Stopping the storm…

I went on a men’s retreat and all it did was rain.   An old songs asks the same question I have today,… “How can you stop the rain from falling down?  How can you stop the sun from shining?” 

I’m reminded of the times in the good book where the sun stood still or even went back.   That didn’t happen this last weekend.

It just kept coming down and down.   I can’t stop the rain from falling down.   I just did what anyone would do.   Stay out of the rain as much as possible.  It really wasn’t that bad.   The rain was persistent though.   It never let up.

My perception now is in a constant flux, changing with the tide.   Recovery can do that if I allow it.   The storms of life may not stop at my will, but I see it’s my response to the storms that need to be worked on.   

When the reign of self will pours down in buckets, I need to take the shield of faith as an umbrella and go thru that storm.   Sometimes I find myself inside, away from the storm, observing the stormy weather from a distance, trying to see the good in such torrential downpour.   

With my recovery, I need to see, I need to observe trials and struggles for what they are.   Struggles and hurdles to overcome.   We all go thru these storms of life.    We may not be able to stop the raging sea, but I know one who can.

So the next struggle, the hurdle, the next trial I will look to the maker of the hurt I hold inside, and just stand… stand there in His presence, He knows what I’m in need of.   I thought I knew,  but no, I don’t know jack jingle hymer smith.  

Take care of yourselfs

Mak Out – End Transmission!

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In the Middle of this Road.

Its been 5 months from my last entry.   not lazy but i have been busy with all things related.   Recovery and all the rest.

The end of the road was indeed just the beginning as I’ve mentioned previously.    I may have disturbed the bee hive more so than what we as kids experienced hiking in upstate NY.   “Bee’s, Bee’s, Bee’s.”  We all ran, and we all got bit.   Except the first of us kids that actually stepped on and disturbed that nest.

So, i went thru the first year of the recovery program they offer at Celebrate Recovery.   my attitude, still influenced by compulsivity, held onto the structure, the discipline, the principles and practices of CR.   I took responsibility for my recovery yet, i learned early to give control over to the program and the spirit of such program.

I didn’t want to do and say some things, but i wanted to be healed.   I wanted to control this venture, but knew little of this pathway I travel.   there was someone there that showed me thru their life, the experience, strength and hope that one could if they tried, experience and apply to their own life.

I wanted so to keep the control.   this road so scary and vulnerable.   I still want to go and hide and isolate.

Like a roller coaster at the best amusement park this side of the Mississippi.   I was responsible enough to choose the ride that was more to my liking.   Still, i felt vulnerable when I sat down the crash bar came down to buckle me in.   I was no longer in control.   I gave control to the ride itself.   I couldn’t get off that ride if i wanted to.

That is recovery for me.   taking the responsibility to attend the safest place on earth.   And trusting the steps, trusting those that have gone before me, the control is NOT in my hands.   Yes, I can take control any time I want.   but the desire to be healed and not repeat the devastation of my wrongs is paramount here.

the apparent accomplishments of the first year has been to stir up the bee hive.   understanding of compulsivity is only the beginning.   Now I deal with life slightly differently.   how to deal with life without the ole’ coping skill that was used before.   the defenses are getting clearer.   what indeed a mess.

I’m not where I should be today, I still struggle with my obsessive compulsive acting out at times.   I want to go and isolate.   I’m beginning to see its ill effects more so than ever before.    Its obvious to me now and I see whats going on here.

Learning to express my needs differently is getting better.   I have thought before this last year that i would die if I didn’t get “my drug of choice”.   I find with each successful struggle and victory not reverting back to the old paths, that I survive and not die.   I can live to tell the tale.   Victory is indeed possible.

I’m beginning to learn the importance of connection at the time of crisis.   what i mean is I can attend meetings every day of the week, and that would be great.   but strength and hope can be had if i can get connected at the time of battle.   When I drive myself to sneak a peak and park.   When I’m outside the car and ready to take that step to no return.   Will I call someone THEN?   When I’m in the fire can I take responsibility and make the connection that i need, even when all that is within me tells me I don’t want to make that kind of connection?

When I’m angry, irritated and just want to scream, will I reach out and make the right connection?   Is this what accountability partners are there for?   Is this the job description of a sponsor?   can these “others” be there in such thick dark tunnels of life?   I would think so.   Just making these connections can disconnect from the heat of the moment.   Just a listening ear can be the sugar in the bitter tea.

so, let me close with where I’m at right now.   I’m in the middle of the major highway in the middle of the road.   It was one big struggle to get where I’m at now, can’t go back must go forward.   when I get over on the other side, then and only then can you ask the age old question, “Why did the chicken cross the road.?

Thanks for reading and letting me share.   I sure do appreciate everyone of you.

 

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The End of the Road, Buddy!

