I'm borrowing from Beth Moore today in my title. Beth often feels like a best friend to me. No, I've never met her, but I feel like we've lived parallel lives in so many ways. One day, perhaps I'll list them for you.
At any rate, I just finished her latest study with a group of women from our church. It's on the book of James. Some of us want to go through it again with more of a fine toothed comb and so I was reviewing and here is the last quote I wrote down from the first video session.
Beth says, 'Pain, mistakes and heartache create a space for Grace.' I decided to sit with that for a few minutes and here is what I ended up writing in my journal today.
'Pain, mistakes and heartache create a space for Grace.' A place where God's unmerited favor can come in and show off. Its an interesting progression that mirrors my own life quite accurately. First, there was pain (all that abuse and trauma I've been sharing). Then, I began making massive mistakes (I just started sharing about those in my high school years) and now, in my later years, there is heartache watching those I love make mistakes of their own and not choose to learn from them. Perhaps now, enough space has been created that grace can fill it. But that's not quite right either. Grace has been seeping in over time. Sometimes is large quantity and sometimes just bits here and there.
I want to keep thinking of how God will fill my life with His Grace. How He has already done so and how I can welcome more of it.
As I've been sharing my story, I realize that the grace He offered during some of the hard times may not be so easy to recognize, but it was no less present with me despite my inability to comprehend it at the time. Even if still today I cannot discern how God's grace was working on me back then, I know it was there.
Here's another installment of story from my first year living with Daddy and Rosalie, his girlfriend, in the deserts of Arizona.
During that first year, as I mentioned before, I dabbled in drugs. It's no surprise to me that kids do. At that age, you just aren't thinking about consequences and you really do feel invincible. You are certain that you won't get disgustingly hooked or become a junkie in a dark alley someplace. If you even think about such things at all. The drugs are in front of you, 'friends' want you to try them and so you do.
For me, I had a friend I'll call Cassie who was making the suggestion. Since I admired her so much, I gave it a try. At first, it was marijuana. We used it in whatever form we could find, joints, bongs or laced in brownies. The guys providing it lived in her trailer park and kept inviting us to 'party' with them. So we did. Every chance we got.
After a while, that wasn't enough of a rush and the same guys suggested we try snorting some cocaine. They provided the cocaine, free of charge and so, you guessed it, we tried it. Very shortly, we also tried LSD.
For me personally, the cocaine didn't do a thing. I can only assume this was a very significant 'space for grace' as it should have sent me flying high. I remember being confused at what all the fuss was about as I literally didn't feel anything at all related to my usage.
On the other hand, the LSD scared me half to death, I saw visions of rats all over my body and other weird trips. That was enough to turn me off and I never tried that again.
However, my friend Cassie very much liked the high she got from the Coke and quickly became addicted. As you often hear about, those who offer drugs for free in the beginning will quickly begin charging their victims are hooked. Cassie had to find a way to earn money for her new habit.
I looked on sadly as this beautiful young woman with so much promise, became a topless dancer. She quickly dropped out of high school and I've literally never heard from her again.
It broke my heart to see that. But one thing that has always stood out to me as God's grace was that I knew, from watching Cassie, that I did NOT want to go down that same road. Without Cassie in my life, I didn't have access to any of the drugs, nor did I want to. I simply stopped using any form of mind-altering drug, even alcohol. (there's a story about that too, but I'll save it for another time)
I can't tell you how many times I've thanked my God for literally yanking me out of that particular pit of destruction. It would have been so easy and so natural for me to have become fully addicted to drugs and alcohol, but I didn't. It wasn't because of anything I did. I know without a doubt that God opened my eyes to what I was headed toward and gave me spiritual sight in those few days.
I've not done studies, or read a great deal on the subject, but I've often heard it said that a person can get hooked on the 'heavy' drugs such as Coke and LSD after only one use. And that regular usage of alcohol and marijuana over relatively short periods can produce the same result. For me, it just didn't happen. I'd call that miraculous.
Having avoided that particular set of traps, I carried on through my Freshmen year relatively unscathed.
There were issues heating up at home during that year, but I'll share those next time.
Thanks for stopping in!