One Day More

Around the time I get to write to you, things sort of shift in my heart and mind from daily goings on, to being more mindful and thoughtful and I guess, in a way, solemn in my spirit even if I don’t come across as such. You see, sharing about my life in the victories and the struggles and the joy during the challenges, is just different than writing to you about the weather and I know you get that.  And I’m good with this because I feel excited to share with you. I feel so thankful that I get to write my truth to you and you not, to my knowledge, freak out!

It’s been awhile, my friend, since we’ve shared how we are doing…how our challenges are keeping us, more likely than not, on our toes, yet hopefully not ruling our world. I’ve missed this exchange, thus the reason for me reaching out to you. In other words…I’m still afloat! Are you?

Update:

Anorexia!!!!!  I’m exhausted of the daily regimen it requires of me to take steps forward or to even stay in the place where I am without digressing. Truly. I’m struggling both with my mind and the lies I’ve believed for so many years that they honestly sound and feel true, like my fear of eating when I’m full. I’ve known that my “full button” is broken and that if I wait to be hungry to eat, I won’t. My body looks bigger to me than it actually is, I am taught, because of the body dysmorphia that can come along with eating disorders in general.  But I forget that when I look in the mirror, and I get scared and tired of the whole scene.

I don’t know… I’ve been setting impossible standards for myself lately, my friend. I know you aren’t pressuring me to be anywhere but where I am. No one is, but I pressure me. Sometimes I have higher hopes, but this is where I am. So, do you know what I’m going to need to do whether I feel like it or not -because I do not.  Take a step forward…then another and another and not stop. I won’t quit. I have people who I can’t choose to disappoint another day.

You and I both know that a shift must occur, on the daily, to stay committed.  When the shift doesn’t occur, I don’t function.

So…what does this “shift” look like in my world? I’ve got to get up from where I am currently lying, that’s for sure. Somedays I give myself options and my depression kicks in and I choose wrong. I choose to sleep and not eat and then everything gets messed up…everything. Even while tying the sash on my robe and walking into the kitchen, I’ve got to be disciplined and pray against the lies of anorexia even then. Like…if I eat when I’m not hungry, that I’ll gain an insurmountable amount of weight. I’ve been taught this is a lie, and I know it is, but it still haunts me. To fight this, I’ll sit in the kitchen and eat one bite after the next of my breakfast.

Why must this be so very hard?

Because.  Because when I do things on my own, Jesus goes out of the picture of my life, and it becomes meaningless. And it becomes lonely. And I get lost and the world gets bigger than it already is and I lose my ability to tie the robe on that begins my morning process of fighting to live.  It’s about the next step.  I know that you can’t see me, but I can’t help but let a smile sneak onto my face right now because this part of my life never changes. And I’m glad. My focus hasn’t changed since we last exchanged stories. When all else seems to trick me, my focus still gets to be Jesus himself. And as he helps me eat, I find peace in the presence of my breakfast date. Then, my friend, I can breathe because obedience feels good and it is good. No matter what you and I face…no matter how hard things get, let’s always bring one another back to Jesus especially if we can tell we aren’t going back to him on our own. That’s what living in community does. “Fix your eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of your faith.” Hebrews 12:2

“I need thee oh I need thee, every hour I need the oh bless me now my savior I come to thee.”

- (I Need Thee Every Hour, Robert Lowery)

 I so hope you are doing well. Life is a precious process and you in my life is a tremendous gift.

Please know that I pray for you. Whatever your next decision may be in your day, know that I am fighting to take that next step right along with you!

Love to you,

Stacee

 

  

 

 

Thirsty

Even though I’ve heard this statistic numerous times, I forget that our bodies are made up of 70% water! Is there water in Diet Coke? If so, I love water! If not, I still have some plain old water drinking to do in 2018! Water helps us to not become dehydrated and helps our organs function. It’s so important! So, what happens when we don’t drink water? We get tired, dizzy, and crampy, just to name a few side effects. Knowing these facts alone should motivate me to drink more, so here’s hoping that happens! Really!

