Saturday, February 8, 2014

My Spiritual Journey part 3...

Part 1
Part 2

Whewww, its been awhile since I started this 3 part post. The dad and I were just talking about our faith this morning and I decided that today is the day to finish up my story here....of course its never done though. I am living it out each and every day.

We (the dad and I and kids) all finally left "the church." There were lots of things that led up to that decision....the last straw had been going through a vicious church split. We attended some Bible studies, and met with friends....but after several years, even that dwindled away. We continued to *live* according to our faith but we were just kind of drifting. Not attending a church was/is considered not being obedient to God's word so we heard a lot about that when we ran into old acquaintances. "We are called not to forsake the gathering together of the saints." The coat of guilt and not being good enough was heavy on my shoulders.

The kids grew and became middle-schoolers and teenagers. They began acting out, especially my girl, and I truly believed it was because we had stopped going to church. We were in rebellion so now our kids were too. Those were really really hard years. I had so much confusion about my spirituality. My kids were getting older and I was not able to be in control over their every move like when they were babies and always with me. I was out here in the world trying to figure it all out on my own.

Fast forward about 3 girl had jumped from 12 to 15 and was in full force substance use and all of the behaviors that go with that and I was frantic and trying *desperately* to grab a hold of her, to stop the progression of this freight train that is barreling through our lives....and I can't. She was out of control and so was I. The dad stood by watching not knowing what to do anymore than I did which only created more tension. I had lots of expectations...."Do something!"

I went to my first Alanon meeting right around that time, at the advice of the therapist we were seeing. At my first meeting there was a group of women sitting in a circle and one began to share her experience with going to church with her addict daughter and her alcoholic husband and the guilt and shame that she felt...because no one knew what they were *really* like. I could relate to that so much. While sitting there listening to her the scripture, "Where two or more are gathered in my name, I am there in the midst of them." came to my mind. I could feel Jesus sitting there in all of His beautiful compassion and love in the middle of this circle of broken hearted women.

I shared at that first meeting and I sobbed and sobbed....and what I heard was, "Just for today can you put your girl into God's hands and let Him take care of her? Give yourself a night off to get some rest. Then tomorrow maybe you can do it again, just for that day." That was exactly what I needed to hear. I couldn't fathom letting go forever, but I could do just today.

As I kept coming back I began to find a God who was compassionate and kind. I was at the end of my abilities. I had tried everything and nothing had worked and if anything my controlling had only made everything worse. I was so afraid. So so afraid. It was then that I felt like God spoke to my heart and said, "Finally, you are here. This is what I have been waiting for. You working so hard, trying so hard, was never part of my plan for you. Sit down here and tell me all about everything that has happened. We will sort it all out." I felt hope and comfort and relief for the first time...ever, that I can remember. I couldn't DO anything other than just be. It was like I was expereincing perfect love for the first time ever in my life.

This experience forever changed me. As you all know my girl didn't miraculously get well. I still battle my emotions and my fears.....BUT the difference is that today I am not doing it all alone. I have tools and I have a faith that I can turn to. I get derailed at times and go back to old habits because its what I know, its what is second nature to me....but it doesn't feel good, it doesn't fit anymore and I know I need to surrender my will once again and seek out what the will of my HP is. I have learned that my relationship with God, that living, is a daily process. I will never have arrived. I will never be complete until I am dead. I have daily choices....surrender my will, or do it my own way. Where did doing it my own way get me? Only to a life of misery and fear.

Today I am so grateful for my faith. It has set me free in so many ways. I am not living in a state of constantly feeling like I am not doing it all good enough or right. My only concern today is to be doing the will of God as I understand Him. He gets to handle the rest. I am not constantly frustrated and angry at my lack of perfection. I am not alone and neither is my girl. None of us are. What a comfort that is to me. He loves and accepts me just as I am. He loves and accepts my girl just as she is. We are never alone.

Come to me all who are weary and carry heavy burdens and I will give you rest. 
Matt. 11:28  

Love and peace to all.....


n bloom said...

What a beautiful story of your spiritual journey - I love it!!

Birdie said...

I am so grateful that you wrote these 3 posts.

I can so easily admit that I am powerless, that my live has become unmanageable.

I do believe that a Power greater than myself can restore me to sanity. (Or rather, show me sanity. I have never had a time of sanity before.)

And I can choose to turn my will and life over to God but that is where I stumble. Right there in the middle, the "as we understood him".

I came out of many years of spiritual abuse about 10 years ago. Ever since then I have struggled with severe anxiety because I feel that God is disappointed or even angry with me because I "turned away" and I am going to go to hell. If I turn my life over to God it has to be the way it was before because there is only one path to God and all others lead to destruction. I have spoken about this to many people in Al Anon but nobody understands all the indoctrination I went through for so many years.

Your post gives me hope that one day I will get through this.

Signe said...

I can't believe you quoted that particular verse--it has been one I have been reciting in my head, recently, when I start feeling anxious. I love that you felt Jesus within the circle with you and the other women. I loved hearing about this journey, Annette. Thanks for sharing.

Sandi said...

So thankful to you Annette for posting your faith"story" I was raised in a strict Christian home and turned into a Sunday Christian in my home and with my children. My sons addiction gave me the "gift" of real Faith. Without this empty desolate road ,I'm not sure I would have realized that I am powerless and God is in control. What a gift ! I too have found real,loving and honest people in Al Anon..its been a more spiritual place for me than church is right now.My horrible obsession of being the "perfect" mother has been stripped bare and I can ask for forgiveness and grace on my knees.Thank God! Sandi

Addiction-A Mothers Perspective said...

I feel the Lord working through the Alanon group I belong to with every meeting I attend. My friends there have truly been through it all with me, and have helped me keep my sanity. It's the one place I can go where I can be completely honest about everything that is happening and how I'm feeling about it. I know I won't be judged, and when I get a hug at the end of a meeting, it's as if Jesus has His arms around me. Thank you for sharing your story.

mary christine said...

So grateful you are where you are today, and have come through those dark, dark times.