Say it boldly……the Most High is my refuge!

Psalm 91:1

 

Two nights ago I found myself on the freeway coming home from seeing my mom just as Focus on the Family came on the radio. Since it was Patriot Day, they featured a story of a survivor of 9/11.

Stanley Praimnath had an office on the eighty-second floor of one of the Twin Towers. That morning before coming to work he spent some time in prayer, but it seemed he had something heavy on his heart. He prayed for protection. He prayed, as usual, for his wife and children, but with a heavier heart that morning.

When he got to work he began receiving calls from various family members asking if he was okay. Sure I’m okay, he assured them, puzzled. He had no idea the first tower was  hit by an airplane. Not right away. Suddenly he realized he needed to get out of his building. He told a co-worker that they needed to head out of the building and go home. They entered the elevator and reached the ground floor and walked out the building when a security guard said all was well. Go back to work. Stan told his co-worker to go home–take the day off. She did. And never regretted it.

He walked back into the elevator. He rode back up to the eighty-second floor and got off. Not many minutes later his building shook and lights went off. He screamed for the Lord to bring someone to help him. The Lord did–Brian Clark. With a flashlight! Together they crawled out of the rubble from a plane having hit their building and walked down to the ground floor. But not before Stan asked the man to join him in prayer. Despite the fact that Brian thought Stan was crazy to take time to pray, they did.

Just as the two men made it safely across the street amid flying debris and shards of glass, the plane exploded causing the entire building to implode.

Only later did Stan go to Psalm 91:1 – 9/11 and read, “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.” He said, he knew because he believed and prayed before going down all those flights of stairs that his God was with he and Brian.

Yesterday I reread all of Psalm 91 and camped on verse 9.

“If you say, “The LORD is my refuge,” and you make the Most High your dwelling, no harm will overtake you; no disaster will come near your tent.”

The writer is committing his will; making a claim – If I claim that the Lord is my Most High God and I make Him my dwelling…..then God also makes a promise–no harm will overtake me; no disaster will come near my tent. If/then statement. IF I say and IF I make Him my God, THEN He does His part. To be clear…..God ALWAYS keeps His end of the bargain! He is known to protect and provide even when His people did not claim Him as their God! Even when they whined! (read Exodus)

Why did this phrase jump out at me? I’ve read this Psalm for years. This is another reason I love reading the Bible over and over–He shows me new messages in familiar passages. He makes all things new.

The Lord is showing me that we have to do our part; we have to believe that God is who He says He is. We have to make Him part of our lives–He doesn’t push Himself. We have to make, choose, commit, SAY He is my dwelling place. He is MY Most High God!

I have a deep peace in my spirit when I say He is my Most High because I KNOW He keeps His end of the promise! He will never leave nor ever forsake me. (Deuteronomy 31:6)

Folks say they are for this sports team, this political party, this church group, this club. they are claiming allegiance to that group of people. I say I’m bi-churchal. I claim allegiance to two churches these days as we are sometimes in town and sometimes at our beach home, but we worship on the weekends somewhere no matter what.

The news may say folks were lucky. But we know better. So many people think or say, well, you were lucky or unlucky when Hurricane Harvey hit our region. Now. I have no idea why some got water in their homes and some did not. I don’t know why so I don’t ponder that. I leave that question in the Most High’s hands. The point is, friends, as we go about our days we make that proclamation out loud that the Lord God Almighty is the one who protects us. He is our dwelling place in all circumstances.

The more I say it, the bolder I am in my faith walk. And the enemy–the one who wants to enter my spirit and create doubt, discouragement, and despair, and who can do it well, has no foothold in my mind which is where the battle takes place.

Take a stand today and say “The Lord is my refuge, I will MAKE the Most High my dwelling.”

The Psalms of David are personal song poems to his Lord. We have permission to make them personal to us. So we boldly say out loud, the Lord is my refuge! Amen and amen!

Let us not give the enemy any room in our minds!

We may have escaped the flood waters; our home saved from the fires, or escaped the hurricane force winds. We can say thank you, Lord. Maybe the battle is depression, anxiety, grief or doubt; the loss of a loved one; financial issues; PTSD. There are a myriad of hard places we can be in our lives.

