When I was a little girl I used to sit on the front steps. They were made of wood and there were three of them. I sat on the middle step facing the front door and stuck my legs literally under the house. That way in my childish imagination, that top step converted into my piano.
It was a block away from the county jail. There was a fence in our back yard. That fence was the border that divided the city. One lived on the right side of the tracks or one lived on the wrong side of the tracks. Those tracks were on the other side of our fence. Whew, we just made it to be OK in society. The ice house was beside the tracks in order to supply giant cakes of ice to the railroad carts carrying food.
Throughout my life, God has arranged strong ‘horse sense’ men to be in my wrong spots at the right time, in order to protect me and herd me to safety. Most of the time they protected me from my own ignorance of stepping into danger zones. These human angels have come in the form of: the ice man,a long shore man,a city detective, a social service worker,our family doctor,the church janitor, a Russian sports car mechanic, a few airline captains, a Mexican milkman, Mexican watchman, a Vietnam vet in a wheelchair, and now a geek who networks the world of addiction related communication! These men of life knowledge and kind instruction lifted me up and dusted me off after my messes. A few popped into my life to detour me away in time to avoid the messes. Despite good guys appearing into my life now and then to save me from me, I still got raped 3 times. Today those crimes are called ‘date rapes’. Does that make is O.K.? In return I did receive a ride home from church, a handful of chips a couple rum & cokes and some homemade fried chicken. (Be on the look out for the Lizard story about: Why Some Lizards Don’t Scream “Help!”)
If only I had had my own assigned father or male sibling beside me all my life! That is usually called big brother or Dad. My DNA dad was fighting an octopus of alcohol addiction and was trying to unwrap his own demon of tentacles. I so understand that now. In addition to my life, he gave me his alky DNA. Today I am ever grateful for that. He abandoned Mom and me.
But God did not abandon me. God did not hide from me and tell the world I did not belong to him. God sent me decent men to be support when needed as I mentioned above. His eye was always and is always on me.
As a little girl sitting at my front step piano, His eye was on me. And the inmates from the county jail also had their eyes on me through the barred windows. Now as an addiction recovery coach I understand through work experience, how those inmates were just looking at a little girl playing outdoors, but seeing the family they had let down and maybe silently whispering to Our Father to give them another chance.
They would watch me sing my heart out. I was almost happy then, especially when mom wasn’t home. I would play my piano by the hours and sing to the top of my lungs. I love to sing and I’m not sure I knew any song that didn’t pertain to Jesus. I even sang songs that had no words. It was strange to me. But I could sing and hear the entire orchestra as I played my wooden step piano. My lips just automatically sang syllables with no meaning to me. I went to a Christian kindergarten and the principal was a preacher. Actually here in West Virginia his sermons are still on the radio daily! The school was on the coast of Texas. And his name was Brother Lester Rolloff. I think I learned to sing unknown syllables at his school.
Later I began to sing for talent contest because I needed to win the cash prices. We had lots of youth activities in Corpus Christi, Texas at the coliseum. There were: home shows, competitions for safety patrol posters, competitions for shell exhibits and home grown flower exhibits. It was amazing how many contests I would enter and win. I never even considered not winning. (Faith of a mustard seed) I just looked at it as my duty to do my best, because Jesus was offering me a ten dollar bill. Our school, the YWCA, plus Candy Stripes, church choir and swim team; had contest for selling tickets for different benefits. At that time the kids were allowed to sell benefit tickets from door to door; it was safe. And the one who sold the most tickets would always get a crisp $10 bill. Man, that paid the phone bill! So I cultivated door to door selling techniques at a very tender age.
I also won lots of singing and drama contests to bring home the money. I never did get “Oh, I’m proud of you. I’m sorry I couldn’t make it to your showing or your recital. Thanks for winning.” It was just Mom’s hand held out for the $10 bill to pay the phone bill. You know, maybe she also just chalked it up to God providing us opportunities to cash in with my innate talents.
