When you have a story to tell, but not sure how to share it, God tends to bring the right people in to your path to help you. A new friend of mine needed some help telling others about her journey with an eating disorder. I met with Michele recently so that I could bring her story to life, even if to help just one of our readers.
I met Michele during a Bible Study class called “The 210 Project”. Michele was in a different class than I was but our goal was the same, to find out the path that God is leading us on. Michele learned that God was guiding her to share her story with others and possibly start a small group with other women from the area who have experienced similar struggles.
Michele is a wife of 27 years and mother who grew up in a Christian home. She’s always had a faith in God, but in the past few years, she has learned to lean on him entirely.
The changes in her life began about 10-15 years ago. She began overindulging when she would eat and then began purging her food. This usually happened a few times a week, though sometimes as rarely as a couple times a month to as much as twice a day on occasion.
Looking back, Michele said that she began this cycle because she wanted to maintain her weight while still enjoying favorite foods, there really didn’t seem to be an emotional trigger. She realized that the dangers of vomiting could really have an effect on her health. Teeth rotting and throat problems are just a few of the things that could add to the struggle she was already facing. Thankfully, she hasn’t experienced these complications.
About a year ago, she decided to tell her mom, sister and a few close friends; but she was hesitant to tell her immediate family. They lived with her and saw her daily. What would they say? Would they watch her every move? How could she and her husband have a close relationship if she kept hiding this secret? Shame had been part of her life for so long, how could she be honest? Finally, she told them about the journey she has been on all of these years. Her husband was kind and loving – as she knew he would be. She let her family know that she wanted them to ask her how she’s doing to show their support. The more she talked about it, the less of a hold it seemed to have on her.
Then, while visiting Beautiful Savior Church in Omaha, Michele found herself in a new class, the “210 Project” named after Ephesians 2:10. She began sharing details of her story, and during one meeting her eyes were opened. Below is taken from her journal entry that day:
“As I review my 210 Project course work and notes, I reflect on a day in class when our leader, Brenda, asked us to look at the wall in our classroom that displayed dozens of the beautiful names of Jesus; she asked us to meditate on the name we were drawn to. My eyes immediately went to Bread of Life. I wanted to look at more options on the wall so I could decide on just the right one…..but my eyes would not leave Bread of Life. The Holy Spirit made these truths clear to me:
- He is my nourishment.
- He is my sustenance.
- He is my joy and enjoyment.
Oh, yes Lord!
I opened up to my 210 class about my eating disorder struggle and the words spoken to me by the Holy Spirit that day. What a divine moment from Him.”
As Michele began exploring God’s plan for her in regards to binging and purging, she realized that guilt and shame were holding her back. God revealed to her that she needed to open up to others who have also been held back by their fear. Could she start a Christian support group to help others? How could her mess turn in to a message?
Since she began sharing her story months ago, God has brought Michele on a journey of understanding, forgiveness and solely depending on her relationship with our Lord and Savior. Does she struggle? Yes, but she hasn’t purged in over 8 months.
Over the past year Michele has relied on God’s Word, collecting many scriptures to guide her path of healing:
- Philippians 4:13 ~ I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
- 2 Corinthians 12:9 ~ But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness,” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.
- 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 ~ Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.
- 1 Corinthians 10:13 ~ No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.
- 1 Corinthians 10:31 ~ So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.
- Romans 12:1 ~ I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God – this is your true and proper worship.
- John 6:35 ~ Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty”
- John 6:48 ~ I am the bread of life.
- Hebrews 2:18 ~ Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.
- Hebrews 4:15 ~ For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are – yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
Do you know someone who is living with an eating disorder? Maybe that someone is you? Living with eating disorders are often a silent struggle, but we want you to know that you are never alone. Michele has been so brave to share her story with us and wants to connect, listen, and help those of you who have struggled or are struggling. Please send her an email to connect: firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you Michele-for your honesty, love and compassion. Your story is inspirational!