered if prayers are even heard? Ever wonder why it’s taking so long for prayers to be answered?

My experience has been that prayers are answered in God’s PERFECT timing. Never early. Never Late. But I have also learned recently that maybe just maybe I’m asking for the wrong thing and I’m approaching this prayer thing all wrong.

It occurred to me that maybe by me praying for something specific, I am trying to control the outcome of something. That would then mean that I’m not really trusting God and his plan for me. Why am I feeding Him the answers. He knows. He know every hair on my head, every misstep I’m going to make, why am I telling Him how I want something to be resolved.

Sooooo, I’ve changed how I pray. There’s a lot more prayers like…..God you know the situation and what is best for everyone involved, thy will be done. Or even that Carrie Underwood song Jesus take the wheel comes to mind.

This has taken me out of it. And when I started to do this, I have felt lighter, not so heavy hearted. And amazingly, things have started to happen. Things that were bothering me, are still happening but not bothering me at all anymore.

I’m reminded of this story…..not sure where it’s from but some wise story teller shared this….

A fellow was stuck on his rooftop in a flood. He was praying to God for help. Soon a man in a rowboat came by and the fellow shouted to the man on the roof, “Jump in, I can save you.”

The stranded fellow shouted back, “No, it’s OK, I’m praying to God and he is going to save me.”

So the rowboat went on.

Then a motorboat came by. “The fellow in the motorboat shouted, “Jump in, I can save you.”

To this the stranded man said, “No thanks, I’m praying to God and he is going to save me. I have faith.” So the motorboat went on.

Then a helicopter came by and the pilot shouted down, “Grab this rope and I will lift you to safety.” To this the stranded man again replied, “No thanks, I’m praying to God and he is going to save me. I have faith.”

So the helicopter reluctantly flew away.

Soon the water rose above the rooftop and the man drowned. He went to Heaven. He finally got his chance to discuss this whole situation with God, at which point he exclaimed, “I had faith in you but you didn’t save me, you let me drown. I don’t understand why!”

To this God replied, “I sent you a rowboat and a motorboat and a helicopter, what more did you expect?”

This story illustrates that sometime the answer is not what we expect. It’s not a big party. It’s doesn’t have a sign to say this is it. That sometimes it’s a rowboat, when we thought a yacht was coming. Or it’s a motorboat when we expected a cruise ship. Or it’s a helicopter when we wanted a jet plane. Or sometimes it is the rowboat when we thought no one cared. Or sometimes it is the motorboat when we thought no one noticed and sometimes it is the helicopter when we though we were not deserving.

Answers come in unexpected places. A text from a friend. A work client saying something nice. The point of view from a kid, if you just listen.

In the serenity prayer it says….accepting hardships as a pathway to peace. And C S Lewis said ‘hardships often prepare ordinary people for an extraordinary destiny’

Will there be hardships? I guarantee there will be. And will I end up where I think I will? Probably not. But where you will end up is better then you ever imagined.

My journey to serenity continues….

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

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

I will love you, until you love yourself again.

Dear Wanting Soul…

This letter is for you. You who love an addict (no matter what they are addicted to) and your life is out of control and you are wondering how this became your life. 

You who are wanting things to change. You desperately are wanting things to change. You don’t know how. You don’t even know where to start because everything is a freaking mess. You hate living like this. You are tired. And you are wanting but you don’t even know what you want. You just know it’s not this. 

I see you. 
I know your pain. 
I was you. 

Before I started attending a recovery program, I felt like I was drowning. I couldn’t breathe. Trapped in a situation that I didn’t cause or even understand and I can’t fix it. 

I felt defeated, run over and used and sad that this is what my life had become. I was embarrassed and ashamed. How did this happen? 

Walking into a meeting when you feel so undeserving is so hard. But there is this wanting that pushes you to do it anyway.  That Wanting has been nudging you for a while now. Maybe you are like me and have gone to a few meetings but you have one foot in and one foot out of the program. Curious. But not fitting in, not buying in because you really are just not ready to be ready to change. 

