Archive of ‘Healing’ category

What Recovery Looks Like

In my first ever post on this blog I shared that God told me that 2013 would be the year I recovered from my long-term eating disorder. And it was. This is an update on my recovery journey, ask two years after I received that promise. 2014 ushered in a year of solid, glorious recovery. I’m living a life I never thought was possible and it just keeps getting better year by year!

I’ve learned that recovery truly is a process. In 2013, I had a lot of bad days, days where I felt like my eating disorder was controlling my life. But I was able to stop all my eating disorder behaviors and then slowly my depression started fading away and my self esteem improved and I entered 2014 with so much more confidence and actually loving my body for the first time!

In 2014 I found a continual increase of good days. Days filled with glorious freedom, days where my mind was able to fully focus on the present, on my day to day life and my relationship with my friends, family, and God. I would find myself during rare, quiet moments realizing that I hadn’t even struggled remotely with my eating disorder in a long time. My eating disorder is becoming more and more removed from me, fading into my past, becoming more like the memory of a nightmare that almost doesn’t feel real to me anymore.

If you had told me that this sort of recovery were possible for me while I was in treatment or even during my first semester of college, I wouldn’t have believed you. And yet here I am.

I’ve learned a lot about recovery and have been so surprised by the faithfulness of God. And when I say the faithfulness of God, I really mean it. I think back on the life I was living, completely miserable and distanced from my friends and family, hating myself and convinced that God didn’t love me, and I’m left feeling astounded and thankful because I know none of it would have been possible without God’s never-ending pursuit of me.

My recovery means that I’m living a joyful life. It’s not all happy rainbows, it’s not perfect, but it is marked by joy, a hope and excitement for each new day.

My recovery means that I understand that food is necessary for my health and survival, but also that it can be eaten simply to be enjoyed.

My recovery means that I can go clothes shopping and not be bothered that I can’t fit into the sizes I used to wear. It means I can wear a bathing suit and feel pretty darn good about myself.

I love my tattoo for so many reasons – it reminds me of God’s promise and faithfulness to me and it also embodies all the things I’ve learned about recovery – it’s continuous, it doesn’t move on a straight line. He is making everything new. He’s doing a new thing. And if it’s possible for my life, it’s possible for yours.

What Recovery Looks Like | He is Making Everything New

Recovery is a process and I’m learning what its twists and turns looks like. I am looking forward to the day that I realize that I haven’t thought of my eating disorder for years. I know that day is ahead of me and I am ready for it!

God made my vagina and he made yours, too (unless you have a penis. In that case, God made your penis).

God made my vagina and he made yours, <a href=information pills too (unless you have a penis. In that case, apoplexy God made your penis).” width=”620″ height=”620″ />

Why is it that I felt really uncomfortable writing vagina and penis in the title of my blog post?

Why do I feel like I just swore?

Why am I worried about someone seeing what I just titled this blog post?

If the very name of a body part is enough to make many of us feel dirty, recipe how does that body part itself make us feel? I submit to you that our American culture, and largely our American Christian culture, has distorted our views on our bodies and made us uncomfortable with one of God’s greatest gift to us.

I’m guessing a lot of Christians live life with the feeling (either subconscious or recognized) that their bodies are sinful, especially those body parts that are used for, you know, sex. I think this is probably especially prevalent for women in the church who are constantly told to be modest so as not to “be a stumbling block to their brothers.” I think one of the unintended results of modesty culture is that women have lost ownership of their own bodies because the very existence of our bodies is enough to cause any man we encounter to fall away from Christ. And this leads to a lot of shame.

The reality is that my entire body is a temple of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit that raised Christ from the dead lives and reigns in me, and so my body is to be celebrated and honored. And yet I’ve never been taught that my breasts are part of this beautiful Holy-Spirit filled temple. What I learned in youth group are that my breasts lead guys to sin. If I am taught to view my breasts as objects of sin and lust, how am I supposed to celebrate them and thank God for them? Whether or not it was the intention, I spent several years viewing my breasts as a source of shame.

I don’t think I have ever heard anyone say vagina in a church or youth group setting. In a church setting I’m allowed to say “thank you, God, for creating my nose like you did. I’m thankful for my nose,” but somehow it would be inappropriate to thank God for creating my vagina? Or to even allude to the fact that I own a vagina? Is it a stumbling block to make people think I have a vagina???

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 says this:

Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore, honor God with your bodies.

How am I supposed to honor God with my body if I think my body is inherently bad? How am I supposed to glorify God with something sinful? How can I thank Him for a body that is a source of shame?

The reality is that Jesus “became flesh and made his dwelling among us” (John 1:14). He became flesh. Jesus has a body. Jesus’ body is a part of his identity. And you know what? I’m guessing that Jesus has a penis. Does that freak you out?

