To The One Who Still Suffers…

My son recently broke his collar bone. The trip to the ER brought a daunting flashback of my hellacious self before I quit drinking.

My exhausted body shamefully slumped in a wheelchair, gasping for every breath and trembling from withdrawal in the middle of an overcrowded room. Alone and ashamed. Eyes fixed to a spot on the floor, my lame attempt to ward off those well known judgmental stares.

In recovery almost two years, I knew better than to allow myself to get lost in that memory for too long. I couldn’t do that to my son, who now more than ever, needed his mother.

Instead, I comforted the one who had never broken a bone. I held his hand as the doctor spoke of surgery. I made decisions about his care, and medical staff valued my opinion. I never once left his side while he underwent one of the scariest experiences of his young life. This never would have been possible as that lost and hurting soul, barely grasping to existence, not so very long ago.

So to the one who sat alone while slumped in the corner of the ER while I waited with my son, with dark sunken eyes and that familiar lost stare, I saw your pain and understand your desperation.

I want you to know that you matter.

And please don’t give up the fight.

There’s hope for a better tomorrow, where you’re no longer alone as addiction steals your desire to live another day.

I know this to be true, for once upon a time, I was you.

Having a life where I’m there for my son in his time of need has been the the most wonderful gift I’ve ever received. And it surely came from a power greater than myself. I once became lost in the depths of addiction hell. But I mattered enough to the One who breathed life into my soul to receive the amazing gift of recovery. And so long as you believe this to be possible, keep fighting and never give up, I know so can you.

Sincerely,

A Forever Grateful Mom in Recovery

My Conversation with God (Part 1)…

I am so afraid my Lord, more afraid than I have ever been in my entire life.

Be still, and know that I am God, He said. You need not worry, for I know the plans I have for you. 

But I thought my plans were to help those who have fallen into the hellish pit of depression and addiction, like the one I fell into years ago that you so miraculously rescued me from, the pit that stole me from my family for way too long. If that is not a part of your plan for my life, why did you allow us to suffer so?

It is not I who caused your suffering, He said.

I only want good things for you. Suffering comes from a place of evil. And sometimes of your own free will. It is the devil who comes to steal, kill and destroy. It is with his temptations and lies that many of my children suffer.

But also, I have given you freedom to choose. And choices have consequences. I didn’t cause your pain, but use it as a lesson. I want you to obey my commandments and have an abundant life.

The curse you felt was not of my doing, He said. 

But, do you not see it was I who answered your prayer when you cried out in despair in those final days of suffering? Did I not give your weak and weary body the strength to crawl out of bed, call for help and carry you away before the eyes of your children were tainted with such a memory? 

Yes Lord, you gave me the strength. I was lost without you. And through my anguish you saw the sincerity of my heart, that I didn’t want to scar my children with a visual of my despicable state. You spared them of that, and for that I am forever grateful. I felt so afraid during those dark days, so alone and as if the nightmare would never end.

Fear not, for I am with you. I will never leave you, He said.

I know, I said. You have always been there for me, in all of my troubles, and many are they. But I don’t understand why now? We have overcome so many obstacles in our lives, and finally have a chance for new beginnings, endless possibilities, and now this?

Everything happens for a reason. Sometimes it is not for you to understand, He said. One day you will look back and see with my eyes how this all works toward a bigger plan.

Remember the words in Romans 8:28, “But we do know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose”. 

But there are so many ways this doesn’t look good. There are so many hurdles to overcome, and so many setbacks. I don’t see how I can ever look at this situation and know it will work out for our good. My teenage sons need direction of a father, I want to share more life with my husband. I don’t know if I can handle this.

Fear not, for I am with you, He said yet again.

I say in Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust me with all of your heart, and lean not unto your own understanding, acknowledge me in all your ways and I will make your path straight”. This is still true today.

Remember when you cried out to me when Bobby was plagued with infection, asking me for a calm heart if you should wait on getting him help and instead your legs began to shake? 

