At times, my girls in recovery are in what’s called, shutdown. Actions are limited. Extra privileges cut off. Time is spent quietly doing certain tasks. Or spent doing no tasks. And conversations are limited, too.
Thankfully, I can hold a church service for the ladies, and it’s so great, because many who might not normally come to service (when freedoms are in place), come to church.
I love it! I love that the Lord can plant bodies in the room with what seems like a punishment when in reality it’s a call from Him to their hearts.
In service, I asked for testimonies of what the Lord is teaching or has shown them during this recent chapter.
One girl wept, wiping her eyes, her nose red with dripping snot (literally), and she announced with a sadness cracking in her voice. “I’ve come to realize all the excuses I make for saying I’m not an addict or not true. I need truth. I need Christ. I am an addict.
But I don’t want to be.”
Another girl shared how she got on her knees and surrendered her life to Christ. How she emptied her sin at His feet.
Again, more tears, and more cleansing of hearts, wringing out like wet towels, allowing Christ to add mercy and grace to precious souls.
Then a girl from the back raised her hand, “I’ve gotten caught up with the things of my past. Unhealthy things. Things I need to give up. I needed this shutdown. It moved me from those conversations to talking with God, to focusing on Him, to trusting Him.”
More and more of statements like those, that drew the girls in, like a gentle wave of hope rising up from the reality that this season in their life is true, real, and serious.
And then like a spring rain, a girl smiled and told us, “I’m one of the ones who wouldn’t be in church if we weren’t in shutdown. I’d be outside, thinking I’ve gotten my act together. That I’m good. That I’m the one who controls my steps.”
A girl next to her nodded, pursing her lips and put her head in her hands. We all paused, we all saw her, we all wondered what was stirring inside her thoughts.
I broke the silence, “Go on. Tell me why you came.”
She pointed to the friend in the chair who was now gazing at her with red eyes. “It’s because she reminded me, I’m not in control, and that I don’t have my act together. I’m full of pride. I’m full of me.”
The friend touched her Bible, and wiped a tear.
The girl explaining herself went on, “And she … she encouraged me to come, to hear from Christ, to worship Him. I’ve gotten busy worshiping my own accomplishments, not Him. I’m so glad we’re in shutdown because I need to be here.”
I knew what she meant. I so needed to be there, too. To be encouraged by my girls. To love on Christ. To worship Him.
Today, I’m reminded how twists and turns in life can feel like punishment, when in reality, that season/chapter may be intended to draw us closer to Christ, to place us at His feet. To allow Him to redeem our hearts and to change our steps. To shut out and shut down the things that keep us from worshiping Him.
And for that I’m grateful, and I’m wiping snot from my own nose, now. I praise Him for seasons that aren’t necessarily fun; but so needed, where integrity rises up and God is most glorified! Where I rely totally on Him!