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  • Charlene Stevens Jenkins

Person choosing the path of faith
Making faith turns is not always easy, but worth it

Welcome! I’m a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with the Veterans Health Administration. I also volunteer as the Celebrate Recovery Ministry Leader at Live Oak Church in Hinesville GA. If you’ve been keeping up with my blogs, you know I’ve been writing a lot about Celebrate Recovery (CR). Why? Because I know people find freedom from hurts, habits and hang ups in CR, and I love sharing that news! CR is a Christ-centered 12-Step Program that is changing lives all over the world.

We're into the fourth month of 2024, and our recent CR lessons are life-changing! In March, two of our CR leaders taught Lessons 5 - Turn and Lesson 6 - Action. We covered Principle 3: "Consciously choose to commit all my life and will to Christ’s care and control. “Happy are the meek.” (Matthew 5:5); and Step 3: We made a decision to turn our lives and our wills over to the care of God. “Therefore I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God-this is your true and proper worship.” (Romans 12:1).

CR taught me that turning my life over to Jesus was a once-in-a-lifetime commitment. And I made that conscious decision when I was 13; however, turning my will over to Him requires a daily recommitment. That’s not to say, it doesn’t "take" the first time; it means we make life choices every day based on the principles of Christ, and I desire to live an abundant life in Him. As CR emphasizes, we have to make a decision to walk in alignment with the Spirit of the LORD every day. I’m walking out this intention one day at a time with the frame of mind to follow Christ. Every decision and every choice to live fully is what I call a faith turn!

Are you ready to base every decision and every choice on pleasing God? Do you feel stuck in a cycle of self sabotage, sin, and trauma and you really don’t know what to do next? The first step in stopping the cycle is to choose to follow Jesus’ principles for living. Recognize your need to be saved by believing in and accepting Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross. If you and I could have lived “good enough” to save ourselves, there would have been no need for Jesus to die. All of us have sinned and fallen short, as written in Romans 3:23. Since nothing but the shedding of His blood could wash us and make us clean, all you and I have to do is believe. That’s what the CR Action lesson is all about: Believing that Jesus died on the cross and rose again and accepting God’s free forgiveness.

I invite you to make a faith turn today and choose Jesus as your Lord and Savior. This is the best decision of your life! You can pray right now where you are. God is waiting to hear from you. This is not a religion but a relationship with God. You should then start gathering with other believers to study the Word and grow your faith. Start making faith turns everyday.

If you have any questions, reach out. Let’s communicate. I’m here to encourage, inspire and motivate. I’m praying for you.

If you’re new, thank you for stopping in and checking out my blog. All others can be found at

To learn more about CR, visit and select Locator to find a group near you. Locals can join us Mondays, 7-9 pm at 296 Live Oak Church Road, Hinesville GA. We look forward to seeing you!

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  • Charlene Stevens Jenkins

I am so glad you're here. In case you're joining me for the first time, let me introduce myself. I'm a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with the Veterans Health Administration and I'm the Celebrate Recovery (CR) Ministry Leader at Live Oak Church in Hinesville, GA. Did you know that CR is a Christ-centered recovery program? People are surprised to hear that they can receive help and support while overcoming any hurt, habit or hang up. And by the way, it’s not just for people struggling with drugs or alcohol---but for anyone struggling.

In February, two of our leaders taught the CR Lessons 3: Hope, and 4: Sanity. We covered Principle 2, Earnestly believe that God exists, that I matter to Him, and that He has the power to help me recover. “Happy are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” (Matthew 5:4); and Step 2, We came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity. “For it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.” (Philippians 2:13).

So, when was the last time you felt hopeless or felt like you needed to be restored to sanity? If we're honest, it could have been quite recent…or maybe that’s the current status. Feeling like there is no hope or like I need a restoration to order (mentally, emotionally…) should only be temporary and not permanent. Why? Because John 10:10 states, “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come, that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” At CR, our Higher Power is Jesus and these are His words. There’s nothing too hard for Him to do. Whenever I encounter difficult situations, I have to remind myself to walk by faith and not by sight. My hope is in Jesus and I want others to see that I am living in that hope.

At CR, we begin each group and step study meetings with songs of worship. Why? The worship time is one component that sets us apart from other 12-Step programs. Worship helps us take our focus off our problems and focus on THE problem solver. Whatever I focus on more becomes magnified in my life. The more I focus on my issues, the bigger they seem and the bigger they appear. However, when I focus more on what the Bible says, I will find myself more hopeful and in my right mind. I will also be an example to others I meet.

That's it for this month, but if you want to learn more about CR or you just need to come and see for yourself, visit and select Locator to find a group near you. If you’re in the area, we meet at 296 Live Oak Church Rd, Hinesville GA, 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm on Mondays. We'd love to have you!

