...and I beat eating disorder's butt.
I've been wanting to tell my story for some time now. I've always believed putting a story or testimony in writing is one of the most powerful statements of confidence. Because, let's face it - when you put something out there on the internet, it is out there for good. That takes some genuine guts to be vulnerable for anyone on earth (and aliens, too, if you're into that sorta thing) to see and judge.
But that's that beauty of having your confidence rooted in Jesus.
So here I am!
Disclaimer: Sisters and brothers, if you are currently battling an eating disorder, I urge you to proceed with caution and guard your sensitive soul. I pray that nothing I say triggers bad thoughts or memories, but if you know that you are easily triggered, I encourage you to pray long and hard about reading this or bookmark this link to read at a later date. Trust me, I have been there and I know. Please do not compare my recovery to your recovery - this is the story God has written for me; God is writing a unique story for you that will most likely look much different than mine. Lastly, I am not an eating disorder or physiological disorder expert and everything I am telling you are personal experiences of my own.
Anorexia. Exercise Addiction. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Depression. That was who I was. I was a walking, breathing shadow of a girl named Dolce who was once full of life and innocent joy.
I was never far from a mirror or scale, checking my thigh gap progress and making sure I didn't exceed a very specific weight. My days were filled with miserable hours of calculating and recalculating calories to hit my goal calorie intake on the dot. I lived in my room and often times found myself curled up in a ball on my bedroom floor, wondering if life was worth living.
All I wanted was for someone to hold me in their arms and carry me out of the pit.
You see, the dark pit of hell-on-earth had a gravitational pull that I would succumb to over and over. On my own I was powerless - physically and mentally. My brain was so starved of nutrients that I was blinded to my grim reality.
An eating disorder is so much more than a lack of willingness to eat and a fear to gain weight. It is an addiction. It is a drug. It is a comfort blanket. It was the only stable thing (so I thought) in my life. The only thing within my control. I would argue that 90% of recovery is mental, if not even more.
Junior year of high school was my low point. It was also the year that God sent an angel to me and took me firmly by the hand.
At the worst of my worst, my former speech teacher - who also happened to be a strong woman of God and one of the reasons I sought out a relationship with Jesus - came to me when I needed it most. She looked me in the eyes, as if she could see into my weary soul, and just knew. She expressed deep concern, a look I had never received from someone other than my parents. She told me I did not look well. I don't remember exactly what I said to her in return, but afterwards I ran to the girls' bathroom, looked myself dead in the eyes in the mirror and wept. I just, wept.
For the first time in my life, I recognized I needed help. I was sick. I wasn't Dolce. I was a shell of what she once was. I didn't know if I could find her again, but I was determined try.
Over the next several years, it was a roller coaster of tears and victories. Two steps forward, one step back. Breaking toxic habits and creating life-giving ones. Finally breaking up with "ED" (he's a horrible boyfriend, by the way) and finding Jesus.
I thank Jesus for the people he strategically planted in my life to literally pull me out of that scary pit. Each one played a role in grabbing my hand and giving all they had to fight off the devil who had his firm grip on my soul when I was too ill to do so myself. Without them, I can't even fathom where I would be.
Sure, I recovered my failing health. But the true root of my recovery was and still is the redeeming love of our Heavenly Father. Just eating more doesn't cut it, sisters and brothers, true healing comes from God alone. I was introduced to Him in a way I had never been before. I began to understand that I was quite literally made in the image of the Creator of the Universe. Like, WHAT? That is unfathomably amazing! He knows the very number of the hairs on my head. He loves me too much to leave me where I am. His plans are for my good and for His glory. It wasn't until I met Jesus face-to-face that I was not only healed, but accepted the healing.
Hitting "Publish" on this post is not something that makes me feel giddy and rainbow-y inside. In fact, I have a funny feeling in my stomach from the anxiety. It's scary, I have to admit.
So why do I tell you my story? Why risk the judgement? Why risk people I personally know seeing me differently?
If you remember just two things from this message, it is this:
God doesn't waste any hurt.
You are never too far gone.
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. - James 1: 2-3 ESV -
This is what drove me to start this blog. I believe things God has taught me and trials I have gone through are way too valuable to hide from the light for all to see.
I know full well that I am not the only woman who has gone through eating disorders, body image, destructive behaviors, depression, lust, perfectionism, heartbreak, betrayal, and so on. I want to bring these things to the light. I want to be able to share my redemption stories as testimonies that God is ALIVE and He is the only reason that my soul continues to thrive amidst the trials, as well as share my struggles to show you that you are not alone in this.
And YOU can do this too!
First and foremost, find a mentor and/or a solid group of women who genuinely care about you and who will walk with you hand-in-hand down your road of redemption and freedom. Secondly, I created a forum called "Share Your Story". I would love nothing more than to make it a safe place for girls to come and share their struggles, seek out accountability, and be reminded of Truth. You can find it here.
For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord. ... But everything exposed by the light becomes visible—and everything that is illuminated becomes a light. This is why it is said:
“Wake up, sleeper,
rise from the dead,
and Christ will shine on you.”
- Ephesians 5: 8-10 & 13-14 NIV -