God is good, all the time.

Father has pursued me lately, and I like it!

I have been so, so, so very sad lately over a tough breakup, and Father has gone out of his way to make sure I know I am loved.

Last weekend I had the pleasure of spending 72 hours with my best girlfriends on earth – friends who have been in my life for more than 12 years and still love me!  They loved me really hard last weekend.  A wonderful reminder that I don’t break every relationship I touch.

This weekend, Father brought a new friend into my life.  I’m looking forward to experiencing what else He has in store for me.

I love you back, Dad.

Cleaning wounds

From Echoes of Eternity, July Twenty-fifth, Page 158.

The blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth us from all sin.  ~1 John 1:7

The wounds of the soul must be cleansed before healing can take place.  The cleansing process is painful for you, because the stains are the result of your sinful choices in the past.  The more you are aware of this, the easier it makes your cooperation with the process.  The light of truth exposes the ugliness of these sores, but the Balm of Gilead then restores lost beauty.  Marvel at the goodness that directs My operation, and do not flinch at the necessary pain.

Once again, Father speaks directly to me through Hal.  Yes, it is painful.  I’ve lived through very few things as painful as this has been.  Yes, it’s the result of my sinful choices – some willfully sinful, others ignorantly so.

Praise and glory and thankfulness to my Father, who is making something beautiful from my pain, rather than letting it be wasted, and who does not tire of reminding me when I am wont to forget.

I am especially grateful for Father’s mercy and grace when I deserve it the least.

Aging well

I will turn 40 next month.  I don’t know why I’ve been so introspective about this.  After all, I’ve not given other “milestone” birthdays much thought.

I gave birth to my second son twelve days before my 30th birthday.  Caught up in the all-consuming days that were motherhood to a toddler and a newborn, and living with a husband who did not generally give gifts, I am not sure I even noticed my birthday pass.

On my 21st birthday, I was newly divorced, living in a crappy, roach-infested walk-up in Circleville, Ohio, working 8-5 as a receptionist for a plastics factory, and working many nights 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. at Burger King.  I had no friends in that town, and very few friends, period, as I was in transition from married life to single life, from school at a small-town branch campus to school at the massive Ohio State University, and I honestly worked too much that summer to even consider making a friend.  No one took me out to a bar on my 21st birthday, and I honestly don’t remember the day at all.

The day I turned 18, I packed all my belongings into my boyfriend’s Ford Escort and left my parents’ house while they were at work, walking away from a tuition and room/board scholarship at Capital University, and walking away from my parents and my sisters, ages 15 and 4, whom I would not see for the next two years.  I didn’t know that I was headed for a two-year marriage characterized by abuse, infidelity, and poverty.

None of those birthdays register clearly in my memory, yet as 40 looms closer I ponder.  It feels like a new stage in my life.  It feels like a transition.  A turning point.  A clean slate.

The thing all those birthdays have in common is chaos, the kind of chaos that goes hand-in-hand with codependency.  When I left home at 18, I was ill-equipped to deal with living life, loving people, and chasing Father.  I did not have life skills; instead, I had coping skills – ways to cope with the chaos that living in dysfunction brings.  For years, my adulthood was characterized by chaos, because when there was no chaos, my coping skills were not necessary.  Unwittingly, I created familiar chaos in every situation I encountered.

As my 40th birthday approaches, I can say with certainty that my life is characterized by the opposite of chaos.

My serenity has nothing to do with the circumstances in my life.  Full credit goes to my Father in heaven, who lavishes unmerited favor upon me despite my emotional brokenness, and to the program which is Al-anon.

As a matter of fact my circumstances, at the time of this writing, are not making me happy.  Someone I love very much is not in my life now, and though he is in poor health, I can be neither a comfort nor a help.  I miss him acutely every single day.  Many plans I had for the summer must be altered to exclude him.  Furthermore, I will be attending a family reunion this weekend, and being with my family of origin is always a stressful time for me.  Finally, my children will be spending the next 3 1/2 weeks a state away, visiting their father, and I have the strong, conflicting feelings of both needing the break and dreading it.

No, my circumstances are not all rainbows and unicorns.  Serenity is not synonymous with happiness.  The difference for me, at 40, is that I am no longer subconsciously manufacturing circumstances that damage my serenity.  I am not looking to create chaos or magnify the chaos that already exists.  Serenity flows not from circumstance, but from knowing that my Father is with me despite external circumstances, and from knowing that I can trust him with the things I cannot control.

My friend played her guitar and sang a song for me the other night, and I cried while she sang, because the song’s lyrics reminded me that 40 is coming quickly, and it does not look like I had planned for it to look.  Now, I am choosing to listen to it and instead, allow it to remind me that, as always, Father’s plans for me will turn out better than my own…even when I cannot comprehend how this can be so.

Working, Living, and Growing Together

Photo credit: Unity of Lake Orion

My sponsor loves the Twelve Traditions of Al-Anon.  She gets really excited about them, and she always wants to work a Tradition at the same time we’re working a Step, whether it’s one-on-one or at a meeting.  She says the Steps are for our personal growth, but the Traditions help our interpersonal transactions, which is why she sought recovery in the first place.  For a while, she seemed to me the only person so concerned with the Traditions, and it kind of made me want to discount it as her “thing,” really unimportant, but something about which to humor her.  I figured, unless I took a leadership role in Al-Anon, the Traditions were not relevant to me. Continue reading

How Important Is It?

Photo Credit DC BasketCases

I have the blessing of eternal perspective, when I remember to use it.  My life here is less than the blink of an eye when compared to eternity.  Father tells us we are eternal beings, whose souls will live on long after our bodies are dead.  When I meditate on that, it humbles me.  It makes me desire to have an eternal impact as I move through this temporal life. Continue reading