I recently sat down with our Celebrate Recovery (CR) leadership team, men and women who have been engaged in the healing work of CR for several years. I was curious:
- What made them come back week after week to serve others in this ministry?
- What gift had they received from involvement in CR that prompted them to give back?
We went around the table and heard stories of changed habits and healed hearts. Poignant smiles and nods of agreement were seen as each one gave witness to the power of deep transformation. It was like a HYMN of THANKSGIVING to God was being composed as each one added their own personal verse.
“I think Celebrate Recovery might simply be called Celebrate Life,” said one woman. The ministry had provided her a clear pathway for being made new, what those in church circles call “sanctification.” The power of connecting recovery to Jesus’ words and Jesus’ presence had meant true freedom for her.
Another leader spoke about recovery as coming back or regaining a lost position of wholeness. This man gave particular thanks for the support and Christian fellowship that underlies the personal work of recovery. “It was wonderful being able to trust other men, to be truly open in a group without shame,” he reflected.
“This group has given me the ability to be honest,” another woman shared. “I’ve learned to better love and care for myself, as I see God at work and develop good friendships.” The ability to face deep questions within a safe environment made all the difference in her life.
“The first time I showed up at CR, I was so lost and broken,” witnessed one other leader. He recognized he couldn’t do this on his own and was deeply moved when men offered to pray for him that first night. “I’d been closed up for so long,” he said. “It’s been powerful to learn I can love and forgive again, to learn who God truly is.”
Another leader joined their voice with additional words of gratitude. “The phrase from the old hymn rings very true to me: I once was blind, but now I see,” she said. Looking at her own life, she expressed how Celebrate Recovery, and the biblical principles underlying it, had taken healing truth from her head to her heart.
“For me, Celebrate Recovery has been a safe place to get real about the issues in my life,” said another male leader. He now feels he can deal with any challenge that comes–through this safe and trusting environment of people being real with each other and with God.
In recovery groups, participants have the ability to be transparent before others without fear of rejection or judgment. One leader stated that this honest vulnerability was the key to her own growth toward wholeness in Christ over the past years.
Each person, each life, added a fresh VERSE of gratitude to the HYMN. After the last person had shared, we paused in awe and wonder. God had done such good work in these lives, and in the lives of many others. The CHORUS was complete. The song was sung!
These are strong and courageous believers who dare to be real about their hurts, habits and hang-ups. I’m honored to know them. And they follow a strong and loving God who meets each one of us as we are, and graciously restores us to health and hope. Thanks be to His name!
Live locally? Join us on Monday, November 23 at 7 PM for our annual Gratitude Night at Celebrate Recovery on the Plateau. You’ll be adding your VERSE to the HYMN of THANKSGIVING with the thousands of other CR participants throughout the world who are grateful for their recovery through the biblical 12 steps.
Contributed by a leader at Celebrate Recovery on the Plateau.