I ended chemotherapy and radiation treatment in November of 2012. I went back to work right away. I didn’t work a full-time schedule but I needed the money to pay for my benefits. I was tired, even with the great flexibility of being able to work from home. I would take breaks to just lie down and close my eyes. My work involves detailed statistics and edits to content. It took mental energy.
I was also in a shady involvement with a gentleman who was a new Christian. It was semi-romantic but I’ll save the details of that for another blog post. In any case, it was a relationship that, once again, had preoccupied me to the delusion of marriage potentials. I was also trying desperately establish my independence. During recovery, I lived off disability and my mom, sister and church stepped in to help with expenses and groceries. Sometimes relying on other people can make you feel even more ill.
The good news is that I was well enough to attend church. The bottom section of the leaflet was reserved for a three-sentence description about Reformers Unanimous, a faith-bsed addictions recovery program. The Lord worked on my heart, drawing my attention to that page and prompting me to go “check it out.” Two weeks – I prayed, debated with God. Why do I have to go, God? It’s not even pretty. My heart will get broken with that ministry. People come and go. And addictions hurt. I’m going to have to face some pain and the effects of it.
I was already dealing with a home with an absent father. I knew he was an alcoholic. The guy in the shady relationship was addicted to marijuana, even though he help the addict’s common declaration that he “could stop any time.” I had people in my life who smoked, gambled, manipulated emotions, withheld love passive-aggressively. Was that really different from meth? Needles?
The Holy Spirit was gracious enough to let me take a test step. I approached the wife of the program director, probably appearing somewhat disgruntled with my own questions. She encouraged me to check out the next meeting, which was that Saturday.
I took my daughter with me that evening. It felt nice to know that we were going to be at church on a Saturday night. It was suggested to me that she can hang out in the nursery, even though she was eleven years old. I agreed, sensing that any talk of addictions might be too heavy for her ears. Go be with the babies, Bubb.
Over the next few weeks, RU unfolded its purpose for me. I didn’t have substance abuse issues. But I needed healing. I definitely had the weight of codependent relationships, the recent trauma of cancer, the pebbled road of recovery and the stronghold of relationship addictions (it’s a real thing, as I later learned). My daughter’s heart grew for the nursery and her faithfulness to that ministry and those babies is wonderful to see. At a young age, she has learned work ethic, attentiveness and helpfulness. I love hearing how she has a natural gift with children and that there are many nights where they could not have managed without her.
I call RU the swiffer of faith. Salvation is important. After that, our walk still involves facing deep-rooted habits and patterns that only the Holy Spirit can reprogram. RU comes in and sweeps those little corners of darkness with the light of Scripture and Truth, that is only found in Jesus.
The Lord helped me healing through RU by participating in the women’s counsel groups, spending time with the teenagers and sharing lessons on the principles with them. I had to walk through my own teenage years again to be able to teach them practical applications from their perspectives. I saw how hurt I still was in my thirties from things that happened in my early teenage years. God helped me heal from the confusion and emptiness by loving those girls.
God also showed me the resilience and commitment of godly women, who survived abusive stages of their marriages and held on tightly to the Lord, only to see their husbands become loving, loyal partners who stood so far away from that brokenness. The Lord introduced godly men who would help and minister to me and my daughter – from counsel on how to deal with an unsaved father to practical help with an oil change for my car. God showed me a new family.
RU would deal with the hurt, past and present. It tackled the mindset and went into the gritty process of cutting out bitterness and anger at its root.
I also called RU “God’s reality TV” because prayers were answered, one after another. Family members getting saved after we prayed for them, session after session, for months at a time. Relationships repaired. The Word of God was represented firmly when people were struggling with questionable decisions. Counsel groups advised on how to deal with difficult friends, unsaved family members, how to show love and mercy in real and loving ways.
RU still helps me heal. Helps me pray. This ministry energized me with a passion for people’s souls. I watched men and women with a past, bearing the consequences of their choices. The best lesson for me was to know that I wasn’t better or different from them. I had the same hurt, just in a different shell. Most of all, I knew that feeling of wanting to be loved, to be shown the right way to do things, wanting to make the right choices but feeling so bound and clumsy with my judgment in how to do that. I knew all too well what it feels like to be less-than something and to want to come to church, waiting to hear something that will get me through the next hour, just enough to keep me going until I get home.
RU helped me face my sin: my impulsiveness, my withholding, my defeated efforts at trying. RU helped me get to know Jesus. I knew I was saved. But the person who kept walking with me through my anguish was Jesus. I got to know Him more and I keep asking Him questions about my situations. RU reminded me I always had access, as a daughter of the King.
RU showed me how to heal through service. Talking with women in the counsel groups, giving weekly testimonies about God’s goodness and reaching out to new people all got me in the “course of service” and tending to their prayers and needs took my mind off my own circumstances. I am so thankful that the Lord led me to RU. The love that my family has experienced is so precious and I would not have imagined that God’s goodness would be so genuine and immediate through the kindness and realness of other people.