Are you ever so thirsty that you can’t seem to cure the parched sensation no matter how much you drink? I am on occasion, and I often don’t drink the liquid which will satisfy my body’s need for hydration.

Here’s the deal. I can thirst and drink so many other beverages to hopefully quench my thirst, but water is the very best way to hydrate and take care of my body.

There’s another type of thirst though – the thirst to fill up those empty places deep inside us. Jesus says He is the water to quench this deeper thirst - “the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life” (John 4:14). David, in the Psalms, says this to the Lord, “As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul longs after you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God” (Psalm 42:1). Have you ever been so thirsty that you can barely stand it? When I think of those times in my life, particularly of those time when in other countries where purified water was harder to find, I recall my desperation and how I would go to practically any length to quench my thirst. It’s a bad feeling! Comparably, shouldn’t that be how I search for and long for Jesus?

Just as water is for the body, so is Jesus for our soul.

I forget that Jesus encompasses 100% of our being. Is there anyone or anything that can replace him? I need to be spending so much more time with my Father than I have been because when I don’t, personally, what happens to me? I get more depressed, I cannot fight my eating disorder, I get easily overwhelmed and insecure. I make poor choices because I make them in my own wisdom. But perhaps one of the most devastating consequences when I am not seeking Jesus and thirsting for time with him is that no one can fill the loneliness in my life. He is the only one who can encompass and penetrate my whole heart and soul and walk this life out with me. He combats the lies that aim to paralyze me. Nothing and no one can replace Him, and nothing was made to!

I challenge both you and me to drink hydrating water to nourish and protect our physical bodies given as a gift for us to take care of. We’ve got to take care of ourselves. But, without a doubt, the most important thirst to pay attention to is our thirst for Jesus. Are we longing for anything to quench that thirst? If so, let’s go to God and ask for a longing for him and him alone. No substitutes will ever be as vital to our being.

Amazing parallels! To anything with a heartbeat, water is the key sustainer. To a Christian, Jesus is the only sustainer. So, isn’t it fitting that Jesus is the Living Water?

Big Announcement!

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I am so excited to finally get to announce that my new book, You Are Worth Saving, is now available on Amazon and at BarnesAndNoble.com!

You Are Worth Saving is more than a story of my ongoing journey of recovery from anorexia, depression and self-harm. It is a message of hope and encouragement for those who struggle to not give up, to look to God for help, hope and life and to begin to find a new way to live.

"I will not die but live, and proclaim what the Lord has done" (Psalm 118:17).

This is the story of my journey and my hope for yours.

Click here to order your copy now on Amazon or at Barnes and Noble.

In the Shadow of His Wings

PARDON THE INTERRUPTION while we are preparing to make an exciting announcement – but this is a new blog release!  Thanks for reading and sharing!

This computer of mine that I use to write to you had a thin layer of dust on it when I picked it up a few moments ago! What does this tell me? It’s been too long since I’ve connected with you and for this, I am sorry, but you have not been forgotten! Soon I will let you in on a project I’ve been working on these last few months which I pray will be helpful to you!

I have missed the honesty we share. I’ve missed the peace that comes over my mind when I sit and place my fingers on the keys and carefully put together words of hope to speak into our lives.

I have missed you, sweet friend. There has been a lot of “life” going on around here and my primary goal has been to keep up! I don’t want to bog you down with the details of what my schedule has entailed. You are busy too! But I do want to share what God has put on my heart because of how life translates in my heart, and my head, especially when my guard is down.

It’s been even more complicated lately. My mind, that is.

There are big changes going on at the Goetzinger house! They are healthy changes, and these changes show signs of growth, but somewhere along the time that our youngest daughter graduated from high school this past May, my mind went into “fight to not show too much sadness”-mode and I’ve had a lump in my throat. Our oldest daughter, Shelbee, is a senior at Dallas Baptist University this fall, and Rylee, our youngest daughter, joined her as a freshman in August. I am so excited to have them together again. They are a fierce duo once again!

