Graduation


Graduation is upon me. This coming Saturday in fact. If you have read my testimony you know this is a HUGE accomplishment. I think it’s just starting to set in and part of the reason is because I just had a job interview at a women’s shelter here in town as a Program Counselor. The Lord has brought me a great distance in the last 6 years.

In fact, six years ago right at this moment I was addicted to Meth, I was an I.V. drug user. I actually used meth, cocaine, heroine, anything that got me high and would allow me to escape the homeless lifestyle I was living. I sold my body, stole from department stores, hustled like crazy to make money for dope. My husband and I lived on the creek. We had a pretty cool camp, not like most of the homeless that lived around us who had been out there and never really expected to get off the streets. We knew there was a call on our lives and living on the street wouldn’t last forever but sometimes it felt like forever.

Fast forward, here it is April 29, 2013 and Saturday May 4th I will graduate with a Bachelors in Psychology and Counseling, just had my first job interview and I am no longer dependent on my State for any kind of assistance (not that that is bad, because we needed the assistance for a while).

WOW is how I feel. God is so AWESOME and this is where I have wanted to be my entire life but never thought it would happen and certainly not this fast. I am grateful beyond words. This has been a divine journey and I’m excited beyond words at what is to come. I will be returning to school in the fall to get my Masters Degree in Counseling.

Jeremiah 29:11
For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.

Unforgiveness…. Me?


I took a break for a few days. I’ve been busy with school and doing some thinking. I’ve debated on writing on the following topic because it’s kind of a sore subject for me. Ok, not kind of, it is a sore subject. At any rate, I’ve decided to try and articulate my feelings and put my thoughts on paper (so to speak).

When I was 15 yrs. old my mom and dad split up for the final time. A year later my dad ended with a girl 9 months older than I. She had lost her father basically the same year I lost mine. Only mine was still alive and hers wasn’t. He was a cop and got shot in a routine traffic stop that obviously turned out not so routine. Anyway, this girl was now my dads’ girlfriend. Oh joy! They eventually get married and she has serious jealousy issues with me. Bad news. She made my life miserable whenever I visited my dad, which really wasn’t much. At one point they lived with my first husband and I for a while. I hated that too but what can you do?

Years later, she ends up with six kids from my dad and I hardly ever talked to him because she made it very difficult for me. She made it very clear and minced no words at telling me my dad didn’t need me in his life anymore, he now had his own family to watch out for.

My dad ended up having a heart attack and need quadruple by-pass surgery. The doctors didn’t know if he would make it. All this time they lived in California while I lived in Oregon. I didn’t have the means to run to his bedside, although I wanted to. I tried calling the hospital to talk to my dad before surgery and she wouldn’t let me talk to him. She said he didn’t need the likes of me upsetting him before surgery. I was smack dab in the middle of my addiction at the time, but I had the sense enough to know I loved him and needed to make peace with him in case he didn’t make it. My blood boiled when she wouldn’t let me talk to my dad. thinking about it today makes my blood boil.

My dad and her were married 20 years before they divorced because she had an affair. She turned their kids against my dad and broke his heart over it. It was a nasty divorce she was very vindictive and hateful. Now I know none of that is my issue. However, I am glad they aren’t together because now I have been able to have a relationship with my dad that I was unable to have because of her.

My dad now lives here in Oregon in my neighborhood. I see him everyday. I enjoy having him close, even though it’s difficult to have an ongoing conversation with him, but that’s just dad. I love him and love it that he is close.

He tells me last month that “she” invited him down for a BBQ so that he could see all the kids (all but two are grown) and grand kids. Instantly warning lights start flashing in my head. DANGER! DANGER! DANGER Will Robinson! I kept silent until just before he left to go to California. I told him I loved him. I also told him to guard his heart and be watchful. He left and came back. He said it was good to see all the kids and grand-babies. Then he drops the atomic bomb on me and that’s exactly how it felt. He told me “she” was coming up next month with the two youngest girls.

You know… I’m not worried about him having a relationship with the other kids. I know my dad has enough love in his heart for all 10 of his kids and 13 grand kids. My fear is that if he gets back with his EX, I will lose him again. She has never liked me and never pretended she did, except when dad was around. However, she made his life miserable if he even thought about me.

I thought I would never have to see her or deal with her ever again. I had buried her so deep I had forgotten how much I despise her. I know this doesn’t sound very Christian, not even a little bit. I have come to realize I have very deep seeded unforgiveness towards her. In fact, I feel hatred towards her. I have also come to realize how I don’t like the feeling it puts in my chest. It feels tight, like someone sitting on my chest. I know I have to forgive her. Not so much for her but for me.

