“This man is my chosen instrument to proclaim my name to the Gentiles...and to the people of Israel.”
In her book Traveling Mercies, Anne Lamott describes growing up in California as part of the 1960s “flower child” movement. Though her grandparents were Christian missionaries, her dad and immediate family wanted nothing to do with Christianity. She writes, “No one in our family believed in God—it was like we’d all signed some sort of loyalty oath . . . agreeing not to.”
Anne came to believe in nature, books, and music, influenced mainly by her parents and their friends, who often came over to sing folk songs, smoke pot, drink a lot, and carry on extramarital affairs. She drank regularly before she was a teenager.
In high school Anne worked hard to study great atheists, aiming to prove Christians wrong, especially a teacher who had become a Christian. She had lots of ups and downs, feeling loved and cheerful but also dealing with bulimia and bingeing on whiskey. She studied Kierkegaard and took a leap of faith, but shared, “Mine was a patchwork God, sewn together from bits of rag and ribbon . . . everything but the kitchen sink and Jesus.”
One day she wandered into a small church. The singing, she said, “pulled me in and split me wide open.” She realized she was becoming a Christian, and it appalled her. What would her friends think? But she couldn’t hold back. Sensing Jesus’ love and patience, she said to him, “All right. You can come in.” Jesus had claimed her too!
Lord, thank you for showing mercy to us all. Draw us to yourself and give us new life, we pray. Amen.
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