In the very wee hours of the morning of the second Sunday of Lent 2013, I was awake, wide awake. I was angry at myself, sad, and asking God to yet again forgive me.
See, on Friday night, I had wine – 2 glasses of wine. I had these glasses of wine after months of not having wine. I forget the number of days I had been wine free, somewhere around 140 days or so. Wait, let me back up a bit.
Years ago, perhaps in 2004, 2005 or 2006, as I was reading and doing devotions one evening before going to bed, God had spoke to me. He said, “Daughter, the hole in your heart that you keep filling with wine. I would like you to stop filling it with wine. I’d like you to permit me to fill that hole and you will never thirst for wine again.” I heard Him loud and clear. I believed Him. So, I quit drinking wine but not for long.
Wait, let me back up just a bit further than that. Long ago, in perhaps 1997 or 1998, I realized that I was drinking too much (I was not yet a Christian). That what was once no big deal was becoming something I wasn’t necessarily in control of. I quit drinking for 6 months. Then, one day in a blink, I began to drink again and didn’t stop. Because of God’s grace and favor this wine thing never really got out of control; but I was soothing myself and medicating myself with wine and would continue to do so.
So, really since about 1997 I had been struggling to quit drinking wine. Each year that passed I drank less and less and less. Yet, I never wanted to give it up forever. I’d quit for a while and think that because I had quit for X amount of time that my relationship with it had changed. Once I started again, I would realize that nothing had changed. It was a long, painful, shameful and very lonely struggle. I had a hole in my heart and soul that ONLY God could fill and yet I kept putting wine in the hole!
Now, back to the wee hours of the second Sunday of Lent 2013. God spoke to me. He knew I was feeling remorse, confessing, vowing to quit again. (See I promised Him in the spring of 2012, that no matter what it took, I would keep trying to quit until I did quit.) God told me that this wine thing was “in” me, it was part of the sinful nature I was born with and that He loved me anyway and that He could and would heal me. He asked me to just acknowledge that I couldn’t quit on my own. To admit that after all these years of trying I couldn’t do it no matter how badly most of me wanted to. UGH. Really? Yuck. I hate this. He said,” It is what it is and it’s sin…but I love you, I can heal you and you can choose me over this wine. Just admit you are powerless to quit. That’s all I ask of you.”
Well, I can tell you I’m not crazy. It’s true, I couldn’t do it or I’d have done it! So, it was humbling and painful and shameful to admit that I couldn’t. I told God, He was right, I had a problem with wine, I couldn’t quit on my own, I didn’t have the ability or the power. The next morning, I awoke and I knew in my heart, in my body, in my mind and in my soul that what had transpired between God and I earlier was huge and that I was to never be the same.
We went to church. I cried. I cried as I told the Lord again that I had a problem I was powerless over and that I would do whatever it took to be healed. Our church, St. Mark United Methodist Church, has an altar call each week for those who, among other things, need prayer. In front of all these people I didn’t know (this was only our second Sunday at SMUMC) I went forward. I was a crying mess. But I knew that altar was where I needed to lay this down.
I left church that day, knowing that the burden had been laid down and I was even more certain that something had indeed changed and would never be the same. See until this healing encounter, I had always held out hope that I could keep wine in my life “normally”. Now, I genuinely did not have that desire or hope. I was simply done with wine. I was healed. I was free; but I was still cautious and fearful that the voice of wine and the desire for wine would return.
Now today, about 70 days later, I can tell you that I do not miss wine. I do not think of wine. I do not desire wine. The hole in my heart and soul is now filled and healed. I do not know how except for the miraculous healing power of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and a church home that believes in the power of prayer enough to have an altar call where people can come to be healed. See, the church had committed to praying for me for 30 days from the day I went to the altar. I feel like those prayers were the prayers that sustained me during those initial days as I test-drove my healing! They were the prayers that gave my healing wings. I can now soar like an eagle…free and healed.
My shame is gone. My struggles are over. My freedom is oh so sweet. I am confidently respectful of my freedom and healing and I know that I am not responsible for it. My healing is from the Lord. I am so thankful that I can’t praise Him enough for this freedom. Today, as I worshipped in church, I felt that I just couldn’t go another day without telling of what the Lord has done for me.
I was reminded of the 10 lepers that Jesus had healed. Only one of them returned to say thank you. The other nine got healed and continued on their merry little way. This blog is my way of publicly returning to say THANK YOU.
He can do the same for you! He will do the same for you. Don’t quit quitting whatever it is that needs quitting. Don’t ever give up on receiving the healing. If your healing takes time like mine did…listen and pay attention. God taught me so much during the many years I struggled and waited to be healed. I never gave up hope. I never stopped asking. Our God is faithful and in His perfect timing He will heal!!
(reminder, I am not on Facebook for the year 2013 even though I am posting this blog to Facebook. If you want to comment or share with me, please do that via this blog. thank you!)