Thursday, December 04, 2014

Them Bones

How many of you have had a broken bone? Was it an arm or leg? What was the purpose of the cast? What would have happened if the bone started to grow back wrong? Resetting a bone can be a painful experience. There can be pins, plates and rods that are involved.  If it’s not done, the patient can be crippled for life. Doesn’t it help to know someone else who had that procedure and can walk you through what to expect?
The hand of the Lord was upon me, and he brought me out in the Spirit of the Lord and set me down in the middle of the valley; it was full of bones. And he led me around among them, and behold, there were very many on the surface of the valley, and behold, they were very dry. Ezekiel 37:1-2 (ESV)

I told someone the other day that a Celebrate Recovery Step Study we have at Central Life is a lot like resetting a broken bone that healed wrong.
Now stick with me—don’t get freaked out! If you are committed to this, a step study walks you through a process of healing that is necessary and sometimes painful. The key is to keep moving forward with the next step—and never go farther than the chapter you are studying for the week!

We come to CR because there is something not quite right in our life—something that has hobbled us. The first study book shows you how much damage there is. There might be more than you thought. You should be prepared to work on the most crucial area first. There will be tears and bravery is necessary. You step out of denial and with the help of the Step Study leader, your accountability partners and eventually a sponsor…plans are made for emotional and spiritual surgery.

In book 2 and 3, the most painful part is accomplished and the pins, rods, plates and cast are in place. The healing begins. The structure seems rigid, however it is there for a reason: to keep you aligned with God’s word. There will still be some pain involved, but the laughter will come more often. You will become close friends with people that are braver than you are. It is a safe place as long as the procedures are followed.

Beware: quitting a Step Study or not doing the homework is like not using the cast and crutches the doctor provided. Pretty soon you will be back to the broken life that isn’t properly healed. The habits and hurts flood back in and you can acquire even more brokenness and pain.
It is possible, if I hadn’t been through it myself, I wouldn’t ask you to try.

The last book shows you how to grow and move in this healing. It’s a lot like physical therapy after the cast is off. The recovery is not complete without these final chapters. When you learn new habits, you replace the old ways of doing things so you will avoid further injury.

Once you complete the Step Study, you are not done with CR. In fact, the recovery in one area may reveal deeper hurts that need healing that would have never surfaced before. Going through multiple Step Studies is not a sign of failure. It is a sign of surrender to God’s healing.

When you have completed your first Step Study, why not consider becoming a sponsor or Step Study leader? There are many broken lives out there that need resetting. They need to see someone with similar hurts and habits that survived the process.

I used to invite others to CR before even attending meetings consistently. I look back and wonder how I could ever ask someone to take such a painful step if I had never attempted it myself. I am evidence that the process works.

My prayer for the future step studies comes from a passage in Ezekiel 37.

Heavenly Father, may you look upon these broken bones and breathe new life into them. Raise up leaders, sponsors and accountability partners. We need an army Father! Pour out your healing upon us. Make us ready to serve, ready to speak and ready to love. In Jesus’ name, Amen.