Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Moving Mountains, One Day at a Time


“Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” – Matthew 17:20

Have you ever had a dream that you knew God planted in your heart, but as time went on, you just didn’t see how in the world it was ever going to come to pass? Perhaps it was the dream of a career, sidetracked by a lack of education or lost opportunities. Or that of a happy marriage, dashed by divorce. Maybe it was a dream of motherhood, foiled by infertility.

I know what it is to question God when dreams get dashed. To ask, with tears in my eyes, “Why, God, why?” and “When, God, when?”

This is a story of learning to believe. In myself? No.

I’ve failed too many times when I counted on my own strength. 

Trying with all my might, gritting my teeth, doing all I could to be “good enough” didn’t work. I just couldn’t move that mountain. I couldn’t get pregnant. I was losing the marriage. My career was on shaky ground. Life as I imagined it just wasn’t happening. In addition to questioning God, I had to ask myself, “Is it circumstances, or is it me?” And just as I was about to give up, God stepped in.

I came to believe in a power greater than myself.

At my wits end, not knowing how to create any kind of life for myself, out of the mess I had made of it, I gave up. I had nowhere to turn to, except … UP.

I had read in the Bible that God granted wisdom to those who would seek it, and so I sought it with all my heart. I wanted – no, I needed – to know what the blind spot was in my life that was keeping me from the peace and joy I so desperately wanted to find.

With all of my circumstances whirling around me like a devastating tornado, I wasn’t in the mode of trusting anything or anyone. I came to realize I was propping myself up on a crutch that, while not the cause of the chaos in my life, certainly was contributing to it. Alcohol. Yes, the demon that had haunted my family for multiple generations back. Those three glasses of wine. The couple of beers. Not occasionally. No, now it was every night. It had become my daily companion, something to ease the pain. No more was it about having fun; instead it was about numbing those feelings of failure, of worthlessness … of hopelessness.

I don’t think it was any accident that at the same time I was asking God for wisdom, the same question came up over and over again in my Bible study booklet. “What is God leading you to do in order to join Him in what He is doing?” The answer that continually came to my mind was “Quit drinking.” But how? Business dinners, social happy hours, gourmet cooking … it seemed that most all of my activities involved drinking. Would I become a social pariah?  What would I do instead?

I turned my life and will over to the care of God.

It didn’t take too long for me to realize I was “sick and tired of being sick and tired.” Still trying to get pregnant, I tried to imagine life without alcohol for nine months or so and as hard as I tried, it wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be. Perhaps it was time to turn things over to something more powerful than myself. The day after a particularly bad hangover, at which time I swore I wasn’t going to drink again, I found myself back at happy hour. At 4 a.m. the next morning, I awoke to the stark reality. I have a real problem. And that evening, I walked into my first 12-step meeting. There I met people whose drinking had far surpassed mine, and whose life consequences showed it, but there was that one element of commonality: our lives had become unmanageable.

Many a friend didn’t think I was an alcoholic, and truthfully, from a physical standpoint, my doctor wouldn’t have considered me one either. But I knew that psychologically, I had become dependent. And I had also learned the hard way that there was no problem I had that a drink wouldn’t make worse. I had seen the path where alcohol had led others in my family, and I didn’t want to follow in their footsteps. I had also seen the dramatic turnaround in those who had traded in their dependence on booze for a complete dependence on God. I wanted what they had.

As I learned to trust, God moved the mountains.

There is a saying that time heals all wounds. What that saying doesn’t convey is how much time it takes. As of this writing, it’s been over 18 years since I took my last drink. This week, I will pick up a “chip” to celebrate that milestone. Looking back, I see how God has worked in my life. I can see how He was there to protect me and guide me into making that life-changing decision so many years ago, and I can see the mountains He has moved since that day. And as for my part, I see what I needed most was faith.

When I began to relax and accept God’s will for my life, a funny thing happened. I found the peace and joy I had been looking for. More than that, however, I found that the mountains I had been trying to move myself were moved in the most unexpected ways. Though I had struggled in the corporate world, I found success as an entrepreneur and consultant. While I never got pregnant, God gave me the gift of motherhood via adoption. My first marriage did in fact fail, but my new one – found only after seven hard years of single parenting – is everything I ever hoped for. And my lifelong dream of becoming a missionary, which I thought for sure all hope for was dashed by the “backslidden” life I had lived? As a priest at a 12-step retreat told me many years ago, “Don’t you see it? God has been qualifying you! Now you have a story to tell of His power.” 

In 18 years, I have learned the secret of a happy life: living life on life’s terms. We may not understand all of its ups and downs, twists and turns, and yet God does have a plan and it is good. What does it take for those mountains to be moved? Faith like a mustard seed, lived out one day at a time.

What is your dream? Can you see how it connects to what God is doing in the world? Is there anything you need to change in order to join Him? Just trust and obey, leaning on faith. You will get there … one day at a time.


Moving Mountains, One Day at a Time originally appeared on Spring Sight blog, by Linda W. Perkins.  Get even more encouragement by following me on FacebookPinterest, and Twitter.

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Today I am linking up with:

Intentionally Pursuing Intentional Tuesday   
purposefulfaith.com

Holly Barrett

8 comments:

  1. Linda, what a beautiful testimony of a life surrendered to Christ. I love that God is still moving mountains, one day, one stone at a time. Thank you, Linda, for sharing your heart at #IntentionalTuesday on Intentionally Pursuing. : )

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    1. Thank you so much, Crystal. I often say that people who doubt miracles still happen haven't spent any time in the rooms I've been in. My life today may be a miracle to me, but there are even more powerful stories of transformation that would blow your socks off! Yes, God does move mountains...every day. :-)

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  2. Linda, what a brave story! Your complete surrender to His will provided you with a wonderful testimony of His power!

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    1. Thank you so much, Ellen! I appreciate your kind words and for taking the time to read it. God bless!

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  3. I can relate to this, "Trying with all my might, gritting my teeth, doing all I could to be “good enough” didn’t work. I just couldn’t move that mountain." I try and try but He asks me to surrender and trust Him, so hard, but necessary. Thanks for linking up with the #RaRaLinkup.

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    1. Thanks, Katie. I'm glad you can relate. That statement applies to so many situations in our lives, doesn't it? We often turn things over only after we've tried and failed to make things happen themselves ... or we turn things over, and then take them back again! Thanks so much for visiting! :-)

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  4. Surrender is the only way to have success. God must write my story. Joining you from Intentional Tuesday.

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    1. You're absolutely right, Debbie! Thanks for visiting.

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