Enjoy the Ride! Or Not!

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I grew up fascinated with horses; I grew up in Houston. The two did not go together too well. No matter how much I pleaded, I just could not have a horse. So my mother did the next best thing. She drove me faithfully, every Saturday morning, 45 minutes one way to Westheimer Stables where I rented a horse for one hour.  Every week it was the same, the horse plodded away from the barn at a rate that would make a sloth jealous.  No matter how much prodding I did,  no matter how hard I kicked, I could never get them to break into a trot leaving the barn. I took, what seemed to me , like forever to get anywhere.  Every week, I hoped, this would be the Saturday I was successful in getting the horse to go even a little bit faster. Every week, I failed.

Returning to the barn,  however, was totally different. What took 50 minutes to cover at a walk, now took 10 to cover at a gallop.  No matter how hard I tried, I could never get them to do anything less than all out gallop. I grew to love that part. It only lasted a few minutes but it was the highlight of my week (once I got over being scared).

Looking back, I can’t help but wonder about what seems so obvious now. Why spend so much time trying to change something I couldn’t change? Why not instead, sit back and relax and enjoy the slow, seemingly tedious walk away from the stables. If I had, maybe that part of the ride wouldn’t seem so frustrating.  Maybe with a little practice, I would have noticed enjoyable things along the way  – the sun on my face, the rhythm of the horse, the wonderful sound of hooves on the ground.  Who knows what wonders I missed? Those rides took place nearly 45 years ago and yet, I can remember them like they were yesterday. I remember thinking that if I did something different this week, the horse would respond better. And when every attempt of mine failed, I remember thinking that it was my fault. Weird, right? I mean these are rental horses who do this daily over and over and over again like robots. But I wanted my ride to be different and when it wasn’t I felt like I failed.

That theme replays over and over again in my life – trying to change what isn’t mine to change and letting the failure of those attempts lessen my belief in me. If there is a lesson in the rental horses, it should be just this – if I truly employed the message of the Serenity prayer, I could sit back and enjoy the ride cherishing the parts I like without letting the parts I don’t like steal too much from me.  I can only change what is within my power to change and rest in the fact that God can take care of the remainders.  And prayerfully, with God’s grace, it won’t take me 45 years to know the difference.

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pic credit: besthorsesupplies.com

pic credit: whiskedawaykenya.com

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The Other Side of Addiction

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The Lord will accomplish what concerns me;
Your lovingkindness, O Lord, is everlasting;
Do not forsake the works of Your hands.

Psalm 138:8

I have loved a number of addicts in my lifetime, including myself. I’ve seen pain drive them and me to kill the pain by any means possible. I am free from those addictions, praise God, but currently, I am watching a loved one spiral back into an addiction he was once free of. I know from past experiences and 12 Step Programs that there is only so much I can do and much I need to not do. I found these 10 Things to Stop Doing If You Love an Alcoholic on About.com. They serve as a good reminder to me and so I am printing them here:

STOP:

1. Blaming Yourself

2. Taking It Personally

3. Trying to Control It

4. Trying to Cure It

5. Covering It Up

6. Accepting Unacceptable Behavior

7. Having Unreasonable Expectations

8. Living in the Past

// 9. Enabling

10. Putting Off Getting Help

Someone else’s method of pain relief is causing a problem in my home and in my family so it is time to face it squarely and truly assess what is my role in this going to be. My first step, after recognizing the problem, is to turn it over to God. I trust that He will accomplish what concerns me, He will minister in this person’s life and bring healing and He will keep me in peace throughout this process.

I will practice forgiveness and grace and mercy and extend compassion but not allow myself to be trampled upon. I will find the support I need and take care of myself. I will welcome joy and laughter and embrace the good in the midst of the yuck.

I will repeat the Serenity prayer as many times a day as I need to.

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change;

courage to change the things I can;

 and wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time;

Enjoying one moment at a time;

Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;

Taking, as He did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it;

Trusting that He will make all things right if I surrender to His will;

That I may be reasonably happy in this life and supremely happy with Him forever in the next.

Amen.

Like the little engine that could, I can repeat “I think I can, I think I can, I think I can”. And like that little engine that could, I will make it to victory, as will my family.

Lord, You know the hurt and the pain that drives people to addiction. You are intimately acquainted with my loved ones pain and I pray Your healing touch upon him and Your grace and love to envelop him during this difficult time. Help me, please to practice what I know to do and leave the rest in Your hands. Help us as a family to draw closer together to You and to each other and help us to tear down any walls that have divided us from You and from each other, I ask in the mighty name of  Jesus. Amen.

 

 

The Serenity Prayer

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God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; 

courage to change the things I can; 

and wisdom to know the difference.

I don’t know about you but I didn’t get up one day and say “wow, I would really like to be in pain for years”.  I didn’t do that and I am sure that whatever you are going through, it wasn’t by your choice.  And yet…

Some time ago, God led me through a grief process.  At first,  I was in denial – believing everyday that today would be it, the last day of the pain.  And of course, it wasn’t.  Then I grieved over my life that had been redefined by pain, grieved over all the things I could not do anymore, things that had filled my life and my days and I wasn’t prepared to give them up. This led me in and out of anger for quite some time.  Anger directed at doctors and myself and even God.  When I finally confessed that anger and let God deal with it, then there was the bargaining stage.  What if I do this or don’t do that?  There was a lot of mental torment in that trying to find the right combination of things I could do or not do to bring about relief. I can write this in one paragraph but this was a year-long process and I moved back and forth between the stages.

Finally, I reached the stage of acceptance.   I have come to know that there is nothing I can do to relieve the pain.  I can’t change it but by God’s grace I can accept it.  For now.  Not as a permanent guest because I still believe that by His stripes I am healed.  But just for now, I can accept that this is what it is and I can find peace in that.  I can see the myriad of good things in my life that pain hasn’t stolen from me and I can rest in the assurance that God is God and He is good and the day of my deliverance is coming on His timetable.  How about you?  Can you, just for now, find peace in the circumstances you find yourself in and trust the outcome to God?

Lord, You are a great and merciful God and Your compassions fail not.  Your faithfulness to me is humbling and fills me with such gratitude.  Who am I that  You should even take notice of me and yet You do.  Minute by minute You are watching over me and providing for me and healing me at my greatest point of need.  Help me to accept the things I can not change and rest in Your peace while You work on my behalf.  Thank You, thank You, thank You.  Amen

Do you need prayer for healing?  I would love to pray with and for you, please let me know.

Do you have a healing testimony?  I would love to hear it and post it to share with others.