As a child, the thrill of Christmas was at it's highest on this day. It seems we could hardly stand the wait. Ross Bagdasarian, Sr., knew full well what we were feeling! This Christmas eve isn't much different. Oh, there aren't planes that loops the loop or any hula hoops under my tree. As a matter of fact, there isn't anything under my tree which is fine with me. This year will be a Christmas of just spending time together, a good meal and our pretty tree and mantle. But it's so much more than that.
Yesterday there were two special celebrations in my life. First, Mini-Chick, daughter of Son #1 and Lovely Espousa, turned "2"! Mini-Chick is full of personality and laughter and very busy finding fun at most things in life right now. I know it's typical of a two-year old but she's my granddaughter so to me, it's all about her!
Second, Cliff's clean time hit 13 months which is HUGE for him and causes me to be so grateful for:
- The fact that Cliff isn't in a prison, county jail or homeless shelter
- The fact that Cliff's not on the street or MIA
- The first holiday in YEARS untainted by a substance or alcohol
- Cliff as a new man and desire to embrace a new life
- So many people Cliff is interacting with; sponsors, mentors, new friends
- Cliff's spiritual awakening
- God's amazing answers to prayer
Yesterday, Cliff had his second parole appointment since being released. He has a new P.O. and Cliff says it's for the better. He liked PO1 but says PO2 is even better. She seems a bit more proactive in connecting Cliff with the programs available and necessary for his success. Driving home from his appointment with PO, Cliff told me he isn't even having a desire or urge to use at this time. He doesn't think about it all the time anymore. I have noticed a determination in him I've never met before. He is so healthy in his mind, body and spirit that it almost seems unreal. But he's living it out daily so I know it's real and have every reason to celebrate with Cliff for the life he's living now.
For 14 years I prayed for this son specifically for these issues. Actually, I've implored God above to change my son and give him the freedom from the bondage of substances that prohibited Cliff from becoming what he was created to be. For 14 months, I prayed for me to "let go and let God." Recognizing and understanding more and more that my helping hand to God to fix Cliff wasn't helping at all. I'm sure when I fell on my face in total surrender, God said, "Laura, finally you will let me work with Cliff, and you WILL BE OKAY."
I prayed for many things specific to Cliff's life as I'm sure you have for your alky or drug addicted loved ones. In my heart, I felt that God would do something that I couldn't do, but never imagined that He would work it out so quickly and so beautifully. In my wounded lifestyle, I told Cliff he would not be able to live with me again. God changed, and continues to change, Cliff's life and my heart.
"God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us." Eph 3:20 The Message
On my way home from work last night, I made a quick stop for a few items and noticed some nice sweatshirts on sale. I purchased two, one for Son #1 and one for Cliff. When I came home with bags in my arms, Cliff was standing there, so I tossed his sweatshirt to him and teasingly said, "Merry Christmas!" He hugged it and said in jest "This is the best Christmas EVER!" We shared a few laughs, watched a Seinfeld episode and I headed for bed. When I was upstairs going through my routine between the bathroom and bedroom, Cliff said "by the way, I was only half kidding when I jokingly said this is the best Christmas Ever." Without any explanation necessary, I agreed.
This will be the best Christmas EVER between Cliff and me!
*Pic courtesy of www.johnmcalpineart.com *