Tag Archives: Chris Tomlin

SoberDay 625… It’s Been Hard, But I’ve Made It!!!

It would be easy to say that the last couple of months have been all a bit of a mess, in fact it would be a bit of an understatement, I would say I have been a complete failure, I’ve certainly felt that way, if I’m honest I have felt that way for most of that time.

Jeremiah 29:11-12
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.

But the truth is, I’m still living by the grace and strength I have been granted and each day I am still sober is never a failure, no matter what other trials I face, I have resisted any temptation to return to who I was, despite all the voices of deception that echoed around my my mind.

Jeremiah 17:7-8
But blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD whose confidence is in him. He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.”

So today I put all that troubles me at the foot of the cross and give thanks for the strength that has seen me through to today, SoberDay 625 and pray for the strength and grace to keep this journey going.

2 Corinthians 4:16-18
Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

THANK YOU GOD FOR SAVING ME by CHRIS TOMLIN & PHIL WICKHAM
Verse 1:
What can I give to You
What can I offer to a king
For all the love You’ve shown
For all Your mercy over me

Chorus:
I called Your name
You heard my cry
Out of the grave
And into life
My heart is Yours
My soul is free
Thank You God for saving me

Verse 2:
The rock of salvation
My hope is built on nothing less
Morning by morning
How great is Your faithfulness

Bridge:
You gave Your life upon the cross
You suffered once for all
You made a way
Jesus, in victory You rose 
You made us all Your own
Now we are saved

One Big Weekend, Part 2

Well our One Big Weekend slowly draws to a close, it’s been an amazing weekend although a tiring one, but one to remember.

Yesterday was a long but immensely enjoyable day, that was followed by another early start at Church, to set up the camera’s in the auditorium for recording the preach as part of the first live transmission of our ECTV web program.

It is safe to say that after yesterday’s epic event, there was a fire ignited within everyone, the level of Worship was most definitely turned up another notch, then Justin’s preach was as passionate and driven as always.

I understand that the broadcast of ECTV went well this morning, despite a few minor technical issues which I’m sure will be ironed out for next week, but we will learn from these and therefore improve our service.

I’m beginning to forget how I used to spend my Sunday mornings, the memories of them are becoming more and more distant, I spent so many of them alone in a sort of self imposed isolation, slipping silently into my own dark world.

It’s hard to believe that I live for my Sunday’s now, they are the days I look forward to most, come Monday morning I can’t wait for Sunday to come around again.

The only other days that come close are the Fridays when I’m involved in Amplified, our Youth ministry and the Wednesday’s when we have our Connect Group meetings, which are every other week.

This Wednesday should be Connect Group meeting, but our Group hosts are away this week and so it will take place next week, not sure if I can wait that long.

Back to work tomorrow, but only the one day at work this week, I’ve got a few days off, I have a bit of architectural work to fit in this week, but mainly a bit of downtime and preparation ready for the National Championship’s next Saturday, this will be my last competition before retirement, after 30 years, I will retire from competitive karate and settle back into the role of coach only.

GOD’S GREAT DANCE FLOOR by CHRIS TOMLIN
I’m coming back to the start
Where You found me
I’m coming back to Your heart
Now I surrender

Take me
This is all I can bring

I’m coming back to the start
Our God is freedom
And here we feel Your heart
Your heartbeat for us

Take me
This is all I can bring

You’ll never stop loving us
No matter how far we run
You’ll never give up on us
All of heaven shouts
Let the future begin

Take me
This is all I can bring

You’ll never stop loving us
No matter how far we run
You’ll never give up on us
All of heaven shouts
Let the future begin

I feel alive
I come alive
I am alive
On God’s great dance floor

400 SoberDays

I’m not sure how I’ve made but I have, 400 SoberDays and I’m still counting, even after this afternoon!!!!!

The two karate classes this afternoon were slightly on the insane side, Steve, my help on Friday’s was away so I was in my own, firstly with 20 odd four to six years olds, oh my, two brothers were not even the slightest bit interested in doing anything but cause trouble, eventually their Mother pulled them out and took them home, I kept smiling and the witty banter going, only 45 minutes, although probably the longest of my life!!!!

Then the second class another twenty kids, this time a bit older, seven to thirteen, a little tamer and not so stressful, thankfully!

The things I do for the love of karate!

