Giving Thanks – Nov 7&8

I have had a busy few days so this one is combined for yesterday and Monday

Today I am thankful for: YOGA.

When I tried out yoga for the first time in high school, I didn’t really get much out of it. I’m not quite sure why, maybe the fact that it was in a gross work out room, the videos were terrible, or I couldn’t accept it as something that made me appreciate my body. Regardless, I took a 2 year break. I rediscovered yoga the fall of my senior year and haven’t looked back since.

The past 3 years, my practice has changed my view of myself and my body. I feel strong and empowered. Pulling out my mat is the second best way to calm my anxiety/emotions (first is spending time with God).

In my eating disorder, yoga has taught me to appreciate my body. I can love my body for all of the difficult practices and poses I am able to do. This has been the best form of movement for me because it is not about burning calories. Ever since residential, however, going back on the mat has been hard. My body is different from it once was: larger in size, stretch marks, cellulose, weight gain. Entering into a practice meant having to face many of these things. It is almost impossible not to notice the changes when you’re being so mindful during yoga.

I spent months avoiding something I had once loved so dearly. Thankfully, I am finally coming out of my slump now. Yoga has once again become something I look forward to and thoroughly enjoy. My day has been long, stressful, and just plain sad. ED thoughts were loud as well. My best decision was getting out my mat and going through a 45 minute video. My outlook changed immediately and I could breathe again.

I’ve worked hard to get back here. I now can cherish and appreciate every moment on my mat because of my journey.


 

Today I am thankful for: SOVEREIGNTY. 

It’s election day. A majority of our country is so focused on voting and election results, as if what happens could be so catastrophic that the entire world would end. I completely get this. The president is seen as someone who holds all of the power in our country. Not only that, but the US is judged by the world based on who our leader is. This year is particularly nerve-wracking as the prospect of both candidates seems so bleak. A lot seems to be riding on the decisions we the people will make.

While I certainly do have fears if one candidate is elected, I am not making it my number one concern. He or she will have their four year run. They’ll make mistakes, get our country into trouble, develop bad policies, stand for values many of us can’t agree with, and promote an image to the public that is harmful.

No matter what, there is only one ruler who truly matters: God. We can clearly define and set limits as to what the president can do. While he or she can serve as a figurehead, influence the people in our nation, and pass laws, they will never be able to single-handedly control every American or overtake the entire world. God, on the other hand, is limitless.

I love the way Theopedia has explained sovereignty:

The Sovereignty of God is the biblical teaching that all things are under God’s rule and control, and that nothing happens without His direction or permission. God works not just some things but all things according to the counsel of His own will (see Eph. 1:11). His purposes are all-inclusive and never thwarted (see Isa. 46:11); nothing takes Him by surprise. The sovereignty of God is not merely that God has the power and right to govern all things, but that He does so, always and without exception. In other words, God is not merely sovereign de jure (in principle), but sovereign de facto(in practice).

We should take comfort in this. God is God. He doesn’t get taken aback by anything that happens. As Christians, we need to take this lens of who God is and apply it to the most pressing item on every American’s mind: this election.

Regardless of the results, at least half of the American people will be in disarray tomorrow. It’s a hard reality to face when the person you so badly believed was bad for this country ends up the next president.

We can wake up, accept what has happened, and turn back to God. Our country needs prayer. It needs us to step up and be His hands and feet.

 

Whatever the results of this election are, we can rest in the truth that the King of Kings is above the man or woman who is set to rule our country for the next 4 years.

 

Giving Thanks – Nov 6

Today I am thankful for: SAFETY

I take this for granted constantly. I focus on all of the “stuff” that happens, good or bad. There is more to live than just that.

God protects me from all types of harm. A sampling of safety blessings from today: driving back to Calvin safely, protecting me from ED thoughts, allowing my EDS to be mild enough to function, having no war going on, not dying fro my ED or anything else. When written out, the safety and security from God is so very important and prominent in my life.

I need my savior in order to feel protected. Without Him I am alone in this world. No one would be there to catch me when I fall. I trust him to the best of my availability because I know He will do what’s best for me.

When you look at the big picture it’s clear to see the blessings in life. God loves me. He wants me to be here and thrive each day.You aren’t alone or forgotten about either. He will wrap us in His arms and fight our battles as we also do. Remember that, I will too.

TFHR 11/01/16

Whelp. Ony half a week late on publishing this. This TFHR is all from last week’s experiences. On the coming Tuesday I should be abe to write about this week.

Thoughts

  • How does a psychiatrist not know what to do and not do with patients who have an eating disorder? It’s pretty dang simple if you really think about it. Don’t tell them weights, mention that they could lose some and be fine, ask if they’re eating too much or healthy enough, etc.
  • I still feel pretty jerky for Weds night choir practice. I was having a hard time learning it and when two girls offered to sing along by the piano I kinda bailed.
  • Our bible study today was on being content and showing gratitude. This project I have is the perfect example of finding blessings in my life.
  • I need to stop being lazy on my homework, but maybe it’s simply because I haven’t been eating enough. Hmm.

