Being Locked Out is an Inconvenience

Being Locked Out is an Inconvenience

I’m writing this to you all the day of and shook. I was cat sitting at my aunt’s house and stepped into the garage to throw something away in the garbage can. As I lifted the lid of the garbage can, I heard the swift, yet gentle closing of the house door behind me. I winced, turned around, and tried the door handle. Locked.

Okayyy. I assessed the situation. I was in the garage. Locked in the garage. I had no keys, no phone, no purse. It was just me. And tools. I had no idea if my aunt had a spare key and no way to ask her. I opened the garage door to let some fresh air come in and sat at the doorstep of a lovely and locked abode.

Think, think, think. What do I do, Lord? I’m locked out. With no phone. And whose numbers do I know? How would I call? Where do I go?

It’s astounding how quickly one can feel completely lost and helpless. I went to the front door and saw the umbrella I had left outside. Okay, now it was me and an umbrella. I walked up to my aunt’s outdoor security cameras and explained to her the situation. My hope was that she would watch the video from where she was and somehow contact someone who could come help me out.

I was expected at a friend’s house for dinner and didn’t have much time to wait around for the cavalry… so, I grabbed my umbrella, closed the garage door, and headed out to find assistance. It’s a Sunday… offices are closed, so I thought, What’s open? CHURCHES! I’m a believer and believers are supposed to help everybody… so, I’ll go to church!

I walked down the street and around the corner to an Episcopal church I’d driven by hundreds of times. I had no idea what to expect and felt so helpless and out of place. It was weird. As I walked, I recited numbers I knew. I had my mom, my aunt, and my roommate’s numbers memorized and kept chanting them in my head, terrified that I’d forget. Two of the people’s numbers I knew were out of the country… not too helpful. And  my roommate was at work. It was going to be a toss up.

I approached the church and stood under the porte cochere because it was starting to rain. People entered and left the building, but no one really greeted me or inquired as to why in the midst of all these dressed up people there was a young adult female in yoga pants, a large Springsteen t-shirt, and an umbrella.

The courage it took me to muster to ask someone if I could use their phone is sad, y’all. But it takes courage to ask complete strangers if you can use their phone! You don’t want to feel like a psycho! Two girls were coming out of the church and I asked if they had a church office. They didn’t, but one of the girls graciously let me use her phone to call my three contacts and attempt to sign into every social media account (which I couldn’t remember the passwords to any of them). She had to leave with her family, so she passed me off to her brother who was staying at the church longer. He, then, graciously let me use his phone to call my three contacts and attempt to sign into my social media accounts again. All fails. I texted my roommate my predicament and location, then asked her to let my dinner friends know I was alive and see if they could pick me up. After that, I looked at the brother and was like, well, I don’t know what else to do. The brother said he’d come out and let me know if my roommate responded.

After all that was done, I had nothing else to do. I sat down and… sat. I had missed dinner at my friend’s house, so I was pretty certain they believed me to be dead. There was no way for me to tell them otherwise. I opened my umbrella. Closed my umbrella. Twirled it around. That took up about 30 seconds of my time. Then, I sat some more.

May I invite you into the fantasy of what I thought my trip to the church was going to be like?  In my head, I walk up to the church and ask where the church office is. A very helpful person leads me to the church office, listens to my story, and invites me to use their phone and computer to get a hold of someone. They are invested in my journey, are concerned for my welfare, and ask me how they can help. Maybe offer to buy me an Uber ride so I can get to my friend’s house and receive help from there. Oh, and while I wait, would I care for some coffee or a bottled water? 

That’s what I had imagined. My reality was a heavy rain, a porte cochere, and the church people passing by me with polite smiles, places to get to and people to see. My two phone people had left. I wasn’t sure if the brother had completely forgotten about me or if my roommate’s work was so busy that she hadn’t seen my texts.

Let me tell you how easy it was to feel sorry for myself. It was about instantaneous. I could feel the tears welling up, the why me chorus warming up their vocals, and the dread of being part of a late-night-city-gang-fight-under-a-porte-cochere later. What kind of damage could I do with an umbrella? 🤔

I remembered what I had read in my counseling text book the day before. We, as people, develop “must” and “should” messages throughout our lives that we don’t even know we have. Things like, “People must treat me fairly and if they don’t it’s absolutely awful and the end of the world!” Instead, we need to change up the language. For example, “I’d like people to treat me fairly, but if they don’t, it’s an inconvenience.” It’s less dramatic and more reasonable.

