Tag Archives: By Your Side

Verse of the Day – Jeremiah 1:8

Jeremiah 1:8

Jeremiah 1:8

Sometimes when people and indeed life come against us, it is easy to feel all alone and that there’s nobody to help, we forget the Lord is with us always, but He will always remind us that He is by our side through it all.

BY YOUR SIDE by TENTH AVENUE NORTH
Why are you striving these days
Why are you trying to earn grace
Why are you crying
Let me lift up your face
Just don’t turn away

Why are you looking for love
Why are you still searching
As if I’m not enough
To where will you go child
Tell me where will you run
To where will you run

‘Cause I’ll be by your side wherever you fall
In the dead of night whenever you call
And please don’t fight these hands that are holding you
My hands are holding you

Look at these hands at my side
They swallowed the grave on that night
When I drank the world’s sin
So I could carry you in
And give you life
I want to give you life

And I’ll be by your side wherever you fall
In the dead of night whenever you call
And please don’t fight these hands that are holding you
My hands are holding you

Here at my side wherever you fall
In the dead of night whenever you call
And please don’t fight these hands that are holding you
My hands are holding you

‘Cause I, I love you
I want you to know
That I, yeah I’ll love you
I’ll never let you go, no, no

And I’ll be by your side wherever you fall
In the dead of night whenever you call
And please don’t fight these hands that are holding you
My hands are holding you

Here at my side wherever you fall
In the dead of night whenever you call
And please don’t fight these hands that are holding you
My hands are holding you
Here at my side, my hands are holding you
Ohhh…
 

Verse of the Day – Lamentations 3:31-33

Lamentations 3:31-33

Lamentations 3:31-33

I remember back to when I went through a period of depression, each night I prayed for God to take my depression away or to take me away to heaven, I didn’t want to wake up anymore.

But each night He answered my prayer, He told me He couldn’t take it away, He needed me to go through this, but He was going to walk through it with me every step of the way, He never left my side and gradually I walked out on the other side, a stronger person for the experience.

One day there will come a situation, where what I went through may just help someone through the same thing, hopefully helping them to see the Father through all the chaos.

BY YOUR SIDE by TENTH AVENUE NORTH
Why are you striving these days
Why are you trying to earn grace
Why are you crying
Let me lift up your face
Just don’t turn away

Why are you looking for love
Why are you still searching
As if I’m not enough
To where will you go child
Tell me where will you run
To where will you run

‘Cause I’ll be by your side wherever you fall
In the dead of night whenever you call
And please don’t fight these hands that are holding you
My hands are holding you

Look at these hands at my side
They swallowed the grave on that night
When I drank the world’s sin
So I could carry you in
And give you life
I want to give you life

And I’ll be by your side wherever you fall
In the dead of night whenever you call
And please don’t fight these hands that are holding you
My hands are holding you

Here at my side wherever you fall
In the dead of night whenever you call
And please don’t fight these hands that are holding you
My hands are holding you

‘Cause I, I love you
I want you to know
That I, yeah I’ll love you
I’ll never let you go, no, no

And I’ll be by your side wherever you fall
In the dead of night whenever you call
And please don’t fight these hands that are holding you
My hands are holding you

Here at my side wherever you fall
In the dead of night whenever you call
And please don’t fight these hands that are holding you
My hands are holding you
Here at my side, my hands are holding you
Ohhh…

 

In Times Of Testing

When I think back to where I found myself this time last year and what I feel I’ve gone through during those last twelve months, I know I’ve come a long way.

Having reviewed a lot of my poems that were written in those twelve months, it was quite evident from the words contained within them how I was feeling and where I felt I was.  It seemed I wrote about feeling I was in many different places, each with it’s own feelings of isolation, pain, hopelessness and desperation.

I had a strong feeling this morning that I was being reminded that in all these situations, there was one common denominator that saw me through each of them.  In each situation I prayed for it all to be taken away, yet that never really happened, I had to walk through them all.

There were times when I felt like I was at the foot of the mountain, yet I had no strength left in me to climb, I had nothing left and I cried out for help, take this away, throw it to the ocean.

Other times I felt I was in the fire, every which way I turned I felt the heat burning, there was a feeling of being stuck with nowhere to turn, once more I asked for all this to be taken away.

