I knew I was in trouble when I read the outline in the bulletin at church Sunday…the story of Lazarus…the shortest…most powerful verse in the Bible.
John 11:35 Jesus wept.
The worship music…the song that left me unable to sing…mouthing the words in between trying to hold back the tears.
Isn’t the name of Jesus beautiful……
Isn’t the name of Jesus powerful……
Chains are broken when it’s spoken…..
There is freedom in the name…there’s healing in the name, there is power in the name, salvation in the name.
There is life in the name, there is no other name, but Jesus…
Isn’t the name of Jesus all we need…He’s the Way, the Truth, the Life, the only way to God.
Isn’t the name of Jesus all we need…”
It had been a long week.
We had a really good visit with my husband the weekend before and I was lonely…
It was Savannah’s 12th birthday…another one her daddy would miss…
It was a year since Rob had relapsed…although I wouldn’t admit it until months later…
So many people telling me…February is so close….he’ll be home before you even know it…and that scared me because I know staying sober in rehab isn’t the hard part…
Then our pastor started the message, “It’s Not Over”…and I wanted to leave and listen somewhere else because as much as I needed to hear his words, I didn’t want to hear them with anyone around me…I wanted to be able to sob alone…to cry out…to let all the tears come.
But I sat there. And I listened. And I held back more tears than I have in a long time.
And the first thing I heard was Jesus interrupts His agenda for one person in need.
Jesus…who had so much to do in such a short time, stopped to care for one person in need.
God…who has a world full of hurting people on His agenda, has stopped more than once to let me know He sees me and is here, sitting with me, holding me, carrying me through this storm.
I don’t have to rely on statistics…knowing that most alcoholics relapse 9 times before they get sober for good doesn’t have to be my worry because my God sees statistics and says…”Yes…but watch this…”
In my despair, when all I can see is years filled with relapse after relapse…God says “It’s not too late…”
It is okay for me to acknowledge my truths right now.
Truth – Our financial situation is difficult to say the least. Our grocery budget is tiny and I have had to say no to so much this year to my girls.
Miracle – When finances are at their worst, we have been blessed by family…friends…strangers…an unexpected refund from a doctor…just in time.
Truth – I don’t know how to get Savannah a gift for her birthday. Christmas getting near is breaking my heart.
Miracle – My aunt took Alex and Savannah on vacation this year, trips they will remember and treasure more than any material gifts I can’t give.
Truth – The trips to see Rob are pricey…and absolutely necessary.
Miracle – My marriage is in a place I never even dared to pray for.
Truth – None of this is possible through me.
Miracle – All of this is possible through God.
He hears my heart when I have no words to cry out. When I feel alone, like no one can understand what I’m going through, I remember that each heart ache I feel…each desperate moment…Jesus is carrying the burden for me…He is weeping for me…with me…He feels each hurt. He understands the feelings I can’t put in to words because He is with me always.
I have been in the rooms…I have heard it all…If you were a better wife…If you prayed more…If Rob hadn’t stopped doing this…the list really is endless…these people who blame me…blame Rob…
Maybe the worst are the ones who tell me how wrong it is for me to stay…that I need to think about my girls more than I think about myself…
I have said all of this…and much worse…to myself. I am my own worst critic.
It has taken me so long to forgive myself and to stop giving these critics room in my head.
It took a group of women who took me in, just as I am, to find the strength to banish the critics. Their voices are more powerful now. The critics are still there, but only as a faint background noise, drowned out by these new voices who love me, care for me, weep with me. Theirs are the voices that fill my heart.
I could have left my husband. It would have been easier. Accepted. Probably even celebrated by some. I could have let his addiction become my excuse for divorce. I could have let his drinking remain an obstacle to living out God’s plan for us.
Except…I never would have gotten this miracle. This one that God had waiting for us. Not a miracle for me and a miracle for Rob separately…a miracle for us. Our marriage. Our family.
It’s alright that I don’t know what the future looks like. It’s okay that sometimes I can’t put in to words what I need. Jesus hears my heart…no words are needed…
Then the altar call…asking anyone who is in a hopeless situation to stand for prayer…and me, quietly realizing, nothing in my life is hopeless. There is nothing I think is beyond repair. There are so many things I cannot fix…but nothing God is not already working on…
I can remember so many other times…when I didn’t stand because I was too ashamed…but never before a time when I didn’t stand because I had the peace of knowing God was in control of every part of my life…Never because God had given me joy in my despair…
And just in case Pastor Rod’s message didn’t get through to me quite clear enough, when I got home, in the stack of Savannah’s birthday cards was a card for me.
And inside, words from a sweet friend…sharing with me the verse she has been praying over me…Isaiah 66:9 “In the same way I will not cause pain without allowing something new to be born, says the Lord…”
Something new is being born…a man…a woman…a marriage…a family…and God calls it good.