I am slowly learning that you can’t be successful in reaching others if you aren’t willing to be totally transparent. Today, I am sharing my family’s biggest struggle with you all. For those of you that don’t know, my husband is a recovering addict. I am happy to say he has been clean for four years! All of the glory goes to God! When we were walking through the trial of addiction, there were days I didn’t think we were going to survive. I wasn’t sure if his addiction was going to kill him; the stress was going to kill me; I thought our marriage would be a causality of the situation for sure; and in that case our family was a complete goner as well. BUT God!!!….I love those words.
When God gets involved, even the most devastating of situations can be healed, and we can all be made whole again. That is what happened with us. God only let it go so far, and then He intervened. He stepped in and called my husband back to Him. Make no mistake, God is stronger than any stronghold Satan has over us! My husband has been walking with the Lord ever since. God called me to Him, and I have been walking with the Lord since that day. God healed our marriage and GREW our family! I learned through all of this that God is not done with us yet! That He has so much in store for our family, and He is using us!
However, I have to point out that just because God pulled us from Satan’s grips and has set our feet on The Rock we still face challenges. Our biggest challenges come from the recovery of our storm. Anyone that has gone through a trial such as addiction, you know the financial havoc that can come along with it. Prior to and during our trial, my husband and I both had good jobs. We made plenty of money, lived in a brand new home, drove new cars, and were quite comfortable. After addiction had taken hold, money was still coming in but was going to feed an addiction instead of caring for our family. I spent a year and a half trying to keep our family from drowning financially while our trial just became harder and harder. When God revealed Himself in our situation, He called us out of our old life. We sold our home, moved 600 miles away, and we live on one income now. We no longer live in a brand new home nor do we drive brand new cars. To say God has humbled us quite a bit is probably an understatement. Though we have walked through such a storm, and God has been so faithful to us no matter how difficult the trial, I still struggle daily. During our test, we developed a lot of debts because we lived quite extravagantly and only had one person trying to maintain all of that for a period. It was extremely hard and looking back, God is the only way we didn’t lose every bit of what we had. We are almost out of debt, but we aren’t there yet. I struggle with that at times. I miss the financial comfort I once had. I miss the new cars and the new house. It may sound shallow, but the old man within us dies hard sometimes.
During my morning devotions one day last week, I was crying out to God. I was asking Him to please pay off the rest of our debt. I was tired of the financial struggle. I had learned my lesson. I was content. I just wanted total freedom from all of these financial burdens that have plagued us for a little over five years now. In the midst of my brokenness and honesty, God revealed something to me that I felt others needed to know too…Noah! You might be thinking, “Huh? Noah?” But Noah is where God led me, and I picked up some things from Noah’s story that I never had before, and I want to share some of those things with you.
1. Noah Didn’t Cause His Storm.
Noah was completely obedient to God. When God told Noah to build a boat, Noah was nowhere near water, but he didn’t question God. He just built the ark. He followed all of God’s instructions down to the materials the ark was built from. (Genesis 6:22) After all of his obedience, Noah still had to go through the largest storm ever known to this planet! So if Noah, who was completely obedient, went through the biggest storm ever how can I complain because I am going through a storm that my (or my loved one’s) sin caused?
2. Noah Went Through The Worst Storm Ever Known To Man.
When you become caught up in self-pity think of Noah. Yes, Noah did exactly as the Lord said. He built an ark and boarded this ark just as God told him to. Getting prepared for the storm and going through the storm are two entirely different things. The waters covered the mountains! There was no plan B. Imagine being in this boat. It probably seemed big at one point in time but being on this ship during this massive flood had to be a humbling feeling. Noah kept the faith and because he found favor in the Lord’s eyes he and his family survived the biggest storm ever! If God carried Noah through it then, He will carry us through our storm now!
3. Noah Suffered.
Noah was on an ark with seven other people. He also had 2 of each kind of animal on this ark with them. Can you imagine? You are on an ark with 7 of your loved ones plus the largest zoo possible! Imagine the stench of the animals. Imagine being in that close of quarters with seven other people for a long time. Do not tell me Noah did not suffer. He was a righteous man but also a man! There had to have been days when he thought, “God, when will this end? When can we get off of this boat?” There is always suffering before God’s victory shines through. I think it is because we don’t fully appreciate God’s victory until we walk through the valley. So if you are suffering know that God’s victory is coming!
4. The Recovery From the Flood Took Much Longer Than the Flood Itself.
This was the truly mind-blowing part to me. I’ve heard sermons on Noah, but no one had ever pointed out to me how long the recovery was after the flood. The flood started on the seventeenth day of the second month in Noah’s 600th year. (Genesis 7:11) The waters did not completely dry up from the Earth until the twenty-seventh day of the second month of Noah’s 601st year. (Genesis 8:14) From start to finish it took a year and ten days for the flood to happen, and the Earth to recover. However, the flood itself only took 40 days and 40 nights. That equals approximately a month and ten days. The rest of the time was spent in the recovery process.
5. Noah Was Blessed.
Noah could’ve been swallowed by the waters like the rest of mankind when the flood took place. However, Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord. (Genesis 6:8) There had to have been times of struggle that took place on the ark. When things looked their darkest, God sent His mercies to Noah and all those on the ark. (Genesis 7:24-8:1) Though His mercies did not appear clearly until months later when Noah and all those on the ark were able to get off of the boat and completely survived the storm. God’s mercies are there. We just have to hang on! For myself, I realize how blessed we are though we have traveled through the trial of addiction. That IS the blessing! We traveled THROUGH it! Many people die while going through this test. Many people never get free from it! I still don’t know why God chose us. Why we were able to make it THROUGH? But He did choose us! We have a powerful testimony to share with others who are struggling with the same things. We have a powerful testimony for those who are walking through marital or family strife. Why? Because of God! He is what makes the difference! No matter the trial, YOU ARE BLESSED!
I wrote this post as an encouragement to my readers and myself. I often get so discouraged when it feels like the leftovers of our very painful trial are not clearing up fast enough. I want to be debt free! I want to be a little less strapped financially at times! However, Noah is a great example for any of us going through the aftermath of a difficult time. The recovery often takes longer than the trial itself. At the end of it all we will prevail, just as Noah did, and we will be called blessed because you do not overcome the difficulties in this life without the favor of God on your side. For those of you that are struggling know that we serve the same God that has the power to flood this Earth and make the waters recede all at His will. Hang on because God is faithful, and His mercies will appear in due time just as they did for Noah!
Keep Looking Up!