I Don’t Want to Worship God

I never expected it to happen.

But yet when I saw the phone call from my mom come up on my phone, I knew. I got up and left work and began shaking before I could even make it to the car. I’ve never felt such shock, anger, disbelief, and grief all at once.

It wasn’t true.

This is a dream.

I shouldn’t have been driving because I was shaking to the point on not being able to keep my hands on the wheel.  The only words that could come out of my mouth were, “Are you kidding me?” over and over.

This was a sick joke.  God, all powerful and mighty, seemed to sit at a distance as my family began to unravel. I walked into my apartment and began hyperventilating and pacing back and forth.  I couldn’t breath. I couldn’t think straight.  I didn’t know who to call or where to go.  Over and over, I just kept yelling, “Are you kidding me, God? You are seriously going to let this happen right now? After everything we’ve done? You’re just going to sit there and let this happen?”

Over and over, the thought that God’s not real kept coming at me.  As I was crying out, I remembered a sermon from Bill Johnson where he shared a story from when his dad died.  In the must of grief and confusion, he decided to worship God because never again will he be able to offer a sacrifice of worship from a place of such brokenness and confusion.

That story kept coming to my mind as I thought, “I don’t want to worship you, God.  I feel like I hate everything about you right now.”

That’s the thing about worshipping God in the midst of disappointment and grief.  When you’re not in the middle of it, it sounds romantic, but living it out requires sacrifice and humility.

I knelt on my bedroom floor, body shaking and vision blurry, and I forced myself to bow before Him.  I’ve never experienced such a tension, in the spiritual and physical realm, but I knew that I didn’t want to give the enemy any room to make a place in my heart. I laid shaking.  At the core of my being, I knew that there was something that I’m not understanding on this side of Heaven.  That’s the thing about pursing God in the midst of disappointment and grief.  In theory, it reads romantically.  But living it out requires great sacrifice and humility.

Since Abby passed, my heart has been torn.  I don’t understand why God didn’t heal her here on earth. I never will.  I don’t want to just begin saying all the things expected of a Christian to say like, “God is good” because I don’t honestly feel like He is good. Not right now. So I’m in this tension of allowing myself to express and experience my feelings without stuffing them away, but not allowing them to necessarily be the truth in my life.

I feel angry.

I feel sad.

I feel betrayed.

I feel confused.

I guess this is one of those life defining moments where I get to choose where I want to go from here.  I can either partner with bitterness, or I can partner with the truth.

Right now, I don’t feel like God is good. But I’m giving Him permission to prove me wrong.


If you liked this post, you might also like Miracles Don’t Exist.


To the Mother of a Sick Child

Life throws us through different seasons and experiences that as a child, it never even crossed your mind that you may have to face.  Little girls often dream of being moms as they “play house” and they tote their baby dolls around as they care, console, and feed it as if it were really a baby.  Nap times and bed times are given as they are gently placed in their little toy cribs and a sense of urgency comes over them as it’s “feeding time” approaches. We cook and bake for our babies in our toy kitchens that reek of plastic and our future dreams all at once. Our make-believe husbands are likely a rendition of our dad or the prince on our favorite Disney movie…which is essentially the same thing.  We fall in love with our little toy baby and our make believe husband and we live in a world where the sun never sets and the flowers never wither.  We continue to give all our free time to this little plastic, $15.99 doll that has been entrusted to us.  Even before our sense of logic has fully kicked in, we just know that our lives were meant to care for the lives of others.

Suddenly, those little girls grow up and gone are the days when life is just pretend.  The little girls turn into big girls who have their very own kitchens and big girl beds.  Prince Charming may have eventually came around except you don’t exactly live in a palace and birds don’t come to your window each morning to braid your hair. Despite a few detail changes, your life still blossoms into the dream life you experienced as a child, especially when it comes time to have a child of your own.

But what happens when your little girl dreams fully come to fruition, your very own baby arrives into your life and the baby you’ve prepared your entire life for is sick?  What happens when you spend hours in labor only to have your baby taken from you and given into the care of dozens of nurses and doctors that you have yet to meet? You see, this part of life was never displayed for us in Cinderella.

