The first time I was invited to go and hear a testimony of one of our leaders. Amazing testimony of the pain and suffering of one person who God is healing, restoring and using for His glory at the same time. I was touched by the reality of pain in the room, but most importantly I was touched by the people who had no intentions of hiding their pain. These leaders showed their pain to share the hope of recovery with others. No pretense, no pride, just raw pain from the past, where God brought them, saved them and healed them from.
We generally have an idea that Celebrate Recovery is like an AA program, they just call Jesus their Higher Power. That is not the whole story.
Celebrate Recovery is a program to help recover from any hurt, habit or hang-up that keeps you from the full life that God would want you to have. I have seen women who were there to recover from abuse of parents or husband, women who struggled eating disorders of any kind, women who had bad relationships, co-dependent tendencies to please others around them, women who dulled their pain by shopping and women who struggled with any sexual sins. The list is endless. Pain and hurt will keep us from living a life for Jesus. Jesus came to:
“He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners,
2 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor
and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
3 and provide for those who grieve in Zion--
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
instead of a spirit of despair.” Isaiah 61:1-3
The second time I went I heard another testimony of a Celebrate Recovery leader on video, whose family’s life was restored in a way, I could not even imagine ever even possible. If you imagined the best possible scenario from the beginning of the story, you wouldn’t dare to dream, what God actually did in that family’s life. I was speechless, and was reminded another verse in the Bible:
“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” Ephesians 3:20
God works through us and in us at all times. But why not give Him a chance to love us and bind up our broken hearts, set us free from bondage, fear, anxiety and comfort us in our mourning. Let Him give us a crown of beauty instead of ashes, so we can joyfully praise Him all the days of our lives.