Giving my testimony

Thanks for all the comments on the last post! With 40+ chigger bites, the first couple of days were brutal. Believe it or not, the thing that gave me the most relief was, of all things, pinesol. Just dabbed a little on each bite. It killed the chigger (didn't have any more bites after that). I only have a couple that have persistently itched, but for the most part they are healing nicely. I am wearing my leather boots in high grass from now on (I made the mistake of wearing tennis shoes and shorts. Bad idea....Heat or not, it's long pants and boots for me....

On Tuesday I am giving my testimony at Celebrate Recovery at Friendly Baptist Church here in Tyler. It's the first time I've given it since I've been married, so I was able to rework it to include that very important time of my life into it. Even now, I'm starting to feel the butterflies. Which is normal. I've given it several times, including at Friendly once, but still, when you bare your soul before the masses, it is always, for me a humbling experience.

At one time, talking about myself was no problem. When I was in long term rehab I loved it. But it was all about me. I wanted attention (which is probably why rehab never worked for me). It was never about God and what He'd done in my life more than it was about the praise I'd get. My how things have changed.

Now I get it. Giving my testimony now isn't about look at me, or let me see what story I can tell you that will get me sympathy. Now it is about giving glory to God. It is the testimony of a sinner who went deep into a pit that he in no way could have dug himself out of and how God came down into that pit and brought me out. It is about the people who prayed, fervently, to God and how their faith grew on my journey into recovery. Mom's walking miracle. You see, my testimony, though it is my life, is not about me. It's about God. It's about a love that is beyond understanding, who, through pain, struggle, addiction, and heartache, never gave up. It is about those who truly loved me who never gave up. Sometimes, I think, people confuse tough love with giving up on someone. I've had some truly amazing parents through this process and even my brother who, though he doesn't know it, helped me amazingly in my early years of recovery. I haven't talked about him much, in my blog, but I look up to him so much. I'll be honest, in my addiction I resented the heck out of him and was even angry at God for blessing him while I struggled. Of course, if I'd of taken the poor me blinders off, I'd of seen that he has struggles to.
No, I don't feel that way anymore. And why shouldn't God have blessed him? I made my choices contrary to God, God didn't force me to made those decisions, I have free will after all. My brother is amazing, and though he is younger, he is a role model to me. I feel tears well up in my eyes as I think of him. He has a wonderful wife, two handsome boys, and is a Godly man. When we began talking again it was an amazing day. I'll never forget that day that we met, halfway from Tyler and Fort Worth, to talk. He must have seen something different, because soon Ginger and I made the drive to visit him and his family. And perhaps the greatest honor was having him as my best man at my wedding. If you knew, if you just knew the miracle that it was for that to happen, well, again, you have to give credit to God. He, of course, is still into computer games. My focus, in the past six months has been on my new marriage and Celebrate Recovery. Maybe one day I'll be able to get a PS3 or XBOX360, but life for me is so busy right now! The last PS game I played was Final Fantasy VIII, and I believe the games have gotten a lot cooler since then... That and I try to draw in my spare time. God is really putting it on my heart to pursue that love of mine.

And I have to believe that Ginger and I's wedding was a coming together, not only of Ginger and I's family, but my family as well. Through God's redemptive work, we were all together, smiling, and celebrating. It was a beautiful time.

So when I get up at 7 on Tuesday and begin to share what God has done it will be with a humble heart. I don't have to share about all the bad things, I have good things to share now, wonderful things, about what God has done. If there is one thing I want people to take away from it, it is that in whatever circumstance the hearer finds themselves in, God does care and He can deliver. I'm just the vessel. I'm one of many "walking miracles" and if my story can touch someone to trust God then it is worth it. So if you are going through a trial, a struggle, a challenge in your life, trust God. It may not happen when you want (now now now!) but I have to believe that God's perfect will, will be done.

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