Feelings

  • Sentimental. As it creeps closer to my one year admission to CFD, all of these emotions come up. I know I shouldn’t desire to go back. I realize I have to do everything right this time. I’m doing it without any higher form of treatment. The bad part is that I don’t have accountability. There have been many many highs and lows since coming home, but one thing’s for sure: CFD has changed me forever but I would head back in a heartbeat, even if I’m not sick enough to be there.
  • Drained. I am physicality exhausted but the mental exhaustion is getting to me more. I can’t put full effort into anything and I have lost interest in all things. I am not myself when I’m in this funk and I have to rescue myself.
  • Inspired. Each woman in the ED bible study is unique and shares their story that is never alike another. Their courage gives me the push to work hard and keep God in my recovery.

Happenings

  • I bought Ensure. I’ve had a lot of negative emotions surrounding this, but Livvy directed me to this post I wrote. Now I can see that this is a good, pro-recovery choice.
  • I had the worst day/night ever last night. I fell asleep once, woke up around dinner, decided not to eat, slept for another hour, decided not to get up, then slept for two hour periods all night long. I woke up early with super low blood sugar and shaking so bad I thought I could be having something very serious.
  • My favorite coworker came home from college! It was wonderful seeing her at church Sunday. We caught up and laughed and fellowshipped with some other sweet girls.
  • Another amazing week at my ED bible study. The lesson was on discontentment. These women are incredibly strong, open, and encouraging.
  • Worked all days of this weekend. Blech. It’s not that I hate my job or anything. It’s hard to be super enthusiastic when I’m on call or others are being difficult during turns.
  • Sang in the church choir without passing out or dying!

Ramblings

  • I am so freaking ready for this stupid election to be over. I wish it would have been over with months ago. I don’t believe we have good candidates. Social media just makes everything worse. Now, you can share your opinion ASAP and watch as people argue and declare the you are no longer friends. Hearing about all of this at least one hundred times a day is so old. Pleas let it stop after next Tuesday.
  • The professionals in my treatment team truly matter when it comes to my identity. A red flag with my old dietitian was her refusal to work with my goals very well. She discounted my beliefs all of the time. My new dietitian L is the opposite. She hears me and lets us decide my treatment together. I feel heard and respected. If only all dietitians, therapists, and psychiatrists were this way.

Giving Thanks – Nov 1

I am so focused on all that happens in my life, good and bad, that I never sit down to realize what blessings I already have. Even in the darkest of night and the deepest valleys, the Lord has provided for me again and again. I take for granted what I have and long for what I do not. If I only step back and open my eyes His gifts will be known abundantly. November is the month of Thanksgiving and gratitude.  Each day this month I will share something I am grateful for. “Come, Let us sing for joy to the Lord; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song.” – Psalm 95:1-2

Today I am thankful for: GRACE

“Grace that is greater than all our sin

How AMAZING is that? God extends us grace for every sin we have made and will make for our entire lives. There is nothing too big for Him to forgive. We fail Him time and time and time again, but are always welcomed back into His loving arms.

I felt absolutely terrible waking up this morning. It was proof that I had screwed up once again. Eating breakfast would be the first meal in almost 18 hours and I wondered how I could work myself back to a recovery mindset. Before even eating said breakfast, I had already worked out countless ways I should/would/could have done instead of ending up where I was. I sat, trying to right yesterday’s wrongs and not re-wrong today’s rights. I began feeling guilty, disappointed, down, anxious, and hopeless. My hope for the day only existed with prerequisites: do everything right and maybe you’ll be okay.

My eating disorder works like this in many ways. If I am recovery-minded, I will not accept any actions that come from anorexia. Just the opposite is true if I am in my disorder. Either way, I am never okay with what I am doing. I feel like a giant failure. I cannot forgive myself, but instead I  am so hard on myself. I put things into black and white and never offer myself grace. What would happen if I did?

Grace would say: you had a bad day but you are free, forgiven, and today is a new day. Wow. This isn’t something I can truly comprehend. How could everything be wiped clean, just like that?

God give us this grace every day, every minute, every second into eternity. I am so very thankful that He has promised us this by the sacrifice of the Son. He calls us to extend that same grace to ourselves and each other. We are forgivable. We can be free. We deserve a second chance. 

I forget or choose not to show myself even a portion of grace that God gives me. Today, I will believe that I am not a lost cause. I will not beat myself up and play the “should/could/would” game. I will accept my imperfection in recovery. Today, grace will win because it wasn’t mine to take away in the first place.

A prayer meeting can transform my whole attitude

I went into today pessimistic but still wanting to try. I promised myself that I would do my best not to focus on all the worry for the future I’ve been dealing with. I’ll be honest, it was a little half-hearted since I was, as I said, overly pessimistic. Even so, I prayed to God that somehow, someway, I could fulfill my promise and have a better day. Boy did He provide!

The start of my day went as expected. We left to begin emptying out my grandpa’s house in the morning. There was a little blip at lunch (forgot my salad and had to improvise = TERRIFYING) but otherwise I had zero negative thoughts or anything. I actually enjoyed digging through everything even if it was a bit gross. It kept my mind off all negativity.