The Lord knows. Count on it. The Lord knew Stan was in a tough place. Stan called on his God. And God delivered him. Call on the Lord today and make Him known.

How He loves to be acknowledged that He is the one who is taking care of you; the One who brought you through the hard time. Not luck. Ever.

Now go out with His joy and be led forth in His peace.

Stuck in a well

“You will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:13

Have you ever been stuck in a well? Young Jessica McClure was stuck in a well twenty-jessica mcclure twotwo feet deep in her aunt’s back yard in Midland. The world witnessed her complicated fifty-eight hour rescue. Then a collective sigh of relief came as everyone returned to their respective jobs, along with a feeling of warmth and well being inside them

When a person is emotionally stuck in a well, they are oblivious to their surroundings. They only see what is in front of them – their selfish situation, their hopelessness. One evening when I was in high school, my mother entered my room and sat at the edge of my bed. She let me know I was stuck in a well. She said, you aren’t seeing what your father and I are seeing is happening between you and this young man. He is not treating you right. You need to ponder this before you get too far into this relationship. I had never heard of being in a well before. But I was. I’m glad I heeded the concerned heart of my mother and left that relationship.

The apostle Paul was in a well. He staunchly believed that persecuting the Jews who had turned to Christ was just and noble. They were the enemy. He was doing what he could to get rid of these people who believed that Jesus had risen from the dead. Nobody had ever done that, he told King Agrippa. But one day the Lord Jesus confronted Paul head on and told him He was the Way, the Truth and the Life and to stop hindering the spread of the Gospel. Get out of the well, Jesus basically told Paul. See what I am doing.

“I (Jesus) am sending you out to the Jews and to the Gentiles to open their eyes that they may turn from darkness to light and from the dominion of Satan to God, in order that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in Me.” Acts 26:18

A dear friend’s daughter, Amy, is currently in a well. All Amy sees is what she wants to see in her own selfishness. Her family sees Amy there in her trapped circumstances.  They long for her to look up. Look up at the One who wants to pull her out. He wants to show her Himself.woman in despair

If you think you have fallen into a well of despair or heartache, please take the time to look up at the Savior who loves you. If you seek for God, he will let you find Him; if you search for Him with all your heart, He will be found by you. Take a good hard look and ask yourself, is what I’m doing helping anyone else? Am I being a help or a hurt? Am I looking at the needs of others or only my own? Is my world only about me? Why am I so lonely and empty? If you can see yourself in a hard place, seek Him.  Proverbs 18:7; Psalm 119:2woman filled with hope

“If then you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.” Colossians 3:1

 

God is for me!

“This I know, that God is for me. In God, whose word I praise, in the Lord, whose word I praise. In God I have put my trust, I shall not be afraid. What can man do to me?” Psalm 56:10-11 NASB

Our single moms drag themselves with their children through the doors of our room at the church on Wednesday nights with heavy hearts. Often we five mentor moms have no idea the burdens they are carrying. Some of us have no way of identifying with their daily struggles as two of us did not walk the hard journey of a single mom. The Lord Himself drew us into this ministry. But as we have known of God’s unfailing love in our lives, we have brought only His love with us into this ministry.

One evening, one of our moms was especially sad, which is unusual for her. In the middle of our lesson on the life of King David, this mom suddenly broke down, weeping uncontrollably. “I just can’t take my child’s behavior anymore. I’m ready to ship her off to her dad. For good,” she cried. She explained her child’s difficult behavior and poor choices in school as well as home. Being the fix-it kind of mentor moms we are, we felt helpless with this situation. We could offer for her to seek counseling from the school; we could suggest she read up on oppositional behavior. But at that moment, our precious mom didn’t need a fix-it solution. She needed some love.

One by one we got up from our chairs and gathered around her, putting our hand on her shoulder, and together we prayed loud and long for our sister in the Lord who was at the end of her rope.  After those who had felt led to pray aloud, we opened our eyes, blew our noses and gave deep hugs to our fellow mom in crisis. Was her situation changed? Had her daughter suddenly appeared in our room with a radiant smile instead of a sulk? Not at all. Nothing had changed; yet, everything had changed. Her focus had been shifted from her circumstances to her Savior.

