Oh my Jesus, I am so sorry

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I don’t know what to say.

All I know to say is I am so sorry, Jesus. You are King and I nailed you to that cross. I nailed my King to the cross. I nailed my Savior to the cross. I nailed the very thing that I am living for to the cross.

My heart is breaking. When I sat down to read the crucifixion story tonight, I prayed that Jesus would not let me just read the words. I prayed that he would make it real in my heart, that I would feel the agony of what my sins did.

And oh my sweet Jesus let me see the crucifixion in all its pain and darkness.

I am Judas.

I am the one who turns on my Savior and betrays him in the very spot that I often meet with him.

I am Peter.

I am the one who denies knowing Christ because sometimes the world just seems so much better because being a Christian is hard and uncomfortable.

I am Pilate.

I am the one who knows the truth, but still turns away from it and does not stand up for what I believe in.

I am the crowd.

I am the one who yells to crucify the Lord; the one who mocks him and spits at him; the one who denies that he is King.

I am the men who nail him to the cross.

I am the one who murdered my precious Jesus.

My sins killed my Lord and my heart is so heavy.

Who am I to be loved by the man that I killed? Who am I?

I don’t know.

But I do know that where sin runs deep, grace is more.

Time and time again the Bible reminds us that Jesus came for a purpose. He came with full intention to die on the cross.

He came and loved the people even though he knew that they were going to kill him.

He willingly died even though he knew that thousands of years later we would still be sinning and turning away from him.

He knew, but he still did it.

And that just doesn’t make sense to me.

But that’s grace.

Crazy amazing grace.

Tonight my heart is broken and raw because of what I did to my sweet Jesus.

I am broken inside knowing what I did to him, but I am full knowing what he does to me in return. 

Today is good, not because of what we did to our Lord, but because of what he did for us.

We don’t have to live in darkness anymore.

We get to live in the light as we wait for Sunday to come.

I am so thankful for this resurrection life that we don’t deserve to live.

But we’re living it, all thanks to a messy, yet beautiful cross thousands of years ago.

My Jesus, I am so sorry for what I did. But thank you for what you did in return.

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Approaching One Year

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Ahhhhhhhhhh.

That’s how I feel.

I can’t believe it’s already almost a year since I started recovery (330 days to be exact, but who’s counting?).

All year I’ve dreamed about getting close to the one year mark. I imagined it as a celebration – eating ice cream, living free, being so joyful. And I think it will be like that. Reaching the one year mark is really exciting and I’m so glad that I’ve made it this far.

But I’m also getting really anxious.

I’m an anxious person, so it’s nothing new to me that I’ve been experiencing anxiety, but I was surprised when I started having full blown panic attacks when I realized how close we were to all the important events that happened in my life last spring.

This time last year was when my treatment team decided that I had to either go to residential right then or go inpatient after my graduation. It was when everything went downhill as I was put on medical leave from my senior year and awaited my admittance date to Carolina House. It was when I was living in the worst days of my eating disorder.

It took me a while to name where my anxiety was coming from. At first I thought it was just because I was getting “close” to the hell of last year, and while I think that is still true, I don’t think that is the complete story.

My therapist explained to me that my anxiety and panic is coming from grief. Not only am I grieving all the life that I lost during my eating disorder, but I am grieving the loss of my eating disorder itself.

Don’t get me wrong, I love recovery. I would never go back to my eating disorder. But sometimes it’s hard to accept this as my new normal.

Grief is weird. It kinda hits you like a train and leaves you a little dazed. Grief makes you feel like you’re reliving the events that you’re grieving, but it also feels like you’re watching them happen from the outside. Grief. Is. Confusing. Especially when you’re grieving something that you shouldn’t (like your eating disorder).

In my wise mind, I don’t miss my eating disorder. I know the hell that it put me through and how it almost took my life. I know that it wasn’t glamorous or pretty or fun. I know that I know that I know that. But my eating disorder was my life for five years. It was my most used coping skill. It was how I lived. It became who I was. So recovering from my eating disorder was like losing myself.

But recovery is finding myself, my new self, my best self. And sometimes it hurts a lot.