There was a deacon at the church who would always show up to my singing events and play the piano for me. He was the city social service director for many, many years. His wife was my Sunday school teacher. They never had children of their own. His name was Deacon James. Not long ago I had the joy to visit a girl in Austin who was in church choir with me. We got to sing together on her backyard swing. It had been transported from her late dad’s house. We got to fondly remember her loving dad and Deacon James. And I found another girlfriend who lives in Florida who was in choir with me. Not long after touching base with her by phone, she informed me that Deacon James had gone to play glory music on the piano upstairs. It was hot where we lived and Deacon James used to organize the bus load of church kids to go have Borden’s ice cream at the ice cream parlor weekly!
I never thought I could sing well in choir because I can’t read notes nor can I harmonize. I just love to sing. Plus, I have the handicap of not being able to remember lyrics. It’s just the handicap I have. I am good at remembering other things like: grammatical rules, foreign language verb conjugations, passwords, and all types of teaching curricula. Heck! My Russian teacher registered me as a tutor for Russian language at the University of Texas when I was 16 years old in High school. Boy, did that get me in trouble when two Russian cosmonauts were in first class on my flight and their secret service agent had me picked up by our FBI when my flight got to New York! All because I spoke Russian! That’s another story.
The point is I have a hard time with the words to songs. I don’t know that I was always that way. It could have been the mental clutter of fears, doubts and insecurities mixed in with bubbling alcohol drinks. That can kill a few brain neurons. I usually sing when I’m driving alone and I use to say, “You know, God, I don’t understand why you gave me this beautiful voice and I can’t remember words.” Now I know that I don’t need to have the words. I just sing in the Spirit to the top of my lungs when I’m in the Appalachian Mountains.
When Fred and I got married we lived in a very humble cottage half a mile from his little church. Oh how that church congregation stood by him when his daughter died of cancer. We actually got married in the mountains, in that church, in that holler. Fred was 64 and I was 60 years old (we are still on our honeymoon). They were so good to us, that the women put our whole wedding together. They knew we were so busy. We’ve always had to work very hard. That’s what happens when one works for lower wages. One has to work twice as hard, twice as long, putting in twice as many hours. And of course we were going all around the mountains trying to open recovery meetings in remote areas. That takes up time going through the mountains and scheduling all that and being on time in all types of weather. I can’t tell you how many times I went to a meeting where just an AA Big Book and I showed up. But we had our meeting! We did. We did. I did my part and that kept me clean and sober.
Now back to the little country church. Normally, the females sit on one side and the males on another. But, I just refused that system. Fred and I always sat and sit together. And it’s really good that at the beginning of the church service we could kneel right there in our pew together to pray! Because there is enough room between the pews. (about quality church service, not quantity ). After that community prayer time, Fred and I hurried up to the choir area and grabbed a hymnal book. Fred had been singing in the choir since he was thirty years old or for thirty years (one of those thirties). It is something he enjoys. I was a little worried because I didn’t know how to read music. However, it was just an old hymnal and anybody could sing anyway they wanted and that was great. After song service, we all sang Amazing Grace, walked around, hugged each other and shook hands. Then before sermon started people stood up and gave testimonies, praise reports, read something meaningful, or sang a song as the Lord led them. I usually was inclined to sing something. It was scary. But I knew I had to and I would stand, say what the song meant to me and sing it. I would have it written out because I couldn’t remember words to songs.
We go to a big city church now and live on flat land beside a mountain. So it has been a few since we worshiped in the little country church. There was a Facebook posting just yesterday that said someone had some heard the radio playing “Trust and Obey” and “What a Friend I have in Jesus” and they remembered how I would stand up and sing that. Memories can be treasures dear to our hearts and very much worthy of praise to our Papa.
I had been going to many venues, schools, mental hospitals, jails, drug courts, clinics, senior citizen centers, parks, parades, school events, and churches in my outreach work to explain the recovery tools and programs available at the mental health service provider I worked for. Once Fred, my husband, and I were driving to one of these events somewhere out in the woods. I said: “I wonder if God is ever going to let me sing in a church again? I would really like to be able to sing.” And he grabbed my hand (as he always did while praying as he was driving) and petitioned: “Oh Father God, my lovely wife would like to sing at a church. Would you please take care of that for my lovely wife? She has a beautiful voice”.
I forgot about it. Many times I’ve had prayers come true and later on realize: Oh!
