Shattered Magazine

It’s been such a privilege to work with Shattered Magazine! Our prayer is that this article will reach those who need to know that wherever they are on their journey, it’s okay to accept that God is right in the middle of it. Since our Father is Sovereign, we can believe He is in control.

Please read and share this article with those in your life who are facing any struggle at whatever stage they may be in. Thank you so much!

In Due Time

Sometimes…just sometimes... don’t you wish God would say to you, “Everything is okay; so just hang in there!” I’ve been going through a time of just being over things. Over trying to eat my whole meal plan, over trying to fight the depression, just tired of my daily regimen. Our oldest daughter is a junior in college now, and our youngest daughter is in her senior year of high school, and I’m hanging on for dear life to not miss one single thing. I’ve missed so much in the past because of sickness, and while I don’t feel great, I can’t give in to the enemy yelling that I need to miss more because I’m just not on my game. Food issues are so lonely and clinical depression could care less about all of the amazing things going on in the lives of those who struggle with it. They are both beasts, but God is bigger still.

I feel like this is one of the main reasons I haven’t been in contact with you lately. I want to be honest, but still “up” and encouraging and giving you so much more than I’ve had to offer lately. But God has been talking with me about this actually being the perfect time to write to you. After all, my prayer is that my posts aren’t only about this path I’m on, but about God’s love for you and me, and about the hope He alone can give to us in spite of where we are.

In the midst of this season of my life, the Lord remains faithful.

Are you surprised when this same thing happens in your life?... Shocks me every time! This is because I rely on my abilities more than I rely on Him so often. I’m so relieved that I’m wrong about this lie. I’m so relieved that He already knows about the seasons of our lives before they even come to pass.

Here’s a breath of fresh air worth taking in. “Do you not know? Have you not heard?  The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary and His understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow  tired and weary and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” Isaiah 40: 28-31.

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Thank you for not putting hope in anything I do or in how I feel. I can’t afford to either! The glory belongs with God.

Are you "over" things right now on your journey? It’s okay! Seasons like this are part of life and as long as we are staying in the Word and learning and trusting that God only has us here in this place “for such a time is this,” it will pass.

So, look at this. Because of God’s love and adoration for us, He DOES say through his Word…”Everything is okay and just hang in there.” And better still,  if we are too tired to hang in there, let us let Him hang on for us.

"We please Him most, not by frantically trying to make ourselves good, but by throwing ourselves into His arms with all our imperfections and believing that He understands everything - and still loves us."  A.W. Tozer

Breathe, my friend, allow Jesus to love on you. Let's take in His words of hope. This time of the struggle will pass in due time.

Love to you!

Stacee

Hey! Please watch for exciting things to come through Speak Out Loud! In spite of where I’ve been in life lately, God has been hard at work to reassure me that He has “plans” for my life, just as He promises He does for each of us. Be looking for our updated web page and posts! To make sure you don’t miss it, we will send out a date, so expect  to see it soon!

Our First Question

There once was a man who was born blind, according to John in chapter nine of his Gospel.  Why would this happen?  More specifically, why would God let this happen? God’s Word applies to our lives…forever. The story of this blind man is very close to my heart and helps me greatly in my acceptance of where God has me in my life right now….. and in years past, and possibly in the years to come.

Recently I spent time with my friend Mackenzie. She encouraged me and reminded me of this story– a story I had tucked far away in my mind because it’s easier to blame myself for my challenges, than to accept that this path…this road…is God’s very best work in me.

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People, by nature, are often “fixers.” It’s difficult for people who love us, to stand by and watch us suffer and hurt and struggle.  We want to know “why” in order to make sense of the problem and subsequently make things better.  We crave peace, and we want to “fix” what appears to be the problem so that we/they can experience relief.  It’s unintentional selfishness.  We want to believe that we know what’s best for ourselves and for others. Jesus’ works are miraculous however. When healing this blind man, Jesus spit on the ground, made some mud with the saliva, and put it on the man’s eyes. “Go,” he said, “and wash in the Pool of Siloam.” So the man went and washed, and came home seeing. Crazy amazing!