There are days I miss my eating disorder so much. When I’m having a hard day, sometimes I miss being able to cope by keeping my stomach as empty and hollow as possible. When people post bikini pictures with their flat stomachs and thigh gaps, I miss the body that my eating disorder gave me. But I know that that was not my best life and that I don’t need (or want) to live like that anymore.

So getting close to my one year feels like getting close to freedom, but it also feels like getting close to my eating disorder. And I don’t want to be close to it. I want to run as fast as I can in the opposite direction.

Sometimes it doesn’t feel like it’s real. Like, that was my life? I starved myself until I was nothing? I spent my summer in a treatment center? Someone had to check the toilet every time I used the bathroom? It’s weird. Sometimes I feel like I watched that happen; that it didn’t happen to me. But it did. So getting close to my one year mark makes it seem so real and so in my face.

I don’t want to relive my past. I sure as heck don’t want to relive my eating disorder, but I also don’t want to relive treatment. I am so so thankful for Carolina House and everything that happened there because I know I wouldn’t be here today if it weren’t for treatment, but I also never want to go back to that time of my life.

So I’m stuck in this weird place. I’m grieving as my one year of recovery approaches. But I’m also celebrating like crazy.

Like, I made it this far. I’m living a life without an eating disorder. So crazy and surreal.

But I’m also having to face and reflect on what life was like this time last year.

And that’s okay.

It’s okay and natural to grieve during recovery. The one year anniversary of entering treatment is like the one year anniversary of a loved one passing away. It’s hard and there’s a lot of emotions. But I’m not letting the emotions overtake me.

I can feel sad and angry. I can be mad for the five years of life that I lost to my eating disorder. I can feel upset that I had to enter treatment and that I missed my graduation. I can hurt because being forced to live in a new body that although it’s great and healthy, it’s foreign and confusing and not what I asked for.

I can feel these emotions and still celebrate one year of new life.

I can exist in both places at once.

So I’m going to grieve. But I’m also going to celebrate. I’m going to eat ice cream and thank Jesus and live my best life because recovery brings me so much joy that I never thought was possible.

I’m grieving and I’m celebrating as my one year of recovery approaches. The different emotions will eb and flow. And that’s okay.

I’m celebrating where I am because even though it may still be confusing and hard at times, I am so much further than I was a year ago.

And that (no matter the grief) is worth celebrating.

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10 Things I’ve Learned in 10 Months of Recovery

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1. Recovery is worth more.

This was a mantra that someone came up with during my first weeks at Carolina House. We all held onto this quote like it was our lifeline. I wrote it in my journals, on my coping logs, on all the whiteboards in the house. This. Quote. Saved. Me. No matter all the emotions I was feeling or all the lies that Ed was telling me, I knew that the freedom found in recovery was worth more.

2. We were made to do hard things.

I realized this the first time that I completed my first major fear food meal and actually enjoyed it. Just a month prior, I didn’t think that it would ever be possible. But it was. I could do hard things and I could even enjoy them. Things weren’t as black and white as my eating disorder led me to believe.

3. Looking healthy does not mean you look fat. Looking healthy is a good thing.

I had to learn this one really quickly once I came home from treatment. Everyone told me that I looked healthy (PSA don’t say that to someone recovering from an eating disorder!) and I had no idea how to handle it. In my mind, healthy = fat. In reality, healthy = strong, life, happiness, freedom. I was becoming my best self because I was healthy.

4. Flexibility is key.

Starting college made me realize how flexible the real world requires you to be. I couldn’t always have designated snack times, so sometimes (a lot of times) I had to eat my snack in class or at work. Sometimes I had to go to the caf alone. I had to learn that I had to be flexible in order to thrive in recovery at college. My rigid, all-or-nothing thinking when it came to meal/snack times was not going to cut it.

5. BREAK THE RULES THAT ALMOST BROKE YOU.

Love Me More by Maggie Rose. Opposite action is literally your best friend in recovery. When Ed says no to ice cream, you get ice cream. When Ed says that pizza is too unhealthy for lunch, you get pizza. You have to do the opposite of what your eating disorder is telling you (even when it hurts!) because that’s how you find freedom.

