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Celebrate Recovery

Testimony: Jesus Brings Hope in Times of Suffering

By JuaNita

My name is JuaNita, I am a believer who struggles with codependency.

I knew of Jesus and went to church some as a child. By the time I was in elementary school, we quit going to church. I wouldn’t seek Jesus until I was so desperate and hopeless in my life. I became a Christ follower at age 43.

Before giving my life to Jesus, I lived a very worldly life. I took everything it had to offer and lived taking chances. I had so many troubles and I had no idea how to fix them. I suffered the consequences of my actions.

His Word says in Romans 5:3-5: “Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom He has given us.” I love this verse…it tells me that life is not going to be all roses when we serve Him. It tells me we will have troubles and suffering. But look what we gain, HOPE AND JOY.

I was sexually abused as a child. I had no self-worth; I was afraid to express my feelings and stayed in harmful relationships too long. I have been married three times and divorced twice. My husband and I are celebrating 30 years of marriage this year and 24 years of sobriety.

We started Celebrate Recovery at our church in 2007. We had been involved in AA for about ten years and felt a call to lead a faith-based recovery group. To be a leader at CR, you have to go through a step study and trainings. I had never done a step study before CR. After completing it, I realized how unhealthy I was. I was going through life with a smile on my face saying everything was fine. I blamed my husband for all our problems saying if he would just quit his drinking and doing drugs, we would be ok. The 12 Steps and 8 Principles helped me realize that I needed to forgive others for what happened to me as a child and that I needed to forgive myself and offer forgiveness to others. I was not the same person and I couldn’t live in the past anymore.

Celebrate Recovery is for any hurt, hang-up or habit. No matter what you are going through, you can use these steps and principles to stay focused on Jesus. Every day for me is a challenge and I need to ask for God’s help to get through it. I had worked through my past and I thought I was doing everything right. I was living for Christ, giving Him my all. I was serving Him where I felt He wanted me to serve. And I shared my testimony anywhere I could. Then I was diagnosed with stage 2a Ovarian Cancer. The chemo treatments made me so weak and sick. It was hard not to get in that dark place where I would give up. It’s hard to describe the feeling of just wanting it to be over, not wanting to be so sick, but yet not wanting to give up.

I didn’t think after the first time that I would face it again. I have had three recurrences and each time I put my spiritual armor on. I turned to His Word and gave it to Him. It’s not been easy. I still go back to why me? And then I pray for His will, not mine. At one point, I started to think about the things I needed to get in order, what I had to take care of so I would be prepared if that time came. I was waiting on test results during my youngest daughter’s wedding. It was a time I had to totally trust Him to get me through and share her joy instead of my suffering. But within few seconds of feeling like giving up, I heard His small voice; “YOU CAN’T GIVE UP! YOU HAVE TOO MUCH TO DO!!”

Step 12: Having had a spiritual experience as the result of these steps we try to carry this message to others and practice these principles in all our affairs. We share our victories so others will have hope to overcome their hurts, hang-ups and habits.  

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulations, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” 2 Corinthians 1:3

It was because of God’s Word and my CR forever family that I was able to stay positive and make it through these trials. I kept asking God what He wants me to learn or teach me. I realized all the pain and suffering He had gone through for me; that no matter what I went through, He had already been there. He was there to comfort me and give me the strength and hope that I needed. I choose today to take each trial as a way to look at what is going on in my life and how can I direct it back to Jesus. He has already filtered it. He has felt it. Now I have to use it to glorify my Lord and Savior! As of February 2020, I am in remission!

I am so thankful to serve those in need through Celebrate Recovery. And I am co-founder of a non-profit organization. It’s an organization that carries out recovery-focused community outreach programs and peer-based recovery support services. God never wastes a hurt.

This is my God story…how He didn’t give up on me and how He has carried me through my trials to see the joy on the other side.

Thank you.

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