Dear Sister

My heart breaks for you. I am in utter agony as I witness you hurt yourself in the same ways I have these past 15 years. No one deserves to battle an eating disorder. No one deserves the unbearable agony and overwhelming shame that comes with an eating disorder. An ED will take over your entire being to the point of crippling pain.

Every single moment of your existence is saturated in the bitterness of an eating disorder. The control, the anger, the frustration, the shame, it is so overwhelming. It isn’t just eating. When someone tells you to just eat you can’t. It isn’t that simple. It’s not just a switch inside your head, it isn’t just telling yourself to eat.

It’s every single controlling thought swarming around that’s making you physically unable to eat. It’s a battle in your mind of trying to shut out the demons, trying to overpower them while they are overpowering you. It’s pain. It’s torment.

And it’s almost impossible for anyone not going through it to understand.

So dear sister…I am so sorry. I am so incredibly sorry you are going through this trial. I wish I could take it away in an instant. And I can’t and that’s killing me.

I pray that you hear God’s voice over the voices in your head telling you that you’re not good enough. I pray that His love is enough for you to get through this. I pray that we can all come together to help you get through this. Because you, my dear, you are good enough. You are loved. You are beautiful. You are enough.

And you are in control… 

Breakthrough

Day 15 of my medication change. It is the first day that has been without an intense sobbing hyperventilating mental breakdown. My brain hasn’t been spinning with morbid thoughts of immediate doom and despair. It’s been a good day. A very good day. A genuinely happy day filled with joy and rational thoughts and laughter.

The past 14 days were probably the deepest depression I have ever been in. To say I was not handling it well at all would be an understatement. The inability to leave my bed, not cry, or breathe normally was overpowering. I was not functioning and I was unable to cope or self regulate at all when I was alone.

My already amazing ability to filter my thoughts before they leave my mouth was completely gone. I wasn’t turning to God when the panic attacks were inevitably about to start and I wasn’t turning to God when I couldn’t summon the strength to get out of bed. I was just trying to survive. I wasn’t even able to imagine a light at the end of the tunnel.

Hopefully this is over. Hopefully the chemistry in my brain is done messing around, but that’s probably not the case. I still have 2 months until I titrate up to the amount my psychiatrist wants me on for my meds. I’m hoping that if I do go back into a deep depression I at least know to cry out to God and continue to worship Him despite the nightmare going on in my head. My hope is to rely on the Lord.

I am enjoying this breakthrough. It is now day 16, and so far so good 🙂 I’m so beyond grateful to my boyfriend, friends, and family for their overwhelming love and support and distractions. They mean the world to me.

Run to God

“I am disgusted with my life. Let me complain freely. My bitter soul must complain. I will say to God, ‘Don’t simply condemn me – tell me the charge you are bringing against me.” Job 10:1-2 NLT

Job loathed his life. He lost everything. But he didn’t run away from God. In fact, he ran to God.

Week 16 “Run to God” The Weekly Prayer Project

I have gone through many seasons where I absolutely loathed my life. I wanted to give up and throw in the towel. I ran away from God instead of running towards Him. Running from Him every time I went through seasons of suffering prolonged my pain. I didn’t look at the bright side, I didn’t look for His hand in my trials, I refused to think it could have been worse than what I was going through. I dwelled in the pain, I dwelled in the suffering. How much better would my life have been if I had run towards God instead of running from Him.

Youth Ministry

In July 2018 I began to burnout serving at church. At the time I was the preschool and nursery lead, junior and senior high girls youth leader, part time front desk helper, part time assistant to the communications director, and a menagerie of other things.

In April 2017 I went through a much needed breakup and returned home and returned to the church. In an attempt to justify my actions that happened while I was away from home being a reckless stupid moron…I threw myself into serving at church. I spent every waking second helping at church or thinking about church.

I never sat in the service. Instead I would serve all three services either at the desk, in the children’s ministry classrooms, or the sound booth being the assistant to the communications director. I didn’t fellowship. I didn’t worship. I was working. I was trying to balance the last 5 years of transgressions with burning myself out serving. My heart wasn’t in the right place. My intentions were to say yes to every need.

In July 2018 I was also saved. So I wanted to start sitting in the service. I wanted to start worshiping. I wanted to start pouring all I had into my students at youth group. I wanted to build relationships with fellow Christians. But I was being pulled in so many directions that I started to hate church. My idea that fixing my sins by serving was starting to ruin me. I met with the director of student ministries and told him what was going on. He had me seriously pray about each area I was serving in the church. He told me it wasn’t my responsibility to say yes to everything. That it was okay to say no. And it was not my responsibility how other people would react by me stepping down. And it hit me like a truck…my heart is in student ministry. My heart is with those teens.

