The holidays bring up all kinds of feelings, some of which are treasures and others that bring us much pain. There seems to be an equal amount of both in folks that I speak with, especially about Family. Let's talk about the later. What I would like to speak with you about this week is how this amazing God we know can completely turn around and mend broken relationship if we Ask, Seek, Knock (Matt 7:7-8).
Most of us in recovery have stories about Family where we have played a major role in hurting them and being at one time fairly useless. Mine is one of great dysfunction by me and of a total alienation to my children at the time. To say I was a mess is a major understatement. In my very slight defense I had no training to be a father, and it showed, as well as my total selfishness as an addict.
Everything was broken. That was 28 years ago.
Today, through the grace of the Lord and much time spent in prayer, meetings, steps, apology and discussion, I am the oldest in a family of 6 children, 4 current with spouses and one on the way, 8 current grandchildren and one also on the way, as well as 4 great grand children. That's 23 of us presently with 2 in the bullpen from a guy who was an only child. And if I think back, I can remember how lonely that first Thanksgiving and Christmas I spent in Atlanta was, alone with no family and no one speaking to me.
Sometime thereafter, I began the process of finding God. I remember one particularly lonely day, looking up to heaven and uttering the words, "God, please help me". And I remember one year pulling out a small tree out of the backyard woods that looked like something out of a Charlie Brown story that had very few branches and needles. I am certain you can identify with your own set of similar memories.
So I began to ASK (Ask, Seek, Knock) and God began to bring me closer, trim my dysfunctional branches, lift my loneliness and bring hope to reconciliation. Year by year things began to get better, but another problem developed. How could I get to visit all this family on a regular basis, especially the way business had flattened. There were 3 states involved in location, 2 that require a 600 mile trip. So I ASK'ed again. "God, help me find a way to see everyone in the next year, I am beginning to feel somewhat detached again." That was 7 months ago.
If the weather permits, I will land in Washington DC Thanksgiving morning to visit my two oldest sons and their families. This will complete my request that the Lord answered in a very thrilling way. He let me travel to Florida to go to auto auctions that allowed me to visit my two oldest daughters and their families, and to make the money in a wonderful new job that of course, allowed me to pay for my plane ticket for this Thanksgiving. He didn't forget to dot an I or cross a T, the Lord granted my entire request.
I would like to say that He did so because I was an angel and 100% faithful to His word every day. I wasn't, but I was always doing the very best I could, and I believe that is all he ASK's all of us to do. Not only doing my best, but consulting Him on how to get better, how to conduct myself as a businessman and father, how to continue to be involved in the ATB ministry and get others involved as well. And how, everywhere I went to show the grace he had poured over me to others.
It has been an amazing ride brothers and sisters, from the nowhere of loneliness and depression I put myself in, to the joy of having a family, and the love of He who wants me to thrive on His behalf. If you are where I was or somewhere on that journey toward healing, don't give up, ever, do not give up even when it looks the darkest. Just Ask, Seek and Knock over and over again, until that day he answers your request......and He will!
Happy Thanksgiving! Glenn
Glenn is an ex-Marine Viet Nam vet who is also a recovering alcoholic, clean and sober for 30 years. He has been involved in start up and ongoing recovery ministry at North Atlanta Church and Campus for the last two decades. He has a passion for outreach and to spread the message that the answer to lasting and fulfilling recovery from addiction is in a relationship with Jesus Christ. He and the ATB team are available to assist in your questions or needs on an individual basis and will do so maintaining complete confidentiality. You may e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.