Oh well, when I left the sports centre a little flustered, I stuck my earphones in and the following two songs played to bring my level of sanity close to somewhere approaching normal!

I called Your name
You heard my cry
Out of the grave
And into life
My heart is Yours
My soul is free
Thank You God for saving me
(Thank You God For Saving Me by Chris Tomlin)

I will follow
I will follow
Til the stars fall down
til the sun burns out
I will follow
I will follow
til Gabriels horn does sound
(Hymn For My Father by Collective Soul)

Keeping My Head High Amid The Turmoil

Last week seems so long ago now, this last weekend saw the last of series of great anniversaries, since then it’s been such a busy week, I really just want to sleep so much, but I have so much to do also, oh well, I’ve always said I function better when I’m busy!

Today holds another selection of anniversaries, both good and bad, to top that off this week my financial nightmares began to bite again, another storm to walk through, but I am keeping my head up, walking tall and trusting that only good can come of this situation.

Firstly, if you have read my post Wylie & Me, about the death of my dog Wylie Burp, you will understand how badly that affected me at a time when life was falling apart, it sped up the process somewhat, my drinking began to steadily increase and I lived in increasing isolation from those around me, my ability to communicate my problems diminished and I climbed down in to the pit.  A certain part of me died that day, but I must say that having wrote the article about Wylie, I have come to terms with the regret and remorse, I see him in the good times we had together and sometimes wish he was walking with me in the mornings, he would have loved that.

Today hold another anniversary of sorts, sixteen years ago I was introduced to Victoria by her Mum!  Victoria’s brothers had been coming to my karate classes for some time, she would sometimes come to watch, but to be honest I hadn’t really noticed her.  It was the day of my sister’s wedding, as my parents only knew one person with a video camera, that was Victoria’s mum, Viv, so they asked her to record the wedding and the evening do.  During the break after the wedding, you know the bit where the photo’s are being taken and everyone jostles for position, except me I hate photographs, I got to talking with Viv, where she told me how much Victoria liked me and that she would bring her to the evening do.

So during the evening do, as the night progressed, it got towards the end of the night when the slow songs are played, well naturally I asked Victoria to dance, which she agreed to, we hadn’t really spoken much at that point, but that was the first time I really noticed her and indeed danced with her.  It would be four weeks later when Viv engineered an evening together for us, where we talked about what we wanted from life and everything inbetween.  From that evening we saw each other everyday for almost eight years, until I went away for the first time with the JKA England squad to Norway for the European Championships.

I don’t think she remembers these significant dates, I understand that, but I remember, I may have drifted away a couple of years ago, I may have buried these memories myself for a while, maybe a prerequisite of entering the pit was to forget, but now I remember all the great moments and long to continue building a library of those, only time will tell, I just continue to pray about the situation.

Then to the finances, to be honest I am struggling to survive on the wages I earn, simply the repayments of the debts I amassed during the lost years in the pit are swallowing what’s left of my wages, since Victoria lost her job last year and the Government at the same time in their wisdom slashed our Working Families Tax Credits things have been tight, but never as tight as this, less than two weeks after being paid and I have no money left until the end of the month, it’s drags me down, but I refuse to be beaten by it, I pray about that too, I pray a lot to be completely honest.

But I wont return to where I was, that pit has been filled in, there is no entry there anymore, I may have slid back for a while last month, the lonely feelings returned for a moment, but I found through prayer a strength to pull through, so I face these storms this time looking forward directly into the eye, because this time I know I have someone behind me, I know this time whatever I face I don’t face it alone, even though I may not have faced it alone last time, this time I stand tall and fight.

I know Who goes before me
I know Who stands behind
The God of angel armies
Is always by my side
The One who reigns forever
He is a Friend of mine
The God of angel armies
Is always by my side
And nothing formed against me shall stand
You hold the whole world in Your hands
I’m holding onto Your promises
You are faithful
You are faithful
You are faithful
(Whom Shall I Fear (God of Angel Armies) by Chris Tomlin)

A New Month, A New Year & A New Horizon

It’s fair to say that once again my March started with challenge for the second year running, but in a strange way this March mirrored the previous twelve months, the rollercoaster ride that was March 2012 through to the end of February 2013 was condensed down and relived across the month of March 2013.