For the last five months, I’ve had to watch my sister live this scenario out.  In her daughter’s 5 months of life, she’s had to watch the baby she’s always dreamed of fight for her life on a daily basis.  Every day I watch her not only care for her toddler, but also travel to the NICU each day to see her precious baby, I am reminded of the power of motherhood.  There are sadly many who are walking or have walked in her shoes, and this is what I would say to each one of them.

1.  It’s not your fault.  You didn’t do anything wrong. You don’t have any “hidden sin” or curse over your life that has caused your baby to have to go through this.  In a way, that would probably make it easier if you could trace it back to something you did wouldn’t it?  As you begin to recount every second of your pregnancy and try to comb through every food you ate, word you spoke, or move you made, remind yourself that you did the best that you could.  Give yourself the grace that you deserve.

2.  This isn’t God’s will.  I can’t think of anything less comforting than being told that it’s God’s will for your child to be sick and suffering.  I am sure that you have lost count of the number of people who tried to encourage you by saying that this is “God’s will” for you to go through this but hear me when I say that there is no other person who hurts more than you in this moment than God.  When Jesus walked the earth, He assured us that he came to give us all life and life to the FULL.  That applies to your baby too.

3.  It’s ok to be angry.  Life isn’t fair.  A child having to suffer isn’t fair. It’s infuriating.  A mother having to watch her child suffer isn’t fair.  It’s infuriating.  Don’t allow guilt and shame to rear their ugly heads in your heart and make you feel as though your feelings of confusion and anger make you any less holy. God’s love and grace can handle your questions and your anger.

4. It’s going to be ok.  Right now, your heart feel so beaten down and broken.  Every day you wake up praying, pleading, and hoping that today is the day your baby gets  miracle and every day that passes where that isn’t the case, your heart aches a little more.  Nobody knows what the future holds and I wish with everything in me that I could snap my fingers and give you your miracle.  But I know that you are so immersed and covered in the goodness of God right now.  It’s okay if it doesn’t feel that way. Just know that it’s the truth.  There will be a day when you will feel His sweet presence once again.

5. You’re a hero.  God painted a beautiful picture when he decided to send his son to be sacrificed.  He knew that of all the things we experience in life, the suffering of a child is far beyond any other pain.  You are a living example of the love of God.  Every day you fight for your baby, you prove that there is nothing that love cannot conquer.

To the mother of a sick child, you are loved. You are seen.  You are going to be okay.


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"Miracles Don't Exist"

Earlier this week I received a phone call from my mom who was upset because of news she had regarding Abby. Within two hours, I was standing at the airport with a ticket in hand bringing me to Miami. 

I’ve always had a tendency to allow fear to overtake my mind when faced in a crisis. I was given a brilliant imagination which at times can torment me if left unmanaged. The entire flight, I fought tears both successfully and unsuccessfully. After 17 hours of travel and only an hour and a half of sleep, I finally got to meet my beautiful niece, Abby. 

She was beautiful. From her light blonde hair to her tiny toes. She resembled so much of both her mother and her father. She was perfect. 

Except she wasn’t. 

Her tiny body attached to tubes, needles, and chords as a ventilator helped her breath in and out, all of which stands as a reminder that God hasn’t yet healed her.  

Anger, joy, resentment, fear and adoration all flowed through me as I looked into her incubator and openly began to cry. 

I reached my hand in and touched her frail, yet strong body. My heart ached as I wished I could take her place. 

It isn’t fair. A newborn having to fight so hard to stay alive. 

Throughout my visit that day and the next, I would touch her sweet face while I’d pray over her, talk to her, and sing to her. I’d tell her how strong she is and how I can’t wait until she can go home. I told her Bible stories of Jesus and how he healed every person he came into contact with. I sang worship songs that declared God’s goodness and faithfulness over her. 

I would pray. I’d stand firm and declare that all sickness must leave. I’d ask God to heal her. I’d beg for him. Then I’d just stand in silence and stare at her. Wondering if God was even listening. 

Then I heard it whispered ever so softly to me, “miracles don’t exist.”

