Kris Mares

Just a woman trying to love Jesus and others a little bit more…

Dear Celebrate Recovery family, September 26, 2010

Dear Celebrate Recovery family,

Today, you celebrate your one-year anniversary of ministry in the community. I just wanted to take a moment and thank you for all you have, and will continue to mean to me. While I realize that I’m no longer an active part of worship and ministry with you, Celebrate Recovery will ALWAYS hold a very special place in my heart.

No, I don’t suffer from what the world thinks of as a typical “addiction.” I’ve never done drugs, I no longer drink alcohol, nor was I ever an alcoholic. I’ve tried a cigarette or two and felt like my lungs were going to explode, so that wasn’t something I struggled with either. I don’t have a close family member that is entrenched in an addiction that adversely affects my life. I struggle with a sin that is much more insidious – and common place – that many realize. My addiction is my pride.

When I began in the Celebrate Recovery ministry, I was hurting more than many of you will know. I worked in ministry at the church. I stood up in front of two worship services every Sunday and helped “guide” worship, share announcements and even taught kids. I taught 3-4 lessons a week and I was hurting. I didn’t trust people around me. I was burnt out. I was struggling to hear God. I was yelling at my kids, my family. I was not the model of Christianity that I “should have been.” And my pride kept me continuing in that charade. Sunday morning worship was work and no longer a place to connect with and love on God.

And there I was, beginning a process to put me in leadership for a ministry that was supposed to help hurting people.
As I began to work the 12 steps, God began His work in me. Slowly, I was able to let go of the hurt that people had caused within me. I was able to forgive and let go. I was able to see that, flawed as I am, God loves me and can use me still. I don’t have to be perfect to be liked, loved and used by God. I am not God – He is the I AM – and my prideful perfection only serves to push others away from a God that loves and finds us beautiful messes.

I was also able to begin to find contentment in a life that I thought I deserved more of. I began to trust that even though I, the one who loves to make masterful plans, do not see what the future holds, the Master Planner sees, designs, plans and understands so that I don’t have to. When I realized that, the weight that was lifted off my shoulders and spirit was huge. I don’t have to have it all under control. God’s got it all.

At this point in my life, I’ve dealt with more uncertainty in the last 10 months, than I think I have in my whole life. And while I’ve had moments where I have held on tight to my way, for the most part, I have found an inner peace and contentment that I know is only from God’s Spirit at work in my heart. It comes from the love and acceptance that you all have shown me as I allowed my life to unravel in front of you. As I removed my masks of pride and perfection, you became the hands, feet and heart of Jesus to me.

Most of all, you have helped me to get back to the heart of worship. As the song goes:

               I’m coming back to the heart of worship
               And it’s all about You,
               It’s all about You, Jesus
               I’m sorry, Lord, for the thing I’ve made it
               When it’s all about You,
               It’s all about You, Jesus

Through Celebrate Recovery, worship once again became about loving on God – not “performing” well so that others could “have good worship.” It’s your raw, open, eager, loving spirits that helped me get back to that. Seeing people awash in the Holy Spirit, simply because they love Jesus, has been so healing for my heart. I longed for what I saw in so many of your faces. Yes me, the one who “worked in ministry” was envious of you.

So, on today, when you all Celebrate Recovery, know that I celebrate with you. I also thank you. Thank you for helping me heal. Thank you for bringing me hope. Thank you for welcoming me into a family of Jesus lovers that could accept that I was not good at everything. Thank you for allowing me to not be perfect. And yet I know, that as much as I thank you, what is beautiful is that you don’t even keep the thanks. You are in turn, thanking and praising God for the work that He is doing.

Praise God for this Celebrate Recovery ministry, the leaders He raises up, the lives He changes and the hearts that are forever different because of Jesus Christ. May you continue to head God’s call, submit to the promptings of the Holy Spirit and be the hands and feet of the Jesus we love so much.



