What's New At Grace
If you attended Grace Church on Sunday, May 15th you would have heard me start the service off with, “Hi! My name is Monica, I’m a grateful believer in Jesus Christ, and my area of recovery is trauma I caused when I was a child.” This is my story of what led up to that Sunday and what has happened since.
I grew up in the church, and have attended Grace Church for around half of my life. I gave my life to Jesus when I was 6 years old, was baptized a few years later, and besides the usual Sunday morning services I was often at Sunday night services, Awana, youth group, mid-week Bible Studies, and whatever else the church had to offer. I tried to serve as often and wherever God called. All the while I was walking in shame, desperate to forget various events of my childhood and the massive pain I caused others.
Fast forward to this past November– I was attending a small group with Eric when God suddenly told me, “You need to confess your past and start the process of healing.” I argued with God. “I’ve already done that three other times.” “This is the final time,” He said, “where you finish the process and no longer walk in shame.” I was tired of carrying this burden few knew about, so I bawled, ashamed as I confessed to those in the room. (Side note: If you want to go next level with people tell them your deepest pain and then let them pray for you. Wow!)
That night I also knew God was calling me to attend Celebrate Recovery. If you’re unfamiliar with Celebrate Recovery here’s what you need to know: it’s for everyone. EVERYone. It’s described as a Christ-centered 12-step recovery program for anyone struggling with hurts, hang-ups, or habits. Often people assume it’s just for addicts. I can testify that it is not. Are you struggling with hurt? It’s for you. Are you struggling with a hang-up? It’s for you. Are you struggling with any kind of habit or addiction (drugs, alcohol, food, porn, codependency, etc)? It’s for you.
After attending Celebrate Recovery for several weeks they announced that a new round of Step Study Small Groups would be happening. I knew this was where I’d need to dig in and do the hard work so I could walk in freedom, so I joined other women in one. These small groups are where you delve into your past and the choices you’ve made. These are where real growth happens.
It took me 6 months of weekly meetings to work the 12 steps completely. During that time I had an accountability partner who offered support via prayer, listening, checking in, and reassuring me to “trust the program” during times I just wanted to crawl into a ball in the corner of the room and quit.
I’m not gonna lie - Step Studies are hard. Not the entire time. Just off and on during the middle. Step 4 and 5 is all about making an inventory of who hurt you, how that affected you, and your part (if any) in all of it, then telling your sponsor or accountability person all about it. Step 9 includes making amends with the people you’ve hurt (when doing so won’t hurt them or others) and forgiving those who hurt you. There were a lot of tears and agony that came with making those lists and talking to those people. I won’t sugarcoat it.
In June I finished all 12 steps, sat back and thought “that was the hardest thing I’ve done in my entire life!” And then after a couple of weeks of walking in complete freedom from my past I realized it wasn’t the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. Walking in shame for more than 30 years was MUCH, MUCH harder!
If you are also carrying a burden I highly recommend not waiting another moment. Your journey to freedom is here. And so I invite you to join the next round of Step Study Small Groups that start in September. They’ll have some for men and some for women. Don’t be afraid to join. The people are amazing, have gone through a lot too, are very compassionate and discreet, and you don’t jump right into heavy stuff. You can trust the program and the people! And then you can walk in FREEDOM as God intended! No more chains, no more shame!
For more info or to sign up, talk to Mike Kimsey. Call or text him: 707-530-4814, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, or hunt him down on Sundays at church or Fridays at CR.
Office Hours: M-Th 8:30am-4pm