I admit, I wanted to agree with it. My mind began to race as I thought about how I just spent four years in ministry school learning about the healing powers of God.  I’ve witnessed miracles myself and have even seen a crippled mans leg grow out right before my eyes. Where is that power now? What if miracles don’t exist anymore? What if it’s just the luck of the draw for us? Why after 4 years of ministry school can I not help save my niece?

I then remembered a quote that I’ve heard Bill Johnson say multiple times. “Believing a lie empowers the liar.”

 In that moment, I knew I had a choice. I had power to give away and it was up to me if I wanted to give that to the accuser or the Redeemer. 

Abby has already been a miracle. To deny miracles would be to deny the very reason she is with us. I looked over her body and watched her chest go up and down…up and down…up and down and I knew I was witnessing a miracle. I looked at Abby with tears streaming down my face and said “Let’s choose Jesus, sweet girl. You’re going to be healed.”

We don’t always get to choose what happens to us, but in those moments we still always have a choice. I can’t wait for the day when I can tell Abby about the time I flew hundreds of miles to see her and how she helped me choose Jesus. 



Waiting for Your Miracle.

It’s been quite a while since I’ve found myself face to face with this blog questioning everything I want to say.  But, considering it’s currently 2am and I’ve been unable to sleep, I figured I might as well try to put words to the thoughts that I am processing through.

10923769_10152988233794323_5446572697794115515_nThis is my niece, Abigail Elizabeth Andresen. She was born in January at 27 weeks old. The last few months have been a rollercoaster of emotions ranging from despair to joy to fear to peace to the unknown.  I find it difficult to put into words the emotions that arise within me every time I think about Abby and the impact that she has had on my life already.

I admit that in the past, I have sadly  seen people post pleading for people to pray for a premature baby, whether it was theirs or a family members. Although I would normally say a prayer in my heart, I found it hard to connect or really take into consideration how they were feeling because after all, it was only a baby and not a grown child.  How asinine a thought.

In reality, it’s hell.  There’s really no way around it other than you feel like you’re in a whirlpool where at any moment it could change or switch directions on you completely and with no warning.  I hate that every time I see a call or a text come through from my mom or dad that a wave of fear comes over me that something could be wrong.  I feel like a failure for being unable to help or be there for my sister during what has been one of the hardest seasons that she has had to walk through.   I dislike having to wrestle with God and admit to Him that I am afraid of being let down. That I’m afraid He won’t come through in the way I want Him to.

We are so used to being in control and having the answers.  If we feel sick, we take medicine.  If we don’t like our job, we find a new one. If we want a fresh start, we move.  In most situations we face, there is some sort of process that gives us a general idea of what our next step should be.  But what about those times when there is no set process? When there isn’t a person you can call who can direct you on what to do next or a remedy you can take to make it all better?  Those times when you just drive in your car in silence because you don’t have any more prayers that can be said?  When you lay in bed with the words, “Jesus, please” on your lips.

“Faith” is an easy word to say but the most difficult word to live out at times.  But I suppose that’s the beauty of it…the process of living it out.  As I laid in bed tonight, I began to ask God how He does it.  How does He have the strength to see the people he loves go through pain and heartache every day?  I know that he’s God and I am completely unable to fully understand even a fiber of his being, but gosh, I just feel like that would be exhausting.  I whispered, “How do you do this everyday without your heart breaking into a million pieces?” I quickly heard back, “It does.”

I don’t know why Abby’s lungs haven’t been fully healed yet, but I have to believe that there’s more to the cross than we can even comprehend as believers.  I have to believe that despite what happens here on earth, our promise was healing.  Our promise was life.  Our promise was eternity.  I have to believe that there is so much more beauty and life ahead for us.

We have to believe.  Sometimes it’s as simple and heart-wrenching as that.



Life Lessons I Learned in 2014

2014 was a hard year.  Oh trust me, it was beautiful, amazing, and serendipitous all in a way that revealed to me how gloriously involved God is in my life.  I had more moments in 2014 where I experienced the power and gentleness of God than any other time.  I met and created beautiful relationships with beautiful people and traveled to mysterious and wondrous lands.