I don’t always get how this happens; that when I shift my focus from my dire circumstance to trust in an invisible God, my racing heart slows to a normal pulse, my hands stop sweating, I’m filled with a renewed sense of hope, and I know that my situation is now in His hands and He knows how to deal with it better than I do.

Our single moms ministry does not solve our moms’ problems. Our purpose is to bring them into an awareness of the power of the promises in the word of God, to pray boldly for them, and to encourage them in their daily walk with the Lord, trusting Him to lead them to the job they need, the right school, the counselor, etc. And He does. The following week, the mom in crisis walked in to the room with a smile. She had been practicing meditating on Scripture in the mornings and setting her focus on the Lord. Her daughter had chosen to make better choices that week, much to the delight of her teacher and her mother!

“With God, all things are possible.” Matthew 19:26 NASB

Nestled Under His Wing – Your Choice

under-his-wings

He will cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you will find refuge…” Psalm 91:4 NIV

This is an updated version of a recent blog with a bit of “take home” for those of you who are listening.

The date was set for mid January – the weekend before Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday on Monday. Who would have known when we set the date back in October that the weather would be foggy and chilly! After all, it is January! So, because of the weather, we camped in most of the day. And we were so okay with that!

Two of my very dearest friends drove out to our beach home, “Doves Rest,” for our bi-annual visit. Diana’s husband joined her so my Beloved would have a fishing buddy.

We three read, shared, ate, napped, puzzled, and generally hung out together in our socks and comfy clothes. And when we got a bit of cabin fever, we put on more clothes and went out for a walk in the dense fog. We discovered a few others out in it, too.

Each time we’ve come together, it seems that one of us has had some crisis in her life right then, causing us to pray over her and seek the Lord’s counsel.

This time Tammy was in need of some extra hugs and loving. Over the course of the weekend we listened to her struggles about work. We mulled over it. The next afternoon, after much fellowship, pondering, praying privately, and some light-hearted game playing, she came to us and asked what we thought she needed to say to her supervisor in the coming week.

“I’m afraid,” she said, as she was writing in her journal.

“Well, though you are uncomfortable at work right now, that may not be the first thing you say, if at all, to your supervisor,” I responded. “You may want to say, ‘I have some concerns.’”

“I feel I’m at the end of the season here at this location. What are your thoughts regarding transferring to another campus next year,” she said, while writing. “Would that work?” We agreed that would be honest. We continued to talk it over together, Diana also sharing her thoughts and suggestions.

By Sunday afternoon, following worship at our church on the beach, hugs were shared all round.Then we headed home.

It was cloudy but not raining. I decided to take the toll road east around downtown. As we were going up over the Houston Ship Channel, Tammy sharing memories of her brother serving as a merchant marine and her grandmother’s visit to Houston, I noticed that she was relaxing more. The weekend had indeed refreshed her, despite the weather!

When we got home we donned our PJ’s and sat on the couch with a hot bowl of mac and cheese and watched some forgettable movie on Netflix while my husband went to play his usual round of pool. Following the movie, we each headed to bed. We were done in!

The next morning it was raining and Tammy decided to wait it out before heading back home to Austin. As we finished eating our bacon and eggs, she leaned in to me and said, “I was given this word picture a long time ago, when I was in the muck and mess with an angry parent of one of my students.

There was a cauldron of turmoil that everyone was fussing over. I felt detached from the activity. Then I realized that the Lord had lifted me to higher ground, to a nest in a cliff overlooking the frenzy below. There, in the cleft of the rock, I nestled under His wings. The more I looked to Him, and the nearer I drew to Him, the more I could feel His heartbeat and peace.”

She continued. “All the fiery arrows that were shot out and meant to bring me down were deflected by His wings. I was safe and sheltered and filled with His peace. He urged me to look below. As I did, my heart filled with prayers for this mother. There, close to His heart, focused on Him, my perspective changed.”

 She paused, looking directly into my eyes and nearly whispered, “He has me, Dianne. I know that He does.” And I know that He has Tammy. We shall not be afraid!

 Tammy later shared her journal entry and gave permission to pass on to you today.

