Mar 24, 2012

Saturday SHINE.....

Happy Saturday, SHINE girls!

 Remember, no weekend reading so use this time to catch up if you can.

Also make sure to see Friday's Surprise Post about telling someone about our 1000 blessings journey! It's kind of like when you have a great new lip gloss and you want to tell the world about it!

Okay, so a little background  on today's SHINE post. A fellow SHINE girl sent this to me a while back. I read it and prayed that God would tell me the right time to use her story.

Today is that day. It coincides perfectly with our study this week. He kind of nudged me yesterday and reminded me of this story and that it was time to post it.

So, here you go, girls.

Grab your coffee and be blessed by this SHINE girls faithfulness, obedience and HOPE.

My Story:
by: your fellow SHINE girl


When you don’t think God can, when you don’t think God will, when you know God forgot you…

You know me; I am your sister, your friend. You know my name.  I write this because it’s one of those things you have to write down… to believe it’s actually true.

I was raised in the church, loved the Lord and then turned away in college.  I didn’t go “hog wild,” but I did what I wanted to and left my faith at home. I dated the wrong guy and then the 2nd wrong guy. I married the 2nd wrong guy and wondered why “happily ever after” wasn’t so happy??

 My husband drank.  He was 24 when we married, so no big deal. Every 24 year old drinks, right? I loved him and he was handsome and smart, everything would be just fine, right?  But, my man drank to excess every single time he drank, every day. Quickly, I could tell that it was becoming problematic and he was like a stretched rubber band and I couldn’t protect him from stretching himself past the limit and breaking.  He didn’t listen to me; he didn’t understand my need for him to settle down.  WE CLASHED.  He was out of control.  Now, when he was sober, he melted my heart and we were friends, but those moments dwindled into an abyss of drinking, spending, partying and lies. 
This went on for years and years, SEVEN YEARS to be exact, and I questioned God.

  I was furious that God wouldn’t change this man, and I was hopeless, desperate and searching, knowing that my husband would NEVER give up this crutch that he loved so much, alcohol.  He loved it way more than me.  The sound of a beer can opening literally made my heart race and nausea ensued.   I wanted to control him, be his momma and make it better.  I counted his beers, I would ask to leave parties early in hopes that we could exit before he acted out.  He was the life of the party until he went overboard and WE WERE MISERABLE.

Absolutely beyond hope.

We went to church through the first seven years of marriage (we had dated 5 years prior to the marriage.)  He only went to church to pacify me and he would often ask for forgiveness for the antics of the night before on the way to church. 

BARF!  I was so sick to death of the cycle and SO OVER HIM!!!!  One Sunday morning, Andy Stanley was preaching and he told us that we could ask for forgiveness for life mistakes we had made.  He said, “even if your mistake was your marriage, even if you were outside of God’s will when you chose your mate, you can confess that to the Father and ask for His blessing now. Admit you blew it, start over with God now.”

I did exactly what Andy said, as quickly as I could.  In that same heart change and in desperation, I told the Lord to CHANGE ME.

Now mind you friends---- I was NOT wrong.  He was.  I had returned to the God of my youth and my husband was falling into a black hole with no way out. I was attending Bible study. Me and the Lord were A-OK.

Even still, fixing my husband was impossible and he bucked every suggestion I made, anyhow.  So, my prayer began (quietly and with hardly any faith at all, totally and completely hopeless) Lord, change me.

Lord, change me.
Lord, change me.
Lord, change me.

If he could just not drink anymore, but how?  That would never happen.

So…I began to take a “hands off” approach to managing his problem for him. I didn’t talk to him about his drinking (as much), I tried to ignore it. I tried to love him anyway as his weight ballooned and his problem worsened.  Oh man, and I almost lost all hope.  People began to notice that he often smelled of alcohol, asking me what I was going to do… “Lord, change me.”
In the middle of mayhem, we started a family.  Yeah, I know.  Insanity.

I began to entertain these thoughts:
Everyone is happy, except for us. “Look at that couple, they’re happy.”  I compared us all the time.
I could just move on;   --find someone that I don’t have to “fix.”
He is gross; I CANNOT STAND to look at him.
It’s over, dead, done. Why am I here?
I don’t deserve a happy marriage.
I should have NEVER married him.  Why, did I do this?!

