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Challenge: Unlikely Friends

And I think to myself, "what a wonderful world."

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I love you, God.

What? Did I just say that?

I myself was in shock at the words I had whispered. I hadn’t planned it or thought about it, but the words just came out. I remember it so vividly. I was standing in my office at work. I specifically remember the feelings that had taken over my heart, body and soul at that very moment. I was overcome- overwhelmed, rather, by gratitude. My heart and stomach felt warm. I felt comforted and loved. At that very moment, there was no doubt in mind whatsoever that God was, indeed, 100% real. I felt his love in a new way and the words, I love you, God, simply rolled right out of my mind, spoken directly to my new best friend, God.

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God is my best friend. Does that sound crazy? I guess it kind of does to some.

To me? Not so much.

I found God when I got sober. Others told me about Him. They promised me He would always be there for me. When I was confused and uncertain about His power, His presence, and His love for me, others showed me the way and gave me the words to speak.

Thy will be done is a good place to start, they said.

Thy will be done. Thy will be done, not mine. Thy will be done.

Over and over and over, I said those words. It was my go-to prayer. The only one that made sense to me at the time. It brought me comfort and eased my anxieties. I held on with every fiber to the idea that this God had a plan for me and that I had to let Him take over. I slowly let go and gave my worries to him, one moment at a time.

I started to trust God and the plan He had for my life. I was staying sober, too, which was a first. Others who had walked in my shoes before me continued to teach me how to pray and how to fully rely on God.

Ask God to put his loving arms around you, she said.

Omg, this woman is absolutely crazy- I am NOT asking God to put his loving arms around me.

On a random Thursday night, I sat in an AA meeting, where the last 15 minutes were dedicated to silent meditation. I meditated. I asked God to put his loving arms around me and my whole life changed in that moment because I truly felt God’s love. He was comforting me, and sure enough, He put His loving arms around me.

Suddenly, our relationship blossomed. My prayers had grown from Thy will be done to thank you and help me. I began talking to God regularly- in the car, at the foot of my bed, and in the darkest of times, I found myself knelling down in conversation with God in the most unexpected places, like the bathroom floor at work. I knew that my new best friend would be there for me and give me the strength to get through whatever it was I was facing and to do it sober. And with every challenge that I conquered with God’s help, my faith was strengthened. I began talking to God as a friend, sharing details of my day in the car on the way home from work. I asked Him to guide my decisions and remove me fears.

I prayed a lot in my car. Many times I asked God to help me know I was on the right path. The song Somewhere Over the Rainbow played on the radio in the car nearly every time I asked God if I was on the right path. At first I thought this was a coincidence, but it kept happening. Every single time I asked : Am I on the right path? Am I doing the right thing. Show me the way, God. Within minutes, I would (and still do) hear…

Somewhere over the rainbow Bluebirds fly And the dreams that you dream of Dreams really do come true

God answers my prayers in song and in people, too. One day, I was stuck in self-pity. I hated my life for a few hours. Why me? When will things get easier for me? I deserve more. I, I, I, me, me, me. I was not happy. I prayed a superficial prayer and asked God to help take me out of this place. Later that day, as I was driving home from work, I saw a middle-aged man walking down one of the busiest streets in town on the coldest of days. He was dressed in what appeared to be work clothes and carrying some belongings.

I was overcome with empathy for him.

I used to be him. I had lost my license several times as a result of being rightfully-charged with Driving Under the Influence. I was forced to walk-or bike- everywhere. It was quite the humbling experience. Here I was, years later, living a sober life, with a car (that no longer had a breathalyzer in it) a home, health, and best of all, my children were back in my life. How dare I be stuck in self-pity? I am not sure why this man was walking on this particular day. Maybe he, too, had lost his license or maybe he simply enjoys walking home from work. Regardless of the reason, the experience of seeing him walking in the cold, snapped me right out of my self-pity and I immediately returned to an attitude of gratitude. God helped me see that man that day. I asked him for help and he delivered. He always does.

This morning I was driving to work and talking to God as I usually do. I shared with him my strong desire to find a new and improved job. I explained that I am confused about if I should be looking for jobs and if so- what kind of jobs? Where should I look. I finally said these words to Him and I spoke them out loud: How about for today, you just help me trust your plan. Just for today, help me to pause on the job search and trust the prayer Thy will be done.

I breathed out a sigh and tried to release my anxiety as I pulled into my employer’s parking lot.

Ooh, ooh, ooh Ooh, ooh

Somewhere over the rainbow Way up high And the dreams that you dream of Once in a lullaby

Somewhere over the rainbow Bluebirds fly And the dreams that you dream of Dreams really do come true

I was late for work, but I just had to sit in the car and listen to God’s answer and feel his loving response. For those moments, I was at complete peace and I knew I was most certainly on the right path. When the song was over, I whispered thank you to my unlikely best friend, and I thought to myself, what a wonderful world.

With God my by side, all things are possible.

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