“No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man.” Heraclitus
The past few weeks have been rough. My readjustment back into “normality” has been a difficult transition. I have been praying, asking God to speed up the conveyor belt on this part of my walk so I can get back to being me. Throughout the week, I have gone to the gym, drank lots of tea, sat in the garden, and so many other things to get back to “that place”. I kept asking God to come down to where I stand so I can feel His presence the same way I used to. Although He revealed himself and assured me that He is always by my side, things feel different.
Today was the first chance I had in several weeks to worship at my home church . I had the incredible opportunity to watch a few people in my congregation get baptized. I was also able to hear the testimony of my good friend and sister before her rebirth. She explained that she was overjoyed to make a public declaration that she is a follower of Christ because He was so willing to meet her where she was as she stood at the intersection of Rock Bottom Place and Pits of Hell Court. She told a story of addiction and destruction that led her to the rehabilitation that saved her life and a relationship with Christ that saved her soul. The emotion and gratitude that exuded from her placed me on the horizon; that space where heaven meets earth. Knowing that she had crossed the line of faith brought joy to my heart and tears to my eyes. Psalm 116 teaches us, “1-6 I love God because he listened to me, listened as I begged for mercy. He listened so intently as I laid out my case before him. Death stared me in the face, hell was hard on my heels. Up against it, I didn’t know which way to turn; then I called out to God for help: “Please, God!” I cried out. “Save my life!” God is gracious—it is he who makes things right, our most compassionate God. God takes the side of the helpless; when I was at the end of my rope, he saved me. 7-8 I said to myself, “Relax and rest. God has showered you with blessings. Soul, you’ve been rescued from death; Eye, you’ve been rescued from tears; And you, Foot, were kept from stumbling.” (MSG) And then the band sang, I see heaven invading this place. I see angels praising your holy name…I see Glory falling in this place. I see hope restored; the healing of all disease. I sing praises, I sing praises. I give you honor, worthy Jesus. We give you praise and all of the honor. You are our God, the one we live for. We give you praise and all of the Glory God. – I See Heaven, Bryan and Katie Torwalt
As she talked about getting sober and coming to the ministry called Celebrate Recovery, I realized that those who suffer from addiction are a special breed of God’s people who serve a critical role in His kingdom. Once they are delivered from the arms of their captor, they re-emerge with an authenticity and level of openness that inspires and enlightens those around them. They humble themselves and willing replay the reels of their journey through darkness, in high-definition, for the expressed purpose of showing others these things:
- No matter where you are, just call and He will come
- No one owns the corner market on sin
- You are only as sick as your secrets
- We all have hurts, habits, and hang-ups, and
- Christ is for everyone who wants Him
As I struggle to find my way, I know He is grooming me and preparing me for what is next. This sense of disorientation is making me lean into Him with an unprecedented level of reliance. I will continue to look inward to figure out what changed and will cling to my sisters for support. What I know so far is that the space I occupy is not the same as it was when I crossed over the line of faith. As well, I am not the same person. God has worked many miracles in my life and has led me to a different place. However, no matter how much I grow and change, my mission and my God’s love remain the same.
I am exceedingly happy and grateful to have enjoyed such a meaningful worship experience and to be reunited with those who know and love me. Today’s event was uplifting, inspiring, and a celebration of enormous proportion. My sister’s baptism was a wonderful reminder of two things:
- Jeremiah 29:11-14, 11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity. (NIV) and
- Peace be still. You are near. There’s nowhere we can go that You won’t shine redemption’s light; our guilt withdrawn. As You rise, we come alive. The grave has lost; the old is gone… Hope is found. You are here. Our hearts forever sealed by this love that came for us. Now we are Yours. And You’re making all things new. You are making all things new. You are making all things new and we are free. All Things New, Elevation Worship
My prayer is that we give my sister all the love and support she needs on this journey; that she remains humble and stays in His word; and that she continues to share her story, as only she can, to touch the lives of others and lead them to the cross. “Your successes and happiness are forgiven you only if you generously consent to share them.” Albert Camus