My strongest desire is to live my daily life in such a way that I am aware of God's presence, honoring Him in what I do, say, and think and at the same time, experiencing the peace that He has promised me and I know is available to me. I participate in different activities, disciplines, and such, in order to learn more about how to live life in such a way; sometimes with success and sometimes with little growth but never giving up.
This past weekend, I participated in a retreat (one of my favorite ways of learning and practicing a lifestyle that helps me with a higher awareness of God's presence) and I am still chewing on some of the wonderful gifts and insights that God revealed between Friday and Sunday afternoon.
If you know me (well) you know that I am a grateful member of Al-Anon. And also, if you know me (at all) you know that I am a follower of Jesus Christ. This is something that I actually had to "work through" in my mind. Let me explain.
I became a Christian in 1987. When that decision was made, I believed (rightfully so) that my trust in Jesus Christ and faith in God would provide me with all the tools that I would ever need for life from that day forward. But, what I was finding out in the years that followed my decision was that I didn't know how to use these tools very well. I found myself, periodically, asking for "outside" help and one of the common themes that was suggested to me was, "Have you ever considered going to Al-Anon?" I was able to brush that question aside with different answers for over a decade, mostly due to the belief that I already had Jesus...what more could I get from Al-Anon?
When I finally started attending Al-Anon meetings about 8 years ago, I realized that this program gave me specific instructions to use tools that I already had to live a life that would bring a deeper awareness of God's presence, honor Him, and experience the peace (serenity) that He promised and I craved.
The retreat that I attended this past weekend was a retreat for women in recovery - AA, Al-Anon...or whatever 12 step program one might be a part of. And Jesus Christ was all in it. The speakers spoke openly about their Higher Power and He was MY Higher Power. There was no beating around the bush or pretending He was anyone else and how absolutely and wonderfully empowering it was! Not everyone in attendance professed Jesus Christ, but many (most) did and I was given such a gift as a result of their openness.
For the first time, and I have attended similar retreats since 2006, I left there with the usual mountaintop feeling but arrived home without feeling discouraged. I felt empowered and have remained that way still (up to this writing). I have spoken boldly about what God has shown and been enlightened in some new areas. Finally, there are words to better express the answer to the question, "Why do you attend Al-Anon?"
Because I have turned my (unmanageable) life over the the care and will of God....the God of my understanding...who is the God that drew me into His salvation to help me maintain sanity.
Oh, I am so grateful.