I love celebrating the 4th of July.  For me, though, it is more than the celebration of our Nation’s Birthday, it’s also a celebration from the release from the bondange I lived in for many years involving drugs and alcohol and other self destructive behavoirs.

July 7th I will celebrate 13 years of sobriety.  The first 90 days were horrible as I tried to do it on my own.  I kept trying to “fix” myself and regularly kept telling the Lord (which I knew he was wooing me), “just let me get this ‘fixed’ and I’ll surrender Lord.”  Over and over I continued on an upward battle going nowhere. 

I found myself in a place of desperation one day and ended up at “A Place Called Olive.”    It was there I met a young lady named Paige who introduced me the Most Excellent Way Meeting.  It was then I had the privlege of meeting Eddie Echarri.  

After realizing I couldn’t do this thing called life on my own, in a gold 1970’s chair I had in my one bedroom apartment, on October 19, 1998, I surrendered my will and my life to Jesus Christ.

When I look at the last 13 years and the people the Lord has brought into my life I stand amazed at how He orchestrated it all.  Then I look at my own life and the many events He has brought me through in those 13 years. 

In recent months specifically, He has continued to bring Isaiah 43:18 & 19 to the forefront of my Bible Studies.  It reads, “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.  See, I am doing a new thing!  Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?  I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.”  What promise for a future of provions, prosperity and nurishment!  He has used that scripture to show me He is taking me on a new journey; that as I am growing in my walk with the Lord, so is the testimony He is giving me.  How cool is that!

Then, more recently on June 22, the Lord used a friend to share with me  Joshua 3:3-5.  “3~When you see the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God and the priests, who are Levites, carrying it, you are to move from your positions and follow it.  4~Then you will know which way to go, since you have never been this way before.  . . . . . ”  5~Joshua told the people, “Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do amazing things among you.”  This scripture has confirmed, once again, in my personal walk that new journey’s are coming my way, I will have a choice, follow in obedience and know He is guiding me, or walk in disobedience and walk in the consequences.  (I’m not saying He won’t be with me should I choose the latter, I’m simply stating there is a choice and both have consequences.)

I stand amazed as He has taken a heart that has been cold and hardened for the last two years and has begun to soften it and woo it all over again.  Over the last few months of rereading journal entries, seeing how my prayers were, “change/fix it” and now resonate, “Oh God, forgive me and change me, teach me and show me, help me God.”  I see now more than ever the spiritual warfare that exists, especially in my own home, and see the importance of reading scripture, memorizing it, claiming it and walking in that victory. 

Wow!  Now that makes me smile!

Father I thank you and praise you for newness of life.  I thank you for bringing me through the valley’s and thank you for  mountaintop experiences that bring hope and encouragement.  I pray for those struggling with addictions right now; for the parents, or children or spouses having to live through it.  Bring them to know you, and Lord if they know you, I pray you reveal yourself to them in such a way they experience victory over bondage!  I bring my family to you today, heal us all.  Diminish my pride I pray.  Thank your for 13 years of sobriety and for giving me the strength to make it this far.  Thank you for the new journey’s that are yet to come.  Thank you for pulling me out of the pit of filth.  Thank you for friends that have become family and love and encourage.  Use me this day I pray and believe.  So be it, Amen.

Psalm 91:4