April 5, 2010
Finding God at the Bottom of a Bottle
Christa Allan, She Reads Featured Author
"And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God's love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God's love. "
Romans 8:38 (NLT)
When I heard that God can meet us where we are, I didn't know that meant He would plow His way through the empty bottles of alcohol and beer cans that littered my life. Mind you, even had I known, I was not at a point in my life where I would have tidied up the place for Him. Drinking and good housekeeping were mutually exclusive. Sobriety and God seemed virtually impossible.
Being an alcoholic was never on my list of things I wanted to be when I grew up. Neither was being short, but I didn't escape either one of those. Now, with the perspective of over twenty years of living sober, I realize I drank like an alcoholic from the time I started, which was while I was in high school. If a place between sober and drunk existed, it never showed up on my radar. Growing up in New Orleans, the city where if you're not experiencing a hurricane, you're drinking one of the colorful rum drinks with the same name at Pat O'Brien's, any occasion could justify a celebratory toast. Birthdays, holidays, Tuesdays ...
For most of my adult life, God and I met at family reunions - Easter and Christmas. I didn't make an effort to exclude Him from my life; I just didn't bother to include Him. Drinking eased my pain and elevated my happiness. Why would I need or miss God? I didn't. At least not until, like my character Leah in my novel Walking on Broken Glass, I experienced something so unexpected and painful, that no amount of drinking filled the void. For Leah, it was the death of her child. For me, it was when one of my twin girls was born with Down Syndrome. And, like Leah, I lashed out at God. Dared Him to heal my child. Pummeled Him with anger. Then ignored Him for years.
But none of it—not my drinking, not my raging, not my rejecting—separated me from God's love. He used my weakness to demonstrate His strength. Over the past twenty years, I've come to realize that we all have strongholds, areas in our lives that prevent us from having a full relationship with God. Things that, even though we know they're wrong, we hold on to so tightly, we can't reach out to grab God's hands. Alcohol, gambling, food, drugs, shopping, pornography, power, gossip, status, anger, self-pity. Until we unclench our hands and let them go, these strongholds will control us.
Ultimately, God didn't heal my daughter; instead, through her, He healed me. And to prove His never-ending pursuit of me, He brought me into a relationship with Him through a recovery program as I reached the end of myself, laid down my stronghold, and took hold of His hand.
He can deliver you too. Are you ready to put down your "bottle," whatever that may be today, and reach for His hand?
Dear Lord, give me the strength to be weak so I can release anything that prevents me from seeing how deeply You love me. Open the eyes of my heart so You can reach me wherever I may be, to take me wherever I need to go. Remind me that it's only when I rest in Your promises that I can wage war to defeat the enemy. Thank You, Lord, for never giving up on me. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Visit P31's website, SheReads, for great Christian fiction and enter to win a copy of Christa Allan's new novel Walking on Broken Glass. The grand prize winner will receive a copy of Christa's novel along with a New Orleans Sweet Treats Gift Basket from Cajun Creations. A second place winner will receive a copy of Walking on Broken Glass.
Walking on Broken Glass novel by Christa Allan
Shaped with Purpose Workbook and accompanying CD by Renee Swope
Treasured: Knowing God by the Things He Keeps by Leigh McLeroy
Often, it's when the pain of holding on to the stronghold is greater than the fear of releasing it, that people turn to God. If you or someone you know is struggling with submission, ask God for the courage to enter the battle and the faithful persistence to win the war.
Keep a weekly or monthly journal that is a personal inventory of areas in your life where you identify thoughts or habits that reflect trusting in yourself more than in God. Find scripture passages that will arm you, praying with faith and persistence that God's promises will defeat Satan's lies.
Do you have a stronghold that has built a wall between you and God or one that is preventing you from experiencing a full relationship in your walk with Him? How can you use this awareness to draw closer to God?
What may have to change in your life, in your relationships, or in your thinking for this stronghold to be overcome? How can your victory in overcoming be used to glorify God?
2 Corinthians 10:3-5, "We are human, but we don't wage war as humans do. We use God's mighty weapons, not worldly weapons, to knock down the strongholds of human reasoning and to destroy false arguments. We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God. We capture their rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ." (NLT)
2 Samuel 22:33, "It is God who arms me with strength and makes my way perfect." (NIV)
Psalms 103:2-4, "Let all that I am praise the Lord; may I never forget the good things He does for me. He forgives all my sins and heals all my diseases. He redeems me from death and crowns me with love and tender mercies." (NLT)
© 2010 by Christa Allan. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries
616-G Matthews-Mint Hill Road
Matthews, NC 28105
Originally published Monday, 05 April 2010.