“You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people.”
Genesis 50:20 (NLT)
My daughter’s fourteenth birthday is coming up in one month.
Also in one month, one day before her birthday, the book I wrote about learning how to love and forgive my alcoholic mother releases. The book opens with me at age fourteen.
The grace is almost too much.
My daughter and I couldn’t have had a more different childhood.
When I was fourteen years old, I discovered my mom was an alcoholic. And not only did I discover this, I decided in my earnest innocence, that I would confront her about it. Then, just like on the talk show I’d seen where an intervention turned to hugs and help and joy, I thought my mom would realize her addiction and the pain she caused and that there would be hugs and help and joy.
But it didn’t turn out like that.
When I approached my mom to have the intervention, she was on the screened-in porch, a cigarette between her fingers, drink in her hand.
I stammered out the words, “I have to talk to you about something.”
She inhaled deep and flicked the ashes. Her dirty blonde hair was parted down the middle, and thin wisps scraggled down past her shoulders. She was a thick woman, pretty, with an inch-long indent on her forehead from when her dad had kicked her into the edge of a table. Her skin was tan and dotted, and she had a slight gap between her two front teeth. I missed hugging her. The last time I had tried to hug her she had pushed me away.
Heat crawled up my neck and into my head. I smiled because I was nervous. “I think . . . maybe . . . I’ve noticed that . . . I think . . . Mom, you’re an alcoholic.”
Did she not understand?
“Mom, when you drink — and you drink a lot — you get really mean. And I think you’re an alcoholic.”
“Mom, you don’t care that you’re an alcoholic and that you are so mean when you drink? You really hurt me.”
She rolled her eyes at me.
“Oh Sarah, I drink — so what? You need to get over it.”
Another drink, another drag; she wasn’t interested.
“Honestly mom, you’re just so mean and . . . I don’t think I love you anymore.”
She laughed again.
My insides started to burn, her nonchalance the oxygen.
Later, as I stepped into the bathtub, I entertained thoughts of opening my veins and letting the fire out with the blood. I yelled out to my mom that maybe I’d just kill myself. End it all there, alone. Would she care then?
She yelled back, “Go ahead. I dare you.”
That was my life at age fourteen. And it continued like this for several years, including getting pregnant at sixteen and being pressured into having an abortion, and then too much anxiety and false love to count.
But God, who loves to show up in the darkness and bring the most glorious light, showed up in my pit and pulled me out of it and set me on a Rock, a firm foundation, which is Jesus.
Oh yes, Satan was out for blood, but he didn’t get mine.
God set me on that Rock and lit up the rough road I would travel, but it was a road I never walked alone. He has always been with me. And now I have a husband and three kids whom I adore, including that newly fourteen-year-old who knows what it means to be safe and loved and seen and secure.
Satan wants our blood; he wants our lives to be destroyed, goodness and innocence to be stolen, and his twisted lies to be louder than the truth. But our God has the victory, and when He intervenes, there is no eye-rolling or laughing or ignoring. God comes for our rescue, and all we have to do is accept it.
I don’t know what you’re going through or what the enemy has done to hurt you, steal your joy, twist the truth, or try to kill in you, but I know that whatever it is — whatever it is — God can and will use it for good.
How has God showed up in your darkest days to bring you into the light?
If you’ve struggled with a difficult relationship, if you’ve felt torn up and crazy and confused because of it, if you need to know that dysfunction does not have to be your legacy, my new book, The Complicated Heart: Loving Even When It Hurts, is for you. And when you preorder it, you get the audiobook, read by me, for FREE. For details and to order, head HERE.
Whatever you’re going through or whatever the enemy has done to hurt you, steal your joy, twist the truth, or tried to kill in you, God can and will use it for good. -@sarahmae: Click To Tweet