Had it not been…

If anyone were to step into my mind right now; I would imagine it could probably be compared to an F5 tornado. Thoughts flying through the air. Sadness almost knocking you down. You would have to hide from the anger that came rolling towards you before waves of tears flowed beside the pain and loss. Of course, at times you could seek shelter behind the laughter or grab hold of smiles and cling to the good memories. Then anxiety may sneak up on you before quickly being knocked away because compassion was having to step in while consoling a crying child. 

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I guess what I’m saying is; I’m writing this, but hang in there. I may be on one path now and quickly plunge over a cliff landing on a completely different trail. It will all come together in the end, but the ride may get bumpy. 

We hear people say “everything happens for a reason” I’ve often times used that line myself. I agree with it, BUT sometimes those are hard words to grip. It’s almost hard to understand. Because of some recent events in my life I have been faced with this statement and it got me thinking. Digging. Researching. As with some of my other blogs I have made it clear that sometimes music speaks louder than my words. Now, let me say this…. Don’t let me lose you because of the song that came rushing to me. Keep in mind I was raised in a Christian home going to church every time the doors were unlocked. My grandfather was a southern Baptist preacher who didn’t mind calling me down from the pulpit. I say that to only show you that my roots sometimes take a southern gospel twist. Don’t jump ship just because you can’t relate to this song. While you read these lyrics let the words sink in. 

Just suppose God searched through Heaven,6
And couldn’t find one willing to be,
The supreme sacrifice that was needed,
That would buy eternal life for you and me

Had it not been for a place called Mount Calvary,
Had it not been for the old rugged cross,
Had it not been for a man called Jesus,
Then forever my soul would be lost. 

(You can listen to this song at the bottom of the page)

So this song is telling me that had God searched and not found one willing to die, had it not been for the old rugged cross, had it not been for Jesus that WE would not have eternal life and our souls would forever be lost. Do I believe that? Absolutely, with all my heart. 

Now, lets go back to “everything happens for a reason” and let’s tie in another common phrase especially among Christians. “God knows what He’s doing”

To me, these phrases are basically telling us that where we are today is no accident. The situation we are in at this moment is shaping us and preparing us for tomorrow. We may not understand it, but it’s still His plan. 

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I’m not going to go back too far in my life story to give some examples of this. Several years ago a man decided he no longer wanted the delivery route he was working. For whatever reason he chose to start working in the warehouse putting someone else on his previous route. This new delivery guy and I discovered that we had something in common. He was going thru a divorce and I had just finalized my divorce. Our personalities were instantly drawn to each other.

Fast forward..we had been dating for a while and things were… ok, but one day he decided he didn’t want to be in a relationship anymore. For the next month I went thru heartache and pain, but I realized I had stepped away from God and I knew I had to return to where I belonged. I began praying and talking to God constantly. I chose to only listen to Christian music. This was my preference. I knew I needed to be fed spiritually and that I needed to surround myself with positivity and God’s word. I would listen to podcasts over and over of T.D. Jakes and Jentezen Franklin. I got back in church. I was becoming who I needed to be for myself and my kids. During this time I prayed for my lost ex boyfriend and I told him I would never stop. He thought Christianity was all a fairy tail. I was praying. My kids were praying. And prayers warriors all around me were praying. One Sunday morning he came downstairs angry. He was screaming and saying mean things. He walked up the stairs and before I knew it he had returned. He was crying. He told me he was sorry and wanted to fix things. He wanted to have what I had. We went to church together that morning and he will tell you he felt God was speaking directly to him.

In this entire situation, God knew exactly what He was doing and every single thing that happened was for a reason. Refer back to the song above “Had it Not Been” Had that man not taken over that specific route and began a relationship with that girl and had that girl not got her life back where it needed to be and had she not prayed for that man… he would’ve never been saved and today they wouldn’t be married and living a happy life. 

381322141a6dd8d014b083bcedd9be21So here we are, we’ve been building this life for a few years now. He has a child thru a previous marriage and I have two children from my previous marriage. As I’ve mentioned before in previous blogs, this is the first time me and my kids have known security and stability. Although at times they struggled to accept him as a father figure and were afraid they were turning their back on their dad; “Had it Not Been” for all we went thru; they might not have the great relationship with my husband that they do today.