6. Don’t let other people hold you back. You’re growing like a wildflower and you don’t have time for weeds.

Sometimes you have to make decisions for yourself that other people don’t agree with. That’s okay. Make the decision anyway. You are only responsible for yourself, not the opinion of others. If something is hindering your recovery, let it go. And if that makes people upset, that isn’t your problem. You have to put yourself and your recovery first. You have to grow.

7. Recovery isn’t comfortable. You gotta do it anyway.

You can’t only recover when you want it 100%. You have to choose it everyday, even when you don’t want to. Recovery cannot be based off of your emotions! You’re never going to be fully ready, but you have to choose it anyway. Sometimes it’s uncomfortable and it hurts a heck of a lot, but you have to keep choosing it.

8. Self-care self-care self-care.

Self-care is so dang necessary. Take bubble baths, journal, go on a walk, clean your room, watch Netflix, buy yourself a new shirt just because, make art, pet a dog. Whatever makes you feel whole and rested, make time for it. Sometimes you need more self-care than others. That’s okay. Whenever you need it, make time for it, even if it’s only for five minutes. Your mind and body will thank you.

9. You are not a reflection of those who cannot love you.

Your worth does not change. Your worth is not determined by those who love (or don’t love) you, but by Christ. Your worth is unwavering and unchanging because it is rooted in something much deeper than human emotions.

10. Sometimes surviving is all you can do, and that’s okay.

Sometimes you feel heck of a lot more like a work-in-progress than a masterpiece, and that is okay and so normal. Believe it or not, recovery is not linear. Sometimes you’re going to simply survive instead of thrive. That doesn’t mean that everything is downhill from here on out. Things will go back up eventually. You are not failing at recovery just because you’re having a hard time mentally.

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Why I Talk About It

16797198_1439386579428541_8573836054428766669_oPeople always ask me why I’m so vocal about my recovery.

I gotta give it to them, I guess it is kinda a weird situation. I was silent so long about my actual eating disorder, so why am I so obsessed with talking about recovery? Why do I want to talk about something that I was so quiet about for five years?

Well, it isn’t for attention. It isn’t for my glory. It isn’t to say, “LOOK AT WHAT I DID, I WENT TO TREATMENT AND BEAT AN EATING DISORDER WOW LOOK HOW GREAT I AM.”

It isn’t like that at all, and if it was, I would 100% give you permission to punch me in the face.

Really, me talking about my recovery isn’t about me at all.

I talk about it because others who talk about it are why I got treatment.

If you didn’t know, there is a whole eating disorder recovery community on Instagram. I religiously stalked it last year. And I mean I hardcore stalked it. I followed all these girls (and guys!) who had eating disorders, some still struggling, but most of them in recovery. I was obsessed with these people because they were talking about what I had been quiet about for so long.

I was amazed. Like, what? People actually talked about their eating disorders? They talked about the good, the bad, and the ugly? They even admitted that they had a problem?

I was enthralled. These people were so free, and I wanted that freedom. I wanted to live like they were. I wanted to eat Ben & Jerry’s with my friends and have pizza nights with my boyfriend. I didn’t know how they did it, but I wanted it.

Seeing these people living their best lives in recovery inspired me and pushed me to take my own shot at it.

If those people on Instagram had not have talked about their recovery, I would not have gotten help.

I mean that in all seriousness.

I thought an eating disorder was my life. I thought that there wasn’t a way out. I thought that I was destined to live that way forever.

But those people in recovery gave me so much hope.

I saw that they were living so free and open, and I realized that if they could do it, I could do it too.

Because I knew that they used to be just like me. They were afraid of recovery. They didn’t want to start. They didn’t even know how to start. But eventually they did. And it was hard. And it hurt like hell. But they did it. They found freedom apart from their eating disorders.

They used to be where I was. That meant that I could get to where they are.

So that’s why I talk about it.

I talk about it because if those Instagrammers had not have talked about it, I would have never been brave enough to seek treatment for myself.

But they talked about it.

And I got the help that I needed.

And now I’m getting better.

So I’m going to talk about it.

