Captured by Pam

words and images by pam wright

Category: Repentence

Captured: A Miraculous September Morn

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There is a day in my life that I will never forget.

I love South Korea very much. In a certain sense, it is my birth country because I left that county a very different person from the one who arrived. That time almost seems like a dream, a nightmare really.

When my family moved to Seoul in 1999, I was suffering from the final stages of alcoholism. My doctor later told me that had I continued drinking, I would have been dead within three months.

For many years, I was self-medicating to alleviate emotional pain, feelings of loneliness, despair and to forget some painful experiences that were no fault of my own.

That day in Korea started like so many before — waking in my my bed, bile rising in my throat, trembling from withdrawal, and trying desperately to get more alcohol into my system so I could me feel normal again.

That morning turned out to be very different, however.

I lay there watching the sparkly dust fairies in the sunlight streaming across my bed, mesmerized by the glow of the dust in the sunlight and the dance of each individual piece of sparkling dust.

Without warning, I heard the voice of God rise within me, telling me to move. It literally felt physical as I experienced a sudden revelation and conviction rise in my soul. I suddenly knew that if I didn’t do something immediately, I would die.

Fear gripped my heart as I got out of bed and dressed. I somehow managed to grab some money, get myself down the hill from our house, into a taxi and ask for a hospital.

It took an hour to get to the hospital and I thought I would die at any moment all the way there.

A few hours later, I found myself locked up in the mental ward of Samsung Hospital in Seoul. They didn’t know what to do with me. At the time, there was no such thing as a cushy rehab center for alcoholics in Korea, and the treatment of alcoholism and other addictions was still in the infancy stage.

I didn’t speak any Korean and none of the doctors seemed to speak much English. I was so scared. And let me tell you, withdrawal is as awful as you might imagine. It feels like you have bugs crawling under your skin, like you might die of fright, you can’t stop trembling. It’s just impossible to describe.

I was so sick and the pleasures of drinking had now turned on me. It wasn’t fun anymore. It never made me feel good, or cute or funny or anything but horrible. It was hell on earth. I think I understand a little bit of what hell is — what it feels like to be completely separated from God.

It is desolation.

They took everything from me and just locked me up. I had nothing but an IV in my arm and a gown on my back. I was terrified and I was completely alone. No friends. No family. My husband took my little boys to his family’s home in France and my three daughters were left home alone with the “adjumonie.”

The guilt and pain and fear was unbearable. I couldn’t stand the thought that my kids would have to tell their friends their mother had died an alcoholic, and I knew that’s exactly what would happen, and soon, if I didn’t do something. I thought I would die right there. And I sort of wanted to die right there.

My soul felt empty and my life worthless. I have never felt so powerless and lost and there were no more excuses. No where else to turn. No one to reach out to.

It was just me and God in that room. He held his hand out to me …

I fell off my bed right there in Samsung hospital, literally onto the cold floor, and gave it all to him. I gave up the fight of trying to control my life and my pain, and I surrendered. I begged him for help. I begged, begged and begged some more. It was the most heart-felt prayer I had ever offered. I was a broken, broken woman. And, although I have never felt more alone in the world, locked up in a Korean mental ward, I know Jesus was in that room holding out his hand to me, begging me to just hold out my own.

And I did. I held out my hand.

In answer to my pleading, God sent an angel in the face of a young, Korean man. Just a few moments after begging God to save my life so I could be the mother I longed to be for my children, the man walked into my room. He didn’t seem much older than a teen.

He walked in, placed a bible in my hands without saying a single word, bowed low, and and then walked out the door. I didn’t know who he was and I never saw him again.

There I was in a Korean mental ward with nothing but an IV in my arm, a hospital gown on my back — and now a Korean-English Bible in my hand. Needless to say, it was a powerful moment — a tender, precious moment.

I eventually came to believe he was the answer to my prayer. I believe the young, Korean man was an angel sent to answer my prayer.

That’s how grace and love resurrected my life and, eventually, that of my family. All I had to do was ask. Over the course of the next few months and years of healing, God comforted me, he held me and I never want to let go of his hand again.

