“You are worth saving, Stace”… were the words a precious friend said to me while I was sitting on the back porch looking out over the balcony through tall trees thinking about my recovery. I was discouraged and pretty much disheartened. I needed those words from someone who knows me and cares about me while away for a few days on this much needed trip. It was late when we concluded our conversation, and I felt safe with those words, but my thoughts went from her saying these simple words, to me picturing Jesus saying them to me. I have these words written on my hand often now. The trees were high and full, so I could only see a short distance, but they were beautiful. Lately, things have become much more “real" with my eating disorder treatment, and thus, the reason for the much needed talk with my dear friend. I don’t know…I just hoped I was further along. I’m tired and a different course of treatment has been introduced to me with great encouragement to get on board. In other words, its crunch time and whether I feel tired of this road I’ve been on or disheartened by my lack of progress, I need your prayers to embrace what I need to do…eat more and pray that my organs will accept and digest the nutrition. Focusing on the truth is definitely where I need to be mentally by the end of this post, so please, humor me as I work through this because one of the things we have learned over the past months is…that the more I share my life with you, the more determined I am to get better. The more I share Jesus with you…the closer to Him we can all draw.
So, our family loves to be in and around the water with the perk of hopefully adding some healthy pigmentation to our paper white selves. I love to watch the tide as it comes and goes in its beautiful strength as we play and test its abilities. The morning after the phone call from this sweet friend, Doug and I went kayaking. While our girls were at youth camp, we had gotten away to Seaside, Florida, a place our family has grown to love. It’s our place to play and rest. I am not much help with the paddling right now, but my guy had it all under control as the waves were long and high from the shore all the way to the sandbar. With each wave, the boat would lose its place for a moment, but Doug would paddle deep to make it past one wave and on to the next. The spray of salt water felt so refreshing as the crest of the wave would flood over our faces and bodies as we went against the flow. I just closed my eyes as my sweet husband got our kayak further and further away from the shore…further and further away from my worries. Closer to God and His creation. Wet with the picture of His love and mercies pouring over His kids as we were going against the flow and seeing Him.
Doug has a great rhythm in his paddling, much like I see in his daily life when I think of it now. One wave at a time, however not denying there are more waves to come and fervently preparing for them. Our boat was much too small to be more aggressive. As a wave would take us to a new height, we could see the sandbar eventually getting closer and closer, however, from the shore, the sandbar didn’t look super far to begin with! To pause in his rowing for more than a moment would mean kissing the shore so there was no turning back for us! Finally and thankfully, we got to the stillness and plateau of the sandbar, and the paddle was still.
Going with the current takes very little effort. It’s the "against the flow" which can seem so difficult and, without a moment’s notice, you can lose the shifting ground you knew you’d passed for sure. I’m not much for the shore, and that’s good because my battle is more commonly in the waves. I know I’m not alone in this. Right now I’m having a hard time getting a clear view of the sandbar. I’m disappointed in where I am. My thoughts of hope can be drowned out, and I can’t see what’s to come.
As I feel overwhelmed by the talk of needed weight gain, and by the enemy trying to stifle my desire to bring hope out of the darkness of each of these battles, I want to say, “hey!!! but wait!! I’m afraid of gaining more weight! I’m afraid of all that this means! What if I get too hungry, and I eat too much and 'feel' too much and ask for too much when I’m more comfortable not taking at all!” See? Do you see why I need Jesus? :) I get afraid. But when I cannot see where I’m going, Jesus grips my heart and holds on tight to me and reminds me that He SEES. And that, my friend, is when I have to, and you have to, have faith that He is steering us to the sandbar. Faith…believing without seeing. That’s faith.
“In my weakness, He is made strong” (2 Corinthians 12:10). Friend, He is my only hope, and yours! He is my encouragement and your encouragement. I belong in the water right now, working this out and relying on Him to show me where to go. And no, I can’t exactly paddle right now. Without God and without faith, I’m sunk. But please look at this with me, “Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love Him” (James 1:12).
I love Him, and I choose to live. This is written on my mirror right now, just in case I forget. He wants me here and knows exactly where I am. He knows the same of you. Please persevere with me.
The enemy yells that I have no place to encourage you because I feel a little waterlogged myself. So, let me encourage you!… "HE who began a good work in you will be faithful to complete it until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:6). Jesus isn’t the sandbar in the ocean, however. The sandbar isn’t the goal but merely a reflecting place to rest. He’s the very Creator of the whole ocean, and the sun that shines on the water to give us hope. I am not only looking back on recovery... I’m walking it with you. I am not looking back on the mercy God has had on me… I’m receiving it as we go this road together. I can continue to offer you Him and His ability to sustain and breathe life into us every moment of every day.
I love Him, and where I am isn’t because He is disappointed in me. He runs to me…to you… and shows me more of Him. Whether it is speaking to you or writing to you, communication…not silence, has become key to my fight, and the struggle at its strongest becomes more faint and the hope becomes more vivid. Waves from the shore are harmless. Get into the water and live whatever that may look like in your life today.
“What can wash away my sin? Nothing but the blood of Jesus. What can make me whole again? Nothing but the blood of Jesus. Oh precious is the flow that makes me white as snow. No other fount I know, nothing but the blood of Jesus.”
I pray for you and need to tell you that… "you are worth saving”. I cannot offer you what I wish I could. I wish I could tell you I’m almost finished with my recovery. I want to be one of the 3% who is totally well. And I will be. But it will be in God’s timing and that’s okay. It’s okay because I’m learning what I have never ever been willing to take in. “You are worth saving, Stace.” I am worth saving, and the verdict can’t stay out on that in my mind and in my heart any longer. My body isn’t up to the ebb and flow of that decision being based upon how I feel about myself anymore. Those days are over I am told. The price I pay is getting higher, and the waves are getting higher. I’m not going to ruin anything, except the enemy’s schemes to kill me, when I keep fighting to live.
“When you pass through the waters , I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I Am the Lord your God…” Isaiah 43:2-3
Jesus! Please carry us, and encourage all who read these words because of You and Your love and mercy and grace. Thank you that nothing I share is based on me being good at getting well. I praise you for where I am right now. I thank you for where the precious ones who are reading these truths this day are. You are so much more than enough. Thank you for absolutely giving us the opportunity to choose faith in You. What a gift! You are our Truth. In Jesus name give us strength to persevere. Because of You, God, and because You absolutely adore us…we are worth saving whether we can paddle and row from where we are right now or not. You’ve got everything under control. Everything. Praise be to You God. In Your Powerful name we thank You, Amen.
I love you, Stacee