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.

A mindset shift change…it’s up to you

Let the peace of Christ RULE/REIGN in your heart (MIND) and BE  THANKFUL!

Colossians 3:15


Two urgent requests:

Let Christ be master over your mind.

Practice that attitude of gratitude.

How does this work? That’s right. It’s work! It’s intentional living.

The other day I was invited to spend a week in the home of a pit bull who had made himself King of his Kingdom.  I had to learn to win over this animal with teeth and a growl by squelching the fear that had consumed my entire body (we had had an awkward introduction). I needed see him not as a monster, but as this over sized toddler with teeth who would rather lick your makeup off if you were willing. At first the two safe places were the guest room and the front porch, but walking through the rest of the house was a lesson in overcoming fear and playing by his rules. Give me a treat and I’ll let you walk through the house without nipping at your heels or jumping and biting your hands, he seemed to say. Easier said than done but I chose to overcome this fear and physically face it down by forcing myself to let this dog take a treat from my hand. pit bullThe second morning, as I was sitting in the guest room, feeling quite trapped, I turned to Psalm 88. It was the next Psalm in my personal reading. I read the first two verses:

“Lord, You are the God who saves me; (from this pit bull!)

Day and night I cry out to You. (not one bit of sleep that first night!)

May my prayer come before You; (please hear me!!)

Turn your ear to my cry.” ( I’m begging You!)

I prayed those words of David over and over and sensed His incredibly real presence in the room with me. I would survive this week with my friend and neither the dog nor my fear would rein in my spirit. Later, on the front porch, I read all my favorite verses on peace–Christ’s peace and soak in this truth that Christ came to overcome my fear–to comfort me in all things. I lived it out–not just read these as platitudes in the Bible. By the fourth day, the pit bull and I were on friendlier terms and by the time I was to fly home, I had grown a bit fond of the playful toddler on four legs. Christ had won.

The following week my husband told me he had some inner fears of how an inspection on his shop might go. He remembered all the years that the Lord God had taken care of him at the shop, protecting him, providing a living for his family, keeping him and his workers safe and he told himself, that even if the inspection did not pass, God would still take care of him. He prayed. He texted me to pray and then he gave it to the Lord. The inspection passed.

What do you do when something threatens to paralyze you with fear? Do you pack your things and head for a hotel? I had seriously considered it! Do you stay holed up in the guest room? Or throw down a sleeping bag on the front porch? You know who has won when you entertain those thoughts and act on them, don’t you? Fear does.

Everyone has a fear of something or someone or some circumstance. And everyone has a way out–calling on the Lord to sustain you, overcome you with His presence and calm the fear in your body and mind.  Choose to call on Him.  Choose to get in to the Word of God, focusing on those passages that speak to you. Underlining and meditating on them helps you to remember them and where they are in your Bible.

Call on Him or to lift your voice and cry out to Him. He wants to rescue you! He wants to relieve you of the fear and give you His abundant joy and His peace that truly passes all understanding. And when He does and you realize it, then BE THANKFUL! Give thanks to the Lord! Speak His name and thank Him aloud and recognize it was Him who took care of you.thankful heart

These verses may calm your fear, as they have mine:

John 14:27-peace I leave with you….

Proverbs 14:30-a heart at peace gives life to the body….

Isaiah 26:3-your mind at perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You…

John 16:33-in Me you have peace….

Go out with JOY! Be led forth in His PEACE!

Doing the Christ-filled life

 

Whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it — not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it — they will be blessed in what they do.

– James 1:25 (NIV)

When we worship with fellow Christians something special happens. Instructed from the word of God, taught and encouraged by singing and praying together, as well as giving to meet the needs of others, and remembering the sacrifice of our Savior make the time we spend together a blessing.

