Monday, November 08, 2010

Coming clean

First off. Accountability time. I totally snoozed the alarm clock this morning because the kids were still sleeping and frankly I need the rest. But I did do my Bible study. I started the Beth Moore study "Breaking Free" last year but got derailed by major morning (read "all day") sickness and didn't finish it. So I got the audio CD's and I'm going to work through this. I'm so psyched, anticipating how God will move me to a new level of freedom in Him.

But that's not what I want to talk about today.

A dear friend at church is struggling with forgiveness. A family member of hers has sinned in such terrible way that their entire family is being affected. He will go to jail. His wife will have to sell their home and go back to work. Their children will have to go to school since mom will not be home to teach. His sweet little girl has had her innocence taken from her by her own father, the one she should have been able to trust. This man's sin is devastating his family.

We talked about how the situation could have been prevented. We wondered who he could have turned to in the beginning, when the sin was just a seedling, a tiny sprout of temptation. But even though we are ALL sinners, there are some sins the Church does not talk about.

Which brings me to my story.

Some of y'all know this already, but I was a drug addict.

I realize that according to Narcotics Anonymous, I will always be a drug addict, but I reject this idea. I think it reduces the magnitude of Christ's redemptive work to say that my sin is my identity. Addict is who I was. Tamara, God's clean, redeemed, whole daughter is who I am.

After Nate was born, I was working in postpartum/antepartum at a large teaching hospital. I was the charge nurse at night, and part of my duties included going through the narcotics cabinet and discarding outdated narc bags for our PCA's. One day I took a bag home in my pocket. Not sure why. Was I lonely? Tired? Stupid? And I injected it into my blood stream. I was hooked.

Over the next four years I descended into a crazy spiral. I'd steal drugs, and then feel terribly guilty. I would repent and promise myself and God that it would never happen again. Until it did. My husband knew something was up. But he didn't know what it was.

And I was sure I had it under control. If I just prayed harder or had more willpower I would be free. I didn't feel like there was anyone I could confide in. I mean, drug addiction? Stealing? Those aren't things that good girls do. Not things that ORU grads do. Not things that loving moms with small children and houses in the suburbs do. So I kept trying to fight it on my own.

And failed.

Until I got caught.

I was working at a new job after Abigail was born. Only my second day on the job. I had sworn to myself that I absolutely would not start stealing drugs again. I'd been clean through pregnancy, so surely this wouldn't be a problem again, right?

Until it was. And I found myself caught. The nurse manager and charge nurse were coming down the hall and asking me to take a drug test. And I started to sob and confessed.

And felt so free. The process of restoration was hard. The discipline of the Lord is never easy, but it is good. I lost my job. I went to rehab, leaving my 12 wk old baby, my toddler and my preschooler. My marriage suffered greatly. I wondered if we would all make it through intact. I had to go through a 2 yr peer counseling program to retain my nursing license.

But God was faithful. Even when I was not. Today, those days of addiction and craziness seem so far removed. I can't even imagine willfully heading back that direction. I am so grateful for being caught before the consequences were greater. I thank God that while I was acting like a complete freaking idiot, He was still watching out for me. I had been shooting up at work. I drove my car high. I cared for my kids while drugged and somehow had convinced myself that I was a better mom because the drugs made me function so great. At least in my head. But I could have killed someone. And I am grateful every day that my story didn't end with me in jail, having ruined or ended someone's life.

And I didn't want to share this with anyone for a long time. Because it's embarrassing. Because I knew better. Because good Christian girls just don't do things like that.

But the longer we keep silent about our temptations the more they grow. And when we only confess bullshit sins like "I care too much about other people" or "I'm too much of a perfectionist" we won't grow. Honesty is what we desperately need in the Church. Who are we fooling? We walk around like we aren't all sinners who need redemption. Like my filthy rags of sin aren't as disgusting at the next guy's.

So what can we do as a Church? How can we help each other be honest?


Terra said...

Wow Tamara! I would have never guessed. Thank you for sharing and being soo honest. I praise God for His redemptive work in your life. He is faithful!

Heather said...

Brian says the same thing....he WAS an addict. God heals and restores so that we are not bound by our sins. I agree wholeheartedly! He also uses our transgressions to speak to others about grace. We love you guys and stand with you in prayer for the family that needs healing.

Erin said...

You rock my dear. I think part of the problem is that we don't "one another" well at church (at least that I see). You know, we chit-chat, do playdates and Bible studies and stuff, listen to the preacher.........but when are we REAL with each other? KWIM? When do we intentionally get down to the nitty-gritty and "one-another"?
Love one another, honour one another, stop passing judgement on one another, accept one another, greet one another, encourage one another, be kind and compassionate to one another, submit to one another, bear and forgive one another...........
These are all from the NT (search one another on bible gateway!).
Hope that makes some kinda sense.
:) Erin

Amber Rain said...

I know that God will use your honesty to open eyes, dispel darkness, and bless others. I know you know some of the skeletons in my own closet and it's never easy to share, even within the church, which is so sad. God has so redeemed you, your family, and your testimony. That's so sad the devastation being wreaked on your friend's family. But it's so easy to fall prey to the pride that says "That would never happen to my family." We are all sinners and you're so right, starts as a seed, a thought, a temptation. I love you!

Tamara said...

Wanted to add - on November 3 I celebrated 6 yrs clean! Woot! God is so good!

Mynda said...

This is how we need to be! We are all human and all sinners... not just once saved, but consistently saved! We are always struggling to come to terms with God. We work out our salvation with God all the time. That is why its a relationship... Love you friend!

Kimberly Geswein said...

Tam- Love you. Attending NA alongside you was one of the most humbling experiences I've had. I had no idea until that point what your meetings were like- what you went through to move forward and get to the other side of that dark time.

I am proud of you for making it to that other side and for sharing your story.

Anonymous said...

God bless you for your honesty Tamara. I only have a glimpse of what that whole experience was like for you, but I always prayed and am thankful for God's redemptive work. He is good and his forgiveness is forever. You are a testimony of redemption and you have blessed others by sharing. I love you and I am very proud to be your mom.

Anonymous said...

Ps...wasn't trying to be anonymous...just can't remember my google acct info

I love you Tamara

NealNews said...

Wow. Although I would have thought it impossible, I think even more highly of now than I ever have. Thanks for sharing. Gabe