We don't know the way life is going to go. We don't know the way this next hour, minute, or upcoming second will go. We cannot continue to believe that we are in control of our lives and everything that happens to us. There comes a point when we become aware that their must be something greater than us out there..a creator, who IS in control. We come to a place, when we are ready, where we learn to surrender. We recognize we are powerless and need to remind ourselves to "let go and let God". This is the moment we find freedom from our chains, whatever the chains may be that bind you personally. There are a lot of problems with this place. There are too many people struggling with too many issues to count. We are aware that we live in a fallen world, leading to a divided nation, a torn apart community, a broken family, and a troubled soul lost in despair. Today my heart breaks for those who are battling addiction. Specifically drug and alcohol addiction. This is an issue I hold so close to me.
My aching heart really began when I was 16 years old. I was just beginning to drive and hanging around people from other high schools. My eyes were open exposed to kids my own age, my peers, who were using drugs. My morals, my instincts, and my gut told me this wasn't right. Why were these "children" using? I found that most of them had inner termoil, pain deep within, haunting them, hurting them, and causing them to find any possible way to cope with what they were feeling. Their goal was..not to FEEL. To be numb to any pain that ever tormented them, or to be lost in a world other than reality.
One day I was so bothered and confused I opened an old journal and decided to write to God. I asked him every question I had weighing heavy on my heart.."Why are some people born into broken families, with fathers who are alcoholics, mothers that have abandoned them, abused them, neglected them, or babies born without limbs, with mental and physical disabilities..etc, etc, etc.. and others are born into homes with supportive parents, unconditional love, great examples, and fulfilling healthy relationships?". I didn't understand, I so badly wanted to. I came to a conclusion. I made a promise to my Lord:"I'm so thankful for the blessing you have provided me with, with my health and with my family. I know now in my heart I'm meant to do something with these gifts you've given me. I want to counsel and help others who are less fortunate and give back everything that I've been given, this is my promise to You". I didn't know what that meant or what that would look like.
Fast forward 7 years and I'm an MFT, a therapist, or in other words, I am a counselor. So let's go back a few years...I gratuated the year after I wrote my promise to God in my journal. I was accepted into Pepperdine University and within 4 years I graduated with a BA in Sociology, not really knowing just yet what God had in store for me. In my last semester at Pepperdine I met the man of my dreams, you know the one I always blog about, my one, "my one and only". I shared with him what I felt that God wanted me to do, my purpose in life. I started applying to grad schools and was accepted at the California School of Psychology, Alliant University. I was scared, my brain was filled with doubt and fear but my boyfriend encouraged me, telling me, "Tess, you are meant to do this, you've told me you knew this is what God wanted for you since the day we met". I knew he was right and I knew it was right. We lived happily ever after.
Okay, so I'm lying. This journey hasn't been all roses and daisies. I found that the man I was in love with, yep that one, was still struggling with addiction and hadn't fully received the recovery and healing he needed like I'd thought. I knew his past history of drug use, he was honest with me from the get go. He shared he was a 'recovering heroin addict who had been sober off of everything for a while'. I didn't know much about drugs at that point. I was naïve. Drinking went to abusing pills that he convinced himself were "harmless because if the Dr. Prescribed them then they must be, right?" Wrong. There was so much God was trying to teach me then. Everything is different now but I'll save the story of how he found sobriety and a healthy life for another time. For this particular share, my focus is on how Gods hand was at work all through out this story.
We don't know the cards that will be dealt to us but we can make the best of the hand we are given. I have a heart for people in need, Jesus gave me that heart, its a gift. He grew a curiosity in me leading me to college where I began my journey of studying people and their behavior. He then led this amazing man into my life whom had an addiction that I thought had been worked through, but hadn't completely. At that point He opened the door for me to study psychology and get my Masters. He knew I'd have an extra push and urge to help idividuals and families struggling if I myself was going through it first hand with my boyfriend and his family. Gods timing is perfect. We need to learn to trust Him and surrender. I learned I'm not in control of all that I thought I was. I too, am powerless over the effects of alcohol and drugs. I can't change anyone, they have to do the work themselves. I learned this and I live this. And now, because of Jesus' perfect plan, I get to share my story, experiences, and suggestions with others in counseling.
God truly brings beauty from ashes. My boyfriend is sober and we are so happy together. We both aspire to help people in need, and the greatest part about it is, we get to do it in entirely different ways with the gifts God has given each of us AND together as a couple. I can look back at that dark cloud that hovered over trying to surround us, and I see how God's light was right above it, piercing through shining bright right onto us and into my heart.
I want to thank God for this journey thus far. I want to praise Him for the strength He gave Taylor and I to perservere and for carrying our relationship through the struggles we faced. I want to worship and sing on the top of my lungs, a love song that expresses how grateful I am for the life He has given us. I want to show Him I mean these words by using the gifts He graced me with and by helping people find the healing that Taylor and I found in our lives together and individually. My hope in sharing any of this is that our story, Taylor's story, or my story will help one of you reading this. You may be hurting over a loved one's addiction, or you, yourself are battling substance abuse or some other painful issue..I pray for you to keep hope, faith, and trust in God. He has a plan for each of us, He knows what we need, and He has our best interest at heart. Walk with Him and accept the peace He brings, peace that transcends all understanding.
"For I know the plans I have for you, "declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future".- Jeremiah 29:11