Finding God in the Bottom of a Bottle
Christa Allan, She Reads Featured Author

"And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God's love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God's love. " Romans 8:38 (NLT)

When I heard that God can meet us where we are, I didn't know that meant He would plow His way through the empty bottles of alcohol and beer cans that littered my life. Mind you, even had I known, I was not at a point in my life where I would have tidied up the place for Him. Drinking and good housekeeping were mutually exclusive. Sobriety and God seemed virtually impossible.

Being an alcoholic was never on my list of things I wanted to be when I grew up. Neither was being short, but I didn't escape either one of those. Now, with the perspective of over twenty years of living sober, I realize I drank like an alcoholic from the time I started, which was while I was in high school. If a place between sober and drunk existed, it never showed up on my radar. Growing up in New Orleans, the city where if you're not experiencing a hurricane, you're drinking one of the colorful rum drinks with the same name at Pat O'Brien's, any occasion could justify a celebratory toast. Birthdays, holidays, Tuesdays ...

For most of my adult life, God and I met at family reunions - Easter and Christmas. I didn't make an effort to exclude Him from my life; I just didn't bother to include Him. Drinking eased my pain and elevated my happiness. Why would I need or miss God? I didn't. At least not until, like my character Leah in my novel Walking on Broken Glass, I experienced something so unexpected and painful, that no amount of drinking filled the void. For Leah, it was the death of her child. For me, it was when one of my twin girls was born with Down Syndrome. And, like Leah, I lashed out at God. Dared Him to heal my child. Pummeled Him with anger. Then ignored Him for years.

But none of it—not my drinking, not my raging, not my rejecting—separated me from God's love. He used my weakness to demonstrate His strength. Over the past twenty years, I've come to realize that we all have strongholds, areas in our lives that prevent us from having a full relationship with God. Things that, even though we know they're wrong, we hold on to so tightly, we can't reach out to grab God's hands. Alcohol, gambling, food, drugs, shopping, pornography, power, gossip, status, anger, self-pity. Until we unclench our hands and let them go, these strongholds will control us.

Ultimately, God didn't heal my daughter; instead, through her, He healed me. And to prove His never-ending pursuit of me, He brought me into a relationship with Him through a recovery program as I reached the end of myself, laid down my stronghold, and took hold of His hand.

He can deliver you too. Are you ready to put down your "bottle," whatever that may be today, and reach for His hand?

Dear Lord, give me the strength to be weak so I can release anything that prevents me from seeing how deeply You love me. Open the eyes of my heart so You can reach me wherever I may be, to take me wherever I need to go. Remind me that it's only when I rest in Your promises that I can wage war to defeat the enemy. Thank You, Lord, for never giving up on me. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Do You Know Him?

Visit P31’s website, SheReads, for great Christian fiction and enter to win a copy of Christa Allan’s new novel Walking on Broken Glass. The grand prize winner will receive a copy of Christa’s novel along with a New Orleans Sweet Treats Gift Basket from Cajun Creations. A second place winner will receive a copy of Walking on Broken Glass.

Walking on Broken Glass novel by Christa Allan

Shaped with Purpose Workbook and accompanying CD by Renee Swope

Treasured: Knowing God by the Things He Keeps by Leigh McLeroy

Application Steps:
Often, it's when the pain of holding on to the stronghold is greater than the fear of releasing it, that people turn to God. If you or someone you know is struggling with submission, ask God for the courage to enter the battle and the faithful persistence to win the war.

Keep a weekly or monthly journal that is a personal inventory of areas in your life where you identify thoughts or habits that reflect trusting in yourself more than in God. Find scripture passages that will arm you, praying with faith and persistence that God's promises will defeat Satan's lies.

Reflections:
Do you have a stronghold that has built a wall between you and God or one that is preventing you from experiencing a full relationship in your walk with Him? How can you use this awareness to draw closer to God?

What may have to change in your life, in your relationships, or in your thinking for this stronghold to be overcome? How can your victory in overcoming be used to glorify God?

Power Verses:
2 Corinthians 10:3-5, "We are human, but we don't wage war as humans do. We use God's mighty weapons, not worldly weapons, to knock down the strongholds of human reasoning and to destroy false arguments. We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God. We capture their rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ." (NLT)

2 Samuel 22:33, "It is God who arms me with strength and makes my way perfect." (NIV)

Psalms 103:2-4, "Let all that I am praise the Lord; may I never forget the good things He does for me. He forgives all my sins and heals all my diseases. He redeems me from death and crowns me with love and tender mercies." (NLT)

© 2010 by Christa Allan. All rights reserved.

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23 Comments:

Blogger KARUNIA said...

Having a renew heart everyday in a relationship with God is first priority. I need all my time to experience His words and got many difficulties to practice. Back...Awareness His present must in our mind.

Stay in obey, put all misery,doubt in His Hands and walk the day with His Promise (will lead me a long my day).

Thanks ya.. :-)

Anonymous Andrea said...

I, too, have a daughter with Down syndrome. The road is not always easy, but she's a gift from the Lord!

Thanks for sharing your story.

Andrea

Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is exactly what I needed today. Thank you.

Blogger MrsLouis01 said...