I’m going to be that person that those people were to me.

People think that they’re alone. No one talks about it, so sufferers think that they’re alone in the fight. But they aren’t. And they need to know that. needed to know that. I’m going to let them know that they aren’t alone.

I’m going to talk about it so that other girls and guys know that they can do this. So that they know that recovery is possible for them. So that they know that they are strong enough and brave enough and free enough.

People who talked about it helped me.

I wouldn’t be here today if those people had not talked about it.

And if my voice can help one person, then I’m going to keep talking.

I’m never going to stop talking.

Because it is time to talk about it.

It’s going to keep being time to talk about it until eating disorders are gone.

And until that happens, I’m never going to stop talking.

I’m not going to stop until everyone knows freedom.


Happy National Eating Disorder Awareness Week. This year’s theme is “It’s Time to Talk About It.” We can’t keep quiet anymore. Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness. 30 million people in the US suffer from an eating disorder. We can’t shut up about this UNTIL THEY ARE GONE. Talk with me. Learn more. Get screened. Educate others. Find ways to get involved and get more info at nedawareness.org.

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The Search for Identity

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I’ve gone on a really not-so-fun search for identity the past few weeks. I’ve had a lot of revelations about who I am in Christ over the past almost three years, but I have found myself trying to place my identity in all the wrong places.

In friends, my boyfriend, recovery, a sorority.

Now nothing is inherently wrong with any of these things. But it’s the value that you place in them that makes them wrong.

Friends are good and so so important to life. As Jesus reminded me a few weeks ago, he created us for community. But we cannot find our worth in that community. Who are friends are and how many friends we have do not determine how worthy we are as a human being. No. I am worthy, whether I have two friends or if I have two hundred. I am just as worthy being the most popular girl in school, or being the girl that no one knows. I. Am. Worthy.

I love my boyfriend. Sappy sap sap. Sorry. We just got back together and have a few month break (I never wrote a blog post on that but I meant to, oops). Anyways. As much as I love him, he is not my one and only. I am Sarah Beth, regardless of if Andrew is in my life. Who I am does not change whether I have a boy in my life or not. Like I said, I. Am. Still. Worthy. Having my boyfriend does not make my life any harder or easier. Life is still the same. It does not make my problems go away. Having a boyfriend simply means that I have another person to do life with. And that is so so fun. He’s on my team and I’m on his. But that does not change who I am independently.

RECOVERY IS SO GOOD, Y’ALL. Most of y’all who read my blog are in recovery too, so you know the joys that come from it. Just as making your diagnosis your identity while in the midst of your eating disorder is super easy, it is just as easy to make your recovery your identity too. I’m guilty of this one, not because I think advocacy is wrong, but because it’s how I viewed myself. Jesus has put it on my heart to work with eating disorders for the rest of my life as an LCSW and advocate. It’s my passion. And there’s nothing wrong with that. I’ll never stop fighting for awareness. But I am also so much more than just a recovery girl. I like that title and I’ll proudly embrace it, but it doesn’t tell the whole story.

Y’all. I’m not a sorority girl. But I came back to school this semester so insecure with myself that I decided that being in a sorority is what I needed to find who I am. Just a tip for y’all, but if you’re doing something just so you can find your label, you shouldn’t be doing it. Y’all, I loved the sorority that I rushed for/got a bid from. They are SO SO SO awesome. Literally I wanna be bffs with all the girls in it. But it’s not me. And that’s okay! I was joining the sorority just so that I could say I was in it, so that I could be given “my tribe,” and so that I could have a certain big. Not. The. Right. Reasons. To. Sell. Your. Life. Away. I’m the most introverted person that I know, so when I told my friends from home that I was rushing, they were like ???. Same, y’all. Same. So I dropped out of pledging on Bid Night. Y’all, I pledged for a solid two and a half hours. Once I actually got into the club I came to my senses and was like What the heck am I doing? This is NOT me. I had to have a come to Jesus moment with myself. And I realized that I was trying to put my identity in something that I was never meant to be apart of. And that’s okay. It’s okay to not fit into something. But it’s not okay to try to force yourself into it.