I prayed for that! Inside me, I always hear: “Well, I didn’t forget. I never do”. I just love the way The Still Small Voice stays in conscious contact with me. And to imagine, it took me becoming a drunk, crashing & burning, finding the 12 Steps & DOING THEM in order to reach Step 11:
Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God (as need understand Him), praying only for His will and the power to carry that out.”
Before reaching Step 11 one has already worked clean of resentments and non forgiveness. This plugs into a static free ‘God Hearing Reception Channel’. Better known as the Still Small Voice.
Well a wonderful doctor of theology, who is the director of a Bible College and a pastor invited me to give my presentation at his church.. I prepared my presentation and 1 day prior to that presentation, I got an email from the Pastor. It read: If God has given you the gift of song, please sing tomorrow night.
I couldn’t even believe it!!! I had been practicing and practicing and practicing “His Eyes on the Sparrow” because it’s a meaningful song to me and I wanted to learn the words. I’m telling you it’s hard for me to learn the words to songs. And so I have to practice and practice. My Fred doesn’t mine a bit. Even when he is going to sleep at night I’ll ask if I can sing. He says ‘sure’ and he then just snores away. I practiced ‘His Eye is on the Sparrow’ over and over trying to memorize the words for the next night.
Next night I took my little cheat cards to the pulpit. But before I sang, I told them the miracle story that I wanted to sing in a venue and got the wonderful email from the pastor. I explained that it was answered prayer. It’s a long song and I did all the verses as everyone’s eyes were closed. And when I finished singing I was unable to move. My lips were trembling and all I could think and whisper was “thank you, Jesus.” There was not a sound in that church for at least a minute and a half. And then the pastor said out-loud to never quit singing to churches, never. Well, I did of course, I did. I haven’t sung since. But about that song: “His Eye is on the Sparrow”.
I was terrified having to drive from the mountains to my first job in West Virginia. My first job was a call center on the top of a hill. My husband was traveling a lot and I had to work night shift. I sang my way to work and back home. The drive home was an hour to our town and then 18 minutes of winding, dark, mountain roads that often had drop offs down steep cliffs, if the pavement got washed away. Plus, black ice around a 90 degree curve forced one’s wheels into the rocky side of the mountain. I sang because I was terrified. There was not even cell signal and houses were a mile apart. When the winter set in and I’d go around these curves, at times there would be a deer on the road. At first I was shocked that the dark shadow was a person. It was scary! When the snow storms came it was even more frightening. I would have to walk against windy snow at the top of that hill from the car to the call center. It was so scary to me. But during my break I would stand and look out the giant windows. They had no place for us to sit down during coffee break. I would go stand at a window and look out whispering Biblical promises of safety and provision under my breath.
And then one time I noticed that the sparrows were outside playing in the snow! They weren’t scared!
That amazed me. They would either be crunched up under a leaf with snow on it or be perked on top of pine leaves. They would be singing! In the midst of the harsh winter, they didn’t look remorseful nor were they trying to hide out. They knew that they would be taken care of that day. They knew that Papa Abba’s eyes are on the sparrow! I have written a book called: The Drug Addict Sparrow. I’m not writing this to push the book. It’s not even released, yet.
The reason I wrote The Drug Addict Sparrow is that we as believers, (we mothers, we grandmothers) so understand that we’ve been through many ups & downs, withs & withouts, ifs & what’s next, and ‘oh my goodness, how this hurts, but I’ll make it. We Christian Moms and Grannies have been through those times. And all during each of those times, we Christian Moms and Grannies knew that His eye was on us. We doubt not that He love us and we are His sparrow.
Maybe 30% of we same Christian Moms and Grannies have loved ones that they are crying over and praying for because of crisis and demonic attack over them related to drugs and alcohol. In fear, panic and powerful motherhood instinct, we Christian Moms and Grannies find that we are trying to manipulate the situations. Our motherhood instinct triggered by addiction crisis, energizes us into actions of rescuing, controlling, fixing, soliciting favors, pawning things, paying legal costs, etc.
