Saturday, January 13, 2007

Manila Envelopes & Miracles

On Friday two weeks ago, my husband and I retrieved our son from jail, where he had been for four months. He walked out wearing "world" clothing and carrying a Gideon Bible and a manila envelope containing his commisary receipts ("They said you can deduct this off your taxes, Mom."), one of his Algrebra notebooks (a tangible reminder of progress made), and a bar of "state soap" (Let the record reflect that Mom prays he never has to use "state soap" again).

We drove straight to Houston from the jail and spent the night at my aunt's house. It was an emotional and gut-wrenching experience. We fed him two good meals, we hugged and touched and talked and cried. And in less than twenty-four hours after getting him out of jail, we delivered him to a rehab facility in Houston. We took him to a place where we will not be able to see him or talk to him again for ninety days (the program is designed to last for two years). We have been able to write him, and he will be able to write us beginning next week.

I have asked God for many things in the last several years, some of them noble, and some of them not. It's hard to know what to ask God for in situations like this, there are no easy answers. I"ve asked God to end our pain, I've asked for strength to endure. I've begged for a miracle, for my son to be spontaneously healed of this disease.

My faith has been called into question at times because I tend to see the reality that this is a life-long battle that is rarely instantaneously cured. I’ve been walking this road with my son for nearly six years. I’ve seen a lot of programs, seen a lot of effort extended and known a lot of prayers were being offered up on our behalf. To be honest, I have seen very little “success” in dealing with addiction. In fact, I have seen so much failure that I wonder how the professionals can continue to do their work in the face of such overwhelming odds.

Sometimes, I think the miracle is simply the continued ability to put one foot in front of the other, trusting that there is enough grace to make it through each day.

Many times, I think of that verse in Samuel, "thus far, the Lord has helped us", and I am grateful.


  1. "I have seen so much failure that I wonder how the professionals can continue to do their work in the face of such overwhelming odds."

    I read this line and immediately thought of God...of how many times He approaches us to be His beloved children and how many times we laugh and walk away. Yet...he keeps on wooing us and rejoicing every time one of us sets down our pride and runs to Him.

    I guess what I'm trying to say here is there is always reason to hope. I will continue to keep your family in my prayers.

  2. Big huge giant tight hug.
    And lots of prayers for you and yours.

  3. Be strong and courageous, do not be terrified, do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God is with you where ever you go.

    I made my Sunday school class memorize this. I don't remember the reference even. It's gotten me through some rough times, I hope it can do the same for you.

  4. you know what, girl? even before you posted on my blog today, i thought "i need to check in with annie to see how she is doing."

    you are so strong, so amazing. you are a pillar of strength for your son, through your faith, even when it falters. keep being the encourager, the love-er, the one who brings healing through her words and art. i am continuing in prayer for your son and know the next few weeks are crucial in his growth.

    so be it and the people said "amen." i am here if you need me, dear one.


  5. I guess the hardest things in our lives can only be handled successfully one step at a time, one day at a time...
    I am praying for you and your family, Annie...

  6. Jules Yes, thank God for his faithfulness, and for the hope that can always be found, no matter how bleak things seem to be.

    Linda Thank you so much. I appreciate you checking in on me.

    Patti Thanks for reminding me of that excellent verse to remember at times like thess. I think it's found in Joshua. I helped a group of young girls memorize it several years back.

    Penni Thank you for your affirming words...if only I were half the woman you think I am!! Thank you for your continued prayers. I have been praying for you as well, I know you have your hands full.

    Thanks Regina Clare Jane, for you prayers. I know your words come from your own experience and I pray that you will continue to have strength and comfort in your journey.

  7. I add my prayers, Annie. It does little good to think how much worse off some other people are. Far better to remember what good God has done in your life. Blessings to you.

  8. Keep praying and hoping. And living.

  9. Soul care. Think about it. Your son needs soul care, and so do you. You two have more in common than blood. Nothing speaks to the soul like the Word of God speaks to the soul. Keep praying the Word over the two of you. In so doing we will be in agreement for I too will be praying God's word over you all.

    In you I see what my own mother must have feeling the night all hell broke loose in our home and she gave me over to God and never took me back. Oh how she cried. The was 22 years ago. You're right; sometimes there is no spontaneous deliverance. And I wouldn't trade anything for the lessons I learned during that time. I think it makes people like you and me better ministers.

    Of course that never changes the fact that it hurts like heck in the mean time. I wish you could be here in two weeks. I'm sharing my testimony with my church. Maybe I can get it a copy of the message and download it. I'll let you know.


  10. David Thank you for your prayers. I am very grateful for the good God has done in my life, but I am also aware that there are others who have things far worse than we do. What I try to keep in mind is that God allows the rain to fall on the just and the unjust, there is not always apparent rhyme or reason in life. We got word yesterday that one of my son's friends has died, probably from alcohol poisoning. His struggles paralleled my own son's struggles and we mothers mourned our son's choices and paths in life. Who understands why that mother had to lose her son and I still have mine? I don't know.

    Rach Praying and hoping come failry easy to me...I've got a couple of real life friends who tend to remind me to breathe. Your reminder to keep living is insightful. Thanks.

    Wading Yep, you got it, we do have more in common than blood! Our makeup and personalities are so similar. So much so that I have to work hard at reminding myself that this is (mainly) his battle, and not mine. I don't always succeed in leaving him in God's hands, though that is the best place for him.

    Do let me know about your testimony, I'd like to hear it.

  11. Hi Anni
    Read this and want to encourage you that the Lord goes with you.


  12. I am just so proud of you. I know that this is not an easy thing.


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