DON’T PLAY WITH FIRE – WENDY BLANCHARD, M.S., CHHC

Each day I choose to learn, and to have new experiences, most especially when I feel the Universe guiding me towards an experience where I stand to learn something new…a Universal lesson which may benefit me, my loved ones, and/or those that I serve who are suffering with the disease of Substance Use Disorder and/or Mental Illness.

I hadn’t been to a Church in awhile as I always feel that in my daily spiritual practice, I communicate with the Universe/God/Spirit in a profound, deep, and meaningful way. Today, my spiritual practice was deepened even further.

The last couple of weeks I was “feeling” gentle and loving Guidance from the Universe to go back to the non-denominational Church that I had previously attended at Grace Community. I attended the service early this morning, and afterwards, I realized that I had been Divinely guided there for sure, and I noticed myself throughout the sermon smiling and nodding to what the Pastor was saying “knowing” that this message was intended for me to hear. It gave me chills.

The sermon was the loving reminder that I needed. Pastor Jarrod spoke about how we cannot try to control any situation in our lives, which is all an illusion anyway, and that we must put “God” at the center of our lives, as God/Universe/Spirit, who is lovingly with us, guiding us, and supporting us, is where we get our strength and guidance from, and the information that we need to navigate during the “fiery trials” that one may face in their lives. And, it is at the times of these “trials” that we must lean on the Universe/God/Spirit, and not allow the “fire” to have any power over us. He went on to explain that we only succeed in “making the fire worse by taking into our own hands.” I have definitely been “burned” a few times trying to inadvertently handle things on my own.

Pastor Jarrod also spoke about surrender and faith, and “trusting” that the Universe/God/Spirit “has a purpose for us, and that these “fiery trials” are the things that may keep us bound to what does not serve us any longer. The Universe/God/Spirit uses the “fire” to free us, and even bless us…to offer us a better way, a healthier situation…one that will benefit us, and those we engage with. Pastor Jarrod’s sermon reminded us that we must “make every effort to supplement our faith with character,” where he further elaborated that “those with character do not hide, and are not afraid of being “found out,” or living their truth, as they are hiding nothing…”completely open, and  never having to look over their shoulder.” Those who hide nothing have nothing to hide.

The past 5 1/2 years of my life, where I have been in recovery from Substance Use Disorder and Mental Illness, has been just that for me. I live in complete truth, never apologizing for who I am, or for being ill with this disease for most of my life, and living an unhealthy lifestyle. I was unwell through no fault of my own. Now that I know better, I live a completely healthy life that is beneficial to me, and all those around me. I have been an open book from the very beginning of my recovery. I work very hard each and every day to always do the right thing, and to sustain my recovery in the healthiest way possible, and I have succeeded…by the Grace of God. I made a vow 5 1/2 years ago that if the Universe/God/Spirit could show me a way to heal and recover from my disease, that I would spend my life offering others my story, my journey, and my guidance in the hopes of someone else being inspired to ask for help in recovering from these co-occurring diseases. And, the Universe/God/Spirit offered me the opportunity to follow that path, and it is one of the most meaningful roles in my life right up there with being “Mom.”

As I now work in the field of Mental Illness and Substance Use Disorder, and as an Educator on Mental Health & Wellness, Mental Health First Aid, Youth Mental Health First Aid, and Suicide Safety for Teens, trained in Trauma Informed Care, Spiritual Wellness, MAT, Narcan, CPR, SAFE Talk, and I hold a certification in Holistic Health Counseling, I have been blessed to be able to pay it forward and to help others as I had prayed for 5 1/2 years ago. This disease is a chronic and progressive brain disease if not managed, and the great and hopeful news is that IT IS diagnosable, treatable and manageable, and that recovery is not only possible, but probable, when we become proactive in the work it takes to sustain our recovery. When we remain faithful to ourselves and live in our truth, when we practice and follow our Faith in the Universe/God/Spirit, where we remain connected to others, and where we remain open to exploring the many solutions that are presented to us in recovery as we discover what will work for us as recovery “tools,” and execute use of those tools, we DO recover.

This was the loving reminder that I needed to hear today. This is why I was specifically “Guided” back to Church this morning. Although I am deeply spiritually “Connected” in my daily practice, I needed to hear this specific message…another lesson offered to me compliments of our Loving Universe where I am able to learn, to grow, and to evolve, and for which I am very grateful.

I realize that everyone has their own faith based practices and thus their own interpretation, and I respect each and every one. I never ask for anyone to substitute their own beliefs for anyone else’s. We must respect each other’s views, and always come from a place of love offering empathy, compassion, acceptance and kindness. And, some believe in God, and others like to use a broader term “synonymous” with God such as Universe/Spirit/Love, etc. I use these faith based terms interchangeably so as to make my writing relatable to a wider range of readers, and to offer a welcoming to all to take what resonates with you.

We choose what resonates with us, and when we feel connected to our choice and believe in the process, it promotes healing, connection, purpose, sustainability, and the opportunity to continuously evolve where we cause a ripple effect. To evolve is to live in our power fueled by the Universe’s flame.

Pray…Listen…Live your truth with Grace and Gratitude, and keep the fire burning…Continue to listen for the opportunities that will allow you to learn…to grow…to evolve…

Love and blessings,

Wendy

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