There were feelings of sinking in the ocean or just drifting, alone, isolated and struggling to breathe as I sank lower and lower, I needed pulling out, just lifting out and putting down somewhere safe.

Then the feeling as though I was just wandering through the desert, dry, dusty, lifeless, nothing, just me alone and all life seemed so far away, but I just couldn’t reach it.

I don’t know where each one of you that read this are or if you feel this way, but this morning I felt a deep sense that God was telling me He heard all my prayers for all of these things to be taken away, but He didn’t, yet what He did do is walked by my side through everyone of them.  I had this feeling that if you do feel this way, know you’re not alone, I wasn’t.

If you are facing that mountain, know that He is making a safe path for you, going before you and reaching out His hand to help you climb to the top and see the green valley beyond.

If you’re stuck in that inferno, know that He is there dancing in the flames beside you, you may feel the heat, but you won’t burn, He won’t let you so just dance with Him.

Maybe you’re feeling like you’re drowning and cannot rise above the waves, just look up, His hand is there to pull you above the waves, He wants you to walk on the water with Him until you reach the safety of the shore.

Or you feel alone in the desert, thirsty and empty, know once again that He is there beside you, drink the water He has for you and let Him raise you from the dust, until beyond the desolation you reach the green fields.

I guess that sometimes we just have to go through all these things, we may not know why, I certainly didn’t, but His ways are not our ways, by His will, not mine.

But be assured, whatever we face, we never face it alone.

BY YOUR SIDE by TENTH AVENUE NORTH
Why are you striving these days
Why are you trying to earn grace
Why are you crying
Let me lift up your face
Just don’t turn away

Why are you looking for love
Why are you still searching
As if I’m not enough
To where will you go child
Tell me where will you run
To where will you run

‘Cause I’ll be by your side wherever you fall
In the dead of night whenever you call
And please don’t fight these hands that are holding you
My hands are holding you

Look at these hands at my side
They swallowed the grave on that night
When I drank the world’s sin
So I could carry you in
And give you life
I want to give you life

And I’ll be by your side wherever you fall
In the dead of night whenever you call
And please don’t fight these hands that are holding you
My hands are holding you

Here at my side wherever you fall
In the dead of night whenever you call
And please don’t fight these hands that are holding you
My hands are holding you

‘Cause I, I love you
I want you to know
That I, yeah I’ll love you
I’ll never let you go, no, no

And I’ll be by your side wherever you fall
In the dead of night whenever you call
And please don’t fight these hands that are holding you
My hands are holding you

Here at my side wherever you fall
In the dead of night whenever you call
And please don’t fight these hands that are holding you
My hands are holding you
Here at my side, my hands are holding you
Ohhh… 

Verse of the Day – Psalm 18:1

Psalm 18:1

Psalm 18:1

What more can I say, from my first prayer and everyone since, He has been my strength.

BY YOUR SIDE by TENTH AVENUE NORTH
Why are you striving these days
Why are you trying to earn grace
Why are you crying
Let me lift up your face
Just don’t turn away

Why are you looking for love
Why are you still searching as if I’m not enough
To where will you go child
Tell me where will you run
To where will you run

And I’ll be by your side
Wherever you fall
In the dead of night
Whenever you call
And please don’t fight
These hands that are holding you
My hands are holding you

Look at these hands and my side
They swallowed the grave on that night
When I drank the world’s sin
So I could carry you in
And give you life
I want to give you life

And I’ll be by your side
Wherever you fall
In the dead of night
Whenever you call
And please don’t fight
These hands that are holding you
My hands are holding you

And I’ll be by your side
Wherever you fall
In the dead of night
Whenever you call
And please don’t fight
These hands that are holding you
My hands are holding you

Cause I, I love you
I want you to know
That I, I love you
I’ll never let you go

And I’ll be by your side
Wherever you fall
In the dead of night
Whenever you call
And please don’t fight
These hands that are holding you
My hands are holding you

And I’ll be by your side
Wherever you fall
In the dead of night
Whenever you call
And please don’t fight
These hands that are holding you
My hands are holding you 

 

By Your Side

It’s been a long day, but a good one, although after three hours of training, I think I’m going to ache for the next week.

