I would love to say that I needed recovery because of a few unhealthy habits or because of a short, dark period of my life. However, my need for recovery spans almost 40 years. I needed healing because I allowed fear, worry, anxiety, and low self-esteem to influence every factor of my existence. I followed them down dangerous paths. And I made decisions based upon my dependence on them. That is why I get so excited when I can now say this:
Hello, my name is Cindy. I am a fierce believer in my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. I have victory in fear, worry, and anxiety. And I am currently recovering from low self-esteem and self-hatred.
Filtering my world through fear started very early in my life. I grew up in a home where my mom feared almost everything, and my dad ran the family by high expectations. My identity and self-worth became tied to how well I performed for my parents and how I could ease my mom’s fears. However, I falsely became deluded into thinking that high achievements and mitigating fears were my main purpose. Whenever I failed in those things, I felt like I was unworthy of affection or support. So I convinced myself that I needed to earn those things. And I began a purposeful quest to be well-behaved, obedient, and perfect. That set me up for so many disappointments and, as a result, opened my heart and mind to tying my identity to the “good girl” that I could be.
When I was 15, I was pressured into a series of unwanted sexual encounters. Those encounters burst my “good girl” bubble and brought deep shame to my heart. It plunged me into a whirlpool of regret and self-hatred. And it propelled me into years of dangerous behaviors like drugs, alcohol, bulimia, and unhealthy relationships. These destructive habits lasted until I was 19, when I accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior.
Even after being saved, my identity was still vitally tied to a fear of failing. I worried I would never be “enough.” All these things were the perfect recipe for the codependent woman I became, whose self-worth relied upon what others thought of me and how well others viewed me. Codependency threw into a turmoil of depression at the slightest criticism.
On top of that shaky self-worth, my marriage was wrought with hurt due to my husband’s choices, which broke my heart repeatedly. I truly hated myself, and I began turning to food for comfort. I gained over 100 pounds, which further eroded my self-worth and pushed me toward total isolation. I rarely left my home for the next nine years and spent almost every day in tears, fearful hiding, and constant panic. My existence held no true value to me, and I convinced myself that life would always be this way. I believed that I was doomed, trapped, and forever forsaken.
But, in 2018, God connected me to Richard and Dara Cobb, who had recently begun the process of launching a Celebrate Recovery ministry at our church. Through the next six months, God prompted them to share with me the background of Celebrate Recovery and its functions in the recovery journeys of millions around the world. They shared their own stories, and they treated me with kindness. They even helped me see what transformation and sustained recovery look like in real life, which began stirring a hope for my darkness to be healed through what they introduced me to in our conversations. In addition, we were in a Bible study group, and, through our times of connection, they helped me see that Celebrate Recovery was something I should pursue.
So, I joined the group training to launch the ministry and went through my first Step Study. That Step Study changed my entire perception of God, made me see my purpose on this earth, and transformed my viewpoint of myself. When I reached Lesson 5, “TURN,” I realized that I had been carrying my whole life on my own. That lesson falls under Step 3, which says, “We made a decision to turn our lives and our wills over to the care of God.” I needed to see that he wants to be my healer and that he can restore me to sanity.
God revealed that I had allowed all of humanity to define me when only he has that right. But my favorite part of that lesson was when I started to understand the beauty of laying my whole life at his feet, turning my future over to his care and control, and allowing him to heal all my hurts and train me to distance myself from unsafe hang-ups and habits.
Now, almost three years later, I am practically a whole new person. I am bold, settled in my identity, and free from the burden of worry and fear. And I am not led by or imprisoned by anxiety any longer. I now serve on the Lead Team for LifePoint Celebrate Recovery. I am sharing my testimony approximately five times per year. In addition, I am facilitating a Step Study, co-leading the Open Share group, and have the honor of sponsoring two amazing ladies. God has done such tremendous work, and I credit the safe places that Celebrate Recovery creates as the very thing that helped me become able to hear his calling toward my sustained recovery. Celebrate Recovery changed me by helping me see that God cares for me. It has helped me gain confidence in him and plant my identity in his grace alone. Celebrate Recovery has brought Psalm 40:1-3 to life for me. God lifted me out of that pit of shame and fear. He planted me on a solid journey and put a new song in my life.
Thank you for letting me share!
If you would like to learn how to start your own Celebrate Recovery ministry, to contact your Celebrate Recovery Rep, please visit: https://crgroups.info/. To get involved in an already existing Celebrate Recovery ministry near you, please visit: https://locator.crgroups.info/.