A Picture of A Reproof and an Encouragement

Recovery Even in Hard Places

On one of our walks, it was startling to see how a fragile vine pushed its way through a seemingly impenetrable brick wall. I wanted a picture. What I saw was a delicate bit of life that had overcome an inorganic obstacle. It was a reproof and an encouragement; a living example of my favorite byline, If you have a pulse, you have a purpose. (Paul Newman)

No, I could not see how a shoot on the other side of the wall pushed itself up and through a small crack in the mortar. But I know its roots propelled it to seek light and water and a space to keep growing.

Age and stage can combine dull a girl’s determination to keep pushing up and through; to seek the bright side. I quickly can become a Debbie Downer when obstacles loom —real and imagined. Even with several years of sobriety, I can confuse powerlessness with helplessness – a formerly favorite reason for drinking. (And other risky behaviors.)

Admitting I am powerless over people, places and things, does not mean I am helpless. There’s always plenty to do on my side of the street – where most of the work needs doing. (Matthew 7:3-5)

The trick is always pushing through my stuff (brick walls) so I can flourish, like that perky little shoot of whatever it was.

Asking for help is not weakness, even if I have come to the end of my rope; especially if I am at that point!

There is nothing so bad that a drink will not make worse – I don’t need to ride the elevator down any lower than I did!

So, when I say I can’t handle it God; You take over, I have to take my hands off — really. And not just pretend I am only holding on in case God drops my offering.

What then do I do with my hands – my mind — my mouth?

How about prayer?

Prayer is different from worry; worry is talking to myself. Prayer is talking to God – the God I understand to be loving, wise and powerful; revealed in Christ, whose shed blood is my only hope of access to the Father – who pours out His Spirit so I can pray.

In prayer, my powerlessness is not helplessness, any more than it is in recovery.

In prayer, somehow, His plans intersect my prayers, and I have more that I could have imagined, and so much better.  God makes a way through, like that persistent plant growing through brick, mortar, and paint.

I was told, early on: try not place conditions on your sobriety. And I am learning not to put conditions on my prayers, too.

Thanks for reading! How about you? How have you learned that your powerlessness was not a synonym for helplessness?

Love in Christ,

Sober and Grateful


Prayer, and how it works, is as much a mystery as how sand can be such an effective barrier against the seas. (Jeremiah 5:22) But I am glad these mysteries are real!

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A Picture of A Reproof and an Encouragement

One thought on “A Picture of A Reproof and an Encouragement

  • August 17, 2016 at 1:12 am

    Loved reading these great reminders. Thanks, Barbara.

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