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I remember the exact moment…the time, the place, the people I was surrounded by when I had my first social experience with alcohol. I was not yet 21 and seemingly had done a good job at standing my ground in siutations where underage drinking was going on. However, the moment had come when I had grown weary of saying “no” and just wanted to fit in for a moment. To prove that I could let my hair down, that I could  be “cool” like the rest of them. As I think back to why I allowed peer pressures to take control on this particular situation, I believe that I associated drinking alcohol with maturity and I so badly wanted to prove that I was mature indeed and that this was no big deal. But the fact of the matter is, that it was a big deal, as I prematurely equated the ability to consume alcohol with my maturity level.

It was not until my freshman year of college that I had my first drunken moment…it was blackout status bad. So many things went wrong that night that I could cry just thinking about it. I slept in my car that night, as I was too afraid to be caught by a RA, I remembered thinking how completely idiotic this was and  how being too drunk and too afraid to go into my dorm was no proof of maturity…but in actuality, a proof of immaturity. Taking nearly 2 days to rid myself of the worst hangover of my life, I vowed to never drink in that manner again. While I may have had a drink or two here and there, it was not until my 21st birthday that I started to consume alcohol more regularly. After watching one too many rom coms, I had decided that I was going to be a sophisticated drinker. You know, your wine and champs kinda gal and perhaps a well crafted cocktail if it was fancy. And so it began…a life with so-called sophisticated drinking.

In my time of sophisticated sipping, I still had those moments where I lowered my inhibitions and made choices that I would have not made if sober minded. One of those moments included losing my purity after having several glasses too many of merlot. And in the natural circle of life, of course, I met my now husband shortly after I made that compromise. A dang bottle of merlot, time and lack of understanding of worthiness stood between me keeping one of the things I cherished most. Perhaps I can share the fullness of that story another day, because it is quite layered and complex, but an integral part of my healing journey.

After graduating college and shortly before moving to New York City for graduate school in the late summer of 2012, Jason and I had started dating and were engaged by that June.  Our courtship was shorter than most, but we spent an incredible amount of time talking about all the things we desired in life. Our goals, our dreams, our aspirations, what family looked like to us and so on. Our conversations concerning these things were deep and often resulted in spending 4 plus hours on the phone. The beauty of those hard conversations allowed us to be aligned and set proper expectations for one another in our relationship, which quickly led to marriage. Due to our unique life experiences, there were many things that we viewed differently, but there was one thing for sure we desired and that was to be equally yoked for our future family. To set a pattern for our future children on what it looked like to have a whole marriage, to show them an example of what it truly means to be in one accord.

It was in July of 2013, a month of after we married, that Jason shared he wanted to serve at our church. When serving at our chruch, we are asked to sign a BIBLICAL ETHICS COVENANT, which includes 10 statements. One of those including to abstain from the use of Tobacco (cigarettes, cigars, chew/snuff), illegal drugs, and alcohol. The reason for the ask boils down to two things:

  1. Submitting to the Vision of the house
  2. To live a life above reproach to strengthen the witness of the ministry worker

When Jason shared that this was a qualification and that he was planning to move forward with this lifestyle change to serve, I felt a strong urge to follow suit. Not because I was ready to give up alcohol, but because I felt strongly about Godly submission, allowing him to lead our family and us being united on the expectations of our house, much like our leaders were setting expectations for our church home.

The word submission has become an ugly 10 letter word in today’s culture. But here’s the thing, when we are believers, we are called to understand what submission, obedience and Godly government/authority is  and APPLY IT in our lives. Here’s the deal about submission, it isn’t about agreeing, BUT yielding your will to another’s. When it came to the direction from our leaders about abstaining from alcohol, we at the time did not agree with it, BUT we trusted our leaders, people with Godly character, who lived the same lifestyle they were asking of us. Our trust in them, the Vision they had for our local church and evidence of God working in our lives through our connectedness with this body, was well worth the submission.

There were many times in those early years that I complained a lot about this specific ask…I agreed with all other 9 statements, but this one really tripped me up, because my flesh wanted what it wanted. However, as I have grown and matured, I so see and value living a life above reproach and how it has opened countless doors to show the beauty and holiness of the gospel, without a societal blemish hovering over it. Furthermore, as Jason and I have both grown individually and collectively, we’ve looked at our family histories, the wounds and tramuas in our lives and discovered patterns that could be continued if we decided to allow alcohol in our lives.

So that’s a little bit of my story and how I arrived at living a life sans alcohol. There are moments when I miss a glass of Prosecco with peach schnapps, my favorite beverage before I gave up drinking, but more than what I miss, I love have the opporunity to have a solid witness, I love being submitted to our leaders at our church (which we still attend) and lastly, I love being on one accord with my husband. I know that God is a god of order and generations and because of that, He will honor the commitment that we’ve made to honor Him.

To Be Cotinued…

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