Step 3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
We are — all of us — living a life that involves a good deal of pain and struggle. Some of it we caused — some of it we didn’t — it doesn’t seem to matter. Given, some struggles seem small and insignificant compared to others, but any difficulty or hardship can be huge if it’s yours. It’s all relative. Shall we get our stories together so we can figure out who has the worst life? That would be a waste of time. A struggle is a struggle. My little battle with the Catch yesterday brought out a number of comments, I’m sure, because it connected with a number of you and you felt compelled to write. Whenever I write about something difficult I’m going through, be it Chandler’s treatment or my issues with parenting, it seems like a whole bunch of you come out of the woodwork and start telling your stories.
The process which drives us to Step Three will always be a painful one. I guarantee it will not be because we are having a stellar day. “Wow, I feel so good today, I think I’ll turn my life over to Jesus! The birds are singing and everything is coming up roses, couldn’t think of a better time!” Not!
This is the value of this 12-Step study and why I wanted to take it. AA provides people with a place to struggle. In AA, struggling is the rule. It’s how you get in. It’s the qualification. In Christianity, it’s the exception to the rule. “So sorry to hear you’re going through a tough time. We’ll pray for you.”
If we don’t provide people with a place to struggle, we’re not going to have anyone turning their life over to the Lord. We’re just going to have a whole bunch of people trying to be good Christians, and what good is that? The extent to which church is a social club for good Christians is the extent to which it is pretty useless to help anyone.
It’s inevitable: you guys connect when I touch the pain. That’s when the stories pour forth.
Marti’s brother has a birthday today. Marti hasn’t really known too much about the spiritual life of her brother until later in life. A large part of that, I’m sure is what he has been through. He’s lost two wives, weathered some very lean years with his business and survived a near-fatal accident and a stroke that has left him a little slow of speech, but all the time we didn’t know that his faith was deepening. Now we share a common bond with the Lord. Had Mark coasted through most of life, I don’t think that would have happened.
Last week Marti asked him what he wanted for his birthday. His answer was swift and clean as if he’d been thinking about it: “Make a donation in my name to the Catch Ministry.” That made us cry. So today we join the rest of you who are donating to the Catch. Ours is in Mark’s name. Happy Birthday Mark!