Around 3, I got a text from a girl at work, asking if my brother and I still wanted to go the prayer meeting at their church. I had forgotten all about it. My plan for the night was honestly going to be wallowing. Alec decided he was too tired, but being brave, I said I would go. I was nervous leading up to it but by the time I was riding with Drew’s family there my fears diminished.

My time there was nothing short of amazing. It’s a group led entirely by high school and college kids. We started off with a small devotion, then Ben had us pair up and pray about a few different topics: boldness, our testimony at work, guidance, iron sharpens iron, and being a light. I was paired with Millie from work and it was really good. I love her already but being able to pray and discuss each of the topics while we’re each heading into a college transition was nice. After that a few more shared a mini devotional with some scripture they’d read recently (so good!). We then went around and read verses that impacted us the past week. The official end of the meeting was prayer request and a final group prayer. This time renewed me in so many ways. After that it was time for snack and volleyball! I loved that part too! I think we played for about an hour and my team won twice of course 🙂

Tonight on its own was beyond what I imagined this morning. I’m smiling and happy and I feel free of these thoughts, for not of course, but STILL. This is the first day in weeks where I haven’t spent 80-90% of the day engrossed by the ED. I want to continue it into tomorrow the best I can. We’ll be heading to my grandpa’s yet again, so until mid-afternoon I will be greatly distracted. I have a little plan to fill the rest of my day. The second I get home I’m looking up all the verses I wrote down when we shared scriptures. There’s around 20 and I feel like this will be a god start to my time at home tomorrow. maybe it won’t do the same thing as the prayer meeting did, but I have faith that God and His word can and will transform me. And maybe, just maybe, this night was meant to show me that I need to reach out to Him more and that will aid in my recovery. Time will tell!

Blind Faith

Blind: unable to see.

Faith: confidence or trust in a person or thing.

Together, blind faith means complete trusting in God’s plan when I cannot see the end. I’ve struggled with this a ton lately, but I am wholeheartedly giving up control. I’ve tried and failed time and time again. I simply cannot control my future, or at least not in any way that will end well. God has been waiting for me, a glorious plan in His hand, and I’m finally ready to let Him take the lead.

What will this mean when it comes to my life? In one word: peace. My worry and anxiety has gone down so much. I’m not spending hours a day wondering what bad things may happen. I am learning to “not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself” (Matt 6:34). I realize that things will happen in the future and they may not all be pleasant, but also that worrying now does no good for me. Even if there’s pain and discomfort, I will get through and learn something from it. God has a higher purpose than I will ever be able to grasp.

This huge shift and revival of my faith in God has already led to some decisions/changes in thinking that I am incredibly happy with. Firstly, I am going to NTS camp as a leader. I promised them I would and they’ve been so excited about ME leading them. Regardless of what uncertainty the future holds about me helping with youth group next year or not, this experience won’t be pointless. I know God will grow and challenge our relationship with Him and each other during that week and after. I am ready to lead and learn.

Next fall has brought nothing but fear the last few months. I have had doubts about my major, whether I should even go to college, how I would ever make friends, and more. I got to a point where I couldn’t even trust God could make the situation good. I spent a lot of time in prayer and He’s come through with some pretty straightforward answers for me. He’s shown me again and again that Calvin is where I belong. Even more, nursing is the right choice. That alone didn’t completely cement my anxieties but God continued to change that this week. Katie at work has been a huge blessing when it comes to anything surrounding living at college and making friends. She had no problem there and is a lot like me (a  tad socially awkward and not a lot of friends in high school) so my anxieties there are at a normal level. In so many other ways I’ve gained complete peace with all of my decisions with Calvin. I will have support there and nearby, including getting connected to counseling staff before moving in. I can still minister to others as a nurse and the career truly fits my strengths well. I am going to love being challenged academically and being in a Christian environment, a combination Calvin uniquely provides me. Overall, God has proven and continues to show me that next fall will be okay.

For as long as I can remember I’ve had mental health issues. I have negative behaviors and thought patterns that started when I was a child. It’s so easy for me to fall into hopelessness. That’s exactly where I was the past few weeks. Because I’ve never experience complete freedom from all these things before, I believed God couldn’t do it. I thought that I would be miserable forever. I am just beginning to trust that what I’m going through isn’t making my life terrible. I will grow from this somehow. I have no idea what good can come from this pain, but that’s because only God knows. All I do know is that if I build my foundation of recovery on Him I will get better. It might not be the pace I want but healing is going to come for me. Even if I never live a day without disordered thoughts in my life I am willing to fight past them each day to let God work through me. Depression, anxiety, BPD, and anorexia have NOTHING on God.

I have a long way to go on all of this. I’m not a perfect Christian and I certainly don’t have it all together. I’m not focused on being perfect though, that’s God’s job. Instead, I am spending more time in prayer, worship, and His word. The more I give up to Him the better I feel. He will take care of me and has a future bigger than I could ever imagine. I am not worthless or hopeless, but excited to see God’s plan unfold in my life. I am ready to blindly let Him lead.