On September 1st I’ll celebrate 29 years of sobriety. When I told my tattoo artist, his reaction was “wwwwhhhhhaaaattttt” – lol
What part of that opening paragraph surprises you most? The thought of not drinking (ever!?!) or the fact I have a tattoo artist?
I haven’t blogged in a couple of months – primarily because my life turned absolutely upside down and inside out back in May. While it’s been awful it was not a total surprise – I’ve seen it coming and my last post was unfortunately prophetic…I’m smack dab in the middle but let’s go back to the beginning.
I’m scared to write this post. It’s highly personal and very vulernable. But that’s part of what’s happening to me right now – a reckoning of my past and how it plays in my future – and a desire to be authentic. Of course…you might judge me because of the differences but I hope you can glean some similarities and the both of us gather hope from each other in the work of God in all of our lives.
Right now before reading any further take a moment, close your eyes and reflect on your life from a 30,000 ft perspective. Not the day to day business but the last 20, 30, 40 years. Where have you come from? How has God woven His love and purpose through your life? What’s your story? Can you see it? It’s a good exercise to practice every once in awhile to get some perspective and while you might be able to see some patterns in a few minutes, it’s best practiced over a period of time. I’ve been at it all summer…but as an introvert that’s what comes naturally…especially in difficult times..reflection, writing, trying to figure it all out.
So back to the beginning shall we…
My early years were fueled by drugs and alcohol…yep. I’m one of those people that once I get started there’s no telling where I’ll end up. I was absolutely blessed with my first real encounter with God at the tender age of 17 when he said to me that this was not his plan for me. I had no idea at the time what that meant but it started my sober journey.
I spent the next 10 years or so in a 12 step program – learning how to live a full, fruitful, sober life. It was an awesome, incredible time and it helped me become the person I am today. I went to college, started a career, met and married my husband and started a family.
God knocks again.
There were a couple of years in there, where, truthfully, I wanted to leave my past…well, in the past. I wasn’t that person any longer. I wanted the “normal” life. I wanted to be mom, dad and 2.5 kids. Building a life, raising a family, and becoming successful became what we did and for a time it was wonderful.
But a stirring in my heart began and I knew without a doubt that I was being called to teach my kids about God. Problem was that I was not a believer…I knew God through the 12 steps but I couldn’t very well take my toddlers there…hmmmm. It was a period of tremendous rebellion, pain, and growth. Long story short, I ended up in a church and spent at least a year trying to determine if I could accept Jesus as my savior. I did and I’ve spent the last 15 years growing said relationship. And ironies of ironies working in a church and serving people week in and week out. I’ve spent my time studying God’s word, spending time with women and students, going on mission trips, and encouraging others to do the same.
Now the ground is shifting again. I don’t have as much clarity about this latest season as I am in the middle – before I had the gift of time, perspective, and reflection.
But now…I only know change is in the air.
How do I know? Because I am discontent. I’ve been discontent for a year or so. It has to do with changing dynamics at work, at church, in my family, in my desires, in this season of my life. Yesterday’s tools, methods, ways are not working. God is calling me (kicking and screaming) into a new arena and my faith is being stretched and shaped into new forms.
Here’s what I do know…
It has to do with being back in a 12-step program. Embracing my past (all of it) and incorporating it into my future. Honoring the gifts and talents that have been given to me. There is a stirring passion in my heart to work with at-risk youth on the underside of society – drugs, sex, mental health issues, etc. Hardest of all, it’s about letting go. It’s about trusting in God and KNOWING who I belong to. And most importantly – look at my life – at all the odds overcome. Why in the world would I think that this season will be any different? God is all over this.
So like I began with – the further back I go, the clearer the vision…so sometime in the future I’ll be able to look back at this time and go – oh yes I see it now – but until then I lean into Matthew 6:34
“Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.
xoxoxo – DM
P.S. Oh yeah…you’re probably wondering about that tattoo. Back to 1987 when my life was characterized by self loathing and self harm… I have two scars on my wrist…These scars are precious because they are physical reminders of where I came from and what I survived. This new path of mine is scary and uncertain and I am fearful. But we were not given a spirit of fear and my testimony, experience, strength, and hope will be used for good. My new tattoo is placed between those scars and is a reminder to be brave. Don’t judge :)