The Heart of the Prodigal

Tomorrow is a big, milestone birthday for me. 40 years. I have spent the last several weeks reflecting on the journey. Where I’ve been, where I am, where I’m going.

A huge part of my story is the journey through alcoholism and a decade long battle with an eating disorder. In this conversation with my dad, I ask him what it was like being on the other side of me when I was living my life as his prodigal daughter. Was he afraid? What made him keep pursuing me? How did he release control of me? What would he tell others going through this now.


Fear vs. Faith

I’ve heard it said that where there is fear, faith cannot exist. I don’t believe that to be true. The further into recovery I go, I find that the only real test of my faith is when fear is present.

Andy Stanley just finished the second week of the new series Starting Over. I cannot take photo 2notes fast enough to absorb everything he is saying, which is why I watch his talks multiple times.

He highlighted several incredible affirmations in this last message. One that really got me thinking and led to this post was, “You only make peace with your past by owning your piece of the past.” Isn’t that profound and yet simple. Owning my piece of the past.

We all want peace in our lives. There is no better peace than that of reconciling the past. I never thought those two words (peace and past) could be used in the same sentence. BB

When I first stepped into recovery the thought of facing some of the unthinkable things I had done in my past was too much and almost kept me from ever getting sober. It was one of the most difficult things I have ever done. And I had every excuse known to man not to complete this task… “What if someone finds this notebook with these things in writing and uses it against me?”
“What if I die before I can go through this process with my sponsor and this is how people remember me?”
“What if my fiancé finds this and realizes I’m ‘damaged goods’?”

Fear. Fear had kept me bound for too long. Fear had kept me sick and spiritually paralyzed for years. Fear was keeping me addicted, drunk and compromised.

Faith showed up. Not in the absence of fear, rather in the midst of it. Six months after starting cleanup on the wreckage of my past, I sat down with Lia, my sponsor and 5 hours later we set those pages on fire and watched them turn to ashes. That was on a Fall California day in 2002.

I remember feeling the ash between my fingers. I couldn’t see what was next. I couldn’t see myself functioning as a productive member of society. I couldn’t see the plans that had already been laid out for me. Then God

He sent Lia into my life to save me from self inflicted doom. I could have missed the many ways he was protecting and guiding me. She knew what I didn’t know at the time, that everything really was going to be alright. I wonder if she knew just how much better than alright they would be? Andy says, “When you own it, you dethrone it.” He’s right, ya know.

So now, today, in this moment, I ask God to replace my fear with faith. I ask him to direct my thinking and use my story for his glory. I ask him to continue to make beauty from those ashes that I rubbed between my fingers all those years ago.

Don’t underestimate the Creator of the Universe. He has a plan and it’s always better, bigger, and brighter than mine.

What do you think? Can faith and fear coexist or is the one who is fearful lacking faith?

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Be and be better, for they existed

“…And when great souls die,
after a period peace blooms,
slowly and always irregularly.
Spaces fill
with a kind of
soothing electric vibration.
Our senses, restored,
to be the same, whisper to us.
They existed. They existed.
We can be.
Be and be
For they existed.”

~ Maya Angelou ~

Weekly Photo Challenge: BiG

The challenge is SO fun this week! Think BIG.

“Few women have ever been able to resist the temptation to try on a hat
and discover in the mirror a person they never suspected was there.
A hat alters the image we have of ourselves,
and the image others see as well.
For the hours we wear it,
it brings out different dimensions in our personality,
much as a costume aids an actress in her role.”
© Joy Cannis and Even A Girl Like Me, 2012One cannot collect all the beautiful shells on the beach.
One can collect only a few, and they are more beautiful if they are few.
~ Anne Morrow Lindbergh
© Joy Cannis and Even A Girl Like Me, 2012Shaved ice covered in pink sugary syrup.
Where to begin?
© Joy Cannis 2012“When I grow up, I’m gonna be an astronaut so I can eat ice cream in outer space!”
~ The logic of a 4 yr. old
© Joy Cannis 2012“When we are stricken and cannot bear our lives any longer,
a tree has something to say to us: Be still! Be still! Look at me!
Life is not easy, life is not difficult. Those are childish thoughts.
Let God speak within you, and your thoughts will grow silent.
You are anxious because your path leads away from mother and home.
But every step and every day lead you back again to the mother.
Home is neither here nor there.
Home is within you, or home is nowhere at all.”
~ Hermann Hesse
© Joy Cannis 2012Want to see more interpretations of big? Click here

Furry, Four~Legged, Friends

“Some people talk to animals. Not many listen though.
That’s the problem.”

~ A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh

“Women and cats will do as they please,
and men and dogs should relax and get used to the idea.”

~ Robert A. Heinlein

Sunday Post: People

Children are people too… just smaller

“People are often unreasonable and self-centered.
Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of ulterior motives.
Be kind anyway.
If you are honest, people may cheat you.
Be honest anyway.
If you find happiness, people may be jealous.
Be happy anyway.
The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow.
Do good anyway.
Give the world the best you have and it may never be enough.
Give your best anyway.
For you see, in the end, it is between you and God.
It was never between you and them anyway.
~Mother Teresa~

I think children have a much greater concept of this beautiful reading from Mother Teresa. I learn so much from the many children who I am blessed to have in my life.

Are you thinking about a great illustration for Jake’s challenge this week?
Join in by clicking the badge below.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Solitary

“We are sun and moon, dear friend; we are sea and land.
It is not our purpose to become each other; it is to recognize each other,
to learn to see the other and honor him for what he is:
each the others opposite and complement.”
~ Hermann Hesse ~
“I don’t fit into any stereotypes. And I like myself that way.”
~ C. JoyBell C. ~
“Insist on yourself; never imitate.
Your own gift you can offer with the cumulative force
of a whole life’s cultivation,
but of the adopted talent of another,
you have only an extemporaneous, half possession.”
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson ~
This third picture is one of my favorites of the dove on the wire with the crows.
There are times when one can be surrounded by others yet still solitary.
If you have experienced this you know exactly what I mean.

Wanna play along? Click here