So I’m gonna jump in another direction at this point. My first husband, the father of my children, battled drugs for over 10 years. My son never knew his father when he wasn’t on drugs. Addiction took over his life and though he tried to shake it many times, he just couldn’t. It controlled him. It wasn’t even him anymore. The drugs got so bad that eventually the kids were too scared to go back. They told me things that had happened when they were over there and I was mortified. NO child should see these things. Let me make a little side note here. As mad as I would get at him, as stupid as I thought he was for throwing his life away, as much as I didn’t like who he had become HE WAS STILL THEIR DADDY. I never kept them from him. Even when the drugs got so bad that they weren’t safe to be in the same car or go to his house. I would offer to drop them off at a restaurant and let them have dinner with him which he never took me up on. I wanted nothing more than for him to get clean, get a job and be a dad. Unfortunately, that never happened.

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Right at three weeks ago he went into the hospital because he couldn’t breathe. They discovered he had double pneumonia and admitted him into ICU. The next night he went into shock and they had to put him on a ventilator. The next couple of days they discovered his body was full of infection. Clusters multiplying and destroying his body. The long term drug abuse had caused damage to his heart valve and the infection was eating away at the valve. So much so that it wouldn’t even close properly and half of his blood was just pumping back out into his body. His blood was completely septic. His heart had been tachycardic since he got there. He was on two blood pressure medicines.  His platelets were so low that he was losing blood. They were pumping him full of antibiotics, blood, blood pressure medicine, the list goes on. The doctor said his only chance of survival would be a valve replacement. The morning of his surgery when I walked in his room, something looked different about him. The level of “sick” in his appearance had taken a dramatic change. He looked so fragile. I couldn’t even imagine how he could survive this surgery. They called us after we had been in the waiting room for about an hour to tell us that he had coded before they could begin the surgery. They had to do compressions on him and were able to bring him back. They finished the surgery and moved him to ICU. That evening they removed all sedation. Over the next few days his body started shutting down. His liver and kidneys stopped working and they put him on dialysis, but even that didn’t help. The nurses called me one evening and said they believed his kids should come see him if they wanted to be able to say goodbye. He never came off the ventilator and he never woke up. On December 14 he left this world. He was 37. Our kids are 10 and 13. “Had it Not Been” for God’s promise in John 10:28 I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand; we wouldn’t have the assurance that their dad is in Heaven right now.

441e789bd59a8707ece5ef24c02fbabbSo, “everything happens for a reason” and “God knows what He’s doing” Really?! Can we say that about this? Can anything positive come out of this? 

You may not always understand why God allows certain things to happen, but you can be certain that God does not make mistakes.

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Yes my children hurt and there will always be an empty space in their heart, but I’m so thankful that their dad, even in his unhealthy state, knew that his children could not watch him go down any further. I told them that by him walking away during these last few months he showed that he loved them enough to not allow them to be around this. During that time they also got very close to my husband which probably allowed them to seek comfort from him after the death that they may have refused had things happened differently. We also have the comfort of knowing he has a new body. His chains are gone and there is no addiction holding him down any longer. 

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I don’t believe for one second that he would have chose this life. He had nothing to show for his 37 years on this earth. (obviously I’m not talking about the kids because they will forever be mine and his greatest accomplishments) No home, no car, no money, no job and probably only the clothes he had on his back. He was a miserable person controlled byc62959bd5cae7ac613446b5ccbb4bf8d an evil disease. Addiction is a special kind of hell on earth. It takes control of the addict and breaks the heart of everyone who loves them. They’re drowning, but all you can do is sit back and watch. If you jump in to save them, they will pull you down with them. You can never save them, but they will destroy you and everything in their path. Over and over people would say “those drugs will catch up with him” and now they have.

I started researching drug addiction in the United States.