If you have any questions, reach out. Let’s communicate. I’m here to encourage, inspire and motivate. Praying for you 🙏🏽

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  • Charlene Stevens Jenkins

Masks of denial stifle our true selves
Masks of Denial

This month's blog is about denial. Celebrate Recovery (CR) provides a pathway to find our true selves, release unhealthy habits, and live more fully.

Celebrate Recovery (CR) starts each new year with Principle 1 and Step 1. CR is a Christ-centered 12 Step program with 8 Recovery Principles taken from the Beatitudes in the Book of Matthew. Author Nicky Gumble called them “beautiful attitudes.”


I taught Lesson 1, Denial.  I reminded myself of the definition of the word by searching an online dictionary, which defined ‘denial’ as a ‘type of defense mechanism that involves ignoring the reality of a situation to avoid anxiety.’ I might add that trying to avoid anxiety started with the first humans. After Adam and Eve disobeyed God, they attempted to hide themselves from God. They knew God was always present in the garden but somehow thought that they could hide from Him. They heard God ‘approaching’ them and hid.

Genesis 2:18-4:16 gives us the front row seat to glimpse what happened.

Denial is a form of hiding our true selves. That’s what denial will do. During the presentation of Lesson 1, I asked the group to reflect on their childhood. When you misbehaved or were disobedient, did you go tell on yourselves? I asked them. Did you go tell an adult, “I

just want to let you know I did something you told me not to do?” Though there was what seemed like a brief reflection, not one of our CR participants acknowledged having been that kind of kid to confess a wrongdoing immediately----or even at all!

If you’ve ever watched a group of children and something happens, you will notice that those who are guilty very rarely tell on themselves, unless they’re asked. Even then, they may not tell the truth or may blame someone else like Adam and Eve did. Many times, we don’t want to tell the truth either. We choose to remain in denial and do things to repress our feelings and freeze our emotions. Those are some of the habits CR helps us to overcome.

Very often we are not even aware of our denial until…

Is it possible to live in denial? Can a person just wear a mask forever? The answer

is yes. I used to wear a mask until I realized it.


This leads to Principle 1: Realize I’m not God; I admit I am powerless to control my tendency to do the wrong thing and that my life is unmanageable. Step 1: We admitted we were powerless over our addictions and compulsive behaviors, that our lives had become unmanageable. People who choose to remain in denial, repress their feelings, wear masks, and freeze their emotions end up finding that their lives become unmanageable.


Another leader taught Lesson 2 Powerless, and next month, we will move into Principle

2 and Step 2. However, before we can really move forward, we have to step out of


Genesis 4 describes how Cain had a chance to come clean. God saw that Cain was upset and inquired. “What’s wrong with you? What’s the matter? What’s going on?"

I paraphrased it. Honestly, I've been asked these questions and I’ve asked other people the same questions in an effort to help. But the most popular responses are, “I’m all right. I’m blessed and highly favored. I’m good.” While these are positive responses, sometimes they are given to cover or avoid a deeper discussion about what’s beneath the surface.

I am learning how to be honest. I don’t ever want to pretend that everything is all right when it’s not. The next time someone asks you those questions, especially if you know they are genuinely concerned, take off the mask. If you’re having trouble taking off masks, then I invite you to Celebrate Recovery where you will discover how to.


The week after I taught the CR Denial Lesson, I shared a very transparent testimony. I gave my life to Jesus almost 42 years ago, and every now and then I still struggle with completely trusting God. When I had my mammogram earlier this month, I told the nurse that I’d been having pain underneath my right arm. I thought about how lymph nodes were removed from under my left arm and the lumpectomy that I had in January 2014. Although they saw nothing on the 3-D mammogram, I insisted on having the ultrasound. As I lay there waiting, I found myself speaking healing scriptures over myself. The test found nothing, praise God! Well, guess what happened 15 days prior to this appointment? I had left carpal tunnel

surgery and was using my right arm and hand to do EVERYTHING. No wonder I was

having the discomfort! I had to share that because I refuse to wear a mask again. No

matter how long we are Christians, we will face challenges until we get to heaven. God

brought me through once again and on January 31, I will be 10 years cancer free!!!!!! I

can’t even verbalize how grateful I am. I’m speechless with tears of joy. I KNOW

without a doubt that I’m doing what God has called me to do.


Earlier this month, our Live Oak Church CR celebrated 7 years!!! We held our first large group meeting in January 2017. I’m the ministry leader with such dedicated leaders and volunteers to help keep the doors open. The same way God is helping all of us work through our issues, He wants to help you too. Why not join us on Monday from 7 am -9 pm? We’re at 296 Live Oak Church Rd, Hinesville GA.

To find a meeting near you, go to and use the

Locator. If you have any questions, reach out. Let’s communicate. I’m here to inspire,

encourage, and motivate. I’m praying for you.

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