Thank you for this word of encouragement. Fear has been a stronghold in my life especially with my children. And I am learning daily how to overcome this stronghold. Some days are better than others but still God is glorified.

Blogger Robin Prater said...

Thank you so much for your honesty Christa. What a beautiful blessing to read your words from your heart today. Its when we have the courage to share others are blessed. May you be blessed today as you have opened up and blessed us. Robin Prater
robinsnest66.blogspot.com

Thank you for your transparency! God's grace surprises me every day! He shows up in the most unlikely of places...his grace snatches us from the streets, from bars, from the muddled messes of our pride and indifference! Thanks for reminding!

OpenID jennyrain said...

powerful... thank you for sharing your story and your heart

Blogger ~*~KIMBERLY~*~ said...

Maybe I'm just plain silly... but the audio at oneplace.com says Free w/ Registration. Registration of what and where? I'd love to listen to the audio. Thanks!

Anonymous Mary Lou G. said...

Thanks for the encouragement today also-Which I desperately needed. I have alot of strongholds and I definitely are at the bottom of the pit-that don't seem to go away. I also have a question: I can't seem to answer the answers to the questions under "Reflections" The 2nd part of the questions. Most of the time when I get proverbs 31.org daily devotions. When I get to the reflections questions: I get so stumped and end up having a messed up day-which now seems my life have no purpose-I have such a void within me. Anyway, thank you for the encouragement today. Mary Lou G.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow. I lived that same life for so many years. God chose to allow me to marry a man who ended up dying of cancer after 7 years of marriage. You are spot on with this devotion.

Blogger christa said...

Thanks for blessing me with your comments.

Karunia: You're so right. Our walk is about placing our misery and doubt in His hands so that we can experience His promises.

Andrea: Sarah (and her twin sister, Shannon) turned 27 on April 3. Sarah is now living on her own in a Christian community for adults with special needs. She is an amazing, inspiring, and preciously sassy young lady!

Anon: Blessings to God for having met your needs.

Mrs. Louise: I learned in AA to live life one day at a time. Some days it's five minutes at a time! God is always good, even when our days may not be!

Robin: Again, thanks for your kind words. I look forward to your review.

Julie: I love the way you expressed how God "snatches us from muddled messes." I'm so grateful Hands are huge and His reach is long!

Jennyrain: Thanks for your sharing.

Kimberly: I'm not sure what the registration's referring to, but I'll see if I can figure it out!

MaryLou: Don't get overwhelmed by the questions! I know God wants you to be blessed by the devotionals. He can fill those voids. Open yourself to His grace, and know that He loves you.

Anon2: I am sorry for your loss, and I pray that the years you spent together were joyful. Thanks for sharing.

Blogger ~*~KIMBERLY~*~ said...

@christa: I figured it out by accident. I got it. Thanks!

Blogger christa said...

Kimberly--Thanks for the update!

Blogger Joan Davis said...

Thank you for sharing. Your transparency encouraged me as I have a loved one who is an alcoholic. Recently, she has started going back to church after a 40 year absence and I am praying that God's truths seeps into her heart. I will save your devotional to share with her. Thank you, Crista!

Blogger christa said...

Joan: Returning after a 40 year absence is truly a God-incidence. I appreciate your sharing and join you in celebrating the victory that God is planning.

Blogger Leslie said...

Thank you for the prayer at the end of the devotional. I have a dear friend who has not connected with God in a very long time. Her life has had so many difficulties (son was murdered, husband died of cancer and the list goes on). I had an email from her today asking for me to pray for her. I had just read your devotional and your words in that prayer just seemed perfect for her. I copied the prayer and reworded it to make it more personal for her. I am now praying that God's whispers will increase in volume for her. I have been praying for her to hear His voice for several years. God is faithful and good ALL THE TIME. Thank you!

Blogger christa said...

Leslie: I join you in praying that your friend is open to God's voice, and senses His loving presence in her life. Bless you for reaching out to her, and thank you for sharing.

Blogger KARUNIA said...

Thank you Christa.. we need to make it real ya.

Anonymous Lisa V. said...

Wendy, I had given up reading books for lent with the exception of the bible and a beth moore book. It was a blessing to do so and I was giving up something very dear to my life. However I wondered halfway into it if I wasn't giving up enough. Maybe all my online blog reading should be excluded as well. But this I held on to despite the tug on my heart. God continues to work in our lives to be obedient. Because only good can come from it. We may not feel the consequences of it, and sometimes we very much do, but when we believe and trust that so much good will come out of it, obedience will be our choice far more often than not. And now I wonder what further blessing I missed out by not giving up more reading.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing your experience. I too had to work through despair and anger when I found out that one of my children is autistic. That was 17 years ago! His life and perseverance have been a blessing and great lesson to me and my family. God bless you!

Anonymous Katy McKenna said...

Thank you for sharing your story, Christa. It makes me want to hug your short little self in gratitude for all He's done in your life....Bless you!

Blogger tess said...

i, too had a daughter with cerebral palsy. u are right that through her God healed me. Thank you for your encouragement.

Blogger tess said...

having a special child is not easy, i had a daughter with cerebral palsy but through her i was healed and had a better relationship with the lord

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