2014 was my year. But gosh, was it hard. Instead of trying to make some poetic story out of it, let’s just get right into it:

1. People come and go. I know, I know.  So stereotypical, however I think 2014 was the year where I experienced this the most.   Sometimes I think that as you grow more healthy and become more aware of who God created you to be, there is also a painful pruning process involved.  People that you thought were on your side turn out to have different intentions. When you grow to become more secure, they become threatened because they depended on your insecurity to make themselves feel better.  I learned that as painful as it is, it’s vital to let those people go. It’s going to hurt, but I think that’s a good sign.  It means you allowed yourself to love.

2. Honesty is not valued by all.  I learned that it is not my job to make people tell the truth.  I learned that no matter the age, social status, or claim of religion that gossip still runs prevalent for some.  I learned that despite having a value for justice and wanting the truth to prevail, sometimes silence speaks the loudest.

3. Security is something to be stewarded.  Protecting our minds and our thoughts is absolutely vital to our wellbeing.  I am not sure at what point, but somewhere along the way in 2014 I began allowing old mindsets to try to take their root again.  Insecurity, fear of rejection, and fear of people began plaguing me and since it took me a while to  catch on, I sometimes feel like I may never find my ground again, but little by little, I do.

4. Nothing is impossible.  You can do anything you set your mind to.  I learned this after eating an entire jar of almond butter.  I’m not proud.

5. Never allow yourself to eat an entire jar of almond butter.

6.  God is more invested in my dreams than even I am.  Last December, I felt the Lord tell me that 2014 was going to be the year of fulfilled dreams.  At first, I thought he was referring to the dreams I had settled for, not realizing that he was aiming for the dreams that even I couldn’t allow myself to believe in.  I learned that when your dreams begin to come into fruition,that it is important to keep your heart focused of the giver of the dreams and not the dreams themselves.

7. LACK is Heaven’s number one hated curse word.

8.  Shame grows in silence.  As I mentioned earlier, I found myself caught up in insecurity and I have a tendency to create a catastrophic nuclear war that even King David and all his mighty men would not want to tackle if given the chance that takes place between my own two ears if I am not careful.  I get caught up in the “woe is me” mentality and think that everyone hates me and I dread being in public for fear of my appearance.  If I allow myself to stay in that place, it just continues to grow and grow.  Once it gets revealed, it almost immediatly loses it’s power.  Vulnerablity gives people the ability to speak truth into the lies you’re believing.

9. Sometimes, no matter how hard you try, you just cannot keep up with the Kardashians.

10.  Your past has no say over your future. 2014 was filled with moments when I would just pause and wonder how I got here.  If you had told me five years ago about everything 2014 would hold for me, I would have never believed you.  I think that is why I find the story of the thief on the cross next to Jesus.  He spent his life as a criminal, but just one look at Jesus and a few painful words off his lips and his entire life was redeemed in a moment.  God isn’t looking for the qualified, he’s looking for the heart postures.

Thank you, 2014, for growing and challenging me in ways that I didn’t know possible.  You will always be a year that is deeply treasured within my heart.  Here’s to 2015.


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To All Girls Watching the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show…

The holiday’s are upon us once again which means our homes are now surrounded by Christmas lights, our Instagram feeds filled with #paleo #glutenfree #grainfree Christmas desserts, while our Facebook feeds covered in pictures of adorable children dressed as angels or shepherds.  Amongst the Christmas cheer every year, we kick it off with a good ol’ fashioned lingerie show known as the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show.

Millions of people tune in every year to witness undeniably beautiful women gracefully strut up and down the runway with their flawless figures and windblown locks.  I completely understand why they are called “Victoria’s Secret Angels” because they are captivating in every sense of the word.  Everything from their makeup, their hair, and nails have all been primed and perfected.

This show tends to stir up controversy and I’ve already read numerous blogs and articles that present themselves as revealing some earth-shattering secret as they list all the ways that these girls aren’t, in fact, perfect.

They have fake hair!

They’ve been airbrushed!

