Well friends, another weekend has passed and wasn't it a beauty! I got to spend the bulk of my afternoon on Saturday doing a family portrait shoot in the sunshine by the ocean for some seriously awesome people so make sure and check out my photography blog later this week for a recap.
We had a fall kick-off family service at church on Sunday that was held outside on the church grounds and was followed by an all church hot dog lunch picnic.....and it was awesome. Earlier in the week our lead pastor, Mark, emailed me and asked me if I would share a testimony about what God has been doing in my life and what He's been showing me. It was amazing because all the things he asked me talk about were all of the things God was doing almost exactly....and I'm pretty sure he doesn't read my blog so he wouldn't already know that :) I agreed right away and didn't remember until a few days later that we were having a joint service and there would be upwards of 500 people there - gulp. I began to seek God and asking Him to prepare me, speak through me and that the hearts of the congregation would be softened to what He had to say. From the feedback I've gotten, God got His point across and I feel so blessed and humbled to have been able to share my heart and come alongside my church family to encourage them and be united with them. I believe you can listen to it here on our church's website if you'd like (just click on the sermon #661 from Sept. 13/09).
Anyways, I've been feeling for the past few days as I prepared to give my testimony to my church that it was God's timing for me to share another part of my life story with all of you. Let me privy that by saying that this is very personal and something that I am no longer ashamed of, but that I also don't talk about to just anyone. I am hoping that through my transparency and vulnerability that God can continue whatever work he is doing and reach out though this medium of blogging to a world full of women suffering alone.
In the fall of 2003 after a then heartbreaking moment in my life, I began a long and ugly two year battle with bulimia. For the first little while I guarded the secret with my life and often went to desperate lengths to keep my addiction private. I confided a couple people along the way thinking that it would make it better but all it did was make me feel guiltier. I moved off to Edmonton for college in the summer of 2004 hoping the change of scenery would help but the loneliness and isolation only left me in a deep depression. About 3/4 of the way through the year I approached my nutrition teacher and let her know what I was dealing with. She got me in touch with the eating disorders clinic at the University of Alberta hospital where I got an appointment with a doctor who gave me a prescription for an anti-depressant. He stressed that counselling was important and I promised to set something up for when I got back home. The anti-depressants were very helpful and I found myself feeling better once it was time to head back west. As soon as I got back in late April of 2005 I started seeing an amazing counsellor at church and God truly worked a miracle through her. We began to dig and search and ask God to reveal the root of my addiction. One day God truly and simply set me free. I can't even put into words how I felt when I left the church day. I still struggled and had to fight but He had lifted the burden from my shoulders and placed His light and easy yoke on me. Shortly after that I met the man that is now my husband and father of my daughter. What has followed since then is still a daily battle. People who have never struggled with addiction may not understand this, but the enemy knows that it has worked before and so it's something that I will fight until the day I die. But I hold onto the victory I have in Christ.
Looking back I see so much more clearly how God was taking care of me and working His will through my struggles and I am before you today forgiven, redeemed and healthy. So let this make testament to God's healing power and that we are His children. There is nothing that we can do that will make Him love us less or make us less usable to Him.
So often we are so sure to keep it all together, worried about what others might think or scared of being judged. We only talk about the happy and pretty and "normal" things in our lives to maintain the facade that everything is perfect and that no body needs to waste time praying for me or reaching out. And that is exactly how the enemy gets a foothold. He keeps us isolated, convincing us that we are burden and a "case" and that we should be ashamed and embarrassed and that there is no victory. If we don't cry out and don't share our struggles and seek encouragement how will we ever be free? Community is a very great weapon and one that we under-value and Satan downplays. When we come together and share our burdens and give testament to God's redeeming power and empathize with each other, we find support and encouragement and most of all, acceptance.
I'm still not sure of God's reasoning or timing or His plan for this post but I trust with my whole being that He will use it. If just one person comes across this page and is empowered to step out of the darkness into His marvelous light, that's reason enough for me. We are told in Romans 6:17 that "....thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you wholeheartedly obeyed the form of teaching to which you were entrusted. You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness".
See friends, the victory is already ours.
We are free!
Let's no longer walk in the shame of our past but rejoice in Christ's forgiveness and redemption and allow our testimony to encourage others who are dealing with what we've already walked through.
I know how long this post has become but I wanted to share one more verse of assurance and it's one that is very dear to my heart. It was given to me many years ago by a very special lady named Pastor Carol who went home after a battle with a brain tumor. I know now that it was a prophesy and a promise that I would need to hold onto for this time in my life. It comes from Ezekiel 36:25-27 and says "I will sprinkle clean water on you and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit it you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh".
He will makes us new. He loves us, He forgives us.
If anyone reads this and wants a private way to reach out please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I would be more than happy to listen and pray with you and for you.
Let's continue to press in and knock on the gates of heaven. He hears our prayers.
Thank you friends for taking the time to read this and my pray is that this is just the beginning of the moving of God's spirit to unify His people and beat back the darkness.