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"I Can't Create Breath"

As men graduate from Homes of Hope, we are able to welcome new men in their place. Recently, we have graduated three who will join the ranks of the 265 men we have helped thus far. In their place we welcome Frank, Joe, & Donald. These are three men with different stories, but with at least one thing in common: they've come to Homes of Hope serious about sobriety and eager to rediscover their purpose in this life.

It's always interesting to get to know each intern and learn his story. Like in any other group, organization, class, job, etc. there are a variety of personalities and levels of disclosure in operation. Some are quick to open up and lay it all out on the table. Others are quieter; they observe their surroundings and ease themselves into the HOH family at their own pace. While sitting in a van with Frank the other day he put it all out there when he broke the silence with, "This is the hardest thing I've ever done." Obviously intrigued, I asked him to explain what he meant. What followed was a beautiful conversation about his journey of faith and his introduction to a life without drugs and alcohol. Frank explained that in his past it was easy to blame others when things weren't going right. He could use substances to distract or numb him from actually dealing with the issues of life. Approaching struggles with a sober mind is a new experience for Frank and for many of our interns. They are learning to rely on the Lord as their new coping mechanism. "Now I know truth," Frank explained. "When I see myself in conflict I can't act how I would've in the past."

How can one make that critical switch from the norm of past habits and mindsets to a refocused and healthier approach to life? Frank shared his new default: the Lord. "God is playing the biggest part in renewing my mind," he said. "Now I challenge my old ways. I want the truth, not just something to get me by. I'm here for 12 months and I know that I can work on a little bit and progress into a lot more."

What is even more beautiful than observing a man begin to walk in truth for the first time is the moment when he realizes that this gift of new revelation is not just for him. To learn of God's redemptive nature and his continual outflow of grace, love and faithfulness and yet keep it to oneself would be to sacrifice the gift. Frank put it so poignantly, and yet clearly, when he shared, "I want to show people what God has done because realistically, this isn't what Frank has done. I can't create breath."

Wow. What a humble reminder for each of us! In 1 Kings 3:7, Solomon speaks to the Lord with a statement of meekness similar to Frank's: "I am but a little child; I do not know how to go out or come in." Solomon knew he couldn't successfully rule the people without God. Frank knows he can't overcome the past without God. We don't wake up each morning and create our own breath. The Lord is so needed for matters both small and large. May we be ever reminded of the One who is our Source of all things!