So, I tried it out in my situation. My initial statement was something like… “I can’t believe this is happening to me. I must get a hold of someone and get out of this predicament immediately or else all hope is lost and my day has been completely wasted.” I tried a different statement out. “It’s unfortunate that I locked myself out of my aunt’s house. I’d like for someone to respond to my messages for help, but if they don’t and I’m stuck out here longer, it’s an inconvenience. I know that God is sovereign and He can handle the who, the how, and the when. I’m going to be okay.”

It changed my perspective so fast. I sat against a column of the porte cochere and watched the rain. The church had a pretty courtyard area and it felt safe to be there. I thought about what I could do with the time and realized I could think through some details of a ministry I’m currently developing. It has been consistently placed on the back burner due to school, but since all my school stuff was locked away at my aunt’s house and I didn’t have a phone… I was able to free up some thinking space. My situation was pretty relevant and helpful to a portion of the training materials I have been stuck on for awhile.

I sat for a total of an hour and a half (I found out later since I didn’t have a way to tell time…) and saw a familiar car pull up. It was the two girls that had originally let me use their phone when I had first walked up to the church. One girl got out and said she had been asked to come back to the church to help out with something. Her friend came with her to check on me because she felt like something wasn’t right. She asked me if I needed a ride somewhere. I was elated! As I got into her car, she let me use her phone one more time to try and contact someone. I texted my aunt and she texted back immediately! There was a spare key and she gave me all the information I needed to retrieve it. 🙌 As this was happening, the brother came outside and said my roommate had just responded. It was like God opened all my channels of communication at once and got me exactly what I needed. He knows the who. He knows the how. And He knows the when.

The girl drove me around the corner to my aunt’s house and said it was nice meeting me and she was glad I was able to get in the house. I was glad too! My aunt had also seen the security camera footage I had done at the beginning and called her neighbor. He came out as I pulled up and helped me find the spare key. Guess where the spare key was? IN THE GARAGE. 🤦🏼‍♀️

I know everything happens for a reason. I’m sure I’ll be seeing life lessons in this experience for a good while, but here are some lessons I gathered today:

  1. Memorize SIX people’s phone numbers. You never know what’s going to happen.
  2. Don’t let a door close on you.
  3. As a Christian, be watchful for opportunities to help.
  4. Rest in the sovereignty of God.

Looking back on the day, the fantasy I had as I walked up to the church should have also been my reality. It’s tough asking people for help. It’s tough stepping into the doors of a church building without being invited. I was literally at the entrance to a church and was not invited in by one person. It’s hard to know who is a friend or foe these days, but it can’t hurt to ask some simple questions. If someone looks like they’re lost, new, or needy… it’s probably because they’re lost, new, or needy. Take the opportunity to show the love of Christ before even speaking a word of the gospel. Caring and hospitality speak volumes! I’m happy to say I go to a church where I do believe my fantasy would have been reality. I pray I’m right. I will say that I’m going to be testing myself from now on, at least. I know what it’s like to be the person with nothing to their name. Goodness. It’s not a great feeling.

Thankfully, everything worked out for me and I was only out of the game for a couple of hours. Praise God! Did I learn some unexpected lessons today? Yes. But hey, it’s part of the grand adventure with God. You never know what each day you’re given is going to be like and that’s what makes it an adventure! Enjoy and please, memorize six people’s phone numbers.

Godspeed, friends.

 

Monthly Worship

Monthly Worship

It’s been five months since I’ve started participating in the worship calendar I made based off of Numbers 28. Today is the 2nd day of September, so I got to enjoy participating in the Monthly Worship event. In short, I make a special meal, reflect on the past month and how God has worked, anticipate the next month and its challenges, write down who needs prayer, and what I’m looking forward to. It has been such a rewarding event on my calendar.

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The meal in the picture above, is an example of the type of meals I like to make on Monthly Worship day. When people are available, I love inviting them over to share in the blessings God has given me. He is generous and always provides me with more than enough food. It’s a pleasure and joy to share it with others!

I write in my journal daily, so one of my strategies at the first of the month is to read through the past month’s journal entries and write down how God provided during that time. I had ten things on my list of how God provided for me in August! And not just little things like, I-made-it-to-the-gas-station-on-fumes (which is a blessing btw), but big financial, codependency recovery, ministry, professional, and spiritual provisions! God is good and I was able to praise Him all over again today by reflecting over this past month.

