A few Sundays back our Pastor was speaking on our struggle.
That primary sin that keeps holding us back.
I stopped for a moment, waiting for that familiar guilt to wash over me, knowing that sin that keeps holding me back, the one that came to mind every time a message like this came around, the one that has held me so long it's almost a familiar friend....
and I felt breathless.
I realized without my knowing it, that hold on me. That addiction. It had left me.
Let me back up a bit, and let me just say that this is a hard story for me to tell.
Because though I feel a new freedom, I still feel shame knowing how strong a grip this addiction had on me.
It started so long ago, 18 years ago to be exact.
I was 13 years old.
I lived in a loving home, with a foundation in the church, growing up with a Southern Baptist preacher for a Pa-Paw.
To anyone who knew me, they couldn't tell.
I wore the greatest mask of my life.
To them, I was happy. cheerful. silly.secure.
But inside I was awkward. insecure. sad. lost.
and one comment in a conversation I overheard, with no frills or encouragement towards the subject matter turned me down a path I couldn't begin to navigate.
"I had a rough childhood, I used to be bulimic and made myself throw up and lost so much weight, it was scary."
To most people that would send them into empathetic words of sorrow and send the message not to ever do that.
To me, it was a a quick fix for how I was feeling...I could now strive to be "prettier", to be "confident".
That night was the first time I made myself throw up.
From then on, it just got worse.
I exercised tirelessly, wanting toned muscles, wanting that "perfect body".
13 years old.
I conditioned my body in such a way that I couldn't even keep water down.
I would binge and purge while I was alone. Caught in the cycle.
I had concerned family, who found out.
two years into it my dad came to me one night with tears in his eyes because he could see my spine through my shirt.
But I made promises to stop and hid it so that they thought I did.
Then at 16 I met a boy.
This boy would hold my heart from the first smile.
This boy who to everyone else just seemed like a big guy who didn't talk a lot, held me one night and cried with me, and begged me to stop because he wanted to marry me and have babies with me.
What kind of person can't stop after that?
So I made the same promises.
and kept hiding it.
I married that boy.
and two years later, we had our first baby boy.
and then a girl.
and then another boy.
and through each pregnancy, not as extreme but still present ,
(this is so hard to write out)
I continued on with my addiction.
NOTHING stopped me. Not the knowledge of a little life inside me that I should be taking care of. Not chest pains. Constant heartburn. Stomach issues. NOTHING.
I would pray, beg, cry and plead with God to take this away from me.
I would read articles on recovery and wonder WHY it wasn't happening for me.
I wished I had never started this. I was spiraling out of control with no hope of stopping.
But then as the kids got a little older,I started eating better. Exercising (in a healthy way).
It didn't stop. It was improving. But I still struggled.
With every large meal. A dessert I should've passed on. A late night snack.
the struggle came back.
Then by His grace, this September we found out we were pregnant with baby #4.
And I panicked.
I wanted to do this right. I wanted to be healthy.
But I worried that with every pound I gained, I would want to go back.
Then last Sunday. I realized.
And this still makes me awestruck.
I hadn't purged ONCE in this entire pregnancy.
While this doesn't seem that great to some....oh my heart. It's such a miracle to me, that I can't help much smile and shake my head as I type this out.
I can't say I won't ever have those thoughts again.
I can say that I truly feel like I've been relieved of the heaviest burden I've held.
and that I will hold fast to the relief.
"Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls."
He's taken it from me.
And my heart is grateful.