The Story Between the Before and After

Eating disorders, something that so many don’t like to talk about. Yet, we live in a world that is consumed by body image, the want to be thin and the ideal of living up to what the media perceives as beautiful. We see before and after pictures and we don’t see the story in-between. This is my story.

During

Before

Since I was a child, my weight has always defined me. I remember in kindergarten, not being able to play on the playground with my peers, or being picked last in gym class. I was not like my peers, a theme that continued until I was 18 years old. My freshman year of college, at the age of 18 I set out to loose weight, primarily to gain the love and acceptance from someone other than myself. I was absorbed in the desire to live my life to please someone else and to fill a void that I had lived with all of my life. I used food to fill my sense of aloneness from my peers, rejection from men and to hide the reality of my childhood. In 1 year, I lost 105 pounds and ran 2 half marathons but I was still searching for more. You see, I thought loosing weight would be the cure to my problems; rather I struggled more than I imagined.

Today, I look back at the past 4 years in particular and praise God for saving me. What you may not know is that for 2.5 years I fought bulimia, an eating disorder that went unnoticed. I looked the same and I knew ways to hide my disorder. Bulimia controlled my life and what I did. I was spending countless dollars on food, to only binge and get rid of it. It was one of the things in my life that I had full control over. I was simply just living, living to be thin and to be accepted by others. I was so busy destroying myself to even think of Christ’s love letter to me.

I realized that God didn’t need to create me, but He chose to create me for His own enjoyment. Yet I was ruining the body he so beautifully created. I would work out extensively, eat large meals and only end up in the bathroom, unable to swallow for days or even sip water. Throat raw. I was killing myself. As I lay on the bathroom floor crying, praying that the Lord would free me. Free me from the pain and quickly 1 Corinthians 3:16-17 came to mind and I knew I had to fight. Fight for the life that was given to me.

 Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him; for God’s temple is sacred, and you are that temple (1 Corinthians 3:16- 17)

Friends, when we surrender our bodies to Christ, knowing that they are not our own, we can enter into a light of truth in which He has called us and leave the dark and the need for control. Eating disorders are a lie of Satan. He does not want us to believe that we are “fearfully and wonderfully made,” that our worth is in Jesus Christ, rather he wants us to believe that our worth is in the number on the scale or the size of our waists. Emily T, Wierenga wrote it well: “I know, it’s not easy: when the world tells you that you are what you eat, or what you weigh, or that you’re only as good as your calorie count or the number of followers on social media. The world weighs with numbers; the Lord weighs with grace, and you owe him nothing, friend. Everything and nothing. He has paid it all. He wants you to rest and trust him. He’s got you covered.”

 For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. Psalm 139:13-14

The truth is, none of us deserve God’s grace and redemption and I am forever amazed by his love. I am no longer giving into Satan’s call for me to give in to his commands, for which I can only thank God for. I am redeemed because the pain that I couldn’t bear was the pain that stabbed His heart as he watched me hurt my own. All I wanted was to be thin and control my life but God saw past it all. As you read this, know that I will forever be affected by my decisions. It’s a battle I will fight for the rest of my life, but it is a battle that I continue to fight daily with the help of friends, family, community and Jesus Christ. I still can be consumed by the world’s view of thinness but I know there is something better. If you are struggling today, please don’t be afraid to ask for help. Pray and know the Lord will answer your prayers. Fight friends, it’s a fight worth fighting.

The Lord appeared to him from far away. I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you. Jeremiah 31:3

So as you see pictures on social media; especially ones of weight loss on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter ect, remember that there is a story behind every picture. A story that you may not know.

After

After

Truth in Wisdom

This past week, I have to admit, I was reluctant and anxious. But why? With two exams next week, both in 400 level courses that are extremely demanding, I couldn’t help but wonder if Doubling Gap was where I was supposed to be. Would it be wise of me to stay in State College and finish, I mean start study guides and memorize the complete metabolism of B12 and Folate micro-vitamins or go to a weekend long conference? A conference that’s main purpose was to explore how to be ladies of wisdom. Yet, I kept asking myself: Was I being wise if I went?

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Truth is, I went. I had the opportunity to explore what it is like to live and be a woman of wisdom, wisdom that starts with Gods design. An intricate design and lifestyle that must be lived with value and without shortcuts.