Victory in Jesus May 2, 2010

Tonight, in Celebrate Recovery, we learned about Victory.  We looked at steps 6 and 7.

Voluntarily submit to any and all changes God wants to make in my life and humbly ask Him to remove my character defects. (Steps 6 and 7)

“Happy are those whose greatest desire is to do what God requires”

I’ve worked these steps.  I’m not “done” working them.  I have to choose each day to submit myself to the Will of God.  God is constantly wanting to change us – to mold us – into a being more and more like Jesus.  I have to be willing to be changed.

That’s hard for a stubborn, hard-headed, prideful woman like myself.  I say that because “I’m not wrong, you are.  I don’t need to change.  You do.”  That was me.  I’m still stubborn, hard-headed and prideful.  Now I realize that those are pieces of my that God is wanting to change.  I have to be willing to give all of that to God though.  What I can’t understand is why I want to keep holding on to that?

Tonight, the praise band sang the Casting Crowns song “Voice of Truth.”  The chorus says:

But the Voice of truth tells me a different story
the Voice of truth says “do not be afraid!”
and the Voice of truth says “this is for My glory”
Out of all the voices calling out to me
I will choose to listen and believe the Voice of truth

Right now, my family is getting ready to embark on a new adventure – and I’m afraid.  I don’t know what will happen, what life will be like and I have little to no control.  (Have I mentioned that I tend to be a control freak?).  And yes, I’m afraid. 

I guess that’s why I keep holding onto that other stuff.  If I let go, what’s left?  What will be left of me if I’m not all of those other things?  I suppose that’s the point isn’t it?  To have nothing of “me” left so that all there is, is Jesus.

That’s what the Victory lesson is really about.  As I think about it, our Sunday morning sermon was about the same thing really, leaving all we know behind for Jesus.  When we lose ourselves – OUR desires, OUR ways of doing things, OUR money, OUR strength, OUR… – we are open and able to fully receive what Jesus has to offer.

What Jesus has to offer is victory – a victory over life that is bigger than anything we could ever do.  And my stupid fear is standing in the way. 

So today, I choose to listen to the Voice of Truth.  I will NOT be afraid of what is to come, because I know that it is for God’s glory, so that He can do great things in my family’s life and use us to glorify Him to others.  When my Jesus was nailed to the cross, my fear was nailed to the cross with him.  And when Jesus conquered death, he gave me victory too.


Step 4… Again January 18, 2010

Filed under: Me — Kris @ 11:32 am
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This past summer I wrote a post about working through Celebrate Recovery Step 4 and my feelings about my husband’s career.  I thought I’d worked through things and was on my way to living life without resentment toward the auto racing industry.  Well, 1 Corinthians 10:12 says “If you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall.”  That’s right, I fell.

I’ve enjoyed the break between the racing seasons.  And with the exception of a short testing trip to Daytona, Racer (my hubby) has been home.  I’ve enjoyed having him home every night.  I’ve enjoyed being able to do things together as a family.  I’ve enjoyed his presence.  Now as the start of a new racing season approaches, I’m dreading it.  That, topped with changes that will be coming in our family because of changes in Racer’s employment, has me flipping out.  I’d been trying to hold it in, but I lost it this weekend.  I had a meltdown and it wasn’t pretty.  I hate not knowing what the future holds.  But again, I have to remind my self that “God is doing something.” 

Yes, God is doing something and I know our family’s connection to racing has something to do with that.  Racing is not the enemy.  So I pray that God shows me how Racer’s passion and the desires of my heart for our family fit together.  I realize that auto racing has provided for our family.  I realize that it has given Racer the opportunity to be a light in an industry, in a community, that can be pretty dark at times.  I know these things in my head, but why does my heart hurt when I think about him being gone again?

So, as the countdown to Daytona has begun, and changes are on the horizon, I pray that Jesus helps me keep my perspective on the eternal things of life.  For when we focus on God’s blessings, His Word and the love that abounds in Him, we are more likely to be “reasonably happy in this life.”

