He Makes All Things New – Gracie Faith

My eating disorder is a secret no one knows but my family. I have been too embarrassed and ashamed to share it with anyone. Now I know sharing with others is a part of the healing process and we cannot be afraid of other people’s reactions. God knows our hearts and that is the only thing that matters.  Losing my dad in the first week of high school and not coming to terms with it made gain 30 pounds in the course of 6 months. Instead of dealing with the pain of losing my dad-, I did what I know to do best. I pretending like it never happened.  I never spoke of him and I did mention him- I would make a joke. I internalized my pain with food- it was my comfort and my obsession. When I first started to notice that my clothes no longer fit- I wanted to change that. I read every diet book and magazine out there. I bought all the exercise DVDs out there. Tae bo was the exercise fad at the time and I thought it was the answer to obtaining a fit body.  I tried and failed at every crash diet and I carried the extra weight well into the sophomore year of undergrad.  I was miserable and extremely obsessed with food and weight- it is all I thought about. It was the beginning of a torturous relationship with food.

In the summer of 2005, I was determined to change that.  I wanted to go into my Junior year of college super thin and I would do anything and everything to obtain that.  I started with cutting out all soda and juices. Then breakfast and snacking between meals.  I would walk for exercise because I was never athletic.  The weight was coming off fast and people’s comments about my weight loss fueled my fire.  I started counting calories- I limited them to about 900 calories a day. I don’t know how I kept up that up for the last two years of college, but I did.  My social life became non-existent. I was afraid to go everywhere because I wasn’t sure of how many calories would be in the food that would be served at the social gatherings or restaurants and if those events fell out of my eating schedule- I panicked. By God’s grace, I still managed to graduate college with honors- I still don’t know how I made it. My mind was tortured itself 24/7.   I was down to about 110 pounds, lost my period and I was growing hair all over my body. I come to know now, that it was my body’s way of protecting itself when it’s malnourished.  I would walk for 2 hours a day and drink black coffee to curb my appetite.  My family and friends were very concerned, heck, I was concerned, but I didn’t know how to crawl out of it.  My relationship with God suffered the most- I was saved at the time, but the voice of my eating disorder was louder than God.  I still served in church, read the bible and prayed, but God was so far away from me.

In 2008, I started bingeing because my body could not take the starvation anymore. I put on a lot of weight fast.  Of course, people started commenting on my weight gain. It left me crushed and I was determined to learn how to have a relationship with food and be at a healthy weight.  Again, I did not know how and I was too proud to get help. I thought there was nobody who would be able to help me with what I was going through and I felt isolated and strange.  I remained at this new weight for the next years until 2014, but I was living in torture. I was always confused with what to eat, how much to eat, and I avoided a laundry list of foods pretending that I didn’t like them just so I didn’t have to eat them. That backfired even more because the more you restrict, the more you binge.  2011 was my worst year in my eating disorder. I avoided all foods and then I would crash and binge on them. I was scared and alone. Slowly in 2012 I started reintroducing foods into my diet, I was tired of being scared, but I still had some ways to go. I was still obsessing and confused, but I was willing to take more chances. I prayed more earnestly, I sought God every morning and night, praying for healing. I still felt like he wasn’t there.  The following year I got reconnected with friends and made new ones: I also became a vegetarian because I never really liked the taste of meat. Thank God going vegetarian was never a decision based on weight loss- it was something I was passionate about, but little did I know, you could still unhealthy as a vegetarian.

In 2014 I reached my breaking point. I broke down.  Thoughts of food kept me up at night. I was always confused with what to eat and it tortured me- I was switching foods around and trying new things, but it consumed my mind and left me in a state of panic.  At that time, I also doubted my salvation. I went for a week without sleeping and it sent me to the hospital. I knew I needed help there- I was crying to God on the floor of the hospital to rescue me from the pit I was in. My sleep needed mending, my relationship with food-needed mending. Most of all, my relationship with Christ needed the most mending.  I took some time off work and I spent my days sobbing for no reason. My friends came to see me, but I never fully let them into my world. I was too ashamed.  My mom pushed me to get professional help and I thank her so much for it. God put someone in my life who knew what I was going through and I finally felt understood. Now, I had sleep to add to my list of problems, but this time I was willing to open up and let people and God in.

I felt the weight of my eating disorder finally lifted in a small group at my church. I was sharing what was going on in my week and then I just started sharing my experience. I sobbed like a baby, but I felt free. I went home with a lot of clarity and soon I felt God more nearer to me than ever.  Out of nowhere, I was no longer confused as I was before about food. I exercised in a healthy way that I loved and a beautiful friend prophesied to me that I am did God’s daughter. Which surprised me because she knew nothing about my struggle.

