Tuesday, May 17, 2011

tHE lITTLE eNGINE tHAT cOULD...

"I think I can, I think I can..." that's where I feel like I'm at in life right now. At the bottom of the hill looking up, eyes wide, feeling a little overwhelmed at the realization of the work it is going to take to get up the mountain. However, it is undoubtedly so much better to be looking up, preparing for the next stretch of work than to know that I am sliding uncontrolled,helter-skelter through the dirt and rocks down the side of the mountain. Not to say that I expect to reach the summit in a day; nor do I expect that I will arrive without a few slips and scraped knees. I'm pretty sure mountain climbing isn't all that easy.
I started attending a Bible study at church within the Celebrate Recovery group. It's a 12-step (like in A.A.) study. I've never done a 12-Step before, so I'm not so sure what to expect. I think that's probably a good thing. Sometimes I expect too much and this way - no pre-existing personal agenda - I can have peace knowing that God is leading the direction of my healing. The catch phrase of Celebrate Recovery is that it is for people with "hurts, habits and hang-ups." That pretty much describes me. I went to the first meeting just to see what it was about, my small, self-righteous voice whispering, "It's not like you're a drug addict, or anything." Ugh! How I hate that voice!!! How much healing has self-righteousness kept me from? You see, I have struggled with drug addiction, and binge drinking and a whole host of other destructive behaviors. Who the heck does that voice think she is? I can't tell you what peace I felt being there. These are people who don't want to hide anymore. People who are tired of being sick, who don't want to mask their pain. These are people that want a healthy soul more than almost anything! No-one here really pretending to be something that they're not. If they're anything like me, they are probably thoroughly repulsed with the pretenders. Hey, these are people just like me. No pretense, no phonies, just truth. There is something so freeing and humbling in being surrounded with people who are working to be strong. Though my attendance has been sporadic (being around other people is one of the things I'm working through) I know that I am in the right place.
On another note. this fall marks the 20th anniversary of the day that I accepted Christ as my savior. I grew up in the Catholic church and for me it was a very empty, legalistic experience; this was MY expereince - I'm not knocking catholocism. When I moved to my new husband's hometown we began attending his families' church. It was kind of pentecostal - they called it charismatic at the time - and boy did I think it was weird!!! But I kept going because the pastor, a sort of sweaty fellow, kept talking about this new life that the believer could have. How, when Jesus entered your heart, you became a new creation; the old was gone and the new would come. (2 Corinthians 5:17) I listened to him for about a year before I found the courage to walk to the front of the full church to ask Jesus to be my Savior. I wanted to be a new creation more than anything. I wanted to be washed and made as clean as the driven snow. I wanted to be forgiven. And, in an instant, I was.
It took me a long time to realize that there was more to being a Christian than just saying a prayer; that it was an every day, sometimes an every moment, decision to choose God's way. I have spent the best part of the last 20 years learning to do that. And it hasn't been easy. Especially when I reflect on where I am today. There's a verse in Psalms that talks of how God pulls us out of the miry pit and puts our feet on solid ground. I feel like I'm shoulder high in the muck and mire emotionally and spiritually (and sometimes physically.) I feel like every time I get an arm free to hold it out so that God can pull me to the promised solid ground, that He takes so long that I sink back into the muck before He ever gets there. I feel a lot of the time that I've been waiting for years and decades for Him to follow through on a whole lot of His promises. But, I also know that's not the entire truth.
I know that I cannot count the promises in His Word that He has brought to fruition in me and my life that I will never (this side of heaven) be able to recognize. I know He has brought me a long way from who I was that day I walked to the front of the church. I also know I have so much more to learn. And, some days, that makes me very discouraged. So here I am, trying one more time to make that climb up the mountain. It's on big road-block. I've tried in the last decade to get over it, around it, through it and I've even consider "conquering" it by going under it. The entire time, though, I have known that the only way to get past it is to scale it and continue on. It's time to start climbing again.
And here's why I just can't give up: throughout the years God has shown me - He has allowed me to fully experience - the pure joy of being who He made me to be. Through specific ministry, mothering, being a wife, and expressing myself creatively, all without the burden of unresolved trauma, anger or conflict, He can make life so good. He's given me glimpses! Some for a year or two, some for mere moments; but I have tasted the goodness of walking in His will. I really, really, really want that. I can't give up. It's so hard to look at that mountain that has mockingly conquered my spirit for so long and know that I have to get up and start climbing.
I think I can... I think I can... I know I can... I know I can... I know He will.
Putting on my Ephesians 6 wardrobe...
In His infininte love,
Tonya

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