One thing happened today as I walked from Church to the Sports Centre, I was feeling as though I was being pulled back inside my own head again and getting a little confused as a result.

So I took a breath and in prayer said I was confused and I really didn’t understand why.

Immediately I got an answer, at that very moment the song on my iPod changed.

I don’t need to say much more, the lyrics of the song speak for themselves.

BY YOUR SIDE by TENTH AVENUE NORTH
Why are you striving these days
Why are you trying to earn grace
Why are you crying
Let me lift up your face
Just don’t turn away

Why are you looking for love
Why are you still searching as if I’m not enough
To where will you go child
Tell me where will you run
To where will you run

And I’ll be by your side
Wherever you fall
In the dead of night
Whenever you call
And please don’t fight
These hands that are holding you
My hands are holding you

Look at these hands and my side
They swallowed the grave on that night
When I drank the world’s sin
So I could carry you in
And give you life
I want to give you life

And I’ll be by your side
Wherever you fall
In the dead of night
Whenever you call
And please don’t fight
These hands that are holding you
My hands are holding you

And I’ll be by your side
Wherever you fall
In the dead of night
Whenever you call
And please don’t fight
These hands that are holding you
My hands are holding you

Cause I, I love you
I want you to know
That I, I love you
I’ll never let you go

And I’ll be by your side
Wherever you fall
In the dead of night
Whenever you call
And please don’t fight
These hands that are holding you
My hands are holding you

And I’ll be by your side
Wherever you fall
In the dead of night
Whenever you call
And please don’t fight
These hands that are holding you
My hands are holding you

Avoiding Wednesday’s Haven

It’s been another one of those Wednesdays, I can’t put my finger on it, but as far as I can remember Wednesdays were the days I struggled with my drinking at home more than any other.  It was Wednesday evenings when I would end up pacing the house, rubbing my hands or scratching them and my arms, where I would become angry or agitated with those around me, mainly my family and where Victoria would come to call me FUN BOBBY!!!!  Obviously all the Friends fans amongst you will understand that reference, if not read this post: Meet Fun Bobby

But off all the nights this was the one where I also fought as hard as I could not to drink, where I knew I shouldn’t, but failed every single time, this was the night where I would hunt through the house for money, beg, borrow or steal it, this was the night where I was trying, but failing, if I was getting more and more irritable and cranky, then Victoria would just hand me money, these where the nights where it was better for me to drink, better for me to be drunk than sober or should I say better for those in the house for me to be drunk rather than sober.

Why Wednesdays?

I’m not sure to be honest, most other nights I had karate and with karate came the pub after with friends, when drinking was more sociable and by the time I got home, everyone was in bed or I was already well oiled and easier to be around, but regardless of how many I’d had at the pub, I still came home and drank.

But Mondays I didn’t have karate either, but they never seemed as bad, maybe as I tended to buy more alcohol over the weekend to drink at home, then I generally had some left over and could just drink, but Wednesday as I normally couldn’t go to the shop on Tuesday then I would struggle until I got to the shop around the corner.

The last two days at work have been absolutely manic, since I’ve been there I haven’t had two days quite like it, our Manager is away on holiday and yesterday whatever could go wrong went wrong, through no fault of ours, usually suppliers, but we were so busy with customers on the phones or in the shop that we just couldn’t sort things out quick enough.  Today I have been desperately trying to get things organised for a new contract we have that starts Monday, we’ve only just got the list of products we need to stock, which we must have in for Monday and of course most suppliers take up to a week to deliver, only once again, we are so busy it’s been almost impossible to sort out, to say it’s been a stressful couple of days is an understatement, I’ve left both days in a shell shocked state, last night I got home had tea and slept for almost two hours, I was worn out.

Don’t get me wrong here, this evening I had no intention of drinking, I had no urge to drink, I didn’t even contemplate drinking, I’m beyond that now, well and truly, after 503 days I come far enough to deal with that.  But after spending a few hours browsing through a number of blogs, many who are in recovery like me, some of which are in the early stages of their recovery and their thoughts and feelings I can fully comprehend.