They’ve been on restrictive diets and can only eat 1 carrot a day!

Most of these articles are then somehow linked to other articles published by the same blog site with titles like “Get long, shinier and thicker hair in 2 weeks!”…”5 ways to diminish the appearance of cellulite” and “How to lose 10 pounds by Christmas.”

Do you see the irony?

I admit, I used to watch this show and found myself becoming angry because I felt that it promoted negative self-image and gave people an unrealistic idea of how a woman should look.  I often made sarcastic remarks like, “They don’t look pretty, they look hungry!” or “I wonder if they know what a sandwich tastes like” and my favorite “REAL women have curves.”  (Which is funny because I’ve never found an official definition of a real women being a certain jean size.” I thought that these remarks were coming from a place of concern until I realized that they were coming from a place of insecurity.

You’ll never make yourself feel better by tearing down some body else.

Here’s the thing, regardless of a person’s sphere of influence…whether they are cat-walking on a stage in a literal 1 million dollar bra or walking down the street in a t-shirt on clearance from Target, body shaming is never okay.

I think that the VS Angels would be the first to admit that they don’t go about their day to day lives with a Brazilian blow-out and in 5 inch heels and yet we feel as if it is our duty as women to point that out. We make it our job to point out how they are not “real women.”  That comment in itself invalidates the very point you are trying to make.  On on hand you are saying that you don’t want to be measured by your size and/or weight and then you try to validate your argument by using size and/or weight.   I find it interesting how we can be so cruel to our own kind.  I’ve never heard a group of women making comments about men saying, “He’s just way too fit.  Real men have beer bellies!”

You see, they are girls just like the rest of us.  They have family and friends that adore them because of their personalities and hearts.  They have goals, hopes, and ambitions for their futures.  They have days where the only cure is a night with pizza, chocolate, and The Notebook.  They’ve lost loved ones. They’ve fallen in love. They’ve had their heart broken.  They’ve laughed until their stomach hurts.

They are “real women” not because of their body shape but because of the life they carry within.

This is just part of their job and the fulfillment of a dream that many of them have had since they were little girls.  Since I am a person who has crazy outlandish dreams to the point where it’s embarrassing, I just cannot be okay bashing someone else’s when theirs comes to fruition.

So to all the girls who may find themselves watching tonight’s fashion show, I pray that you feel secure enough in yourself to not tear someone else down.  I pray that you don’t go to bed feeling bad about yourself, but rather inspired by knowing what’s possible.  I pray that you can recognize another woman’s beauty without losing sight of your own.

Let’s rise above.  We are all in this together.

Victoria's Secret Fashion Show, Lexington Armory, New York, America - 07 Nov 2012

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Life After an Eating Disorder

Two years.

730 days.

Countless Prayers.

More tears than I would like to admit.

More dreams awakened than I knew possible.

I’ve come a long way in two years.  If you had told me two years ago that I would be recovered from bulimia, I wouldn’t have believed you.  I would want to… oh how I would have wanted so badly to believe that I could be free from this monster that had stolen everything from me.  But I wouldn’t.

But isn’t that the beauty of who Jesus is…we don’t always have to believe.  God’s redemptive power isn’t dependent on our believing.  Thank goodness for that.

Someone recently asked me what it feels like to be two years into recovery.  The first year was this high of overcoming obstacles and I felt as though I was sprinting this ridiculously exciting and crazy whirlwind of a race.  Every day felt like a victory to be celebrated.  It was beautiful and thrilling.

Going into year two was a bit different. I had already known I was free from the bulimia, but now I had to learn how to live again.  I had to learn who I was apart from the eating disorder.  I would be lying if I said it was easy, because it was not.  I still had hard moments where I latched onto the belief that the way I look is directly related to who I am and who I am called to be.  I had to begin weeding through my life and removing the things and the people who depended on my insecurity to make them feel secure.

It sometimes felt like I was learning how to walk again.  The first year was about experiencing a new sense of freedom that I never knew existed and now I had to learn how to sustain it.

I am so thankful for the patience of God.

