20: Twelve Steps to God

20: Twelve Steps to God

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Devotional Stories for Tough Times

Twelve Steps to God

By Jamie Lee

I can do all this through him who gives me strength.

~Philippians 4:13

The relationship I have with my Creator today was born from a broken heart. I had grown up knowing about God, but I never really knew God until I was in my early thirties and eleven years into a destructive marriage.

I found myself married to an addict, and our lives had gone from love and kindness to anger and isolation. I was miserable, but I did not believe I could survive without this man in my life.

I began attending Al-Anon meetings, where we discussed the 12 Steps and the spiritual awakening they invite into our lives. At every meeting, I recited the prayer, but I had yet to feel it in my heart. Still, I believed that God would bring me out of the darkness.

I depended on God to carry me every second of the day. When I woke, before I even opened my eyes, I welcomed God into my life: “Good morning, God. Please help me get out of bed; please help me get dressed; please help me make it through the day.” I was living in the moment, unable to face my future or feel joy.

I knew I was dying in this marriage, and I also knew that I had to make changes.

One lonely night, I found myself alone and drowning in despair. I dropped to my knees and confessed, “God, if you want this marriage to end, you have to end it — I can’t.”

Two days later, God answered. I came home after work and found a note from my husband. The note was scribbled on a small piece of lined pink paper and read, “Went to work in Montana.” There was no explanation, no “I love you,” and no “I’ll call.”

As I stood in my kitchen reading the note, a warmth and peace came over me. I felt my worries and troubles fly away. I felt a love and clarity I had never experienced before, and there was no fear. I knew exactly what I needed to do. It was time to file for divorce.

God opened my heart, and I experienced the spiritual awakening I had heard others speak of so often. I knew at that moment that my marriage had been finished for a long time; I had just refused to let go out of fear. I also knew the time for fear was over.

Seventeen years have passed. There have been times when doubt and fear have come back to me, but God always reminds me of His presence, and the peace returns. I think back on that day, on that moment, and how blessed I am. I chuckle when I remember how I believed I couldn’t live without my husband. But, in a way, I was right. I didn’t survive without him; I thrived. I am living a life of joy and purpose, thanks to the grace of God.

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