This life has been nothing less than a privilege when parenting with Doug and raising our daughters. They are constant reminders of God’s grace. They have had to step up in so many ways and my heart breaks over this. But when I ask God to help me see things as He does so that I don’t well up with guilt, I can really see who they are. I see scars from this road which are being used to help them do more than merely get through life. I see compassion, and mercy and hope and life. I see joy and determination and two precious, thriving redheads who love the Lord.

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In the midst of these observations and thoughts of how things are changing, my mind has been working overtime, and depression, with glimpses of guilt, is trying to crash open the door to my sentimental mind. My guard has been down and I didn’t even realize it.

There I sat hunched over with my head down at the kitchen table. It was all I could do to stay in the chair. The plate my hair nearly met was empty, with the exception of a few bite-sized portions. Our little redheads were running around getting their plates full of yummy food - yummy to them. Snaggletooth smiles and hair bows and glittery shirts had stopped long enough to wait for prayer time, and I could barely look up to make eye contact. After I had sat there as long as I was physically able, I would slink back to the couch and go to sleep. I was too sick.

Unfortunately, insurance can still be a major hurdle for getting help and treatment for an eating disorder, failing often to fully see eating disorders as mental illnesses, and back then insurance was not covering the therapy and medical help I was needing. Treatment is outrageously expensive when you are broke!

This scene, this memory, this crisis, is what has been showing on the big screen of my mind pretty much non-stop, and I just cannot take it anymore. I’ve tried to watch it as if I’m not the woman in the saggy sweats kissing her kids before going back to lie down. I’ve awoken in the middle of the night soaking wet to this featured nightmare. I’ve felt guilty. Unfortunately, this is not the only frame to this movie of memories that I’ve been seeing.

Naturally, time has passed since these scenes originally played out. And now, I sit across from two beautiful young ladies. Two gifts who share the same smile and blue eyes and bear a strong resemblance to me. I can’t help but rejoice. But it’s as if my mind is split down the middle like the hair on the head of a 60’s kid. There is sheer joy mixed with a simultaneous “screaming” behind my eyes that only the Creator can help me defuse. At these times, I FINALLY realize it’s time to surrender. Surrender? Yes…give me a second to explain.

I absolutely can’t take my mind and my illness, again today, telling me that I was a lousy mom to the girls I desired my entire life. I can’t take hearing my mind’s voice saying again, “at least when I was that sick, I was skinny so give being that ill another ‘go’” … Relinquishing control takes strength and there is a beautiful surrender that comes in on a cloud of mercy from God as He helps me see and fight what is no longer acceptable in my heart…in my mind…in my life…in my home…in His presence. I have a habit of letting the enemy and anorexia and depression hurt me pretty bad before I call for help!

In this moment, I must stand in the shadows of His wings! His words protect us and it’s amazing… “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38-39). This is what I call putting up a fight!

I’ve been hurting and trying to keep my emotions inside! Trying to just swallow hard enough so that maybe these feelings would stay down. But they just grew and started to show up in my thoughts even as I slept.

Of all the things in my life, getting to be married to Doug and be the momma to my girls, are my favorite. Things are changing, though, and I’m needing to be strong where I was being complacent. I haven’t been fighting here in the middle of these changes. Here’s the catch… I’ve believed the anorexic pictures in my head were true, so I haven’t felt that I deserve to fight. But God gave us His words so that we can battle! It’s never too late to fight, my friend. The wars we must fight are not over until God says they are.

I don’t know about you, but I can’t live under constant attack. That’s a good thing! I can feel beaten-up, even though God is putting me back together from my allowing the enemy to take me apart mentally and emotionally over these last few months. I need to stay extra close to Him and read truths like ”Nothing can separate me from Your love, Jesus.” I’ve been pushed around and trying to swallow as to not make a scene, but now? Now? I’ve got to “put my dukes up” and maybe you need to also.

Where have your heart and mind been since we were last together? Have you been letting things from your past hurt you? Jesus knew we’d mess up friends, thus the cross. His sacrifice, the precious gift of Himself, and His Word to us free us from bondage of our thoughts, our mistakes, and our sin. The enemy can’t stand against His Word.

