Our house was full, and I knew, without a doubt, that everyone was sent by God. Some of us walked through darkness, some of us were brought in nice vehicles by loved ones, and others were sentenced by a judge to complete a long-term recovery program as a condition of their probation or parole. However, I was one of the people who walked to get there. My way of living wasn’t working for me, and I wasn’t happy. For things to change, I’d have to become willing to do something different.
It took me eight hours of walking, several bathroom breaks, and many prayers to make it. My route took me through some of the most dangerous neighborhoods in the city of Little Rock. Fortunately, there weren’t many people around except for the homeless, and most of the homeless around here are harmless. They just talk to themselves or ask for change for the most part. Needless to say, I wasn’t afraid. I knew God was with me every step of the way. He was sending me in love, and guiding me to something better. And if it’s God’s will, then it will be done.
I was sick of the way my life was, and tired — desperate for change to come. I remember laying in bed with my girlfriend when the news channel showed the front doors of a familiar rehabilitation center that I’d been to before. In my bones and deep in my heart I knew this was God telling me that I needed to go back. I needed to leave her and this house. I needed to fix myself before more damage was done. A few days passed and things got progressively worse. The tension between us grew and we fought every day. Then late one night, I discovered she’d been cheating on me with several other men, and that was enough for me to end it all. So, I made my move out of the door, but she chased me down. She grabbed me and screamed out, “Don’t leave us! You can’t leave us!” She said the word “us” instead of “me” because I was leaving more than just a girlfriend. There was also a fifteen year old daughter I was leaving behind, whose father didn’t care for her at all. A police officer sat in a church parking lot, at the end of our street, watching for speeding cars and she screamed for him to arrest me. I escaped with a few pieces left of my broken heart and the clothes I had on. My last words to her were, “You’ll never see me again!”
A few months into the program a man with a severe case of post traumatic stress disorder entered recovery. His name was Dove. He was an older man, probably around fifty years old, and with him was his service dog. The dog’s name was gentleman jack. This guy was the oddest character I’d met in the Nehemiah house. We didn’t really speak much but we did have a few conversations while he was there. When it was time for him and Jack to leave, he whispered something in my ear. He leaned in, shook my hand, and whispered, “Don’t ever let anyone influence the decisions you make for yourself.” I didn’t know what to say. So, I just wished him well and that was it.
God spoke through Dove that day. It was one of many messages I’d received from others who came to heal from drugs and/or alcohol addiction. We’re not just doing the next right thing by seeking recovery but we’re allowing God to use us according to his plan and his purpose for our lives. He is the creator of all and all things are made new. So, when we allow God to come into our hearts, we are freshly renewed.
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