Provisions are followed by anticipation of the upcoming month. This part has been great because I feel like I’m walking into the next month prayed up. I look at the foreseeable challenges and surrender them to God. I acknowledge that He has been faithful the past month and will continue to be faithful in the next. He is a great God! This month I have quite a few intimidating tasks coming involving ministry prep, art, and tuition fundraising. It gave my heart peace to think on those things ahead of time and give them to God.

After eating and reflecting, I get to turn my attention to others. The next step of Monthly Worship is writing down who needs prayer. Many times, I find myself praying for those that are closest to me. I don’t know why this is, but I end up praying for people outside of the home more than I do for those right around me. Maybe it’s because I see my close friends and family more so I take them for granted? I’m not sure, but every month, I am reminded of the needs those closer to me have and get to bring them to God.

A blessing from all of this reflection is the gratitude that comes. My spirits are always lifted after celebrating Monthly Worship, so the last step ends it all perfectly! I close the celebration by writing down what I’m looking forward to in the next month. It helps me start out on a positive note. This month, I’m looking forward to school, hanging out with family and friends, and seeing ministry ideas develop. It’s all quite exciting. 😄

I hope this summary encourages you as you start out September. If you decide to celebrate Monthly Worship or join in on the Worship Calendar, I’d love to hear how it goes! Have a wonderful Labor Day and enjoy the goodness of God! ✨

 

The Art of Prayer

The Art of Prayer

Hey all!

I’m currently working on training materials for a ministry I’m developing. When looking for volunteers in ministry, it’s important to me that they have a vibrant walk with God. How can people reach and inspire others for the gospel if they feel empty themselves?

I’ve posted below what I’m calling an evaluation and self discovery exercise. If you’d like to fill it out and send me feedback that would be awesome and super helpful! I look forward to hearing your thoughts and suggestions. 🙂

PRAYER EVALUATION AND SELF DISCOVERY

  1. Give three words to describe your prayer life currently.

 

 

  1. Write below why you chose those three words.

 

 

 

  1. Do you feel like God’s love and engagement with you is conditional based on your prayer life? Whether yes or no, why?

 

 

 

 

  1. What three words would you like to use to describe your prayer life?

 

 

  1. Write below why you chose those three words.

 

 

 

In 1 Thessalonians 5:17, Paul encourages his readers to pray without ceasing. This could bring to mind a seemingly impossible task of speaking to God every second of the day. However, I believe this kind of praying without ceasing to be a state of being, rather than an ongoing essay of sorts. God has given each of us unique ways to communicate with Him. We are not all the same. Some people love to journal their prayers, others like to go on prayer walks and speak with God or sort through their thoughts with Him, some like to sing prayer and praises to God, and others use art to express their feelings and desires. There are ways I cannot even think of because I don’t know you and how God made you!

  1. Write down some of your strengths, gifts, or pleasures below. What do you enjoy doing?

 

 

  1. How could you incorporate these into your prayer life? Prayer is all about engaging with God. He is not limited to one form of communication!

 

 

 

Another element of prayer is surrender. We cannot fully experience the freedom of God’s grace until we give Him our weaknesses, obstacles, and troubles. After becoming a Christian, it’s all too natural to continue carrying the weight of our responsibilities, dreams, and issues. When we do that, we are missing out on one of the greatest gifts of salvation! Accepting Jesus as Savior begins an adventure of trusting God in every step and having Him work through us. It’s all very exciting.

Jesus urged His listeners and disciples to not worry or be anxious. The apostle Paul followed that same thought in his letter to the Philippians, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Prayer places you under the protection of the peace of God. This peace can only come through Jesus Christ. Any time you are struggling with an emotion, specific life situations, or fear over upcoming obstacles, surrender it to God! He will accomplish His work through you and take care of you. As you watch God do this for you on a daily basis, the prayer without ceasing will flow from you naturally. You will find yourself living in the joy of God’s peace more and more with those worries and troubles having less of a hold on you.

Once you start consistently experiencing the joy and peace of God, there will be times when you once again feel overpowered by life. Do not be discouraged! Do what you did at the beginning. Surrender! We are not perfect. That’s why we need Jesus. Our imperfections are a reminder of our need. Our times of fear and pain bring us back to God if we have wandered off a bit. We need these negative emotions to warn us when we’ve gone outside of God. Don’t run from them, but embrace them and take it all to God.

