Friday, September 30, 2016

When God Answers

   Before I get into the "meat" of this post, I want to thank every one who joined me in praying for my brother. Thank you! It was encouraging to me and our family.
    With my brother disappearing, and knowing how bad his addiction is I was so concerned that the next time we hear anything it will be from someone telling us we need to make funeral plans.
     I kept praying, ever more earnestly, then in my devotions I read once again how when the disciples had tried casting out a devil and were unable to do so, Jesus told them that, that kind only goes out through fasting and prayer.
     I reached out to a few prayer warrior friends, and we fasted and prayed that God will work in his life. I no longer knew how or what to pray. I found I couldn't even find words, instead I released everything and claimed the verse where God tells us that the Holy Spirit prays for us (Romans 8:26-27)
     Friends, this is where it gets good. So good I'm still overwhelmed.
     Yesterday my brother called. I answered the phone and he asked, "What were you praying to happen to me?"
     "Why do you ask?" I said.
     "I was wanting to go back to my friends, some 1,500 miles away, but when I got half way there I got into the first traffic jam. Finally the traffic started moving but we were sent on a detour. It was sending us back in the direction we had come from. From there it got really weird. Every where I tried to go there were either road blocks, detours, or cops and every single one of them sent me back closer and closer to where I was trying to run away from. I'm giving up, and returning to that place, and get clean."
      So as of last evening he is back there again. I'll continue praying he can stick it out and God uses him for some great purpose in His kingdom.
      I can't quite begin expressing how much this answer to prayer meant to me. Seeing God work in such an obvious way has made me so thankful. More than just for this particular instance, but I'm feeling my faith strengthened, I'm filled with renewed courage and hope to face these coming days even with the world seemingly going crazy. God is still in control, and I am resting in Him.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Roller Coaster

     Life has been a roller coaster since my last post where I shared how my brother is struggling with addiction, a lot has happened, and yet nothing has changed.
     Seven hours after I posted, my brother called. He said he simply can't continue down the road he is on and wanted to seek help. I was thrilled. After all this time of praying, hoping, and hurting for him, this was a huge answer to prayer.
      He was convinced he can drive himself to the place he had chosen to rehab for the next six months, and thus began the most time consuming trek since the days of the covered wagon. For quite a while we lost all contact with him, but he finally arrived at his destination and got settled in on Thursday.
     Saturday afternoon the phone rang, and it was my brother. Somehow he had managed to get away. Withdrawal had hit hard, and he had been left unsupervised for a little bit, and that was all it took.
     That's the last we have heard from him. As it is right now, no one knows where he is. This sister's heart is hurting so bad.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

My Brother

   I was nine years old when I became the big sister to a tiny baby brother. He was the sweetest little bundle of joy you ever did meet. I remember rushing home from school every day and running into the house to scoop him up from where ever he was playing. He always seemed just as happy to see me, as I was to see him.
    When he was a toddler we were inseparable. I would read to him, play with him, when it was bedtime I was the one holding his little hand as we walked up the stairs to go to bed. I was the one who fetched him water in the middle of the night, and comforted him when he had a bad dream.
    I loved all my siblings, but somehow there was an extra special bond between the two of us.
    As he grew older, he no longer needed me for drinks in the middle of the night, or to have bad dreams chased away. We were still very close though, but now we talked about books instead of me reading them to him. We loved singing together. We went for hikes in the woods every Sunday afternoon. He helped me with dishes, chattering incessantly the entire time, but I enjoyed it. We played endless games of Scrabble and Uno, just the two of us.
     He was ten when I got married, he was sad, but it wasn't long before he was coming over almost every afternoon to help me in the garden, mow the yard, or on occasion when there was nothing that pressing to do we would pull out a board game. When Mr. Pepper and I welcomed our first son a year later, my brother was thrilled to be an uncle. He continued coming over regularly. I was so thankful for his help baby sitting.
    My parents moved when he was fifteen and we wrote letters every week, and called when we could.
     When he was eighteen he started working for a construction company. While on the job he fell off a roof and broke his skull, his collar bone, and had some other injuries as well. He was in a coma for a week, and when he woke up he was asking for me. When it was time to be released from the hospital he still needed care, and Mr. Pepper and I were glad to provide a room and care for him in our home.
    Due to his serious injuries the doctors had him on strong pain medication. OxyCotin. I was concerned at how long he seemed to be in pain, but was glad the doctors were able to control it. (Oh if only we had known.)
     After four months they no longer prescribed it, and said he was healed. He moved back to his apartment in another state.
     I watched helplessly from the sidelines as he made one wrong choice after the next. Having become dependent on OxyCotin he went searching for something to replace it. He found it in heroin.
     It hurts beyond what I can describe seeing a loved one battle this horrible addiction. He hates it too. I haven't seen him in years, but he still calls occasionally, and we Facebook message every day. And I pray, and pray, and pray that God will heal him of his addiction and spare his life.
     Last week one evening I was very concerned when I noticed he didn't see the messages I sent him. Finally the next afternoon he sent me one, thanking me for praying. He had almost died from an overdose. How he was found and taken to the hospital was nothing short of a miracle.
     When I see Facebook posts of people ranting how addicts should all be left to die, I shed a few tears. It looks different to me as a sister to an addict. I love my brother, I am thankful he wasn't left to die. I want him to be able to beat this addiction and get out of the horrible life he has now. I believe God can, and will work in a big way in his life. I refuse to give up hope, or stop praying.
     When I hear of overdosing episodes I'm moved to compassion, because somewhere out there, there are family members, and loved ones of that person hurting in the sidelines.
      Let's not be so quick to judge and condemn, but stand united in prayer and care against the evils of drugs.