Never Forget How Much You are Loved
You are not alone when it comes to the deep desires of your heart. It took me a very long time to realize that all people are searching for the same feeling of completion and love.
During my early high school years, I developed a bad case of acne. Since physical appearance was extremely important to me, I felt uncomfortable in my own skin.
All of the medications I tried did not seem to help at all. I felt out of control and helpless. I did not have many friends, since I was homeschooled and lived out in the country. I needed stability in my life so I decided to turn to something that I could control-my eating habits and exercise routine.
I began to eat what I thought was “more healthy”. This meant cutting out all deserts, snacks, extra side dishes, and any beverage except water. I started to exercise a lot more, starting at 6:15 in the morning and not finishing until I went to bed at night. Every free moment I had was spent running, rollerblading, cross-country skiing, swimming laps, walking, and doing jumping jacks or push ups. My meals slowly turned into basically fruit and water, because I thought that all other foods would make me fat.
My parents realized what I was doing to myself and told me to stop exercising. This only made me upset. I proceeded to sneak outside to do jumping jacks behind our garage and lock myself in the bathroom to do sit-ups. I would still go out early in the morning to do a 2 mile run, because I felt that sleeping all night was a waste of time. One particular morning as I was out running, I felt my legs slowly collapsing. I wondered to myself which neighbor’s porch I would crawl onto to die because my body couldn’t go on any more. To this day I still don’t know how, but by the grace of God, I made it home that day alive. I still didn’t learn my lesson though. I was 5 foot 10 inches tall and weighed 98 pounds. I was a walking skeleton. I knew deep in my heart that I was exercising too much and not eating enough, but something had a grip on my life. That something was the devil.
My internal battle raged on. Every morning I told myself that I was going to change my life, only to realize that I couldn’t. I was trapped in my own mindset. I became angry at everyone who looked at me. I felt worthless and abandoned with no place of hope to turn to. I saw many counselors and nutritionists to try to fix my problem. But no words that they could say could loosen the grip that the devil had on my life. I would go to church, not to focus on the beautiful Mass, but to plan when I could fit in exercise throughout the rest of the day. I would pray just to go through the motions.
It wasn’t until I went to a Search for Christian Maturity Retreat that my life slowly began to turn around. At this retreat, I discovered something that I had not realized before. I discovered people who didn’t judge me for my past mistakes but who loved me for who I was. I discovered meaningful hugs for the first time. That weekend was the start of my healing journey. During that summer after Search, I met two wonderful Christian girls at my workplace. Throughout that summer they changed my life. They showed me the meaning of true friendship and love. They supported me, listened to my story, and were there at my side.
Slowly, I began to regain my health. Although it is common for victims of eating disorders to struggle with thoughts of the disease for the rest of their lives, my story ends differently. It has been 3 years since my struggle and I have been completely healed. My life is a miracle. Today I am a completely healthy young woman-physically, mentally, and emotionally.
I share my story for a reason.
First and foremost, God loves you more than you can ever imagine and He will not leave your side. “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil for you are at my side…” Psalm 23:4. Secondly, we are called to be the hands and feet of Christ. If it wasn’t for the people in my life who brought me back to His Arms of Love, I would not be here today.
All people, especially women, have the desire in their heart to feel loved, comforted, secure, and safe. Don’t make them fall as low as I did to realize that they are loved. Go forth and share Christ’s love. You are all in my prayers.
In His Arms,