Remembering the past can feel kind of funny. Funny in a scary way.
This story is a story not even my whole family knows.
A story I never shared publicly until this year when I shared it for part of a Surrender Stories series.
But God is the Hero in this story, and He deserves to get the glory.
So I share it. And I share it with hopes that it will touch and encourage just the right hearts that it needs to.
I remember his question exactly. The man in the lab coat looking at me as I got off the scale, under the bright fluorescent lights of the doctor’s office.
“Are you worried about your weight?”
I stood there a minute, dumbfounded. Did I hear him right?
I was 16. All my life I had been the small one. The peanut. The girl who still wore kid’s clothes sizes in 8th grade. The one who didn’t get her period ‘til she was 16.
In the six months since I had hit puberty, I went from around 100lbs to 130. I had also started cheerleading and worked out every day, building alot of muscle. But the curves were in all the right places, and so I hadn’t thought about it…
Concluding that I had in fact heard him correctly, I tried to push the lump out of my throat.
“Should I be worried?” I looked down at the thick thighs that had developed with lots of squats and weight lifting.
“Well, you ARE over the healthy weight for your body type…” He went on talking but I stopped listening. My head was spinning.
How in the world could I not be the skinny girl anymore?
All of a sudden, my self image, which had been in a healthy place my whole life, plummeted to the ground.
I walked out of the office feeling like the emperor with no clothes – feeling fat, feeling like everyone who saw me was thinking how fat I was, like I had just got clued into what everyone else seemed to know.
To made it worse, I had just started as a “flyer” in cheerleading, so I was conscious of the fact that the girls were lifting me each day.
I had grown up in a Christian home, but had only gotten really serious in my walk with Jesus a few years before these events. I spent time each day reading the Bible, praying, and writing in my prayer journal.
My eating problems subtly and sneakily crept into my life.
I would eat a bowl of ice cream, tell myself I had a stomach ache, and go to the bathroom afterwards and make myself throw up. It became so easy, I started doing it more often, after pizza, or anything I thought wasn’t healthy. All the while, I convinced myself I was just having stomach problems.
The months went on. No one noticed my bathroom trips. And more importantly, I didn’t notice that I had developed a serious problem. I was self deceived. While I was in the bathroom, if I thought for a minute about what I was doing, I would rationalize it away as easing my “stomach problems”.
One night I was laying across my bed talking to the Lord and writing in my prayer journal. The night sky was beautiful, and I was looking out the window over the dark rolling hills. As I was praying, I was thinking about my life and how it wasn’t really mine anymore because I had given it to Jesus.
I SO wanted to live for Him. I was so thankful He saved me and gave me relationship with Him. I sat there worshipping.
When all of a sudden, a question popped into my head.
“Whose body do you think it is?”
In that moment, I was struck with the truth that my body was a temple of the living God.
1 Corinthians 6:19-20 came to mind, Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.
In that moment God graciously opened my eyes to show me that I had a problem. If I had truly given all of myself to God, I couldn’t keep treating my body this way. Because it was His. And He loved me too much to leave me there.
If I had truly given all of myself to Him, I had to surrender my body as well.
Sometimes there are sins and problems that you get convicted of, and repent of, but the habit has a powerful hold on you. We all need help overcoming sin.
Knowing that, I called my sister, while the conviction was fresh, and told her everything. I asked her to check in on me, and ask me how I was doing in that area, to hold me accountable. She listened sympathetically and agreed to check in on me.
But God did an amazing work that night. Though I suffered for years with the physical consequences of my eating problem, I never gave in to that temptation again.
When I think about that time in my past, I rejoice in the loving, tender mercy of God. That He cared so much about me, and my body, to convict me of what I was doing. And to show me that He loved me too much to leave me in that depressing place.
Surrendered in His hands is the safest and most beautiful place to be.
If someone you know struggles with eating problems, please share my story. There is so much HOPE!
Last night, I woke up and couldn’t go back to sleep. Psalm 23 kept repeating itself over and over in my mind. I knew there was a reason God brought it to me, so this morning I opened it up.
