Now when Jesus learned that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus was making and baptizing more disciples than John, although Jesus himself did not baptize but only his disciples, so he left Judea and departed again for Galilee .
When I opened my Bible and realized that I was looking at John chapter 4, after the day I had I wasn’t sure that I was emotionally prepared to hack, through that piece of scripture.
John chapter 4 is the story of the woman and the well. Reading that story yesterday would’ve made me come face-to-face with how dependent I have to be on God, how much He seeks to give me something that lasts longer, while I am only looking to get through the next day, to a place of honesty, and a new place of repentance- a place we should start over at every day, but are sometimes too busy to consider.
thankfully, i think, he stopped me here instead.
The people were insulted because they thought that Jesus was doing wrong by John.
Let us consider two things here:
As my sister and I begin to walk through the next 31 days with you and what will be now Sober October, you’ve had time, maybe not with Kristen, but certainly with me to draw some conclusions about our Mom
In case I have not been clear before, day three is the assure you of three things:
Within the last week my husband asked me if I knew what my first real memory was.
I did, of course.
My mom and I were driving up the steep hill of my first home in her purple, dodge intrepid. it was early and the backseat was stacked so full with clothes that the only space that was left between them and the rearview glass was just enough for my cat Easter bunny to sit. We had to leave home again because it wasn’t safe and we were returning. She was crying and I was angry.
I can’t tell you how many times before that we had left, but it was enough for them to have been divorced once and also remarried. I also can’t tell you how many times we would leave after that only to go back once more with a new promise that things would be different this time, and that I would be OK.
what I can say with certainty is that she desperately wanted her family to work, that or she was too scared for her life for it not to.
I can tell you that she grew up hurting, was put in unfair only-for-adult type situations, also had leave home a lot, returning with the same expectations and promises that I had, and that she had an alcoholic parent too.
I can tell you that she thought a marriage with my dad was her first opportunity to have a real family, one that no one could disrupt or disbar, but finally one of her own. I would suppose that she felt the same way the second time she married my dad, too.
First it was control, and then it was hollering and hollering turn to pushing, and sometimes pushing got a little out of hand, if the fear didnt grow the fights did.
We would leave to stay with cousins, with more cousins, and even a shelter once.
Even with the same parents Kristen and I have entirely different stories, one probably not worse than the other.
She used to be mad because I had my own room and she shared hers, but what she didn’t know is i had to share my room too- just not with kids. Im not even sure she knows that sometimes I would climb out of my window to make sure she and the others didn’t have to share their room with that man in the middle of the night too.
Kristen loved our Mom and she loved our Dad and I did too but more than anything else I loved her.
and then I loved myself because you couldn’t have convinced me that I consistently had anyone else except my Grace.
As I sit here in my chair at my sons football game in the town that is home for now, there isn’t a chair within three arms length of me on either side. My mom would drive an hour or more one way just to sit with me through some of the thick air. Her mom couldn’t come sit with her all those times but it never stopped her from showing up- whether I wanted her there or not, whether I was going to forgive her or not, whether I spoke to her or not.
Mom, I know the reasons why you drank; I don’t anyone to have the wrong information.
The Bible says “even though Jesus only baptized His disciples”.
You may have thought recovery was only for the addict, but I pray you are in recovery too.
I pray that you recognize how short you fall, even when you are the one in the argument that is most right. That you seek ways to grow your heart into more Holy spaces, and at the very least bend that way when God pulls you through them any way.
We assume we know the answers to so many things. Even now as you read, you are adding detail to these words- its why the book is always better. You convince yourself that even if you were there, even if you saw it yourself- its the whole truth.
The first thing my son drew me after Mom died was a rainbow, and I’ve never held so close to a promise or colors in a sky since because I know it was Haisten that started her path to recovery, and also real salvation.
Do you want to know something about a Rainbow?
The entire rainbow of radiation observable to the human eye only makes up a tiny portion of the electromagnetic spectrum – about 0.0035 percent. This range of wavelengths is know as visible light.
Less that 1% of that huge display of color in the sky is what you are able to see.
Consider that when you want to add your own color to other partially painted pictures.
Here’s number 3-
I’m sure these religious leaders knew they were telling the truth- when they were just looking out for John the Baptist.
I have to believe that they were also sure the day the put the savior of the entire world on the cross to die an unworthy death.
It wasn’t until the third day, the resurrection revealed the ultimate truth. It is the same one I offer you today, day three of Sober October.
Even with the purest of intentions, without even a quiver of assumption, accusation, and all other things awful- we miss the mark.
The prison and the pew miss it.
The pulpit and the Party.
Your pastor and yourself.
But because of day three, we are able to wrap ourselves in blanket of hope, in a promise so big that we can only visibly take in 0.0035 percent.
Because He lives, we have an opportunity to surrender to, die for, and be resurrected with Christ- the one that knew they had the wrong information, and with all truth and knowledge, just continued on to Galilee, walking towards His purpose, one that would afford you and I the same chance to choose a path of purpose instead of one of pride, and the same purpose that would allow him to love us even when we choose the wrong one.
I pray for those in recovery. That you would touch their lives in a way that will make them feel known, loved, and unashamed. That there are verses after these that tell of the rescue of a promiscuous woman, selected by you, after confronting her with every wrong thing she had done, to go and tell. More than that I pray for the one reading these words that feel nothing. Those that can come face to face with the good news of day three with more of a desire to talk about what they read than what it could mean for their eternity. God, I pray for me. That tonight when my kids are asleep, the rest of my emails are answered, and it is time for me to move away from these verses head first into the verses I was fortunate enough to avoid last night- that you would stir all the more in my heart. That I could set aside all of the things that feel uncertain, overwhelming, and even unfair God and see that you are bigger and that your word still stands. I thirst for more than being thirsty again. You came that we may drink and never thirst again. May we lay aside every stone building the walls between us and you, whether of substance or of self, and walk the other way towards the call you laid on each of our lives.
Let us stay sober,