I am one of those people. I hear a song, and it takes me somewhere.
That link will take you to an old song, from 1996.
When I listen to this song, it takes me back to a meeting that I was sitting in.
This particular worship song played at the beginning of our Celebrate Recovery meetings.
(I can remember the whole playlist from that first year, and each one has a different meaning to me. Crazy, I know.)
I had heard this song played a handful of times before, but for some reason, one particular Thursday night, I cried.
(I should note that I cried a lot that first year. I was in emotional shock. Feelings were everywhere. It was just a part of what was happening to my body at the time. It was like I couldn’t control any emotion that I had, & when I did experience an emotion, it was magnified x 1,000.)
Anyway, not to sound dramatic, but that day this song made a real connection with me somewhere inside of my heart.
Not only should I have been happy that my heart still had the ability to absorb good and feel things,
confirmation that I still had one was a small victory in and of itself.
But the words. Those lyrics.
They were just screaming at me.
They weren’t just appealing to me on a psychological level.
I know that I was subconsciously yearning for a clean slate; pining for forgiveness, and for the possibility of a new chance. This was something more than my needs or desires being met or empty promises of success being made.
I was drawn to this idea of being made white as snow. The notion that anyone could be made white as snow, no matter how dirty their lives had gotten.
I can remember deciding to try this laying my life down at the foot of the cross thing that I kept hearing about. I had heard testimonies and stories about it. I think at some point or another all addicts have someone who wants to talk to them about Jesus. Anyway, I assumed this cross.. was not a literal thing, but a spiritual thing.
I finally chose the cross, knowing that I had already tried a long list of other things.
I tried to do good, I tried to be good, I tried to think positive. I had tried other ways.
Sometimes I did okay for awhile, but I always ended up right back where I started.
It all left me feeling even more lost, and depleted of any strength to keep trying.
I lived life in circles; and hopeless is a bad place to try and live a life.
So I really didn’t have much to say there, at the foot of this figurative cross.
Since we’re being all figurative, I was a tattered, torn, empty shell of a mess of a young woman.
I had nothing to offer but resentment, bitterness, rage & anger, blame, shame, mistakes, fear of failing, and tears.
but I left it all there.
….and it was like magic.
(just joking, my experience wasn’t anything like that.)
I actually walked away feeling weak and still very empty.
I was still malnourished and I still felt overwhelmed & defeated.
My eyes were swollen on the outside and still very empty on the inside- if you took the time to look close enough.
I was still an angry person.
I was still unsure if sobriety would stick and I was really, really scared.
And I was not even sure that I believed that people like me were welcome there, at the foot of the cross.
Still, somehow, it felt like a weight had been lifted off.
I gave everything that I did have to give, as lame as it all was.
It was like I instinctively knew that it wasn’t a quick fix.
What I felt like I did know, it that I was promised a chance for a new beginning.
I gave Him what I did have, and in return I was suppose to have a new chance at this life thing.
The work that I had to do alongside of Him, was what created the basis of a long-term relationship, and since my life changes weren’t instantaneous but slow and gradual, this took time.
Just like any other relationship, it all hinged on trust.
Each time I had no other choice but to take a leap, or choose an unfamiliar path,
I did so with the belief that God would never fail me or forsake me.
What I have learned since is that God is for people like me.
He has always been a healer for broken people and an advocate for people who felt like they had screwed up too badly to be loved ever again.
His church, is the place for broken people.
His hand guided every single phase of my journey to sobriety and recovery.
Not only has He taken all of the stuff that I had to give and turned it all into something usable,
he made sure that I could see why it all mattered and it why it was an important part of my story that lead to him.
He did ‘t erase the trauma, he used it for something good.
He didn’t cause my trauma, but he healed my heart from its after-effects.
He didn’t fix my past, he opened my eyes to all of the reasons why it is okay and necessary to leave it there.
He didn’t promise me a trouble free life, he promised me new ways to get through life’s inevitable troubles and an endless vessel in which to draw strength to do so.
He put the right people in my path, at the right times to make sure that I had opportunities for wise counsel for every season of my life so far post addiction.
Recovery with God isn’t synonymous with ease or success without failure or any work.
God doesn’t take a magic eraser to help wipe our minds clean of all things bad, past and present.
He is not a get out of jail free card that we use as needed.
He also doesn’t always approach us in conventional ways, maybe sometimes he speaks to and through things and people that he already knows that you will respond to.
But what he is in the business of doing is making broken things awesome, and walking with us through each stage of change.