But you, God, see the trouble of the afflicted; you consider their grief and take it in hand.
The victims commit themselves to you; you are the helper of the fatherless. – Psalm 10:14
When I think of orphans, I think about malnourished children on TV with a sad song in the background. Or the literary versions like Oliver Twist. I remember my young cousins when their mother died of cancer. Saturday, while giving my mother’s eulogy, I realized…I am an orphan.
In January of 2018, my father succumbed to a long fight with a form of muscular dystrophy. His body just wore down and couldn’t continue. Three weeks ago, I had dinner with my mother while she was in town visiting me and my brother. After a rapid illness, this Saturday I had lost both parents within a year. The despair of that realization almost broke me.
The weeks leading up to my mother’s passing were difficult. I spent most of that time at the hospital with her, holding her hand, encouraging her in her weakness, watching her fight slowly ebb. I truly thought she would walk out of that hospital. After a few short days, I was holding her hand by her bed with my siblings, watching her take her last breath, just as I had one year earlier with my father. I didn’t know I had that many tears.
In the grief that ensued, both before and after her death, I was reminded of the total helplessness I felt when I began a life in recovery. Really when I was forced to begin a life in recovery. I had just come to terms with the powerlessness I had over my addiction. Step 2 gave me a glimmer of hope in that sea of turmoil: We came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
Through working the Steps, through living a life of recovery, through His often painful intervention, He did restore me to sanity. That experience, knowing that He alone was the “helper of the fatherless,” sustains me now. I am in a rough place. My relationship with my siblings isn’t great. Restoration to sanity meant truly seeing my family of origin. With that knowledge has also come a need for boundaries, for me and for them.
There isn’t a finish line when working the Steps. The spiritual awakening part means actually revisiting my own flaws and fears daily, admitting when I am wrong, making amends. I know that there is more to this story than now. For now, though, I hold on tight to Psalm 10:14.
by Keith B. NotUnknown.org
“Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.” – Step Two
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” – Isaiah 55:8 – 9
I am a slow learner. I heard someone describe my condition as being a two by four Christian. Sometimes God has to be as subtle as hitting me in the head with a two by four to get my attention. You can call it hitting rock bottom, coming to the end of yourself, or whatever you like. For me, it is recognizing that my ways lead to destruction, emptiness, and separation from God. In a word … insanity.
If you haven’t read the book of Job, I encourage you to do so. I can relate with Job. In the mess of his own life, Job was surrounded by “friends” seeking to “help” him. They encouraged him to seek “help” from everyone except God. I had many influencers in my own life, listening to guidance from everyone except the only One I could trust. I followed my own desires, twisted thinking, and selfish wants.
God intervened with Job, like he does for His own in His timing. He reminded Job that His ways were not Job’s ways. God intervened with me as well. He let me reach the end of myself. The place where I realized that continuing to follow myself or others would continue to lead me on a path of destructive behavior for myself, my family, anyone around me. I had to have everything else stripped away to realize that my choices on lead to insanity.
So what then? My choices suck. Who can I depend on? Only the One who’s ways are higher than my ways. Only He could restore me to sanity.
Who’s ways are you following? Yours? Friends? Where does your help come from? Seek help from the One who’s ways are above all others. Recognize that all other direction is not from God. Only he can restore you to sanity and a new life following His direction.
|Who do you report to?|
What do you do when you wake up? My wife grabs her phone and starts reading the news. I usually check my phone calendar to see what my day looks like. Then I check the weather so I can plan on what to wear. After I do that, I thumb through my overnight emails, wondering if I will actually get to follow what is on my calendar or if some other issue is going to take over my day. That’s how we start in my house. I think a lot of people start the same way.
Sunday, my pastor talked about God. Shocking, right? A pastor talking about God! I digress. He reminded me, along with everyone else there, of Genesis 1:1.
“In the beginning, God…”
Yeah, the beginning. The same God who spoke the world into existence. The one who owns everything. He also reminded me of God’s purpose from John 3:16. You know, that whole part about sending His only Son for me, to bring peace and life.
I expected the normal pastor speak, an invitation, an altar call. The usual urging bordering on guilt to just say yes to Jesus…NOW…before it’s too late! Sorry, I can be a bit cynical. Thankfully, this guy continually surprises me. He took it another direction. He asked us the same question I asked at the beginning. What do you do when you wake up? Weird, huh? He continued by pointing out that how you start your day usually decides who controls your day.
Who controls your day? Who controls your life? Who do you report to? As I thought about my day, my priorities, my life…I had a whole host of answers. The answers weren’t always God. Sometimes my schedule controls my day. I am a freak about time. I hate being late. Schedule and time become God to me. Sometimes my job is my God, sometimes it’s my self. Many times it’s myself. When myself is my God, my God isn’t.
Step one reminds me that when my self is in charge, my life is a mess. Unmanageable. Powerless to addiction. I have a great history of reporting to my self and falling flat on my face. Hurting my spouse, family, loved ones…and yes, myself.
God doesn’t fall flat. He doesn’t damage us. He keeps His word. He can’t lie, steal, manipulate, disappoint. He’s God. Since the beginning. Since always. So who do you report to…and who can you trust? Certainly not me. God. He’s God, after all.
Join us this week for incredible music, a testimony of redemption, and great teaching from God’s Word…all from a heart for recovery in Katy.
When: Every Saturday at 5:30 pmLocation: The Fellowship (in the Loft), 22765 Westheimer Pkwy, Katy, TX 77450Childcare is available. Pre-notification is not necessary but is requested. For more information about childcare, email us firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Bonus Episode 19 –Powerless
Truly accepting my powerlessness began recovery for me. With that acceptance came my understanding that keeping my sins secret only kept me powerless.