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Celebrate Recovery

How the 8 Principles Have Changed My Life

How the 8 Principles Have Changed My Life

By Amy

My name is Amy, and I am a grateful believer in Jesus Christ. I am in recovery for betrayal trauma, post-abortion guilt, shame and grief, and codependency.

I grew up in the ’60s and ’70s in a secular humanist home and culture. I was a hippie, joined a cult, and married an addict who was manipulative and abusive. On the outside I became a high-performing businesswoman, super mom, and community volunteer. On the inside I was a mess. My marriage fell apart, and I finally reached out and found Jesus. That was spring 1995, and that was the beginning of my recovery.

I spent seven years growing spiritually but still living life “my way.” Pain, betrayal, humiliation, and heartbreak were my inside reality. The “outside” Amy continued to run a manufacturing company where I excruciatingly perfected a mask that I had it all together. I thankfully accepted what I felt was God’s discipline and “got right” before him.

God in his mercy gave me another chance at a second marriage to a wonderful Christian man. After two years of my second marriage, with my outside life changed so much for the better, I knew I needed to address the mess that was on the inside. Ten years ago I entered a Celebrate Recovery® Step Group to begin the journey of recovery based on the Beatitudes of Jesus.

The first principle helped me realize I was not God. And I could not control my tendency to do the wrong things. Before knowing Jesus, I had chosen abortion as my legal “right.” I saw it as a way out of unplanned pregnancies. I didn’t accept God’s sovereignty. Jesus says in Matthew 5:3 that we are blessed when we know we are “spiritually poor” (GNT). It was in my fourth step group that I embraced how spiritually poor I had been and experienced blessing from the confession of my guilt, shame, and grief.

The second principle is a continual process of earnestly believing that God exists, that I matter to him, and that he has the power to help me recover. Whenever I am aware of my negative thinking, I remind myself that I matter to God—his power helps me. I matter to God and always have. We all matter to him!

Before joining CR, I never allowed myself to mourn—mourn so many things, especially the buried grief of my aborted children. Jesus says, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted” (Matthew 5:4 NIV). Each time I mourn, I am comforted, and I recover a little more.

Living out the third principle, I consciously choose to commit all my life to Christ’s care and control. I am a control freak, so this one is not easy for me! I have journaled what my “control” has produced: death, grief, masquerade, and busyness. His control in my life has produced acceptance, humility, reconciled relationships, peace, and joy. Oh, that feels so much better! “Blessed are the meek” (Matthew 5:5 NIV).

The fourth principle is to openly examine and confess my faults to myself, God, and someone I trust. Writing and sharing my inventory with my sponsor was a game-changer day in my life. I experienced so much peace after sharing it with her. It is in my daily quiet time that I am best at “examining my faults.” Then I can safely confess to my sponsor, my husband, and/or my prayer-partner go-to girls. My life verse is from James 5:16, “Confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, so that you will be healed” (GNT). I experience blessedness because Jesus says, “Happy are the pure in heart” (Matthew 5:8 (GNT).

God reveals the changes he wants me to make. A few character defects he has revealed to me are: judging people, controlling people or situations, staying too busy, making jokes at my expense, not taking care of my health, being emotionally detached, practicing negative thought patterns, and more. The fifth principle is to voluntarily submit to any and all changes God wants me to make in my life and to humbly ask him to remove my character defects. This principle is such a wonderful revelation of how to do life God’s way. He will do what I cannot do for myself. However, I need to do the work in this principle, and then pray for his help. “Happy are those whose greatest desire is to do what God requires” (Matthew 5:6 GNT).

The sixth principle points to the people in my life that have hurt me, and that I have hurt. I evaluated all my relationships and offered forgiveness to those who have hurt me and made amends for harm I’ve done to others (except when to do so would cause harm). My ex-husband was someone I needed to forgive. This was not easy. I could say the words, but it was God who changed my heart. I needed to apologize for my wrongs, with no excuses. I participated in a Christian post-abortion retreat, worked with a good Christian therapist and my sponsor. “Blessed are the merciful . . . Blessed are the peacemakers” (Matthew 5:7, 9 NIV).

The seventh principle is to reserve a daily time with God for self-examination, Bible reading, and prayer in order to know God and his will for my life and to gain the power to follow his will. My spiritual life changed when I incorporated this discipline in my daily life. How can we hear him if we don’t take time for him?

The eighth principle is where I get to give back: Yield myself to God to be used to bring this Good News to others, both by my example and my words. How can I not? I am forgiven and set free! I give back as leader for the Landing (CR for students) I also have the privilege of supporting the Northeast Region’s Landings as the NE regional rep. I am co-leading a post-abortion Bible study for women, so that more women can experience the hope and healing of Jesus Christ. “Happy are those who are persecuted because they do what God requires” (Matthew 5:10 GNT).

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