Tuesday, January 29, 2008


That is how many days I have lived since I surrendered. 3,287 days have come and gone without me choosing to take a drink or to put any other drug in my body. 3,287 days of working towards becoming the woman I am today.

3,287 days ago I was a girl who was desperate for something different, something better. I was a girl who didn't consider how my actions affected others. I was a mess. But a higher power was waiting for me. He showed up in the form of a woman, who had been sober for 25 years. She was sitting in a little room of a church in Okemos, Michigan. She told a story-her story, my story.

On January 28, 1999 I made a decision that I wanted my story to have a happy ending like hers did. 9 years later I have no idea what the ending will be, but I know the middle and it is so much better than I would have hoped for!

3,287 days later I am free, I am imperfect and so okay with that. I love my family, I have real friends, I live on 2 continents and am content on either. I have met my educational goals, and I am no longer afraid to set goals that require hard work.

I am me. Just me. 3,287 days outside of the realization that on my own I was going to be in trouble. I am no longer on my own. That is the story of my success.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Tonight I got a miracle!!

I experienced a miracle tonight. I visited a church that many of my friends go to and I had my world rocked, again!

I have been feeling off, not bad, but I have definitely just not been normal. I have chalked it up to being homesick and to the changes that are continuously taking place in my life. I have been praying about it, and it hasn’t gone away.

Tonight at church the pastor continued his series in the book of Mark. Specifically Mark 3:31-35. The topic was God’s will. After all Jesus said in the passage above, “Whoever does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother.” One thing I know for sure is that if given the choice to be called a sister to Jesus or not, I am going to chose in. That part was a given for me.

Here is where it get’s tricky. He talked about a few things. The first being our prayer life. If you are anything like me, your prayers go a little something like this, “This is how I want my life to be ___________ (fill in the blank here), but if that’s not really how you want it to be, I suppose I will take your will.” God’s will is like a plan B to what I really want.

I don’t make new years resolutions, but I do evaluate my life each January. Not only because it is the beginning of a new year, but also because it is the anniversary of my sobriety and in turn a whole new life, and I like to take the month to reflect and set goals. This year I feel a hunger towards God’s will more than before. I find myself praying less about what I want and more about what He wants. I am asking in a more genuine to have him remove the things that are not of him and to help me be more like the example we have in Jesus. I want to love what Jesus loves and despise what Jesus despises.

We were then taken to Romans 12. I love the book of Romans, this book can inspire and renew me. I love the words grace and mercy and they are all over in this letter from Paul. Just read this passage alone: Romans 12: 1 & 2. It’s got a lot in those 2 little verses.
Here is what I see today: Because of God’s mercy, do not do what the people of the world do, be different, then you will know what God’s will is; and it is good, pleasing and perfect.
It has been more than a week since I have cried, it has been 9 days. Those who know me, might think this is odd…I am a crier. Tonight I wept. A deep weeping of sorrowful repentance to my savior and also the gratitude of a heart that once again received the gifts of grace and mercy.
I have been feeling homesick, or so I thought. Longing for the place and people that I love so much. I do miss them, but I wasn’t homesick. I was lonely for His good, pleasing and perfect will. Once you have known it, anything less will never be enough… don’t take my word for it…test it out, please!

Let me try and make a point somewhere among all of the babbling. Right here Paul tells us not to be conformed. I leave Zimbabwe and I come back to Orange County, California. If you ever want to live in 2 polar opposites, you might want to try these 2 places. In Zim, I live in a high density township (a ghetto), my neighbors are poor, they are my friends, they are my family. I spend my days praying with people who are really trusting God for their provision: for food, healing and even sometimes water! We sing songs about counting our blessings while we wait for the power to come back on. Now I am here, I don’t know my neighbors, but I know that they are not poor and when I thank God for a meal, I don’t really have to think about how or why he provided it. I might not even be hungry when I am eating it.

The pastor talked about an Albanian friend who said this, “Don’t let the world conform you. In America you get seduced and you don’t even know it.”

In my notes right after that it says this, “That is what this is…. That is the homesickness. I am being seduced away from the truth, that my spirit is poor and sick and that I need GOD, His love, grace and mercy for provision and healing.” I know that when I am in Zim because I ask for and see miracles all the time. Here I am coasting.

This pastor stated the obvious, that Jesus’ goal in life was to do God’s will. If we want to do God’s will, an obvious place to start is to do what Jesus did. He gave some examples, but the one that
made me weep was this: Forgiveness. Jesus forgave. He forgave wretched, ugly, too-bad-to-talk-about-openly sinners. Sinners like me. (This is where I start to weep, especially when I realize that I hold unforgiveness in my heart.)

As a child I was hurt by my mom and dad. In 1999 I went through a 30 day healing process with my mother while she died a miserable and very painful death. I have slowly been releasing the bitterness I hold for my father. If it were something tangible it would appear that I am letting go one finger at a time. Tonight, I believe I have let go completely. I do not want to take it back. I visited my family for 3 weeks over the holidays. I have been praying all year that God would help me interact differently with my dad. Those three weeks were difficult and I managed. I survived, we both did. I do not do well with surviving anymore… I expect to thrive. I know the difference and I was disappointed. I prayed about it and God has given me the opportunity to go back to Michigan (where my family lives) on Tuesday for a week. A second chance. Our God is the God of second chances. (Can I get an Amen??)

