One of my anthem songs from 2019 is “Take A Moment” by Will Reagan. When it plays it takes me back to beautiful memories. I have anthem songs from the past several years, times in my life where God was speaking so clearly about who He is and who I am in Him and I have truly come to know His love. I can’t explain it, I just know that six years ago I was afraid to even put a Scripture picture on my Facebook page for fear of offending someone or of someone judging me. I wish I would have cared more of what God thought about me more then. When I began to read the Bible for myself, and not listen to what everyone else said, it changed my life. He won me over with His love through the truth of His promises to me.
I have so many beautiful memories with Matt in the majority of them. We claimed anthem songs on trips that we’ve taken together. The most beautiful traveling we did began in 2014 when I felt physically incredible. It was five years from the week I’d spent on life support. I had given up pain pills I’d been taking since 2007, but not through my own doing. I know that God gave me the strength and courage to give them to Him, and I did. That alone made me feel worthy again because I faced a long battle in my relationship with pain pills. The battle to win began in 2006 when I went to rehab. I remember going to Matt and saying, “Hubby, I don’t know if I can stop taking these pain pills.”. It was the first time I’d spoken it out loud. The major surgeries began in 2004 and didn’t stop. From November of 2004 through November of 2005 I had both of my shoulders replaced and surgery to basically rebuild both feet. The first doctor messed up my left foot so I had some revisions done on it as well. During that time I was the main “bread” winner in our family. I worked long hours both at work and at home to prepare for the next workday. I made a substantial income but the cost was not worth it! Following each surgery that year I returned to work as quickly as possible as I worked on commission. When you are in that much pain and the only relief you can find is in pain pills.
When I said those words out loud, Matt began looking for a place I could go and find healing from this addiction and I ended up in West Palm Beach, Fla. The first week I spent in a detox center. Arriving at the detox center, my carry-on in tow, I sat outside of the room I would soon enter. It was the door of prison as far as I was concerned, even prison looked like the only way out. Soon it would be my turn to enter and share my life with a complete stranger. I had no clue what to expect on the other side of that door, I just knew I was exhausted and didn’t have any fight left. As I sat there praying, I remembered that I’d put some pills in the bottom of my carry-on so I began to search. I don’t have any clue how many pills I found but I took them all. I was scared and I had never felt so alone in all of my life. I knew things couldn’t continue the way they had been going or I wouldn’t be alive to see my kids grow up. In the midst of all of the pain and suffering I was going through with my body I knew my kids needed every spare ounce I could muster. I gave them all that I had but it wasn’t enough. I felt like I abandoned them and that made me feel worse than any of the surgeries I’d endured. I spent the majority of time in my room sleeping. I needed sleep desperately and was grateful to get it. I’d given myself to everyone but me and my body was was worn. I was 35 years old and that was the saddest place I’d been in my life and I had no idea how I got there.
God always places people on our paths to help us make it through these storms of life, we just have to see them. I am grateful for all the incredible women God has given me over the years, I couldn’t have thrived without my friends. Though I was a bit higher in detox, because of the drugs they give you, than I’d felt when I was self medicating, I do remember some of that week. I met a woman in the lunch room who was going to be at the same women’s rehab center that I was headed to when I left. She was a beautiful woman about 10 years my senior and I remember thinking I hoped I could gain some of her wisdom while I was there with her. We became fast friends, both broken in our lives through the course of our stories and suffering. She was such an encouragement to my heart, I still think of her often and say a prayer. We talked about God and how He’d been with us every step of the way on our journey. I was grateful to find a believer to spend time with though I didn’t know what grateful meant then. I felt safe to heal there and heal I did at least for a short season until more surgeries and it all started up again…
I’m a firm believer that we have to go through trials of our own so that we can help others; If we actually learn from them. Itseasy to look back and regret, now I am realizing is that I can look back, feel the pain of regret, repent of not listening to God’s leading in the trial, know God has forgiven me and then let the pain, regret, and forgiveness flow through me. James says it best…
“Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.” James 1:2-4
James is telling us that we can find joy in the midst of the storm and I am beginning to believe him. In the storm I’m battling right now I know that there is joy. There is joy in the opportunity for me to grow and become more fully developed in Christ, getting closer to a place of needing nothing because I’ll know that God is enough. That is the journey of the human soul, right? He will bring us to the place of wholeness.
The anthem song I shared tells me to take a moment and remember. It is hard to walk through those memories of pain and suffering. I have stuffed them deep down to avoid feeling pain, in doing that it has damaged my body. God is calling me to take a moment and remember the things He brought me through, the storms that seemed impossible to weather. I’m seeing His grace and mercy in the memory of one of the lowest places I’ve experienced in my life. The pain flowed through me this morning as I shared this little moment of time in writing, it flowed and it didn’t kill me. I feel lighter.
I am grateful for the trials. I don’t know what is on the other side of my current storm, but I do know the One who the wind and rain bow to (Matt 8:26) and He loves me. Each moment that I take to be still with God is valuable, especially during the storms. God doesn’t waste anything and my time with Him has become a priority. The healthier I become the greater He is known in and through my story. This storm is developing that story, my time in His Presence will lead me to bear much fruit as the Vine prunes my branch for His glory.
“Remain in Me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in Me.” John 15:4