Prior to his healing, this blind man had been sitting at the gates of his city begging for money. The community around him was toxic but typical. He was one of the embarrassments to the town, and yet God had a special plan for His life. Even Jesus’ disciples had a misperception of the blind man’s problem. They assumed there had to be explanation, a reason, which would explain this man’s affliction. “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” (John 9:2)

I can be so hasty to say things in my head about the disciples as I read this. Like, “Why would they assume anyone did anything wrong?’  When things that should go right in our lives go flat out wrong, what is the first word from our mouths? “WHY?” You know what I’m referring to. I do it too! We question God and wonder why He would allow difficult and sometimes horrible things to happen to us. Look at this. Jesus uses this story to show us the purpose saying, “Neither the man nor his parents sinned, “ Jesus said, “but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life. As long as it is day, we must do the work of him who sent me…” (John 9:3-4)

What more of an answer could I ask for?

You may ask how this story relates to our stories when maybe we haven’t experienced total healing? My friend…hang in there. God sees us, and He adores you and me.  He knows the type of healing which will keep us close to Him and that’s the goal. THAT’S THE GOAL!

I can blame myself and almost drown in guilt and embarrassment because I think I must have done something wrong to be challenged with anorexia and depression for so many years.  Why am I still struggling? Why don’t I do better and fight harder so that I can be well? Why haven’t I been “fixed?”

This story of the blind man poses the question to my mind. ..a question which does not come naturally to me. I have to really focus and ask God for grace for myself and peace of mind so that I can accept the thought that I am not sinning in these areas. Anorexia is a mental illness, as is chemical depression. New use of the word, “why” can now enter. Why not face these challenges that are in my life? What if I didn’t sin and as a result have these struggles? What a relief! I can’t stay stuck in the stickiness of why I haven’t been totally healed! It’s too much! But what I can focus on is HOPE!

Jesus said that this man was blind “so that the work of God might be displayed in his life.”  My story and your story are not over. Regardless of what point you and me are at in our struggles, God’s work can be displayed in our lives. So I’m in! I’m all in! Sometimes we just can’t live for the end result. Sometimes we have to live for the promise that our lives have purpose. The Jesus I’m learning about and desiring a deeper relationship with isn’t into cruel jokes, although I used to believe that lie. He is into blowing peoples’ hearts wide open with the work of His Father! “Why” is a very tricky word in our limited minds, indeed, but in my mind, this story helps to answer the “why” to my limited knowledge.  The answer is…God.

What I Want You to Know

I am forever writing notes on topics God gives me to share with you. It’s not uncommon for me to write these ideas on my hands, gum wrappers, receipts, napkins, and the list goes on! I can be in a movie or at my kitchen table praying for you, and I’ll have to start writing as soon as I can get to my computer so that I can share my heart with you. God means for us to draw near to Him and sometimes “huddle” together and learn in the midst of our problems and trials.  We teach one another. I am frequently asked what it’s like to have anorexia and fear the effects of the very sustenance which keeps me alive… the very thing God made for us to nourish ourselves. It is so hard to explain, and I often fumble over my words when trying to describe a meal or day to someone. Though I live it, so many don’t, and they struggle to understand the fact that eating disorders seek to end lives.  I’ve never been ‘called’ to convince others that this mental illness exists. I don’t have the energy to, quite honestly. But, I do feel like God has called me to inform you about what I have learned and am living.  I am one who knows eating disorder and chemical depression, and I know the path He has me on to healing.

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I was recently intrigued me when my youngest daughter showed me a post of things which I believe to be very true about eating disorders. Unfabricated yet not understated truths. I guess I’ve hesitated to continue to share because I never want to over stay my welcome in your life about what I deal with on a daily basis. I know you deal with such important things, my friend, and sometimes there is a gap in understanding when we so badly want to “get” each other. It’s less lonely in our community when we gain knowledge and truth about one another. Having prefaced this information with my heart’s desire, here are “9 Truths About Eating Disorders That May Surprise You”, according to the National Eating Disorder Association from early 2016. “Knowledge is power”, so let’s look at these facts.

Truth No.1: Many people with eating disorders look healthy, yet may be extremely ill.

Truth No.2: Families are not to blame and can be patients’ and providers’ best allies in treatment.

