Have you ever needed to be “rescued from the deep?” Wendy shares her story of deliverance from the grips of an eating disorder and encourages us to cry out to God for help if we need to be rescued too.
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The Dark Closet
Up until recently, I’ve rarely shared my recovery story with more than an audience of one or two people at a time. But I’m learning to let go of my pride, and I’m releasing old secrets in the hope and prayer they’ll bless the hearers and draw them closer to Christ. The “where” of today’s part of my story I’m about to share with you starts off in a dark closet back in 1983. I was 22, newly engaged, and a new follower of Jesus Christ.
The dark closet I’m referring to was in the bedroom of a rental suite in the old funky part of my hometown of Kamloops, BC. Closets were a refuge for me. I would enter one in an attempt to shut off the world, shut off my fears, and hide from my enemies. It felt safer than facing problems head-on. But this time, as an adult, I didn’t feel safe in my closet; instead, tears flowed for the first time in years.
It was the last day of a long weekend that I’d spent doing the things people with eating disorders do. Things like obsessing about my weight, scrutinizing my calorie intake, and jogging until I dropped. Things like gorging on foods and purging them through exercise and other desperate means. And I was disgusted with myself; I loathed myself, and I lost all hope in my ability to fix myself.
This battle was beyond my strength and I couldn’t stop the craziness.
A Cry To Be Rescued
Without realizing it, I’d begun the twelve step program by admitting I had a problem that I was powerless to solve on my own. I needed a Higher Power. Earlier that evening I’d come across the shortest verse in the Bible:
“Jesus wept.” John 11:35
You mean Jesus cried? It’s alright to weep? I couldn’t remember the last time I’d shed a tear. Somehow it seemed wrong to show that much emotion. Just stuff it down with food, more food, with exercise, and more exercise until finally all the emotions were purged in one way or another. But don’t experience them—it’s too painful—not allowed—not safe. Just talk about the weather, and nothing deeper.
Fear was the sock I’d stuffed into my mouth since childhood. So here I was, a young adult, calling out from my closet as my knees pressed against the hard fir floor. “Oh, Lord, this time I’m asking you to heal me, not just for me; but because I’m useless to You like this.”
My cry from the closet released a decade of tension. And I sensed it was a good step toward the deliverance I’d been hoping for, the answer to previous prayers pleaded each time I’d relapsed into the chaotic whirlwind of eating disordered behavior. I had an illness I didn’t realize had a name. I only knew I was crying out from the deep for a rescue, for an answer. But I wasn’t expecting a reply right away since it had taken me a few years to hit this lowest of lows, bottom.
Why should God be in a hurry to help me? I had ignored Him for so long and had been bitter against Him because my childhood family broke up after years of turmoil. But at least I could now fall peacefully asleep knowing I’d placed my predicament in His hands.
My own hands had proven to be hopelessly self-destructive.
Road To Recovery
The morning after my closet confessional, when I arrived at the extended care hospital I worked at, I noticed one of my favorite co-workers was back from her holiday. Like me, she was also an activity aide. Her break must have agreed with her as she overflowed with so much peace and joy that even her skin had a healthy glow to it.
I walked across the polished linoleum floor of the hospital dining room. “Welcome back. You look great.”
She reached out, gently placed her hands on my shoulders, and looked me straight in the eyes. “I’m winning the battle with bulimia,” she said.
I gasped. I’ve heard that word before. Didn’t I read something about it in my fitness magazine? Yes, that’s it. “I…I think…I think that’s what I have.”
She nodded. “I’ve suspected that for months. And today,” she said, “the Lord nudged me to speak up.”
The following day my co-worker gave me a cassette, by Focus on the Family, which explained eating disorders.
Finally, I was on the road to recovery. Finally, I was going to be rescued from the deep.
Rescued From The Deep
A few weeks later, an eating disorder specialist diagnosed me as having bulimia and anorexia nervosa. Although I disagreed at the time with the anorexia diagnosis, I eventually realized I did indeed have a distorted view of my body.
It’s now been over three decades since I was healed and began walking the recovery journey; yet, I haven’t lost any of my immense relief and gratitude to the Lord for rescuing me.
The first bible verse I focused on in recovery was 2 Timothy 1:7 NKJV which says:
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”
Slowly but surely God pulled the sock of fear out of my mouth, heart, and mind so that I walked in freedom. Have you got a “Rescued from the Deep” story someone needs to hear? Ask God to grant you the courage to plant seeds of recovery in someone else’s life. I’m so glad my brave friend told me her story.
What was the first Bible verse you chose to memorize?
I was drowning
And He saved me
I was hopeless
And He gave me hope
I was falling into darkness
And He rescued me
With the Words He spoke.
Wendy / 2016
Wendy L. Macdonald
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