From: Dana Cramer
Monday, October 25, 2010
Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other
so that you may be healed. (James 5:16)
As I listened to Pastor Carl’s message yesterday (message online), I thought of the many things he spoke about—that wounds come most often from family. A family is there to bless others, not to wound; yet, we all seem to have a tendency to do just that—wound others. And for some, regrettably, within the family is the most unsafe place you can be.
So what does a safe relationship look like? Pastor Carl spoke of this, and to summarize: Believe the best in people, love proactively, extend forgiveness, set up a safe place, and speak of a special future. All great stuff, yet it can be daunting to actually process through and implement.
I know I couldn’t do any of those suggestions on my own, without God and without you. In fact, until I came into recovery I didn’t know how to have an authentic healthy relationship. I lived wounded and cursed. And while sometimes I still get caught up in the wounds, God has been working on the “curse” side of things for many years. We call this Step 7: Humbly ask God to remove all our shortcomings. I know what my cursed side is—it is my character defects; and while there has been major growth, I’m reminded over and over again: It is progress, not perfection.
I want to speak of safe places, those places that we can go to where we are not judged, ridiculed or gossiped about. Where you have acceptance, love, equality, nurturing, accountability, healthy confrontation and, most importantly, where you can meet God right where you are, no matter how far down you’ve fallen or how high you think you may be. I hope your family is such a place. I hope your church is that kind of place. I know my church is; there are a lot of helping programs that minister to the hurting and suffering.
Celebrate Recovery is that kind of safe place. From the large group worship and meeting, to the small groups that follow, to the 12-Step groups that dig deeply into our lives, we meet and accept each other on one common ground: We are all sinners in need of God’s grace, and were it not for the blood of Jesus, we would all be condemned.
Celebrate Recovery has a process that moves us forward out of the pit and into God’s light—our eight Biblical Principles and 12 Steps. We oversee this program with sound guidelines that ensure our safety. The following guidelines are read before every Celebrate Recovery group, and our leaders are tasked with upholding them:
- Focus on your own thoughts and feelings.
- No Crosstalk, each person is free to express his or her feelings without interruption.
- Support one another; we will not attempt to fix one another.
- Anonymity and confidentiality are basic requirements. The only exception is when one expresses a desire to hurt themselves or others.
- Offensive language has no place in a Christ-centered recovery group.
As people progress through the 12 steps many go on to lead groups and become sponsors. We provide training and consistent leadership meetings to ensure that Celebrate Recovery remains safe and growing. I can see the value of our guidelines in many relationships outside of meetings. You can use them in your marriage, family, with your co-workers and friends. They can become very useful in sponsorship; we help to re-focus people and help lay out the big picture, develop good listening skills, provide support without the need to fix or control, and to keep individual’s comments confidential. These guidelines can help bless our relationships. Celebrate Recovery is a safe place to be when your family may not be.
In Celebrate Recovery, we lead out of our weakness. Some may say: What are you kidding me? No I’m not. The value of being transparent with people and meeting them at their need is invaluable in our leadership approach. Hurting people will not follow you unless they know of or see your own struggle. Hurting people can’t relate to “perfect” people, but they can relate to people who are hurting and have found a way out.
As we travel this road to healing, we can go back and share with those just coming in what it was like, what happened to change my life, and what it’s like today. This is never so evident than when listening to a Celebrate Recovery story, such as the one we had last Friday. An overwhelming story of abuse, abandonment, pain, and struggle followed by the sheer power of God’s grace found in Jesus Christ. We prayed with our storyteller before the meeting; we prayed that God’s favor would be upon her. We prayed that her testimony would impact the audience, especially the newcomer. Prayers were answered; newcomers (as well as old timers) were touched by the story. In fact one new comer could only come to the large group meeting and had to leave, but before she did she told Nan, “I will be back next week because after listening to her story I know this is the right place, and a safe place for me to be.”
I have been thinking of recovery phrases this week and would like to share some with you:
- Life without God is an endless pit.
- Life with God is an endless Hope.
- HOPE (I read this in a devotional last week): Holding On, Praying Expectantly.
- You can’t have a testimony without a test.
- You can’t have a ministry without a mess.
Here is a sponsorship question to think about: If you take responsibility for someone’s recovery, do you take responsibility for their relapse?
Have a great God filled week,
Celebrate Recovery/Crossroads Church Calendar
October 29-31, 2010
Friday—Celebration Night and Pot Luck:
- Join us at 6pm for Soup Night. We make the soup; you bring the bread and salad. Mmm, it’s going to be so good.
- Join us at 7pm for great worship and a celebration of God’s work in our lives. If you have a birthday, please come share it with us. If your 12-Step group has finished a book, come and be acknowledged.
- Share Groups at 8pm.
- Solid Rock Café at 9pm.
Sunday—Celebrate Recovery is ushering for Crossroads:
It’s a great way to share your recovery and carry the message: There is no hurt, habit, or hang-up that’s too big for God. If you would like to join us, please respond to this message.