But this evening when I got home I had my tea and then realised I didn’t have anything to drink, I ran out last night and turned to coffee, which then kept me awake, so I went to the Co-op to fetch a couple of bottles of Pepsi Max, I used to buy some of my alcohol from the Co-op, but not great amounts, their offers weren’t that good and I didn’t really like the wines they sold that much, so as I was drinking on a budget of sorts, if there is such as thing as drinking on a budget,  I would only tend to buy from there if they had a good offer or I fancied something a little different.  So shopping in the Co-op isn’t that big a problem, yes the alcohol is conveniently positioned where you queue for the tills, but now I can just smile, as the stuff they have there I didn’t care for anyway and actually now has no grip on me, I can just walk by smiling, because I have beaten it, it doesn’t have me any more, I am free of it’s chains.

But the shop around the corner, that’s a different beast altogether.  It’s one of them typical little corner shop type places, not particularly clean or tidy, but the contents within are cheap and there are plenty of offers to be had.  Plus they had a couple of bottles of wine that I loved.  This place was my haven, especially on a Wednesday, this was the place I would run to, this was the place I would go before going home, this was the place that brought me comfort, or should I say where I brought my comfort.

Yet the last time I stepped foot in that place was the night of Sunday 18th March 2012, that was a landmark day for so many reasons.  That was the day I put down the blade for the last time, day when more that all the other times that I fought the urge to commit suicide that I so desperately wanted to, the day I felt so angry at my weakness.

That evening I went on my last bender of sorts, five pints at the pub and then pick up two bottles of wine on the way home and drink all except a third of one of the bottles.

Then the next morning everything changed, I picked my mobile phone up and made a call that changed my life, the hardest call I have ever made and will probably ever make, but the most important phone call I have ever made, it started a process of change, it started the rumblings of realisation, realisation that I needed to change, that I just couldn’t continue the way I was heading, that I needed to let out so much that was hidden inside, that I needed to start talking and not hiding, I needed to break out from inside.

I had lost who I was, I needed help to find myself again, Gareth gave me that.

I remember that evening when I got home from work and spoke with Victoria, after confirming that Gareth was coming to see me, which she already knew as she’d gone to see Gareth to make sure I’d been in contact with him, she asked me a question she would always ask before she went out (which wasn’t very often, it was me that was always out), she asked if I needed to go to the shop before she left.

For the first time ever, I couldn’t believe what she was asking, how could she ask me that when she knew what was happening that evening.  How could she think that I was going to drink when her Pastor was coming to talk to me about my drinking and everything else, I had asked him for help, I was falling apart and needed putting back together, I hadn’t even contemplated drinking that evening, it had never crossed my mind.

I knew from that point the drinking was something I had to put aside, I had to be free and the start was to stop bringing it into the house.  So since that evening I have avoided the shop on the corner completely, I don’t even go in there in the daytime to get a sandwich or anything, I just don’t and more importantly won’t go in there.

It’s a no go zone, in there the worst of me found it’s haven, it’s where I ran when life was too hard, it held what I thought were the answers, but no longer, this new creation doesn’t belong there.

I have a new haven to run to when life becomes hard first and formost I have God, I pray and find strength in prayer and when I need somewhere else to turn to when I strong people to to talk with then I find that at Gareth’s Church, the Everyday Champions Church.  Since the day Gareth came into my house, my life has been turned upside down, but in a good way, all day before that meeting I had been trying to work out what I needed to do to sort myself out and that meeting with Gareth confirmed most of that and gave me so much more.

I’m thankful for nights like these, that even after a stressful day, even when I’m tired and worn, that the grace of God is stronger, that the strength I prayed for that first time, on a Wednesday night just like this one, is still being granted, that I can still walk my journey and count everyday I walk with God and everyday I am sober.

BY YOUR SIDE by TENTH AVENUE NORTH
Why are you striving these days
Why are you trying to earn grace
Why are you crying
Let me lift up your face
Just don’t turn away

Why are you looking for love
Why are you still searching as if I’m not enough
To where will you go child
Tell me where will you run
To where will you run

And I’ll be by your side
Wherever you fall
In the dead of night
Whenever you call
And please don’t fight
These hands that are holding you
My hands are holding you

Look at these hands and my side
They swallowed the grave on that night
When I drank the world’s sin
So I could carry you in
And give you life
I want to give you life

And I’ll be by your side
Wherever you fall
In the dead of night
Whenever you call
And please don’t fight
These hands that are holding you
My hands are holding you

Cause I, I love you
I want you to know
That I, I love you
I’ll never let you go

And I’ll be by your side
Wherever you fall
In the dead of night
Whenever you call
And please don’t fight
These hands that are holding you
My hands are holding you

The Wind Up Torch

I feel like I was in a dark place, a very dark hole, so dark that during the two years leading up to me stopping drinking and turning this all around, I contemplated suicide on many occasions, I can’t remember exactly how many.

