One thing someone told me a while back was testimonies of the Lord’s grace and goodness are the enemies pitfall so in light of that I want to share what the Lord has done in my life in the last couple of years. I want to share one of many testimonies of God’s grace, mercy, and unfailing love He had for me during one of the most difficult times I can remember….and I have been reminded a number of times there are those that seem to be going through what I was going through so I pray sharing this will help someone else…….
Being a mom is great..it really is one of the most trying, but most rewarding pleasures this life can give. My husband, Jerry, and I were quite happy with the three kids we were blessed with and it seemed our family really couldn’t be happier. Jerry and I owned a little local cafe, the kids were healthy and growing, and our marriage seemed satisfying. We were both believers, but not exactly walking the walk and talking the talk….life as entrepreneurs and parents to three kids seemed to suck that right out of us on a daily basis. I read my devotional every now and then and listened to Christian music quite often and I was unsure where Jerry was in his walk with the Lord.
I had started going to a little church that my children’s school was affiliated with because I had started working nights and really wanted to start getting the kids involved in church. As I began attending, the restaurant began to get busier and busier and my nights working got longer and longer to where by the time I got home Jerry had fallen asleep with the kids, giving no time for “us.” We saw each other, but we barely had any quality time so we decided to begin setting aside a night for date night which began to help, but we found ourselves joining the masses at happy hour. Drinking had always been part of my younger life and I knew deep down that as a Christian it had no place in my life, but for some reason I could never quite let it go. So, with date night in place, we began to see each other a little more, which was nice, but my drinking continued. I was so used to drinking at night I found myself going out after work with our employees, which to some is fine, but as a married woman with three kids at home, not a good idea. I found the nights I wasn’t working I wanted to go out with my girlfriends and hang out with them, not being home. The turmoil that was happening inside of me was just horrible. I felt like I had been locked in a house raising kids for so long that if I could just get a breath of air “out in the world” that I would be fine…that I would go back home and be a mom again, but the urge to go out and drink more, be young again, was overpowering. I still went to church and acted like a Christian, but deep down I was holding on to everything I knew God wanted me to get rid of.
During the beginning of October the church was asking people to participate in a 30 day fast. Jerry and I signed up and would skip breakfast, lunch, and just have dinner with the kids. I lasted 10 days thanks to a cold, but Jerry lasted the whole 30 days and then some. I began to see such a change in him during that time. His change was for the good, but mine started out good, but spiraled out of control quickly. The change in myself began with my metabolism as I began to really start losing the weight from my last child. Jerry’s change was internal, but mine was external and the more weight I lost the more vain I became, thinking how good I looked in a pair of jeans again. I began to really care about how other people, especially men, thought about how looked. My wardrobe began to really portray that priority and I found my thoughts begin to change dramatically. I began to hear things like “You need to look this way or that way to get your husband’s attention….if you were really worthy of his attention he would show you attention.” Over and over week by week I began to hear the word unworthy within my head and as I began to fail miserably in my walk with Christ that word began to echo through my spirit…”you are not worthy of that kind of love…did you see what you just did, what you just thought…you think God forgives that kind of lustful thought…were you not there at that bar…you actually think God is going to think you worthy after that?” As that word, unworthy, became ingrained in my head my drinking became routine. Guess I thought I could wash it away, but the more I drank the louder that word became in my head and heart.
My marriage was starting to slip away from me as I was reminded that I wasn’t worthy of being Jerry’s wife, wasn’t worthy of being the mother of such wonderful kids, and worst wasn’t worthy of the grace Christ had freely given me. I was in such turmoil I remember asking God weekly to please just take me out of this world. Jerry seemed to just try to keep everything together for the kids sake as he spent more time with his family. I could tell he was growing deeper in his walk with Christ as he shared things God was revealing to him as he spent an hour a day in prayer or meditation. I continued to go through the motions but was so far from God I felt powerless to change my behavior and again I kept hearing that word…unworthy. The more sinful things I did the more louder that word got the more my marriage was crumbling from under me and I could feel everything I held dear slipping away from me…..and I still wanted to drink! It was crazy….it was just like in Romans 7:15-24 “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it. So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law, but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from the body of death?”
