Last weekend, I was invited to an ugly sweater party at a friend's house. Looking back, I knew what I was walking into. I think that I was acting in pride, and not wanting to admit that I should have my guard up and set limits for myself. This is what I wrote the next day:
"Sad thing is that I had a blast last night. Sad thing is that if there were a party tonight, every night, I'd go. Sad thing is that I went knowing full well that I was planning on drinking, with no plan. I need a plan. I need to set boundaries. I need to say, "I won't drink this kind of alcohol, because it hits me WAY too hard." I need someone to be hard on me- or maybe I need to be hard on myself. I need to maybe not drink anymore. I think I have a problem that I haven't wanted to admit. Scenes from last nigth are blurry. I remember the night as a whole, but the details are fuzzy. Like, at one point, I remember thinking and saying that I can't drink anymore. Then I got sucked into a drinking game. And, by sucked, I mean, I was asked and I said yes... No peer pressure, no coercing, just a question and an answer. But, yet I felt this gravitational pull to where the fun was about to happen."
After writing this, I texted my friend, who I ride with to church, and decided that I was going, no matter how ashamed I was, or how guilty I felt. I was going to go and face my punishment, meet my Maker, and just accept the conquences for my actions. But, when I got to church, something was different. The leaders were praying over the service, and a prophetic word was spoken over someone randomly as they entered. It wasn't for me, but it was encouraging to me that even though a sinner was in the midst, that God was still working. As worship began, I prayed, "Okay God, I was wrong. I shouldn't have drunk myself into a mess. I embarassed myself, and I embarassed you. Bring on the punishment. Ground me, spank me, whatever You have in store for me." And I braced myself, and waited.
I waited longer... still nothing.
I waited a few more minutes, ready for His wrath-filled lightning bolt zooming from the sky to strike me down. I had my hands open, my arms hanging at my sides. And something fell on me. Something light, free, and warm. I felt God say to me in the midst of this, "This is not Me you speak of. I am love, and I wish to give you mercy and grace." I opened my eyes and looked around. I saw people enjoying His presence. I felt no shame. I felt like a daughter who was the apple of her Father's eye, who was deeply loved and cared for. I felt like the princess that I am.
I can safely say that this was the first time that I felt the fullness of His grace and mercy intercept the guilt and shame that usually sneaks in. That day, the the pastor, Josh, said "It doesn't matter if you are take steps a yard long or a milimeter long, as long as you are moving forward." How true is that. I think back to a year ago, when I was getting drunk six nights a week. I looked around myself then and I saw people that were stuck in life, never moving foward in anything. Never encouraging, never pushing me along, never stepping in when I'd had enough but didn't want to admit it. I look around now and I see a safe community, one that is healthy, and thriving, one that pushing people gently towards Jesus, and one that will call me out if I need it. I am in a healthy place, with people that love me, and with the full knowledge that if I am going to screw up (which I will), then this is where it should be done. I praise you, Father, for Nui Ohana, my Big Family.