Its only now since April has risen that I can now look back on the last year and the last month in particular and say, I have OVERCOME!!!!

When I look at last month I see the same patterns of the previous twelve months, last year starting with death, not physical, but the death of a relationship, that part of me that died when reality of dying love hit hard, this was reflected last month in the physical death of a loved one.  In a way I had abandoned both to die, I had exiled myself from both, in my relationship with Victoria I hid away just letting it die without a fight, until it was too late, with Nanna I hid away also, in both situations I knew I had to face them both before it was too late, but both came to an end before I could bring myself to do anything, the remorse of both hit hard both times.

In the early months which followed March last year I suffered the physical pain of the withdrawals, they were at times quite brutal, they didn’t leave me for weeks, for around six weeks I suffered some sort of constant pain, from an ever present headache to full on body pain, all as a consequence of my actions, all directly as a result of my drinking.  Last month after the early blow of grief, I dealt with the pain of my drinking all over again, this time emotional pain, as I faced the remorse of the delayed actions of my previous drinking, I lived for a time in the pain of my own mind, not a headache as such, but my own head, my own mind, it drove me back to edge for a while, it was hard to deal with it all again as I was blinded by dark thoughts again, the clouds fogged my thinking, the light faded and I sank back.  On both occasions I was lead to Church, to find friends and support, last year for the first time to find a way forward, this time on the day I got the news of my Nanna, I walked straight into Church, to find the same arms that had supported me over the previous twelve months.

In April last year I almost reached the end during the withdrawals, I wanted to give in one Monday night, I couldn’t take the pain and isolation of them anymore, I wanted to drink but knew I couldn’t, I got to the point I couldn’t face it alone anymore, what did I do that night, I reached out to a friend from Church, to James and told him I couldn’t do this anymore, the moment I reached out I was released from the torment of pain, the pain was there, but I could see through it, I could see it as something I had to go through, but would soon subside.  Then that Sunday morning three weeks ago when I felt couldn’t go on anymore, when I wanted to walk into that lake, when I wanted to run and hide, when I couldn’t let my friends see me fall, when I wanted to simply give in, I reached out again, I got to Church against my own will and let them know I couldn’t do it alone anymore, again I was released from that pain, it was almost removed straight away, within hours I was back in reality.

The rest of the previous twelve months were mainly positive, rebuilding with the help of friends and most importantly with my Faith in God and belief in Christ Jesus as my saviour, I had held onto that since that dark night in April last year, I had held to the belief I couldn’t do this alone, through prayer and help of friends I glided through those months with little to hold me back, the odd moment, the odd low point, but mainly growth, in faith and as a person.

That then was mirrored in the remainder of the last month, regrowth, remembering how I got as far as I had, through faith and knowing I was never alone, that I didn’t have to face any of this alone, at any point I could reach out to friends or more importantly to God.

The lessons of last year were evident, whatever I go through, whatever pain, whatever remorse, the point when I had to do that alone came to an end the day I prayed for that first time, since that night I knew I had support for all I was to face, he gave me peace that night and every night since, I guess I forgot that.

That support was increased further when that Easter Sunday in April 2012 I raised my hand from that seat, right at the back of our Church, to accept Jesus in my life, from there, from that point I had everything I needed to get through, GOD, JESUS, FRIENDS!

The pain of our situations can blind our vision, it can cloud our judgement, leaving us lost for direction, we often don’t see beyond that pain, leaving us feeling alone.  It’s hard sometimes to lift our heads, to see with clear eyes beyond the tears that we are not alone, even though we don’t see, we are not alone in this, we have someone that loves us beyond anything else waiting there to help us, we just have to call out in the darkness, to ask for help from the Lord.

On Good Friday I managed to get the day off work to attend Church, it was my first Good Friday service, by the time this day rolled around I was in a wonderful mood, it was the anniversary of my Sobriety and I was ready to celebrate the sacrifice that made it all possible, to celebrate Jesus laying down his life for my sins, for the first time I really understood the importance of the Cross.

In the service Justin talked about pain with purpose, that sometimes the pain we go through is there for a reason.  He also talked about how he had disliked it in the past when people said to him that “Christians use faith as a crutch!”, he said he always though he had faith because he wanted to Believe rather needed something to hold on to, but over time he had began to see it the other way, his faith had become his crutch, he couldn’t move forward alone, not without the help of God as his crutch.  The interesting thing here was the during my walk prior to the service I had had the same thoughts, but I saw my faith over the last month not so much as a crutch, but as a walking frame, I had to grasp that frame with two hands and place firmly place it down before me, then take small steps behind it, before repeating the motion and moving forward.

