Look at Me!

I have been sober for almost 9 months now. God has very suddenly and very miraculously removed all sins of the flesh from my life. Every single one. I am finally for the first time in my adult life living righteously and you must understand this is nothing short of a testament to the Living God as not even a year ago my day revolved around feeding these sins of the flesh as my “appetite” had become enormous, unquenchable and the light was leaving my eyes as my soul faded and I approached death. I’ve battled addiction and alcoholism all of my life but these monsters/ bondages had taken me deep, to places I never imagined and were going in for the kill shot.

And God pulled me out in such epic fashion. With fireworks. My deliverance was breathtaking. Every single bondage broken and my life so rapidly and miraculously restored through no doing of my own. I got custody of my 11 yr old son back within 3 months of getting sober (I had lost custody of him for 2 years and 9 months), I just moved into my own place with my son a couple days ago…. So many amazing blessings.

God brought me out of Egypt. He parted the Red Sea and I walked through looking around me at the huge walls of water being held up on either side of me, in complete awe as to what was happening. I have never seen anything like it. He did it in a way so there was no doubt who it was and what was happening. It takes a lot to impress me and boy did He impress me.

He healed my brain and body instantly. I had no withdrawals. He prepared places for me to rest. He sent very special people to help me. When the time is right I want to write the details as to all that happened as a testimony to His great mercy.

I am not the only one these kinds of things are happening to right now. This is a very special time when bondages that seemed permanent are being completely smashed. The Lord of Hosts, the Redeemer of Israel is His name.

Even after Israel was saved in such miraculous fashion with the sea ACTUALLY being parted for them…. they still struggled out in the desert before they were brought into the Promised Land. You would think that after seeing the sea ACTUALLY part for them, that their faith would not waver and that their years in the desert would be no problem. I don’t understand how our minds can be so weak…because I feel I AM Israel in the desert, bending under the load, struggling mentally, even after all HE’s done for me I truly struggle with day to day reality and must continually renew my faith.

I no longer have ANY of the comforts and relief of the flesh to get through the seemingly long hours and days. I have become a vessel of honor and glory for HIS name’ sake. And I am determined to keep this. But I am in the process of learning how to do this…how to live for Him. And not for myself.

Because I’ve never felt comfortable in this reality. It’s all so surreal to me, it feels so slow and has never made much sense to me. I used drugs/alcohol because they helped me blot out this strange place and feel closer to God. Feel closer to home. I never knew how to exist here in this place without some kind of “buffer”.

But those “buffers” become idols who enslave you and lead to destruction.

So now I proceed to learn how to do this (this daily living thing) depending only on God. Because He is all I got. He is my only relief now. And He helps me get through each day.

Some days though I get lost in the boredom, my head is in a bad place and I become extremely restless and start feeling like I am going to crawl out of my skin. This would normally be the time I would reach for whatever….fill in the blank…to help me survive the moment and take me out of my head and extreme discomfort. I did recently try using sleep as a way to escape for a bit but I quickly found that duvet therapy is not sustainable and just makes everything worse. (Duvet therapy is where you pull the duvet up over your head and hope everything changes while you sleep.)

When I am in this extremely uncomfortable state I can describe it as feeling like I’m trapped in a box with no escape. Or a room I’m trapped inside that’s on fire. I feel claustrophobic and my panic starts to rise because I don’t know how I will sustain my existence in this space without going crazy. There are trap doors that will lead me out of it but they will provide temporary relief ending in death. They are not options.

Well a few weeks ago the Holy Spirit very abruptly and very clearly brought into my mind a memory I had not thought of in a long time. It was a memory from about five years ago when my son Luke was about 6 or 7 years old and we were at the CA State Fair.

It was a warm summer night and we had waited in line and had finally gotten on the Gravitron ride. You know that big ride that looks like a UFO/spaceship where you stand on the inside, and each person leans up against a panel and the spaceship starts spinning really fast and as it reaches it’s highest speeds the panel you’re leaning on slides up so your feet leave the ground? I love that ride. It’s my favorite.

At nighttime it’s dark inside the spaceship except for the crazy dance/disco lights that compliment the loud music playing from the “dj booth” at the center of the ship. As the ride began spinning faster and faster and the drunk carnie running it turned the music up full blast, I looked over and my son was in full panic mode. It was too much for him. He couldn’t handle the chaos and the speed and the crazy lights and loud music. And he was screaming in terror. My stomach sank. Oh no! And we weren’t even halfway to full speed yet! I felt AWFUL I’d brought him on this ride! He was panicking and inconsolable.

I quickly looked around at my options. I realized there was no way I was going to be able to get the carnie’s attention to stop the ride since his back was turned to me and the music was so loud. So I grabbed my sons face and turned it towards mine and I yelled

“LOOK AT ME! LOOK AT ME!

JUST LOOK AT ME LUKE!

I’M RIGHT HERE WITH YOU! JUST FOCUS ON ME!

LOOK AT ME!

And as my son focused on my face and my presence next to him, it drowned out the elements around him and he was able to get through to the end of the ride without “losing it.”

As I myself start to panic not knowing how I will survive the rest of THIS ride, feeling like I might go crazy with no relief….the Holy Spirit so lovingly yet very urgently and assertively brings this memory into my mind.

And He says:

LOOK AT ME LAUREL!

JUST LOOK AT ME! FOCUS ON ME!

I’M RIGHT HERE WITH YOU!

LOOK AT ME!

For a good two weeks this memory kept being shoved into my mind. Over and over. It makes me cry when I talk about it because it was exactly what I needed to be reminded of. Over and over.

And when I look He is indeed right there next to me in the room full of fire. And when I look at His face the elements around me fade and I am able to bear the flames that in my own strength are indeed unbearable.

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