by Brenda LaVelle
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Dear God 9/19/86
My deepest gratitude to you is for the protection and love you have had for my life all these years during my addiction and insanity. With these few 24 hours of sobriety, I can already see how you have worked your miracles through so many people and even animals to help get me through the so many minutes, hours, days, weeks, months and years of my self-destructiveness. Realizing more each day how hard I worked against myself helps me realize how much harder you have had to work to keep me alive and even protect other people from me. I have to stand in awe and humbleness at the strength and power you exerted to overcome the roadblocks I tried to place in your path. It helps me to come face-to-face with how sick I have been, how self-centered I have been to not to have been able to see how you were caring and doing for me what I could not do for myself, and how you were working through other people who have done for me what I could not do for myself. It truly had to have been insanity on my part, because even ignorance could not have held out so long, or been so blind to the obvious love you have guided my life with. I can honestly say that I never thought I would live this long, and I know countless others who either doubted my survival or prayed for my death.
Today, I am truly grateful to be alive, to have the chance I have been given to face myself and reality. I am so grateful to not have knowingly taken another's life. I'm thankful for the body and mind that I have left, for the temporary and permanent damage that you have spared me from even through the years of my abuse of my body and mind from drugs, alcohol, and various sharp and blunt instruments. Even as I am grateful for the new life opening up to me from the moment of my second trip to an A.A. meeting after 10 or 11 years, I can be thankful too, for the years of living hell from my addictions, because from all the cumulative experiences, I can see the strength and insight I have been given.
How and why are two big questions that keep running through my mind. How could you have loved me so much in face of my denial of your very existence? Why did you not abandon me when I abandoned you and the responsibility for my own life? How could my life have been so important to you when it meant nothing to me but a huge resentment?
My sobriety date is 8/7/86 and as you can see from this letter, it was written less than six weeks clean and sober. I am still clean and sober today. That was not a turning point for my becoming a Christian. It was only a recognition of "some Power" greater than myself that came about as a spiritual experience after looking at the devastating consequences and insanity of my drinking and using drugs and self-mutilation and attempts at suicide. But it was a start. I began a ten year "quest" to "find God." Finally, in 1996. just before my birthday, He had gotten hold of me through reading the Bible, going to church, much prayer and meditation and the testimony of the life of one of my sister-in-laws. At altar-call, Christ called to me, tears started running down my cheeks and I went forward and received Christ as my Lord and Savior. My life has never been the same since.
Many things in my life changed at that point in time, like I stopped swearing and people around me saw a big change in my attitudes and behavior. I was working at the time and spent a minimal amount of time developing my "relationship" with God. Then a couple of years later I had a complete nervous breakdown and had to go on permanent Social Security Disability. Up until this time, for years I had done journaling, and when I became a Christian, I started journaling to God. After my breakdown, I had more time on my hands and used that time to get closer to my God. I questioned God about the fairness and reason for my disabilities and inability to work again. God finally showed me the blessing in my trials and has shown me that He wants me for Himself, to be used by Him in many ways that would not be possible otherwise.
Today I don't question, "How?" and, "Why?" I know how and why because He has shown me what a loving and powerful, gracious and merciful God He is. And I truly believe He saved me for something special, something He has for me to do for Him and I think He is showing me more and more of that every day. He has shown me truth that I needed to have to be more in His will. He has shown me that He wants me to have what's best, not just what's good. And He's shown me that only He knows what is best for me and everyone else. He's shown me what a Father is supposed to be like and He's shown me to trust, with a child-like faith. He's shown me He's all I really need.
Today God has brought me back to my writing, which I believe is one of His blessings for me, and one which He intends me to use to bless other people. I feel a fervent call to make some sort of ministry out of my writing. It is really "our" writing, because, it is in my morning journaling that God literally "gives" me the poems I write. It is like I am taking dictation from Him. I call them My Poems From God. He has also given me the phrase, "Always, in all ways, to God the honor and glory!" which I feel he wants me to send out to the world. Anyway, that's part of my testimony. God bless all!
With love in Christ,
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Thank you so much for sharing your testimony. God is so good and loving, He is always there for us no matter what. GOD BLESS YOU
Praise God for being real, for making change and for keeping us going in the right direction. Thank you for sharing.
Brenda, thank you so much for sharing your testimony. It was powerful to read the first letter, and then to see the second piece and compare dates. You do, indeed, have a wonderful eye for description, and a powerful way with words. More than that, you have a lifetime of messages from His heart. So many of us develop a style, then fumble for something significant to say. I doubt you'll ever have that problem, dear sister. May Abba fill your pen with His very breath as you are obedient to the call!