When we face various trials or battles, we need to seek that place of rest by choosing to crawl under His wing, in the cleft of the rock, far above our situation.  As we focus on Him with thanksgiving and praise of Who He is and who we are in Him, the problem/battle becomes smaller as we are enveloped completely by His presence. Under the shadow of His wing, He is all we can see and our senses are filled with Him as we breathe Him in and put him on: we sense His closeness, nurture, protection, love, and warmth. We sense our smallness and His greatness. We sense His deep love for us. We sense His power and glory. The angst of the moment gives way to His perfect peace as we are pressed close to His chest. The more we enter into that restful peace, the clearer we are able to hear His heartbeat and understand His perspective. As we rest in the rhythm of His heartbeat we are able to look down on our situation, from the cleft of the rock, with His viewpoint. 

“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress, My God in whom I trust.” Psalm 91:1-2 NASB

Nestled Under His Wings – Our Choice

under-his-wings

“He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.” Psalm 91:4 NIV

This post is an update of a previous entry with some “take home” for you who are listening.

The date was set for mid January – the weekend before Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday on Monday. Who would have known when we set the date back in October that the weather would be foggy and chilly! After all, it is January! So, because of the weather, we camped in most of the day. And we were so okay with that!

Two of my very dearest friends drove out to our beach home, “Doves Rest,” for our bi-annual visit. Diana’s husband joined her so my Beloved would have a fishing buddy.

We three read, shared, ate, napped, puzzled, and generally hung out together in our socks and comfy clothes. And when we got a bit of cabin fever, we put on more clothes and went out for a walk in the dense fog. We discovered a few others out in it, too.

Each time we’ve come together, it seems that one of us has had some crisis in her life right then, causing us to pray over her and seek the Lord’s counsel.

This time Tammy was in need of some extra hugs and loving. Over the course of the weekend we listened to her struggles about work. We mulled over it. The next afternoon, after much fellowship, pondering, praying privately, and some light-hearted game playing, she came to us and asked what we thought she needed to say to her supervisor in the coming week.

“I’m afraid,” she said, as she was writing in her journal.

“Well, though you are uncomfortable at work right now, that may not be the first thing you say, if at all, to your supervisor,” I responded. “You may want to say, ‘I have some concerns.’”

“I feel I’m at the end of the season here at this location. What are your thoughts regarding transferring to another campus next year,” she said, while writing. “Would that work?” We agreed that would be honest. We continued to talk it over together, Diana also sharing her thoughts and suggestions.

By Sunday afternoon, following worship at our church on the beach, hugs were shared all round.

Then we all headed home.

It was cloudy but not raining. I decided to take the toll road east around downtown. As we were going up over the Houston Ship Channel, Tammy sharing memories of her brother serving as a merchant marine and her grandmother’s visit to Houston, I noticed that she was relaxing more and more. The weekend had indeed refreshed her, despite the weather!

When we got home we donned our PJ’s and sat on the couch with a hot bowl of mac and cheese and watched some forgettable movie on Netflix while my husband went to play his usual round of pool. Following the movie, we each headed to bed. We were done in!

The next morning it was raining and Tammy decided to wait it out before heading back home to Austin. As we finished eating our bacon and eggs, she leaned in to me and said, “I was given this word picture a long time ago, when I was in the muck and mess with an angry parent of one of my students.

There was a cauldron of turmoil that everyone was fussing over. I felt detached from the activity. Then I realized that the Lord had lifted me to higher ground, to a nest in a cliff overlooking the frenzy below. There, in the cleft of the rock, I nestled under His wings. The more I looked to Him, and the nearer I drew to Him, the more I could feel His heartbeat and peace.”

She continued. “All the fiery arrows that were shot out and meant to bring me down were deflected by His wings. I was safe and sheltered and filled with His peace. He urged me to look below. As I did, my heart filled with prayers for this mother. There, close to His heart, focused on Him, my perspective changed.”

 She paused, looking directly into my eyes and nearly whispered, “He has me, Dianne. I know that He does.” And I know that He has her. We shall not be afraid!

 Tammy later shared this journal entry. Worth sharing with you all today.