This is it the end of 2015. I take a healthy look back and I’m impressed. The other day between church service, someone I least expected, came up to me and commented on the positive changes he saw in me.

I didn’t know what to say. What to do. I took hold of his outstretched hand and accepted his offer as humble as I could. It was with few words.

At the beginning of this year I was in need. I was all shook up. A huh huh…

I started to attend “Celebrate Recovery” and started to work on “ME”, I had a lot of work to catch up on for sure.

I can see clearer now, the rain is gone, I can see this past week, and the comments shared with me from friends… That I’m finishing this year on a better note. Nothing wrong with that illusive concert b flat.

My thought recently is, what if I can string together another year like this one? I mean, a good productive year. I’m finding the courage to make a difference in my life, as I turn my will and my life over to the care of God.

Here is the point. I see my life, my past, didn’t start out on the right side of the tracks. But I’m beginning to see things differently in that it’s no longer important how I started out in life, though it had a lot to do with how I am now, but things are different. I’m not the itsy bitsy baby boy any more.

I now have the cognitive ability to make a difference in my life. A grand finish is indeed possible. Victorious living in my sights. I can do this. Just repeat what I’ve been doing this day, tomorrow.

Just repeat what I’ve been doing this year, next year and I have a better chance at with a grand finish.

I contribute all this to God. It is He that is giving me that intrinsic motivation to move forward with determination and courage to deal with life issues on a higher and higher plateau.

So, here at the close of 2015, I’ve come to “the end of the road, buddy”. What do I do? How am I going to proceed? Where am I going? I say today, I’m reaching for the sky. Restoration pathways are the pathways for me.

Time to hit the road, Jack! Seat belts everyone! Celebrate Recovery, lesson 1, DENIAL!

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Every 4000 miles, continued

So here I am trying to do the things I know I need to do.   I see God moving in ways I never thought before.   I am forever grateful, for God to even consider such a wretch as I.   

But I’m the kind of wretch that he gave his only Son for.   What can I give In Return?

My wife is difficult to buy for during the holiday as well as any day of the year. If only she would make a wish list and make it easier for me to choose from that list.

So, relate this with my deep gratitude to God for such love, compassion, mercy and His grace…  I wish that God would reveal to me His wish list.   

What can I possibly give him, for all that he has done?????   I can’t match it or even attempt to match the depth of His actions toward this wretched sinner.

I heard from very deep within my being… Like for the very first time ever.    God has indeed written out a wish list.   What God desires most from me…I can hardly type this on the small keypad of my iPhone, yet I see he only wants my heart.    

God, I give you my heart.  Take all of me.   God, break me, make me, mold me.   Hold me forever in your presence.    Do what you will.    I am all yours.
Today, I give you your greatest desire.    Tomorrow I give you your greatest desire.    Every day of this coming year, I give you my heart.

Even these words and the gratitude comes from you.   While you own my heart, as I walk this earth and experience the humanity you have blessed me with would you, could you change my heart oh God?    Can you make it ever true?

Only you, God can make this cracked vessel, this wretched sinner, any good to be a vessel of experience, strength and hope, an example of what only you could do.

Merry Christmas one and all.

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Oil Change every 4000?

Why do I change the oil every 4000 miles?
It’s been running a little rough, the engine that is.   So now I see something that I CAN CHANGE.   I can’t give the van a tune up.   That must be done by someone with a “higher powered” knowledge.   Someone that has the right tools.

So when I change the things that I can change, like the oil in the van, it does make a difference in the running of my internal engine of life.   

As I face my compulsivity, a creation of my own making thru the years, I see its beyond me to change certain things about me.   Oh I so wish upon a star, twinkling ever bright in the heavens, I find it is not within me to make some things new.   

As I bring my brokeness to the throne room of my God, I give to Him all that I am, and that’s broken already, He only can mend the vessel for His purposes.   I stand firm in His faithfulness to forgive and to cleanse me.   

As I stand before God and humanity.   The cracks and crevices are mended with divine super glue…   Evidence of my brokeness.   Evidence of Gods intervening grace and compassion.   

The song ringing ever so real as a testimony of His wonderful hand,…
“I was sinking deep…. Deep in sin…   Far…far…far away from the peaceful shore…”   And here is the truth of the matter…
“Very deeply stained… VERY VERY VERY… DEEPLY STAINED…”   Ok let’s move…
Very deeply stained, did I tell you that already?

Very deeply stained with sin, sinking to rise no more.   Sinking to rise no more.   Sinking…. To rise…. No more.   Throw away the key!

Then… THEN… Hello, can I get a shoutout??!!!   Then the master… Heard my dispairing cry… He heard me??????   Really??????

Then heard me…. And lifted me from the angry waves.

To be continued….!!!!

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A bitter sweet victory?!

An interesting title for sure.   A complete victory, yes!   But with mixed emotions?!

