Four Days

In four days from today, my father, Robert will have been gone a year. It doesn’t seem like it has been a year already. He is in his Heavenly home and someday we will meet again.

I sense his presence in my home. Maybe it’s wishful thinking that he is here; maybe not. I have never been good at keeping indoor plants thriving. I have two special plants in my kitchen window. The smaller plant was gifted to our daughter on the birth of her son by my parents.  We transplanted it into a pot when we got home and it has taken off and continues to amaze me at its growth. The larger pot holds a plant from my father’s memorial service. Tall green leaves, flowing up out of the plant with white blooms. Did it have the blooms a year ago? I really can’t recall. I have never seen any blooms on it, until today. Knowing nothing about either plant, except they hold special memories in my heart, I can’ quite grasp if the flowering blooms are part of the plant and they only bloom once a year or if maybe it is a signal from my father that life goes on.

And our lives have gone on. Do we have days when we struggle and wonder why he had to leave us so early? Most certainly. Did he leave us a legacy of love and loving others? You bet he did. My father could be a very stubborn man, but he loved everyone. Not just some people, but everyone. And I think back on my life with him and how many ups and downs we had, but never once did I doubt his love for me.Ever.

He was in poor health near the end of his life here on earth. He lived as he wanted and did things his way, always. So frustrating at times, but I seem to be falling into his footsteps when it comes to the way I live my life. I am not always healthy in my eating or how I treat myself. I have smoked for many years and now, it is hindering my life. I am in the process of quitting for good because I still have too many things I hope to accomplish for Jesus; and that’s quite hard to do if I am not around. The addiction is so overwhelming, but I know that in the Bible, Philippians 4:13 it says “I can do all things through Jesus Christ, he strengthens me.”

If I confess that Jesus is Lord and believe it with my entire mind, soul and heart, than I know that Jesus will help me beat this addiction. I have quit various times in the last 30 years that I have had this disgusting habit. Yes it disgusts me. I don’t like how I smell, how my clothes smell and how it has affected my health. I know that food tastes better and I feel better when I don’t smoke. And the enemy knows that too.

Each time I was pregnant (3x), I stopped smoking immediately. I wanted to give my unborn child every advantage and make sure that I wasn’t the cause of anything wrong with them. I eventually would restart this nasty habit, because I could rationalize away how good it made me feel. Or when the price goes up, I will quit, I would tell myself. But the addiction to the nicotine is so darn strong, eventually my willpower was not enough.

My longest period of stopping smoking (cigarettes only) was in 2012. After 26 years, I was ready to stop. With the help of a cessation program and nicotine patches, I was smoke free in 5 1/2 weeks. For three years I felt great. I didn’t cough and sound like I was literally going to cough up a lung. I could breathe and when I walked, I didn’t have to stop and catch my breath.

As my father’s health deteriorated in 2015, I became stressed and worried. Instead of turning to friends for support, I lit up again and it’s been ongoing since then. I now smoke more than I ever have in my life and it is slowly killing me. For the last week, I have been miserable. I have developed COPD, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease; much of which can be attributed to the many years of smoking cigarettes and other respiratory infections I have no control over. But I do have control whether I light up or not.

As the lightbulb went off in my head, I realized that I can’t do anything in my own strength. To seriously think that I can, I am fooling myself. But with Jesus I can do anything, because He is my strength. His power is made perfect in my weaknesses. This is the biggest stronghold the enemy has over me and it stops today.

I have decided I am worth more than a pack of cigarettes. I know it won’t be easy. Anything worth having, never is. But I know it will be worth it.  I pray that my breathing difficulties will improve, my blood pressure will be lowered and a ton of other health problems I have may just get better since I am not inhaling over 7000+ toxic chemicals, each time I decide to take a puff. It took me reflecting on how my father struggled those last months, how his breathing was. He quit smoking years ago, but it still affected him in the end. He struggled to walk and breath at the same time. His problems came from his heart failing, but surely as I sit here and know how long he lit up in his life, I know I am headed for the same kind of life ending disease. I hope I am not too late to finally turn it over to Jesus and get on with living.no-more-smokes

No matter what you are facing in your life, whether it’s an addiction to alcohol, drugs, tobacco products, food, wrong friendships and relationships–Jesus can help you with all of them. You just have to get your head screwed on straight and your heart right with the Lord. Seek him out, trust that HE is enough for anything you need. And remember this also, You are created in the image of God. He loves you! You are his child and HE wants only the very best for your life.

To find help for the addiction of Cigarette Smoking, check out Quitting Smoking and good luck! You can do it and so can I. Aren’t we worth it?

If you would like to find a Christ centered recovery program in your area, go to Celebrate Recovery website to find more information of programs in your area.

May you be blessed and know how much Jesus Loves You!

~Carlene

 

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