White Flag: How My Ministry Got Its Name
I'm not sure if you heard the story behind the name "She Surrenders"? I pulled an excerpt from my book to help explain:
"Hey, Sherry, what'd you do this weekend?" ...
..."I did absolutely nothing. I had the house to myself and was incredibly lazy," I say, shutting my eyes a little to emphasize how dreamy it had been...
I wonder what would happen if I would've slammed them with the truth?
What if I had said, "Well, after Craig and Olivia left Friday night, I started drinking straight vodka. I slept-drank-repeated until I drank too much and freaked out that I had alcohol poisoning and was going to die. I called some friends who climbed in bed with me for the day, even though I was braless and smelled rancid. They stayed with me all day, and I promised them when they left that I was done drinking for good. However, surprise! I was lying. Then I went out and got more vodka and just drank less to be safe. Actually, I'm detoxing right now. That smell is alcohol coming out of my pores."
Probably wouldn't have gone over too well. I'll stick with the boring-weekend version.
As the day goes on, my detoxing tremors amp up and become harder to hide. When someone comes to stand by my desk, I quickly put my hands in my lap. I need a drink. To have any sort of conversation I have to concentrate hard before I respond.
What the heck happened to me over the weekend?
Finally home and with a few minutes to myself, I try to drink but it’s like my throat closes up and rejects the alcohol. I get nothing down. I try a few more times without any success. I’m getting really pissed off about this. I just want this anxiety to go away, I want relief, but it won’t come.
After a few more failed attempts, I call it a night and go to bed fighting my craving. I wake up during the night a couple of times and, surprisingly, I don’t feel anxious. But I do feel something else. I lay there quietly and know without a doubt that I’m feeling God’s presence. His words to me are clear but firm. This needs to be it. I’m giving you an open door. Walk away from alcohol and into my arms. I’m waiting.
When I wake up in the morning, I feel the same calm… Craig leaves me alone in the quiet, and I don’t open my journal immediately. I just sit and wait with it on my lap, trying to quiet my mind and listen. The song “Revelation” by Third Day comes into my thoughts and I quickly google it. Music speaks to me like nothing else, and God knows that about me. I know this song is from Him. So I pray. Please, Lord, give me a revelation. I don’t know what to do. I am at a crossroads here and I know I need to choose.
The tears run down my face and I am on my knees not recalling how I got there. My face is buried in my hands on the chair and I’m sobbing into them. I feel my heart breaking into a million little pieces. The edges are jagged, and they’re cutting me.
I know this is it: the point of no return.
I need to be put back together. I’m so broken. I know I’m face to face with God and He’s waiting for my answer. I feel grief. I lie down on the floor as I feel myself start to mourn what I’m saying goodbye to. This shouldn’t be so difficult! I shouldn’t love this thing, this substance that’s almost destroyed me and everything I love. But I do. I cry out all these things to God: “Give me a revelation, Lord! Show me what to do!”
I don’t know how long I lay there, but it was a while. I don’t end the conversation while sobbing on the floor. I simply don’t know what to say this time. God’s heard it all before. So I just get up, walk into the kitchen, dig out the bottle from the back of the cupboard, and stare at it in my hands.
This liquid that remains has the power to take away everything, Sherry. Every single thing you love and every single thing you desire for your life. With one hand raised to God and the other unscrewing the bottle over the sink, I say, “God, take it. I surrender my life with this demon and give it to you. I’m yours.” The bottle is empty but the smell of the vodka lingers and is putrid to my nostrils. I drop the bottle and now both hands are free, and I’m raising both of them to God.
Bruised and beaten, I walk away from the war with alcohol I’ve been fighting for years.
I don’t feel any joy in this moment of what should be a victory. I feel like I’ve lost a war and am waving the white flag of surrender. Surrender means to give up – how is that a victory?”*
For thus says the One who is high and lifted up, who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: “I dwell in a high and holy place, and with the oppressed and humble in spirit, to restore the spirit of the lowly and revive the heart of the contrite. – Isaiah 57:15 (Berean Study Bible - emphasis mine)
Contrite could mean crushed, which is just how I was feeling in those moments. I didn't know the promise in Isaiah 57:15 then, but I've now lived its truth. My surrender brought the holy and eternal God to dwell with me, restoring my heart. So I’m still waving that white flag. #shesurrenders
*Except from my book Sober Cycle: Pedaling Through Recovery One Day at a Time