Bending not Breaking
For we football fans this terminology is completely understandable. A defense can give up yards that seem easily taken and then suddenly buckle up and hold their ground. Thus, bending but not breaking!
This morning my devotional took me to Job 1, or in today's terminology this would be Defcom 7, the point where four separate messengers come to him with catastrophes that are seemingly unbearable. But, amazingly my Bible titles that section "Job's First Test". Test? You lose your livestock, your servants, and your children and this is a test?
To us, in this mentality of humans, we see this as ridiculous. A great man facing a test when he was doing nothing but being good and doing what he was supposed to do. In God's world, which sees things a whole lot different than we, this was his way of showing the devil there were certain people on earth, who were believers, that would possibly bend, but would not break under intense trial.
Even after hearing this news, Job hit his knees and began to worship and think of how we might directly act if this happened to us. Hit our knees and worship? Test? When the word came to me by messenger that my son was killed, I buckled, but somehow, and I don't even remember all the details, I did not break and somehow my relationship with the Lord got stronger. I take no credit, it must have been divine intervention, because if you had said test to me I would have raged against you. Fortunately, no one did.
When I look around a room filled with 100 people in addiction recovery, I see hurting, broken folks who have bent severely, but somehow by the grace of God have not been totally broken and have actually been brought to this point of decision. Rage against the situation or come to believe that a power much greater than us can help us understand and recover.
Luke 18:1 says, "pray and do not give up." Job, bending in his sorrow, but not breaking, came praying and worshiping his way out of the funk and found redemption. He never gave up, even under heavy criticism from his family and friends.
To us, we may in our logic never understand this test, but we do know how to pass it!
What are They Saying?
In whatever business you are in, you want feedback, whether it is good or bad, it helps ensure you are delivering something that is of value to those you serve. I passed out some cards last Monday night at our ATB 12 step meeting to get some of that feedback, and here is a sampling of what they said. There were no negative comments, and any reference to me has been edited out.
I think you guys are doing a great thing. I pray that God will continue to create space & opportunity for you and people like you to grow and expand, reaching out and saving lives. God bless - Anonymous
I have always found the light to shimmer just a little more brighter with your words of wisdom. Anonymous
I think this program is wonderful so far. It's how I'm making a change from being a low life embarrassment to the man I'm supposed to be. The meetings keep us busy. Anonymous
Thank you very much! I attend this meeting every week because I have to have this meeting. I always leave feeling much better than before I got here. Keep doing it, it works. Anonymous
Across The Bridge has provided a safe place for me to network and allow God to transform my life for the good forever. Paul D.
Across The Bridge has provided the most inspiring meetings I have ever been to. I appreciate everything you have done for me. I'm grateful for being able to come to these meetings and I will continue to do so. Ashley B.
I absolutely love your meetings. You make them fun and easy for us to relate and learn. You guys are very comforting and easy to talk to. I also love the worksheets and how you break everything down. Erin S.
I think what Across the Bridge does for the people at my sober living community is amazing. ATB has left an everlasting imprint on my life. I'm grateful that they have been a part of my journey in recovery. Hailey M.
One of the best meetings I have ever been to. You are great! Anonymous
Across the Bridge is a truly blessed place. Everything is available from AA to CA as well as spiritual motivation speakers on Friday Nights. Also co-dependency meetings. Always learn something and enjoy myself as well. Anonymous
I love the scripture lessons that reference God's word & how my recovery links to it weekly. Cassandra T.
I love the meetings at Across The Bridge, you have amazing leaders with a good message that provokes thoughtful conversation. Anonymous
I think it is an amazing thing Across The Bridge is doing. I speak for myself when I say you have made an impact in my life. Jessica D.
There were many other great comments that we had no room to post that emphasize what we are trying to do - make a connection spiritually and emotionally that lasts through sobriety. So far so good! Glenn Y.
You have to admire those we read about in the Bible who have conquered their struggles and have become such inspirational stories to us- men and women who have endured tragedy and turned it into triumph through faith. But there are those of faith today who inspire us as well, and to me there is one man in particular who inspires me - Jentezen Franklin.
