James 4: 7-8 says “So humble yourselves before God. Resist the Devil, and he will flee from you. Draw close to God, and god will draw close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, you hypocrites.
Not sure why, but after reading this verse this morning I was drawn to write about my friend Jenny. Jenny was a a beautiful, educated, married mother of two. She also worked outside the home as the Director for Special Education at my sons school, so we are not talking about a dummy here. She was also an Alcoholic. One of the scariest types. The type that could “clean up real well.” The type that could drink all evening, then get up and run 5 miles the next morning. The type that wore her bikini in the summer, and Burberry coat belted in the winter. On the outside, she looked like it was all working quite well for her.
I met Jennifer one rainy after noon inside the basement of the downtown Methodist church in the small town where I live. She not only admitted in our AA meeting that she was an alcoholic, she stood up when she spoke. She spoke very eloquently and for quite some time. She was also drunk. For the next 4 years I would watch her come in and out those doors, struggling with alcoholism. During that time, she was in treatment 2 occasions, and jail 2 different times, the last being for 6 months. Jennifer was very good at drinking for quite some time, but as alcoholism is progressive, it began to catch up with her. She still ran, and looked beautiful, but her skin was starting to take it’s toll, and I noticed her hair was becoming quite brittle and thin.
I began to invite Jennifer to church with me, the last year of her life. She loved church. I gave her a recovery bible, which later she gave back. It was marked up with notes she had taken. She would discover something new in the Bible, and call me so amazed, excited, and wanting to talk about it. She was also still drinking. Jenny’s husband had divorced her by this time. I believe he was doing his best, but he told me he had to protect the children. She had received her 2nd DUI with the children in the car, and was waiting on sentencing from the judge whom we had heard was not all too happy with her. While waiting for the court date, and sentence from the judge, she was intoxicated at school to the point of not being able to stand, and removed from the premises. This final act at school cost her the job that she loved. She had been dismissed another time previously at a private school in another city. That particular incident was swept under the rug, so to speak. I should probably mention that Jennifer’s husband was a relatively wealthy man and for quite some time without meaning to , he and others enabled her for several years. Jenny received her sentence 6 months in jail. This was a real shock to her. She truly never believed that she would actually spend any lengthy time in jail. Her last “visit” had only been for 30 days. She was devastated.
She wrote me a lengthy letter from jail, explaining how she was getting closer to The Lord and she new that she was exactly where she needed to be. She got out of jail after 6 months, stayed sober for 30 days and I only saw her one more time. She gave me back the Bible that I had given her, and thanked me for all my help, but she would not come back to AA or the church. I knew that she was broken. Some people find The Lord when they are broken, and choose to do his will, and I guess some do not. I got a message on my phone shortly after Valentines day a few months later. Jenny was found in her home dead. Official cause of death, heart attack. I also found out later that her husband was getting remarried and had just notified her. She not only died from alcoholism, she died with a broken heart.
I began to contact other people who knew her, and find out funeral plans. There was no Obituary in the local paper where she lived. There was no celebration of her life. Only sadness of what could have been. It was as if she were a piece of trash that no one cared anything about. I was so angry inside. Angry with the disease, angry with her enablers, and angry with her ex-husband who I thought should have a least written an Obituary and had some kind of memorial for her.
Today I am sad. Sad for what could have been. Sad because I know she knew the lord, but yet chose to not surrender to his will. Sad for her two beautiful children who will grow up without her………..Some receive Gods Grace, and some choose another way.
Father in Jesus name I thank you today. I thank you because you never gave up on me. I thank you that you love never fails. I thank you that I can celebrate today my delivery from alcoholism, only because of the blood of your son Jesus who covered all of my sin.
James 4: 10
When you bow down before The Lord and admit your dependence on him, he will lift you up and give you honor.
In anguish I cried out to The Lord, and he answered, by setting me free.