I see my life in two halves — before God stepped into my life in a mental ward and after that memorable day. Life is really no easier now, and it can sometimes knock me upside the head. But, it’s an entirely different way of living.

I know that God is with me, even in the loneliest of times and through the greatest difficulties and moments of grief.

Before that September morning, when I awoke to the vision of dancing dust fairies in the streaming sunlight and the voice of God, I felt entirely left on my own. Since that day, I know I am never alone and I never have to feel that way again. I rely on that truth.

The resurrected life has far-reaching consequences of its own.

Ever since that day in Seoul, I’ve prayed relentlessly to see a change in my family’s legacy of dysfunction and addiction. I prayed for years that my children would learn about a different life than the one I knew before that day in Seoul — a resurrected life, a life for God.

I am seeing those prayers being answered each and every day, and I watch my children — and their children — live out their lives centered in Christ.

It’s miraculous.

Captured: What if… Then Maybe

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I am SO human… so predictable and I don’t ever seem to get past this one…

I recently had an interview for a job that I’m still waiting to hear about. I would love to get this job and I honestly feel like it’s a perfect fit. But, through the process, I have become really annoyed with myself because I find myself doing the ‘What if… then maybe game’… hoping to get something out of my behavior.

You know what I mean…

What if I love everyone, to the point of exhaustion, ignoring my own needs and well-being… then maybe I will be loved in return.

What if I work incessantly at pleasing people… then maybe I will be loved in return.

What if I am the perfect Christian… following all of the rules to a tee… then maybe God will love me in return.

What if I give all my money to help others… then maybe I will be blessed and loved in return.

What if I do all of the above… then maybe I’ll get that job!

I remember the very first time I did something that garnered praise and love… I must have been 4 and I took it upon myself to clean up the bookshelves that housed my brother’s and my toys. The reaction I received from my father over that little clean-up changed me forever.  I loved his reaction! I loved how grown-up and worthy I felt. He was proud of me!!! It would dictate how I began to work in order garner praise and love for the rest of my life…! People-pleasing…

I still seek that from others … and, wrongly, I still seek that reaction from God. I continually hope that my behavior will make him proud of me. If I behave in a certain way… then maybe He will come through for me.

I limit God by placing human expectations on Him… I think many of us do.

The only things that God is asking of me is to trust him and to wait on him… with patience. I don’t need to do anything or behave in a certain way. I just need to chill… and love and trust my Heavenly Father…

What If I let him have control of my life? What if I trust him with that life? What if I just wait on Him??

Then maybe I won’t have to try so hard and I can appreciate the true expression of love … God’s unfailing love.

Captured: I Take it Back

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Oh, not a good morning. Last night, out of fear and hurt, I said some things to someone I care about that I wish I could take back.

Why do we continue to be exactly what we hate to be to those we love?? And where do we go when we can’t really take it back?

Well, we repent and we move forward, hoping that we will be offered the same Grace by others that Jesus offered to us. I feel terrible that I reacted the way I did. No excuses. No rationalities.

I behaved badly.

But, as I sat on my balcony, watching the sun rise this morning, I felt that familiar ‘hug’ from God… the one that says, ‘It’s OK, Pam… yes, you said some terrible things that you shouldn’t have and I am letting you know, firmly, that it was WRONG!

But I still, and will always, love you.’

Today, I will be thinking about how I let pain and fear dictate how I behave … and I will be praying that, tomorrow, I will treat others as I would have them treat me.

This life is hard. We fall, and stumble, and find ourselves being exactly what we wish we weren’t. But, there is hope…

The Holy Spirit is in me and I hear about it when I falter… and I know I am being molded into what I’m called to be. Step by step. One moment to the next. There is always a tomorrow… and the chance to be as loving to others as I am loved…

Oh, Lord… may I know that. May I be that! May I hate what you hate and may I love like you have loved me!! In Jesus’ Name…

I’m sorry.

I take it back…

Captured: Whoah!!!