This is a really basic picture, but to me this example is powerful. My will is to be bitter and angry towards my dad. To remind him whenever I choose to, that he hurt me. To never release him from the consequences of that decision. To strip him of his role as my father because of his mistakes. God’s will on the other hand is for me to forgive him. To remember that I have been forgiven of equally, if not more heinous acts. To remember that when He forgave me, He didn’t strip me of my privileges and ground me for life, instead he promised a life that is so great, my mind can’t even conceive of it, he told me that He would give me the desires of my heart. He wouldn’t give me what I deserve, instead I would get more than I’ve dreamt of. He (the King of Kings) would adopt me and make me a princess!

Ouch. My will or God’s will. When I look at it like that I feel like an idiot.
But I don’t like to look at it like that, I like to hide it under things that seem a little prettier. Things like “justice” or “forgive and not forget”.

Tonight as I get ready to go to bed I am grateful that tonight, at CPC I was the recipient of a miracle in Orange County. For the first time in my life I have really, really forgiven my father. It is finished. I am choosing God’s will because it is good, pleasing and perfect. I know this because on more than one occasion He let me have my will and it was an absolute debacle. (That is a much longer story for another day)

I am writing about this, even though it is extremely personal because I think it is important. This is a lesson that I have to get right, not only for my relationship with my dad, but also for me to be able to complete the task I believe God is using me for in Zimbabwe. The kids I am trying to help are going to have to forgive their parents too. And after-all, it is pretty foolish to think that I can teach the kids that our community thinks of as the untouchables that they are princes that the King of Kings is waiting to adopt, if I don’t even believe it for the untouchable in my life.

Thank you for letting me share my miracle. I am no longer homesick; I feel loved, grateful and full of joy… but I still want to go home

Saturday, January 26, 2008


Today I am a little homesick. I am not sure which home I am sick for... they are obviously so different. The snowy one with all the family I will be flying to on Tuesday; the hot, dusty, small one that still seems so far away or the one in California that is really just a memory, something that barely resembles the home that I come to when I return.

I am not homesick in a "I'm going to pout and be sad" kind of a way. Just in a heart-aching, "something is not right" kind of way. I long for the routine I have in Zim. Waking up to giggles outside my window of the girls hoping that they have been loud enough to wake me up but quiet enough for their mom not to hear them and yell for them to come home. Breakfast Bible study and even sweeping my too dusty floors. You might not believe me, but I even miss Sadza.

The sun is finally shining in California again, but I want to go home.

Friday, January 25, 2008


My life is changing again.

I am homeless. Well I guess I have already been homeless, but now I am more homeless than before.

What is weird is that I am really ok with this! The family that I have always live with while I am in the States is moving. This means I am moving. Don't worry, I already have a place to go. I am moving to another very special woman's house who, like Julie before her, has taken post as Mom.

What really hit me, is this:

Everything I own, everything that waited for me in the spare bedroom of Julie's house while I was in Zim (including my dog and his wardrobe) fits into a Honda Civic.

3 years ago my shoes would not have fit in that car.

I laughed as I realized that the car was almost full and the bedroom was empty. Then I thought, "If the rich, young ruler knew what I knew now, would his answer have been the same?" I doubt it.

I am not sure what this feeling is, I suppose it is liberation.

Today as homeless as I am, I feel like a winner!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

When did we grow up?

So I just got off the phone and am grinning from ear to ear!! My cell rang and it was a number, and area code that I didn't recognize. I answered and heard something like this: "Hello can I speak to Regina Jones?" Ugh, a telemarketer...really? "This is" Then he said, "This is Regina Jones? Really? This is Sean Ford." AHHHHHHH!!!!!!

No way, this is one of my dearest childhood friends!! We only got to talk for a little bit before his appointment showed up, but oh my goodness!! Such happiness!!

The only thing that keeps running through my head.... probably a million times over the past month, is this "When did WE grow up?" When did we become college graduates, wives, husbands, professionals, moms, dads, homeowners. leaders, ADULTS?

I cannot believe how things change, and even with all of the change how somethings stay the same. There are some people in our lives that no matter how long it is in between visits and conversations, you pick up right where you left off!! I am so thankful that I have so many of those people in my life, because with the way my life is right now, it is very often a LONG time in between visits!!

Today is a great day! We are having a volunteer meeting for ROCK of Africa this evening and and I am so excited to see the various people that love God and love Zimbabwe and want to help with this amazing ministry that God is molding and shaping before our eyes! If you are available tonight, please join us!

TODAY: Jan 17th
Christ Presbyterian Church
20112 Magnolia
Huntington Beach, CA

Friday, January 11, 2008

Californians, I am back!

I don't think I really know where my home is, but if it were still California, I would be back home!

I had 3 weeks to visit my family in Michigan and it was great. I can't possible sum it all up, but I stayed with my grandma, the one from my dad's side, the one that raised me...and it dawned on me that she is my only living grandparent! I got to spend time with my Aunt Cricket, her husband RJ and my cousin Noah, who many of you know is my fave almost 6 year old in the world! I also got to spend time with my dad, will write more about that later, most of the living members of my mom's family (especially my aunt Laura and her family and my very pregnant cousin Amanda!) I spent some time with my Uncle Frank and Aunt Letha and I even got to go up north to visit both of my newlywed cousins and their spouses and my Aunt Sissy and Uncle Don. I have to say that one of the highlights was the time spent with my 3 1/2 year old neice, Jaylin. She is so funny!

I also got to spend some time with old friends and I really did have a good time. I saw the Lion King, Barbie at the symphony, PS I love you and Sweeny Todd.

I am glad to be back in California and I am looking forward to being on vacation for a little bit. I have some work to do, but I am also going to make a list of all the fun things that i want to do while I am home, and I will count on you all to make it possible!! I know that you will :-)

I will be in and around the States until March 15, when I will very happily board a plane backto the only place that really seems like home, Victoria Falls Zimbabwe. Until then.... you are stuck with me!