This weekend is usually a weekend that heralds in the incredible summer to come. This is often our first big camping weekend. For me, it is also usually a weekend that I reflect on my military service…those who didn’t get to come home…and to think of, and pray for, those who are deployed around the world defending freedom. All of those things seemed largely overshadowed to me as the past 3 days rolled along. I don’t want you to think that I no longer care for those things. This weekend…this year… was just different.
I hit my one year sobriety date on May 25th. I guess some would call it a ”milestone” in my recovery. I am looking at it as more of a “mile marker”. In my head as I was looking forward to this date, I pictured fireworks, drums, and maybe a large band to celebrate the day. As I got closer to the day, I realized that one year is not the finish line but the beginning of a beautiful journey.
One year doesn’t seem very long in the span of one’s life, but a year in recovery seems like a lifetime. Maybe it feels like that because my life is so dramatically changed from what it was. I no longer live in the shadows of life. I have stepped out and into the light. I no longer spend my days in deception and isolation, waging a war on my own body, trying to destroy the pain and fill the void by numbing my mind. I now live in hope and purpose, driven by a passion to serve an incredible God who has shown me greater mercy than any man deserves.
Even without the band and the fanfare, this weekend was a celebration. It was a celebration of the power of God and his tendency to reward obedience. What was my reward? My reward was in the laughter of my children, the excitement of each new sunrise, bike rides around the park, campfires with friends, kickball in the grass, and breakfast in our pajamas in the camper as the rain lightly fell on the roof.
Believe me, I understand that I am a babe in Christ and a babe in sobriety. One year is just a mile marker on a long road that leads to where ever God wants me to go. I look forward down that road not in fear of what attacks may come, but in expectation of victory. My mindset has totally changed. I am no longer concerned with circumstances and outcomes. I have realized that I am in control of nothing and that life is completely better that way.
I am still in bondage, but my Master has changed. I emptied out my bottle at the foot of the cross, along with my pain, my shame, my guilt and my pride. When I had nothing left to give…nothing to offer…just a broken shell of a man and a wasted life, He said “Now, I can use you”. I see the amazing things he has done “in” my life and am looking forward to what he is going to do “with” my life.
A good friend once told me, “When you get to the end of yourself, you will find Jesus waiting there for you.” …He’s waiting there for you too…