Pinterest A Grateful Life Lived: March 2015

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Things That Have Shaped Me

To make a list that encapsulates all the influences on my life would be impossible, but here are just some of the things/people that have shaped me:

  • Going to a Christian elementary school and being raised with a firm foundation
  • Finally letting the world see the goofy and imperfect Hannah

  • Having two amazing brothers on each side- to protect and love me
  • Hannah sandwiches (a.k.a: hugs with mom and dad in the kitchen)
  • My grandfather's death when I was seven
  • The prophetic declaration spoken over my life that I am an overcomer and a fighter
  • The lie that love must be earned
  • Failing my driver's test three times because I was basically "too careful"
  • My uncle's death in 2013, but more importantly: The influence of the life that proceeded it

  • Long hikes with my mom, and with my brothers- full of deep conversations and breathtaking views (Including my run up Handies Peak!)

  • Switching from private to public school in the sixth grade
  • Two amazing coaches, a handful of trusted friends and a devoted church family
  • A daddy who has always told me that, while this is my fight to own, "we are in this together"
  • Hebrews 10:32-39
  • My dad remarrying

*Thanks to Emma Scriver at A New Name, for this great blog post idea!  Read her post HERE.


Thursday, March 19, 2015

"When I Run, I Feel His Pleasure"

The "Fun Run" in 3rd grade
I love running again!  For so long, the gift of running had turned into compulsive drudgery, something I couldn't live without but couldn't be happy with.  It had long since deviated from the joyful activity I fell in love with as a six year old.  The past two years, it has been misery because my body never had enough energy or my mind didn't have enough sanity to enjoy it without thinking of calories or speed or distance or pace.

I wouldn't go as far as to say all that has changed, but there is a huge difference.  Yesterday, I didn't know if I was going to take my rest day or run.  At first, I thought I'd rest.  Then, I walked outside and my legs were itching to go hit the trail.  So I waited until the afternoon-- something that I'd never been able to do before-- and I went to Highbanks to get in a run. 

Placing 2nd in the indoor
state meet DI 3,200m
My mind replayed the last two weeks, starting with the Monday that I first ran again.  It was painful and hard, like a child first riding a bike.  But the reward was there and so was my smile.  And every run, the joy has become more genuine and the movements: more fluid.  And as mud splashes up against my legs, it reminds me how good it is to be alive.  Truly alive.  For I've been a hollow shell for so many years and I'm done with that.

So I did my run-- thirty minutes exactly-- and I stretched by my car.  I texted my brother that I was done and I headed for home.  Sunlight streamed in as I rolled down the windows and began to sing like a half-crazed, hormonal teenager- note: I am now a half-crazed, hormonal 20 year-old- and that's when I had the thought:

This must be what if feels like to be free.

It caught me off guard.  But it lingered for a while, allowing me to soak in the excitement in tandem.  In that moment, there was no worry about what I'd eaten, what I would eat, what I looked like, how I was imperfect, how I shouldn't be sitting down and resting.  None of that crossed my mind.  If only for a split second, God gave me a taste of the freedom I am working towards.  He let me see a glimpse of what it is really like.  And it is ridiculously awesome, guys!

That was the first time I'd truly felt that relief, but I have confidence that as I continue on, those moments will happen more and more often, until they become my reality.  Perhaps it seems small, but this is pretty huge for me.  To be safe, I'm easing back into running slowly.  I know it could quickly go south if I dive back into it too fast.  My body and my mind need to re-learn the act of running.  My mind has directing me toward eating disorder behaviors for so long that it takes direct action to change them, to know that faster isn't always better and that I don't have to push my body to the breaking point.

Winning my 3rd consecutive conference
meet. It was so exciting!

As I'm learning these things, it's amazing to see how much more joyful running becomes. I used to hate getting up in the morning.  It meant that I had to run, do classwork, ride my bike and pass the time-- all before I could eat.  I had no energy and I had little hope.  But recovery is showing me that I can love my body and it will be kind to me in return.  I do have energy to run and that makes running an adventure again. It makes me appreciate the gift so much more.  I believe that when darkness pervades the gifts of God, we sometimes need to lay those things down in order to ever experience them in fullness.  That's what I've done.  I've laid down the things I love: Running; hiking; walking and exploring, in the hopes of discovering anew why I was created with such passions (RELATED: Running the Race).

One of my all-time favorite quotes is from Eric Liddell: "God made me for a purpose.  But He also made me fast and when I run, I feel his pleasure!"  The running nerd that I am, I always tear up at that quote. (RELATED: "Born To Run" Book Review)  THAT was a man who got it.  He understood why we are given the gift of running.  It's not about winning and it's not about burning calories.  It's not about being the best or even seeing how tough we can be.  Running truly is about letting our bodies worship the Lord.  Though I don't always like this healthy version of my body, I do appreciate it because it is letting me run again.  

And I'm running like never before.


Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Walls of Pride Have Replaced Walls of Shame: Time to Tear Down

I don't like being vulnerable.  I don't think a lot of us do.  Frankly, it leaves us open to critique, judgement and rejection.  Yet, I came to a point this last year where the walls I'd built had become so overpowering, that is was a task to simply get through the day.  No one knew how badly I was truly struggling and I didn't want them to.