“Approximately 120 people die each day in the United States of a drug overdose”

Chuck Rosenberg, acting administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration

According to the National Safety Council:

  • Prescription opioids also serve as gateway drugs to heroin, which has a nearly identical chemical makeup and is cheaper and sometimes easier to obtain
  • More than 259 million opioid prescriptions were written in 2012
  • 19 million Americans are addicted to opioid painkillers
  • 4 out of 5 heroin users started on prescription opioids

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By strengthening laws and regulations the NSC is trying to assist states with implementation of these evidence-based strategies which could save thousands of lives every year. They examined state progress on six key indicators:

  1. Mandatory Prescriber Education
  2. Opioid Prescribing Guidelines
  3. Eliminating Pill Mills
  4. Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs (PDMPs)
  5. Increased Access to Naloxone
  6. Availability of Opioid Use Disorder (OUD) Treatment

26 states are failing including Florida and Georgia. Only 4 states including Tennessee has made progress by meeting 5 of the guidelines, but 0 states are yet to meet all 6 guidelines.

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The United States is confronting the deadliest drug crisis on record

(Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, 2016)

More startling statistics:

  • 3600 people in the U.S. started misusing an opioid pain medication for the first time today.
  •  More than 900,000 people reported heroin use in 2014, a 153 percent increase since 2007  (Compton, Jones & Baldwin, 2016)
  • Heroin deaths tripled in the 5 year period from 2010 to 2014, increasing from 3,300 to more than 10,000 deaths  (Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, 2016)

With numbers and statistics like this I can’t imagine that there is anyone reading this that isn’t somehow impacted by this crisis. During my research I came across a poem by an unknown author. I don’t believe I could find a more accurate description of heroin.

Take Me in Your Arms

So now, little man, you’ve grown tired of grass758dcccb3dbff8139c9a1e2e4cc07e4e
LSD, acid, cocaine and hash,
and someone, pretending to be a true friend,
said, “I’ll introduce you to Miss Heroin.”

Well honey, before you start fooling with me,
just let me inform you of how it will be.

For I will seduce you and make you my slave,
I’ve sent men much stronger than you to their graves.
You think you could never become a disgrace,
and end up addicted to poppy seed waste.

So you’ll start inhaling me one afternoon,
you’ll take me into your arms very soon.
And once I’ve entered deep down in your veins,
The craving will nearly drive you insane.

You’ll swindle your mother and just for a buck.
You’ll turn into something vile and corrupt.
You’ll mug and you’ll steal for my narcotic charm,
and feel contentment when I’m in your arms.

The day, when you realize the monster you’ve grown,
you’ll solemnly swear to leave me alone.
If you think you’ve got that mystical knack,
then sweetie, just try getting me off your back.

The vomit, the cramps, your gut tied in knots.
The jangling nerves screaming for one more shot.
The hot chills and cold sweats, withdrawal pains,
can only be saved by my little white grains.

35e3433febbe29a577142b4b6f1ac823There’s no other way, and there’s no need to look,
for deep down inside you know you are hooked.
You’ll desperately run to the pushers and then,
you’ll welcome me back to your arms once again.

And you will return just as I foretold!
I know that you’ll give me your body and soul.
You’ll give up your morals, your conscience, your heart.
And you will be mine until, “Death Do Us Part” 

Let’s go back now to “everything happens for a reason” and “God knows what He’s doing.” We as humans like to question things. We have a hard time accepting that He has already written the story. God knows all things because He is the one who chose to bring the world into existence knowing everything that would occur. This means that it is God’s will to allow sin to operate in the world. He put in place every single thing that has happened to me in my entire life to line up according to his plan. The tears, the joy, the pain, the loss.

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Romans 8:28 NIV
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

All things are not good. We would all be foolish if we thought otherwise. Cancer is not 4f240bf5e513b6df655a024a3c055965good, drug addiction is not good, war is not good, hate is not good. What the bible is telling us is that God can take things that are bad and ultimately turn it around into something good. Maybe we don’t see the good today, but we have the promise that He will do what He says. We know that we have victory over sin and Satan and this verse tells us we have victory over our circumstances as well. It says ALL things work together for good.

If you think about Jesus being beat, a crown of thorns on his head, the pain of carrying his crown-of-thorns-golden-crowncross up a hill, driving nails in his hands and feet, hanging on a cross being mocked until his death. None of that is good. But then we remember: “Had it Not Been” for a place called Calvary, “Had it Not Been” for the old rugged cross, “Had it Not Been” for a man called Jesus. Because of Him we have assurance, we have hope, we have Joy through our trials, we can rejoice in our sufferings, we have trust and thru our salvation we have the promise of Heaven where we will be with the one that died for us and we will once again be reunited will all those that left us.

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Renewal

Mope

Resilient

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