Answered Prayer

Prayer is something I’ve mentioned here several times. When I pray, how I pray, and what to pray for are just a few aspects I’ve shared. Today, I’d like to tell you about realizing when God has answered a prayer.

This may sound hokey to some people, especially if you are new to prayer or a skeptic in general, but the easiest way to know when a prayer has been answered is to daily write your prayers down.

I write the same prayer list every day. Most of the time its contents are identical to the day before, but sometimes I add people’s names who may be struggling with something I just found out about. Sometimes I add tragic events to the list, asking for God to guide the people affected when they aren’t quite sure what their next move should be. And then, sometimes prayers are answered.

My husband found out yesterday that he’s going to be getting a raise at his job effective at the first of the year. I was extending my gratitude in prayer this morning as I was working my way down my prayer list and then I stopped and started laughing. The item on the list that brought me to laughter was the debt line item I’d been praying for.

You see, my husband and I have been trying to pay our student loans off so they are gone forever! I’ve been praying very specifically for the amount that I thought would help us put a huge dent in that goal. His raise was just shy of the amount I’ve been praying about for almost six months!

Had I not kept track of this specific prayer and the exact number, I’d probably chalk his raise up to a boss’ kindness or giving in the holiday spirit. But that’s not correct. This is an answered prayer.

I encourage you to write prayers down, even if it’s only on a weekly basis and you keep the same list throughout the week. I’ve seen time and time again where God has answered our prayers. You’ll be amazed at how awesome this process can be!

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Drunk Dreams and Sober Daymares

When my husband first quit drinking, it was a difficult first few months. He would wake up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat because he was getting hammered in his dreams. He has asked me several times if I experience these kinds of dreams and the answer is not really.

I have had a few dreams that make me feel shame and anxiety and definitely pissed me off to no end, but constant dreams of me drinking way too much hasn’t been an issue for me. Daymares on the other had, those have been insufferable for a long time.

Worry is an emotion that lingers way too long around me, like a fog that comes and goes as it pleases. Even as a child I worried about leaving my homework at home, forgetting to study for a spelling test, and not making the volleyball team. To this day, I still worry about minuscule things that don’t really have a lot of impact on my actual life. But when it comes to drinking, I worry about everyone.

I worry that my brother will have one too many beers and get pulled over right as his breath hits that limitation and he’ll go to jail, never seeing his daughter again. I worry that the strangers at the restaurant downing margaritas will forget that the streets downtown are all one-ways and they may head into traffic going the opposite direction. I worry that the man who seems too uptight when he’s sober will strike his wife when he falls under the influence of intoxication.

Worry. Worry. Worry.

But at the end of the day, I have no control over any of it. So what do I do? I have to let go and let God…otherwise I will drive myself crazy…all of the time!

Celebrating One Year, Yesterday

There was a pop-up notification that I have been writing this blog for a year. A whole year, people! That may not seem like a big deal to you, but man oh man…that’s huge for me! The reason why it’s such a big deal is because in the past year I have let go of so many issues that have been lingering around forever, and it’s all thanks to this community.

Before, I would walk around holding in my resentments about the past, complaints about the present, and worries about the future. That is until they started becoming too big of a burden to carry.

Now, I get to come here everyday and talk to y’all before any of the chaos of my life (that comes with having a husband, 3 kids, and a dog) takes over. I get to sit down with my cup of coffee and contemplate life with you fine people each and every day.

So yes, a whole year is a big deal for me! Hopefully, there will be many more to come!

 

So What Are All those Numbers?

If you are a seasoned veteran of any kind of recovery program, I’m sure you know by know that addiction comes with underlying issues. But I’ve been doing some research and came across some interesting stats for everyone today.

Here is what I found from The Addiction Center’s website.

Addictions (General)

  • Over 20 million Americans over the age of 12 have an addiction (excluding tobacco).
  • 2.6 million people with addictions have a dependence on both alcohol and illicit drugs.
  • 9.4 million people in 2011 reported driving under the influence of illicit drugs.
  • 6.8 million people with an addiction have a mental illness.
  • Over 90% of those with an addiction began drinking, smoking or using illicit drugs before the age of 18.

Alcohol Addiction

Alcoholism is one of the most common addictions affecting Americans. It is also an addiction that goes untreated in many cases because of the legality of the substance. However, the recorded rates of alcoholism are decreasing (18.1 million people in 2002 to 16.7 million in 2011), but the addiction is still a cause for concern.

