“A Heart That Blooms”—The Story Behind the Cover Illustration

In my mid-forties I found myself full of fear, uncertainty, and loneliness—not knowing why my life did not have the shades of color I saw in nature, the sunsets, the immensity of the flowers. I felt that I did not belong—that perhaps my Higher Power had made a mistake. Lust had always been there, but at a very high cost.

At the beginning of my healing path, I was devoid of life; my fear and hopelessness brought me grim shades of gray only. I had no idea who I was. Sadness and brokenness brought me to wanting to change and escape the misery lust had created. I wanted a life, not in shades of gray, but in the colors of my Higher Power.

In the process of leaving that inner desert, my Higher Power invited me to let go of the reins. I didn’t know what this meant, until, from His hand, I experienced the deepest pain of my entire life. With a single incision I experienced the lifelong poison that had been piling up and festering in a childhood wound.

After this deep pain, my Higher Power took me in His warm arms. The healing began to take hold when I admitted I could no longer take the place of His true, patient and gentle love. I found that He had always been waiting for me, ready to generously bandage and heal my wounds. The heart at the bottom of my illustration represents this “Living in His Grace”—the roots of my heart experiencing healing by the love of my Higher Power.

Trees have various growth processes. Many must go through complex periods before being mature and sheltering others with their foliage. Sometimes they have to lose almost all their foliage, everything that gives them false security. Sometimes they experience storms, loneliness, fear of dying, being completely exposed. My experience of healing is similar to that of a tree that must be pruned. I have discovered in recovery that there is no other way, but that the “prunings” of my Higher Power have always turned out to be deep healing experiences.

His deep pruning has brought about a lot of green foliage. From the place of defeat have I been able to experience seeds of faith that have germinated, and fruits that have arisen from prayer, meditation, service, and fellowship. Everything has gotten color. The experience of life invites me to create, trust and love myself.

God’s daughters can rest in the great tree of life. The loving Higher Power that sustains His daughters now holds them in his arms (the branches of the strong oak where the cages are open) with the promise that they will never again have to experience that painful emptiness. Life has begun to flourish. The gifts of recovery are carried in their healed hands with which they can care, feed, bless, honor life, paint.

By giving, we found true union with others and God, and lo and behold, love itself. But it slipped in unrecognized by the back door. “Surprised by joy.” (SA 148)

Angélica Maria, Bógota, Colombia

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