Harris Creek kicked-off two support groups in our community this week through Reclaim Ministries. Women facing the painful and confusing road of infertility gathered on Tuesday evening to work through their grief and share their experiences at Reclaim Infertility Support. Yesterday, a year of planning, training, and prayer came together at Harris Creek’s first Reclaim Recovery meeting. The Reclaim Recovery team beautifully demonstrated vulnerability throughout our training, and we were all encouraged as our first participants openly shared and named their hurts, hang-ups, and habits on night one. The beauty of recovery ministry is found in countering the lie that we are alone in our struggle or must sit in our shame.
As the old adage states, “church should be a hospital for the hurting, NOT a hotel for saints”.
Jesus spent his time among people struggling in their humanity. He came to heal and set people free from the hurts, hang-ups, and habits holding them captive. He took the wisdom of this world and turned it on its head in this story from Matthew 9:10-13:
When Jesus was eating supper at Matthew’s house with his close followers, a lot of disreputable characters came and joined them. When the Pharisees saw him keeping this kind of company, they had a fit, and lit into Jesus’ followers. “What kind of example is this from your Teacher, acting cozy with crooks and riffraff?”
Jesus, overhearing, shot back, “Who needs a doctor: the healthy or the sick? Go figure out what this Scripture means: ‘I’m after mercy, not religion.’ I’m here to invite outsiders, not coddle insiders.” (The Message)
Reclaim Recovery is a place to set aside masks and admit our need for God and each other. Whether Reclaim is one of several recovery meetings attended each week, or a first experience with recovery ministry, we have tools for releasing tightly gripped coping mechanisms that keep us from living wholly and freely.
I am walking proof that God’s transforming touch can heal the deepest wounds- yet, I am still in progress, and hope to continue steps toward wholeness as long as I am on this side of eternity. I still turn to the comfort of food and the warm, familiar blanket of victimhood and resentment when my focus wanders. Depression rears its ugly head from time to time- the fear of its return always haunting. Recovery is a process, not a quick fix with an end date. I’m no longer striving for perfection or absence of hurt- I am taking steps toward wholeness. I’m in this for the long haul, and I hope that you will join me.
“When I get honest, I admit that I am a bundle of paradoxes. I believe and I doubt, I hope and get discouraged, I love and I hate, I feel bad about feeling good, I feel guilty about not feeling guilty. I am trusting and suspicious. I am honest and I still play games. Aristotle said I am a rational animal; I say I am an angel with an incredible capacity for beer.
To live by grace means to acknowledge my whole life story, the light side and the dark. In admitting my shadow side, I learn who I am and what God’s grace means. As Thomas Merton put it, ‘A saint is not someone who is good but who experiences the goodness of God.’”
-Brennan Manning, A Ragamuffin Gospel