I love Romans 8:2, which says: "For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set me free from the law of sin and death."  It reminds me that I'm not the trapped, sick "me" anymore. (RELATED: Let's Talk About Eating Disorders) I am made new.  And you all have graciously supported me on my journey thus far.  You've prayed for me, read my blog, offered encouragement and reminded me that there is hope. (RELATED: The Unexpected) Because of the support of my friends and family, I've been able to follow God's lead and tear down so many walls in my life.  Anorexia is not something to be ashamed of and my past is not something I need to hide.  No.  I need to share it, because a story isn't complete without the struggle, the struggle that makes us human.

Here's my problem though: I've torn down the walls of secrecy and shame.  Yet, I fear I have erected new walls in the process.  I've blogged about eating disorder awareness and about much of my personal struggle, and in doing so, I think I've built myself up and belittled the work of redemption. (RELATED: Do You Think I'm Beautiful)

My words may have been pretty spot, but my heart has been constantly battling the desire for attention, for praise, for approval.  In this struggle, I'm reminded that my entire journey of freedom is hinged on escaping the lust for approval of others (RELATED: A Freedom Filled 2015).  That doesn't stop when my words hit the page.  So this is my way of coming clean with all of you, about how imperfect I really am.  Honesty is what people connect to, and I'm here to connect.  I'm not here to soak in the praise of others.  That's something that I'm still working on in my heart.  Thanks for sticking with me guys.  Stay tuned for more blog posts about what God is doing in me.  (RELATED: My Next Step Forward)


Thursday, March 12, 2015

Springing Forward: My Next Step

It's been a busy few weeks, but I can't say it has been without payoff.  All the effort has been hard work, but I'm truly reaping the rewards.  Don't get me wrong: There is still a lot- I mean a LOT- of distance I've yet to cover in my recovery journey, but I'm starting to see what real life is like. (RELATED: Do You Think I'm Beautiful?)

It's afternoon runs, because I have the energy to run and my body is healthy again.  And I don't have to run first thing in the morning and I don't have to measure my distance or pace or calories burned. (RELATED: Rest)  And all I hear is my feet on the pavement because I'm not listening to the eating disorder lies.  I'm blocking them out.

Real life is hanging out with friends, occasionally smashing scales on the street and standing tall in who God has created me to be-- in the midst of rude and insensitive comments from people who don't understand the hell I've been through.
My friend and I destroyed her scales
today.  I'd say it was a smashing success!

Real life is finally moving on from partial hospitalization, to the world of outpatient-- where you get to explore new hallways and meet new people at the front desk.  It's an exciting world.  But it's also a bit frightening.  Thirty hours or treatment decreased to twelve and then to nine and now: three.  It's not easy but I've asked for and received more support at home, I've etched out new goals and I've worked hard to schedule my time.  Free time is bad news for me, it only fuels E.D. (RELATED: Keep Trekking)  

Monday and Tuesday were super hard and I was very anxious, but I am finding my way through the minefields and am working out the kinks.  Running helps my anxiety a lot and is enjoyable for the first time in a few years.  My body image is another story all together, but somewhere in the back of my head, I remember that this isn't going to last forever.  The benefits of recovery, however, will last forever.  So I think I can tough it out.  When I think about where I was just a few months ago, the fact that I'm running at all and able to rest and relax at all, blows my mind.  God is doing amazing things! See THIS post from August to see what I mean- My all-around health has improved, but so has my honesty and transparency within my writing!

I really have been leaning on Proverbs 18:10 lately, which says: "The name of the Lord is a strong tower.  The righteous run to it and are safe."  It reminds me that I am safe in Him, I am alive in Him.  I don't have to restrict or run faster and walk longer or hide from the world.  Life in Christ is worth living, and the more I test that theory, the more I prove it true.  (RELATED: Accept Love)

Thank you all for your continued love and support,

Monday, March 2, 2015

Accept Love

Does anyone else ever feel like no one quite gets you?  Like the world seems to be rushing on with its business, never stopping to see you trip and fall on your face amidst your struggle.  Yeah.  I would bet that most of us feel like that at one time or another.  I think it's part of  human nature to desire to be loved and understood; Thus, in our broken world, it's common to feel the heartache and loneliness of feeling misunderstood, abandoned, forgotten.

I had one of those times this past weekend, where one moment in time seemed to extend for hours, days even.  I began to engage in self-pity because, after all, no one else was going to care, I reasoned. But the digger I dug, the more I realized two things: Number one, people do care.  They care deeply and compassionately.  They care for me, they care about the things that happen to me and they care with the love of Christ that reminds me I am loved and understood.

Number two: I learned that there is a real ache that sometimes needs to be mourned.  There are real hurts that we can't just cover up and pretend don't matter.  Bandaids might work when you fall off a scooter but they're a sore replacement for a good cry when your heart is hurting.

So, here's my advice from my crappy weekend: Accept love.  Accept the hugs and the words of encouragement and affirmation.  Accept the smiles and smiley faces in texts.  Accept that these are all reflections of the Father's love and that He is never, ever, ever going to leave you.  Accept that words do sting but that love is the healing salve of all things.  Because remember: You do heal, you were made precious and resilient and stronger than you know.  Accept that you are a work in progress.  It doesn't matter if you're struggling with an eating disorder or struggling to make a grade on the next exam, doubt and frustration slap us all in the face.  But you aren't alone.  We may not all understand each other, but the first step is to try.  Chances are, you might be like me and find yourself surprised that God has placed some people in your life who do care.  He has given you people who do understand.  So accept them, and go out and be that person.