I have always felt that if I forgive someone for the horrible things they have done to me, it’s like letting them off the hook. I have recently learned that is not the case. It is really letting me off the hook. It is freeing me. I know this to be true. However, it still doesn’t “FEEL” that way. Thank God we don’t have to live by feelings. I am able to walk in faith. So, I am asking for prayer to be able to walk this journey of forgiveness out in faith.

I would like to do this without having to talk to her or see her. Is that possible? I am really hoping that the Lord will allow me that. We’ll see.

Colossians 2:13-15
You were dead because of your sins and because your sinful nature was not yet cut away. Then God made you alive with Christ, for he forgave ALL our sins. He cancelled the record of the charges against us and took it away by nailing it to the cross. In this way, he disarmed the spiritual rulers and authorities. He shamed them publicly by his victory over them on the cross.

Some real stuff…


Today I am struggling with a couple of different things. First, someone my husband and I care about has relapsed. He spent the last year living with us. Hind sight is always 20/20, this time is no different. We both saw the red flags and kept giving him the benefit of the doubt instead of calling him out on his stuff. So I’m mostly angry with myself for not doing what I should have done. Im hurt our friend is back out rippin’ and runnin’.

Second, a pastor who is very important in my life and has been a huge part of my walk with the Lord has chastised me for not being a part of a body (church). I am currently between churches. We left our church family (not this particular pastor’s church) about a year ago, maybe a little longer. We left on good terms, I have nothing bad to say about the church we left. We just felt our season there was done. We may have been premature in that decision. We have not found another church we feel at home in since we left.

I’m in school full time, I have a family and sometimes my life feels a little crazy. So finding a church home hasn’t been on the top of my priority list. I also was doing Hep C treatment up until the end of Dec. and I’m just now starting to feel somewhat normal again. I have RA and that takes up some of my energy as well. Sounds like a bunch of excuses… I’m just giving a little background on the situation. Trying to make some sense of this and process it at the same time.

I have a hard time meeting new people. I am guarded because I’ve been hurt but I’m also avoiding the responsibility of living up to others expectations of me. I don’t even know what they are but I know what mine are. I hate disappointing people. Obviously I can disappoint people without even being around them… that’s seems a little odd to me.

My relationship with Jesus is good. It could always be better but I don’t think my relationship with Him is dependent on my attendance at church. I seek Him daily, talk to Him all day long and He speaks to me as well. I love to worship. He speaks to me a lot through music. I love that!

So, what do I do? Hmmm, still contemplating….

Jesus in the middle…


Twelve years ago today, I married the man God gifted me with. He was an answer to the cry of my heart. Psalm 37:4 says, Delight yourself also in the Lord, And He shall give you the desires of your heart. I am grateful today for my husband who loves me and still romances me after 12 years. HAPPY ANNIVERSARY BABE! May the Lord allow us to have another hundred years together and eternity after that.

Nobody gave us a snowballs chance in you know where. BUT GOD… Had other plans for us.

Do you know what the chances are for a couple who have used drugs together and it was the basis of their relationship are for staying together when they get sober? I don’t exactly know either, but I know it is slim to none. Unless of course Jesus is in the middle of it.

When children choose to disobey…


If you have children you will get this. If you don’t you probably know someone who has children and still might get this or maybe you were one of these children. I was.

Defiant – boldly resisting authority or an opposing force.

When your children choose to be defiant no matter how many times you tell them or show them how to do things the right way there comes a time when you have to step back and say, “Ok. Have it your way.” Knowing full well there will be consequences. You as the parent wishing full well they would just listen to you because you know what’s best. It’s easy for us as parents to see the painful road ahead, none the less, they are determined to do things their way. Just as we are determined to do things our way, the Lord will also say, ” Have it your way.”

I spent the better part of my adult life doing things my way. Running from the call God had on my life. Running came with a huge price. It meant broken marriages, and it cost me custody of my children. It also meant homelessness and drug addiction.

My third husband and I lived in a tent on a creek. We lived lives as out casts, broken, rejected by society, family and friends because of our addiction and criminal behavior. We burnt bridges that the only hope of restoration would have to have our Lord Jesus right in the middle of it.

As any addict, I was always running for drugs or running from the law or people I owed money to. I was mostly running from myself and all the shame and guilt. I just wanted the pain to stop. Somehow I always ran into something or someone that would remind me of the call God had on my life. The call was getting more and more difficult to run from. I knew the running was going to come to an end eventually.

