Remember when you were younger and you made a pretty terrible decision? Maybe you decided to tear down your parent’s fence to build a treehouse in the backyard. Maybe you decided to sneak a little toy car into your pocket before leaving the grocery store as no one was looking.
Do you remember in that moment of miserable parental discipline, “Man, I would have done things a lot differently if I was going to get in this much trouble.”
For CB Barthlow, this question of “What would you do differently?” found him in the darkest moment of his life.
Check out CB’s daily devotional about how a silly phrase from his two sons saved his life and how God intervenes in the most unexpected of ways.
I don't know anybody who's a huge fan of themselves all the time. The people I think that get close to that, I think they have something a little bit wrong with them. Truth is, most of us, at some point or season, just aren’t happy with ourselves.
Sometimes we have a day where we even hate ourselves.
I want to read a Scripture for you today. It's from 1 Corinthians 6:19 and it says this, "Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own."
I love this Scripture because it reminds me of the time on May 4th, 2010, that I made a plan to kill myself.
You see, my wife had left, and we got divorced, and I had relapsed back into a crystal meth addiction that was crippling. I lost custody of my sons, and it was everything I could do to fight to get to see them one day a week. I would promise my ex-wife that I wouldn't use dope that day, and she'd bring them over.
My job was just to feed them, put them in pajamas, get them to bed, and then in the morning take them to daycare. On May 4th, she brought the boys over that night. They were four and two at the time, in their little footie pajamas. She said to me, "Don't mess this up."
I brought them into the living room that night, and I made them corn dogs. You know, like a single dad's best meal.
They were going through a season, like lots of kids in that time of their life, where they're watching one movie over and over. The movie at the time was Finding Nemo. I put the movie on, just like they always wanted. You know the movie, where there's a fish who gets lost and the dad goes to find him, and another fish comes alongside, and they're saying, "Just keep swimming, just keep... "
And my sons, in that season, they just kept saying that over and over.
If you know anything about crystal meth, when you’re an addict and don't do crystal meth for a day, you can't really function. The depression and anxiety would set in, and for me, great fatigue. I would start to doze off. I remember sitting on the couch there. I looked around our living room, and for a moment I had real clarity at just how bad my life was. I mean, just for one fleeting moment, I realized that when my sons are with me, it's unsafe. I hadn't done the dishes in months. We had rats and roaches. There was drug paraphernalia all over the place. It wasn't good.
And right then, for the first time, I made a plan to kill myself.
I took out my phone, and I left some voice notes for my mom. You know, saying I was sorry. I left one for my ex-wife, to let her know why. In the morning I realized I would get my sons up and take them to daycare, and then I'd come home.
I had a garage that was attached to the apartment, and I had my car and some hose and duct tape. I was just going to pull it into the garage, and put that hose in the exhaust pipe, tape it up, and then just go to sleep forever. And I remember in that moment, there's something different about thinking that, and making a plan for that.
I began to weep, because I realized tomorrow I was going to die.
And I don't know how long, but I fell asleep on that couch. It could have been five or ten minutes. I'm not sure. But I woke up to my sons, ages two and four, standing over me. They didn't know I was a drug addict, but they certainly could tell that when they were with Dad, things were definitely different. I wiped the sleep out of my eyes, the tears that I had just cried, and I remember saying, "What's up, guys? Are you okay?"
The older one looked at the younger one and kind of gave him a nod, and they both looked back at me. Together in unison they said, "Just keep swimming, Daddy. Just keep swimming."
And I remember at that moment thinking the white hot light of God had walked into the room. I mean, if anything was going to get my attention that day, it was the voice of my sons. And I realized right then and there, "My God is so convinced about me, no matter what my plans are, He's going to intervene and change the situation."
Paul writes about the body belonging to God.
In this Scripture, as Paul's writing to the church in Corinth, he's talking to them about the sanctity of their bodies. What he's saying is that it's not just that you should stay pure, but that you should stay pure because this body belongs to God. He made you for Him. And what I think is great about this is that it reminds us that when we belong to God, there's just something greater about every aspect of our life. Not just our soul, but even our hands and our feet.
Let me ask you this. If you knew that to be true…
What would you do differently about the way you treat your body? How would you speak differently about your body? How would you act? What would you do that would reflect the fact that you realize that your body belongs to God as well?
I want to challenge you to do something simple today. Here's what I want you to do. I want you to grab a sticky note, and I want you to find a marker, the biggest, thickest marker you can get. And I want you to write a prayer on this sticky note. I want you to write these words on a sticky note.
"I belong to God."
That's it. Super simple.
Now, I want you to write that as many times as you need, but I want you to take that sticky note, and I want you to put it on your mirror, the place where you take stock of you. You know the things that you think negatively about yourself. Sometimes you know the plans that you have for yourself. I want you, every time that you take stock of you, to remind yourself that you belong to God.
Heavenly Father, thank you that you love us, that you gave your son for us, and that you purchased us with a price.
We belong to you.
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