Truth No.3: An eating disorder diagnosis is a health crisis that disrupts personal and family functioning.

Truth No. 4: Eating Disorders are not choices, but serious biologically influenced illnesses.

Truth No. 5: Eating Disorders affect people of all genders, ages, races, ethnicities, body shapes, and weight,  sexual orientations, and socioeconomic statuses.

Truth No.6: Eating Disorders carry an increased risk for suicide and medical complications.

Truth No. 7: Genes and environment play important roles in the development of eating disorders

Truth No. 8: Genes alone do not predict who will develop eating disorders.

Truth No. 9: Full recovery from an eating disorder is possible. Early detection and intervention are important.

Without knowledge, it’s so easy to misspeak innocently. We mean to speak in love, so give others the benefit of a doubt and know their heart means well. So, what do we say? None of us fully know the magnitude of another’s struggle, but I can speak to what I’ve been asked frequently concerning one who has been in inpatient eating disorder treatment and inpatient treatment for depression.  With both, consider asking how the person is that day. Fighting a battle is one moment, one day at a time…nothing more. More is too much. Tell them how courageous they are for fighting their battle.

With eating issues, try to steer clear of external comments about appearance. It’s too sensitive and the person wants to believe they have more to offer than their appearance, especially when one has had to gain weight and then live in a society that desperately strives to lose weight. Some anorexics and bulimics will never get to exercise again after treatment and the re-feeding process. Moderation just seems impossible, so exercise abuse is common. Therefore, exercise is often not a part of the life of someone with this history. It’s tough! Putting on “nutrition” and feeling like this new body is foreign, then knowing you can’t handle moderate exercise to tone the new body, is stressful at the very least. At times, even limited exercise is one of the reasons for relapse. Sometimes the body has just undergone too much abuse for extensive exercise. This is my reality currently. So again, physical comments to an eating disorder patient, more than not, sends a different message than the friend intends and you as the friend will not be able to dig them out of the emotional spiral that appearance words may trigger. Man. It’s tough, isn’t it? We all mean so well but sickness makes words translate differently. My mind easily gets lost in translation. Be patient! Your words can be like a healing balm with just a little guidance from those God puts in your life, and from God Himself. He always says the right words.

The more common of the two is depression. Words of godly affirmation may seem to not be received well, but I promise you that it helps and it is truly the opposite of what my mind is telling me. You can only do so much, but the biggest word of advice I can give to us, is to not give up on someone who is desperately trying not to give up on himself. Encourage the person to be consistent in getting their professional help so that you can stay in friend status. Example, a lot of my days, a strong hug is so healing. I go through life feeling like I’ve got a bad “sunburn” emotionally, and the depression and anorexia want to steal all God has for me like someone “poking” my sunburn all day. Hugs and words of encouragement about the hope and future God has for me are hopeful and soothing. It takes love and character to handle struggles with courage and integrity and obedience. Recovery isn’t perfect! God chooses to look into and love our hearts, especially when we seek Him. Even in the midst of your own fight, seek to encourage another. This is one reason why I write. It’s just not only about me! I try…most days, to trust that as I reach out to others, that He’s taking care of me and mine. Ask God for His guidance, and reach out. Finally and personally, when a friend says nothing to me, I feel invisible and I don’t need help with that. I’m trying with all the strength God gives me to be present. Remember my verse? It’s a great and bold one to share because it evokes a commitment, “I will not die, but live, and will proclaim what the Lord has done.”( Psalm 118.17) 

Let’s ask God to give us words of hope, and the courage to be in one another’s lives.

Thank you for letting me share my heart. Thank you for hanging with me in this while I qualified the reason behind sharing this writing. I just never want to belittle you as my friends, on whatever path God has you and me on. This format of post is atypical for me, but God wants us to lift each other up as we learn more about one another.  We are not ignorant people! We just need some direction to reach out, especially when we have no idea where to start.  I sure do! God has had this on my heart… and this is what I wanted you to know.

Love to You!

