Wednesday, 16 January 2013

my story, my journey

I brewed a green tea for this.

‘My story …over the past year.’ That is what this is. I have ignored this moment, ran away from this opportunity, procrastinated, distracted, cringed at the thought of writing down my experience of last year.

But it’s time now to really sit down and write about what God has challenged and convicted me with this past year, and the change that only Him alone can bring in a desperate and lonely heart.

I began last year ready to conquer university, make new friends and really begin my life out of high school. I was excited to study art and learn more about the world. Early on in the year, I booked a trip to France, for November 2012, thinking it would be a great experience and celebration to end what would be my first year of university. It would also be a chance for me to spend time with my French family (who I see only every two years) and immerse myself in the French culture. After praying about my decision for a few weeks, I booked it as a ‘solo’ trip, deciding that I was ready to travel alone as a young woman …I thought to myself that it would be a trip for adventure and relaxation…but God had a better idea for the purpose of that trip.

And so, I continued my year through university.

Though, that year, 2012, was the hardest year of my life (that I have lived.)

It began as something I thought I was doing because I just wanted to loose a few kilos. I had resolved at the start of the year to begin eating less then I normally did, cutting down on snacks, sugar, chocolate...just to be healthier because I was not happy with what I looked like. I had always tried new diets and exercise habits, and all I wanted to do was loose some weight, while still eating the food I loved. I guess I decided that enough was enough, and so I reduced everything I consumed…

I lost the few kilos that I had planned and the number on the scale made me proud of my self-control and restrictive behaviour. But, it didn’t stop at just those few kilograms. I realised that I had control over something in my life for once, and that I could keep loosing the weight. I had never been this proud of my dieting and ‘healthy eating’ habits- ever! And I was happy that others around me began to notice that I was looking slimmer. I had never been considered skinny or slim in my whole life…in fact, according to some close family members I was a bit chubby, or I could loose some fat ‘here or there.’ I was never that slim, sporty, toned looking teenager that I wanted to be. And I wasn’t happy with that.

As months went on and I continued to eat less and less, I began to experience the physical consequences of starving myself. I was constantly tired, moody and had no energy to even be with friends or family. I think the worst point was winter 2012. I remember each day just being a physical and emotional struggle. Physically, having a job and doing university and church commitments should not have made me that weak, cold and tired, but because of my restrictive diet, I pulled and dragged myself through each day, just waiting for the clock to hit 8 pm so I could go to sleep. Emotionally, I was even worse. I felt so controlled by food…what I would eat, when I would eat, how much I would eat. It was a constant thought process that burdened me everyday. I felt I was chained in a cycle of thinking about food that I couldn’t escape…

I did not treat my body the way God intended. I abused it. I would eat less then I physically needed, and if I failed and ‘overate’ I would feel shame and guilt that would linger on my soul and affect my relationships and activities. Some times I would be confronted with sugar ( lollies or chocolate) or something that I hadn’t eaten in a long time, and I would binge eat to the point of real discomfort … and this would only make me more ashamed, guilty and disappointed in my ‘lack of self control.’

During these months leading up to September/November of 2012, I was anxious, stressed and had a disordered eating issue that was taking control of every aspect of my life. My relationships with family and friends were being negatively affected by my bad moods and constant depressed behaviour…and my relationship with God felt like something that couldn’t help me because I was too stuck. I felt too self-controlled, guilty and preoccupied with ‘food thoughts’ to be with God.

Through these months, God blessed me with my mum and sister. They began to notice straight away what I was doing to my body, and how it was physically and emotionally affecting my life. They were worried, and I didn’t want them to worry. I confided in my mum and sister with my fear and anxiety about food and weight issues, and they listened and supported me. I remember my sister wrote me a letter that I read in the bath one winter’s night. I cried for such a long time reading words I knew were true.