I’ve been taking refuge in Psalm 139 for the past few months and I love the reality that is shared in this beautiful song:

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth your eyes saw my unformed body.

God made your body. He made my body. He knit me together. His eyes were the first to ever see me, His hand was the first to ever caress me, His presence was the first I ever felt. If the morning stars sang together and the angels shouted for joy when God created the earth (Job 38:7), I don’t think it’s far-fetched to imagine that the Lord sang over me when He created me. And just as the Lord was a part of the formation of my lungs, heart, arms, and legs, I have to believe that He took part in creating my breasts and my vagina.

Why do I care what you think about your body parts?

I care because I truly believe that our bodies are to be celebrated. I believe that a core teaching of Christianity is that our bodies are important and that our entire being is created by a loving God for the glory of a loving God. If we feel shame surrounding our bodies, we’re going to feel shame about who we are, because we can’t separate body and spirit–they’re intertwined in a really beautiful way. By living in bodies, we are imitating the beauty of Christ as He lived and moved and had his being here on earth in a tangible, touchable, body.

If you want to learn how to better honor and love your body, a really great exercise you can do is thank God for every part of your body, and name them one by one, without skipping any parts. And if this makes you uncomfortable, it’s probably a good indication that it’s something you should really do.

So God, I thank you for creating me, every part of me. I thank you for creating my breasts and choosing the size they would be. I thank you for creating my stomach and the curve of my hips. I thank you for creating my vagina and all the amazing things it can do–from peeing, to orgasm, to birthing babies. It’s pretty incredible. In Jesus holy and precious name, Amen.

Milk at Home Depot

Milk at Home Depot--

I learned a lot during my short time in an eating disorder treatment program, about it but one of the most important (and hardest) thing I learned about was Milk at Home Depot.

(From googling it seems like the Milk at Home Depot analogy comes from The Anorexia Diaries, which I have not read).

One day I was having individual therapy and my therapist asked if she had told me about Milk at Home Depot. I said no and she told me that I should ask one of the other girls in the program about it. A little while later I saw that girl before group therapy started and told her I was supposed to ask about it. So she told me what Milk at Home Depot means.

“Imagine you’re in Home Depot and walking up and down the aisles looking for milk but you can’t find any. You keep pacing the same aisles but you still don’t see it so you ask someone who works at the store and they tell you that they don’t have milk. So you get really upset and demand to speak to a manager and you get angry and won’t leave the store until you get your milk.

Milk represents what you need to live, it feeds you and provides sustenance and support. Home Depot might represent your home or wherever else it is that you’re trying to get milk. Unfortunately, no matter how hard you try, you will not get milk at Home Depot because they just can’t provide it. Once you realize that, it frees you to leave the store and go to, say, Kroger to buy milk. And once you have milk from Kroger you can go back to Home Depot and enjoy what it does have to offer. I mean Home Depot is great, they have paint and shutters and construction supplies–they just don’t have milk.”

When I heard this, something inside me broke and I just started crying and crying. With this analogy came the realization that I had been trying to get Milk at Home Depot for a very long time and that no matter how long I stayed in those aisles, no matter how much I asked and persisted, it wasn’t going to happen. And that reality was heart-breaking.

The first thing you have to do if you realize you, too, have been trying to get milk at Home Depot is to mourn. The fact is that Home Depot very well should be providing you with the milk you need–there are competent people who work there, who probably love you very much, and the realization that you’re not going to get milk is something that deserves to be mourned.

The next step is to muster up the courage to walk out of the Home Depot doors and go find a Kroger. It’s a scary thing to do, and it can feel like giving up, but it’s really your best chance to finally get the milk you’ve so been needing.

After you get your milk from Kroger, it’s time to go back to Home Depot and fall in love with all the amazing things that Home Depot has to offer–there’s a lot of wonderful things there and you’ll be able to see them and appreciate them in a way that you couldn’t before when you kept searching for milk.

I think a lot of our relationships are often strained because we keep looking for milk in places that don’t offer it. A specific relationship might be able to give you what you need for one season or in one area of your life and then it can’t for the next season.

I believe that God is ultimately the only one who can provide sustaining and overflowing milk that never runs dry. He is the one we need, the one who will give you the desires of your heart (Ps 37:4). But he also places the lonely into families (Ps 68:6) and desires us to live life in communities, in churches, with friends, who all help give us the love and support we need.

If you are in a relationship right now where you’re not getting the milk you need, I encourage you to find refuge in your heavenly Father. He loves you and so desires to provide for you. He will also help you find a place where you can get what you need. I promise you, finding a Kroger really isn’t as scary as it seems and falling in love with Home Depot again is such a beautiful experience.

Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost. -Isaiah 55:1