Nineteen

Sitting in the sand with my legs drawn to my chest and my forehead pressing on my knees, I wrap my arms tightly around both legs to not feel so lost in this big world.…and I think of this road I’ve been on with the eating disorder. It has truly been longer than any road I could have ever imagined traveling. And although the walls life built aren’t as high as they have been in the past, sometimes I have a hard time opening them to let God in. I need Him in. I can hear the waves with their loud rush, and I sink down a little more as the tide seeps closer and the sand progressively grows moist. Occasionally, I lift my eyes just above my knees to peek out at the amazing waves in their confidence rushing toward me. Water, when doing what it is created to do, is beautiful, and so are we. I am more familiar with obeying the anorexic voice in my head than the voice of Jesus, and I’m tired of trying to do better and get better and be better. I want to give up. As I sit in the sand longer, I realize that I don’t have to stay balled up in this posture of safety, and I don’t have to be ashamed of my progress just because most people will never get it. But I also know I’m not brave enough to heal alone because that means gaining more weight, and I’m scared to.

I tilt my head to the right… and there He is…sitting next to me, and I can feel Him all around me and in my heart. He never leaves and He “gets” me. He totally gets me. I ask Jesus to scoot closer because I hate it when I can’t see hope or progress. Because He knows my thoughts and sees my heart, I quickly whisper under my breath I will do better, in fear He has lost hope in me too. But Jesus never ever leaves.

He never leaves. When I shut Him out because I think my addiction should be gone or because both the mental and physical struggles can be so misunderstood, He stays. I can try to be invisible, but He sees me. But when I am not doing as well as I think I should with all of the eating, my thinking, and being a friend who desperately wants to be a normal friend, I do not know what to do. Can you identify at all? It doesn’t have to be the same struggle or addiction. Where are you in life with whatever you may be fighting? As we sit together a little longer, He begins to breathe His truth into my life and says, "Surely goodness and love will follow you all the days of your life," and my heart softens a little more toward Him. "I am compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love.” (Psalm 103:8) He is like no other. "…I love those who love me.”(Proverbs 10:12). I am not alone in this relationship.

For the past 7 years, I have worked with a nutritionist to learn the truth about the nutrition in food. I’ve worked even harder to replace the lies I have believed about food with God’s truth – lies I had acquired or been taught for more years than I can say. I really hesitated to tell you how long I’ve needed accountability and help with this. But while I cannot choose or control people’s response to my life, secrets are toxic, and living the truth is freedom, even though the road can be quite rocky. With each lie I have believed about food, there is a memory it seems, so it isn’t so easy. And while the eating disorder and depression are relentless in their efforts to take my life, my heart is to absolutely live for Jesus at each stage of my recovery, even if some days I start out with my head unable to lift as I sit in the sand, so disappointed in myself that I can barely breathe.

So, what does the number 19 represent? It’s the number of actual servings I need to eat in a day to gain any weight. I know. But when I started out, I ate 3 items a day, so my body has needed a lot of nutrition to survive, not even counting what it needs to gain muscle and fat. I know you may be thinking that you would love to eat 19 things in a day and maybe even then not gain weight, but with all I’ve shared with you since September, please think again. In my mind, the number 19, might as well be the number 50. Both are just huge. This is a concrete goal my doctors use to help me know I would have to eat A LOT for many days to gain weight. This helps me realistically realize that I can eat and enjoy quite a bit of food and be fine.

In Jesus’ love for me, He takes my hand to help me up because it’s time to live in His truth and leave the fear alone. And as I stand, I keep my head down , which I do a lot in His presence. He takes His strong nail scarred hand and lifts my head to where we see eye to eye, and says, remember, “I am the lifter of your head, Stacee.” (Psalm 3:3) I love Him. I absolutely love Him. When I am so down and defeated and cruel to myself, it is not because He has taught me to be. He absolutely does not expect this, actually it breaks His heart. My conversations with Jesus may vary in how they show up in my mind and heart from time to time, but I’m so thankful for them. In the past, they did not happen at all. I stayed in the “I’m so done” place of death. Healing has been a process, and so has been my relationship with Jesus. Knowing Jesus has become my ultimate goal, and He wants that for you as well. He is the lifter of our heads, and He will become so much more as we continue to learn and stay the course.

What is your posture towards Jesus right now? Do you have something before you which seems impossible like my 19 servings seem me? My prayer is that you will stand up out of the sand with me and develop this amazing relationship, with one wall at a time going down as you let Jesus in.

Father, I have so many walls, and I can be so disappointed in myself that I don’t want to keep trying to get better. I’m sorry. Thank you for your promises which you so patiently impart to me when I try to condemn myself in this healing process. I love you and pray for every person who is in a fight far beyond what they can handle. You understand, even if others may not; please help us to not hide in our sickness out of fear and shame, but to bring these things to you as our Healer. Thank you for today and for all you have planned for us if we allow you to lift our heads up to see. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Love to you -- Stacee