I was thirty years old, a grown woman with half of a lifetime of experiences, sitting one morning watching my daughter play. She was so carefree and happy. Her smile lit up her whole face, and the room. “Can I have a cookie, mommy?” she asked, with no thought of what she had already eaten today, the calorie count or how many grams of fat it contained. There must have been a time when I ate like her, just because I was hungry or wanted to taste something good. It had been such a long time; it’s difficult to imagine such a thing, such a wonderful thing.
As I sat pondering my daughter’s life, joy and freedom I began to question my own lack of those things. How did it get to this place? It wasn’t just that I worried about what I could eat, it was much more than that. I was a grown woman physically alive but I was dead to life. I had become numb; I was going through the motions, surviving, reacting, and even smiling, all to cover up the pain. I guess somewhere along the journey it seemed the easiest path to take. I was raised naïve and isolated. Somewhere along the way I realized that I got something from making people happy. So keeping people happy eventually became what I did. I would stand on my head to make people happy, anything to get some kind of affirming response. I lost a big part of me over those years in my efforts to please. Giving up a little more every day. My days were spent pleasing people and numbing my pain.
My childhood years were confusing but that was just the beginning for me. I was in grade eight when a girl made a rude comment about my weight. That was the day I went on my first diet. Within a few weeks, I lost a little weight. People started to notice. It felt good to have something I could control. It wouldn’t be long, however, before it took control of me. For seventeen years after that day I would go back and forth between anorexia and bulimia.
I am so thankful God never leaves us alone. I came to the place in my life where I knew if God didn’t do something for me I was going to die. My body was so weak because of all the abuse. I was having chest pains and one night I passed out and woke up with my children standing over me crying. I started desperately crying out to God for help. I knew in myself I could not overcome this, but God is faithful. He gave me the courage to break the silence and tell my husband. I had somehow managed to keep it from him all those years. That night he held me tight and we cried and prayed together. From that time on it was a long hard process but I began to heal.
I have come to realize that I am not the only person to ever get lost and afraid on this journey. I recognize that familiar captivity in people wherever I go. I live in a neighborhood with them, shop with them and go to church with them. Believe me, I can understand. I realize that I don’t know your wounds or the circumstances that caused them. I don’t know the particulars of your private struggles or the pain that pushed you into the dark. But I do know this: Our God heals.
Encouragement for Others
Getting your life back and finding freedom will probably require more time than you hoped. There is no freeway or high speed internet access to all the answers. God is so amazing and He can take our messy lives and make them into something brand new. I have been blessed to be a Children’s Pastor in an amazing church for the past eleven years. I am now able to help others find the right path, and share with others the love that God has given to me. The milk and honey you are looking for is found in the midst of giants that you must conquer. If you will allow God to be your guide and embrace his invitation to take up your cross and follow Him, then it has begun. You cannot get lost if you always follow the steps of the One who is scarred.