Who am I? Why am I here?
Basic questions. The reasons for life, right?
Sometimes, as I person and a pastor, I recognize the first but I wonder about the second. Have I done enough? Am I faithful enough? Am I leading the church in the right direction?
It’s easy to throw out the starfish scenario. I’m sure you’ve heard it: a man throwing beached starfish into the sea, but can’t throw them all in based on the overwhelming numbers. Someone asks him why he does it when he can’t save them all, and he responds, “It matters to the ones that I can throw back.”
Trite, cliched… and yet true. Yet, somedays, it’s easy to get caught up in the ones we can’t help or save or even seem to make any difference with.
Call it the midwinter blahs, between Christmas and… March Madness. But lately, I’ve been wondering, and considering how to write about it here. And then I was tagged in this post, about my church and our impact.
(Yes, it’s reprinted with permission!)
So I’m laying here on the couch re-reading a great book and listening to some great music when this amazing song comes on and it starts to remind me where I was in my life and my sanity the summer of 2011.
You see, I was living in a place I had never lived, in a hotel, and alone. Very much into the alcoholic life I had become accustomed to, 12-20 Bud Light bottles a night, maybe some rum and coke, or a shot or two of tequilla (why not? Jose Quervo was definitely a friend of mine). To get to work, the store, or the the sushi restaurant, I had to go past this little church. I could feel my heart start to pull me, but my fear keeping me away.
I remember toward the end of June( exactly 30, days after I arrived) sending an emotionally charged and draining email begging for help just as I was to leave on a 4 day pass. It took 3 Sundays (after the I got back from pass) of pulling in the parking lot and being too afraid to get out of my truck to finally walk through the doors, and into the arms of a pretty cool family. I wasn’t immediately receptive, in fact I managed to slip in just as the service started, and get out quickly following the Benediction. I didn’t want to talk to anyone just yet, I didn’t want anyone to know I was still hungover at 11 am at in church… I felt ashamed. I sent another email, stating I was ready to start… whatever it was I was ready, and he sent me an angel. He sent me someone who understood, who was ok with me crying, yelling and screaming, who on August 10,2011, dragged me to my first meeting.
This little family from a place I had never been, where I hit rock bottom, showed me that faith in myself, faith in people, and faith in GOD would, with a lot of hard work on my part restore me to the person I was long ago, and was always supposed to be. This is where I learned to TRUST again, where I learned I am in control, where I learned, once again, what it felt like to be sober, but mostly where I learned that GOD had never left me. This is where I learned that God had to let me fall, in order for me to understand that left to my own devises, I would never be happy. That through God, all things are possible.
I left my home away from home at 0400 on September 17,2011 still an alcoholic, but now a recovering alcoholic. I definitely left a different person, a WHOLE person, and a better person!
In two short months my life took on a whole new meaning. That book is Not a Fan, the music is by Matt Maher, the song is “Heaven Help Me Now,” the minister is Jacob, the angel is now my husband.
I blame YOU for the blessed life I lead now, for sending the angel who will forever be in my life, the great family I have in Virginia, the clarity I have. I thank God everyday that you didn’t blow off that email, and fear might have been been if you had!
Although I have made a few trips back since I left, none will ever be more memorable than that night in July with my new husband and my 15 year old daughter, to renew 6 day old vows with the family, who without knowledge, saved my life!
This is a shortened account, this is MY story, I was truly blessed that summer by God, a minister who took a chance, and many many strangers!
Sometimes, one story is all the reminder we need to remember, give thanks, and keeping moving forward.