Special treat today… My friend, writer, and all around awesome person has agreed to write something on her spiritual growth. She has an amazing story of transformation and change, and I asked her to share a little of it. She normally blogs at Fueled By Diet Coke, but well, I have her today…
“For the past ten years, you’ve been suffering from an eating disorder, and we’ve got to start a treatment regimen to get you healthy again, so—“
The rest of my nutritionist’s words were muffled under the sound of the blood pulsing violently against my ear drums. I had an eating disorder. I’d had one. For a decade. I was physically unhealthy. I was suffering from something seriously life-threatening.
Over the next several months, I cooperated with my treatment and was able to get on the road to a healthy body image. Though I still struggled daily, I was proud to leave my disordered eating days in my past. I was finally ready to proclaim heath.
Fast forward two years.
“Why are you doing this again?”
The words shot out of my mouth like ping pong balls and bounced against the windshield and hit me in the face. Despite the eating disorder treatment under my belt and its offering of some false sense of normalcy, I was still suffering from a disease much more deteriorating. Complete and utter self-hate.
I was sitting in my car, parked about a block from my house and my new husband, with hot tears running down my cheeks.
I’d run away from him again. This time, however, after telling him he would divorce me if he knew what was good for him. Not even a year into our marriage and I had slapped the “d” word across his face and left.
I looked up at my reflection in the rearview mirror and saw my red face, stained with the makings of a sabotaged relationship, with no one to blame but myself.
“Why?” I demanded again through clenched teeth. A rhetorical question I felt the need to answer anyway. “Because this is how you always are. This is what you’ll always be. You’ll never be more than your failures and that’s why you don’t deserve anything good.”
This is how it always went. It was as if someone would insert a DVD into my brain every day and play it loudly – a DVD recap of everything I’ve ever done wrong, everyone I’ve ever hurt… a resounding soundtrack to the cyclical nature of me beating myself (sometimes actually physically) into a bloody pulp.
Just as the DVD began to start over for the tenth time that day, something pressed the STOP button. A small voice. It didn’t say much, just, “Go back inside, Lindsay.”
I didn’t want to. I didn’t want to go back inside to find yet another relationship ruined by my own insecurities and hate. I didn’t want to walk back into the house to face my husband, whom I was certain had decided that this instance was the last straw and he was leaving me for real. I didn’t want to open the door and find our small house empty, now a cavernous reminder that I was, indeed, the worst person in the world.
But that voice wouldn’t stop. So I eventually relented.
I put my key in the lock as quietly as I could and turned the knob. I was shaking, but my breathing had returned to normal. I had the comfort and peace of that small voice with me. I knew that I was doing the right thing, no matter how badly it was going to hurt me. I was fully prepared to accept my fate. My failure. My abandonment.
But what I saw broke me down even more than I could have even imagined. I saw him. I saw my husband, slumped down in a sad heap on the floor of our living room.
His eyes met mine. “You came back,” he said, hopefully.
I collapsed in his arms and apologized probably a hundred times, letting him forgive me just as many. I didn’t understand it. I was the prodigal son, the adulterous Israel, being taken back with a warm embrace and a promise of unconditional love.
Three years later, I know now that that small voice was Jesus.
Being raised in a Christian home, I’d read the scriptures about God calling us, His followers, a “masterpiece” and “new creations.” I’d heard about Him creating in us a “new heart” and all that. But, up until that day, I’d never allowed him to try it with me. I’d always assumed that I was too far gone, too unlovable, to be anything but trash. But feeling the warm embrace of my husband, a man who truly does love me as Christ does the church, I finally surrendered to God, allowing him to guide my growth and healing.
Through trusting Him, I was able to seek wise counsel from pastors, friends, and family, in order to rebuild the shattered shell of a girl I’d become. I knew that, at this point, it was my choice to give God the space to kill my old self and raise me anew in Christ Jesus.
Since then, I’ve started writing a blog about learning how to love yourself in a world that profits off of your low self-esteem. At first, it was merely an outlet for my growing pains. But at this point, it has turned into a ministry, reaching thousands of readers who have struggled in the same way I have. I wonder, quite perceptively, if this wasn’t God’s plan for me all along.
It hasn’t always been easy. I’ve had a lot of hard conversations, answered a lot of tough questions, and made really difficult promises. There were times when going back to my old ways seemed easier, more comfortable, more feasible, and I had to make the commitment to God to work in me all over again. But I can tell you, without a shadow of a doubt, that every second has been worth it.