It has taken me some time to continue writing about my weekend at Tarpley. The reason being, as I began to write I realized just how little that I really remember about my trip there. Let me start by saying that the main building was just beautiful. Looked a lot like what I would picture a hunting lodge to be like. I have never actually stayed in a hunting lodge, but guessing from what I have seen in pictures and movies. Big beautiful fire place, and a dining room table that went on and on and on. My room was in the main house, so I didn’t get to see the other bunk houses. My room was very comfortable and resembled the same style as the larger lodge area. I’m having trouble writing this for 2 reasons. One, like I said I can’t remember much, and two I’m truly ashamed of how I behaved on one particular night at Tarpley. One thing I promised myself when I began to write on this blog again, was that I would be gut level honest. I have asked God to use me to serve him, and he has told me again and again to write. Now being a relatively new listener to God, I still struggle with, “God are you sure you want me to tell that”? I believe this is a story that he wants me to tell. I have to tell you as I write this there is a lump in my throat and I hope that I can share this in a way that is pleasing to God. Here goes. One of the nights at Tarpley we were all gathered together in a very large meeting room. There was a stage and rows of folding chairs, like you would picture for a praise and worship service. There was a gentleman leading the service and at some point the word Demon was mentioned. This is the part that scares me the most. I know the Bible talks about Demons, and I do believe they exist, but what I am about to share makes me uncomfortable even now. I am uncomfortable because I am ashamed, pure and simple. I was listening to the leader, and others sitting with me in the crowd were crying out, praising God, dancing, and there I stood. So what did I do? I started to think….wow, maybe I have a Demon? Maybe that’s why I drink? Maybe it doesn’t have anything to do with my self will. Maybe I’ve been going to recovery meetings and trying to surrender my will to the Lord, and all along I just had a Demon. I must stop right here and tell you, NO I did not have a Demon. The only demon I had came in a bottle and I was pouring it right down my throat. But here in the midst of my denial, a demon sounded pretty good. I opened my mouth and began to let angry words just spill off my tongue. I somehow had convinced myself that if I “helped it along” that it was real. It was not real, and the only reason I can write this is because I know my heavenly father has forgiven me for making a mockery of what some people have truly struggled with. In telling this story, I want anyone who reads it to know that you too can be forgiven. When I accepted Jesus as my savior, he bore all my sin. Jesus died for me. He died for all my mistakes, and all my failures. I’m not sure why but I have never felt that God was angry with me for how I behaved that night. Sad maybe. But if I ever thought that I wasn’t forgiven….I could never have told you all the truth of that night. My night of shame. Thank you father for your precious grace and mercy on my life. May you find me faithful from here forward. I love you Lord.
I wrote a letter to Pastor and Diana some time back expressing my regret for my behavior during my visit and beyond. Pastor John and Diana took me into their home, fed me, loved me, and treated me like I was their own. I will forever be grateful for the lessons I learned while stumbling my way through their lives.