Caroline’s Testimony

For 24 years I have struggled to make myself happy in my marriage. I have manipulated and tried to manage my husband’s every move or thought process in order fix him. I know best, therefore I need to manage how we should both live together …. This is true insanity.

I devalued my husband’s opinions, copying my fathers overbearing and self righteous behaviour which he showed towards my mother.

Together my husband and I became entrenched in a negative cyclical behavioural pattern which remained ingrained until I started Celebrate Recovery. At the beginning of CR I believed my higher power was real but out of date and didn’t understand marriage.

I had an attitude of pride and self righteousness

According to CR literature the heart of pride is rooted in rejection. Pride in my life is where the enemy has robbed and destroyed many years of happiness for me. The lie being worldly truth, “You are justified to get your poind of flesh because you didn’t deserve so and so, go on, keep manipulating until one of you is exhausted, you will win because you are right”. This is not a spiritual truth.
The kindom of God is upside down. Turn the other cheek. To me, this means being above the problem, you don’t always have to react, think like a wise man would, you have a choice.

Before I came to Celebrate Recovery I denied that I had any emotional problems from childhood.

As a child I became addicted to negative attention through parental emotional neglect. I developed PTSD after a near death incident. I fantasised about death and how everyone would react if I died. Later, I tried to run through traffic to see if I should be dead or alive. I got the reaction I wanted when the heavily pregnant passenger cried and knelt beside me making sure that I was ok. Then I moved to less dangerous feats by ripping off wall paper all over the house. My siblings got smacked if they didn’t stop me. So I stopped and internalised pain into comfort eating and bulimia developed.

The CR teaching on denial showed me gently that these problems developed innocently as a child but bedded down in adult life into an unbalanced thinking pattern of victim and saint complex.

As an adult I had the perfect complex to manage my husband and feel justified in doing so. Also during the denial step I saw that there was a stronghold of bitterness within me. Jesus helped me to see that it was not about me being guilty, I was only a child when these things developed.

I blamed all the marital problems on my husband.

Until I started Celebrate Recovery I had kept my bulimia secret for 30 years. I also drink too much. I used to enjoy self pity parties on my own until the early hours of the morning.

I started coming to Celebrate Recovery after signs that God was at work in my life.

At university a student prayed for me. She saw the cycle of negative behaviour in my marriage with no middle ground. She prayed that I would let go and let God. She prayed for freedom in my house. After this prayer I kept being pulled to stop and look at running water and there I would hear God saying “Be still, and know that I am God”. I pondered about the water and the effects of gravity and knew that God had shown order and a purpose in all His creation. From that time on I knew that my life also had a plan and a purpose. Two weeks later I came to a church service at the Riverside and the sermon was about how massive God was. We looked at the universe and the magnificence of God.

I broke down. I felt that I had wasted 24 years of my life on one problem. I felt that I had been conned.

Seeking for help I was advised to try Celebrate Recovery. I told Tony and Val my deepest hurts and fears and they identified my co-dependency and advised me to let go and let God. They asked if I would consider CR to get free from my problems. I said “Give me one good reason why”. They said Jesus will be singing and dancing. I thought they were both mad to believe that they know what Jesus thinks. We prayed and I saw a picture of the statue of liberty. “Oh, I am going to New York” I thought. God said “No. Freedom silly!” I also saw full technicolour bands of light. I had seen these for weeks every time I prayed and I now recognised them as the 12 steps. God said they were a ladder and I found that the picture on the card was a ladder, not steps, when I started CR.

Jesus showed me that I was the problem in my marriage.

I had a Cinderella complex. “Poor me” I moaned to God, “If only my husband didn’t … ” God said “You are the problem!” Until that point I had not realised that there were two people in the marriage. It’s funny how blind I had become. Now, I have dumped the victim saint complex, I see all things in a new way. I am much closer to Jesus now. I filter everything through and check if Jesus is speaking to me. I believe I know how to walk in the Spirit now. The world doesn’t hold me and I have lost the need to achieve. I have lost some of my pride but there is plenty to go. I don’t need to intellectualise all the time. God loves me, like I was the only person on earth. He is omnipresent in my life. We have a one to one relationship.

I found out that God does know more than me.

He hears every word I speak. In the car one night after CR I said 2 negative things about my husband. When my husband woke the next morning he repeated them verbatim. I was shocked. I remember I was on the forgiveness step so I asked for his forgiveness. I found out the will of God for my life. He never wants me to divorce. He has shown me that I am the problem. Because I am a Christian He needs to work in and through me to manage the marriage His way. My eldest son watched Jo Galcsche and Kesler box to 2.00 am drinking plenty of beer. He asked me to wake him in the morning to go to church at 9. Getting him up at 9 was a miracle in itself. At church he remarked how he felt that the pastor had written the service for him and he gave his life to Christ.

Since coming to Celebrate Recovery my life has changed, also my family life is changing.

For this I am grateful and I would encourage anybody reading these words to give CR a chance like I did and your life will also change.