Yes Lord, I felt your strong presence in that moment and I told Bobby I had heard from you and that we needed him to get help and he finally agreed. I am forever grateful to you, for you saved him from the infection spreading to his organs again like when he became septic only a month prior when we almost lost him.
Just remember in times of doubt, always keep your sight on my word, for it is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. That is why so many call it the living word. The truth will always be as I say.

It’s said in Hebrews 4:12, “For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart”.

But how will we know the right treatment to choose? Or whether we are with the right doctor? This is such a rare disease, what if they don’t know what to do and things don’t get better?

Do you recall not too long ago when you asked in prayer for me to show you a glimpse of my plan so you would know you were on the right path? And the anguish you felt over getting another opinion, as it might mean leaving behind a doctor you were both trusting to be in your best interest? 

Yes Lord, I remember very clearly. It was just a day later that same doctor informed us she was referring us for a second opinion to an outside surgeon at a major hospital who specializes in more aggressive forms of treatment for Bobby’s condition. Before this, we didn’t think surgery was a possibility.

You are in this Lord, I am beginning to see. Thank you for showing me this truth.

And even more Lord, his doctor informed us she was leaving UCI to resume her practice with another doctor who specializes in new and promising forms of treatment. And she asked us to follow her because she believes this doctor and treatment could really help in Bobby’s healing.

But how can we know this is the right path? This means leaving the only place that is familiar to us and starting all over with so many unknowns.

Just as you acknowledged these past occasions when I answered as you cried out to me, you can always seek me when you are in need and I will give you discernment. You know my words from Matthew 7:7, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you”.  

In new hope I pray only comes from you, I believe you’ve shown us signs we are on the right path. Especially because I have been constantly asking for your guidance, which I am finding through your written word, and I do believe your word to be truth.

You have said in Psalm 32:8 “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you”.

You also tell us in many scriptures that you will bring forth signs that will direct our paths. That when we ask, we shall know when the direction comes from you. In Samual 10:7 you tell us, “It shall be when these signs come to you, do for yourself what the occasion requires, for God is with you”.

I believe we are experiencing your signs, which breathes hope into our situation, and for that I give you my praise.

The day after the doctor’s appointment, we attended a football event for our sons. We encountered one of the player’s grandfathers who shared how he underwent the same rare surgery years earlier that Bobby’s doctor is hoping for him.

Even more, with the same surgeon who initially told us Bobby wasn’t a candidate due to his fragile condition at the time. Of all the surgeons in and around this metropolis where we dwell to have the very same one weaved in some way into our stories.

And this man was not only healthy and restored and enjoying his life, but had also suffered many of the same setbacks that had been casting fear into our lives throughout these difficult several months. This was the first time I felt hope rising that his condition could be restored.

In my moments of doubt I must ask myself, how can this not be God?

And Lord, those aren’t the only signs, for we were brought to our knees when we recently learned this new doctor put forth a good portion of his own earnings toward more research, studies and treatment, specifically for Bobby’s rare condition!  With less than 8,000 people in the US diagnosed with this rare disease each year, we are humbled to be directly in this path.

In my strength I believe comes from you, how can I not be certain this is you guiding our way? Thank you Lord!

It’s overwhelming to believe we could actually be a part of something as miraculous as this, but who are we not to believe this is possible? If we know we are your children, truly loved by you, cleansed by your stripes, that promise alone should be enough.

But this feels huge, Lord. This new doctor believes a total cure for cancer is in the foreseeable future, and he hand selected Bobby’s doctor out of many to take part in this unprecedented journey, and we’ve been invited along for the ride. How gracious and humbled are we!

So in your courage and strength alone, we hold onto hope for this to be true. That you love us this much and are continuing to guide our path through this storm. We are your children whom you knew and loved before we were ever created, and your word tells us that in our numbered days we will carry out the plans you have for us, so long as we believe.

In Philippians 1:6 you tell us, “Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.”

We believe Lord. We trust in you. We love you and will glorify your son’s holy name for all the days of our lives and in hopes of bringing those who have gone astray back into your loving arms.

For we believe that you, as the Author, the Creator and the Finisher, have more of our story to tell.