Here is some of what my younger, fifteen year old sister wrote to me…

“I hope as sisters that we can tell each other our problems and struggles as Christians, and be able to accept and respect each other’s concerns and failures…

This letter is not supposed to upset you, but I do wish to confront and rebuke you. You already know this, but I think it is important to remind you. Both mum and I are concerned about your weight and the negative views you have about your own body…As a sister in Christ I would like to remind you that your appearance is never going to improve or damage your relationship with God…Therefore you should not think as much as you do about you body…

I do not think you are a healthy weight anymore…mum and I feel that it is getting out of control…you are bordering on anorexia…

We love you and cannot bear to see you struggle with your weight. Just think how better you would feel if you ate more; you would have more energy, you wouldn’t be as could and you would be able to make the most of every opportunity- as God wants his children to do…”

This letter referenced three verses that speak true of God’s perspective food, worry and true beauty…

“So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” 1 Corinthians 10:31

“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?” Matthew 6:25

“But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees; man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7

I still tear when I read her letter even now. God has blessed me with an amazing, truly beautiful sister, and she has also come to know Christ, so we are more then blood sisters. (I plan to write a blog post about her soon…my dear sister Celine.)

My mum is another blessing from God. She is amazing and has taught me so much over the past year about strength and love. I thank God for her support and love in my struggles, because she gave me a lot of perspective and strength. I truly believe God uses people around us, to challenge and change our hearts. And what an incredible blessing that is when it’s a mother.

I tried not to worry, not to be anxious, or stressed, or in constant control of everything I was consuming. I wanted to be healthy, eat and exercise and be happy with who God made me to be. I struggled to find that balance though, as I physically didn’t have enough energy to do much exercise because of my lack of food, and I didn’t eat much because I knew I wasn’t doing much exercise to burn off the extra calories… it was a vicious cycle of shame, guilt sadness and anxiety.

On September 1st  2012, I began journaling. My mum suggested it as she mentioned that at some point in everyone’s life, one should write a journal. I had considered it before, but honestly had previously been too lazy to write down what was happening inside. This journal became something so real and true to who I was (and who I am) and what I was experiencing. I wrote on the first page…

“This journal is me; who I am and who I want to be. I think its time to put on paper what my life is about at the moment. I don’t want to be fake, I don’t want to pretend everything is ok; because to be honest its far from being ok…

I hope and pray that by Gods grace and His unfailing and undeserving love, I can overcome this, whatever this is…

I feel lead to comment on “The Good women Project,” a website that has already opened my eyes to the reality that there are women, like me, who are dealing with weaknesses and worries and hurts…

I hope God can use my story one day to help and change someone experiencing something similar, or just to let someone know that with God, all things are possible…

I don’t really know where to start…”

But I did start.

I wrote a lot. As I was writing this story down, I looked through my journal entries about my fears, anxieties and sadness over the past year. They all echo my desire to break free from the chains that I was in, the sin that entangled me, I wanted to experience the freedom found only in Christ and not things of this world…

And so university finished, November came and I went on a trip overseas for a month, alone, with a French speaking family (I am not fluent so it was hard and because I see them only every few years they felt like strangers at first), a different routine and some big challenges (more to come on my experiences in Paris.)

I wrote everyday in my journal, some days pages, other day’s simple prayers or verses that God would reveal to me.

I read one entry that I wrote, which now makes me cringe because of the raw truth behind my words…

“ What actually I find annoying is how stupid I am. Why, why, why o Lord do I starve myself when I know when I nourish my body and eat I feel better…”

I was challenged in every way possible. For months I had developed a routine of food and lifestyle that allowed me to control my eating habits and my relationships with others, but now I was experiencing a whole new culture, language and routine… I wrote;

“This experience and different routine is definitely making me stronger, breaking me down and allowing myself to just trust God…I needed to break away from my restrictive routine at some point and get back to the real world…”

I experienced a lot, especially the power of the Spirit of God who is strong, stronger then my weakness. God has shown me this.

After my experiences, I began to really transform and my mind began to be renewed. I began letting God in, and by His grace, He opened my eyes and heart and perspective on a whole lot of things!

