Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Threefold Cord (04/12/12)
TITLE: Above And Beyond
By Carla Procida
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Iím 54 yearís old and was diagnosed with Parkinsonís at the age of 43. Initially I refused to take the medication prescribed until after two years when I found it difficult to function without them. Immediately the drugs took effect, but if youíve ever watched a drug commercial the disease looks better than some of the side effects. So it was with one of the drugs I was taking, attacking my mind rather than my body, nearly destroying my life, my marriage and my relationship with God.
Shortly after I began developing a gambling problem. On my computer one evening, I noticed an e-mail from an on-line casino. I decided to play that night and for the next two years nearly every day. Starting off betting a few dollars until it turned into hundreds. In the meantime I was buying lotto tickets. At first $1 or $2 tickets, graduating to $20 and $30 tickets. Like most people that gamble, I was losing more than what I was winning.
Though I confessed to my husband the problem it eventually intensified. He was loving and forgiving even though I fell back into the gambling and deception time and time again. I drained our bank account and stopped paying the mortgage and credit card bills. Because I alone handled the bills, my husband assumed I was paying them.
Then one night he had a dream, the Lord showing him I was still gambling when he thought I had stopped. As horrible is was to have to admit how deep I was involved, a part of me was relieved. For by that time, guilt and shame had me concocting a plan to run away. I convinced myself it would be better for everyone, especially my husband, if I left. So distraught, I was willing to live on the streets if I had to, a just punishment I reasoned for the mess I made of things. Our house was in foreclosure, we owed $100,000 in credit cards and our marriage in trouble.
Not long after that, the Lord prompted me to google the name of the medication I was taking with the word gambling. To my surprise, a page popped up (one of thousands) on the relationship between the two. In fact there were thousands of law suits pending for people with gambling and other compulsive disorders after taking the drug. I contacted my neurologist and he immediately changed my medication. After a few days I lost all desire to gamble. I should have gone to the Lord as soon as the problem began but guilt and shame kept me from the place I needed to be the most, the throne of grace.
When I thought about this weekís prompt, it brought to my mind Jesus, my husband and myself. Jesus, who never gave up on me even when I was at the end of my rope. My husband, who loved me unconditionally, though tough at times, with a grace and mercy that eventually brought us into a closer relationship than we ever had in thirty four years of marriage. I, who despaired, believing there was no forgiveness for what I had done, both Jesus and my husband tied me together with them to form the strongest bond in the Universe, a three fold cord!
I couldnít imagine how the Lord was going to "fixď everything. Though the gambling stopped, the threat of foreclosure and bill collectors didnít. Without going into much detail for fear the word count will exceeding 750, I will say God did far above and beyond anything I could of ever dared imagine. Our home came out of foreclosure and we paid off all our credit card debts. He surely does work out everything for good, restoring the years the locust have eaten. I hope I have encouraged someone dealing with an addiction, reminding them that there is always hope and forgiveness in the Lord!
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