Remember the old days before Netflix & Chill when DVD’s were popular? I used to get so excited one of my favorite movies would come out with an extended version and included Behind-the-Scenes footage. I always loved watching those special feature sections. Some times I would rent the DVDs to end up only watching the special features and then never even get around to watching the actual movie before it was due back at the local Family Video store.
There’s just something that draws me in to the work and dialogue going on behind the scenes.
At the beginning of this year I quit smoking. Stood on my front porch in the horrible winter weather, freezing and shivering and suffering from a horrible sickness that had been going on for two weeks straight and puffed on my last cigarette.
I had said I was going to do it a million times over in the last….well, way too many years. We’ll just leave it at that.
And now it’s been 6 months later.
I used to live to smoke. Live.To.Smoke. You reading what I’m saying? Understanding the words? Catching the irony of what that means? LIVE, TO FILL MY BODY WITH TOXINS.
I would reward myself with cigarettes: “If you get all the laundry folded you can go have a smoke. If you catch up on 3 months of bookwork you can relax on the porch and smoke.” And on and on and on I would reward myself like a crazy lunatic. Until eventually that ridiculous reward system was turning into 2 packs a day. At 41 years old there I was, draining my bank account, my lungs, my ability to go anywhere because what if they wouldn’t let me smoke there? It wasn’t just an addiction….it was a part of me.
One day last year out of the blue, a woman from Instagram got up the courage to shoot me a message and tell me that God was asking her to share a book with me. She told me it probably sounded crazy but for some reason He was telling her I needed the encouragement and she thought I should read it and maybe enjoy it.
So my sister got the local library to order the book and she checked it out and passed it on to me. To be honest I can’t even tell you the title of the book or what it was about. I did read it, I promise. But nothing apparently stuck in my head.
You know what did instead?
That woman from Instagram.
I’ve never even met her, but she is a cancer survivor.
From the moment she shared that God was asking her to talk to me I could never get her out of my head every time I would smoke. Ya’ll, she’s a stranger. And probably someone I will never meet this side of heaven. But every time I would light one up, her name and face would just pop in my head out of nowhere.
The story that God has given her to live out touched me.
Behind the scenes He was working through her to change me.
And to change my life.
It was a special feature I never expected.
Some days I just need a swift kick and reminder that He is the head writer and producer above every addiction in my life if I just let Him write the manuscript.
I’m so thankful He spared her life from cancer awhile back in order to include her in my journey here on earth.
I’ve never told this woman she is part of the behind the scenes footage of why I stopped smoking. Maybe some day I’ll have the same courage she has and be able to tell her. And hopefully she won’t think I’m crazy if I do.
And she isn’t the only “stranger” God is using behind the scenes this year either.
There’s the sweet girl from Texas who would randomly text me one night when I was feeling oh so lonely, and incredibly sad just to tell me she noticed my absence and was checking in on me. She’s pretty much a stranger also. However her words would be what would snap me out of some weird manic funk. I can’t explain it other then God sent her too.
And there’s a dear mother and stranger/friend from Ohio who would send me a message tonight just to tell me I’m beautiful. She has no idea how badly I longed to hear that these days. But of course God knew that was important for me.
There’s so many others also. They touch my life in ways that are sacred, and humbling and awaken my spirit and being.
I don’t pretend to know how it all works. The mystery of it all. The connecting of the dots. The unknowns we may never have an answer to. Maybe you call it magic, or karma, or the inner workings of the universe colliding.
I just know I love watching the behind the scenes extras where our lives intersect, even if it’s just for a brief moment.
For myself, I like to call it the workings of our Father in Heaven. The greatest mystery to ever be a part of.
Clarification: It also took 42 dozen cupcakes give or take a few dozen to not constantly think about old habits but it was soooooo worth it!