During this time, one song that made me cry and filled my heart with such joy in God’s faithfulness and healing and strength and renewing power was “Beautiful Things,” by Gungor… the lyrics are like this…

“all this pain,
I wonder if I will ever find my way.
I wonder if my life could really change at all…
all this earth,
could all that is lost ever be found,
could a garden come up from this ground, at all…

you make beautiful things,
you make beautiful things out of the dust…

You make beautiful things,
You make beautiful things, out of us…

all around
hope is springing up from this old ground,
out of chaos
life is being found
in You…

You make me new,
You are making me new…”

These lyrics echoed the words of Isaiah 61…

The spirit of the LORD is upon me
He has sent me to heal the broken hearted
To proclaim liberty to the captives
and the opening of the prison to those who are bound (verse 1)
…to comfort all who mourn (verse 2)
to console those who mourn in Zion
To give them beauty for ashes
The oil of joy for mourning
The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness
That they may be called trees of righteousness
the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified (verse 3)

I will greatly rejoice in the Lord,
my should shall be joyful in my God;
For He has clothed me with the garments of salvation
He has covered me with the robe of righteousness
As a bridegroom decks himself with ornaments
and as a bride adorns herself with jewels (verse 10)
For as the earth brings forth its bud,
As the garden causes things that are sown in to its spring forth
So the lord God will cause righteousness and praise to
spring forth before all nations. (verse 11)

After my France trip, home in Australia with my family, I received another hand written letter from my beautiful sister, and these words made me cry again, but this time from happiness…

“It feels as if this experience has helped you to transform into a mature, independent woman of God…

I have been able to see your changing perceptions of food through the emails and phone calls. WHOOP WHOOP! It is truly amazing how God works in mysterious ways in order to change someone for the better. In this case, it only took a trip to the other side of the world...But please don’t go back to the way you were like before. I don’t want you stressing about food anymore…

Live life to the full…”

I began the New Year, 2013, in Huskisson, with a team of Christ followers on mission to preach the good news! It was an incredible, amazing, challenging and convicting 10 days…and opened my eyes to the reality of the gospel, the reality of Jesus and His saving power. I can honestly say, that if I hadn’t been on my trip a few weeks before this short-term mission, I think I would have been dishonouring God by being there, because I wouldn’t not have been all there…

God’s timing is perfect. Whether we see it now, we can trust in His planned timing and purpose for everything in our lives. I had booked that trip to France as something to look forward too, as an exciting holiday…but God knew it would be a change in perspective that I so desperately needed.

SO much happened on that trip. I got to know more about who I was, and Who I belong too…and what that actually means…. what it means to be a beloved daughter of a God who made me, who loves me and has saved me.

God also has brought people, stories and even blogs into my life that have radically shifted my thoughts, changed my perspective and caused me to look beyond my self absorbed life! God answers prayers. He faithfully answered my prayers for someone to confide in (besides my mum and sister) and He has continually been bringing people into my life that are able to understand and encourage me in my journey…

My journey... Its still a process. Every day is new, every day is a struggle. I still face my weaknesses. I still think about food, I still check the number on the scale and it stills impacts me depending on what number stares back up on me. I still fear my failure, my lack of control. Though, I long to nourish my body physically, not abuse it. But I need to nourish my soul daily before I can even do this is a God-glorifying way.

I have found the following verses comforting, challenging and convicting in my journey and I am reminded of these truths….

Psalm 73:26… I may fail, but God is the strength of my heart.
Isaiah 49:16… God knows me, He loves me, He made me.
2 Corinthians 3:5…my competence, my strength comes from God alone.
2 Corinthians 3:17…the Spirit of God gives FREEDOM.
2 Corinthians 4:16… I am being renewed day by day.
2 Corinthians 5:17… In Christ, I am a new creation!
Philippians 4:16…Don’t be anxious, submit EVERYTHING to God.
Philippians 4:13… I can do everything through God who gives me strength!
Romans 8:37…we are conquerors, victorious through Christ in ALL things, in ALL situations!

God is healing me. By His grace and love. My trust and hope is in Him, and I thank Jesus that I do not need to fear shame, guilt, I don’t need to be defined by worldly beauty, I don’t need to have control over everything, I don’t need to be a certain weight to be loved and known and accepted. God has loved and accepted me through Christ and in Christ alone I stand…

This is a condensed version of what could be a long long story! But- if you have any questions feel free to email me at ….

If anyone reads this, I would love to hear your experience or what you think of mine… just leave a comment!

(I will soon be posting a page dedicated to blogs, and books and websites that I discovered through my journey that have been of HUGE encouragement for me and hopefully for you also!)


  1. Thank you for sharing the truth of scripture! I look forward to reading what you have to share next week as well!

  2. Thank you so much for your honesty! I hope you continue to find encouragement and healing on on your journey. And thank you so much for participating in the linkup!