We have been manipulated by the same demon of drugs and alcohol (There is but one enemy dressing in different camouflage). We Christian Moms and Grannies are entrapped and hand tied by enemy. We are doing everything we think we must to keep up with, check on, call, text, schedule, and nag, remind, fix, cry, beg, scream, rage, and literally go foaming mad within. We are in ‘wonder woman’ mode with the mission statement to protect our grandkids and keep our loved ones safe from the slashes, scars, repercussions, hospitals, jails and death resulting from this addiction attack against the masses.
It’s sad. It’s the crisis. Satan has us in the palm of his hand. We know as mothers that Our God’s eyes are on us and WE are each His sparrow. We pray for His divine strength to go through this battle somehow. (I can do all things through Christ, Who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13) But there is one small factor that’s we may not have had time to realize. The enemy wants us too rushed and messed up to realize the power we can tap into. Here is the key! Here is the secret the enemy wants us too busy and broken to remember.
We need our eyes renewed to see the spiritual awakening. We need to understand that our children are not ours. They grow up when they’re about 18. We were privileged to have them, raise them, be a part of them and continue pray for them. Listen in your heart as you read: Your addicted loved one is Father God’s sparrow. You and I are not the keeper of the sparrows. God is the keeper of the sparrows.
Let’s count the ways we have been His sparrow and he was there in His way and in His perfect timing.
Pick out the ones that have applied to you and yours.
Birthing a baby during labor, survival of cancer and diseases, car wrecks, mortgages, putting kids through college, falls-broken bones-aches-pains, job changes, job losses, bad marriages, infidelity, beatings, rape and (more ). We have been His sparrow through it all. We know it. We believe it. What’s my point?
Can we not understand that our adult child is His sparrow, too? Can we not understand that His eye is on all sparrows? Look at these pictures. Homeless, Emergency room, Jail.
Do we really believe that God’s eye is not on each sparrow in these images?
Does He forget His sparrow?
Some of us as sparrows understand that we went through a lot of things because we needed to learn to survive them. Developing the ability to trust and rely on God is about surviving different episodes of crisis. As we become conquerors, we become closer to Him. We lean closer to Him. Then we know how to carry the message of experience, strength and hope to other women who will go through those same types of life crisis. That is what the body of Christ is about. That is what peer support ministry is all about.
It’s a generational continuing cycle. We are living examples and true peer support agents for our Lord and King. God needs us to let our own children go through what they need to go through, so that they can get closer to the need of calling out to Him to rescue them. That way our adult children can learn to love God dearly. Thusly our adult children can become a conquering sparrow! Or do we wish a walking dead-handicapped sparrow who will never be permitted to trust and rely on God?
Yes, the verb is PERMITTED. Will our adult kids be permitted to learn to trust and rely on God? Or will we as rescuing parents and grandparents decide to block that experience for them?
We can pray: “God, I believe. Help my unbelief. Your will not mine. I offer my aching heart and fears to You, Papa. Bless my faith. Strengthen my faith. My child is Your sparrow and I must believe that you know better than I. I must believe that You have Your plans and I must give my child a chance to discover You.”
As we go through our day we pause, when agitated or doubtful, and ask for the right thought or action. We constantly remind ourselves we are no longer running the show, humbly saying to ourselves many times through each day "Thy will be done." We are then in less danger of excitement, fear, anger, worry, self-pity, or foolish decisions. We become more efficient. We do not tire so easy for we are not burning up energy foolishly as we did when we were trying to arrange life to suit ourselves. "
AA Big Book 87-88
I am a mom. I understand the fears and trauma of it all. I would never consider writing about something I have not lived and bled through, too. Our family is large. Fred and I still bleed inside for loved ones and we praise Our Father that He is God and we are not.
So, stay tuned. Next, we are going to examine ways that we can be proactive in this battle. We are going to study the faith walks that require super woman energy and faithful love. It is a formula and call to action to engage in while God’s eye is on your and His loved one. This is going to be miraculously powerfully. Don’t miss the next story and invite a friend.
Please invite your friends to more Lizard Tales and Drug Addict Sparrow will be out soon.
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Hi! I am Cindy Lizard. My Lizard Tales are stories of recovery & restoration. Why not join the Lizard Gang by submitting your story? Cindy will write it and get the artwork. She would love to hear from you! Enjoy the reads & please share our tales on Facebook,Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.