I often times will go back to this blog post I wrote a little over two years ago on a bulimia recovery website to remind myself go how far I have come.  It brings me to tears as I remember so clearly the moment in which I had written these words with tears streaming down my face.  I remember feeling I had lost all hope but thinking that maybe…maybe I could still have a chance at life.  Maybe this wasn’t the end.

 June 1, 2012

It’s been 10 years. 10 years ago I was an insecure 16 year old who was lost in this new world of bulimia.

I wish I could go back and tell that little, precious 16 year old girl that she was okay…that she didn’t need laxatives or to throw up to get rid of the food. That she didn’t need a diet, a gym buddy, or just motivation. I wish I could go back and tell her that there is no shame in enjoying food. I wish I could tell her where she would find herself in 10 years if she didn’t say no.

You see, I never thought I would end up here. I thought that once I lost weight then I would be able to not obsess over food. But no matter my weight, size, or appearance…it’s always there. It’s always lingering, taunting me like “You can look away but I’ll always be here.”

Sometimes I make it through the entire day eating healthy and I feel like I’ve conquered the world! Then I crave something sweet. Okay, just one cookie is ok. I deserve it. It won’t hurt. This is recovery. Then one cookie leads to two. Two leads to three. Three leads to all the cookies. Then ice cream. Then left over pasta. Then peanut butter and jelly. Then granola bars. Then panic. That’s when I walk in the bathroom, lock the door behind me, turn on the faucet, and then stare in the toilet. Sometimes I look at my reflection and pray that I’ll see Jesus’ face. Jesus, please…just show me your face and I’ll be free forever. I stare hard trying to make my eyes see something that doesn’t ever appear. Stalling. I don’t want to throw up. But I have to. So it starts. My eyes water, my stomach constricts and I begin my routine. I try to measure with my eyes how much I throw up and try to match the things coming up with what I ate. I throw up until it’s all gone or until I can’t throw up anymore. At this point, I cry out to God and repent. But most times, I repeat the process within a few minutes. I can’t control myself. Something else controls me. When I look in the mirror, I look tired. Even in pictures I feel like I don’t look like myself. When I smile in pictures, I look to see that it’s only a slight grin. I’m afraid that I have lost my looks.

I’m 26. I want to get married someday. I want to have children. I want to record my music and reach out to people. I want to go to lunch with my friends and meet for coffee without thinking of anything other than the people I am with. I want to be able to look my parents in the eyes and have a normal conversation with them. I want to be able to be around them without feeling ashamed and angry. I want freedom. I want to walk in the promises and the destiny that Jesus has laid out for me.

Satan laughs every time I fall into his destiny and his dreams for me. But I plan to turn the tables. I plan on being free.

I wish I could go back to the girl who wrote that and tell her of all the exciting and beautiful moments that she was about to encounter.  I would tell her that no one is out of the reach of God.  That not one of her tears has gone unnoticed or unseen.  I would tell her that life was just about to unfold.

I remember pleading with God to heal me and promising if He healed me, I would give my life to seeing other girls get set free.  I can’t help but speak about the reality of freedom because I once was among the ones who believed that it couldn’t possibly exist on this side of Heaven.

But freedom exists…It so beautifully exists and I am honored to be proof of that.

 Fairy tales are more than true: not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.”  Neil Gaiman

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Do I Have Faith?

Sometimes I wish I had to ability to drive up to Jesus’ house, knock on his door and ask him a few questions.  I’d ask Him to explain why things happen the way that they do.  I’d plead with him to show me His perspective.  How does this work out in the end?

I know that nothing is beyond the sight of God.  Nothing goes unnoticed.  Sometimes that brings me peace and other times it frustrates me when I fail to see how He’s moving.

But that’s just the thing about faith.  When I see a person standing before me, I don’t need faith to believe that they are there.  Faith is born in the moments when I don’t see.  I don’t hear.  I don’t feel.

In those moments, I have a choice.

Am I going to believe?

Am I going to have faith that just because the air around me feels stale, God is encompassing me?

Am I going to have faith in those moments when the only thing louder than the silence is the beat of my own heart that God is actually working on my behalf?