Too often the motivation to live more faithfully fades into a distant memory once the church services have ended . We don’t always take what we learn in church and walk it out in our daily lives. If we leave behind what we learned, we miss out on putting our discipleship into practice. Taking to the street what we heard in worship means treating our families and neighbors the way Christ would treat them. It means showing integrity in our workplace; loving our children as parents; going across the street as neighbors, and respecting those in authority over us in government. As the verse from James quoted above tells us, it means for us to go beyond listening to acting.

Worship and fellowship together as Christian brothers and sisters gives us the tools and understanding of God’s love that help us live faithfully. Wherever we go when we leave the service, we can resolve to share with others the unity and peace that Christ’s love inspires in us. Along with worship and fellowship, God desires our discipleship and service.

Dear God, help us not to take the blessings of life in Christ for granted but instead to share them with those around us. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Eyes off Your Troubles. Focus on Him

 

“Do not be anxious for tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself.” Matthew 6:34

There are those times when our feelings control our principles. Right? In this culture of “if it feels good, do it” mentality, our beliefs get tossed out the window and we camp on our fleeting emotions to carry us.

Mark 6 reports the story of Jesus and his followers trying in vain to have a mini retreat to grieve the loss of John the Baptist who had just been murdered. Jesus encouraged them to get in the boat and push off to a lonely place and rest. But the people, unaware of the disciples’ sorrow, followed them, wanting a moment of time and teaching from Jesus. So Jesus brought them together on a grassy knoll to instruct and heal them. The crowd grew hungry and they neglected to bring lunch. Jesus instructed those weary disciples to feed them. They found a few loaves and two fish. Right before the apostles’ eyes, Jesus fed over five thousand souls with that small offering.

Catch this. Before Jesus handed over the bread to the disciples to distribute to the crowd, He lifted his head to heaven and blessed the food. All the power that Jesus poured out came straight from His heavenly Father, the Provider. Jesus’ Provider became the people’s Provider. Was this act lost on His disciples? Apparently.

Take two. Jesus tried once again to send His weary beloved disciples out on the boat “to a lonely place” to retreat and relax. Jesus hung back to say good-bye to the remaining satisfied stragglers.

The seasoned fishermen strained with the oars when the gale hit them full force . After midnight, the storm still raging, they spotted a ghost out on the sea! Scared out of their wits, they screamed and hollered.  Jesus, the calm one, announced to the frantic men, “Take courage; it is I, do not be afraid.” As soon as He entered the craft, the gale abated. They breathed and stared at Jesus, not wondering what just happened, but who was this man? The following verse says, “They had gained no insight from the incident of the loaves, for their heart was hardened.” (Mark 6:52)

Take away:  While mulling over this story, you who have shared your practical anxieties of how you will care for your children came to mind. Your job is on the line, you’re laid off, you’re struggling with bills, you’re tired and alone.  Jesus’ story told me a few things, as we are so similar to the human disciples. The disciples had given up their occupations and families to travel the countryside with this prophet who had called them. And now, they were saddened with news of John the Baptist’s savage execution. Knowing full well they needed time off from the crowds, Jesus sent them away on the boat.

But LIFE happened. The people demanded their attention. They each had to press through their weariness, their trouble, and minister. Again. But Jesus showed them His Father’s provision at the meal when he fed the crowd, aware the masses would not comprehend the deeper message. He provided the food. After that miracle, Jesus showed His sovereignty over the creation by settling the storm right in front of His disciples. Why? To say I provide.  I preserve. I am God.

I know. We’re just like the disciples. Show us, Jesus. So, you have kept my family from starving. But today, Jesus, it’s different. This job doesn’t bring in enough income and I’m scared to death I won’t be able to put enough food on the table. We have these experiences when we are leaning into our perceptions and forget to lean into our conviction as to who Jesus is and how He has been sustaining. He has been our strength. He has protected. He will not give up on us. What do we do? Trust. Breathe and recognize who this Jesus is whom we claim we have faith in and lean into Him. Right now. Believing in and trusting in HIM. Our Provider.

Eyes off your troubles. Focus on Him.

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

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

IMG_20150417_121712-4

“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