By Mary Jane
I’m a grateful believer in Jesus who struggles with life hurts and low self-confidence. My name is Mary Jane.
My childhood memories consist of a typical loving home, rules and regulations, attending church activities regularly, and being the youngest of four daughters. When I started school, I was told I had a speech defect. I was held back to repeat the 2nd grade while my friends went on to the next grade. I was left behind feeling stupid. I often felt out of place because of this. If that wasn’t bad enough, I knocked my permanent front teeth out in the 3rd grade, which also affected my confidence. As a child, I never remember anyone saying anything negative to me, but in my mind, I thought I was not as good as others.
As an adult, I got married, divorced, married a second time, and started a family. When I went to work outside of my home, I thought I had to dedicate my life to being successful, to be a “somebody” so people would like me, and I could show everyone I was as good as others.
A job offer came from a company that made me feel like I could finally become successful. I wanted to “make it” in the corporate world. I worked hard to get promotions and special projects to get noticed for my work. I worked long hours on the second shift while leaving my husband and son at home. As my career was becoming successful, my home life was not. Church and God were something I did not have time for. I was always tired, but I thought I had all the answers. I never thought about how my attitude was affecting my family. I only thought if I worked hard enough, I would be somebody. I spent more and more time at my job while my family suffered, and soon we started having major problems.
I was getting so stressed out. I was working every day and coming home to the same thing every day. I did not understand why they would not listen. After all, I had all the answers. I went to a secular counselor to seek help on how to fix my family. She asked me if I was an “involved mother.” Yes, she saw it wasn’t my problem. She saw things my way. She suggested I get the Boundaries book and read it. I got the book. I was so excited to start reading it. The first chapter was about a woman who did everything for everybody. She suffered the consequences of other people’s bad choices or had people manipulate her into doing their work. I did not see how it would help my family, so in the closet it went. Family problems kept getting worse. I had a family member start to go to Celebrate Recovery; the same person I wanted to fix. He kept encouraging me to come with him. I decided this might be a way to show him that what I had been telling him was the best thing for him. I was finally going to see that he got fixed. We went together so I could make sure he was there, getting fixed.
It wasn’t until I found Celebrate Recovery thirteen years ago that I started a journey to see I had my priorities all wrong. I did my first Step Study and realized I had been playing God. The first principle was eye-opening for me. Principle 1 – Realize I’m not God: I admit that I am powerless to control my tendency to do the wrong thing and that my life is unmanageable. Lesson four (Sanity) is my favorite. The first question asks: What things have you been doing over and over again, expecting a different result each time? That caught my attention. I had an insane life.
I focused on my success and only what I wanted. I was not there for my family. When problems came up, I would tell my family how to solve them. I thought I knew how to “fix them.” I only had time for my work. I wish I could say I had an immediate change. It took several more Step Studies for me to see I needed to stop trying to “make it” or be a “someone.” I needed Proverbs 29:25 from the lesson Sanity to speak to me: “It is dangerous to be concerned with what others think of you, but if you trust the Lord, you are safe” (GNT). That verse was for me. I spent many years trying to “make it.” I finally got it. I was chasing after the wrong kind of success. I finally realized my priorities were all wrong.
I am so glad I kept coming back until I saw I needed a relationship with God first. Principle 2 – Earnestly believe that God exists, that I matter to him, and that he has the power to help me recover. I was the one who needed to be fixed; imagine that. My priorities changed to God being first, family second, and work last. I want to share with others how Step Studies changed me. I have led several Step Studies to help others find the peace and happiness I found. I find other issues I need to work on in each Step Study. I love seeing people keep coming back until their miracle happens, and I watch them share what they have found with others. I now know I can’t change anyone, not even myself, but God can. I have seen it happen with myself and others. I now know I do not have the best plan for anyone’s life, including my own, but God does.
I live out Principle 8 to the best of my ability – Yield myself to God to be used to bring this Good News to others, both by my example and by my words. I have held many positions in my CR. Currently, I work at the Information table and serve as the Ambassador Coach. I serve wherever I am needed. I am thankful for CR. It helped me get back to my relationship with God and know that I matter to him. It helped my family to become a family again.
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/.