Not My Will
Children of Alcoholics
This is the most vulnerable hub I have posted yet. I have sought to open my heart and let you peek in to witness some of the most excruciatingly painful times of my life.
Were they wasted years? No, absolutely not! Get ready for some trauma and tears and a testimony of a God who hears.
Many of us have grown up in less than perfect circumstances right? We have all been influenced and shaped by the people who surrounded us during our formative years. I was raised in an alcoholic home where no mention of God existed except as a swear word.
As I have grown and sought to understand my world and the way people tick; I have learned that children of alcoholics have control issues. We seek to control because our home lives were so chaotic. The child of the alcoholic seeks to bring order and stability (control) to their own lives. I am no exception.
Home Sweet Home?
When I was about 10 years old, my Dad was in a horrific accident and was paralyzed from the waist down. I am still amazed that I did not shed a tear when it happened. I remember feeling guilty and thinking.. "what is wrong with me, this is my father?" Instead I had a sense of relief thinking 'now I'll never have to worry about my Dad hurting my mom again .'
There are many stories I could tell you about the raging and screaming arguments I was subject to. Stories about me, as a child, pulling my mom out of a room, bloody and broken as my Dad screamed ... 'get her out of here before I kill her' with emotions so raw and suffocating I can still feel it today.
After one such incident I pulled my Mom into my bedroom and then we crawled out my bedroom window as I led her Grandpa's house just around the block. I can still see her small frame stumbling down the road next to me .. Her eyes were swollen and black, blood covered her delicate face where tears washed grooves in the blood as they coursed down her cheeks. Her vulnerability and defeated visage shook me to the core. I felt like I was seeing something meant to be private ... something I was never meant to witness - like pulling back a curtain and wishing you never saw what lay behind it. It was a glimpse into my Mother's private Hell and it hurt me so deeply to see it. In fact my eyes fill with tears as I write these words. I tried to protect her from my Dad ... but I was only 10 years old. Something was very wrong with that picture and I knew it as a child. I always wondered why someone didn't step in to rescue me.
As a teenager bedtime, for me, was not an opportunity to wind down and drift off to sleep. No, for me bedtime was waiting for the drama to stop and then listening carefully for silence. Next, came the series of little trips sneaking out to the living room to check on my Dad. You see my father would go to sleep each night in a drunken stupor. I was always afraid that he would burn the house down by dropping a cigarette on the floor as he dozed off. Many nights I would find a cigarette still burning on the carpet beside him. I have no clue how the rest of my family; mom, sister and brother could drift off to sleep. After my Dad was in a deep sleep I would take his wheelchair to him and lift his heavy frame into it. Next I wheeled him into his room and help him to get into bed. Only then could I sleep.
Protected and Accepted
All during my growing up years, my life and future seemed hopeless to me. In fact I dreaded the thought of growing up myself. I did not want to grow up and live the life my parents lived.
When I was fourteen years old it occurred to me that if there really was a God, there must be a way I could 'know' Him. After-all, I reasoned, if He was the creator He wouldn't just create me and then drop me off on this earth-place to fend for myself now would He? The next thing I remember is laying prostrate on the floor begging God (if He were real, if He could hear me) to reveal Himself to me. God answered that prayer within a year.
One day, upon visiting my best friend Debbie, her Dad told me he had something very important to tell me. He was so kind and as I looked into his eyes, set in crinkled frames, I was deeply moved by an ocean of love radiating from within. He opened up the Bible explaining that the book he had in his hand held the very word's of God to His creation.
As Mr. Haworth explained that God had used holy men of old to write His message to mankind, he said that the message in this book was relevant to me and that it was alive; unlike any other writing. Through the holy book he showed me that there was a God in Heaven who loved me. I learned that God had created mankind sinless but Adam and Eve (the first man and woman God created) turned from God and chose to indulge in sin.
As I listened to the Word of God, I heard verses that explained that God is so Holy that He cannot accept sin (any action, thought or word that is NOT holy) into His Heaven. My heart skipped a beat as I thought, WHAT .. why tell me this?
