I need willpower. I'm hungry and thirsty and looking for a place to sleep. I know what I need. I can rise up in the morning and tell myself, today I will do the right things, and then I believe I will reap the rewards of self-discipline and self-control. My intentions are so good that I believe I'll do it all (and more) and then maybe I'll feel more peaceful.

As if everything works like checks and balances and tit for tat and punishment and reward.

Do 'A' - Get 'B'

I need to believe in grace because I can't believe A gets B because so often I get a really good B without finishing my A, without following through or doing my good-intended right thing. Grace isn't fair in the best possible way. Grace does not fit in a box, but it remains in all things even though it blows my mind like galaxies do.

I need creativity. I'm hungry and thirsty and looking for a place to sleep. And so I tell myself I will write from my heart-gut and I will read the words of artists and scour the etsy for beauty. I turn up the sound on music that settles my heart and then I believe I'll feel peaceful.

Most of the time, I'm interrupted, unable to do what I set out to do, unable to focus. And somehow, the beauty is always rising up all around, inside and outside the deafening noise and blinding light of home life with small boys. It's in them and on them and in me and beyond us, like galaxies.

When people say "Higher Power" that's what I think. I think of something beyond and in and on and above and below and never needing food or water or rest but always needing to redeem broken things and to love.

I need God. I'm hungry and thirsty and looking for a place to sleep. I try to hear his voice and see truth. But most of the time, my mind and heart don't match. My mind runs and settles down my heart, covering it with the lies of man-made Christian systems that steal the grace and joy that a God-Man brings, twisting it up to fit a box.

I need acceptance. The knowledge that I'm still good when my willpower fails me again. The acceptance of myself, just as I am, right now. The acceptance of life on its own terms, that whatever life is doing, it is not out to get me, because of the under and in and on and beyond.

I need to
be accepting in the same way I must accept and forgive myself.
I need to forgive the systems and the people who tell the lies because they cannot help what they do in their fear and confusion that leads them to
unacceptance. They need too, and then they grasp.
For so long, I got up day after day, trying to ignore the reality that by late afternoon I would inevitably throw in the towel and reach for wine, hoping it would fill the need, every need. I was hungry and thirsty and needed a place to sleep. And always, always, there was still that spark in me, holding on and hoping for me, being the grace that's under and in and around and beyond.

When I stopped drinking, I did not stop being hungry and thirsty or needing a place to sleep. But when I stopped, I uncovered the always-gasping-in-me spark, to see that beauty was still there, in a mercy flicker that never snuffed because the in and on and beyond never stops.

I can't stop being hungry or thirsty or needing a place to sleep.
I need.

I need to stop fighting that I need.

Help, I will say, and then the flicker will reach up, find air, and spread so I can pass it on.

I will be grateful to need because we all do and fire is contagious and I want to give it to you and to her and to him and to them. To help in any small way that I can.

And then I'll feel peaceful.

P.S. I wrote something in response to a "talk" I heard last night that got me a bit riled up. SO. What I wrote is a response to that and it's titled, "The truth is, most Christians think alcoholism is a choice." Check it out if you'd like. Thank you.

17 clicked right here to comment:

Allison @ Alli 'n Son said...

I've been sitting here trying to think of something to say about such a powerful post. Nothing worth while is coming to mind.

Just know that I'm so glad that you have found a place to fill your needs. And that you are inspired to pass it along. What a wonderful thing.

Casey Freeland said...

The need is the monster and the miracle. It drives us to our best and our worst, our brightest and darkest. Shows us we are alive. Without one, the other would not exist.

I love this post. So poetic.

Thank you,


Kazzy said...

True that once you stop doing something you need to stop doing, it doesn't mean the thoughts or cravings aren't still there.

Still loving your writing.

misssrobin said...

I love this. There is so much to chew on in this post.

Acknowledging need was tough for me. Admitting that I want people to think about me. That I want some attention. That I need help to get through. Very hard.

I still struggle. And I still struggle trying to fill that need on my own instead of being willing to reach out to others or to God.

But I remember that it took me years to get here and I can't expect to change it all over night. The mistakes will happen. Knowing this helps a little.

Ann Imig said...

I like what Casey said. I was thinking about you and your characters this past week.

I wonder if your book characters aren't patiently waiting for you--allowing you that much needed sleep/peace you desperately crave.

I wonder if they want you to just focus on you right now.

The Lady's Lounge said...

I'm not sure if there is anything to say in response to a post that says so much all by itself.

I've book marked it for when I need a reminder.

Thank you.

Corinne said...

Blown away...
Thank you.

Aging Mommy said...

I think at times we all struggle to find compassion for others, to forgive, to accommodate, to tolerate and then to encourage and rejuvenate. But always I think the hardest time we have in finding compassion is when we need to show it to our own good selves.

You have come such a very long way in a very short period of time, the fact that you can see so much beauty around you is a huge accomplishment. The fact that you have needs and wants is simply human.

Boy Crazy said...

Grace like galaxies and a mercy flicker.



Anonymous said...

Sometimes I wonder why it's so hard for us to accept grace-- a gift freely given. We can't even accept ourselves exactly as we are so why would some One who is perfect accept us? Yet He does. How would the world change if we did really, truly accept this gift? Thanks for sharing this beautiful post. Your words are often like one of those life preserver rings thrown out into sea-- just when I thought I was in it alone, someone threw me a line.

Casey Petersen said...

I was thinking about you the other day, and was hoping that you were doing all right. Just wanted to offer a "hang in there".

In regards to forgiving yourself and being accepting of yourself...I'm very unqualified to offer any advice, but if you find the answer, let me know.

God keeps telling me He wants me to love myself the way He loves me, but I don't think I can...I try, but still fall far short...maybe half of what He wants me to. He also tells me that I need to get this worked out, because this will affect my kids if I don't.

Anonymous said...


Christy said...

Sending you willpower and positive vibes Heather. You ARE doing this - you ARE amazing.

jana @ Attitude Adjustment said...

I love this post. So many of us women feel this way. We're looking for something, and we don't always know what it is. I hate those moments when the weight comes over, my head pounds, I feel like I can't deal. They pass, but when you're in them, they are completely overbearing.

Mammatalk said...

Lots of warm, fuzzy thoughts!

And, what's with this "choice" stuff? Gotta go read that.

Debbie said...

I will check out that post. I'm not surprised that is the message you received. Drives me nuts how people think so many things in life are choices when they clearly aren't.

Jessica said...

Wow, I need too. You know, even those of us who haven't found alcohol still find some other way to fill that need. And if it isn't God, it isn't fulfilling and it's only addiction in some other form. We all need that grace . . . and in giving grace we are healed, too. Beautiful post.

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