When we face various trials or battles, we need to seek that place of rest by choosing to crawl under His wing, in the cleft of the rock, far above our situation.  As we focus on Him with thanksgiving and praise of Who He is and who we are in Him, the problem/battle becomes smaller as we are enveloped completely by His presence. Under the shadow of His wing, He is all we can see and our senses are filled with Him as we breathe Him in and put him on: we sense His closeness, nurture, protection, love, and warmth. We sense our smallness and His greatness. We sense His deep love for us. We sense His power and glory. The angst of the moment gives way to His perfect peace as we are pressed close to His chest. The more we enter into that restful peace, the clearer we are able to hear His heartbeat and understand His perspective. As we rest in the rhythm of His heartbeat we are able to look down on our situation, from the cleft of the rock, with His viewpoint.

“Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” Psalm 91:1-2 NIV

Psalm 91, Ephesians 6:10-14, Psalm 27:1-6

He always had you

“for He Himself has said, ‘I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you.'” Hebrews 13:5b NASB

True Life:

Recently, interesting situations and people have come into my walk that have reminded me of my dad who has been with the Lord five years. Just the other day, a new friend from church and I were riding in the car after a women’s leadership meeting. When I heard her say she used to work for IBM, I quietly asked if she knew a man named Earl Nichols. She suddenly jerked her head around to me as I was driving and cried out, “Did I know Earl Nichols? Yes!! I knew him!! How do you know him?”

“Well,” I said sheepishly, tears welling up in the corners of my eyes, “he’s my daddy.” She proceeded to tell me what a fine co-worker he was. Mind you, we’re talking over thirty-five years ago that she and my dad were in the same office. “I can remember his face right now,” she said. “Your daddy was a good man,” she added, looking straight in my eyes. We were at a stop light, by the way.

That was a few weeks ago. This past Wednesday, as I sitting in a doctor’s office, waiting on my husband to get finished, I heard the unmistakable click,click, clicking of a typewriter! I looked up from the magazine I was reading and said to the one person in the waiting room, “That’s a typewriter!! Who still uses a typewriter?” I got up and walked over to the window where the receptionist was sitting in her office in front of an IBM Selectric typewriter! I couldn’t believe it! I told her that machine helped put food on my table growing up. She smiled and said she loves typing on one til this day, and told of a young boy who came through the office and saw her typing and asked her what it was!

I cannot explain why all of a sudden different things are coming up to remind me of my daddy, but these incidents take me back to the years he was with us and causes me to reflect on what a wonderful upbringing I did have. However, it seems my childhood was rare, as I told a group of Christ following women whom I was just getting to know about two sentences of the story of the woman who had worked with my father and how she told me that he was a good man. Suddenly heads went down. What on earth did I say? I quickly played back the short exchange in my mind. I was clueless. Slowly, heads came up and even slower and quieter a couple of women said something like, my dad was mean to me; my dad was an alcoholic and it took two years after his death for me to forgive my dad. I was stunned. Heartbroken over their stories. And sad that these fifty plus year old women were still hurting over the abuse of their fathers to the point that they couldn’t utter a word of positive acknowledgement of my dad simply being a good man.

So I contemplated and thought, surely they are hoping their children are living the good mom-good dad story. Surely their hope for their grandchildren is that they’ll grow up in a “good daddy” home. And the Lord said to me, “I was there. Right with them.”

Here’s the Word for us today, Friends. We don’t choose where we are born; we don’t choose our childhood, we may not have been given the opportunity to know of the love of our Creator God for years. But God was there. Right with us. Drawing us to Himself. I have no answers for why some children are put in “good” homes with good daddys and why some are put in homes with hurtful or even negligent daddys. But when we come to the point where we can see the love of the Lord, let us look to His love and His hand on our lives. He is there.

My prayer is that you will see His provision even through the muck. My sister in the Lord, whose parents weren’t always the best, comes to mind.  He provided her a wonderful husband; her soul mate, her protection, her rock for over forty years now, along with three children and several grandchildren, all who follow the Lord.  Another sister in the Lord’s mother was mentally ill. He provided her a husband who is her rock, along with children, grand children and great grand children.

We can camp on the hurts or we can camp on His provision. I pray you’ll ask Him to remind you of the good things He has done in your life. We all have messed up, imperfect parts of our lives, things we wish had never happened. But if we live our lives in the regrets of the past, we’ll not appreciate or even see the healing and the presence of the Healer in the now.cropped-women-seeking-god-four.jpeg

On the other side of this story, He is reminding me to pray for those whose childhoods were not as mine. To be kind, sensitive and careful about sharing my past with others who are in the depths of healing. I pray that the Lord will use me to show women the hope that is Jesus Christ. He is the only perfect, loving, kind Father who has always had you.