In Proverbs, Solomon addresses the younger generation to describe what wisdom is and to help God’s people (you and I) become wise. Wisdom as mentioned in Proverbs 2, helps us to gain the understanding of righteousness and justice. Wisdom is diligent and a treasure that comes and belongs to God, the ultimate source and creator. He created wisdom and he can decide wisdom. Wisdom takes root in our hearts and protects those who embrace it. We are called to trust in the Lord and not to trust in our own finite and often-mistaken understanding.

 “Trust in the Lord with all of your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil” Proverbs 3:5-7

 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight. (Proverbs 9:10) Wisdom that is founded in the “fear of the Lord,” enables us to express our faith in practical ways in our everyday lives. God’s holy anger defends his word and his people. Fear of the Lord, and the terrifying fear of his wrath scare me, as it should to you too. Our God is a jealous and wrathful God, jealous to protect his relationship with his sons and daughters. The reality is, I am guilty. Really guilty of making God jealous.

 “The Lord is a jealous and avenging God; the Lord is avenging and wrathful; the Lord takes vengeance on his adversaries and keeps wrath for his enemies. The Lord is slow to anger and great in power, and the Lord will by no means clear the guilty.” –Nahum 1:2-3

My prayer spot surrounded by Gods creation.

My prayer spot surrounded by Gods creation.

He is jealous in the truth that I look towards material and earthly things to satisfy me. I turn to food during the late hours of the night when I should be wise and choose sleep. I choose to watch Netflix movies that are not helpful during times when I should be wise and study for exams or turn to scripture. I seek attention from men to determine my worth, when I should be wise and turn to the ultimate source. I choose to not turn to the Lord when I am lonely, sad, bored or frustrated but rather I turn to other things. God is jealous when I choose such things that offer temporary satisfaction in order to satisfy what only he can provide.

 “Take my instruction instead of silver, and knowledge rather than choice gold, for wisdom is more precious than rubies, and nothing you desire can compare with her. Proverbs 8:10-11

Paul, the author of Romans, exemplifies this wrath when writing to the Romans in order to unite Jewish and Gentile Christians in Rome. In chapter 1, Paul explains the extent of Gods wrath on the sinfulness of the Gentiles, the Jews and all of the sinful people. That’s us. Paul describes that the Romans are filled with a manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice, envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness, they gossip, slanders, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedience to parents, foolish, faithless and ruthless.

 “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.” Romans 1:18

Friends, this is convicting and it should be. Sin is a lion that will destroy you and I, yet we are called to have a soft and repentant heart. A repentant heart that is needed to avoid God’s wrath on the day of wrath, the day we will all be judged. This repentance leads us to trust in Jesus Christ for his forgiveness of our sins.

Christ has called us to leave our simple ways, and live and walk in the way of insight. (Proverbs 9:6) Cultivate discernment from others and reject the foolish. Discern and set our faces towards wisdom and walk in love. In Ephesians, Paul who is writing to the churches in Ephesus and the surrounding region while imprisoned in Rome tells them to be imitators of God as his beloved children and discern what is pleasing to God. There is peace in knowing that Jesus is the one true king and only example of how we are to live our lives.

Finally friends, we need to apply Gods accurate perception of wisdom to our lives. Wisdom is not just known, its active. Its what we know and how we live. If we don’t apply wisdom into our lives, we simply don’t have it. Recognize fools by what they love, for they love what God hates. In the words of Megan Royes, a wise women and staff member for Disciple Makers said: repent in trusting yourself, ask questions that seek to know Gods design, immerse in Gods word and finally direct others to wisdom.

 “So you will walk in the way of the good and keep to the paths of the righteous.Proverbs 2:20

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For us women, Proverbs 31 calls us to be woman who fear the Lord, a prudent woman who looks ahead, anticipates, considers all factors, is dignified and ruled by God. She is strong and dresses herself with strength. She is not afraid. She builds up her husband and is respected by him by her character. She builds her friends up. She speaks with kindness. She is a wise woman, who fears the Lord,

 “Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a women who fears the Lord Is to be praised. Give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her works praise her in the gates.” Proverbs 31:30-31

So as I look back on this past weekend, I asked myself again, was it wise to go for a weekend long conference with sisters in Christ, worshiping my God, spending time in the word,  learning about God’s wisdom and I even had time to study? My answer is YES, because friends, God is worth it.

 Your friend-Amber

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My beautiful friends!

The door in one of my favorite rooms of the mansion.

The door in one of my favorite rooms of the mansion.

The endless rocking chairs, perfect for quite time!

The endless rocking chairs, perfect for quite time!