Wednesday, November 01, 2006

12 stepping with my gals

Seems like when God steps into a situation very visibly it is hard to analyse what happened or how-it just did. At least that seems to be what happened in the small group I attend. It is a 12-step program, but I can't remember ever being with a gathering of women that appears to be so profoundly ordered of God, and such an unlikely bunch. There are seven of us (and possibly eight). Three of the women have serious illnesses. Three are married, four single. All save one are in recovery from drug or alcohol addiction. I'm the token co-dependent, which makes this even more of an unlikely scenario for me personally. It is almost impossible to put a finger on the synergy that happens when we are together. Donna has MS, and is a cross between a young Rosalind Russell and Joan Rivers. Some of her gems today included, to her friend who chain smokes and flicks the butts out the window of her car, "What would Jesus do? In the first place, He wouldn't smoke, and if He did, He'd use my ashtray!" She also related that when asked by her nephew who isn't married but living with his girlfriend if Jesus really thinks marriage is that important she replied, "His first miracle of turning water into wine wasn't at a cook-out..."

Then there's her friend (the chain smoker), Dawn, bald from chemotherapy and beautiful even without hair. Dawn has lightening quick and fearless assessments of the problems that are related between us. She doesn't say much-she doesn't have to. You can't help but like her even as her baldness causes consternation to a stranger who meets her. The discomfort goes away as soon as she smiles. She's only a few weeks clean (again), but is so smart and discerning it's hard to know that. Nancy is our hostess. She has an uncanny ability to make everyone feel comfortable. Without her beautiful home we would not have a central location that everyone wishes were theirs! Lisa is a women I invited to the group from our church. Her coming to our small congregation seems so incredible, and now even more so in the light of being a part of these ladies, as though like a gem she was absolutely designed for this setting to show off her sparkle. She knows our other recovery story extraordinaire, Bonnie. Bonnie willingly faced the possibility of prison to clean her record and do what she felt God would have her do-accept responsibility for her crimes. Miraculously every single felony was forgiven. She has a gift of powerful exhortation and is fearless, and honest-totally herself.

Lastly there is Doris. She's a woman in her 60's who developed a problem with alcohol just now, late in life, as did our hostess. Doris is only weeks out of rehab and struggles with her routine, but wants to come and is completely at home with this diverse and mostly younger group. I guess the glue that binds us is a love that longs to serve each other woman, each in her own place. Also, there is a passion in each woman to serve God in the community of the helpless. Every woman at the table serves others like themselves, except for me. I am called to assist these special ones simply because I understand what it is like to grow up and live with people who struggle as they do. Their actions and attitudes don't shock me, and their stories of past horrors help me to understand the mind of an addict so much better. I feel so privileged to be among them and to serve them through encouragement, my friendship, my insights about my own past, the love that God seems to pour through me for them. Every time I leave our meetings I feel like the Grinch at the end of the story, where his heart grew three times it's size. These women are being used of God to change lives, and I am behind the scenes with them, watching and helping it happen.


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