I had an eating disorder for almost a decade.
From my sophomore year of high school to the day after I graduated college, I struggled with this invisible beast. This tormenting beast that controlled my every move and thought. This silent gaping wound that was just the front to hidden insecurities and pains and hurts. This beast that encouraged lying and isolation and guarding myself from being truly known.
I grew up in a world that defined beautiful as everything I wasn’t. Beautiful was straight hair and big eyes and a tall, slender body type. I was petite and had small eyes and curly hair. In an effort to feel beautiful and overcome negative comments made my prepubescent boys, I straightened my hair, tried to use makeup to make my eyes bigger, and during the summer after my freshman year of high school, I started to control what I ate and how often and how intensely I worked out in an effort to make my body beautiful. I lost 35 pounds that summer. Amenorrhea set in and control over food and working out became an obsession, as it was a comforter to my confused mind. Little did I know, this marked the beginning of a decade long battle.
The reasons and whys that stoked the flames of my eating disorder, numbered more than self image. This beast was rooted in not knowing and claiming my own identity. This not knowing who I was or my role to play, and lack of appreciation for my own strengths and personality, spewed hot coals on a need and desire for control.
I grew up in a beautiful home and had a picturesque childhood. My parents loved us well. They valued us each, declared and treasured our personalities. Encouraged us and told us we were beautiful. But the world is brutal and can scratch and shred truths that have been hidden within our hearts.
I never doubted my identity in Christ. He has always been a friend to me. Even in my darkest moments, I felt the warmth of His presence. I have always known Him and have known I belonged to him and in his fold. My struggle within that decade long battle was accepting how the world viewed me. How others viewed me, being greeted with acceptance or lack there of.
I want to raise my boys to cherish and love and see the spirit and heart a person embodies. I want them to be men who see people. Men who look within, appreciate and value different personalities. And I want them to be men that don’t assume they know and understand someone, without taking time to listen and hear their story.
I know this starts with my own self. How I view and value and cherish who the Lord made me to be. And though I ended my battle with an eating disorder long ago, I still have those little battles, thrown in the chaos of every day life, of claiming and loving and valuing who I am and what I bring to this world.
If this is you, keep fighting the lies and winning the small battles of overcoming those lies the world tells you.
Take comfort in knowing there is One who sees you, and knows the deepest parts of your heart.
He made you and has declared you are a good and beautiful work.
He knows your story. Your personality. Your family system. Your wounds. Your insecurities.
You are loved.
And my biggest and loudest prayer is that someone would be the tangible embodiment of this intense and timeless and powerful love to you.
That this love of Jesus would speak to and echo within your own heart, more loudly than any lie.
I pray that this would be the foundation upon which you share your gifts, personality, talents, and story with the world.
And in return, may you, may we, love well.
“Thereafter, Hagar used another name to refer to the Lord, who had spoken to her. She said, ‘You are the God who sees me’. She also said, ‘Have I truly seen the One who sees me?’.”