Fearfully Wonderfully Me

Growing in God and Inspiring Young Women Through Faith and Fashion

Tag: anorexia

Chasing Worth

I was having lunch with my aunt when she told me about a memory she had of me when I was about seven years old. She said that on my 7th Easter, my cousin and I stood up in church and dedicated our lives to Jesus.

My memory of this is super cloudy, and we never went to church much when I was a kid. However, I always felt that God was real, and that He was drawing me in.

Fast-forward from that childhood moment to ten years later, when I was seventeen and falling apart. I had just broken up with my first boyfriend and was starving myself.

I felt depressed and hopeless, to the point of self-harm. Shame consumed me. I truly thought that the world would be better off without me.

I remember the nights of lying in bed weeping and fighting hunger, asking God if He was there and if He would help me get to sleep. Within a few minutes I would drift off into a warm slumber.

The love of Jesus found other ways to pursue me. I stumbled upon Christian songs and movies, and eventually my mom and I decided to go to church. I was saved the November of my junior year, but the real battle had just begun.

Crumbling Worth

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Soon I started college. I tried finding my worth in places that always crumbled—boys, achievements, looks—they all failed me. I developed chronic health issues, as well as anxiety. Food became a battle, as my digestive issues made it hard to eat.

I hated the way I looked, even though I was thin from being ill. I isolated myself frequently, until one day, a sweet girl invited me to the church college group. Though I was terrified to go, I actually made friends. Slowly, my relationship with Jesus grew stronger.

The things I was stuck in—such as anxiety and disordered eating—lost their grip on my heart. When I became a leader for the church youth group, I realized I wanted more from life than focusing on the superficial or worldly pursuits I was used to.

During an intensive winter retreat with the youth three years ago, I fully surrendered my life to the Lord. Although I still struggle with anxiety or negative self-image at times, I now recognize these feelings as weapons the devil uses to keep us from God.

I now eat healthily and for the first time in years, I appreciate the body God gave me. Panic attacks and breakdowns are decreasing, and when they happen, I know the Lord is always there to hold me through it. Even my physical health is improving!

A Changed Heart

Chasing Worth

Since I decided to follow Jesus with my whole heart, my life has changed. I found meaning and purpose for my life, and am able to love others better.

There is a cost, of course. I had to give up my old ways of living. But I consider that as nothing compared to the life Christ has given me through His death and resurrection. I may not be perfect, but my Savior is.

As my aunt reminded me of my childhood salvation, I couldn’t help but smile. Although I didn’t understand what that fully entailed as a child, it opened my heart to the Lord.

Now it all makes sense why I’ve always felt Jesus there, even in the midst of my darkest moments. The love of my Father has never left me. God pursues me no matter where I run, and He reminds me that my worth is rooted in Him alone.

Will you make a choice today, lovely one? Will you stop running from God and chasing worth in things that will always fail you? Jesus is ready for you to come home. You don’t have to chase self-worth or love. It was already won for you on the cross.

The Lord appeared to us in the past, saying: “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.” (Jeremiah 31:3 NIV)

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To Make His Love Known~My Recovery From An Eating Disorder

I’ve been wringing my hands with the urge to write this for the past few months, but to be honest, I never thought I’d muster up the courage to. My name is Emily, and God has set me free to recover from an eating disorder.

Okay, now that I can breathe again, I think you should know why it’s even relevant that I would share such intimate details of my life with you. I believe in obedience to God. I know that He has great plans for me, and I’ve also learned that He uses the pain from our past to help heal the wounds of others.

With the encouragement of my mom and other family and friends, I am finally sharing why I believe so strongly in telling other women about their beauty and worth in Christ.

Growing up, I had a lot of issues with self confidence. It didn’t help that in high school I developed chronic health issues that are difficult for others to understand. I’ve always been a bit different, but instead of embracing who I was in God, it made me feel depressed and anxious.

When you combine that with digestive issues that make eating difficult, food starts to become the enemy. Every bite makes you nervous about how you’ll feel after you consume it. No matter what you do, the lies from the enemy inside your head remind you that you’re never good enough anyway.

We live in a world dominated by the media telling girls and women what we should look like. Be thin, but have curves. Have flawless skin, that’s neither too pale nor too dark. Be the image of perfection that cannot exist in a human being.

Even though I’ve always been thin, it hasn’t immunized me against the effects of these messages. Truthfully, my lowest weight had nothing to do with my eating disorder. During my second year of college, I developed hyperthyroidism. I lost ten pounds and was always weak and tired. I thought I was dying.

As I became healthier and went back to my normal weight, I found myself being challenged by body image, food, and the lies that pervade our society. That’s when three revelations dawned on me:

1. Weight doesn’t really change the things in life that are beyond my control. It also doesn’t make me more worthy or lovable.

2. Eating might always be challenging for me because of my IBS, but food has never been, and never will be, the enemy. 

3. I can’t live a life that’s fully surrendered to God while holding on to my eating disorder. 

While those first two truths are extremely valuable, number three has been the key to my freedom. A year ago,  I made the decision to really recover while at Winter Camp with the youth group I help lead. Although I was eating like a normal person, my heart and mind still weren’t in the right place. I wasn’t all-in.

It was at this camp when I felt and saw Jesus move in incredible ways. I helped students come to know the Lord and saw young women and men devote their lives to God with such passion that I wanted it too. So I surrendered–right there in the crowd of hundreds of students. I quietly sobbed and told Jesus that He could finally have all of me. I wouldn’t hold back anymore.

It’s been a full year now since this decision, and I’ll tell you that though recovery is hard, it was so worth it. Though I still have IBS, it is better managed and I can embrace food again. I have found my identity and worth in Christ, and it has changed the way I see myself and others.

Although I still struggle with depression and anxiety at times, I no longer feel held captive to those dark emotions. God has lifted that weight off of my shoulders. I have a long way to go with self confidence, but I’m growing. I’m blooming.

What I want my girls out there to know–whether you’re a friend, family, a student, or a reader who has just stumbled upon my blog–is that you’re beautiful. You don’t have to change your size or the food you eat to make yourself feel worthy of love. God has always seen your worth.

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. (Psalm 139:13-14 NIV)

I also want you to know, lovely one, that if you’re struggling with an eating disorder–or any other kind of mental or emotional battle–that you need to speak up! The devil wants to lock you in a box of shame, but God has come to set you free.  Please tell a pastor, counselor, parent, or call a hotline. You are not alone in this fight.

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. (Galatians 5:1 NIV).

The only way we can help change the world is by letting God have control of our own lives first. The love of Jesus is the only perfect love that exists, and what I want more than anything is for everyone reading this to experience this freeing love. I want it to crash over you and cleanse every part of your life.

Lovely reader, I want you to be filled to the brim with the love of God, so that you can pour it out on this thirsty and broken world. That is why I shared my story.

This is my purpose–to be loved by God and to make His love known. 

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. (1 Peter 2:9 NIV)


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