Abandonment Recovery

Abandonment Recovery

“…[A father] walks [his daughter] across a log in the water and puts her high upon a rock jutting out in the stream.
‘You stay here while I go pick us some huckleberries for lunch,’ he says.
‘Don’t go far, Daddy,’ begs the little girl.
‘I won’t,’ he promises. He makes his way back across the log and into the forest as the little girl studies the back of his red shirt to keep track of him. He is momentarily hidden, first behind this tree and then behind that one. Suddently there is no sight of red at all. Perched atop the giant rock, the little girl begins calling to her daddy, hoping he is right nearby only teasing her.
‘Daddy, I’m here,’ she calls. ‘Daddy, where are you?’ But after a while she can’t hold back her terror. She screams into the forest with all her might. The forest remains silent.
As night falls, the little girl is frozen with fright on the cold, hard rock…
She has been abandoned.”

-The Abandonment Recovery Workbook by Susan Anderson, pg. 3

A topic I have not discussed in great detail is abandonment. The reason for that is simple: I didn’t think to write about it. At the beginning of recovery, my counselor was very subtle with me when it came to my issues. As topics arose, we would address them together and move on to the next. I eventually learned of the vicious cycle of love addiction and love avoidance. The knowledge that I had been living my life in such a pattern made me sick to my stomach. It was the motivation I needed to tackle my codependency and work hard at all costs to recover.

I went through the 12 steps of CoDa (Co-Dependents Anonymous), which took me about 8 months and then processed as much as I could of my love addiction. This past year has received the honor of becoming “The Year of Love Avoidance Recovery”. I was discussing some life ponderings with my counselor and she made the statement that if I didn’t work on my abandonment issues, I would not be able to let down the walls of my love avoidance.

That’s when some neurons started lighting up in my brain. I was like, wow. Why didn’t it occur to me sooner that if I wanted to work through my love avoidance that I should start with the root fear?

The excerpt at the beginning of this post is by Susan Anderson from her book called, The Abandonment Recovery Workbook. I heard about her on this podcast she came on as a guest. The way she described relationship withdrawal was so relatable that I was like, she gets it. I trust this woman. She experienced extreme betrayal through the ending of a long term relationship. It was through her own recovery that she formed positive exercises to heal from the wounds of abandonment.

What I really like about this workbook is that each chapter covers a problem and a positive solution. Many self help books give all the problems at the beginning and I never end up making it to the light at the end of the tunnel. The Abandonment Recovery Workbook has a good balance.

One issue with the workbook is that the questions, so far, have mainly focused on a recently ended relationship. So, if you’re working on parental abandonment or a form of abandonment outside of a romantic relationship, you may have to alter some of the questions a bit. Even though that’s the case, this workbook has brought some things to light that I don’t think I would have discovered without it. I am very grateful to Susan Anderson and the work she has done on this issue.

After the illustration of the little girl being abandoned by her father, Susan Anderson provides an exercise: Take a little break from reading this book and think about an experience in life that left you feeling as if you had been put on the rock. Describe. (Anderson, Pg. 7)

I challenge you to take her up on that exercise! The symptoms of abandonment play out in the mundane areas of our lives. You may be responding to life through your childhood experience of abandonment. It’s worth looking into.

Thanks for reading! Check out Susan Anderson’s book, The Abandonment Recovery Workbook on Amazon!

School Update

School Update

Well friends,

The summer semester ain’t over yet, but here we are approaching the fall. The past month and a half, I have gone through a class on addictions and compulsive behavior, I’ve visited AA, NA, and Al-Anon meetings, and learned about stages of addiction and recovery, along with the damaging affects substance abuse has on the brain.

It’s been an inspiring summer for me, in which, there are changes about myself that I am looking forward to making. It has been a sad summer, as well. I’ve seen how addicts have been ostracized and neglected due to the stigma of addiction. There are great opportunities for the church to take in this area. It’s also been an enlightening semester as I’ve seen recovering addicts come together to support one another and experience life transformation together.

My experiences this summer have fueled my passion for counseling and recovery. I am pretty much immersed in it due to being in recovery, studying about addiction and recovery, and being around others who are recovering. There’s just a lot of recovery going on and I want to see so much more! God has used counseling to transform my life and show me the great joy that comes from surrendering everything to Him. I want to be a part of others’ journeys as they begin to learn what I am consistently learning through recovery.

