Life after an eating disorder

27 08 2008

Today I had the opportunity to write a short article that will hopefully be included in a book about recovery from eating disorders. Here’s what I wrote… 

Life after eating disorders?

Is it possible to feel alive again? Will I ever wake up in the morning to the smell of bacon and pancakes and feel hungry rather than scared? Is it possible to walk on the beach and feel the sand in my toes and the sun on my back without worrying about how I look in a swimsuit?

Before I went to Remuda Ranch, I had given up hope of ever having a life without an eating disorder. I thought that maybe, if I worked hard enough, I could learn how to manage my eating and exercise behaviors well enough that I could survive. But I had given up on joy, peace, freedom – not to mention bacon, pancakes, and swimsuits on the beach!

I want to write to tell you that it is possible to have life after an eating disorder.

I struggled with anorexia and bulimia for seven years before I made the decision to go to Remuda Ranch. Nearly seven years later, I am fully recovered from an eating disorder. Although recovery was slow and the first year after inpatient treatment was difficult, I am now healthy in my body and heart.

By God’s grace, I am alive.

I am married to a man who loves Jesus and adores me. We have two boys and I am pregnant with our third son who is due in January 2009. I spend most of my time caring for my family and home. When I have a few quiet minutes, I love to read and write. Our family enjoys skiing in the winter and rock climbing in the summer. I enjoy cooking and eating delicious food with friends or family in our home. And I love a good cup of coffee or glass of wine, especially if I can share it with someone special!

We are a part of an awesome church where we learn about Jesus and have fellowship with other Christians. Over the last few years, I have helped to start a support group for women struggling with eating disorders at our church and I’m in training to be a Biblical counselor. It has been a blessing to me to watch God use his story of redemption in my life as an encouragement to others.

Some people think that recovery from an eating disorder is just learning how to manage your eating and exercise behaviors well enough that you can survive. What I experienced at Remuda, however, is so much more. Through the love and compassion of the counselors, doctors, and nurses, I experienced the grace of God in a way that transformed me from inside out.

I was a Christian before I went to Remuda, but I doubted that God loved me because of the mess I had made out of my life. At Remuda, I learned that God’s love and forgiveness do not depend on anything that I do, but instead on what Jesus did on the cross. Like a loving father, God tenderly led me to the most painful parts of my story. I learned the truth that my identity is in Christ and God has invited me to be a part of his family. By God’s grace, I had the courage to heal and the strength to choose life.

My life is not perfect. There are days that I look in the mirror and wish I looked more like a picture out of a magazine. I’ve learned that the best mirror is the Bible – God’s word reveals and transforms my heart so that over time, I look a little more like Jesus. God does not promise that our lives will be easy, but he does promise that he will be with us always. He promises that nothing can separate us from his love. Furthermore, he promises that he will work out everything in our lives for our good and his glory.

God promises life. Life now and life everlasting. So choose life.

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