Let me tell y’all, I have been so incredibly broken over the past few weeks as I’ve grappled to find identity. I felt the rug had been pulled out from under me and I had no idea what to do or who I was or what I wanted.

But Jesus is so good because he knows me so well and has my name written on the palm of his hand! Which in my head means that he has my identity written on the palm of his hand. Because your name is what you’re identified by. Jesus literally knows exactly who I am just by looking at his hand. Well, he knows without looking at his hand. But the idea of my identity being on his hand is so so so cool, so you get my point.

So I asked Jesus who I was. What my true identity was. Not the identity that the world gives me. But the identity that HE gives me.

This is what he said:

  • I am called to belong to Christ.
  • I am created to be like God.
  • I am more than what people think.
  • I am what Jesus has done in me, not what I have done to save myself.
  • I am more than a former broken girl.
  • I am called to change the world with Jesus.
  • I am allowed to wear my prodigal ring and robe with pride.
  • I am fought for.

WHEW. I like this identity a lot.

Identity crisis over? Not quite.

I still stress about friends. Like, Jesus, when are you sending me my tribe? I need my people to live in the nitty gritty with!

I have to remind myself that who I am is no different just because I have a boyfriend. I’m still in charge of me.

I want to make recovery the forefront of my life, and even though it is majorly important right now, I have to remember that it won’t be as huge forever and one day it will be a small thing in the back of my mind (because one day I’ll be recovered woo woo!!).

I’m still dealing with a bit of regret from dropping out of pledging. It was the best decision I could have made for myself, but it’s still hard to watch everyone going through pledge week. But I have to remind myself, that is who they are, but it is not who I am.

Living in Jesus’ identity is so much better.

There is so much freedom.

It’s literally living in a cloud of glory, honestly.

I’ll gladly trade who I think I am in order to be who God knows that I am.

I pray that we all continue to find our worth and identity in what Jesus’ palm says about us. It’s the best person that we could ever be because it is who we were created to be.

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An Open Letter to My Treatment Friends

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Dear Mandy, Meredith, Kristin, and Sarah,

Oh my goodness, oh my goodness. My love for y’all explodes unlike any other people that I have ever met. I guess that makes sense because y’all truly are unlike any other person that has ever walked into my life. Who knew that when I walked through the door of that little yellow house in the woods that I would meet four of the best girls ever and would hold onto them for dear life in the coming months.

Our two months in treatment were the worst ever. They were the best ever. They were the most gut wrenching. They were the most heart filling. They were every single emotion and adjective that you could use to describe them because we were becoming pros at feeling our feels and we definitely made them vocal enough for the entire house to hear (cue my multiple meltdowns after phone time). Those two months in treatment were the hardest months of my life, but I truly laughed. I truly loved. I truly cried. I truly felt. I truly danced. I truly sang. I truly yelled. I truly hit things (bat therapy, anyone?). I truly did all of these things because of y’all.

We caused a lot of chaos in that house, but only in the best way possible. We often felt like we were being annoying (we probably were), but I know that the staff appreciated it. That place could get so so dark, but we always brought the light. It took a while for us to find that light in ourselves, but as Meredith’s dad reminded us with his flashlight (actual tears still), there was always a light to find. And y’all, we found that light. We are shining so bright.

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We watched a heck of a lot of Annie, endured the same 30 minutes of Mamma Mia until Meredith got distracted, crocheted, hula hooped for only five minutes, crocheted while hula hooping, sang a lot, constantly asked to be let into the art closet, sang hymns after lights out (still don’t understand that one honestly), had nightly pow wows, wore gloves while doing dishes (“the disgusting vat of nastiness”), got in trouble for laughing too much, absolutely lost it in the best way possible every Monday night snack, talked in pig latin, and so much more.

We made faces at each other over not to our taste preference meals (tofu we’re looking at you), played table games when one of us was struggling over dinner, cheered each other on when we had to supplement, supported each other through behavior chains (and laughed at Meredith’s very passive aggressive behavior chains), held each other’s hands when emotions became too strong, celebrated when we had bowel movements (if you’ve never had an eating disorder, don’t judge us), reminded each other to use our coping skills, cried with each other after hard therapy sessions (@ family therapy), and validated the heck out of each other’s feelings.