Today, I am new. I feel God’s presence more than ever. I can hear Him clearly speak to me more than I ever could before. Sometimes it is not instant, but I know the answer will come.  His deepest desire is for us to be one with Him. I still have my moments with food and weight, but I am not the person I was twelve years ago. I eat to nourish my body and no food is off limits. I just balance healthy food with indulgences. It is so freeing to live that way.  My sleep is still a work in progress, but I know healing for that will come with time.  If not, I will be healed in Heaven.  God works everything for our good and He makes all things new.

Gracie-Faith

When Your Leap of Faith Leaves You Shattered – Mikkee Hall

The old Road Runner and Wile E. Coyote cartoons always left me with mixed emotions. I never wanted Road Runner to be eaten, but I held a sneaking sympathy for all the splats Wile E. endured on his quest to fulfill his dream of a good dinner. All those fruitless leaps of faith. How did he keep going when his dream never came true?

Surely that would never happen to me. If I worked hard and had worthy dreams, God would honor all my leaps . . . right?

I recently celebrated 40. I’ve splatted a few times along the way. I expect a few more will happen before I bid this world goodbye. At 13, I knew I’d have it all figured out by now. My life was carefully planned out. I knew what I was doing, who I’d marry, where I’d live, and how many kids would come with it all. I also thought I’d knew who I would be through it all and that my faith in God would never falter.

My mom’s garage holds a few boxes of my dreams. The journals and diaries I filled with all my hopes and dreams and plans for the future. I knew it all then. I had no doubts. I needed to know and believe I had control and that my dreams would come true.

But we all come to moments of failure, where it seemed our leap of faith ended in our shame.

Several years ago, it was time for a job change. After praying and talking to wise friends, I decided to look for a job in New York or Washington DC. I wanted a new experience. All the doors opened up, all my prayers were answered, and I felt peace with my new move to DC.

I was living in DC pursuing my dream. But my long-cherished dream left me feeling empty.

Suddenly, it all turned upside down. I had resigned from my job after only eight weeks. I was in a brand new city with no job in the middle of one of our country’s worst recession. My friends and family were hundreds and thousands of miles away. I was on my own.

The shame overwhelmed me as I sobbed out my failure in the shower. My dream and my faith seemed shattered. I felt utterly alone. How did I miss the warning signs of an unhealthy situation?

My leap of faith left me splattered at the bottom of the cliff, but I didn’t have the bounce that Wile E. Coyote always did. Worse than leaving my job or what people would think of me, how could I have missed the Lord’s voice as I made such a life-changing move? I berated myself despite how carefully I sought God before I even began to job search, let alone interview, and make plans for a big move.

One of the hardest (and best) things about each year of life is the recognition I really don’t know much of anything. Not even myself. I am this constantly changing mystery. And the God I know is far more mysterious and unknown and close and knowable than I could fathom at 13.

I didn’t miss God’s voice. He didn’t let me go when I made this leap of faith. The acts God calls me to don’t guarantee my success. I really want a guarantee and a strong return policy.

There have been times where my leaps of faith have been wildly successful. More often they come with mixed results.

 “We grow spiritually much more by doing it wrong than by doing it right.” Richard Rohr, Falling Upward

My biggest perceived failures draw me closest to Christ. They have been the best teachers. When thrust into unemployment in DC, after a soul-shaking experience, I was forced to draw deep into myself and cling more tightly to God.

And I learned some new things for the next splat I face.

  1. I can do this hard thing with grace.
  2. Hard things have an expiration date.
  3. I don’t control most things in life, but I do control how I respond to them.
  4. God shows up in my failure. I remember more how much I need him.
  5. There was redemption in the difficulty and pain.
  6. My season in DC laid the foundation for my next leap of faith and step on my journey.

It always feels easier to choose what is safe. But the rewards for our souls are minimal. Whatever the leap of faith you contemplate – relational, seeing a counselor for past wounds, new job, going back to school, new move – whatever your new beginning, consider the cost, but don’t be afraid of the splatting along the way.

Bio:

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Mikkee Hall is a freelance writer and editor who enjoys the nearby mountains from her Denver, CO, home. Like every good editor and writer, she usually has her nose in a book. Mikkee also loves snowshoeing, running and hiking to balance out her baking addiction. Follow along at MikkeeHall.com.