I invite you to read Kathleen’s transparent, powerful message for…
It was my 26th year, and all the years preceding it had not prepared me for the fall from grace I was experiencing. I had grown up loved, the youngest of four girls cherished by Christian parents. I had plenty of food, a safe home, and good education. Surely I was immune to the more hideous of human flaws? Dazed and confused, I spent many painful hours enshrouded in shame and guilt. How could it be that I had landed in a treatment center for alcoholism?
Never mind that my drinking career had been short and relatively boring, it nearly robbed me of life itself. It’s not that I drank often, but when I did I could never predict the outcome. That blindness nearly ruined me and my marriage. True it is that sin will take you farther than you want to go, keep you longer than you want to stay, and cost you far more than ever you intended to pay. It never occurred to me to count such a cost ahead of my frivolous folly.
But there I was, sharing space with others like me who’d sustained the sort of degradation of soul from which I now suffered. Most were far older than me (remember, this was 1975 and young alcoholics were very, very rare); some were professionals, others jobless; some had great family support, others had lost everything; some had resorted to things I could scarcely fathom, things like prostitution and robbery. They were believers and unbelievers; black and white; men and women; healthy and dying. It boggled my mind at the first, but it didn’t take long before bonds formed among us. Our long held arrogance gave way to humility. We held hands. We cried together. We prayed. We were, after all, far more alike that we were different. We shared a common foe. Many of us shared a very uncommon God.
I share this today, some 39 years hence because it’s as good a reminder for me as it is an intended encouragement for you. If I’m to thwart the cunning schemes of an enemy that would take me hostage to besetting, self-defeating thoughts or behaviors, then I must remain God-centered and vigilant. Feelings of guilt or shame are the tell-tale signs that that enemy’s on the prowl. He condemns us. God never does! (Romans 8:1-2 NIV)
But I also share it because someone among us may be struggling with such; afraid to speak up or reach out. It’s yet another scheme, the one the enemy uses to isolate in order to cut us off from our Blood supply. You and I need never fear the truth or the telling of it. It is what sets us free.
In closing, let me just say how grateful am I for those painful days of yore and any since. Pain can be of powerful purpose and effect if I’ll but be still. As blessed as I am by God’s lavish generosity in my life, I can honestly say my failures have been every bit as impacting in my ongoing dependence upon Him. I had to learn the hard and painful way that He is for us ~ yesterday, today and forever!
“ … we know that in all things God works for the good of those who
love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the
image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among
many brothers and sisters. And those he predestined, he also called;
those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.
What, then, shall we say in response to these things?
If God is for us, who can be against us?”
Romans 8:28-31 NIV
Kathleen Flanagan shares a wide array of transparent life experience with her pen. Faith and family are the bookends to her life as a wife, mother and grandmother. Until her recent retirement, Kathleen juggled a career in business management and church ministry. From the vantage point of her now-senior life, she shares the very personal aspects of her walk with Jesus ~ the good, the bad and the ugly. Her sassy perspectives will make you laugh, or cry, or think deeply about the trajectory of your life. She can be reached via her Blog at Sassy Granny.