Monday, April 28, 2014

Their Story

April 17, 2008 is my day; the day that changed it all. It is when my life began again. It was the beginning of a new story, one that I was finally willing to let God write. Over the past 6 years there has been a lot of change, a lot of growth, and a lot of opportunity. The opportunity that I most enjoy is telling God’s story of my life and transformation. Each time I share it I am reminded of God’s grace and love. I am reminded of how much He loves me. I am reminded of hope and change. I am reminded of the freedom and the joy that I searched for a long time but only found in Him.

Six years!!! I have now lived more life sober than using. I now remember more good days than bad ones. Six is not a milestone year for celebrating, but it feels like one to me.  Around this time I year I spend a little more time than usual digesting God’s redemption in my life, and this year I came up with a new angle. Each time I tell my story I give it from my point of view, but I am not the only one in this story. This story, testimony if you will, also belongs to the people that stood in the gap for me. This story is also my parent’s story.

You see in my 5 years of using and partying, they were not celebrating and having a good time. They are the ones that prayed for me constantly. They cried out to God to save me, and I imagine each time they knew I was high their hearts broke a little more. They had to set boundaries. They saw me make bad choices. They saw me destroy my life and my future. They were hurt over and over, but they never gave up. They never turned from God. They may have been mad, but they kept praying. They had faith when I had none. They had hope when none could be seen. They had love. They believed in me. They saw my worth when I could find none. I can only recall crying out to God 1 time during those 5 years. They cried out 100s. That is why this is their story.

My Sweet Parent’s,
            Words cannot express how much I cherish you all. I am grateful that God has gifted me with each of you. I am grateful that we have grown closer to God as a family through our struggles. I pray that He gives you peace about days that are gone. If I were to have regrets they would be that I hurt you when you loved me. I know you are all proud of me, and that is one of my greatest accomplishments. I can’t wait to see what the next 6 years have in store.
                        Love Always,
                        Cary Dale 

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Why Do I Do This?

I love my job. I get to love on young women and talk about Jesus all day…what’s not to love? My love for it does not erase the challenges that are faced each day. It challenges me professionally, emotionally, and most important spiritually. The decision to take the job was not made lightly. Coming to Heart of Hope required some sacrifice, but I came any way because I knew that God had prepared me for Heart of Hope. I knew without a doubt that He called me here. I was asked recently why in the world I would take a risk like this. Why would I take a step in my career that seemed like taking step back? Why would I put up with the difficulties of the job? I had to stop and think about that. I know the generic answer is “because it is what God called me to do.” But I wanted a better answer. I asked myself “why did you take the risk” and “why do you feel a calling to this?” With no surprise I found my answer in the words of Jesus. In John 15:13 Jesus says, “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” That is what I did. I laid my life down for the sake of these girls finding Jesus. I love them each. I even love the ones yet to come. I so desperately want them to find the freedom that Christ has to offer. I want to do whatever I can to keep them from the enemy. I want them to have life to the fullest. As Christians we are called to love, and that is why I do what I do. I want to lay my life down so that these girls will find life in Christ; life to the fullest. 

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Do You Know?

How well do you know me?

I bet you know that I am a big book nerd.

I bet you know that I love my job and the girls I get to work with.

I bet you know that I am crazy about my nephew.

I bet you can figure out that Jesus is important to me, that I am really goofy, and that I love all things Disney. 

What you may not know is that I have an illness. It is a serious illness that at times can be life threatening. It is an illness that I have struggled with for a large portion of my life. Sometimes it is bad, but sometimes it seems that I am in full remission. It is an illness that requires medication and a lot of self-care. It is an illness that I may never be healed from. It is an illness that so many call a joke because there is no test for it and no case looks the same. The disease I struggle with is mental illness.

My illness has been so prevalent in my life that I have made it my mission. For the past 6 years my every working moment has revolved around mental illness. I know it is real, because I lived it. I know it hurts, because I have had moments that I wanted to die. I know that there is hope, because I survived.

I have not been set free from all of my struggles, but I indeed am free. I am free from my suffering because a sinless man took His love for me all the way to the cross. Now, even in the center of a mental illness storm, I find hope, peace, and purpose. My hope is in the Lord that He will never leave me nor forsake me. My purpose is also in Him that He will work all things for the good of those who have been called according to his purpose. My peace is the peace that Jesus left for us, that which surpasses all understanding.  And I can do ALL things through Him that strengthens me.