So, memorize this with me… “all of us like sheep have gone astray, all of us have gone our own way, but he has laid upon him the iniquities of us all” (Isaiah 53:6).

All day, when these hurtful memories start to come into my mind and grab my heart, attempting to make me feel like I’ve failed as a mom, I must fight! Promise me you’ll do the same! I can’t bear the thought of thinking you’ve had a similar experience as I the last few months!

Thank you for your understanding as I haven’t written in a while! In just a few weeks I will be making a very special announcement to you, so please be looking for what’s to come!!!

Love to you-

Stacee

Relentless

He left His Father and perfect home to come down to earth. He healed people, and He sat with those no one sat with and He forgave. He was misunderstood and judged and sentenced to death on a rugged and heavy cross. He died on that cross after a brutal beating, and He did not blame you and me. He knew what our sins would be, and He still rose again. He loves us and seeks after us. This is what I call relentless. This is Jesus. The word relentless is an adjective meaning to show intensity, strength; unrelenting (Webster dictionary.) It is persistent, constant, nonstop, endless. This is the description of God’s love for you, and for me, and no one knows us better.

God is persistent in His pursuit for the heart of His people. He is actively and tirelessly working in our world to seek and to save those who are lost. He never grows weary of being the only hope that is unshakeable.

This word, nevertheless, did not come to my mind initially today, in the context I just shared with you. I’d been making beds and putting stuffed animals in their specific spots, fluffing pillows, and listening to the enemy. He was yelling in my head about how disappointed God must be in me and my life and, without knowing God, I would have easily agreed with his lies.  It’s awful though! This kind of relentlessness God never intended for anyone and yet the enemy schemes like this in many lives.

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As I sit with and listen to others I realize this relentless emotional abuse from the enemy can be status quo.   I want more than anything, to experience God in the way He intends because He is intense about us and I’m getting there. But I can be relentless toward myself and the truth is, I can forgive others who may have been negative toward me and yet not forgive myself.  It’s a tough way to go about the day, isn’t it?  And yet many of you can identify, if you are honest with yourself and with God.

I forget that God is not disappointed in me for struggling. I forget that nothing can separate me from His love. I forget that He died for me too, knowing I was going to hurt through an eating disorder that is so controversial and depression that is so conflicting. It can be devastating and yet God does not leave.  He is anything but confused about who I am in Him.

When Jesus came to earth He was fully God and fully man. He had the same temptations we experience, but He did not sin. He knew, nevertheless, that given the same situations, we would sin. The fact is, we need to know that He has gone through pain, joy, anguish, laughter, love, and death here on this earth in order for us to trust Him…to identify with Him.  If He wouldn’t have, we would’ve said that He just doesn’t understand what we face…what we experience. Because of our sin here on earth, we need His forgiveness. It takes down the wall between Him and us and puts a wall between the enemy and us so that there is peace and life. His death on the cross is our life. Because on the third day He rose again, we serve a living and breathing God that is relentlessly seeking relationship with us.

So…when the enemy is yelling at us, what’s the plan? Go to where Jesus is. He is on the high road, and we are to join Him there. The other path leads to sin and death. But He is eternal life. “…I have called you to live ever so closely with Me, soaking in My presence, living in My peace” (Jesus Calling).  Don’t you want that? I do, but a life of turbulence can feel so much more deserved and therefore comfortable. This should not be! I need to always be on a different path as a follower of my living God, and to go wherever He leads. This is relentless living! The opposite of relentless is apathetic and lazy - letting the enemy yell in my head and agreeing.

Letting Jesus set the pace in our race is trust. God’s word goes like this, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.”  Readers usually stop there, but check out the second part of these verses.

“Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all you heart. I will be found by you.”

Jeremiah writes this in chapter 29.11-14. This is relentless living!

Please join me in changing the meaning of this word to what God intends for it to be: seeking the truth without end and not letting the lies that seep in through quiet alone moments.   That, my friend, is a step closer in obedience. This is purposeful living which cultivates endless hope!

Love to you,

Stacee