Having been at his Free Chapel Church in Gainesville, Ga several years ago, I saw first hand the great work they are doing including a wonderful women's recovery residence, but what got me paying more attention to his story was when he shared openly about the struggles in his marriage and family. The transparency was awesome, and then in a 12 Step meeting, I ran into his former neighbor who grew up with him, and praised his integrity, and at that moment I knew God was telling me to follow this man's journey.
He wrote a book about it called Love Like You Have Never Been Hurt, and I usually catch 3-4 of his sermons weekly, but this morning he was a guest on another show (which I've never watched until this morning) and shared something that hit home completely with me. He spoke about the greatest sermons he preached came out of the greatest tragedy he had faced, and he also emphasized that most folks do not realize how much God lays on people who preach or teach in His name.
As I spoke about last week in some of our groups, God leads me to experience what I am about to talk about, sometimes after I choose a topic, though I have never experienced it before. Happened twice in the past several weeks, once when I spoke about defects and had a day full of chiseling away at how bad I used to be and how far I still have to go. It was as if He wanted me to understand the pain of those I was about to speak to.
When we see people like Dusty at Campus, Don at North Atlanta, Darryl at Life Church, Trey at GLR, Jentezen, and all the other wonderful men and women who speak in Jesus' name, think about the price they may have had to pay to put a message like that together from the experience they may have had to face. Every message may not be like that, but many are, and though we feel like those words were meant for us, they may have come from a great place of their own personal struggles.
The Struggle is real, the pain translates to triumph in multiple ways. We read about it, but we live it large and in living color today. Many thanks to those who come from a place of transparency- we feel your pain!
Thoroughly enjoyed doing the group last night at Real Talk Recovery, folks were outstanding in their comments and in support of each other. To me, through the thousands of meetings we have done, this was one of the best.
It was titled from "Flaws To Flaw-Less" and in effect was all about a word with an awesome and appropriate definition:Metamorphosis. But the success of that meeting was forged in the hours before in the preparation when God, as he usually does, led me to deal with many of my own personal flaws, some of which had been resolved, and others that still remain. It was an eye opener to say the least, reminding me how far I had come, but that I still had a long way to go.
First the definition of that word: a change in the form or the nature of a thing or person into a completely different one, by natural or supernatural means. And may I add from the promises of A.A.: sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly!
The Butterfly is the perfect example of what a recovering person has to go through as is the Apostle Peter (more on him later). There are 4 stages in the process of Metamorphosis for a Butterfly to emerge: 1. Egg - in its perfect state placed on a leaf to hatch. 2. Larva - it hatches, becomes a caterpillar and virtually becomes a total consumer of whatever in can consume including the leaf it was born on. Similar to what an addict will do, consume people, places and things without any thought of hesitation.
3. Then comes the Pupa or Cocoon stage when it is sheltered into a space where virtually everything about it changes, losing tissue, limbs and organs and transforms into a perspective butterfly under construction. You can see the similarity to a recovering person who needs the shelter of the process in order to be re-constructed and to eliminate many flaws that we used to survive.
4. Then comes that wonderful moment, when the Butterfly emerges in all of it's splendor from that cocoon, but there is still one step to go before it flies away. It's wings are stuck to it from being confined, and it needs to get the blood pumping toward those wings to fly.
Peter, having proven himself as an impetuous, overreactive, stubborn, and cowardly liar (not pulling any punches here), needed something more than spending three years with Jesus to get him going in the right direction - so he found himself in that cocoon, in the upper room with all of his like minded folks, and they all got a dose of God's Holy Spirit which completely changed their lives.
God pumped his blood into them, into Peter to set him free to fly, then he went out to preach the greatest sermon not by Jesus, and his Metamorphosis was complete. He went from a man with many flaws, to a man with many less flaws.
We have that same option if we are willing to let the process work!
Glenn is an ex-Marine Viet Nam vet who is also a recovering alcoholic, clean and sober for 30 years. He has been involved in start up and ongoing recovery ministry at North Atlanta Church and Campus for the last two decades. He has a passion for outreach and to spread the message that the answer to lasting and fulfilling recovery from addiction is in a relationship with Jesus Christ. He and the ATB team are available to assist in your questions or needs on an individual basis and will do so maintaining complete confidentiality. You may e-mail him at email@example.com.