I remember finally crying out to God for help, bawling my eyes out pleading for Him to do whatever it took to take these desires away from me and not just the drinking, but the lust, the “de-prioritizing” of my kids, husband, and God, and the desire to be like the world. I was at the end of my rope cause inside it felt like I was dying. I might have looked fine on the outside, but I asked many times to just not exist because of the constant struggle my flesh was having with my spirit. I truly have never experienced anything so difficult in my entire life…that inner struggle that only I knew I was having felt like my heart was dying day by day. I didn’t understand why I was having this struggle. I earnestly kept asking God why? His answer was not what I wanted to hear…it was “Because you don’t want to let go of the things I have asked you to …nor ridding yourself of things that are not of me in your life.” Jerry knew, but he was powerless to help. It was only something I could do and he knew that. I knew he was earnestly praying for me. I felt his prayers on more than one occasion. I didn’t realize til later that the next scene of events were all the result of Jerry’s prayers and my crying out to God for help. I started feeling quite tired and having to go to the bathroom a lot. I felt fine otherwise, but remembered the last time I felt like that I was pregnant. On top of all the turmoil within my heart and mind I had become pregnant with our fourth child. I remember thinking “Haha real funny God…this is your answer?” I couldn’t understand how a baby was going to help my broken marriage or the struggle I was having within….then one day I was listening to my praise and worship music and I had listened to this song a number of times, but this time it really hit me to the core. The song was “You are for me” by Kari Jobe and the lyrics just broke through the lies I was hearing about being unworthy and I realized my pregnancy was God’s way of saying I was worthy of His love..of this child, and there was nothing that was going to change that…that I didn’t need to try to find that love anywhere else…it was found in God and in God alone! The more I heard these words spoken softly to my heart I began to believe them and the more I believed them the louder they got. The word “unworthy” began to change to “worthy.” It wasn’t an instant change but a daily change that I felt from within and with the lack of alcohol in my system I was able to finally silence the lies I heard altogether. It was the month of August that I really began feeling that the battle being waged within my body start to slowly diminish as I started letting go of the strongholds the enemy had in my life. I stopped drinking thanks to the pregnancy, but as I spent more time in the Word my mind began to think less of worldly desires and more on God and the desires He had for me. My spirit felt as if it was in the desert for years and I thirst for His holiness and His Word like none other. It truly wasn’t until I came home one day to seeing something on my desk that completed the turn of events that the Lord had for Jerry and I.
I got home from work one afternoon to see papers all on the desk from Liberty University. I was a bit taken back because Jerry hadn’t discussed anything about wanting to go back to school, for our marriage was still fragile and we were not quite in the “sharing of our days” stage. So, I asked him what was with all the papers and he had told me that God had called him into the ministry. In that moment everything clicked! When he said those words I felt like I was in a movie with the camera drawing close to the main character and then draws everything around out…that was how it seemed. All the turmoil, all the lies being said within my head and heart, all the sin, all the drinking, all of it was for one main purpose…the enemy was trying to destroy my marriage, to prevent Jerry from doing what God was calling Him to…to prevent ME from doing what God was calling me to! In that moment true peace rushed into my heart..the same I felt the day I accepted Christ in my heart at age 12 and the same I felt when that song broke through those lies of being unworthy. The day Jerry answered the call on his life to go into the ministry was the day I wholeheartedly surrendered my life to the will of God. I knew that if I didn’t surrender and step in line with what God was calling Jerry to do the battle I just went through would look like a party compared to the one the we would go through if we were not a unified force! That was the day those strongholds of lust, alcoholism, pride, and self-centeredness completely and finally lost their battle! God’s love came rushing in with such force that the only thing standing was a sinner in need of her Savior…and I found Him there with open arms waiting for His child to come home!
I pray as you read this testimony of what God can do for someone who once tasted His goodness and walked away from Him, you realize that there is nothing you can ever do to prevent God from loving you any less or prevent His grace or mercy from flowing down from His throne! You ARE worthy or the whole “sending His one and only son to die on the cross” would have never happened.
Since my experience I have run into countless of other people who hear the same lies and it astounds me of the same tactic the enemy is using! He is the Father of lies and a deceiver and I pray with me sharing this, the schemes the enemy uses will be brought to light and it will be recognized so that you will be able to extinguish the flaming arrows of him whose sole purpose is to destroy the works of God in your life!
Finally I will say, as I look back, the cause of all this was taking my eyes off Christ plain and simple. I began to think that I knew how to handle my life better than the one who created it. I took my will and my agenda into my own hands, out of the One who has never failed me and who has never let me down. I believe this kind of mentality of self-help, and “I can direct my own path and I will let you know when I need you God” is the downfall of many Christian and non-believers alike. Just as the song goes “Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in His wonderful face, and the things of earth will grow strangely dim. In the light of His glory and grace.” May the peace of God keep you always!
I wanted to share the song from Kari Jobe: