Addiction & Recovery, Hurt & Faith

“All the voices calling out to me”

Moms do a lot of driving.

There’ve been days when I’ve put a hundred miles on the car even though most of my trips are only a few miles. School, the other school, and then the next one, work, the store, the other store that has the thing I couldn’ t find at the first one, rehearsals, practices, back to work for a meeting, church, picking up friends, dropping off the outgrown toys and clothes at Goodwill, running back out to get the poster board for the project . . . hours and hours on the road.

* * * * *

Last year, I got into the habit of listening to Dave Ramsey. He’s on twice out here where I live, and I’d get in nearly all of his show during my after school and evening life route.

Lots of good, sound advice. Practical, common sense “just like Grandma would give.”

But he’s a bit on the cocky side, to put it mildly. And sometimes the tone of his advice is really harsh. Snap judgments about people in a 3 minute conversation.

Every now and then, I’d hear in the voice of a caller a kind of confusion, pain and fear I’ve known myself. But being the tactful bulldozer he often is, Dave would jump on the “he’s an idiot” bandwagon and tell the listener her husband was irresponsible and she’s put up with him long enough. He just needs to stop being stupid.

And I’d yell at the radio, Dave! Get off your soapbox. Her husband is hiding something major — like an addiction — and she doesn’t know it yet and you can’t see it, but show a little compassion, please!

After a few of those, I couldn’t listen anymore.

Now, I’m not anti-Dave Ramsey (I live with my own financial counselor husband Dave, which means we’ve had no credit cards for 3.5 years. We drive cars that scream “this is what No Car Payment looks like.” And we have been chipping away at our debt snowball.) . . .

. . . it’s just that massive and destructive irresponsibility in a person who was once reasonably responsible is a major indicator that something is wrong. It’s not about the budget.  It’s not about responsibility.

I tried the just be more responsible method of “encouragement” for many, many years. It never worked. Because stupid wasn’t the problem.

* * * * *

I didn’t know about Dave Ramsey when the kids were little and I was doing my life route. School, the YMCA, AWANA, the park, the store with the unwieldy shopping cart that seats four, the bank with a drive thru, the doctor, the pharmacy with a drive thru, the coffee place with a drive thru, McDonald’s . . . with a drive thru. . .

What I tuned the radio to in those days was music to soothe the chaos in the car.

Radio Disney for the kids when the sun was shining and all seemed right with the world.

Christian radio when my heart was so full of pain that I needed constant bolstering just to make it through the day.

So many drives through tears.

A miracle I never had an accident . . .

. . . the Voice of Truth  still makes me drive around the block again, just so I can hear it all.

The first time I ever heard it was when Dave was in rehab. I was sitting somewhere near the front of the church. It was the special music by our worship team. I’ve never fought so hard against weeping in my life.

It was a song about my Dave.

About so many discouraging voices, primarily his own, telling him he was a loser and would never be the man he’s supposed to be. And some days when I felt like I just couldn’t stand it anymore, my voice was right there, too. Another voice reminding him of all the times he’d tried before and failed.

At that moment (and every time I’ve heard the song since) I knew it was God telling me “Deb, you don’t know the plans I have for Dave. This is for My glory.”

* * * * *

We’re so quick to give up on people. To see only failure. To peg them as a loser in a 3 minute conversation.

But sometimes there’s a story God is writing. A story that’s kind of hard to believe.

Sometimes it takes patience we don’t have.  Endurance we don’t feel . . .

* * * * *

John Ortberg calls this kind of end-of-your-rope despair a “God-sized” challenge — something we can’t do without God’s help — in a book he wrote called If You Want to Walk On Water, You’ve Got to Get Out of the Boat.

I’ve been reading it this week . . . before my mom-taxi shift begins. And it reminded me.

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Oh,what I would do to have
the kind of faith it takes
To climb out of this boat I’m in
Onto the crashing waves
To step out of my comfort zone
Into the realm of the unknown
Where Jesus is,
And he’s holding out his hand

But the waves are calling out my name
and they laugh at me
Reminding me of all the times
I’ve tried before and failed
The waves they keep on telling me
time and time again
“Boy, you’ll never win,
You you’ll never win

But the Voice of truth tells me a different story
the Voice of truth says “do not be afraid!”
and the Voice of truth says “this is for My glory”
Out of all the voices calling out to me
I will choose to listen and believe the Voice of truth

Oh, what I would do
to have the kind of strength it takes
To stand before a giant
with just a sling and a stone
Surrounded by the sound
of a thousand warriors
shaking in their armor
Wishing they’d have had the strength to stand

But the giant’s calling out
my name and he laughs at me
Reminding me of all the times
I’ve tried before and failed
The giant keeps on telling me
time and time again
“Boy you’ll never win,
you’ll never win.”

But the voice of truth tells me a different story
the Voice of truth says “do not be afraid!”
and the Voice of truth says “this is for My glory”
Out of all the voices calling out to me
I will choose to listen and believe the Voice of truth

But the stone was just the right size
to put the giant on the ground
and the waves they don’t seem so high
from on top of them looking down
I will soar with the wings of eagles
when I stop and listen to the sound of Jesus
singing over me

“Voice of Truth” — Casting Crowns