Everyone has a story. In fact, most of us have many stories from different seasons of our lives that make up our whole story. Some stories we cannot tell, but some stories we can and should. Don’t ever underestimate the story of you and all the experiences of your life that contribute to who you are. Good and bad, our stories shape us and make us who we are.
Some of these more painful stories will hold us back if we don’t allow them to make us better. God does use everything for our good – and also for the good of others and for His glory! Your story could help someone else who may be walking through the same thing or a similar experience. It is those who come alongside us and understand and support us that help us make it through the difficult times in life.
I confess I avoid thinking about my story sometimes. A lot of times we only think about the failures we have had in our lives and make them our identity. This is the great instrument of Satan. He wants us to believe we have nothing to offer and that we are unworthy and useless in the Kingdom of God. He loves it when we cower under the weight of our mistakes and poor choices. I want to challenge you to think about your story. Write it down. Your story is important and valuable.
My story is similar to a lot of people’s stories. I grew up in a home with an alcoholic father. He struggled with his addiction my whole life and in his later years, it evolved into an addiction to prescription medication as well – pain killers and sleeping pills. Of course there were lots of financial troubles. We were kicked out of houses, had to live with my grandmother for a while, and I saw lots of men come to our house to repossess our cars. I witnessed my father drunk many times and once he was arrested for driving while intoxicated. I don’t remember how long he stayed in jail but I remember the day he got out. I was at my Girl Scout meeting and he came and picked me up. I remember being nervous about him picking me up. Not because I was afraid he might be drunk, but because I wasn’t sure how to act around him because he had been in jail. I also remember him coming drunk to my open house in early elementary school and embarrassing me by sitting down in the middle of the floor to look at all my stuff. These are just a handful of memories I have and I know these experiences are not unique to me. In fact, many experience much worse at the hands of an alcoholic father.
That is only part of my story. My dad was not a horrible person. Everyone who knew him loved him, and he jokingly often said “I’m a swell guy.” I know without a doubt that I was the apple of his eye. He told me often and I felt so loved by him. I grieved when I was older and could understand better, not for what was, but for what could have been for them, and for me. I always wanted that secure, cozy, safe, normal home life, complete with the white picket fence around the front yard. I never got it. But I did get love, and even with all the other issues, that is the most important thing.
I have learned a lot about myself lately and how that part of my story made me the way I am today, good and bad. My parents taught me to love unconditionally and to give unlimited grace and mercy to all. My parents would give anything they had to anyone who needed it. They never looked down on anyone. I also saw my mother stay with my father through thick and thin, truly for better or worse, and it seemed to be a lot more for worse than better. For a while, my father helped others with addictions. He was heavily involved in Alcoholics Anonymous, but in the end, his addictions claimed his life. The alcohol and drugs took a toll on his body that he could not overcome.
I have also learned that codependency is a very real and crippling thing. It can consume you just like an addiction and it is very hard to stop what you have been doing your whole life. I am a classic “If you’re ok, I’m ok” person and that is not good. To be really healthy, I need to be ok even if you are not. It is a part of who we are – some of us anyway – a product of our environments. It seems innocent, although some say we are controlling. Can I just say, I never looked at it that way? I never thought I was trying to control people, I just always wanted peace. I wanted everyone to get along, and be happy, and for things to go smoothly. I JUST WANTED EVERYTHING TO BE OK. At some point, you have to realize that you have no control. I had to realize I have no control. I couldn’t control my father. I couldn’t stop him from drinking or taking pills. I couldn’t stop him from smoking. And I am learning I cannot control what anyone else does either. But I can control what I choose to do with this worry and need for everything to be ok. This is a daily placing them, and everything, in God’s hands. I am still learning, which is also a daily placing it in God’s hands. This is a process and I am growing.
I am learning that I can find safety and peace in one place and one place only – in my Heavenly Father’s arms. He provides for me what my earthly father could not – even though he did love me. He provides for me what no earthly person can because we are never supposed to look to another human being for what only He can give.
Some things I have learned about those of us who grew up with an alcoholic father –
We thrive in a crisis – because life was always a crisis. We can turn that for good and help others in crisis. In fact, we come alive when it all falls apart.
We are comfortable in dysfunction – even though we long for a “normal” life, complete with a white picket fence, we wouldn’t know how to act.
We feel like we have to hide everything – we think no one else knows how our life is or would understand – but everyone has some dysfunction in their family. We can walk alongside others in this situation and let them know that they are not alone and they don’t have to hide.
We long to feel safe and we search for that all our lives. We may spend a long time looking in all the wrong places but eventually, we learn that the only real safe place is in our Heavenly Father’s arms.
These are just a few characteristics of children of alcoholics. There is a “laundry list” of fourteen characteristics but these are some observations I have made about my own life.
My story is not special or newsworthy for sure. In fact, probably more people share a story like mine than not, as alcohol is a very real problem in many homes. Even though I can label myself an Adult Child of an Alcoholic, or a co-dependent, I am choosing not to label myself as anything other than a daughter of the King and a Child of God. My stories are a part of me, but they are not who I am. They have contributed to some lessons in my life and have brought me some valuable experiences that God can use to help others. Also, I am daily learning valuable lessons from the stories of others.
We are giving you an opportunity to share your story. Think about it. Pray about it. Do you have a story to tell? We all do. Your story could be the very thing someone else needs to hear right now.
LADIES, WE NEED YOUR HELP! -from our Women’s Ministry leader, Libby Hutchinson.
As we wind down 2020, one of the most difficult years that many of us have had to live through, we’re asking that you please share with us the GOOD.
Romans 8:28 tells us this: “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are
called according to his purpose.”
If He works ALL things for good then He is most certainly working in the midst of everything that is going on in 2020.
We know for a FACT that He has been working in each of our lives, and we want to hear what He has been doing in YOUR lives.
We are working on a special, socially distanced event for 2021 and we would love to showcase ways in which God worked among the women of North Side. Please see the list below and if you have a specific story that you could share, please Direct Message us the story!!
1. How did you see God moving in the midst of your time in His Word?
2. How did you see God working in the midst of your prayer life?
3. How did you see God working in the midst of your community?
4. Did you share the gospel with anyone this year? If so, how did God work in the midst of that? See Less