For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.
Hey there, Sole Sisters!
Before you start reading I want you to know, I’m not an eloquent writer. If that’s what you are looking for, you can go ahead and stop now; no hard feelings. I am writing this blog because the Lord has laid it on my heart to tell of His great works in my life, and it’s TERRIFYING. I’m currently letting a whole lot of people see into an area of my life that usually remains hidden and tucked away. WHY? Because I have a Savior who has REDEEMED AND RESCUED me, and I really can’t help but share His story. In 1 Timothy 1 Paul writes,
“But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief, and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life.”
My prayer is that through reading these words you would see the power of God’s grace and mercy. That through my weaknesses and my story you would see and know God more. That maybe you can relate to my struggles, my thoughts, my fears, and know that you are not alone. That you would know we have a Father who sees us where we are, who knows every part of us, and still deeply, deeply loves us. Here goes...
From the time I could walk until 6th grade, my world revolved around gymnastics. Countless hours were spent in the gym; weekends were spent at meets; punishments weren’t “no TV for a week,” but “no gymnastics practice today.” I completely found my identity in being a gymnast; therefore, when an injury forced me to quit, my world was ROCKED. I know I was only in the sixth grade, but it truly was a transformational moment in my life. I was devastated, confused, angry, and lost. Since what I’d placed my identity in was gone, I obviously had to replace it with something else. Thus began the quest that I still continue to battle today- putting my identity in what I do and not who I am- a daughter of the Most High King.
Fast forward to freshmen year of high school, which was HARD. As a people-pleasing perfectionist, I put a massive amount of pressure on myself. I desperately desired to meet everyone’s expectations, to make the best grades I could, to be a friend to everyone, to be involved in every club, to be an athlete,etc. As the pressure built, I began to crumble; but I didn’t want anyone to know I was sinking. So I put on a mask. The mask that everything was ok and I had it all together. I truly believed I couldn’t let anyone see the real me. The real me who never felt good enough for anyone, for myself, or for God.
That year I joined the cross country team and discovered I LOVED to run. I loved the freedom I felt as I ran; the rhythm of my feet hitting the ground; the wind in my hair and my face; the breath of fresh air. I really did love it all. Running was by no means a bad practice, until it became my obsession. What started off as a desire to run faster and fuel my body correctly, developed into a unhealthy controlling of what I ate, what I didn’t eat, how much I exercised, etc. While everything else in my world was chaotic, I found a sense of control (a FALSE sense) over how I treated my body.
Over the next three years, I continued to struggle with body image and fueling my body incorrectly, not seeing or paying attention to the consequences of my decisions. If you asked me how I was doing, I would have told you I was great! Happy, loving life. And I kind of believed it, but deep down I was stuck. I knew something was wrong. I was distant from everyone, in the hospital because of health issues, constantly striving, always thinking about food… but nothing was wrong, right? When I looked in the mirror, I didn't see the ghost like figure everyone else saw (now I know that to be a distorted body image), so I was fine. Even though I went to countless nutritionists, therapists, and doctors, I told myself, “I just have trouble gaining weight.” I was oblivious to the destruction I was doing to myself, no matter how many people tried to help me. And that control I thought I had, never really was there. My eating disorder had complete control over me.
But BY THE GRACE OF GOD, He rescued me from the pit of my destruction.
December 27, 2008 my parents told me they were taking me to an inpatient treatment center in Arizona. Despite my resistance, the very next day my dad and I flew out to Remuda Ranch where I would spend the next two months.
At check in, I was 5’5”, weighed 78 lbs, and had a resting heart rate of 31 bpm. I was NOT OK, but in my mind, “I wasn’t sick, and after two weeks they would send me home.” However, as my sessions started I began to see similarities between me and other girls. Same behaviors, thoughts, worries, tendencies, and like a brick, it hit me- I have an eating disorder. It was as if scales had been removed from eyes and I all the destruction, pain, and hurt the last three years had been for myself and for everyone around me sat before me. And I wanted no part of it anymore, I wanted recovery.
I specifically remember one day in chapel as we sang the song Mighty to Save, the Lord graciously reminded me of His power and sovereignty; of His love for me; of His victory over darkness. As I sang the lyrics to the song, I began to understand the magnitude of Jesus saving me out of my sin for a greater purpose than I was currently living for. It was time to surrender this struggle at the cross and let God heal my brokenness.
Now, this was not an overnight answer to my eating disorder. It wasn’t a flip of a switch and all of the sudden I was recovered and ready to go. Over the next two months at treatment, the Lord transformed my heart to desire righteousness and freedom. He transformed my heart against my natural, sinful inclinations to living out His purpose and will. Through therapy, group sessions, nutritionists, community and scripture, I was equipped with the skills and tactics to fight against the lies and temptations of my eating disorder. There were good days, and there were hard days. But throughout this time, the Lord continued to reveal to me more of who He was, and in turn I began to see my value as His daughter.
It has been over eight years since then, and I can confidently say there has been continual healing, redemption, and freedom from my eating disorder; but it has and will continue to be a battle. Even though it is no longer a stronghold in my life, everyday I must choose to replace lies with truth. Truth that I am forgiven, redeemed, and made whole in Jesus. And trust me there are times when I don’t believe truth; when I struggle with body image; when I cling to control, and I sit in fear. But I am not stuck in those lies; I am not bound by my sin.
For thus said the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel,
“In returning and rest you shall be saved;
in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.”
I still love to run. There were points in my life when I thought I would never be able to run again, but BY HIS GRACE, not by anything I did, the Lord has given me an able body to run, be active, and live. I now run, not to control how I feel or how I look, but to praise the name of the one who RESTORED my body, my mind, and my heart. I run to worship, to connect with God in prayer, to build relationships with those around me, for fun, and to share of His saving grace.
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
2 Corinthians 12:5
I am passionate about us as women finding our worth in being a child of God; not in what we do, how we look, who we think we should be, etc. but living life in the freedom and rest that we are forever His. Once again, my prayer is through this story you would see the power of God’s grace and mercy and through my weaknesses and my story you would see and know God more. That you would see His power to break every chain of sin that entangles us. That we have a Father who sees us where we are, who knows every part of us, and still deeply, deeply loves us.
“On that day it shall be said to Jerusalem: ‘Fear not, O Zion; let not your hands grow weak. The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.’”
With joy and love,