Will I believe that He who promised is faithful?

I don’t believe that faith denies reality.  Faith gives us the ability to look at what feels like a painful reality and say, “you do not define my future.”

Faith is power.

“I remain confident of this:
I will see the goodness of the Lord
in the land of the living.
Wait for the Lord;
be strong and take heart
and wait for the Lord.” Psalm 27


Sometimes Fear Tells the Truth

I found myself sitting in a  busy Starbucks, overflowing with new students from all around the world who were just exploring the uncanny world of “coffee dates.”  It’s like this unofficial rule that before you can hang out with anyone, boy or girl, you first have to go to coffee with that person where you have awkward conversation revolving around topics like how you got to Bethel, what your biggest dreams are, and Africa.

As I eavesdropped and people watched, as I so gloriously love doing, I was quickly brought back to my first few weeks here in Redding.  It was a nightmare.  My housing fell through two days before arriving, my beloved Volkswagen Beetle decided to take a little expensive nap (the transmission died), and I had lost $500 due to what one could call a housing scam.  The day I arrived, I remember walking to this same Starbucks in the Redding heat wondering if I had just made the biggest mistake of my life.  A lot of my first year was spent walking (because RIP VW Bug) to either Starbucks or the Prayer Chapel where I would lay in silence as thoughts of fear and defeat swung at me.

I had no idea why I was here.  I had only recently learned of Bethel just the year before and I couldn’t fathom how I was going to make it out of first year alive.

Throughout that year, I began understanding the differences between what fear spoke and what truth spoke.  Whenever I would begin spiraling down that path of worthlessness and confusion, I began taking those thoughts captive and saying, “I will not partner with fear.”

That phrase became a sort of a walking stick for me.  I would learn on it when I needed strength and use it to combat anything that tried to attack.

So, fast forward and now here I am.  Sitting in the same Starbucks listening to the new and fresh students share similar stories of their journey here.  Honestly, I was eavesdropping more than I normally would and I wondered why I was avoiding what I was there to do.

I had gone to do some writing and research for a book that I am helping someone write.  Every time I would go to write, thoughts would begin flooding me,

You’re a joke.

You’re not even a writer.

You’re completely out of place.

You’re going to fail so badly and she will regret asking you to do this.

I sat in front of my laptop, tears beginning to fill my eyes as I allowed fear to give me a brief history lesson on my past.  Just five years ago I had wanted nothing to do with the church and I spent all my time partying and entrenched in bulimia.  What made me think I was qualified to be sitting next to someone whom I have so much respect for and be helping writing a book on health and wellness?

I wiped the tears from my eyes and did a quick look over around Starbucks to see if anyone had noticed.  It was then that I realized that I had just allowed myself to become a victim to fear without even realizing it.  I sat for a moment as I began gathering my thoughts and couldn’t help but laugh (to myself. I didn’t laugh out loud because people would surely talk about me).  I recited my go-to phrase in my head, “I will not partner with fear” only to quickly hear God say back “Partner with the promise.”

You see,  fear was right about something because the truth is that I’m not qualified on my own to be doing anything great with my life.  If God was fair, I would be living a sad and hopeless life as a punishment for sin. But God isn’t fair.  In fact, he’s so unfair that despite spending years of my life running away from him, He chased after me with uninhibited passion.  When he finally caught up to me, He didn’t send me to time out.  He cleansed me and looked me in the eyes and said, “Now, where were we? Let’s make your dreams come true.”

Sometimes the enemy will use what seems like the truth against you.  But God is the ultimate truth.

Don’t partner with fear.  Partner with the Promise.



A Conversation with my 13 Year Old Self

As most of you already know, I’ve been in recovery and free from bulimia for almost two years now. Prior to that, I spent well over ten years abusing my body day in and day out and I’ve since been on a journey as I discover all the ways my body still has to heal from the past.  I recently was able to go see a Dr. regarding some issues I was having.  For the last year, I’ve been unable to lose weight despite all my efforts.  I even got a group of girls together last summer and created a 30 day fitness challenge.  Being the competitive person I am, I was sure to never once miss one of my six-days-a-week hour workouts and I never indulged in any cravings aside from my “Sunday Funday” meal once a week.  I even would workout twice a day just to try to take it to a new level.  How much weight did I lose? Zero. Along with not being able to lose weight, I also have been exhausted, overly sensitive, and nervous and yet unable to sleep.