I don’t mind walking behind that frame, I’ll take those small steps behind a framework that guides my way and I will keep holding on as I walk.

If this last month has taught me anything, it has taught me to rely on God for everything, that with faith in God and belief in Jesus as my Saviour, I can overcome and continue to overcome, I’m not enough alone, but with that faith and belief anything is possible.

Today I’ve chosen Our God by Chris Tomlin to accompany my post, for a couple of reasons really, the lyrics themselves say it all, but this song we sang on my first visit to Church one year ago (well they sang it I stood on looking around in awe), then the next day as I walked to work this song played on my iPod, I had forgotten I had added it a year or so earlier right in the middle of my dark days, when despite my complete aversion to God and faith, I sought to listen to Christian music as much or mare than I sought to listen to any other music, as I walked that morning I found myself singing it quietly under my breath, it played again as I walked this Saturday morning, I didn’t sing it quietly this time, I sang it out loud and proud.

Into the darkness You shine
Out of the ashes we rise
There’s no one like You
None like You
Our God is greater
Our God is stronger
God, You are higher than any other
Our God is healer
Awesome in power
Our God, our God
(Our God by Chris Tomlin)

A Tired Look Forward To The Week Ahead

Once again this evening, the first thing after tea was a sleep, an hour and half of it to be exact, I still feel so tired, I feel drained, absolutely drained.

But it just doesn’t stop, tomorrow is my daughter’s seventh birthday and then Tuesday is my Nanna’s funeral, it’s going to be a real rollercoaster of a week, once again it looks like I be surfing the wave every emotion.

I have been walking again this week, every morning without fail and back up to a good speed, my legs are working properly once again.  The weather here in Newark has been absolutely rubbish, most days just fog or overcast with drizzle, so the opportunity to take some great photo’s has been limited to say the least.  I have a number of photos from the past week, but I just haven’t had chance to sort through them yet, sleep seems to have become my priority over this past week, I will get round to them soon.

I also hope to respond to all your fantastic comments this evening, they have all been so gratefully received, I have made some fantastic within the blogging community, thank you all.

The battle rages on
As storm and tempest roar
We cannot win this fight
Inside our rebel hearts
We’re laying down our weapons now
We raise our white flag
We surrender
All to You
All for You
(White Flag by Chris Tomlin)

My Nightmare

Last night I had a dream, that for me turned from celebration to nightmare, a vision of a possible reality that scares me something chronic.

I was celebrating with friends, celebrating another landmark day in my journey through my sobriety, I’m not sure it was my one year anniversary but it was a celebration all the same.

It was all going rather well until in my dream I picked up a bottle of wine and started innocently drinking from it in celebration, in the dream when I realised what I was doing I freaked, I threw the bottle down and went absolutely crazy.

I was so distraught, primarily because my counting of my SoberDays had stopped and in my thinking my life was now heading back to where I was, if my counting had stopped and then so would my journey with God.

In the midst of this chaos I woke, slightly sweaty and a little confused as to whether this was a dream or reality. I finally got a grip and realised it was just a dream, but the possible reality of the situation scared me, that something so seemingly innocent, a momentary lapse in this process of celebration, could have catastrophic consequences in my life.

In jubilation the guard was neglected and even though in the dream there was no temptation, I wasn’t drawn to the bottle fighting an urge, I just picked it up, I came to the realisation that I may be close to a year free of that demon, but it chases me always and I must remain on my guard, forever.

Though I rarely feel tempted by drinking these days, something out there will be there to attack me when I least expect it, so I’ll keep praying for the strength to keep resisting and to be ready to fight with all I have, when that innocent moment may arise.

But for now, I’m in a good place, I’m still counting, I’m still walking my path and I’m seeing the world with different eyes, life is good, but I know not to get too complacent, the fight is not over!

