Real Life Mama: Keep your eyes on Jesus when life gets hard

I didn’t want to write about this this week. In fact, I was just going to skip writing at all. But, sometimes writing is therapeutic for me – and even if I didn’t turn this in, at least I got it out.

I have shared some of my sobriety with you all, and I share every new record I hit on social media because I am excited about it. But honestly, that’s really all that I have shared about it — that I hit another milestone. Yay!

Listen, my life is so good without alcohol. It really is! And for the most part, my sober journey has been relatively easier than I thought. I grabbed onto God, and I am telling you He made a way that I could never have made on my own.

But there are still struggles – I just never share them. It’s like I don’t want people to know that I could possibly be weak. I mean, let’s be honest, I already feel like there are doubters just counting down the days until I fail. Heck, sometimes I join them.

Last week was my birthday. Lee took me down to Cincinnati for a concert – he knows I love live country music. Arriving early, we figured we had plenty of time to grab dinner. So did everyone else going to the concert. Unless we wanted to wait an hour to be seated and miss the beginning of the concert, our only option was to sit at the bar.

You guys, I have sat at a bar at a restaurant sober before and have been fine – sometimes we get fun fruity mocktails and sometimes we just get a pop. But that night was my birthday, we were out of town, we were going to a concert, and everyone around us was, of course, drinking. I wanted a drink.

I ordered a Diet Pepsi and a zero alcohol beer and Lee ordered a root beer. We ate dinner and we left. At the concert, we found our seats and then went to the concessions. I wanted a drink.

We both got an energy drink. After all, the concert didn’t start until 8 and I am an old lady now. Soaking in our time together and some good music, we thoroughly enjoyed the concert. Afterward, we checked into the hotel he booked, kid-free for the night (and most of the next day), and, with a cherry Sprite in my hand, I really just wanted a drink.

The next day was fun and filled with more birthday adventures that Lee had planned – a massage, trip to IKEA and early dinner before reuniting with all our babies. But it was Friday night, and I wanted a drink.

Saturday came flooding in and it was beautiful outside. The sunshine begged for summer, and we decided to take the kiddos fishing. Out there by the water with the warmth of the sun, I bet you can guess it, I wanted a drink.

Saturday fell into Sunday and my friends stopped by with gifts and all I could think about was how nice it would be to just hang out with them and have a drink.

By Monday, I was so overwhelmed with some unknowns of the future that I honestly really just wanted a drink. As Tuesday crept in, I felt like I was crawling out of my skin. I wanted a drink.

We went to church Tuesday night — a revival for a sister church. And even though I had been praying since Thursday night when the first feeling of wanting a drink came over me – and all through the church services on Sunday and Monday, I was still feeling two things: I wanted a drink, and I was mad at myself for wanting a drink.

Through the beginning songs of the church service, I cried. I had been doing so well! What was going on? Why was I struggling with this so bad?

Then the preacher started talking about Peter walking on water. He didn’t even go into the entire story, but I knew it. I could feel it.

Jesus was walking on water and told Peter to come to him. So, Peter did – he walked on water! But then, Peter saw the wind – he took his eyes off of Jesus – was afraid and began to sink. Peter cried out for Jesus to save him. Immediately Jesus took his hand and caught him, commenting on Peter’s lack of faith and questioning his doubt. (Paraphrased from Matthew 14: 29-31).

And I cried even more — at church, at prayers at the dinner table after church, up to and all through writing this. I am Peter. From the second I let the thought of a drink enter my mind – when I took my eyes off of Jesus – I opened up the door of doubt – my faith in my sobriety started falling.

Sobriety is awesome – it is the way I want to live my life, but it is hard. Like walking on water, it is not something I can do by myself. Thankfully, I don’t have to. Because even if I feel myself start sinking toward a drink again, I don’t have to drown in it. I just have to look back to Jesus – and He will save me every time.

Sarah (Pitson) Shrader was born and raised in Lima. She is a Lima Central Catholic and Tiffin University graduate. Sarah is a full-time working mama who enjoys writing about her somewhat crazy, always adventurous life as a mother. She lives in Bath Township with her daughters and writing inspirations, Maylie and Reagan.