  • Binge drinking is more common in men; 9.1% of men 12 and older reported heavy drinking 5 or more days in a month, while 2.6% of women reported this.
  • Over 11% of Americans have driven under the influence.
  • Out of 16.6 million people with alcoholism, 2.6 million were also dependent on an illicit substance.
  • It is estimated that over 95% of those who need treatment for alcoholism do not feel they need treatment.
  • More people receive treatment for alcohol than any other substance.
  • Over 30% of those who received treatment in 2011 reported using public or private health insurance to pay for treatment.

(All information can be found at The Addiction Center)

Maybe you already knew these stats. (I didn’t!) Or maybe everything is all new to you. PLEASE get help if you need it. PLEASE find a loving and supportive group of people to help you through this journey of life.

For more information on addiction and recovery programs, visit Alcohol Treatment & Rehab.

When God Speaks Directly to Us

I’m not sure what type of relationship you have with your Higher Power (HP for short), but I know that sometimes I get a clear and concise message that I know was meant specifically for me.

For example, I’ve been working on creating a website. For months, I’ve created/managed/published/modified everything on this site myself. I built it from a pre-selected layout I chose and went from there. Now let me be clear, I am not a web designer. I am not a graphic designer. I have the ability to use Google to my advantage to figure things out, but that’s about it.

I started praying for guidance about someone helping me build a more professional looking site. And I kept praying. And I kept praying. “Am I just supposed to figure this out on my own? Do I need to hire one of these fancy people that I can’t afford to make me a really cool website? Do I need to scrap the whole thing and go get a real job?” All of these questions crossed my mind several times a day.

Then one day, several months after my initial prayer for guidance, I met someone by happenstance at a workshop I was attending. It was no coincidence that this woman sat right next to me, my mom, and my grandmother. As I was busy helping coordinate the event, all of the ladies at my table began to chat and one conversation led to another. Come to find out, this woman was a well seasoned web designer! What?!? By the time I came to rejoin our table, she had already jotted down her contact information and encouraged me to email her as soon as I was ready to take the next step.

Some may see this as coincidence, but I see it as God’s divine appointment. We don’t know when they’ll come, but I try to be as prepared for them as I can be. So I keep praying for things to happen in my life and I keep encouraging others to be on the lookout for these events to happen in their own lives.

Be alert to the people you meet and interact with everyday. You never know what message God is trying to deliver to you.

Where Does the Time Go?

I know, it’s so cliche’ to say, “Time Flies!” But you know what, it really does! I was just reflecting this morning on my husband and I being together for almost 10 years, I quit drinking nearly 4 years ago, I started being a stay at home mom 3 years ago, and I’ve been writing for the past 2 years. What a crazy ride it’s been. That sense of feeling like it’s been a lifetime, but also a blink of an eye just blows me away.

Today, I just wanted to come here and challenge you to reflect on the past 10 years, 5 years, 2 years, and the past year to see how much you’ve changed. How have you grown? Have you not changed a single bit? Did you backslide a little? Have you accomplished your goals? Did you set any goals during this time?

Now, think about the next years ahead – next year, 2 years, 5 years, 10 years, and even 20 years down the road. What do you see? What do you want? Where are you headed?

You’ll Never Be Ready

Over the past few years, I’ve turned into a vivacious reader. I didn’t care at all about reading growing up. Just enough to get me by in school and in college. Only required reading was on my list to study. But lately, I’ve been devouring everything from audio-books to eBooks, books borrowed from the library, books given to me by friends and family, and everything in between. I just can’t get enough.

This morning, as I was reading from a prayer book I’ve already completed at least 3 times, I stumbled across a passage about being ready. The writer can be paraphrased as saying, “If you’re looking for excuses, you’ll always find one…You’ll never be ready for anything God calls you to do…he doesn’t call the qualified…he qualifies the called.” – (Mark Batterson, Draw the Circle)

The reason why I bring this up today is that I never feel like I’m ready for anything of significance I’ve done in my life. Ready to have kids? Nope. Ready to get married? Not 100%. Ready to own a home? Uh…. Ready to quit your job and be a stay-at-home mom? What? Now? Ready to be a writer? Okay now, I think you’ve taken things a little too far here. A writer? I was terrible in English and I have a Marketing degree. 

I wasn’t ready for anything of these things and I’m still not ready for things that I’m currently working on, but if I waited until I was legitimately ready things would never happen in my life.

Don’t wait until all of the pieces fall magically into place. You’ll be waiting a lifetime for that to happen. Keep doing life and listening to that small voice inside of you saying, “I know it’s scary, but you’re not alone. You can do this. It’s time for you to believe in yourself as much as I do.”