Stacee

Highly Unlikely

Grab your coffee, and I’ll grab my Diet Coke, and let’s sit together for just a few minutes. Part of living in community is sharing what’s on our hearts, which is a joy of mine that, as long as given the privilege, will love so much. I care about you and want to use God’s truth, not my interpretation of it, to gain God’s perspective on you and on me. David , who was a young shepherd boy, defeated a literal giant named Goliath. He found favor in the eyes of God and became a great king with many problems, lust being one. Nevertheless, He was chosen by God although he still suffered consequences from his actions. If you would have known him, you might’ve thought he had too many issues to lead a country in mighty ways.   He was a great leader only because of God’s mercy in his life and by the power of the Holy Spirit. David was a man who was “highly unlikely” in the eyes of man to be used by God, but he was used in incredible ways because of the Lord.

Peter, Judas, Matthew, and Thomas were just a few of Jesus’ disciples.  Man, they were “different!” It’s easy to think of them as being so holy because they were Jesus’ chosen understudies.   Peter talked too much and just couldn’t seem to keep his foot out of his mouth. Thomas doubted Jesus even after seeing His power demonstrated time after time through miracles - miracles we choose to believe in faith since we weren’t there to actually see. Then there was Judas. You know him. He voted for Jesus to be crucified, yet he knew Him personally. Furthermore, Peter,  on the eve of Jesus’ crucifixion, denied Him exactly three different times, just as Jesus foreshadowed.  Devastating, yet I can identify with each of these men and so many others including women of the Bible. Can you allow yourself to identify with any of these people? It’s humbling to do so yet necessary to learn and grow. Levi, who was later renamed by Jesus, was a businessman, chosen by Jesus, to follow Him. We call him Matthew. He didn’t bear the title “minister,” but that just didn’t matter.  Random people who were put together to fit together and follow. “Highly unlikely” men who were not likely to be chosen, yet they were.

God is in the business of using those who others may overlook, or judge, or cast aside. I am the wife of a former minister who has extreme difficulties with putting food into my mouth in order to nourish the body God gave me. It’s a sickness, a mental illness. I didn’t plan it or merely want to be skinny, and so stopped eating.  That’s simply not how it worked for me.   I wake up in the morning praying and never say, “Amen” until I lie down at night, yet the chemical in-balance in my mind creates depression so I can be “down” when I have the best life I could ever ask for.  Some side effects of my medication have hurt my body, and I have hurt my body by choice because I have felt I deserve the pain.  Wrong.  And yet Jesus looks on me and lives in me and has mercy on me and lets me speak into your life because I love Him and want to follow Him and obey Him and show you Him so that you can experience His love and forgiveness. I am trying. “I am strong, but I am tired” is a quote a friend recently sent me. God knows you and I get tired of who we are and what we do and the hurts our issues cause. I am “highly unlikely’ to be used by Him perhaps by man’s standards, but He uses you to give me hope because you read and share your hearts with me and others, and I thank you.  The praise and credit is God’s. Our Father uses our weaknesses to show His strength when we let Him.

You may feel so insignificant you can barely breathe. I understand, my friend.  So does our Lord.

God makes beauty from ashes. You know this because I’ve told you before, and it’s Scripture. It’s okay to acknowledge where you are. You must in order to realize how precious God is. Today, read this familiar word from God aloud with me… ”For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know this full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be” (Psalm 139.13-16).

No one who makes a difference in the eyes of God does so because of who they are.

He knew this of David…of Peter…of Thomas… …of you and of me, and in His eyes, you and I are actually… ‘highly likely’ because of Him alone. You and I? We are the righteousness of Christ.

Jesus himself is the best example of not being a likely candidate to hold any power or attention here on earth yet it makes me cry to think of how He came, He lived, he died, and He rose. To those here on earth, He fit no stereotype of The King, yet He was. “Highly unlikely?”  Most definitely. That is, to everyone but His Father, but He is the only one who matters.

No matter what you have done or had planned to do, let God treat you as you were created to be treated in spite of you, and because of Him. It’s okay! Lean in on Him my chosen friend, and walk in the truth of you being “likely” to speak into another’s life.” Likely” to have integrity in the life God has given you.” Likely” to thrive because of Him.  Don’t wait to feel worthy. Come to Him now…just as you are.

Love to You,

Stacee