“Come to me, all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” ~Jesus
About an hour north of where I live, there’s a mall my family and I frequently shop at. It’s a very nice mall, very big and modern. It even has two Starbucks in it. My wife likes to shop, me, not so much. But I’ll still go now and again.
Inside this mall is an upscale restaurant. It’s not overly-fancy or anything, but you can get a real nice meal. They have good steak, seafood, sushi, and oysters. According to my former addicted thinking, the best part of this restaurant is the fact that it has a bar and it’s connected to the mall. This meant easy, quick access, to load up on booze.
Because of this place, I didn’t mind going to the mall with Jennifer and Grace. I’d lie to them and say, “I’m gonna go off and shop on my own for a bit.” But instead, I’d go to that bar and pound two or three beers, as well as a couple shots, then scoot back off into the mall as if nothing ever happened.
Eventually, I couldn’t hide this from them. So instead of going back out into the mall after quickly smashing a few, I’d just sit there watching the tv and drinking, while they shopped. I get mad at Old Matt while typing this, but it’s true. This watering trough for a closet alcoholic was perfect. I could go to the mall and not have to shop, but instead, I could catch a buzz.
During the winter of 2013, I was sitting there at the bar while my family shopped. Jennifer was so annoyed with my drinking by that time, she just ignored it. Grace, however, didn’t. She would sometimes say things to me that felt like a bowie knife just got slid into my chest-cavity. Of course, I would simply overlook it and continue to drink away. But this day, as my slightly-drunk rear sat there, something was different.
About five drinks in, Grace walked into that bar, pulled out the stool next to me, and sat on it. She then slowly leaned over, put her head on my lap, scooted her stool closer, and eventually turned over with her face up towards me–as if laying down on her back. She then put her feet up on the next stool over, and was basically using the bar stools as a bed and my lap as her pillow.
My dumb, buzzed butt, simply scooted back so she was comfortable and I just kept drinking, ignoring the fact that my daughter was laying in a bar while I got lit in the middle of the day.
Then it happened.
She said, “Daddy?”
I replied, “Yes, baby,” and I looked down at her face in my lap.
She locked eyes with me and was as serious as I’ve ever seen her before.
“Are you ever gonna stop drinking?”…
…That was it. Tears in my eyes started to uncontrollably well up–I quickly looked away, immensely convicted of my alcoholism. I couldn’t hold back the watery flow so I hastily wiped away the tears before they had a chance to roll down my cheeks.
I couldn’t let Grace see I was upset and taken off-guard. After composing myself, I looked back down at her.
“Yeah, baby. I’m gonna quit. I promise.”
“Good. Because I don’t like it when you drink, and me and Mommy have to shop by ourselves.”
This very moment was one of the final nails in the coffin of my drinking days. Shortly after, I killed my dependence on alcohol, threw it in a coffin, and buried it. I killed my addiction. DEAD. That is, with the help of Christ in me, I MURDERED IT. And that’s what you have to do, take away its life, so that you, your kids, and your family can have your lives, back.
So today, my friends, know this: Your kids are watching. They are looking to you for everything! They are looking to you for how to handle all of their problems, for how to treat people, and how to live their lives! You will be responsible for how they turn out. Begin to allow God to transform your life for their benefit! LET HIM MOLD YOU. LET HIM FORM YOUR ACTIONS AND ATTITUDES INTO THE IMAGE OF CHRIST! If you’re a believer, He’s already there, just let Him come out! It may not be drinking you struggle with, it could be anything. But whatever it is that your kids keep asking you to change…change it. They trust you. Today is your day! Today is your family’s day! Today is the day you positively alter the life and future of your children, for the better, forever!
A prayer for you: Good morning, Heavenly Father. Thank you for this day! Thank you for my sobriety! Thank you for helping me destroy my addiction on May 8th, 2014! You’ve proven to me that the Bible is true–I really CAN do all things through Christ’s strength in me! I NEVER THOUGHT I WOULD QUIT DRINKING! AND NOW LOOK! BOOOOOOOM BABY!!!! Right now, I lift up all who are reading this, directly to you. For those who are deep into an addiction or struggle with a bad, destructive habit–HELP THEM. They’ve tried a thousand times to quit, AND THEY CAN’T! I couldn’t quit either. You don’t want us to so much quit, but instead, to BEGIN! You want us to begin a brand new life WITH you! You want us to be transformed by the renewing of our minds! Teach them how to do this! Send new people into their lives! REMOVE the people who you want gone! Let them know you love them EXACTLY as they are! But also, let them know you have a MUCH better plan for their lives, WITHOUT THIS! Speak to their souls and let them know you will actually USE their past addictions and struggles for good! NONE OF IT GETS WASTED! YOU USE IT! Tell them! Let them know that you’ll recycle this pain into an eternal, GOOD purpose–THEIR PURPOSE and testimony! Today is the day they begin being their true selves! I pray this in Jesus’ name! Amen.
This devotional is from 60 Days for Jesus, Volume 2. Get your copy here!