With pen and notebook handy, I dragged my heart through the text asking God what He wanted me to glean from it this time.
The refreshment this Psalm brought me was satisfying.
And I just know that someone out there needs this encouragement too.
Maybe right now you’re in a season of plenty. A season of joy. You’re experiencing and savoring the blessings of God.
Or maybe you’re in a trial. You’re not on the mountaintop; you’re stuck in the valley wondering when (and if) God will deliver you.
Whether you’re in a sunny or a stormy season, these 3 beautiful truths from Psalm 23 will refresh and revive you.
First let’s quiet our hearts for a moment… and read the passage. Though it may be familiar to you, let yourself linger.
Psalm 23 The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
2 He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. 3 He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. 6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
1. The Lord Jesus Christ is our Shepherd
Isn’t it amazing that Jesus relates to us as our tender Shepherd? Maybe you don’t think of yourself as a sheep, but just pause and think of the analogy for a moment.
The Shepherd lovingly cares for His sheep. As Jesus Himself says in John 10, the Shepherd will protect the sheep from any danger.
Jesus cares for us so much that He promises to lead us to good places, restore our soul, and sanctify us for His Name’s sake.
I just love the word pictures here. Don’t you just imagine yourself there?! Don’t you walk away feeling soothed?
Green pastures – a good, fruitful place to rest. Still waters…beautiful, serene, meeting our thirst. And the loving Shepherd with us guiding us in His good ways.
Now pull yourself out of the picture for a moment, and realize that this is written for us.
Jesus is with us ALL the time. He desires intimacy with us! Now THAT just blows my mind!!! We constantly have access to our Savior. He is right there for us to talk to, seek counsel from, and enjoy at any and every point throughout the day. He never leaves His sheep.
As Jesus says in John 10:14, “I know my own and my own know me…” It’s an intimate relationship with Jesus himself leading, protecting, and loving us.
2. The Lord will never, ever, leave us or forsake us
When trials and temptations come, it’s easy to feel like God has left us. We wonder why we’re suffering and why we don’t seem to feel God’s presence.
But constantly God reminds us in His Word of two things – first that trials are from Him, and are good (James 2:1-4, 1 Peter 4:12-13); and secondly, that He NEVER leaves us (Psalm 37:28, Hebrews 13:5).
If you read verse 4 again picturing yourself there, it’s a very scary place to be. The valley of the shadow of death. The word picture here makes us think of the worst possible thing that could happen to us here on earth.
But the psalmist says he will fear NO evil. Why? Because he is strong and doesn’t need anybody? No!
Because His Shepherd is still there walking with him in that valley. He is not alone. And the Shepherd’s rod and staff show the Shepherd is still protecting us even in the trials.
No matter what trial we are in, God is still sovereign, He is strong, and He is with us.
As Charles Spurgeon said, “Remember this, had any other condition been better for you than the one in which you are, divine love would have put you there.”
3. The Lord is eager to heap abundant blessings into our lives (v. 5-6)
Not only does God meet our needs, but He also lavishes us with good things!! “Our cup runneth over”.
This is not a prosperity gospel point. I’m not saying God’s biggest desire is to give you material riches.
He pours goodness and mercy into our lives and gives us not only salvation from God’s wrath, but the gift of Himself; intimacy with Him.
Look at what the psalmist says at the end of verse 6 – “I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” That is what the psalmist longed for and enjoyed.
The psalmist enjoyed dwelling in the Shepherd’s presence.
So my question for you is – do you see your relationship with the Savior this way?
That He is a tender Shepherd, always providing for you, leading you, and lavishing you with good things?
That He is with you and you can talk to Him at any moment?
If you don’t, dear friend, stop and ask Him. Ask Him to give you eyes to see and know Him in this intimate way.
As Martyn Lloyd-Jones said, “Hold on to the faithfulness of God. Believe, when you do not understand, that He knows all about you, that He is committed to taking care of you. He has promised it”
“I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep.”