Arm yourselves. The battle is real.

So, I’ll be honest. I was going to write about loss…and my mom, because well, it’s almost Mother’s Day and I thought that would be perfect. But here’s the thing. I’m not perfect and not always do I have the perfect thing to write about. I have to remind myself of that often…that this blog isn’t about me so much and what I want to do, as it is about what God wants to do through me…and even though I might have the ‘perfect’ thing to write about, really, I don’t when I’m on my own agenda. So I’m sure at some point, I will write about my mom because she was amazing, brilliant, stubborn and downright feisty at times—and oh how I miss her. Especially at times like this…Mother’s Day. Birthdays. Holidays. The day each of my children were born. The anniversary of the day she died. My wedding day. Any day I have something exciting happen…or frightening…or sad. Really, if I allow myself to go there, which I haven’t for a long time…I miss her more often than I don’t. But my heartache for her isn’t the problem. The problem is, I’ve spent the last 20 years pretending that I’m okay and that I didn’t miss her all that much. In fact, I’ve spent the last 20+ years completely acting like I’m all good and life is peachy. But it wasn’t isn’t. Not to say there weren’t good times in there or right now, because there are…but the times that have been hard I completely run away from. And now, as I walk through my crap—literally—I am walking head first into it…I’m realizing how much sadness I have about not only her…but about things that have happened to me when I was a little girl. Things that I’ve completely ignored and tried to block out for many many years. Then add in things I have done to not only myself, but others in my life who are close to me and I have a big fat mess. A conundrum if you will. And as I walk through this mess,  I found myself for the first time in quite a while being completely overwhelmed. Having that feeling of anxiety in the pit of your stomach that you just can’t shake. That feeling of needing to take deep breaths, over and over. That feeling of being pushed and pulled in every direction imaginable. That feeling of ‘needing a drink.’ That feeling, it’s a lie. There’s only one thing right now I need….and it’s most definitely not a drink.

I was asked a question a while back from someone who loves me very much about my recovery process and if I find myself craving something. Now that the alcohol is gone, do I crave anything other than that? Simple answer. TOTALLY. There are days I have replaced my alcohol addiction with food. Specifically, a cold soda. Or ice cream. I catch myself in that moment and am at least aware of it and am trying to change that…but it’s hard. Really hard. At treatment I found myself replacing my addiction with working out…which is probably healthier than what I have resorted to now, but nevertheless, still not a solid change if you ask me. And the timing of this question which was asked of me was really quite profound because I literally had just had this conversation with God and myself really, that I know I am made to crave something. But I’ve realized something in this process and that craving goes much beyond food…or working out…or alcohol. That craving is formed from a giant God shaped whole in my heart that only He can fill. So to fill that I’ve been indulging in the word. Scripture. Truth of who God is and why I can believe what he says. Praying about everything. Seriously. And in doing this I found myself quenched for quite a while now—struggling at times, but still able to manage. Then over these past couple of weeks…counseling has been really hard. Facing those giants from when I was a little girl that really, I haven’t even spoke about to anyone, let alone a stranger. Things at home have been hard—because let’s face it, marriage takes work. Hard work. So does parenting. So that leads to life being just plain hard sometimes. And you know the saying, ‘when it rains, it pours’…well, it’s just been like that for the past couple of weeks for me. So as I am stirring the pot with bringing up ALL of this crap that I haven’t dealt with in a very long time, I’m trying to handle everything else in everyday life and let me tell you what—even with engulfing myself in truth—in God’s word…I feel so overwhelmed, discouraged and downright defeated lately. And for me, that’s not a good place to be. Because that is the day where I start running the other way because it’s so uncomfortable. It’s so unknown. I haven’t ever allowed myself to feel all of these things before. I’ve always drown them out. Shut them off. Ran away as fast as I could. Yesterday, was almost that day…

