Past, Present and Yet to Come

My Perilous Past

Last week I had a dream, more like a nightmare. I felt as if I had been visited by the “Ghost of Christmas Past,” except it was more like the Ghost of my Painful Past. I dreamed I was at a family gathering… lots of people…children…adults…pets. .. a full house. Full of family, friends, fun…. and food. I dreamed that I walked in and within minutes I was drawn to a table loaded with yummy treats. I walked over and instantly picked up a chocolate chip cookie…. then a brownie…. then rice crispy treats….. before long, I needed a coke….a real coke… and then another. The next thing I knew, it was like my chemical  dependency for sugar and caffeine was unstoppable. We were at a lake house …swimming, fishing, and boating by day and then barbecues and S’mores with lots of chocolate and roasted marshmallows by night. This pattern continued for days.  The dream felt so real. All of my successes felt as if they were slipping away… the lost weight, the positive outlook, the clear skin. It was all being replaced with my former sadness and a magnetic pull that I was too weak to resist. My muscles felt like jello, I was drained of energy, my skin was breaking out, and I felt miserably uncomfortable. It was so frightening. Wake up!! Wake up!! Please wake up!!

But I couldn’t wake up… because it wasn’t a dream.

My Promising Present

My son was spending the night with a friend. Like all mothers, your heart races when you get that late night phone call and the caller ID reflects the number of the home where your child is staying.

It was about 10:30pm and the shaky, crackling voice on the other end was my son, “Mom, I want to come home.”

“What’s wrong, Honey, Are you OK?”

“I don’t feel so good.”

“Did something happen?”

“No.”

“Are you sick? Does your tummy hurt? Do you think you are just tired?”

“Well, we were watching T.V. and we started eating cookies….. I think I ate too many cookies.”

“Oh, Honey, I’m sure you’re just fine. Lay down for a while and you will feel better soon.”

“Mom,” he began to cry…. “I just really want to come home.”

“OK, sweetheart, I will be right there.”

Despite the fact that I was completely exhausted and had just made it home myself at about 10:15 after putting in a 14 hour day, I was getting ready to drive 30 minutes each way to pick up my child…He needed me.

I felt like I was on a roller coaster as I continued this inner battle of trying to get back on track. Darkness came over my thoughts and I felt mocked… “Where is your God now? Didn’t you just write an article about “Victory in Jesus?”  I could almost picture the enemy belly laughing and saying “You don’t even have the strength to stop eating cookies…. And you think your God can use you to do something big? Weak…he scoffed….that’s what you are…weak and pathetic.”

This defeated feeling of struggle, confusion and weakness was so intense. I would wake up each day thinking….Ok, today is the day I will press the Restart button. I will get back to feeling good, believing, trusting. I would start my day with good choices but then the magnetic force of soda, sugar, or salt would overpower my intentions. All the while, I struggled in my thoughts. I felt disappointed in myself. I felt guilty…. Thinking….  if my readers could see me now…

Most days, it was overeating… and of course, eating all of the things that I knew were not such great choices. But then came a day when I did it. I stood in front of the cashier at the Nestle Toll House Cookie Café and my heart sank as I had just ordered a mountain of sugar and the cashier asked, “Would you like your receipt?” A brutal sting of a past reflection…. but it did not stop me. It was a complete and total binge in all of its glory. Heart- breaking.

I began to realize that I had been ignoring my friends. I closed off from the world. Worse than that, rather than run to God as I have been doing for months, I began to run away. I looked past His provision. I distanced myself. I built a wall and ignored my reality. It was way too painful to look in His direction. I felt so ashamed. I thought He had to be mad at me….disappointed in me even more than I was disappointed in myself. I was convinced that He was thinking…”After all of this? After all that I have delivered you through? After all…..?  Seriously?”

Then…it happened. In fact, it happened as I was on my way back to the mall for another well planned and thought out binge. I parked my car. I walked through the mall, making my way to visit my old faithful friend at the Toll House. I was literally stopped in my tracks! As I was walking through the mall, my mind drifted back to my conversation with my son the night before.  His shaky, scared, heartfelt cry was his way of reaching out to his parent. He was sincerely vulnerable and I could tell he needed me….I thought about how I would stop at nothing to rescue my child. It may seem silly to some, he simply had a tummy ache…. but he’s my child…. my very own heart walking around on the outside of my body. When he needs me…I will be there.

I felt as if the air had escaped my lungs when God said….”That’s how I feel about you. I am your Father, You are my child. You are my heart…walking around. If and when you call me, I will stop at nothing to come to your rescue.”

I stopped walking… standing in the middle of the hustle and bustle around me, I put my hand on my head and processed this moment. I turned around, and left the mall. I sat in my car… called on my Father…. and He rescued me.

My Hopeful Yet to Come

When Charles Dickens wrote his classic novel in 1843, A Christmas Carol, it was instantly successful. This timeless story of a transformed life has been a blessing to families year after year. I recognize that it is June, not December, but I love this story. I love how a vision of one’s past, present, and future can  absolutely transform our way of thinking and ultimately our way of living.

It was painful to relive my past by losing my focus, but in a strange way, just as Ebenezer Scrooge was enlightened by his visions, I am grateful to have experienced the 7 day detour in my journey. I know that I do not want to go back. I have tasted the life that God wants for my future. He’s not mad at me. He loves me. When I mess up, He forgives me…. it pains Him to see me in pain. He wants  to protect me the same way I want to protect my children from experiencing and learning pain the hard way.

My Yet to Come is full of hope. He has big plans for me. He told me so in Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” I may stumble, I may fall, but He’s my Father who will be with me every step of the way.

He’s there for you too!  May God Bless Us…. Every One!

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3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Teri
    Jun 24, 2010 @ 22:14:20

    I am so proud of you! What a deeply moving story. We all fall short time and again, but you chose to get back up and start again. Not only that, you shared you inner most secrets with others. I applaud your strength. I envy your dedication. I pray for your journey. I love you. Keep on keepin’ on my friend. You are an incredible woman and an amazing example for others. God has called you to this for a reason. It is changing the lives of many. Don’t be fooled by the enemies wispers of doubt and insecurities. God has put you above all things of this earth….even the evil ones. God is moving within you and if God be with you….who could be against you. Stay strong and rest in Him.

    Reply

  2. Cindy
    Jun 25, 2010 @ 09:29:17

    I literally got chills reading that. I see so much of myself in your experience. I admire your courage to write about it.

    Reply

  3. uncoveringpamela
    Jun 26, 2010 @ 18:31:52

    What a beautiful post! Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and giving us something to think about!

    Reply

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