Sometimes you have to hit your rock bottom before you can be woken and brought to your senses, when life seemed like it wasn’t worth living any more I sat with a pen knife at my wrists, but God put his hand over my wrist and whispered in my ear and I knew then that I could never go through with it. On the last time that happened I decided it was time to turn this around to sort myself out, as at this point in time it all seemed lost, if I couldn’t take the only way out I knew, then the only way forward was to sort myself out. The next morning I rang my partner’s Pastor, arranged to meet him later that night to talk about where I was, that was the hardest phone call I had ever made in my life and probably the hardest I will ever make. But we met, we talked, well he talked, I cried, I was a mess, but I managed to let it all out. Two nights later I prayed for the first time, I prayed for the strength to get through this and turn it all around.

I was still in darkness at that time, it felt like over those last few days I had climbed out of that dark hole, but found myself in a dark tunnel with light at the end, a light that I could see and knew I needed to head for. I had prayed, but if I was hoping for a large searchlight on wheels, with everlasting batteries to light up this tunnel as I walked, I was sadly mistaken, God had handed me a small wind up torch. You know the sort, they work well when charged but you have to keep winding them up yourself, if you don’t that light will go out.

To me this tunnel felt like it was dark, very dark, with rough floors and even rougher walls, the only way to walk it was straight down the middle to light ahead. I had a small torch to light only a few steps at a time, if that went out all was lost, I had to keep it charged. In those early days I kept it charged, made small steps and kept looking forward. But things became hard, I started to stumble, I was in pain, I was falling away, I had fallen onto the rough walls and as I dragged myself along trying to keep the torch charged, the pain as those walls ripped into me was getting too hard and one night alone, in a world of pain due to the alcohol withdrawals, that torch went out. I felt so alone, I couldn’t take the pain I had been in for the last few weeks, the first weeks of sobriety felt easy, but when the withdrawals kicked in and after three weeks of almost constant pain, I couldn’t take anymore, I was back in the darkness.

But all was not lost, I had met some great people at Church who had offered their help at anytime if I was struggling. I am not usually someone who likes to intrude on other people, but on this night the message I was getting was don’t struggle alone, tell somebody, share it. So I grabbed my phone and sent the following text message;

“Hi James, Sorry to bother u, not having a good night, these aches n pains r really getting me down, I feel alone & as if I’m slipping back to that dark place I was in, just needed some friendly words of encouragement.”

The moment that green band indicated the text had been sent, everything changed. It was as though someone had come running down that tunnel with their own torch, helped me up onto my feet, dusted me down and charged my torch, they sent me back on my way down that tunnel with a new energy and renewed faith, I knew then that you don’t have to do this alone, you just have to ask for help sometimes. When you’re alone and struggling, let people help, don’t do it alone.

I’m still walking that tunnel, I can see the light getting closer and the closer I get the stronger I get, I’m determined not to let this torch go out, to not get complacent, if I fall into autopilot mode and stop being in control, this could all fall apart and the light quickly becomes extinguished, that’s not going to happen.

To have prayed and been miraculously brought out into the light, without experiencing that pain of the journey, would have been too easy, there would never be a lasting reminder that I never wanted to experience that again and for that reason alone I would never want to go back to where I was. I also just have to remember that, there will always be someone By My Side, I will never be alone.

‘Cause I’ll be by your side
Wherever you fall
In the dead of night
Whenever you call
And please don’t fight
These hands that are holding you
My hands are holding you
(By Your Side by Tenth Avenue North)

So, I am determined stay in control and put myself into everything I do, to be focused on the way forward and do everything the best I can do it, that way this torch will never go out, I am constantly winding it up and that light at the end of this tunnel will gradually be within my grasp.