Let that wanting win. Listen to that little voice inside you and wants to change. Keep listening. Keep going. Keep putting one foot in until you are ready to go in with both feet. 

Go to a meeting. Because you will find someone like me. Who was once just like you. 

And I don’t remember if my sponsor actually said this but it’s sounds like her and like something she would say ……I will love you, until you love yourself again.


I could breathe again. 
The healing began the minute I walked into my first Celebrate Recovery meeting. Because I was ready and desperately wanted a change. 

I thought I was there for someone else but I was there for me. God knew. He goes before me. He knew I would be there that night and He made sure the right people were there for me. He knew all I needed and what my soul wanted was for someone to love me until I could love myself again. 

So Wanting Soul, I know you are afraid. I was too. I know you want to change but you are afraid of that too, I was. But go anyway. Listen to that nudging. Take a chance on yourself and do it for you because you are worth it. 

I’ll see you there. XXOO

My journey to serenity continues…

I took the picture used in this post and used Font Candy to add the text

My Truth

Meeting you where you are….

One thing I love is that God meets us where we are. No need to perform before we start over. No check lists to check off. Doesn’t matter that it’s the 1st time or the 100th time we messed up, we have as many start overs that we need. And the one that matters is the last one. 

What does the Bible say about starting over…

2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.

See not only do I get to start over but I am also forgiven for the past mistakes. The old had passed and the new has come! 

What does the Bible say about the future…

Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.

My future is bright because of Gods grace and love. 

As I continue to heal and grow in recovery (it’s 18 months by the way) I love the direction my life is moving. I love the friendships that I have with others in recovery. 

I was thinking about how much this blog means to me and how I love to share about my recovery. And was also thinking about how I’ve been able to use my artwork in my posts. Art work that I made a year before my journey to recovery started. God knew that I would be in this place and be able to use both of these creative outlets. 

What’s next for me in my recovery? 

I’m finishing up a step study, we have a couple of weeks left. We are planning on staying together as a group and do another study together. I was also asked to co-lead the next women’s step study. I am now part of the leadership team for CR and I hope to start to do more for our group, like be able to teach now and then. I am working on a book about my experience in recovery! It’s an extension from my blog. I am in the process of writing it now. I started a local group of bloggers to support each other. We meet twice a month. It’s a fun group and we all blog different topics. 

God met me where I was and sent the right people to walk me out of the mess and chaos that was my life and now the more I trust His plan for me, the more amazing things are revealed to me. Because I’m ready now. I’m ready to share more with others about what God has done in my life! 

Stay on this journey with me….the best is yet to be. 

My journey to serenity continues…

My Truth

A soft place to fall

I’ve been a fan of Dr Phil for a long time….like since he was on Oprah back in the day. 

Along with ‘so how’s that workin’ for ya’, another of his catch phrases is ‘we all need a soft place to fall.’ I always loved that one, the idea of being a soft place to fall for someone else. 

I realized that I misunderstood what being a soft place to fall really looked like for a really long time. 


I used to see it as making someone’s landing softer by fixing their problem for them. For example calling in sick for somesone because he was still drunk and couldn’t make the call themselves. Or doing something for someone else before they have even asked. Or I even paid a utility bill for someone who’s water was cut off and I didn’t tell them I did it. 

But what this did was it prevented the other person from having to deal with the consequences of their actions or lack there of or even letting them figure out when they should ask for help. 

I would often quietly take care of it. Not for the recognition. Not because I wanted to be thanked for doing it. And not even for them, it was really for me. For me to feel like better about being a good person. How selfish and ridiculous is that.  This actually makes me feel awful about all the times I interjected myself under the illusion of being helpful. 

Gosh this isn’t at all where I thought this post was going. I guess it’s a good thing I’m heading to my step study meeting. 

It’s so hard to see when you are being codependent when you are in the middle of doing it. 

My intentions were always from a loving place and I never wanted to harm anyone from growing from an experience. But I know I have. 

We all need a soft place to fall. I see this so different now. It’s not my place to just go fix stuff. Sometimes sitting on my hands is what I need to do, and let things play out. Boundaries help keeps me working my program. I can still be a soft place to fall with boundaries and waiting. 

