On September 11, 2016, I turned 52. I set my face like stone (Is. 50:7) and never turned back…
One simple act of obedience. That’s it. That’s all it took and a brand new chapter of my life has begun. It required a choice. One choice. Something only I could do to be free. Free of my past and free of any last remnant of a hurt, habit or hang up that was holding me back from being all that I could be for Jesus.
Over the last 8 months I’ve walked through many revelations of who I am, who I am becoming and how God sees me. Some of those revelations brought laughter and many tears but all brought healing and release. I did all of this alongside my fellow Celebrate Recovery ladies with the help of Holy Spirit. He never left my side and never dropped His scalpel.
In that pursuit, I discovered ME. The ME God created and sees and loves and adores. Not the me that the enemy tried to convince me was real…the one full of fear, anxiety, unforgiveness, self-loathing and trust issues…but the ME that my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, deemed worthy to be beaten, rejected, and ultimately die to redeem. Satan is a liar and he is good at it. But he has been found out!
I had a beautiful arrangement of support along the way: My CR family, sponsor, accountability partner, husband, and Holy Spirit. Holy Spirit is so loving, so kind, so gentle, so firm, so truthful, so merciful and so very gracious. He is my greatest fan, my greatest teacher, and the greatest pruner by far.
As for my discoveries along the way? These are just a few:
I’ve discovered that everyone has a story and most importantly a back story which has made us who we are. Some of us have been tragically damaged by past “chapters” of that story which have caused us to fail to see how strong we really are.
I’ve learned I want to be the one who loves and sees as Jesus does. I CAN. I want to be the one who gives grace and mercy first. I CAN. I want to the be the who trusts and calls forth the greatness in others. I WILL. because the good and the great that God intended for us is still there buried beneath the layers of guilt, shame and lies. We just need to be reminded that we are amazing in God’s eyes.
I’ve discovered there is an external rebellion and an internal rebellion both of which are damaging. External rebellion is rebellion seen by all; internal rebellion is kept secret by one BUT both kinds of rebellion are known by God. External rebellion is easily identifiable (addictions of all kinds). You know, we tend to avoid “those people” don’t we? BUT, there is an equally devastating rebellion – internal (pride, arrogance, judgmental, critical, fantasy), which causes us to be like “those people” only internally where we think no one sees. For those like me with internal rebellion, we can’t act out the external desires because of fear and anxiety that someone will see, that we will get into trouble, that people will think we are bad and are like “those people” but we are in great danger of setting ourselves up as little gods judging the masses because we now set the standard for what is good and what is bad.
If no one sees me doing bad then I am good?
If someone sees you doing bad, then are you bad?
The danger? Whose standard of judgment am I passing. God’s or my own? Could it be that the label we impose upon ourselves as “bad” is really not something that is bad but rather something that is missing in our relationship with Christ that He so desperately wants to give us, to help us experience in order to set us free?
I’ve discovered that for a lot of us, we tend to focus only on our bad qualities; our mistakes; our sins and all the times we repeat all of the above and never really see the good that He made us to be. Our sin nature died with Jesus. God does not see our sin, He sees His beautiful creation – it is time for us to begin to see ourselves through a different lens. It is not that I have to work on cleaning up my sin – I no longer have any, it died with Jesus. What I do have is victory over sin through Him. What I need to practice is holiness and righteousness.
I may not get it right the first or second or third time but it is not that I have to clean myself up before coming to Jesus…I’m already clean because of what He did for me. What I need to do now is reprogram my thinking and learn to be as Jesus is and put into practical application the principles of God found in His word. I don’t have to do any more. I simply get to be more.
I’ve discovered a “no Judgment” zone in CR – the enemy tells us no one will like us; they will judge us; they will leave us if they know us – HE IS A LIAR. There is a freedom in having no more secrets – there isn’t anything in my life now that someone doesn’t know about and is praying for me. I never thought I would be able to share the dark and ugly but there is strength in numbers, especially warrior women headed on the same path to be the best Christians we can be for the glory of His name.
I’ve discovered that God’s word is true. If we confess our faults one to another we will be healed. (James 5:16) I am healed and I am free.
I’ve discovered a small group of women – perhaps strangers in the beginning – cheering each other on as we progressed through our journey, becoming friends and warrior women for God…not perfect…but being changed from glory to glory for His glory!
I no longer wish to be known as just a Christian. I want to be known as a blood bought, sold out Believer in the Lord God Almighty, Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior and Holy Spirit my true friend and encourager.
I know that my journey does not end at the graduation of this CR class. There will be many fresh challenges just around the corner but without trials there is no growth and without revelation there is no healing.
I know that our lives, many times, may tend to go in the opposite direction of where we want to go for a season but it is necessary so we can learn to be with God and grow to be more like Christ. It may be difficult, but it’s not going to kill us.
It has been almost a year of discovery and I have learned that if I don’t glorify God in the process, it will be hard for me to glorify Him any other way. Hurting people are watching and they need hope and if proper behavior is never modeled for them, it can never be learned or received.
You know, grace and freedom feel amazing. It all begins with a choice. You decide.
Blessed and living free,
Dedictated to my lovely Celebrate Recovery friends. You know who you are 🙂 I have loved traveling this journey with you and believe only God’s best for your bright futures!