Sunday, November 10, 2013

The Mat

As I walked through the chapel doors, I was about knocked over by the palpable sense of strength and courage that filled the room. It only intensified as we worshiped in song together. It so overwhelmed me, I almost had to sit down, but I remained steadfast in prayer, thanking God for bringing everyone there that night and for the opportunity to be in their presence.

My fellow worshipers were not pastors, nor church leaders nor any famous Christians. No, I was surrounded by substance abusers, addicts and people who have done time, people who were abused and those who have abused, some who have torn apart marriages and some who have had their marriages torn apart, others who have been sexually abused as children and still others married to pedophiles.

There was definitely desperation, pain and grief in the room as well, but it was infinitely overpowered by the strength these people brought with them to simply cross the threshold of that church and participate in this attempt at recovery. At least that's what I felt.

Did they feel it too? Did they know just how courageous they were to bring themselves there, broken, bruised, abandoned, addicted and betrayed, yet armed with hope for a better life and the will to DO something about it. Never in my life had I felt so honored to share in worship with a group of people.

I love them. They are real people. They are messed up. And so am I. And so are all of us because we are human. But they are admitting to it and seeking freedom from their mess. They are not weak for wanting help, they are heroic. I am blessed that a handful of these same people are my friends from my church. A couple of them have grown to be like family. Indeed, I am blessed beyond words.

But me? I'm a scaredy cat. Until my faith and hope outweigh my fear and concern, I am stuck here. Like those who I've heard come and park their car in the parking lot of this church we were visiting and can't will themselves to enter it, or those who drive into the parking lot only to circle back around to the exit. No, I don't have similar life histories as these folks, no big trauma or tragic event or addiction. Still, why can't I swallow my pride and regularly admit I need help or that I messed up, or that some part of my life just plain sucks and I want it better? I know I'm not the only one who struggles with this. We all need to rub shoulders more with people who motivate us to keep it real.

After experiencing this worship service and recovery ministry, and meeting with the pastor and other leaders, those of us from my church left feeling inspired and convinced that this was a necessary ministry for our church to start. Many also had a clearer sense of how they could minister to those who are experiencing what they have recovered from. I, for one, am excited about a ministry like this. I have no idea how I would be involved, all I know is that it is amazing to be around people who are willing to surrender so much of themselves at the foot of the cross. They get it. They totally get it, more than the Christian who "has it all together." *Points at self*