These were all lies from the prince of liars (satan) but, you couldn’t have told me that then.  I only believed that I was in a dead, hopeless marriage.

We fought. Outrageous, horrible fights. It was awful. I couldn’t hide my misery.  I could never fully explain how hopeless and how bad it was.   He was often wasted, so he didn’t remember our fight or know how bad it was!  I was so alone.

Then, the kicker came. Things got worse. I found that his spending had spiraled out of control. I confronted him and he lied, I asked, then begged him to be honest. “Whatever it is, we will get through it” I promised.  He said, “I am a cocaine addict on top of my alcoholism.” THUD.
MY HEART SANK---
WHAT???  I HAD NO HOPE.

I was this “goody two shoes” married to a “coke head?”  Really?  I had NEVER experimented with drugs. Never seen cocaine.  I was so na├»ve.  I had no idea.  Let me also mention that I had 2 little babies.  I kept on hearing my promise to my husband, “Whatever it is, we will get through it.” I couldn’t back out now.  I had to keep my word. He was entitled to a chance to make it right.  But was he?  Almost everybody tried to convince me to leave.  I just knew he couldn’t get better.  I knew he couldn’t be well. I had no hope.  Well, maybe a little, tiny bit of hope… I had also promised, “in sickness and in health I would love and honor him.”

He promised it would get better, but he had made that promise so many times before.  I said, “this is your first and last chance to get sober. No drinking. No drugs. Period. ”  He agreed. 
I said, “I have no hope.” My husband said, “I have hope and I know that I can make this right.  I don’t want ‘this’ life anymore.”  He started his journey of recovery later that night as he went to his first “meeting.”

That was almost 4 years ago. 

It’s is hard, as I write this, to explain what the Lord has done.  Goodness gracious.
My husband never drank another sip of alcohol. The Lord took away his desire for drugs.
He worked through his problem in a forum called NA and went to 90 meetings in 90 days and countless meetings beyond that.

Over time he became the professional that he had always dreamed of being, respected in his career and field of work.

He became the husband I had always hoped to have: A growing Christian, my friend, my protector, my lover, a wonderful father to our children.  A diamond of a man.
He loves the Lord and wants to honor Him.  Putting the Lord first in our family, raising our children in the saving knowledge of the Lord, Jesus Christ.
And so, those 2 babies are now 3 babies.

{Oh!  And, little ole’ me?  The Lord did change me. I began to learn to submit myself to my husband in our marriage as God designed.  I gave him the support that God requires as a wife and helper.  I began to give him the trust he was earning with his actions. I began to forgive him, girls, it took years.  The Lord gave me a love for this man, my husband, like never before.}

Miraculous.

And what satan meant for EVIL, the Lord turned to good.

Genesis 50:20  You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.

{Or the saving of many marriages…}

Is the Lord planting seeds of hope in your life? Is he just waiting on your obedience?  He was waiting on mine.  He still is!! Every day the Lord is hoping we wake up and become obedient to Him so that he can bless us and work through us.

Just to be clear, satan wants your marriage to fail.  Don’t you know… He wants your divorce to be the model your children also follow.  He wants to wreck your life, for generations to come, with you as a willing participant.

A good friend said to me recently, “The Lord did not call us to be happy, it is nowhere in the Bible. NO. He called us to be HOLY and seek Him in everything we do.” 
So, what if aren’t looking for the happiness the world gives, but looking for JOY in our faith in Jesus Christ? Instead choosing to be filled with His JOY, Divine JOY… He can work.  He will work. He will use it ALL for good.

You may decide to start by asking the Lord, “forgive me for walking outside Your will, Lord. Bless my mistake, turn it to good.” Ask Him for the desires of your heart and then ask Him,  “Lord, CHANGE ME.”  Forget the wrongs of your husband, sister, mom, mother-in-law, friend, daughter-in-law, son, step son, step daughter, boss, coworker.  Lord, change ME.  And, mean it. Even if it’s just a little bit of your heart.  God can work with that.

You know what, He’s ALL OVER IT.  He’s been there all along.  Be honest and tell Him where you are and then let Him guide you back into His will.  The Lord’s “nook” beats the very nasty nest I created.  I still fail every day and I dearly want all God has for me, but my discipline in following Him is lacking, greatly. But, I am always looking to get back into the nook. Right up under His covering so that His will can be released in my life.  <3

Your SHINE sister