Awake, awake, awake my soul,
God resurrect these bones
From death to life, through you alone
Awake my soul

(Awake My Soul by Chris Tomlin)

A Wonderful Week in the World of Wayne

It’s been a long first week back in the World of Wayne (I wrote it this way, because if I had a pound for every time I had heard it the other way I would be a little richer than I am now), after the lazy Christmas break I really was ready to get back into the swing of things, it just hit me like a ton of bricks to be brutally honest.

The break over Christmas was both good and bad, Christmas went better than I could ever have hoped, I expected to spend most of Christmas and New Year alone, fighting the urge to drink and all the other stupid things I would do to make myself feel better, just like the previous years when I was my own company and that was ok, as long as the beast was with me, I was ok I didn’t really need anybody else, a sad existence, but I couldn’t help it back then, I was trapped within a habit and addiction, just simply losing the will to live as each day went by, but this year was so different.

But as long as the break went on, then the more the old parts of my character, that I thought I had walked away from, started to resurface, not the drinking, I kept that under control, I really didn’t have the urge to drink at all, surprising but I didn’t, it was just the more I stayed within these four walls, the more I got trapped by them and the lazier I seemed to get, days with no purpose aren’t great for me, I have to have routine and purpose to function correctly.

At least the Blogging was there for me, I so enjoyed all the writing and reading all your wonderful Blogs, all the comments and the responses, it was great to share that time with some people who I may never meet, but have become some of my most treasured friends, I thank you all for being there with me, through a testing time.

The early part of this week was very busy, I work from 7.30am to 5pm, then after that I went to do some work for my old employer, by the time I got back and had my tea on Monday, that was it I was fast a sleep by 8.30pm, I was gone, I woke for a short time to respond to some comments, then back to sleep before waking at 5.20am the next morning to go for my walk and start again.  That evening I went again to my former employers, came home had tea, got changed and went to karate to teach for 2½ hours, it was gone 11pm when I got back home and then went pretty much straight to sleep.

Wednesday night had a similar pattern, work, more work after that, tea and then I went out to meet my friend Alex for a chat.  Alex you may remember came with Gareth that day when my life changed, that morning I made that phone call and the evening they both sat with me as I broke down was 300 hundred days ago today, so it was fitting I guess that I met with Alex this week to discuss my progress since then, I enjoyed our meeting and look forward to doing it again.

As you all know I managed a quick post on Thursday just to let everyone know I was OK, that was followed by an hour at Church with the A.V. Team and the 1½ hours of karate, before bed and a little more sleep.

On Friday nights I teach karate straight after work, this class I actually get paid to teach, all the other four times a week I teach for the love of it, not money, but to just pass on what I have learnt.  But Fridays classes can be stressful, I have two classes with my assistant Steve, the first class may only be 45 minutes, but it has four to seven year olds, most of them are okay as long as you keep their attention, but there are a couple that just push the boundaries, they have no intention of learning and just create havoc, so 26 young kids and a couple of tearaways after a long tiring week can test the patients just a little.  The second class is for seven to fifteen year olds, who thankfully are very eager to learn, that class balances the first and brings me back down to normality.

Needless to say I was so tired last night, but I managed a quick poem about being tired of all things and today I am getting back into the swing of things, work this morning only until twelve and then karate this afternoon, so now I can rest, write something, catch up on some of your blogs and then crash for the evening, ready for a three hour walk at 5am tomorrow morning, ain’t life great!

Oh and I managed to take a few more photos of the sun rise over Blue Lake this morning, so different to ones from Sunday, although I took these on my iPhone, so they are quite as good quality as the others.

Distant Sun Rise Over Blue Lake 1

Distant Sun Rise Over Blue Lake 1

 

Distance Sun Rise Over Blue Lake 2

Distance Sun Rise Over Blue Lake 2

 

Distance Sun Rise Over Blue Lake 3

Distance Sun Rise Over Blue Lake 3

 

Distance Sun Rise Over Blue Lake 4

Distance Sun Rise Over Blue Lake 4

 

Distance Sun Rise Over Blue Lake 5

Distance Sun Rise Over Blue Lake 5

I will have my camera with me tomorrow morning to capture a sun rise if it is visible, the weather men say it may snow, which will be fun if it does, I can’t wait!

On the altar of our praise
Let there be no higher name
Jesus Son of God
You laid down Your perfect life
You are the sacrifice
Jesus Son of God
You are Jesus Son of God
(Jesus, Son of God by Chris Tomlin & Christy Nockels)