MY PERSONAL TESTIMONY
I was a good kid growing up. My grades were mostly A’s with the occasional B. From an early age I was involved in performing arts and always needed some sort of “project” to work on. I attended church and listened to my parents until I reached 18 years old.
I began dating in high school as many teenage girls do. It was your typical high school romance – breaking up and getting back together what seemed like every 2 weeks. When I turned 18 years old I decided to move out of the house and move to another state with my high school boyfriend. We ended up getting married, except no one knew we had gotten married. After 4 months the marriage was over and on to divorce. I began to question my circumstances. You see, when I moved away and got married I was rebelling from God. I began to ask God a simple prayer: if this were the person I was supposed to have married, then allow us to work it out; however, if I had messed up, please let him ask for the divorce so biblically I could remarry. God showed up for me in this first serious prayer I can remember praying. (It wasn’t fun and games anymore like high school, this was real life and I had just taken the first step in the wrong direction.) Within the next 6 months, I was asked for a divorce and had gained my first step of faith in trusting God. I struggled in thoughts that I had failed God. My love for him was renewing itself. In areas where I could have cared less about pleasing God, I now felt feelings of shame for disappointing Him.
Looking back, I was trying to fill myself up with love. The side effects of this time in my life were long-suffering. Poor decisions make for horrible consequences. True love is so much more than Hollywood portrays it to be. The love I needed was a supernatural love.
With the divorce final, I it was time to make myself over both physically and mentally. I started exercising – normally 3 or 4 sessions of 30-45 minutes on a treadmill. Nothing over the top. What I didn’t realize was I was not eating – I had lost my appetite. After 4 months I was eating a piece of toast a day and drinking coffee. That’s it. I was wearing size 1 jeans and small shirts. “I must be doing something right!” I thought to myself. I loved the way I felt so I kept doing it. Others were praising how good I looked too! It probably took 8 or 9 months but eventually I surpassed the “looking good” point. My cheek bones had sunken, my collar bones were sticking out, my skin was disgustingly pale and I began to lose my hair. I would shower, and while shampooing, clumps of hair would be falling out. I can remember sitting on the shower floor crying. (Anyone who knows me knows I take pride in how I look as far as wearing makeup, taking time to do my hair, etc. I enjoy being well put together.) I had bald spots on my scalp where no hair existed anymore. I had no definition or shape to me, only skin that hung without elasticity.
Looking back, I was trying to fill myself up with looking a certain way. I desired to be noticed and to look like images of women in magazines. I became obsessed with how I looked in my physique. I kept trying and trying but even when I became super skinny – it didn’t gain me friends, popularity or a sense of fulfillment. It only gained me pity.
I finally admitted to having an eating disorder. I was very blessed because I had family who were pushing me to open my eyes. I was never hospitalized treated except by our Great Physician! I began eating again and WOAH did I suffer consequences from this. Reversing the eating disorder, I began to eat. Weight slowly came back on; but, as it came back I tried to maintain it by exercising. What began as 3-5 sessions of 30-45 minutes each turned into 5 days a week, at least 1 – 1.5 hours at the gym. I fit the gym in above everything else and at all costs. I pushed off friends, family, boyfriend, events, all that mattered was my workout. I began to punish myself for eating. If I ate fast food, I had to workout again. If I ate cake, I had to do an extra 20 minutes of running. If I ate cookies, I needed to do some extra abs. The process was devastating and exhausting.
Looking back, all I did was replace one issue with another. I didn’t fill myself up with what I should have. I didn’t love myself at all. Food is not our enemy and neither is exercise. I needed to realize moderation is how you manage these things.
MY FOREVER HUSBAND
In 2003, I started dating a guy named Shane. He was fabulously sexy, sweet, went to church, talented, had the cool car (and a really loud sound system), popular… everything you could ask for. In 2009, he proposed to me and in September of the same year we were married. God had sent me someone who was divinely set aside for me. God wasn’t mad at me for my former mistakes; but instead, forgave me for them and still blessed me with a lifelong husband. The right husband. There is no better feeling than knowing you are with the one person God set aside for you – and you only find this person when you are living in His righteousness. Shane is an exceptional man. He is a man I am proud to say I am married to.
Side note: When we do not live in His righteousness, we fall into our flesh. According to James 1 in the Bible, “But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.”
While I had a great life – fabulous husband, a house, an SUV, and all the trimmings, in my eyes I still looked horrible. Something was still missing. I would look in the mirror and see abs that were coming in, but a butt that looked massive. Some days my biceps were defined but my legs were three times the size they should be. My eyes saw things that were not there. I struggled internally with this for quite some time. No one knew except my family and among them, only those who picked up on it. I was a professional at plastering the “everything is great” face.
In 2010, I experienced the power of the Holy Spirit for the first time ever in my life. While at church getting ready for drama practice, my sister pulled me into “the loft” (the youth room). When I walked in, these kids were praying, dancing, shouting and surrendering their all to God. I was in a horrible mood as it was and I didn’t want to be there. Slowly, I could feel the Holy Spirit taking hold of me. My stomach was burning and I had a level of anxiety in me that was indescribable. I felt like I just wanted to scream. Before I knew it, I was on the floor crying. One young lady reached down and touched my stomach and began praying for me. She was saying things no one else knew about! She was praying for me to be delivered of this wretched issue and move on. I was stunned. How did she know? How did this 18-year-old girl know what I was doing in the dark? I’ll tell you how… the Lord.
Luke 8:17, “For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open.”
Mark 4:22, “For everything that is hidden will eventually be brought into the open, and every secret will be brought to light.
I fell to the floor and began shouting the words, “I don’t want this anymore! I don’t want this anymore!” Before I knew it I shouted, “I don’t want this eating disorder anymore!” It was over. The building pressure in my stomach was gone. My anxiety was gone. I went home and ate a doughnut for the first time without remorse. God had delivered me from my issue!
SEEING THROUGH NEW EYES
Today, I see that being so focused on my weight, or my image means I’m not focused enough on God. If I have time to dwell and worry about something then I am not spending enough time focusing on Him – because if I were I would know there is no reason to fear the unknown. My God delivered my body and mind from what I now know was body dysmorphia (also known as Body Dysmorphic Disorder). For me, it’s like anyone else with an addiction. Every day is a choice to make the right decisions. To choose to eat and not over exercise. I am one choice away from being back where I was. Every day is another day I get to thank God for hand picking me for Himself, carrying me in my moments of destruction and never giving up on me. He is still choosing to bless me! After 7 years of destruction to my body – He was my new body.
On August 17, 2011 I found out I was pregnant. A gift from God I never would have been able to receive had I continued a destructive path on destroying my body. How’s that for miracles?! Elijah went to be with Jesus around mid-October. I had a strange miscarriage which is chronicled in my blog. On December 24, 2011 I found out I was pregnant again with our daughter. She is everything we asked for and more. God literally answered every prayer we prayed over her, down to eye color.
I share my testimony with you because the Bible states, “… always be prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you (1 Peter 3:15). For more of my personal stories and to share yours (which I would love to hear) please visit my blog. I pray my openness is courage to you in facing your faith.