Thursday, February 16, 2012

Freedom and Hope: God Speaking Through Johnny Cash

Today has exhausted me: emotionally, mentally, and physically.  If I were to take the time to explain all the conflict that has culminated in my life today it would take me hours to write it all out.  

My heart has heard from several sources that I’m not good enough and I’ll never find love.  I’ve found victory from my demons only to give into them hours later.  I’ve been excited about who God is and what He is doing in my life and the lives of those around me only to call Him an implacable prick before the day’s end.  I’ve cried my eyes out, cursed, praised, ranted, raved, and prayed. 

Through the din of it all God’s still, small voice has repeated, “Pat, I love you.”.

This afternoon with the scent of sin still on my collar I sat down with Johnny Cash’s autobiography.  He writes the first chapter from the porch of his vacation home in Jamaica and gives a short overview of his life.  At the end of the chapter he gives a list of the things he is thankful for.  It includes a comfortable pair of shoes, a loving wife and family, the song of birds, and his musical talent.  The last thing he listed was the most encouraging to me.  It is as follows:

Finally, I’m thankful, very thankful, that at this moment I have absolutely no craving for any kind of drug.  I’ve been up almost three hours today and this is the first time I’ve though about it, and even then it’s in the spirit of gratitude.  So my disease isn’t active.  Last night I saw a bottle of wine passed around the table, and I never once thought about taking even a sip of it, (So why am I thinking about it now? Watch it Cash! Gotta never be complacent.  Never take anything for granted.  Don’t forget, great prices have been paid and will be paid again if you get too smug, too egotistical and self-assured.)            Cash pp 9-10

Porn, lust, gorgeous women, brandy, cigarettes and violence will always exist during my lifetime.  My sinful desires and actions don’t have to.  I want to know the freedom Johnny Cash felt at his dinner table in Jamaica; when a full and open bottle of an old demon passed in front of him and his only response was a resounding “No”.

I can be free if I commit to walking the long and often lonely road to recovery. Hearing my brothers, men I love and respect, share their struggles and commit to stand beside me in my fight is what keeps me going.  They’re teaching me how to hope.

So, for all of you who have put a dog in my fight: Thank You.  I Encourage You To Join Me In Staying The Course and Keeping Our Eyes Fixed On Him Who Loves Us.

“But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through [Jesus] who loved us.”
-Romans 8:37 NASB


  1. Thanks for sharing Pat! You're a great writer, and have a talent for connecting with your readers at an emotional level. And the coolest part is, I don't think you're even trying to. You're just spilling out your heart and your guts. But you do it in a way that's easy for us to relate. Your pain sucks, but it does truly inspire you!