First, let me say if you missed Don’s post on the 14th, please scroll down below for it. His book is finally out!  I am so proud of him! It takes a lot of discipline to write and publish a book. I appreciate his efforts to help make visible the suffering in withdrawal and to share his experience, strength and hope. I can’t wait to get home and order one to read. I know it will be good.

I am now back at our family farm in Georgia after a week of being beachside in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. (I traveled from sea to shining sea!) I didn’t post anything while I was there as it was very sacred time with my parents. It is tradition to hunt fossils that wash up on the beach. It is extremely relaxing, yet tiring, as you walk hunched over, and have to bend to pick up anything that is shiny/black to discern if it is a fossil or not. My mother has been a rockhound since I was a little girl, and she got me into the fossiling.

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I had a few benzo symptom flare ups from the effort it took to find the fossils, but I am so grateful I had the opportunity. I used to think I would never be well enough to travel and visit with my parents ever again. That thought was just a lie that my very damaged brain told me. I have been receiving a great many emails from people who are still quite benzo sick, asking if I worried I would never recover. Of course. I think most of us have that fear. I had it for a very long time, as my recovery took years. I know I still have some healing to do, and I trust that it is going on every day. I know I will be healed.

I firmly believe what the scripture Romans 8:28 (KJV) promises: “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” I can look back now on my years of suffering and know that God was using the experience to polish me, to make me better, to make me whole. Often we can’t see that what appears as disastrous or negative on the front end, ends up as good on the back end. I’m reading the most excellent devotional, written by Os Hillman, (online) (Purchase) and today he speaks of this very thing. Perhaps you may be able to see, in time, that your walk through this “valley of the shadow of death,” was a path that took you to greater things. I know it may sound hard to believe right now in the midst of your suffering, but trust me, God can use your suffering to a much greater end. I know he is in my life.

I start back on the open road soon. I am waiting for the weather to warm up as I don’t want to drive in unsafe conditions. I am writing, speaking to people by phone, and savoring every moment with my parents. Shakespeare, my service dog is doing well and we have bonded deeply. I am so very grateful for him and his help.

If you are still suffering, please hold on to the hope and the TRUTH that it does indeed, get better. I’m sitting in the sunroom, looking out over the forest behind the house. The bare trees are covered in ice from a storm we had last night. The ice is slowly melting, small chunks falling down now and then. Our healing is much like that. We slowly “thaw” out, back to, or even better than, normal.

Nothing stays the same in life. And this season of suffering you are in will surely give way, and God will lead you to something better. I truly believe that. I hope you do too.

Blessings to you all on this icy Tuesday in northern Georgia.