True Word: 

Think of Me with you today;

I’ve always had you.

Lord, you gave me my mom and dad.

I’ve always had you.

When I made stupid choices,

You protected me.

I’ve always had you.

You prevented me from killing myself.

The man, he left, the marriage was history.

I’ve always had you.

You provided Doris, a spiritual mother for me.

I’ve always had you.

Later, you gave me my husband.

You gave us two wonderful sons.

I’ve always had you.

Your peace I didn’t comprehend,  but it was there.

I’ve always had you.

Grateful, Lord, for all you have done and are to Me.

And know now that you have always had me.

Do others know that through the mucky messiness of their lives,

You were always there?hand-on-shoulder

You provided, though they couldn’t see.

I’ve always had them.

 

Truth for Today:

“The Lord protects the strangers; He supports the fatherless and the widows.” Psalm 146:9

“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are Mine! When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they will not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched, Nor will the flame burn you. For I am the Lord your God, The Holy One of Israel, your Savior.” Isaiah 43:1-3 NASB

https://youtu.be/WhbL4w2-Bwg – “Love” by Inhabited

 

“Becoming More”……..the Marker that changed everything

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“Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.” Ephesians 3:20

A few years ago, I heard a friend give a talk about markers in your life’s journey which are events or people who have come along in your life and just “marked” it in your memory by making a change in your life so that you never forget that moment. It’s not necessarily a hard change as in the death of someone meaningful,though it could be. But it could also be the moment you got hired in what became a wonderful job, or your marriage, or the birth of your children. Markers usually come in our lives that make a distinction from one way of life to another in a way that we can look back and see exactly when our lives made that change and what was the event or the person that was the catalyst for that change.

Shortly into this retirement adventure I had a few hours in the day that I had not had in a very long time and so I found myself attending a Ladies Bible Study, and then offering to go up to the church to help put the women’s retreat folders together. Simple things. Not too much. I had been asked to help with registration at the retreat, to which I thought, that’s not hard. Sure. That would be fine.

I had not attended a women’s retreat in many years for various reasons, one being that I  was not mentally in a place to receive. The truth is that the retreat is not always the problem. I have been known to enter an event exhausted from having taught school all week, which put me not exactly in the right frame of mind to come to a place of “retreat” and hear from the Lord and have to be NICE to all the women. It was just too much.

But retirement slowed me down. Attending a wonderful Bible Study with fun new friends helped improve my attitude about this retreat immensely. In fact, truth be told, I was actually looking forward to attending, but only as a helper, I kept telling people, mostly myself. I’m not planning to get much out of this weekend, believe me, I thought. A bunch of women getting together feeling good and singing a bunch of songs and hearing some woman speak on how to read the Bible better and do the Christian life better. Please.

Okay. My attitude still needed a bit of refining. But working behind the scenes in getting the rooms ready helped melt my heart a bit. I was seeing the results of many hours of work from behind the scenes come forth in beautiful ways. The making of many precious dolls, signs, give – away gift bags, goodie bags for each room, snacks and drinks. I began to see that much labor had gone into making this retreat very special for those who came. Before the ladies began to come that Friday afternoon, several of us gathered to pray. And that was the beginning of the change. He was melting my heart to receive Him. He was changing my focus from past experiences to present expectation of what He was planning to do in my life.

That evening after the ladies had checked in, I found a seat next to one of the young ladies in my Wednesday Bible Study. She is a vivacious mom of two little girls and is  strikingly beautiful  in her early 30’s who just exudes love of life. As soon as I sat down and had not even taken a bite of salad, she asked how my son was doing. And before I could answer she mentioned that certain ADD drugs can be addicting. It was the very drug I had had my son on for nearly all the years he was in school. Twice he had overdosed on his meds, sending him to the hospital. In the meantime he began to drink to the point that he became addicted. I was melting. Please tell me more, I pleaded with her. We made a date to see one another after the retreat. But Jesus was already using her to prepare me for more. After our very brief conversation I texted my mother, “I believe my son can be healed.” And I did. I didn’t know how, but I believed.