So I stepped down from everything else. I still serve 2 times a month in children’s ministry but that’s because I have a heart for those preschoolers. Since then my relationship with God has flourished. My faith has grown stronger. I’m still at church at least 3 times a week, and I’m still meeting outside of church with students, but I’m doing what I love, I’m doing what God wants me to be doing.

My point to all this is you don’t have to say yes to filling a need just because it’s there. Pray about it. Talk to God asking Him where He wants you. It is so easy to burnout and want nothing to do with the church or God by over-serving. It totally is possible to over serve. Trust me.

If you’re burning out – take a look at where you’re serving and what you’re filling your time with. Are you serving just to fill a need? Here’s some daily Christianese for ya: God doesn’t call the equipped, He equips the called.

I would sooner quit my job then leave youth ministry. That’s how serious I am about pouring into those kids.

John 12:26 Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.

1 Peter 4:10 Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.

Rescue

Trigger Warning: Suicide

The shame I hold onto about this part of my testimony is heavy and covered in guilt. But the more I celebrate my life, the more I want to open up about this so that hopefully God can use my ashes for His beautiful purpose.

Here I sit at Lake Nockamixon, it’s 32 degrees and extremely windy, but the sun is shining on my tear soaked face, the seagulls are singing, and Rescue by Lauren Daigle is playing in my ears.

When I was 20 I tried to kill myself.

I wanted to end it. End everything. End the pain and the depression and the anxiety. End the frustration. End the never ending struggle. But more than that I would have ended moments like this one. Sunshine on my face looking out over the lake. I would have ended coffee dates with my mom. I would have ended heart to heart talks with my dad. I would have never seen my brother graduate college as valedictorian. I never would have poured into my youth kids who mean the absolute world to me. I would have ended the possibility of ever meeting Josh and beginning this immaculately designed chapter of my life. I would have ended any possibility of the Lord using me for His purpose. In the blink of an eye I would have ended every single thing that I hold so valuable.

I was desperate and numb and in searing pain all at once and I thought my only option was to kill myself. I thought the only option was to give up. To give up ever having a future. As I write this I vividly remember the amount of emotional and physical and spiritual pain I was in. I remember throwing myself on my bedroom floor shaking uncontrollably, sobbing and screaming for God to take the pain away, take away the pain from my disease, take away my depression and anxiety. I was shrieking. I was done. I hit rock bottom. I couldn’t imagine continuing to live one more second.

I am grateful for the nurses and doctors that took care of me at the hospital that night and the next day. I am grateful for the security guard that was posted at my door and didn’t take his eyes off me. I am grateful to the nurse filled with compassion and warmth who didn’t treat me like an insane person, she kept me company and brought me heated blankets, I don’t remember her name but I am grateful to her for treating me like a person. I am grateful for the support from my coordinator and therapists. I am grateful to my mom who never ceased praying, never ceased crying out to God, even in the midst of her agony, and the fear of losing me. She never ceased praying. She was my rock when I couldn’t stand on my own. She fought for me when I couldn’t care less.

Suicide doesn’t just end the bad stuff, it doesn’t just end the pain. In fact it causes pain, intense unmeasurable amounts of pain. Suicide ends all of the good things and any good thing that’s to come. It ends more than just a life. Praise the Lord I am alive. I am experiencing what it means to actually be alive. I will not let my depression and anxiety win. This will not steal my joy. I refuse to fall victim to my mental illness.

I have way too much to live for.

 

Anxiety Sucks

It’s extremely difficult to stop myself in the middle of an anxiety attack and pray. I struggle with giving my worries to the Lord. Some verses I have been trying to have ready for when I can’t breathe and my brain is going to explode are:

Philippians 4:6-7 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Psalm 46:10 Be still and know that I am God.

Romans 8:18 The pain that you’ve been feeling can’t compare to the joy that’s coming.

Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight.

These are all verses I have memorized and know I need to be meditating on when I feel the anxiety rising…but I don’t. I know I need to cry out to God and just ask Him to calm my mind and I can’t. It’s so exhausting. It’s mentally draining to cling to the control and deal with the anxiety.

I’m not a huge fan of the New Year’s resolutions, I’m one of those people who sees it as just a new year…not anything special. But I really hope in 2019 my anxiety gets under control. Am I doing anything to make that happen? Yes. I am spending more time in the Word, intentionally reading and meditating, and talking to God about my control/anxiety issues. Am I doing it as much as I should be? No. I’m also going to start seeing a therapist and psychiatrist and get my medication under control. So there’s that.

Now to just get through this last week of work that’s causing me a lot of stress…