Emotionally it’s been draining especially when old thinking patterns from my past have been haunting me so I was very relieved when I was able to see a Dr. and learn that I am not crazy, but there is just leftover healing that needs to take place in my body.  As he was listing off what he was finding (inflamed gallbladder and liver, under active thyroid, fatigued adrenals, tired pituitary gland), I was brought back to the seventh grade when my PE teacher made me watch a documentary about eating disorders after I broke down in the school hallway over a picture I saw of myself. The documentary told the story of a young girl who wanted to lose weight and became anorexic.  After years of struggling, she finally recovered but was now living with the aftermath of the disorder and was dealing with a variety of health issues.  I remember watching it and since the disorder had already found a root in my heart, instead of helping me it only made me jealous that she was able to successfully starve herself and I was not.

Fast forward 15 years later, I am that girl in the documentary.  The years in between now and then were not nearly as glamorous as the disease had promised me it would be but instead filled with tears, hospital visits, and a tired soul. I drove away from the Dr. thinking about that 13 year old girl who just wanted to be skinny. Just wanted to be loved.   I wondered how my life would be different if I had never gone down that path. Would I be more successful? Would my dreams of singing have actually come to pass? While I don’t believe in living in regret because God has a beautiful way of redeeming and crafting together our pasts with our futures, I do wish there were some things I could have said to that little girl.

1. Skinny doesn’t equal happy. It’s so hard for us women in today’s society to actually separate the terms “skinny” and “happy” because we are flooded with messages everywhere from TV commercials to instagram to pinterest that equate happiness with thinness.  The truth is, skinny girls still get their hearts broken. They still have bills to pay, jobs they don’t love, pets that die, and friends that betray them.  They don’t get a free pass on the circumstances life presents them just because they can rock a pair of tiny New Religion jeans.  Happiness is self-created and it begins within your heart. 

2. Beauty is not a pant size. Nobody even knows what skinny is.  Everyone has a different definition of what skinny and beauty is. Open any magazine and on one page they are praising a celebrity for all the weight she’s lost; then on the next they are praising an entirely different girl for her “take me as I am and i’m not a size 0” attitude! You cannot and will not win in this game because beauty is a heart posture and not a pant size.

3.  This road will break your family’s heart.  I can’t quite put into words the looks on your little sister’s faces when they see you for the first time since you went into rehab for bulimia.  It’s a look of confusion, excitement, and sadness all at the same time.  They won’t be able to understand why you abuse yourself and you won’t be able to provide an answer because it’s become so much bigger than you had expected.  It’s beyond what you know to control. It will cause strife between you and your parents and your siblings.  Ask for help. It’s okay.

4.  Eating disorders are not glamorous.  They lie to you from the very beginning by making you think that the attention you will gain from it will be fun and exciting.  Magazines throw out accusations of eating disorders towards your favorite pop stars and actresses like it’s a trophy or prized possession.  Trust me when I say that it’s a trophy that you wished you never had to fight to get.  It comes with countless nights alone in the bathroom, lying to the people you love, and it may cost you your dreams.  It’s not glamorous. It’s destructive.

5. It’s never too late.  No matter how engrossed in this disorder you may feel, you are never too far gone.  I know that I just made point number 4 sound extremely depressing and dark (which it is, don’t get me wrong) it is however never without hope.  Your own self abuse cannot separate you from what Christ did on the cross which already gave you your freedom.  Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

As I sit here and think about the little girl who was and the girl that has become, I know that there is so much more that I would say to her but nothing more important than the simple word “Grace.” If you or someone you love is battling with an eating disorder (or any addiction), grace is the most valuable gift to give to yourself or to them. Grace to fail. Grace to succeed. Grace to be.  That’s what I am choosing to give myself as I continue this healing journey.  I hope you do the same.


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