I’ve had many thoughts over the past month and a half that I would like to eventually share with you, but for the moment, I don’t have the courage. We’ll see how I feel next week… or the week after next… 😛

As the fall encroaches so quickly on us, my tuition does, as well. I would not have been able to grow and learn as I have this past summer without you all. It was from your generosity that I was able to attend class at Dallas Theological Seminary. I want you to know that your contributions towards my education have been so appreciated. This class has been a confirmation to me that I am exactly where I’m supposed to be and that is such a valuable feeling to possess!

I will be taking two classes in the fall semester: “Counseling Theory” and “Social and Cultural Foundations”. The tuition for the fall (plus cost of books) will be a *Hallelujah Chorus* of $4,000! I have applied for some scholarships, so if I receive any financial aid, I will give you all an update. In the meantime, I will be working to pay the bills, but I need your help on my counseling journey!

So, without further ado, if you would like to either continue to contribute or participate in my counseling journey for the first time, here is how you can do it:

My Etsy Shop: As an extension of my website, I have created an Etsy shop called, WriteMegButlerStudio. In this shop, you can purchase prints of my original artwork. All purchases made in the shop will be direct contributions to my tuition. For this coming semester, I have posted greeting cards for purchase. 😄 New sets will be posted throughout this month. ✨

Seasonal Set

Support a Seminary Student: Dallas Theological Seminary has made it possible to support a seminary student by contributing financially through their site! You can give online, by mail, or set up recurring monthly gifts. Click here to be redirected to DTS’ giving page.

If you give through the DTS website, the gift can be anonymous or you can put in your information. I would love to know you have contributed because I have a gift for you! When you contribute financially through DTS’ site, I will put you on a distribution list for an end-of-the-semester gift. Included in the gift will be a an original piece of art inspired by something I’ve learned in that particular semester. There will also be a letter to update you on how my semester went, PLUS, a report card!! You can post it on your fridge, share it with your coworkers, and hold me accountable to my studies!

Once again, thank you for your encouragement and support!

“My Worst Day in Sobriety Is Better Than My Best Day Drunk.”

I’m a little over midway through my first semester at Dallas Theological Seminary right now and thought it was about time I gave an update. I’m a little worried that I’ve taken my favorite class first! I don’t know what I’ll do with myself for the next three to four years!

The class I’m currently taking is “Addictive and Compulsive Behaviors”. Since I’ve been in codependency recovery for the past three and a half years, this class has really struck home for me. I am a byproduct of a family with a history of addiction and dysfunction. I didn’t grow up in a home with an active alcoholic or drug addict, thankfully, but many of the struggles I hear from recovering addicts are relatable to me. They grew up in dysfunction and developed poor coping mechanisms to protect themselves… and so did I. Mine formed into love addiction, love avoidance, and an overall codependency… theirs took the form of alcoholism and drug addiction.

I’ve learned so much about addiction and how it affects a person’s whole being, but I’ll save that for another time. My main focus for this post is a confession: I believe the church, as I know it, is sick.

When you go to church, do you attend knowing that if you don’t, you might not make it through the rest of your day a sane person? Do you go to church like you need it… or does it need you? When you attend church, do you engage joyfully in the worship like you’ve been saved from death? Do you listen to the sermon and understand that the truths being spoken are needed like water in a desert? When you leave church, do you feel encouraged, supported, and motivated to tackle life? Do you serve others throughout the week? Do you feel so excited about the gospel that you can’t help but talk about God with the next person you see?

I don’t.

But I’m starting to get it. I’m beginning to understand that I must have that attitude, because if I don’t… how great is my God? How impactful is the gospel? Just how close to condemnation was I before Jesus saved me?

Do you know when I can answer “yes” to all those questions about church? After an AA meeting.

As I’ve been visiting AA, NA, and Al-Anon meetings for class assignments, I have left inspired, full of joy, and wishing… YES, WISHING, that I could be a part of their group! But I can’t because, hey, I’m not an alcoholic or a drug addict. I know if any of the people in those groups heard me ever say that I wished I was an addict, they would say I’m absolutely crazy. I don’t want to downplay the hardship that comes with walking the path of a destructive addiction and starting the long road of recovery. I really don’t. I’m just being honest about the thoughts and feelings that popped in my head as I observed a world so different than mine.