As much as therapy and groups changed my life, y’all changed it more. Without y’all at CH, I would not have been able to do it. I would’ve AMAed my butt out of that place real freaking quick. Even though we were all going through our own crap, but we brought out the joy in each other. No matter how hard a meal was or how vulnerable we felt after a group, we still laughed and sang and felt all the feels. We had each other’s backs when it felt like the world (or the team) was against us. We were all that each other had (except from 7:30-8:45 when we had contact with the outside world). We stuck together like glue because I don’t think we would have been able to survive without each other.

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I’ll never forget Meredith writing me a note during a hard dinner that said, “You can do it, buddy. Remember, recovery is worth more.” Or when Kristin wrote us all letters for us to read out loud at each other’s goodbye snacks since she couldn’t be there. Or when Mandy helped me draw x’s over all the times I wrote “fat” on my body. Or when Sarah hugged me for the longest time and reminded me of my worth after a really crappy phone time. I’ll never forget the times that y’all fought with me, even when I didn’t want to fight.

Sometimes we had to force each other to fight, but we always fought.

We all said goodbye at different times (RIP the one night I was left alone at CH), but we never left each other. We started the Hermacita Fan Club group message, and we’ve talked almost everyday since then. There is not a single day that passes without me thinking of y’all and thanking Jesus for y’all.

We’ve done a lot since we’ve discharged. We’ve texted, road tripped, ate sketchy free froyo in a Mexican restaurant, NEDA walked, flown on airplanes, explored random cities, did a scavenger hunt all over downtown Atlanta (excessive body movement??), watched Annie, gone to the beach, gone to a pumpkin patch, crocheted, NEDA walked again, driven past Carolina House, FaceTimed, struggled through a corn maze, gotten tattoos, and so much more. Some of that we did just two or three of us, but some of it all five of us were there. Whether together or apart, we have lived so much life in the past months.

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I’m so proud of y’all. I’m so proud of us. To think of how far we have come since May. We are absolutely killing it, y’all. We’ve done amazing things and we’re going to continue to do amazing things. We’re going to change the world. We’re going to live happy and healthy. We’re going to make it.

I love y’all so much, I can’t even put it into words. Thanks for being the 8 ounces of milk to my 2 cups of cereal because #perfectratio. Y’all rock.

With all the love that we never gave to Hermacita,

BASA

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Because throwback to when we had to photoshop pictures together bc HIPAA.

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Fully Broken, Yet Fully Whole

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Hey friends. So I originally wrote this post as an end-of-term paper for my Bible class. I changed some of it to make it fit more as a blog post, but I wanted to share it with y’all! Excuse the parts that talk specifically about my Bible class… I deleted most of those parts, but I had to leave some in order for it to make sense. Anyways, Jesus is so crazy cool. I can’t believe that my first semester of college is over, but I have learned so so much. I’m so excited to see what else Jesus has in store for me here!


When I came to Lipscomb, I already had a solid foundation of my Christian faith and who Jesus was in my life. I grew up in the church, went to Christian school since I was six-years-old, and actively pursued a relationship with God through reading the Word and continually being in communion with him. Having a Bible class was nothing new to me—I have grown up with daily Bible classes since I started kindergarten. I had always known who Jesus was, but it was not until the summer before my junior year of high school that I really, truly met him. He collided with my life every so gently, yet so crazily while I was at a youth conference, and since that week my life has never been the same.

Five weeks before I moved into my dorm here at Lipscomb University, I was discharged from an eating disorder treatment center after a two-month long stay. To say that coming to college was a whirlwind for me would be an understatement. My entire life flipped when I entered treatment, and then it flipped again when I discharged back to my outpatient team at home. I learned a lot about Jesus throughout the entire process, but I still felt shame about my eating disorder. Jesus had changed my life so drastically just two years prior—why was I struggling with this? Did I not have enough faith? I thought my eating disorder was a messy part of my life that I needed to hide from the world. I was the good Christian girl. I was a leader in my youth group. Could I really admit to the world that I was human? That I was imperfect? That my beautiful story of redemption was marred by the stains of my eating disorder?

