Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Self Control or Over Indulgence

As we head into the holiday period I’m struck again with memories of all the parties I’ve been to where I’ve over indulged just a little too much on the whatever happened to be available. The times where I’ve done things, said things and experienced things I really wished I hadn’t.

I was in my mid-teens when I had my first alcoholic drink. I grew up in a European family where it was normal for us to try it. My sixteenth birthday was spent in ‘celebration’ with my grandmother and my cousin, who was turning 21. Halfway through the afternoon I remember thinking to myself as I looked into my reflection in the bathroom, that I was drunk and that I really wasn’t too impressed with the feeling. I remember helping my cousin out to the car (she at the time was a mother of 4 young children), so her friend could drive her home. She couldn’t walk on her own at least I wasn’t that bad – yet. The afternoon finished with me crawling on all fours to my room to pass out in my bed. The three of us had managed to polish of a bottle of vodka and I’m not sure what else.

After vomiting a couple of times and sleeping the night away I did get up feeling okay. At least I was feeling okay until I smelt breakfast and then my stomach began turning again and I sought the refuge and safety of my room and my bed. This is my first memory of drinking myself to being sick. This was the beginning of a dark, rough road I took for over 15 years.

Both my mother and my grandmother were alcoholics so overindulgence wasn’t new to me. I had witnessed both them during the worst of their drunkenness. From my grandmother’s rage to cleaning up after my mother had vomited on the bedroom floor. Why then did I feel it necessary to do the same thing?

Now I’ve not had an alcoholic drink in roughly 3 years. Firstly I didn’t give up drinking because of overindulgence, but mainly because of my children and because of my position at church. I don’t want you to think that I’m against drinking, what I’m trying to understand is why we choose to take it to the extreme. A glass of wine or beer with dinner is fine, but how often does it stop with just one?

I can remember too many times looking into the mirror and seeing  a stranger. Someone who wasn’t me or at least who I wanted to be. I was lucky that I always remember what had happened, but I always ended up so very sick. The feeling of the room spinning as you lay anywhere you can, isn’t something I wish on anyone. The uncontrollable vomiting, the pounding head, all a result of my own doing and not from some illness – where is the sanity and fun in that?

The morning after realization of what I had done. The shame and guilt all for what? To be seen as one of the boys/girls; to keep up with the ‘in’ crowd; to be someone I’m not. I’ve so many scars from the things I’ve done. Things I’ve done because I didn’t say enough, or no. If I had shown some self control those scars would not be there now.

Over the past few years I’ve discovered that I really don’t need the false confidence you get from a few drinks. I don’t need to become the person who has few inhibitions – inhibitions are good for you. They protect you from unnecessary hurts. They keep you from doing or saying things you don’t need to do or say. Inhibitions are not bad things they are the voice of your conscience, the voice of something higher, something greater of something that wants to protect you, the voice of the Holy Spirit.

Self control isn’t something that should be scoffed at. There is such a negativity surrounding self control. What we really need to do is embrace it, live it, breath it. Self control is what stops us over eating at Thanksgiving, over spending at Christmas or saying something in retaliation to a hurtful act. Self control is something we teach our children when we’re teaching them good eating habits. Self control isn’t something that is limiting, but it is a way of life. Self control leads to a freedom and confidence that is permanent as to the fleeting feeling of pleasure that comes from over indulgence.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Last letter

Today is the National Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church. Today we pray and recognize the thousands of people that are imprisoned, tortured, and killed all because they stand firm in the faith and their commitment to Christ.

Our service today was dedicated to those brave individuals. If you didn’t get a chance to be at Cornerstone this morning or catch the live webcast, check out the archives in a couple of days. During the service we were challenge to write our last letter. What do we want to be remembered for? Well here is my Last Letter…….

Dear Friends & Family

Today I write this letter to you to tell you that I’m okay. In fact I’m better than okay, I’ve never been better.

Today I want to tell you that the most important thing in life isn’t life, but obedience to the call. Obedience to Christ is what makes everything worthwhile.

While obedience to Christ can bring ridicule, physical danger or persecution, it will definitely bring a peace and joy to your spirit. Knowing you will be able to hear those words from Christ himself ‘Well done, good and faithful friend’ – I’m so filled with excitment and anticipation.

Dear ones, please know that I’ve made my choice and I rejoice in that.  I pray that you will follow my example. Today is a new day and we have been granted grace and mercy from our Savior. He asks that all we do in return is obey His word, denounce the enemy and rejoice in Him.

My heart sings that you to can live with the knowledge that we have Christ’s love to surround us. Know I love you and I pray for you.

In Christ’s love and truth I stand


Cornerstone FMC

Monday, November 2, 2009



As a parent we want only the best for our children. We want to make sure they have the best education, the sports or arts opportunities we can afford. We wonder will they have my hair or my husband’s? Will they be as tall or short as Grandma? Will they have Uncle Joe’s sense of humor? One thing is for sure -- they will have the burden of our past sins and the sins of our parents and grandparents. What are we going to do for our children’s spiritual life?

We have so many choices to make. What they eat? What the wear? Where they’ll go to school? But do we think about where they’ll worship, what they’ll pray and for whom? Who will they help? Who will help them? Our greatest responsibility as a parent is to make sure we give our children the best spiritual foundation we can, and yet this seems to be the lowest on the list of priorities for many parents. We need to make sure that our children have every opportunity to know God and to fulfill the wonderful, amazing, journey He has planned for them. We need to make sure that we give our children every opportunity to live a life without the struggles and pain that we have experienced due to our mistakes, and the mistakes of our parents and their parents before them.

We want to give our children a spiritual legacy or heritage that’ll be with them for their entire life and the lives of the generations to come. The big question, then, is how do we do that if our heritage is anything be clean? What do we do when our past is filled with pain, brokenness and sin? How do we protect our children from our mistakes and our sins?

The most important thing to accept and to know is that you have control over the generational sins and blessing for your children. You have the power to stop the painful cycle of sin. First, you must accept that you are a sinner and that you need Jesus Christ as your Savior. This is the first step in changing the pattern. You need to recognize that sometimes you are not responsible for the pain that has been in your life. It may have started many generations ago. With each generation the sin/curse becomes more powerful and more painful.

The next and most powerful step in the process of breaking the cycle is probably the hardest and most painful of all. It calls for forgiveness. Sometimes you may need to forgive yourself for the continued cycle, sometimes it will be a grandparent or great grandparent. The main thing is, through prayer and your choice to forgive them of sin you can release the power it holds over you. If you can’t personally face the person, then you need to write it all down, read it out loud, release the power that is being held there.

Satan can’t read your mind or hear your thoughts, but he certainly hears our voice. We need to tell him that we are taking control of this part and all parts of our life. We need to tell him we’re living our life for our Holy Father. We need to tell him that we are turning our back on him and on this part of our life.

There will be times when the temptation is still going to be there. The weakness in that area of your life will always remain, and it will be there for your children. The difference is that now you are aware of it and you can call on the ‘big guns’ when times get tough. Through prayer you’ll have the strength to turn your back on your old way of life. You’ll have a story to share with your children and you’ll be a living example for them. There are no guarantees that they won’t full into sin, but you’ll have laid the foundations of an amazing life for them. You’ll have given them an opportunity that otherwise would have been so much harder for them to receive.

God, the angels and all of the heavens are ready to go into battle for you. You don’t have to do this alone, but you do have to make the decision to start and to make the decision to call them into action.