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
Forever in the next.

–Reinhold Niebuhr


Racing Widow and Step 4 June 20, 2009

Filed under: Me — Kris @ 10:54 pm
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My name is Kris, I am a believer in Jesus Christ and I am a Racing Widow.  Let me explain.

As a part of my personal spiritual growth, and in order to better understand how to minister to children of people with addictions, I am working through Celebrate Recovery.  It’s a 12-step ministry focused on Jesus Christ as the Higher Power and the Beatitudes.  I’ve been working on the fourth step – creating an inventory of all the significant events in my life and how they’ve affected me.  There is a guidline with questions to help get people started in how to go about thinking about everything and begin to wrap your brain around it and get it on paper. 

The first question is “Who is the object of my resentment or fear?”  As I was going through my life thinking and writing I moved into the more recent past.  I got to not a “who” but a “what” instead.  That “what” is racing.  You see, my husband works in the auto racing industry.  He builds race cars, goes to the races, goes through tech inspection (makes changes and goes through again) and then changes tires during the race.  He gets paid to do something he loves.  Then, when he’s home, he’s watching racing or reading the racing “gossip” sites and other various articles.  He’s living his passion – and I resent it. 

Please don’t misunderstand, I don’t resent that he is living his passions.  I think it’s a beautiful example for our children of how God can give us paid work doing what we love and an opportunity to be a Christian example to others.  What I resent is the racing.  Let me explain by sharing what I wrote…

1.  The Person; Who/What is the object of my resentment or fear?  Racing

2.  The Cause; What specific action did that person take that hurt me?  It takes my husband away when I want and need him with me.

3.  The Effect; What effect did that action have on my life?  I “single parent” it a lot, I have to rely on myself and keep the “superwoman” facade up – it’s exhausting

4.  The Damage; What damage did that action do to my basic social, security, and/or sexual instincts?  I worry about his safety and the “what if” of family security if he got seriously hurt or killed, we don’t get enough date nights, we don’t get many opportunities to go out with other adult friends to build those relationships

5.  My Part; What part of the resentment am I responsible for?  I don’t control his schedule or career choice- I did CHOOSE to marry the man with the career choice; Who are the people I have hurt?  Bill;  How have I hurt them?  I’ve been inconsiderate, mean, hurtful, manipulative, rude and crass.  I have NOT submitted to the authority of my husband.

So that’s a peek into my Celebrate Recovery 4th step.  I say I’m a racing widow (and I know there are lots of us out there) because in many ways, each time my hubby leaves, I mourn the loss of him.  I won’t go into the whole ugly cycle that I’m working on breaking but what is basically boils down to is fear.  I’m afraid that he’ll get hurt or worse.  I’m afraid that in this economy the team will shut down.  I’m afraid that the the multitude of temptations that there are on when he’s on the road will eventually be too strong for him to fight off.  I’m afraid he likes the race track better than me. 

As you can imagine, there is sometimes conflict over racing in our house.  I was asked recently why I appear to be handling this racing season better than the last.  My answer was that I realized that I can’t control it.  Realizing that you have no control is a bit liberating.  Here’s another little secret.  I stopped asking God to change my husband’s career and started asking God to change my attitude.  That is what has made the difference. 

I asked hubby the other day what I could be doing for him to make his job easier.  I didn’t really get an answer, however I think that the simple fact that I asked was powerful.  I can’t control what my husband chooses for a career.  I can’t control how late his boss makes him work.  I can’t control the rain that delays the race by a day (or two) and keeps hubby away even longer.  I can, however, make our home a place that he longs to be.  I can help him pack and unpack and pack and unpack and…  I can ask God to place a bubble of protection around him – physical protection and spiritual protection.  I can honor and love and cherish him as I promised.  I can respect him as the head of our family – the place of honor that God has given him.

My name is Kris, I am a believer in Jesus Christ and I am a Racing Widow.

Ephesians 5:21-24  Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.  Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord.  For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior.  Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.


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