When someone loves you so much, they are willing to do what ever it takes to reach you. If they can’t reach you one way they will try another way. Sometimes the consequences can be severe, but eventually the lifestyle will catch up with you. Thank God, He is God and promises to NEVER leave you or forsake you. (Deut. 31:8)

Jesus ALWAYS meets you right where you are at. Sometimes that might be in jail, in the hospital, in a drug house, even in the bathroom somewhere where you are getting high. BUT no matter where you are or what you are doing He will meet you there. I could never get high enough or run far enough to not hear God’s voice. Don’t get me wrong, I tried… I tried to the point of overdosing. (Romans 8:39 No power in the sky above or in the earth below– indeed, NOTHING in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord. (NLT))

He would remind me that I was a child of God, that I was more than a conqueror, that he loved me so much He died for me. He waited for me patiently to come to the end of myself. I was reminded of the call that I had been running from. I was reminded of all the hurting people just like me that need to be pointed to the cross. I was reminded of how much my own children needed me.

You see, I was carrying a cross that wasn’t mine to bare. I didn’t get it. I thought I deserved to carry around shame, guilt, humiliation, rejection, abandonment, addiction, and emotional pain from childhood abuse. For a while I thought I wore a neon sign that said, “Abuse me” or “I’ve been abused so abuse me more.” I thought I deserved to be treated like Rahab (Joshua 6), the woman at the well (John 4) or Mary Magdalene(Luke 8) because I was all of them.

Then one day I saw myself in a broken heap. When I looked up there I was at the foot of the cross and there was Jesus with His arms outstretched and as He looked down at me with His ever loving eyes full of compassion. He said, “Do you want to be free?” Of course I did! He said, “Then leave those horrible things here at my feet. I have already paid the price for them.” Then He reached down and lifted me up. I said, “Lord, you know I can’t do it. I’m weak.” Then He said, ” My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in your weakness.” (2 Cor. 12:9)

As I looked at the cross, there I saw everything I had been carrying around nailed to the cross covered in His blood. I buried my face in His chest and began to weep for it was then I began to receive my healing and deliverance.

Everyday I pray and ask Jesus to allow my reflection to reveal Him, and I thank Him everyday for my freedom because the Son has set me free and I am free indeed. (John 8:36)

Recovery…


Recovery is a funny word. Not funny in the sense of ha-ha, but funny as in ironic. Recovery is a good thing that is just as painful of a process as the problem that got you there in the first place. Hence the saying, “no pain, no gain.” I’ve been in recovery for almost 4 1/2 years and I’ve been set free from cigarettes, methamphetamine, heroin, cocaine, sex addiction, pornography, and homelessness. I’m still being set free from myself. A work in progress.

My husband and I spent 10 years of our 14 ½ year relationship in active addiction. During the 10 years we were able to get clean for six months, a couple of different times and once for 11 months. Most of that time we were homeless or couch surfing from one place to the next. Trying to keep up some kind of sanity in our addiction and me trying to be a mom to two wonderful son’s that deserved so much more than they were getting.

I’m not sure exactly when the switch went from survival to surrender but when I realized I was done with that lifestyle I was sitting in a jail cell. I couldn’t believe I had wasted so much time living for what? The next high?… I had run a long time and I knew I was running from God because I had been saved when I was seven years old.

I was finally in a place I had nowhere to run. Jesus had my undivided attention for the first time in years. I had no idea what my husband was doing while I was in jail but I knew he was up to no good and I could hardly stand to think about it. It would have driven me crazy had I let my mind continue on that path.

As I sat in my cell, I made a conscious decision to surrender my life and my will to Jesus. I could no longer live with myself the way things were. I had decided that when I got out of jail that if my husband was going to continue living that lifestyle; I would have to walk away from him. I would never divorce him because I loved him so much and knew there was a reason we had stayed together for so long.

The day I was released my husband met me at a place we had predetermined and there he told me that if I wanted to continue living that lifestyle he would have to walk away. He informed me that he had surrendered his life to Jesus and there wasn’t going to be anymore illicit sex and drugs and thieving to survive. I was so excited that my Jesus had met my husband right where he was at as He did me in Jail.

So, recovery has been very much a part of our lives over the last 4 ½ years. We surrounded ourselves with people who loved God and loved us right where we were at that time, which was homeless and living on the streets. We joined Celebrate Recovery and began forming our support. I would have to say the greatest thing that saw us through the first couple of years was LOVE. Love is what really helped us heal and begin to feel like we were a part of society again.

We were able to get a place about two months into our recovery thanks to public programs available in our area. We are now self-sufficient and doing things like all the other grownups in society and we are blessed, very blessed and very grateful.

My life verse has become Jeremiah 29:11-14

For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me. I will be found by you,” says the Lord. “I will end your captivity and restore your fortunes. I will gather you out of the nations where I sent you and will bring you home again to your land.”

God is in the restoration business and He so wants to do that for anyone who asks.

I am now in school working on my bachelor’s in psychology and I have two more classes to do before I can test for certification for drug and alcohol counseling. I have had both of my son’s living with me for the last 3 1/2 years and my husband now has a relationship with his youngest daughter and our grandchildren. Miracles that were not possible without God!

Recovery is WORK, but it is so possible and so WORTH IT!