But my question amidst all the reflection is this: Why on earth am I jealous of groups that support each other for a specific addiction when my group should be supporting each other because we were all once dead! And now we’re ALIVE. What is worse than being an addict? Being dead. If you’re dead, you’re not alive. It’s that simple. I was dead before Jesus came into my life. Now I have life.

So why on a Sunday (at any given church) do I look around and see routine? That neutral face of just being present because that’s what we do. As Christians, we attend church because it’s a good thing to do. Well how lovely is that?

I don’t want this post to turn into a session where I just vent, whine, and complain about “the church today”. I think what I want out of all this is… change. And I’m going to start with myself.

When I began codependency recovery three and a half years ago, I had no idea what kind of freedom, clarity, and joy awaited me. I believe that many recovering addicts can say the same thing. There’s a saying in the 12 step program that, “My worst day in sobriety is better than my best day drunk.” How true that should be for any of us who have come to believe in Jesus Christ! Even on our worst day… it’s still our best because we are saved from eternal separation from God. Wow! It’s just unbelievably awesome.

I want to see that awesomeness in the faces of my fellow church attendees… and I want it to just radiate off of me. I want us to be so thankful for our freedom in Christ that we go out looking for hurting people that need to hear the truth of the gospel. They’re out there and we need to go get them!… but we have to believe what we’re preaching. If we don’t, why should they?

I have so many fun ideas that I’d like to implement in the way church works… but I don’t know what role I have in all this stuff I’m learning. So, I’m being patient and waiting on God to show me what’s next. I’m an impulsive person and have to remind myself to slow down and pray. Let me tell you though, the wheels are turning and I am completely inspired.

To everyone that has supported me and made it possible for me to take this class: thank you! You are an answer to prayer and I pray that God uses me however He wills with the training I am receiving.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic of the church. I’m not sure if other people feel the same way I do and would be interested in your opinions.

Thanks for reading!

 

Struggling with Addiction?

Struggling with Addiction?

My first class at Dallas Theological Seminary is on addictions and compulsive behavior. How interesting, right? Going to grad school is so much fun because you get to jump right in to the juicy stuff. No English 101 and 102 before you can get to the real literature classes. Nope. I get to start school off with the fun stuff.

But addiction isn’t fun, is it? Why does it feel like such an enthralling subject? Is it the intrigue of how a substance can grab hold of a person and steal their life? The tragic stories of how someone is willing to lose everything for a lifestyle of substance abuse? Is it the challenge of a journey to recovery?

It’s no secret on my blog that I’m a recovering love addict. I believe my interest in this topic comes from a strong desire to learn how to reach those who are suffering from addictions. My substance abuse of choice was relationships. I was in love addiction for at least 15 years before God brought me into a state of contemplation and real change. As I have been in recovery, I have experienced more freedom, joy, and clarity in my everyday life than I ever thought possible. In my misery, I didn’t even know what I was missing!

I think that’s how many addictions get started. It’s someone in misery looking for a spark in life. They’re looking for relief, escape, pleasure, purpose, etc. It’s a search for a fix or fulfillment of a need. In our misery, we don’t see that there is a God who is available to provide for every need and bring adventure and joy into our seemingly bleak lives. As we sink further into addiction and begin to experience consequences due to substance abuse, it can also begin to feel impossible that God would give grace to someone so lost. The downward spiral of addiction can be the very thing that holds us in the addiction. We can believe we’re too far gone to experience transformation.

The great thing about all this is that addiction is not too great for God. No matter where we are in our addiction, God can do something miraculous to change us. When I say miraculous, I don’t necessarily mean instant healing. I’m sure that happens sometimes… but for the majority of us, miraculous could mean the mere realization that something needs to change. It can be the enlightening knowledge that we have placed ourselves in a prison with no lock. We can step out at any time. It can be that first feeling of joy or engagement in the present that we thought we’d never have. That feeling of coming alive.

Recovery takes a lot of patience, compassion, and grace. There is no perfect route to breaking free from an addiction. It’s a messy road, but one worth taking. I have learned so many wonderful things about God, myself, and life through recovery. I wouldn’t change anything that has happened to me so far because it is what God has used to form me into who I am. My prayer is that as I learn to counsel others through their misery, that they will be able to experience the wonder of God and the beauty of recovery.

Thank you so much to everyone who contributed to my summer tuition. Classes begin next week, but I am already learning so much as I prepare for class. If anyone is struggling with addiction, be encouraged. There is nothing wrong with small steps towards recovery. Start where you are and see where God leads!