I'll be frank: I hate you.
I hate everything about you.
You showed up slowly; a red flag here, a red flag there.
You started to take shape in patterns and dependencies.
And then one day we woke up, and all I could think was how did we end up here?
Here, under two different roofs.
Here, under two different last names.
Here, now officially two separate family units.
You showed up silently, secretive, and unannounced.
You preyed on depression.
Your brutal mirage of seductions whispered:
Come escape with me, lets go to another place. A numb place. Another reality kind of place.
Come, forget this world, come forget restraint, I can offer you freedom:
Freedom from feeling the brokenness.
Freedom from having to fight.
Freedom from the hollowness of your every day life.
You thought alas your work was done because all that remained were ashes.
But I have some news for you, a declaration actually:
It might look like you have won this round, but you will not win this battle.
To be honest, I thought for a long time victory was yours for the claiming...but then I finally realized there is a way to defeat you.
And that's here on this page and in this moment. It is here in front of whomever might be reading this. It is here, leveraging this platform you actually gave me, proclaiming with every fiber of my being:
You will not win. You will not take us down. You will not be a period that ends my family tree.
You will not steal the gift of hope of new life and a new generation.
No, today. Today, you lose...for we choose to keep on living.
To keep living in the tension that life is both beautiful and crazy broken.
To keep living while facing the sadness but not surrendering our hope.
To keep choosing to see the good, even amidst overwhelming darkness.
Yes, today, you lose, because we have chosen to keep on going.
***A note: I didn't want to post this.
That's the thing with addiction, it makes you want to keep all your cards close to your chest; it makes you want to stay silent.
But that strategy is not working. Addiction is out of control. It is impacting everyone: the homeless and the CEO. The stay at home mom and the freshman in high school. The megachurch pastor and the former cop. There are no absolutes and no guarantees that it will stay away from you or your family. It could happen to me and it could happen to you.
And on paper, it all looks and feels so bad. Because the reality of addiction is heart breaking. And it will leave you feeling as though all that is left of your world are ashes. All the good, all the hope-all of it has been burned to the ground.
But I just have to believe there is a way to turn this war around. That somehow and someway all of it can be leveraged for something good. A catalyst perhaps, for our vision to be changed. An opportunity to see things and people in a new way, in a new light.
Because the truth is, we are all addicts in some form or fashion. I like to use that label and place it on others, but the reality is I deserve that label too. I deserve it too because I am broken. I deserve it too because I have dependencies. I deserve it too because I am in desperate need of God and his redeeming grace. I am no different.
I have a theory, and it is only a theory. I am not a scholar; my mind is simple and figuring out how to solve the epidemic of addiction is far outside the limits of my comprehension.
What if...what if all that addiction brings with it and all those who are affected by it...what if they have been marked by a divine invitation? What if it is an invitation from God himself? An invitation that says, you, yes, you. You think your world is crumbling from this darkness. You think addiction has won. But what if, what if, you trusted me in this storm? What if I told you all this brokenness is a byproduct of my desire to get you to come to me?
Can you trust me? Do you trust me? Do you believe in my goodness even if it means I am sovereign over your worst nightmare? The addiction, the sickness, the divorce, the death, the abuse, the suicide? Do you believe I am working in all of it? Do you believe I can make good come from it?
Brennan Manning wrote this in his book The Ragamuffin Gospel:
“What makes authentic disciples is not visions, ecstasies, biblical mastery of chapter and verse, or spectacular success in the ministry, but a capacity for faithfulness. Buffeted by the fickle winds of failure, battered by their own unruly emotions, and bruised by rejection and ridicule, authentic disciples may have stumbled and frequently fallen, endured lapses and relapses, gotten handcuffed to the fleshpots and wandered into a far county. Yet, they kept coming back to Jesus.”
Whatever storm you are in...just keep coming back. Just keep showing up. Just keep speaking. This world needs you and God wants you.