I need a soft place to fall. I don’t have to do everything myself and am learning when I need to ask for help. 

I’ve got to jump off here and get to my meeting. So until next time…….

My journey to serenity continues…

My Truth

That’s not mine….return to sender

I have not written about it in a while but my kids are not talking to their dad. 

It’s a sad situation all around but one I cannot control. It’s sad because everyone is hurting and when people hurt, I feel it deeply too. My heart aches that my boys are hurting and my heart aches that my ex-husband is hurting too. 

My boys see a counselor and continue to work out their feelings and how they want to handle this with their dad. Sorting out their feelings, understanding boundaries and working on life as teenagers and all that brings with it. 

My ex and I have had a decent co-parenting relationship since we divorced up until the boys each decided that they didn’t want to talk or see him anymore. 

On their own, they wrote him a letter. 

I understanding their hurts because I had the same ones. Over time I have gotten to the place that he is who he is. And I stopped having expectations that he is who I needed him to be and just accepted him for the person he is. 

Since being in my program, I have forgiven him for many things and now understand my part too.  

I can not fix the relationship between them. It’s not mine to fix. My ex knows how to push my old Codependent buttons but it doesn’t work anymore. And that frustrates him. 

He called me the other day and there was blaming and finger pointing in my direction. He is not yet in that place to see and own his part.  So he projected all of his anger about the situation at me. 

ITS NOT MINE, RETURN TO SENDER

Part of the serenity prayer comes to mind……and the wisdom to know the difference. I really do not want them to hurt, but this is not in my control. And is not for me to change. 

I encourage the boys to see the humanness of making mistakes. I encourage the boys to give a voice to how they feel and to create boundaries. And we talk about understanding and forgiveness. 

I pray for God will intervene in His timing to make this situation better for everyone. Only in the way He can. I could say more specific requests but it’s not what I want, it’s what each of them needs. Only God knows that and can begin to heal these relationships. So I am lifting this situation up to Him. 

My journey to serenity continues…

My Truth

The price of playing poker…

Last year I thought I knew about boundaries. I thought I had boundaries. I thought I knew how that stuff worked. 

I didn’t. 

When my ex boyfriend hit a boundary what I should have done is stuck to it and give him push back but what I did is run around covering for him, made excuses and I put myself and my family at risk. 

The price of playing poker and the stakes are high. 

The price of playing poker for me was my worst nightmare…my children. When things got out of control again in July, my kids left and went to live with my ex husband. 2 of my kids left for 2 weeks. 1 just came back home last month. 

That was the darkest time of my life. After the boys left, I kicked my ex out of the house again. 

I remember sobbing on the sofa. That awful cry that no one should see. I felt so alone and crushed by what was happening around me. My kids left and my boyfriend in binge drinking and my life was a mess. 

 

I cried so much I felt dehydrated. Terrible things went through my mind. What if I wasn’t here. What if I ended it all because the pain I felt just almost too much to handle. And what stopped me, was I couldn’t leave my boys. I couldn’t burden them with the pain I was feeling. It would end my pain, but increase their pain a million times and I couldn’t let them think it was their fault, because it was mine. 

After I was out of tears, I had to figure out what to do. And I continued to make foolish decisions because all I wanted back was the sober man who said he loved me. 

But the mistake I made is that I ran after him. I continued to make excuses even to myself to justify his bad behavior. I was not truthful to my sons when they came back home about where I was and who I was with. 

It’s took me several more months to unravel my heart and head from this relationship. 

And it ended with a protective order and my broken heart. 

In some ways I feel like I am still paying the price of playing poker. It has taken time to earn my boys trust again. It has taken time to unravel my heart from his. I am healing. It will take time. More than I want it to because we what what we what when we want it. 

All things happen on Gods perfect timing. God is working in my life everyday. And I am grateful to have finally be in this place and not in that place anymore. 

My journey to serenity continues…

The graphic used in this post was created with the help of Google Images and Font Candy to add the text.