The first day of my Bible class my teacher told us, “[God] is really good at breaking out of boxes.” I wrote the quote down because I liked it, but I forgot it only moments later. I liked the idea of God being able to break down any barriers I put around him, but I honestly did not realize the constraints I had him in. I was telling him that there was no more redemption to be done in my life. I thought I had peaked. I thought the shame of my eating disorder was just something that was apart of my life. Yet little did I know that I was building boxes around God, and that soon He would be completely shattering them.

In my Bible class we discussed the Sermon on the Mount. It has always been one of my favorite passages in the Gospels, but it never truly occurred to me that in his teaching, Jesus was trying to show his followers the difference between a good person and a Kingdom person, which I think can be further narrowed down to a good Christ follower and a Kingdom warrior. I think for a while I had gotten caught up in being a good Christ follower. Nothing I was doing was superficial. My relationship with Jesus was real and strong. I was raw and authentic with him. He held my heart in his nail-scarred hands. Yet even though I was worshipping him and running after his desires, I was still focused on me. I was focused on my mess. On my hurt. I was worried about how I looked to the Christian community. Was I a fake? Did I need to prove to them that I was devoted? Did my eating disorder make my faith invalid because I could not just “pray” my disorder away?

I was completely forgetting the Kingdom part of Christianity. Sure, I was serving others, but was I serving them with my story? Volunteering at a food pantry and putting together service projects for my youth group was awesome, but that was not all Christ was calling me to do. The very Kingdom act that I was created for was to lay down myself and my shame and share my story.

I was scared. I was supposed to accept my story and acknowledge it in front of the world? My eating disorder equaled shame for me. Jesus had saved me from so much when I was seventeen, and yet I still had to enter treatment for an eating disorder less than two years later. I knew the Christian world would think differently of me after that. Yet little did I know, I was not the only broken Christian. I was nowhere close to being the odd one out in a sea of perfect people. In reality, I fit right in. There is not a single perfect person in the Kingdom besides Jesus. We are all his servants—broken, yet beautiful. Shattered, yet made whole. Cracked, but made for a purpose.

In class we learned that we become what we already are, meaning that our identity comes first, and then we move to fulfill that identity. I fully believe this to be true. As the salt and light of the world, we are different than everything around us, but we must be embedded into the world to have an effect. From the beginning Christ has called me to be a storyteller. When he created me, he knew that my Kingdom mission would be to proclaim my story to the world. My mission is not to just tell the story of where I have been, but tell the story of how Jesus has rescued me from my darkness, picked me up from the dirt, and redeemed my life song. Telling my story is for his glory only. I am simply a vessel being used to further the Kingdom.

It is still crazy to me that my Kingdom work is to simply share how Jesus has worked in my life. I have always thought of Kingdom work as moving to Africa as a lifelong missionary or starting a non-profit organization. I did not realize that my Kingdom work, my purpose, could be to advocate for eating disorder awareness and let others know that they are not alone in the fight. My words of hope to the broken world around me can advance the Kingdom? It is absolutely mind-blowing, but that is just who Jesus is. He works in us and uses our seemingly ordinary lives to do something extraordinary.

I have begun to fully lean into this vulnerable life that Christ is calling me to. Is it hard? Yes. Is it worth it? Definitely. My shame is gone. I now know that my eating disorder was a work of Satan, but that it is still redeemable by Jesus. I am open with my recovery story. I want to tell anyone who will listen the story of who my Jesus is and what he has done in my life. I no longer struggle in secret. I do not put on a perfect mask. I am fully broken, yet fully whole in front of the entire world. I am admitting to the Church that I am broken, but that that is okay. God has taken ahold of this brokenness and is using completely for his glory.

No part of this story is mine. It is all Christ’s. I am simply stepping into the identity that God created for me: a girl with a sensitive and broken, yet brave and hopeful heart. I am dropping the good Christian girl act and fully embracing who I am as a Kingdom person. My Kingdom mission is different than I ever thought that it would be, but I am chasing after it with full abandon because I know that it is what Jesus has called me to.

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