As Dad Haworth continued, I was elated to learn that it was NOT the end of the story. In John chapter 3, verse 16 he read how God so loved the world (me) that He gave His one and only Son (who was totally sinless) to stand in my place and pay the price for His creation's (my) sin - that price was death.
As it says in Romans chapter 3 verse 23 "The penalty for sin is death BUT the gift of God is Eternal Life through Jesus Christ our Lord." I had a strong knowing that these words had power and that God was speaking to me through them. After hearing about the price Jesus paid and how He willingly went to the Cross, laid down His own life so that I could live (eternally) I eagerly bowed my head and asked for the forgiveness for my sins and thanked Him for dying for me. I accepted God's gift of salvation through Christ.
After that prayer my whole world changed. In an instant I knew, deep inside, that I was a new creation. Perhaps you've heard the term 'Born Again.' Though I had been born into this world in the natural sense, God said, by accepting His gift of Jesus' substitutionary death,(Jesus in my Place) I was now Born again into His family.
It is hard to put into words the security and peace I experienced. Knowing that God had a plan for my life filled me with hope and gave me a purpose for living. For the FIRST time in my life I felt loved, protected and accepted. I knew that I wasn’t alone anymore but that I had a friend that sticks closer than a brother. In the Book of Hebrews, chapter 13, verse 5 God says, "I will NEVER leave you or forsake you."
God Spoke to Me
Over the next couple years, I grew to love God with all of my heart. I wanted to please Him and to do His will - it was the greatest desire of my heart.
One day as I was sitting in church, next to my highschool sweetheart, I began to meditate on God's love. As I looked up at the old rugged cross, in the front of the sanctuary, a still small voice spoke to me ... I heard these words:"If any man would come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me." God was speaking His word to my heart. I silently spoke back to Him, 'Oh my Father I love you so much and I want to follow you but I am so ignorant and I have so much to learn.' Once again ... the still small voice of the Holy Spirit spoke .. 'I want you to go to Cornerstone College .. get prepared to follow me." I must admit, my first inclination was to bury it, deny it and pretend it never happened. You see my high school boyfriend and I planned to marry right after we graduated.
God spoke to me to get my attention. He had other plans for my life. The first thing I did after Church was over .. and in order to avoid the inclination to stuff it, was to tell my dear friend and mentor what God had spoken to my heart. She, surprisingly answered, 'Oh Mekenzie, I am so happy for you ... I have been praying God would lead you to a Christian College'... WHAT! ... she had never told me. The next step was to tell my Pastor who said .. you guessed it ... 'Mekenzie, I am delighted ... I have been praying that God would direct you to a Christian College.' That sealed it ... God had answered their prayers and I wasn't about to mess with God's plan for me.
Oh ... and my boyfriend... let's just say he was NOT happy.
An Education, a Husband and a Ministry
Little did I know that at Cornerstone College I would not only get a great education along with in-depth studies in God's word, but I would also meet a wonderfully strong man - specially chosen by God for me. This kind and humble man became my husband three years later.
After college God called Gary and I into Youth Ministries. Those were wonderful years as we met and ministered to many teenagers. To this day I love teenagers! Our house was the hang out for teens. We had to protect one day a week, designated as 'Our Family Time' or they would have lived with us ... LOL. We were so honored to answer questions, teach the Bible, love on all of them and win their trust. They were very special teens. We were a very happy little family. Gary and I had big dreams and were filled with hope and excitement about the life that lay before us.
As we grew as a family, I tried to read everything I could get my hand on about parenting. I worked hard to create a safe place. I believed that if I did everything right and controlled the circumstances around me, my family would be protected from harm and that our home would always be filled with happiness and joy. This unrealistic, idealistic belief almost ruined me.
My Dreams Crumbled
Yes, I believed that if I provided a safe place in my heart and my home, it would protect my children. You see, one of the greatest desires and goals of my heart was to be a really good mom. I honestly thought that my love would provide shelter from pain and the effects of a degenerate world. William Ross Wallace proclaimed, 'the hand that rocks the cradle rules the world.' As parents we have the best opportunity to build security, values, stability and more into our child's lives, don't we?