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Light Bulb! Eureka! Revelation!!

I have been revisiting the Beth Moore bible study, Breaking Free, based on scripture from the book of Isaiah. I first went through the study 12 years ago and it was a major turning point in my life and for my faith. I felt compelled a few weeks ago to ‘break free’ once again from the chains that were hindering me, so out came the study book and videos.

This morning, as I went through my study, I had a wonderful, if not disturbing revelation. At this point in my study, I am exploring my rebellion against God. Truly, I never realized how rebellious I’ve been my whole life. Yes, I love Jesus. Yes, I go to church. Yes, I spend time with God everyday. But, I am still incredibly rebellious and I tend to listen to the lies of the enemy about my rebellion, thinking I am doing just fine. I’m thinking differently this morning.

Beth point to six traits of a rebellious child of God:

  1. Doesn’t act like a child of God. (Isaiah 30:9) Check!
  2. Isn’t willing to listen to the Lord’s Instruction (Isaiah 30:9) Check!
  3. Prefers pleasant illusions over truth (Isaiah 30:10-11) Check!
  4. Relies on oppression (Isaiah 30:12) Check!
  5. Depends on deceit (Isaiah 30: 12) Check!
  6. Runs from the real answers (Isaiah 30:15-17) Check!

I have always felt that I was under extraordinary spiritual attack at various points in my life, resulting in some very difficult and heartbreaking circumstances and events. I attributed these attacks to everyone and everything other than the truth  (illusions) … that I was and am being rebellious. God promises to be our protector and as a Christian, I know my salvation is secured. However, I am learning that our protection in the spiritual world can be limited unless we are fully obedient to God, leading to serious repercussions on our lives here on Earth through spiritual attacks. God disciplines our rebellion by allowing the enemy to have his way with us… always under the control of God. I know that He’ll never allow Satan to go too far.

In Isaiah 29:16 God says, ‘You turn things upside down, as if the potter were thought to be like the clay!
 Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it, 
“You did not make me”?
 Can the pot say to the potter,
 “You know nothing”?’ (NIV) and then in 30:12-14, says, ‘Because you have rejected this message, relied on oppression 
and depended on deceit, this sin will become for you 
like a high wall, cracked and bulging, 
that collapses suddenly, in an instant. It will break in pieces like pottery, shattered so mercilessly’ (NIV).

Guilty! I have been the ‘god’ of my life, trying to manipulate and ‘run the show’ on my own, listening to the lies of the enemy, and actually finding some sort of misguided sense of comfort in those lies. I have relied on oppression and depended on deceit. After all, I’ve been hearing these lies and have felt this oppression since childhood. It’s what I know. My rebellious nature as an adult, however, means that I allow those lies and that oppression to define my life, and me. And instead of running towards the real answers, I run back time and time again in to the arms of lies, rather than under the protective wing of my Father. I tend to not listen and ultimately, I do not behave like a child of God. And the illusion is that I think I am!! More lies…

At various times in my life, I have been broken and I have been ‘mercilessly shattered’. This is the last thing God wants for me. I am loved, I am cherished and I am worthy of His love, and He wants me to KNOW that… to understand that the lies and oppression are not from Him and I don’t need to live under that umbrella. Sometimes, a little breaking and shattering, allowed by God (not doled out by God!), is the only way to hear Him!

God always shows us the way out, the way back to safety under His protective wing. In Isaiah 30:15 He says, ‘In repentance and rest is your salvation, 
in quietness and trust is your strength’. I love how Beth Moore shares that the word strength in Hebrew, shaqat, implies ‘victory’. Victory over the attacks of the enemy; victory over rebellion!

We are all rebellious in nature as humans. I don’t for a moment believe that my rebellion is ‘cured’ by this revelation. But, we can all limit our rebellion and ‘put on the FULL armor of God’ by adhering to God’s command to repent of our rebellious nature and rest in His promises and power, ‘picking up our cross daily’.

Thanks Beth Moore and PRAISE to you Abba God!!

Note to self: repent and rest, repent and rest, repent and rest!

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