I was a little late jumping aboard the Ann Lamott train.
Despite my extensive training in social services, justice fighting, and advocating, I was hesitant to follow after the feminist leader that so many of my friends admired.
The desire to fight for justice courses through my veins, but I have also grown weary of the trendiness of it all. There are certain sexy topics, which, by nature are anything but sexy. But when society says “jump” we tend to jump. Ann Lamott had always struck me as an activist that had both bark and bite, but lacked true faith in the only real Savior.
I am jumpy around certain forms of activism only because I do not want to be a part of a social gospel – I want to advocate for the poor, needy, and broken because Jesus fought for them, not because I believe social justice will be our ultimate savior. I am now in danger of preaching a political agenda, which I actively strive not to do, so I regress. My point being, however, is that while Jesus did fight against injustice, the fight did not end with marches or parades, but rather ended with His blood being shed for us, making a way to eternity where True Justice reigns forever. And I am wary of modern day Christian activists skipping the Christ part, and heading only for the advocating part. I firmly do not believe one can be had without the other.
Despite my seemingly unfounded suspicion of Ann, however, I decided to pick up her book Traveling Mercies and give her a fair trial.
I was more than pleasantly surprised at what I saw. Ann spoke fiercely of the Love that changed her life. This Love was limitless, slow moving, and life altering. She describes her mission by saying “I am not writing to try and convert people to fundamental Christianity. I am just trying to share my experience, strength, and hope, that someone who is as messed up and neurotic and scarred and scared can be fully accepted by our dear Lord, no questions asked.” She is hilariously witty and her vulnerability is un-paralleled. Ann speaks not to convince anyone of anything, but to share how her shattered life was pieced whole by the Creator. Two chapters into Traveling Mercies and I was smitten. By chapter three, I had confessed my Pharisee heart and was praising the Lord for the mercies He covers us in.
Through Ann, I am able to get a glimpse of grace. She writes “I do not at all understand the mystery of grace – only that it meets us where we are but does not leave us where it found us.” This is the good news I bathe in when I pick up a book by Ms. Lamott. Her story, a scarred and bloody jumble of words, shines light into the redemption of Jesus Christ brings. She shows the pieces of her heart that are still messy, despite Christ’s heart beating in hers. She gives hope of change because of her own steady walk forward.
I am drawn to Ann because I see myself in her. Wildly imperfect, and yet wholly set free, I continue to march in line with my Savior. Mercies are being renewed day by day in my heart because I am still in desperate need of this mysterious grace. The only saving trait about both Ann and I is Jesus Christ. The only bandage that will continue to heal our bloody hearts is the blood of the Savior. This grace shows up, no matter the circumstances, and changes me from my head to my toes. I can think of no greater hope than this.
Hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come. You wait and watch and work: you don’t give up. -Ann Lamott.