Tagging along five days later to join the community at Lisa-Jo Baker’s, writing for five minutes flat with no over-thinking or editing. Choosing to be our vulnerable selves through the written word in a community of encouragement. It’s a good thing.
“’Tis mercy all, immense and free, for oh my God it found out me.” The words of this hymn haunt me today as I sit in chapel. A weeklong conference focusing on recovery and holiness and wholeness and their interconnected relationship isn’t where I belong, perhaps. Me, the teetotaler. Me, the one who watched during high school parties while others imbibed and smoked and inhaled. Me, who sat in ungracious judgment during those parties. Me, who married a man who got those parties started and supplied the illegal substances and thankfully, left his arrest record sealed in the days of juvenile delinquency.
But the words touch me as the man preaches. When he stands and says, “I’m a recovering addict and alcoholic. I’m a pastor and poser. I’m a father and a fraud.” This recovery stuff is for all of us. Because it is mercy. I haven’t ever taken a drink; that’s because I come from a long line of people who have. I’ve sat in church basements and fellowship halls on Saturdays and Tuesdays when those gathered are there because of brokenness and need, not confidence and growth. I’ve sat in those meetings not because I wanted to be there but probably because I didn’t want to stay home alone so I got to tag along. What a mercy. The truth is: I do need to be there. We all need to be there. Perhaps not at a recovery meeting but sitting in the river of wisdom that recovery offers us.
Knowing my own powerlessness: mercy. Knowing a God more powerful than even my brokenness: mercy. Giving Him room to work in my life: mercy. Being confident that regardless of theological training and studying Biblical languages, my knowledge of Him is not complete or perfect: mercy. Being honest about myself: mercy. Confession: mercy. Anticipating a transformation: mercy. Seeing my culpability and owning it: mercy. Seeking restoration: mercy. Seeking God: mercy.
I may not want it to find me out, to have to confess that I am actually powerless over this disease of sin. In my life, it isn’t in the shape of a bottle but that doesn’t mean I’m not sick. It is indeed all mercy that God found me out.