Sunday, November 22, 2009

Sharing my testimony little by little

My life is as unique as I am, and the same is true for everyone.  I think it is important to know one another's story.  I am going to begin to share mine in hopes that you will know me a little better, and so you will be encouraged.

There have been many chapters to my life.  One of the more profound chapters in my life centered around the matter of addicitons.  I walked thru the majority of my adult life with the knowledge that my dad struggled with acholism.  It was a hard and difficult thing to watch and live thru.  I hated it and what it did to this man whom I had always looked up to.  Then, we as a family had watched one too many movies about addiction, and believed it was time for an intervention.  Who really is equipped to set someone free from an addiction like that? 

What I can tell you is that no amount of begging, loving, bargaining, money or being willing to help will do it.  I can tell you from the words of my own father, "sometimes you can love someone too much".  So if you find that you are dealing with a loved one with an addiction, remember that you cannot set them free.  My dad had to get to the end of it, or as some say, he had to HIT bottom.  He had to want to be free of his addiction.  He had to admit he had a problem.  I don't know what the bottom is for anyone.  No one ever does.  It is different for everyone, and no one knows their own bottom.  All I know is we had to step back, and love him enough to let him find it.  That was and is the hardest part of it all.

My dad told me once that when he was young he didn't think, wow I want to grow up to be a drunk.  It happened over a long period of time.  The signs all developed so slowly.   However, this was not the end of the story.  My dad went thru treatment following our intervention.  He felt ganged up on, and cooperated to appease each of us.  So you tell me, do you think it worked?  NO!  It was a big fat  expensive failure.  He learned how to hid it better and he actually started smoking again in rehab.  It wasn't until years later when he was legally forced to seek help did he finally get clean.

One of the stories of hope and love however came from what God did in my life during this time.  I had been been asked and was going to be married.  I wanted my dad to give me away, and walk me down the isle.  I wondered how it would come about with my dad rarely being sober.   I even considered asking my big brother to do it, but knew that this would further hurt my already broken relationship with my dad. I went to him, and told him of my desire to have HIM give me away.   I then told him something that FOREVER changed my relationship with him, and taught me to love and accept him unconditionally.  I told him that he could decide whether he walked me down the isle drunk or sober.  It was up to him, but either way I wanted him to do it.  Guess which one he chose.  He was completely sober, and it was one of the sweetest time I have had with my dad.  He supported me and calmed me.  It was EVERYTHING I had dreamed it would be.

I share this story today as a result of a message I heard today at church regarding leporsy.  I was reminded of the horrible effects the alcohol had on my dad similar to the effects leporsy has on the body.  How it totally disfigured my dad.  The effects were so far reaching at times the external decay was difficult to see.   Also, this is a result of a research paper my older daughter is doing about whether alcoholism is inherited or environmental.

The best part of this story is that he finally beat the disease.  He gave his life to Christ and one year later, with God's help, he became a recovering alcoholic.  He did this and remained sober for almost 11 more years.  Unfortunately, the damage the alcohol had on his body was VERY severe.  He struggled the last several years of his life and the final months were pure agony.  However, I had a glorious 11 years with my dad.  He was clean and living for God. 

I visited my dad alone at times in his last year of life, and we had the best talks.  There was one time he told me he didn't feel much like talking so I asked him if I could read the bible to him.  He told me to read a story out of Kings.  I read the story to him, and he shared a bit of  his history with me.  He said, "that is the story my dad use to read to me".  I was so tickled to have that information.  Why is that part of this story?  Because if I had chosen to go another path during MY BIG DAY, I would not have had the privilege of reading to my dad then.

I walk away from this time in my life and look upon it with such blessing.  It was hard and it hurt deep, but I can tell you God taught me how to love the way He wants us to love one another.  It was sacrificial, it was hard but I can tell you I have NO regrets.

I miss my dad, but I know he has a NEW body now and I know that he is no longer struggling to be sober or need help getting thru the day. 

I will share the REST OF THE STORY on another post.  I don't know why I was motivated to quote Paul Harvey, but it just hit me. 

Have a blessed day and know that if you love the "hard to love" there are rewards that cannot compare to any other rewards.   I cannot tell you exactly why it is other than the scripture mentions loving those who love you compared to loving your enemies.  I can't explain it, but if you give it a try you will experience it.

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