My belief system was shaken to the core. My world came crumbling down around me when my oldest child entered into full blown rebellion at the tender age of 13. I was floored, confused and absolutely devastated. I could not process the concept of having a problem like this with one of my children. I raised my children in a safe home where they could be free to express themselves. I was there to fill their love cups and to kiss away their tears and fears. I connected with each of them and developed a deep bond of trust. Although I am in no way perfect, I know my children felt safe with me and in my love ... how could this happen?
I Can Fix This
In my disparity I pooled together all of my resources and tried to control the situation, thinking, "I can fix this!" I was intelligent, resourceful, had many connections and I thought I had a bit of my own wisdom to draw upon. But NOTHING helped - absolutely NOTHING! My son just kept spiraling out of control. He was recklessly speeding down, down a slippery slope where danger and destruction lurked. I feared for his life, I grieved and cried every single day. My heart was broken and the pain was unbearable but I kept moving forward doing everything in my power to fix him.
I Came to the End of Myself
It took many years before I finally collapsed and cried out to God ... "Help me - please reach and rescue my son, my only son, the son that I love more than life itself. I have no other place to turn. I can't do it anymore."
Do you remember what God told Job after his time of testing was over? He said "I will restore to you the years the locusts have eaten." I could tell you many stories about the years the locusts took from me ... about the raw gut-wrenching fear that gripped my heart every waking hour and through many sleepless nights, but for now I'll just skip over the traumatic details and get to the good part. :0)
After years of depending upon my own resources, oh I should tell you that I did consult God here and there and He would always bring relief to my broken heart ..but I had not been able to turn my son over once and for all .... there came a day when I finally came to the end of myself ... That day is the day that God stepped in. When I gave up trying to control and fix my son ... God took me ... one finger at a time and released my white knuckled grip on his life. It was definitely a 'God thing' because I could not do it but God, in His mercy did it for me. As God hel ped me release my son to His care and as I took my hands off - I saw miracles begin to take place in his life. It was an amazing thing to witness God's pursuit of my son. He brought believers out of the woodwork to reach out to him. At McDonalds, at his workplace, on the streets .. God sent faithful servants to let him know He was there and that He was seeking to bring him back. I have told my son, never in my life have I witnessed anyone so pursued by God as he has been pursued.
I love YOU God ... thank you for never giving up on my beloved son.
Recently I said to a friend of ours, "It seems God keeps bringing me back to the place where I can't control situations." Brian kindly asked, "Mekenzie, what do you think that means?" HELLO ... with that simple question the realization dawned. I haven't totally learned to trust and release yet .. how dull can a girl be? As Jesus said to Father God, "Not my will, but yours be done," so I strive to yield to His will and when I do that I find myself in a place of Peace.
I read a prayer in a book called Stepping out of Denial into God's Grace by John Baker and have customized it a bit to pray over myself daily:
God Works as I Release Control
Dear God, I have tried to do it all by myself, in my own power, and I have failed. Today, I want to turn my life over to You. I want you to be my Lord. I ask that you help me start to think less about me and my will. I want to daily turn my will over to You, to daily seek your direction and wisdom for my life. Please continue to help me overcome my hurts and control issues that I might be healthy and whole and pleasing in your sight.
Peace Joy Purpose
With a heart filled with incredible joy, I am happy to tell you that my son loves God with a Passion! He has a very tender heart of compassion for people in pain ... God doesn't waste a heartache - He will use it and bring beauty out of the Ashes of our lives. Though he is not perfect, Daniel is wise beyond his years. I see God's hand at work in his life and I stand in Awe.
As I surrendered my will and inclinations to control, God's power was released into my life. The process of learning to trust God completely continues to be a journey away from self-will and moving toward His will. It is there I find peace and joy and purpose
As I conclude this Hub I'd like to share a profound quote. For those who have faced dark caverns and injustice beyond description, may I encourage you by sharing that your heartaches and wounds will never be wasted if you are willing to seek God and allow Him to touch you, teach you, grow you and use your life to reach out to others.
Profound Quote: FIND YOUR MESS AND YOU'LL FIND YOUR MINISTRY ... Life Skills International
Psalm 46:1 ” God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble “