Hi, my name is Sylvia, and I am a grateful believer in Jesus Christ who struggles with co-dependency and food issues. I came to Celebrate Recovery in a different way than most. I have led our Celebrate Recovery Kids Time program for eight years. The kids had fun and got to see Jesus each week. However, this was not helping improve their lives. I had a strong management background and knew how to take care of kids. I thought that was all I needed.
Although I was a Christian who had strong faith, I wasn’t actively seeking time with Christ to work on my stuff. I was not learning who he wanted me to be. I struggled with abandonment issues with my earthly father, and I didn’t want to search for a deeper relationship with God. I did my job and wanted the best for the kids. I did not focus on life-change for them because my life hadn’t changed yet. I didn’t understand what that really meant.
We started using the Celebration Place curriculum immediately after its release. We loved the lessons but hadn’t ever gone through Celebrate Recovery personally. so we put it in place without realizing what it could offer. In 2012, my ministry leader asked my curriculum leader and me to attend the annual Celebrate Recovery Summit at Saddleback. We realized what was missing after hearing different testimonies and learning how lives changed because of Celebrate Recovery. We left knowing we needed to work on our personal issues, our families, and the families we serve.
We couldn’t attend the Celebrate Recovery services but did a step study and started holding each other accountable. We started looking at the Celebration Place curriculum differently and became more intentional with training our staff to teach it correctly. Personally, we each identified areas we had never realized were issues and began working on our own “stuff.” We became more intentional by getting families involved in the program.
My daughters had been coming with me since they were small, but now they started learning why you should depend on God when things get tough instead of depending on the world. My husband and I started fostering two children that year. They had been neglected and abused. We realized the Celebration Place curriculum was exactly what they needed to find their worth in Christ. We have since adopted these children. I feel that Celebration Place has been as helpful — if not more helpful — to their lives and happiness than all the counseling they received. Our son heard from his stepfather that he was useless, bad, stupid, etc. He was very mistrustful of men. Through Celebration Place he learned how much God loves him and wants him to be happy. He has worked through many of his feelings of low self-worth, anger, and frustration. Because we talk about real stuff like drugs, he has learned that those things only cause more harm and sadness and that when you are sad you should turn to God instead for comfort. I truly believe Christ has broken the generational cycle for him through the lessons he has learned in Celebration Place. He is starting to be okay with my husband and is working so hard to make choices that will help him be happy. His prayers have slowly changed from simple “thanks for my stuff” to “please help me to change the things I can that make me frustrated.” His anger and sadness are slowly being replaced with joy and hope.
My husband enjoyed his quiet Friday nights at home alone all those years. After I shared about the life-change we were seeing in whole families, he realized he needed to be there as well. Now he is a co-leader of our Landing program and has completed his first step study. I have seen so much change in us and in how we do life now that we are working through the program instead of just showing up to take care of kids. I am now blessed with helping share about Celebration Place with other churches across the nation and would love to see it in every Celebrate Recovery ministry and every home.