Despite the words on the page of my bible…my mind races, it swirls like a washing machine on spin cycle—combine that with the pit in my stomach and my struggle to take a deep breath…and no amount of truth seems to be working. “GOD PLEASE!” I felt as though I was begging at this point. “TAKE IT AWAY.” The sadness. The anger. The confusion. “PLEASE. I KNOW YOU HEAR ME!!!” But he didn’t. So I thought, okay fine. I have to slow my mind down a little bit…just so I can get through this day. My thoughts immediately go to drugs. Not illegal ones either. ‘Just’ painkillers. The kind they prescribe every. Single. Day. You know, legal ones. Justifiable ones. And all of this coming from the girl who didn’t take a single pain pill after my last two c-sections because I was terrified of the side effects and becoming hooked on them. One short year later and here I am searching through every cupboard in sheer desperation. I knew we had tons left from my surgery because they sent me home with them as a preventative measure even though I didn’t want them…but then it hit me, Justin got rid of them before I came home from treatment because I told him to. I didn’t want anything of that nature in the house for times just like this. I didn’t even think of getting alcohol because in my head I wasn’t going to go there—I know if I take one more sip of that, I’ll be hooked…but I could justify a pain pill. I’m sure I could have just one of those I told myself. LIES. You guys, I was ready to call my dentist and get a new prescription for pain pills because of a bum tooth. Which I do have a bum tooth…but it’s not bothering me. MORE LIES. Then something happened. My cell phone broke. We have no house phone and all of a sudden I had no way to make a single phone call. Coincidence? Probably not. Possibly God saying, KEELEY—LISTEN TO ME!?!? Most definitely! I made it through one more day of this agony. And not just in bed either…through this pain and anxiousness, I was able to play board games with my kids and had what we call a successful day at school. Although, looking back, my son did ask me a time or two if I got enough sleep last night. 😉 Either way, I did it. But not alone. By the grace of God—even if it took breaking my phone in the process. So I wake today, and my mind races a little less. My feelings of despair are still there. Much more than I am comfortable with, but today I can actually pick up my bible and see the words even though my mind is busy and my body is still anxious. And I’m not going to say at this point the thought of a pain pill hadn’t fleeted through my brain either…that the enemy hadn’t at least tried to invite me that direction…but I made a choice to indulge in truth again. Even though the other way seems easier and less painful—short term anyway—I know full well my hole is God sized. And even if I don’t FEEL like I need to read the word…that is exactly what I need. And today, the grace of God prevailed again and I actually saw those words. They practically jumped off the page at me and pierced my heart—or should I say…filled it for yet another day?

In you, Lord my God, I put my trust. I trust in you, do not let me be put to shame, nor let my enemies triumph over me. No one who hopes in you will ever be put to shame…Show me your ways, Lord, teach me your paths. Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my HOPE IS IN YOU ALL DAY LONG…do not remember the sins of my youth and my rebellious ways; according to your love remember me, for you, LORD, ARE GOOD. Good and upright is the Lord; therefore he instructs sinners (that’s me!) in his ways. He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them his way. All the ways of the Lord are loving and faithful toward those who keep the demands of his covenant. For the sake of your name, Lord, forgive my iniquity, though it is great! Who then, are those who fear the Lord? He will instruct them in the ways they should choose…The Lord confides in those who fear him; he makes his covenant known to them. My eyes are ever on the Lord, for ONLY HE WILL RELEASE MY FEET FROM THE SNARE. Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted. Relieve the troubles of my heart and free me from my anguish. Look on my affliction and my distress and take away all my sins…Guard my life and rescue me; do not let me be put to shame, for I take REFUGE IN YOU. May integrity and uprightness protect me, because my hope, Lord, is IN YOU.  – Psalm 25

He knows I fear him—I DO respect his authority. Yet he also knows how powerful our enemies are and how real they are to us humans. Which in my case right now are drugs of any kind to numb the pain. Whether that’s alcohol or a pain pill. It’s powerful. But ultimately—not as powerful as HE! Today, I’m still uncomfortable and I’m still overwhelmed at times…key words—at times! I know God won’t allow that to be ALL of the time…but at moments like yesterday of sheer desperation…or today for that matter, when it will seem to be more than I can bear— I am reminded that it is not more than He can! My heart is still troubled. But you know what, as odd as this sounds—-all those things are OK—yes, it seems weird to me to walk into the pain, and even stranger to stay there….but I really can see now that he wants me to. Despite all of these unknown and scary feelings….my hopelessness and defeat which I have been feeling lately, is slowly taking shape to be what I believe to be a lesson in trust and simply having faith. So today, with the help of no phone and God’s beautiful grace, he has allowed me to see once again just how much he loves me and HE is all I need. That our enemies, whatever those might be and as undeniable as they are in power—don’t stand a chance if we are willing to arm ourselves with the proper armor. Had I not picked up my bible today…or had I rushed out to get a new phone yesterday without listening to what God was telling me…I would stay defeated through any battle. Numb. Today, I most definitely still feel…and I ask God to relieve these troubles of my heart and set me free from the anguish. I ask him to turn to me and be gracious to me because I am lonely and afflicted……..I ask him to take away all my sins—including my thoughts and schemes of numbing the pain with lies and to continue to guard not only just my life, but my heart. Today, my hope. My refuge. Is in the Lord.


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