Let me explain.   Actually let me shout it from the rooftops.

I HAVE COMPLETED THE CELEBRATE RECOVERY 12 STEP PROGRAM!!!!!! 👍👍👍 I’m going to wear the “golden coin” proudly as an Olympian would.   It’s been an awesome year.   

I’ve felt every step.   I may even cryed every step.   I was eager to get started, I was ready to run with this new program.     Here I am today, all steps behind me…

My life is better, yes!    But driving just yesterday I had a fight with a scarecrow.   You know, the “fake reality” positioned in a corn field to scare away the birds?    That person, that situation is not real anymore. I need the courage and heart to take that scarecrow down and rip the stuffing out of him.     God has not given me a spirit of fear.

Upon completion of the 12, I look upon the corn field of my life.   At my feet lay the stuffings of several scarecrows.   In the distance I see the next one I’m going after.  

Going thru the 12 is just the beginning of a new life.   A new way of seeing things.   The 12 placed me on a new platform they call recovery.

So it’s sweet victory for sure.   And I’m proudly wearing that coin.   Yet I’m also humbled as I remember I have another issue to deal with.   But I have the tools to deal with it all.

Sweet victory yes!!!   

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Recovery is all about change!

There’s some puzzles out there, I mean let’s take a trip to Wally World and check out THOSE puzzles.      25, 50, 125, 500, 1000??? That’s some puzzle.   The pieces can be overwhelming.   I would seek out the edges and corners and try to put the borders together first and then…. Maybe I shouldn’t get too involved with the puzzle.

Then again let’s check out a puzzle in China.   Guinness book tells me THAT puzzle assembled a the former Kai Tak airport.   Ok, ready for this,… 21,600 pieces, put together by 777 people.   
Ok, too much puzzle for me.   

I’ll stick to the occasional crossword puzzle.   Should I try Guiness too?   91,000 squares?????????

There’s been a thought I’ve been developing.    The words are floating in my journals too.    Courage, peace, wisdom.
Today driving home from deliveries it all started to come together.    It will take time to fill in the banks, put the pieces together.    

But here’s the thought.
The serenity prayer.   The expanded, extended version.   I found an image on the iPhone and I took a glance.    I started to pick it to pieces.   Maybe like a 1,000 pieces?   First piece read “GOD”.   Then the next piece goes next to it,   “Grant Me!”
Next came “serenity”.   

Each piece I looked at and tryed to understand it that much more.   God.   Could I EVER comprehend?   Grant me?   Me, He would take notice of ME?   By golly He did and does and forever will take notice, He is an awesome God.

Serenity.   Something that has been so far distant, mainly due to my stubborn will.    
A calm, untroubled, peaceful???   I’ve tried to make peace with my past.   I tried to calm the waves of my dysfunctional past.   But in all MY efforts I’m still troubled.   I’ve given up all hope.

I told my sponsor I have given up all hope.   No more fight left in me.   There IS NO HOPE for a better past.   I can’t change my past.   Dang nabbit I’ve tried and tried, I can’t do that.   
So, I must take serenity prayer as my very own.   Sorry Reinhold, ole boy.   This one is mine now.   
God, in your love, compassion, Grace and mercy, would you grant my humble request for peace in such a troubled past?   
Whenever I’m reminded of my sins and faults, character flaws, when I’m overwhelmed with guilt, shame and remorse, I pray for that peace that passes my understanding.   The serenity prayer that echoes from the centuries.   

Allow us together to return to 3rd grade and be a blended calm in the midst of that fragmented memory.  Time to make peace with myself.   Time to let it rest in peace, as they say.    Grant me the peace to accept my past that obviously  I cannot change for the life of me.

My past is hard enough to live with.   I’m missing out on the abundant life you promise due to the choices I’ve made.   I can’t seem to get over that.   That is why I ask your hand of grace in granting my request.

God I have seen how your revealing to me so many things good.    Your words becoming alive as I take them and meditate in them as the truth that they really are.   Thank you for those tidbits of wisdom, that I can glean from.    You HAVE been listening to my silly prayers.   

I see I can’t change my past.   But I am finding courage to change the present and future, as I begin to see this world as YOU SEE IT.   I’m beginning to see ME as YOU see me.   I’m beginning to understand my part, my responsibility, I’m beginning to see what I can change.   

I FOUND IT!!!   I found it!   I found the courage to change the things that I can change.   

I am delivered!

I am redeemed!

I am an overcomer!

I CAN do all things in Christ!

I have recieved the power of God!

I have the mind of Christ!

I have the peace of God!

I believe! I believe! I believe! I believe!

I believe! I believe! I believe! I believe!

I believe! I believe! I believe! I believe! 
I believe! I believe! I believe! I believe!

Now let’s get out on that field and win, win, win!   And I SHALL WIN, as I fight in the strength of my King!

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