On Saturday morning of the retreat, there was not one woman giving a pep talk on how to live the Christian life. There were several women throughout the morning and afternoon who gave their testimonies. I was there to hear one. She became my Marker, though both of us were totally unaware at the time. This lady of about my age got up and began talking about how she and her husband had raised their children in a good Christian environment, going to church, paying attention to their needs at school and so forth. They had no idea the road one of their children would take, and it was the road to self destruction. I was listening, as the tears just wouldn’t stop coursing down my cheeks. She told of her son who had gotten addicted to some powerful drugs and had ended up sleeping in his car. “One day,” she said, “in utter desperation I told my son, “If you don’t stop, you’re going to die.” Her voice was quivering. My heart was in knots. She’s telling my  son’s story, I cried to myself.

“Evidently,” she said, “that was what it took to get my son to listen. An officer who has known my son for years, as he serves as a security officer at our church on Sundays, went to his car and got him to a place to detox cold turkey then took him to a recovery house. But it was God who got his attention. My son returned back to the faith of his childhood and made a complete change of life. He has been sober for 3 months and has absolutely no desire to go back. It was God who intervened and changed the heart of my son. He now tells everyone he can about the love of Jesus and how He changed him for ever. He still lives at the recovery house and now has a job and is doing well. I have to totally give the Lord praise. It was absolutely nothing we did except pray continually for our son.” She sat down.

I was a total mess. I have no idea what anyone else said the rest of that day. I immediately got up and went to see the lady who had just spoken and asked her where her son was living. I wanted to get my son there, too. She gave me the name of the center. I thanked her and returned to my seat, trying to focus on those around me but found it impossible.

Over the next several months my son, who was living at a different center, was becoming more hostile to the things of God. I could tell from his conversations that he was being persuaded by those around him, folks also hostile and cynical to the ways of God and Christ centered living. I talked to him about it, prayed and eventually he agreed to leave and move to the other recovery center. It was difficult in the sense that he was not willing at first to move. Not long after he moved to the new recovery center, the speaker’s son began sharing with my son, telling him how he needed to get his relationship back with the Lord. One morning my son called to tell me he had made a commitment to the Lord and asked Him to forgive him. “I know Jesus is real, Mom. He has forgiven me.”

My son has been sober for over  sixteen months. His attitude toward spiritual things is totally changed. He still struggles with different issues but he knows his Savior. He knows God has him. And that truth makes getting up every morning a whole lot easier.

Why would I share such a personal story? Not too long ago, I found the folder that we all received at the women’s retreat. On the cover is the scripture Ephesians 3:20. He has made us to do abundantly more. God was at that women’s retreat in huge ways. Not every woman came away with an “aha” moment. Not every woman enjoyed the retreat. But He had me there to know that I was not alone in my struggle with my son. He wanted me to meet other women who had journeyed ahead of me in this hard part of child rearing and to know that He would make a way for my son to get back to a right relationship with Him. My son is off all medication since they were making him depressed and then suicidal and angry. He feels much better overall, and he is making every effort to work out some issues in his life such as work and living arrangements. Do I believe he is healed? He and I know that an alcoholic is never quite “healed.” But recovered and managing and staying in touch with a sponsor? Yes, to that end, he is healing. He is moving forward in his life and that is all because he knows His Lord is leading and taking good care of him.

On the other side of the story, the retreat was also the catalyst for a wake up call in my life. I was in total denial about my son. A month after the retreat, I was invited to attend an Alanon meeting for those who are related to an alcoholic. I went, truly wanting to understand what my son was going through and how to help him. I could not get my head wrapped around that. I was in such denial, yet, all the things he had done in the past few years pointed to this behavior. I just didn’t want to believe it. I faithfully attended for several months, even attending 2 meetings a week for awhile when they conducted a 6 week review of the 12 steps. It was at those meetings that I truly learned a lot about my son as well as about myself and my own involvement in his life related to his drinking. I began to wallow in some deep self pity over what a horrible mother I had been. Finally, I turned over the past to my Lord, who kept telling me He had forgiven me and to move on. I let it go. I cannot tell you what freedom is when you truly let. It. Go.

Come as a child. A child who is humble and teachable in heart. Then you can truly know His love for you as your Abba Father. Amen.ephesians-320-one