have you ever been
to an AA meeting?
or celebrate recovery,
the Christian counterpart?
once you have been,
you are never the same.
it is where Jesus visits.
the broken. the enslaved.
the struggling. the desperate.
we gather. in our yearning.
to touch Him. to crawl under
His arms of love, and feel His warmth
and compassion. to breathe the
same air. to inhale His grace. to find
communion with each other. where
it does not matter how we look. what
we are wearing. where we live.
we are grasping. reaching. lost in our
muddled lives for more of HIM.
on sunday mornings,
at church, it is eons away
from the huddled masses on the
outskirts. people drive to the
beautiful, steepled churches.
bound out of clean, shiny
cars. dressed in their best.
smiling. radiating vibrance and
enthusiasm. trying to exhibit
some level of perfection. sitting,
side by side. singing about God's
vast love. nodding at friends. ministers
with perfectly-knotted ties and boisterous
enthusiasm. i am sitting next to you.
but i don't know..not really..anything about
you. nor you, me. all of us too afraid
to share our darkness because then we
might feel rejected in the ONLY place
we are supposed to find unconditional
i went to celebrate recovery.
heard a young man tell how,
in seven years, he had never gone
a day without smoking pot. yet, here,
he found hope, and is four days clean.
wonder on his face. in his voice. then,
i went to the women's substance abuse
group. single mothers, wives, young
women who have fought battles all week.
somehow held on until they could come.
sit in a circle and talk. complete trust
that what is shared there, stays there.
no pretense. no compromise of truth.
joined, not by our social-economic status,
but by our brokenness and failure and
i'm ann. i'm an addict.
some of you know i shattered my
femur. broke my hip, and cracked
my pelvis a yr. ago after a fall. i
had fourteen years of recovery under
my belt. my doctor gives me four
pain pills a day. i try to only take two
at night to sleep. i struggle. i
want to be pure for God. perfect.
yes, i want to be perfect for Him.
the Savior and Star of my life. but
it is so hard. am i wrong? right?
everyone listens. nods
in understanding on some level.
i've taken my darkness, and laid it
out in front of them. humbly.
with courage, dredged out of pain.
then, charity (not her real name) spoke.
i'm a mess. i'm 27. i can't help myself.
i'm smoking heroin, and really want to
shoot up so bad. i can tell i'm pregnant
again. i've had four kids so i know. my
boyfriend's abusive, but i don't know how
to live without him.
and she starts to weep.
stunning young woman.
externally flawless. but, shattered
of soul and spirit. grief and fear and
shame hanging on her. stooped over.
eyes downcast. combing her hair away
from her face with her fingers.
utterly destitute. terrified. i went over
and threw my arms around her. she buried
her head in my shoulder. i kissed her face.
i came home
knowing i had seen a
touch of Heaven. Jesus, the Savior
of the world, crucified for us all. and
though church on Sundays looks good
on the outside, behind every glistening
facade, there are secrets. troubles.
rebellious children. women who have had
abortions in their youth. moral failures.
all of us trying to hold it together, and
forgetting that Jesus came for us. not
to make us perfect. only HE is perfection.
but to take our hands, and
lead us down the road with grace and
tenderness. promising deliverance. giving
it's ALL about the Blood.
the Blood of Jesus. He was
wounded and scarred and hung for our
transgressions. drink from His Cup
today. "there is power..power..wonder-
working power in the Blood of the Lamb."