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

A Life under Grace

Today was an eye opener. Yet a story of redemption. A glimpse of what my life was like. My past screaming at me from every direction. A life that was causing me death and a lot of guilt and shame. A life that offered little satisfaction and temporary relief, a relief that only masked how empty I truly was. I was suffocating and caught up in the world.

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Last year on this day I was drunk and chugging bottles of wine by 11am. I was playing beer pong. Slap the bag and you bet I beat everyone. I tailgated like everyone else. Heck, I was cool because I didn’t make it into the football game because I was too inebriated. I went back that night slept for a few hours and did it all over again. The bathroom was my best friend. The truth is; I lived this life for a long time hidden from my family and Christian friends.

By Gods grace and countless mercies this year’s tailgate was different. Amazing friends surrounded me. I found joy in the smell of fresh air and the redness of sunburn on my shoulders and cheeks. The sound of Frisbees and footballs through the air, friends cheering each other on and small talk about life brought peace.

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While full of peace, the Lord has challenged me to be honest with my struggle and idolization of alcohol and the world of college parties. While going to one of the top party schools in the country, the temptation to consume excess amounts of alcohol runs ramped every night of the week. “Its your last semester,” a phrase I hear daily, but the truth is, I have found something that is so much greater. That greater is Jesus. I have a new outlook on life, a life that is lived to glorify the one that gave me life. A life I don’t deserve. A life under grace not under the law.

              “”Under law” means that justifying righteousness comes from our own law      keeping. On the other hand, being “under grace” means that our justification is a gift of grace on the basis of Christ’s righteousness, Christ’s law keeping, Christ’s perfect obedience of faith.” –John Piper

Romans 6 clearly depicts what it is like to be dead to sin and alive in God. Paul states for sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace. (6:14) This is a promise of what must be and will be for all who are under grace. Yet, we can look at verse 13 which is a command: “Do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God.” With this promise and command we are told to not yield to our sin (verse 13) because sin will not be a master over us (verse 14).

This does not mean that we can continue to live in sin and that grace may increase. We cant live in sin, rather we need to fight our sin because we are united in Christ by faith. Our death with Christ ensures that sin will not be a master over us. A guarantee that since we liver under grace the entirety of Gods wrath is removed from us. Friends, God is for us, not against us. (Romans 8:31)

He who did not spare His own son, but delivered Him over for us all. Of course he will give us all things, including the ability to fight our sin. God did what none of us have done; he did the hardest thing in justifying us, putting us under his grace at the cost of his son. What good news. There’s hope in knowing that our sin does not need to be a master over us. Under his grace and cost of his son, he will do whatever it takes to be on our side. Friend. He is on your side when you have little hope and feel defeated. He is pursuing you; he is a patient God who wants you, all of you. Will you give it to him?

We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. For one who has died has been set free from sin. (Romans 6:6)

Being under grace means being out from under the wrath of God for “there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 8:1) We no longer have to be slaves to our sin; we do not need to feel defeated or hopeless. Under Gods grace we can move away from our sin and the guilt and shame it brings and towards righteousness.

You see it is not easy. If I allow folly to invite me into believing the lies, I wont just have one. The truth is, if it weren’t for God I would give into such things. My sins are countless but I try to fight them daily and it’s a fight that I am willing to fight. This life is for me to use to glorify God, not myself. It is not about me.

Although today was a glimpse of my past, it gives me hope. Hope that redemption is real.

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