Surprise blessing… x3!

God is constantly blessing me beyond what I deserve. This weekend has been no different. There are three ways in particular I’d like to share, all stemming from situations I felt would go the opposite way.

Friday was a rough day. I woke up late and wasn’t feeling well. I went to my first dietitian appointment (she is fabulous, thankfully!) and had three lectures before finally eating lunch and crashing in my room. I was weak, had a headache, and so exhausted that I decided I couldn’t go to Chaos Night. Immediately I felt a pang of guilt for not going home that day since I only stayed to go to that event. I late got over that because what happened Friday night was so much better. My roommate and I went to dinner with another girl on our floor and then decided to have a study party in her room. Those two hours with them was the first huge blessing. We spent the time worshiping and sharing some of our stories and God’s greatness. Although I wasn’t quite ready to tell either them about the hard parts of my story, I felt God’s urging to do so. I fully believe that without our mini party the next blessing wouldn’t have come at all. My roomie and I headed back to our room where I got a very sweet text from J. I started bawling and headed to the bathroom to hide it. The tears never stopped flowing so she asked what was wrong. I was extremely reluctant. I didn’t know how to start. How can you really explain that you’ve dealt with anxiety, depression, self harm, anorexia, self hatred, etc for most of your life? I decided to just tell a little bit of it and exactly why I was crying that night. I explained that I was thankful for the fact that I was at college because just three weeks prior I checked into FV for eating disorder treatment and wouldn’t have lasted long there without the help. My roommate was so amazing about it all. She wants to help be a support any way she can. I went to bed crying that night because suddenly I was not alone. I had someone who knew, even if I hadn’t yet shared all the details. I had someone who cared and would help lift my spirits and anything else she was willing. God blessed me doubly that night.

Today was my third unexpected blessing. I woke up, terrified of heading to church for many reasons. I won’t get into the why’s of that, but I will tell you my heart was cold and walls were up. I wanted no part in it. I can’t remember the last time I went to a service without truly singing, writing notes, or opening my bible until today. I wanted to go straight home and isolate. Just as my family was leaving the sanctuary, a woman from our church pulled me aside. She’d seen my FB posts along with the small blurb in the prayer chain about me. She knew about the ED and treatment. I was really happy for her asking me how I was doing and all, but then she shared something I never expected: she had an eating disorder too. She mainly struggled in high school and college, but to this day deals with body image/self love/ED thoughts. We hugged and prayed. She even gave me her number if I ever need anything. I am not alone. I am so not alone and I have another support.

God’s plan is glorious, even when I don’t think any good can come of situations like this weekend. He constantly shows me how wrong I am to always expect the worst. He is faithful and He give us blessings where we never thought possible. I am so thankful.

HAPPY

I am happy, oh so happy.

I seriously have not felt this good in a really long time.

I think a lot of my happiness comes from spending 40ish hours at the church this week between youth group, Awana, preparing for the rummage sale, and actually working the rummage sale. I love my people there and it always turns a bad day good. It is wonderful to love and be loved.

I have also spent hours and hours in prayer and reading God’s word in preparation for my talk with the HS girls. I thought it would be hard to do this but it felt so freeing! It’s real about my struggle but it also has a positive spin on all the things God has blessed me with from this disorder. Anorexia sucks, it really does. I am already seeing the many ways that my life is for the better after having this illness, however. I know I wouldn’t be a youth leader now. I wouldn’t be as close to God as I am again. I don’t know what my life would be like without having suffered. I wholeheartedly believe that He is using me and my story for His glory. It was not easy to go through at all but I am glad I did. It’s weird and wonderful all at the same time. Overall I am super excited to tell my story next week. I feel so good about it and I know these girls will be receptive as well.

Another reason for happiness today is I reconnected with miss Dani! She commented on my instagram post about telling the girls, so I decided to reach out to her via text. I am so glad I did. We talked for a long time and shared wisdom of God’s love and plan for both of our lives. It was just like old times again. I want to continue talking with her. I have no doubt that we can become closer again.

I was slightly disappointed today because youth group was cancelled (although I was exhausted and mentally wiped from the abuse seminar) but then Rick texted and said our HS lock in will be this Friday. I am super excited for this because I think it’ll be a great time to grow closer and get to know the girls before I have the serious talk with them. It will be a night of fun of course too!

I am not letting anything get in the way of my happiness this week. I have class all day tomorrow which will be tiring but manageable. Tuesday is therapy with Jenny and I am feeling much more positive about it than last week. I also will show her my outline for the talk with my girls and go over that. My chem lecture after it will be boring but not too bad. Wednesday is another long day, but it will be great because A) Christian fellowship club (Rick is coming this week!) and B) Wednesday night Awana at the church. Thursday is nothing other than resting probably and Friday is the lock in. Then Saturday I’ll sleep and Sunday is church and the girl’s outing/telling them. Also hoping to meet with Rick/Kim before then to chat about it. Overall it’s a busy week but in a good way. Busy helps me stay away from Ed and being with church kids/people is never a bad thing.

I am feeling good about this week, good about recovery, and good about myself. Overflowing with positivity is a new thing but oh so welcomed.

I am a youth leader and I have an eating disorder.

I *should* be doing my “homework” from my early college dean – rating transfer schools – but instead I feel compelled to write this post, as I’ve had tons of jumbled thoughts since yesterday.

Yesterday was my first day being a youth leader for our church. I am helping Sunday nights with high school and leading the girl’s small group, then Wednesday’s I’m part-time photographer and also being helper for the middle schoolers. I am beyond excited to see how I can change their lives and just how God will work through me. 

An unfortunate part of having the eating disorder is that my eating and body image and thoughts are not exactly healthy all the time. There will no doubt be countless times where food will be around during youth group. I never want to be a bad example in any way to those girls, especially when it comes to body image or eating habits. Knowing that this won’t always be easy to do, it became clear to me I would have to let the youth pastor Rick know about my anorexia.

I put it off for weeks because it’s so hard to tell people. Last night before youth group was time. I told him all of my worries for negatively affecting the girls. We talked tons about how this has been for me and he truly cared about what I’ve gone through. I knew he would be a good person to tell, but his response blew me away. He was extremely receptive and supportive and nonjudgmental. I teared up in his office. He wants to be there for me however he can, both in prayer and in person. He will be that person to pull me aside if I look like I’m struggling. He even brought up one day telling my story to the girls in high school as a testimony, and I actually love that idea. If I can help even one girl to not develop an eating disorder I consider that a huge success.

Towards the end of our talk he said something that I haven’t stopped thinking about since. I had explained body image/self acceptance issues that go along with the ED and his response was, “I know you aren’t able to believe this right now and maybe you never fully will, but God does not make mistakes. You may feel broken and terrible, but He sees you as perfection. This disease or anything else will never change His love for you.”

It’s so hard to even consider that statement as truth. Liking myself or anyone, even God, loving me is such a radical belief compared to what Ed tells me. To him, I can never be good enough and perfection is impossible. In God’s eyes, however, I already am perfectly imperfect. Even as I type this now it’s astonishing. I really needed to hear that so badly because I get so caught up in Ed that I don’t take the time to even consider it.

Something I’ve noticed since telling first my college dean and then Rick about the ED is how it almost feels good. This terrible, shameful, embarrassing part of me I’ve hidden for so long is being exposed and while I do feel vulnerable and scared at first, soon after comes such relief. Rick and Erin love me and are there to help in any way they can. No one is forcing them to be supportive of me, they just are on their own doing. That is simply amazing. 

To anyone struggling with reaching out about your eating disorder or even other mental health issues, it is so freeing. Find that trusted adult or friend. I promise you it’s worth it.