We all have a tape player. That angel or devil on your shoulder that whispers sweet nothings in your ear at each turning point in your life. As I’ve mentioned previously, my tape player only played negative thoughts. After hearing it long enough, I began to believe it.
I married at a rather early age. One of those choices I made “all on my own”!! FREEDOM was the only thing on my mind. Truth is, I had been suicidal for so many years that this seemed the only chance at a normal life. I was still a “diet Christian” with no signs of a relationship with God brewing. I began a whirlwind of wild behavior that I pray my children never hear of.
I remember one of my best friend’s mother. She was so graceful and pleasant. Sweet…I guess you would say. She was always in a dress. One of those that seems to flow like a breeze on an ocean front balcony. Oh I wanted to have that kind of Spirit. “God didn’t make me that way”, I always thought to myself. My crazy ways continued. I moved on…divorced….remarried and began having children.
Having children changed me in so many ways, but it did nothing to improve my relationship with God. I again settled into being able to do everything on my own. With each passing day, I grew “stronger” and my heart grew colder. I dug my heels in and determined to “get it right”, just not with Him. I never made a conscious decision to NOT turn to God, I had just never been taught how. Children aren’t born knowing how to talk, read, write, or pray. Those things must be taught. Praying is one of those things that must be taught by example and I never heard my parents pray. As an adult, I was still lost to this gift.
Just as things should have been going well, they took a turn for the worst. Yet again, I found myself single and “dating”. I was determined to make as many mistakes as I possibly could and let me tell you, I was well on my way. Before I realized it… I began drinking. For the first time in my life, I had more friends than I knew what to do with. My house was the party house and I had no less than 200 bottles of different types of alcohol in my house at any given time. I was sure proud of myself. My esteem was high, I felt great, I was “happy”. (And my children were watching).
I am ashamed to say this phase in my life lasted about 3 years. Church had become a holiday event and weekends were my time out. My adult time. I deserved it, or so I thought. Then out of the blue, like the ultimate parent He is, God began convicting me. Funny how He was convicting “me”. Afterall, hadn’t He seen all the trials I had been through in my life? Hadn’t He seen the abuse, the pain, the fear?? Why was He convicting me?? He should’ve been out chasing the bad guys. Yet, there I was wondering how I ended up in such a place.
I woke up one morning, fully clothed (thank God) in my living room floor. The night before was a fog and I had no clue how I managed to get home. I knew I hadn’t driven but who brought me home? My children sat around me staring. They never said a word but my heart was broken. How could I have allowed my children to see me this way? How did I get here? Even worse, how was I going to get out?? If only I could say it all ended there. Immediately everything around me began to crash. My job, my friends, my finances, everything was going down hill like a snowball headed south.
I knew where my life insurance policy was. I could envision my will and my loaded gun as I drove home from work one Friday evening. The tears were pouring out so heavily I could hardly see to drive. I couldn’t breathe and the tape player in my head was screaming at me “You will never amount to anything!!!! You might as well end it now!!!!” It wasn’t a conscious choice but it flooded my thoughts. How I made it through the weekend was only by the Grace of God. Sunday morning found me at church for the first time in a long time. The devil on my shoulder went along with me. With white knuckles and a constant buzzing in my hear, I held tight to the pew in front of me when the alter call was given. “Nothing’s going to change. You’ll never change”. Of course, I believed the tape player and stood still. Wild horses could not have moved me. Thankfully, I serve a powerful God that could. As the alter call was ended and everyone was leaving, my feet carried me to the head of the church where I approached our assistant pastor. I couldn’t speak. My sobbing was so uncontrollable, I couldn’t even give my name. Immediately he brought a lady over to pray for “whatever my need was”.
I would like to tell you I heard angels singing and a bright light showing me the way. I felt nothing. There was no earthquake and no sudden ease of guilt. I felt like the same sinner. The same lost soul. The difference was, God could now work through me. I had finally given up my own will and was open to His.
God doesn’t wait for us to change. He just waits for us to be open and willing to follow. He can and will change us. I am proud to say I haven’t had a drink since that night. I have an entirely new group of friends and church is my second home. I have also completely given my life entirely to Him. My children, my hopes, dreams, future, ministry, and yes…my checkbook.