My reward is peace.
No matter what I did, I could not quiet the voices in my head. Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock. I tried to keep busy. But when nightfall came, I either heard an invisible clock, or noises coming from my closet, or my own voice screaming an endless to do list inside my cranium. No rest when awake or asleep.
However, as I sit here on the cusp of the two-year anniversary of sobriety, and reflect back, I am in awe of God’s grace. My reward is not money, nor fame. My reward is peace. Today was no exception.
I leave on a book tour next week. It is self-funded and promoted with the help of my two PR genius besties, Liz Morgan and Michelle Gilliam.
“How are you going to pay for this?” Michelle asked during the planning stages.
“I don’t know,” I said. The thought had not occured to me; however, in stark contrast to the Tracy I used to know, I was not worried. “I’m just following what God told me to do. I figure he’ll work out the details.”
Over the next three weeks, what happened can only be described as a higher power, showing up at every turn. Keep in mind, I gave myself a tight budget. Because, lemme tell you what. I can squeeze blood out of a turnip. A dollar out of a dime.
The first day … let me say that one more time … THE FIRST DAY, one-third of the $3,000 budgeet was raised by a simple ask on Facebook. Multiple people who had already been so generous in the past donated even more. Strangers donated. Friends I hadn’t seen in years donated. People I know for a fact do not have it in their budget donated. #mindblown
As the next week wore on, not much activity. The excitement died down. I moved on to help other friends with other fundraisers equally as important.
Around the halfway mark, fear crept its disgusting head around a corner. Whispering gutteral sounds. Something about “not good enough,” “who cares what you have to say,” “are you sure you heard the voice of God?” My faith never wavered, but my body wouldn’t move outside of the bedroom for three days. Depression kicked in. I felt frozen.
I paid a visit to Greenfield Center where I got sober. Facility director Lady Di told me, “Three things at a time. Only three. Write them down. Check them off.” It worked.
I asked God for help. A sign. Wanting to be sure this two-week long excursion into unknown media markets next month is His will. Not my will. Not my ego.
Immediately, my phone fired up. We’d love to have you on our show. Which motivated me to send off an email to a library. Which garnered a response. Which broke through the need for perfection before contacting a national show. And then another. And another. Kiss enough frogs and your going to find a prince.
An opportunity from out of the blue to share my message of hope. Then a call from Action News, then my friend Curtis from First Coast Living, then WJXT asking for my doctor’s contact info to talk about sobriety options on air.
Then I learned Froggy from nationally syndicated Elvis Duran in the Morning Show was in town. Twenty-four hours later, I’m standing in front of him sharing how his show got me through the dark days and scribbling giant red Sharpee asterisks next to the three places in the book it is mentioned. Begging or the opportunity to do the same with Elvis when the tour takes me through New York City.
It. Was. Insane. But there are two more events that taught me, number one, God is faithful, and number two, God is hilarious.
The first happened when I was about to turn in to my neighborhood one day last week.
“I know you’ve given me so much already, but can you give me one more sign?” A ridiculous request, I know. Borderline needy, wouldn’t you say? Two minutes later, I opened my mailbox to find a card from my dear friend and huge Crushed Velvet Project Foundation supporter, Phyllis Staines. It read: Congratulations on your book tour. You’re going to do great!
Then came today. This morning I went into WJXT to meet with my doctor before he went on the air.
“I didn’t know you were coming?” he said.
“I wasn’t. But I’m wide awake and figured you could use a friendly face before you go on TV.” In my experience as a morning show reporter, I knew people, no matter how confidant they are in their individual fields, are often intimidated by the camera.
Afterwards, we walked out to our cars and he asked about the fundraising.
“It’s hard to explain to non-believers,” I said. “There’s still quite a bit to raise, but I’m not worried.” I shook my head at not understanding it myself, then shrugged. “I keep figuring if God gave me the mission, then He will find the means. I just keep focusing on what I can control. Press releases. Video editing. Work to pay my bills through April.”
Seven hours later, I checked the foundation’s post office box. Until now, there had been nothing in it all month. Today I opened it to find enough money waiting for deposit to cover almost the entire trip.
Let go and let God. Really let go. Close your eyes and fall back into the arms of faith. Listen intently for His voice. Do what He says. Focus on the things you can control. Let God handle the rest. When you do that, the voices have no one to talk to. Don’t wait until you’re dead to rest in peace.