Pinterest A Grateful Life Lived: February 2016

Saturday, February 27, 2016

(Happy?) National Eating Disorder Awareness Week

It's national eating disorder awareness week, but unlike National Letter Writing Week or National pancake day, I'm not celebrating in a gleeful-delight.  How do you "observe" something so destructive, so poisonous?  

To be honest, I've walked through this week,like most others, with the goal of further divorcing my eating disorder. So this has me in a tough spot, a "now-but-not-yet" kind of spot.

I'm not 2014 Hannah, the girl who lived in blustery denial. I'm no more 2015 Hannah, who was walking through the fire of treatment and lived in the bubble of therapy and dietitians and treatment friends and the momentary realizations that there was more to life. This year, I've cast off the safety net. I am healthier than I've ever been, but I still walk through my day with recovery on the forefront of mind. Full healing of anorexia dominates the thoughts of schoolwork, relationships, athletics and future. It's the now-but-not-yet. 

This reality collides with NEDA Week, a harsh wind to an otherwise sunny day.  Do I keep talking about eating disorders, keep posting about my experience until people become educated but also box me in as "that girl who had anorexia?"

Frankly, I'm not sure. 

I don't know how to handle this part of recovery, because I haven't been here yet. But I do know that, at some point, God will guide me onto new things, that won't include talking about my eating disorder every day.  And I will gladly move forward.  Anorexia will be a distant memory and I will no longer write about it all the time, and BOY will that be grand! But even as that day approaches, I keep my eyes and ears tuned to what the Spirit, always ready to give an answer for the hope that lies within me (1 Peter 3:15).

So...eating disorders. They take a long time to heal from.  It's typically a 3-5 year process- and a heartbreaking 20% of anorexia sufferers will end up dying before they eradicate the disease. It's a process that is beautiful and gut-wrenching, and it's altogether the hardest road I've ever traveled.  If you or someone you love is walking through recovery, let this be a wake up call, a reminder that just because the battle is not yet finished, doesn't mean it is not being valiantly fought with every bite. 

And so, I keep writing and talking and letting transparency numb the fear in my heart that says "what if they know?!"  And someday soon, God will tell me that I get to speak out about something else, something new He is doing in my life, and I eagerly await that day.   The Bible says we will defeat satan by the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony (Revelation 12:11), so that's why my testimony goes forth, and as the Lord molds and develops our testimonies, it's our job to go where He leads.  Whether your ministry is in mental health or marriage or athletics or school, be ready for the Lord to move you along into bigger and better things as He crushes those strongholds in your life.  

For more information on eating disorders, please refer to these posts:


Monday, February 22, 2016

An Awestruck 2016: Pursued

Last night I dreamed I met Ryan and Sara Hall, and their four daughters.  I got a quick picture with Ryan and then asked for an autograph.  He wanted to sign my I.D., but I told him I had left it at home but that I had a post-it note he could sign.  He seemed really upset by that and begrudgingly signed it.  Not wanting to upset them more, I quickly left.  But as my dreaming-self went on to a department store, I ran into them again.  This time, they were very kind and said they felt badly about before.  Sara said she had noticed I was sad and decided to help me.  She tasked me and her daughters with picking out things in the store to represent my current struggles.  Band-Aids stood symbolized the brokenness of my pelvis and femur, that I can't fix. Shampoo stood for the feeling of dirty, unworthiness that I carry.  A mannequin with her hands on her hips represented my fear of being abandoned, and consequential need to always "be ready."

It's a funky dream, I know.  But I woke up with such a peace in my soul, and after further speculation, I realized it's because that dream satisfied a deep longing in me.  A longing to be seen.  It's a part of humanity that I believe are created with, an innate desire to be recognized.  After all, why else would we wait in lines to meet musicians or take pictures of or with celebrities?  Yes, there are other reasons, but I think we all secretly long to be picked out of the crowd, like a modern day Cinderella-- stick with me here, men-- I promise this applies to you as well.  (RELATED: Be a Social Light not a Socialite)

Even if it's not a celebrity crush, we all have certainly felt that flutter when someone attractive notices us or calls our name.  And it can be discouraging sometimes, to live in this world with seven billion bodies and each one is vying for attention.  Each one is craving that beckoning from the stage that says: "You!  I want you with me!"

And as New Year's fades to Valentine's, fades to everyday routine, it's easy to start feeling lonely.  So you try and find some acceptance, you focus on being perfect, or you dream about becoming friends with THE power-duo in distance running.  But at the end of the day: Our wealth, fame and talent will all betray us.  As Genesis 3 says, from dust we came and to dust we will return.

But all the riches and all the glory and all power belong to God.  But He is not only the creator of the universe; He is also the intimate Lord of each and every one of us.  He calls to to, motioning for you to join Him in this moment and the next.  Does that blow your mind!?  Think about it: The King is inviting you, a washed-up nobody, to be with Him.  No need to take a picture to savor the memory, because He's not going anywhere.  Don't bother waiting in a long line, because He's calling you now.
(RELATED: The Timeline of God's Goodness in Your Life)

Believe me, I know how discouraging this world can be for the "mediocre."  But even the fabulous and rich among us, are mediocre when their heads hit the pillow at night, when their muscles grow old, when their pockets run dry.  I want to encourage you that the goodness of the Lord never runs dry and it pursues you with passion.

You are not forgotten.  You are not insignificant; and you are not just another face in the crowd.  Breathe a sigh of relief tonight, because you don't have to search for belonging any more, my friend.  Praise be to God!


Monday, February 1, 2016

The Timeline of God's Goodness in Your Life

Well, I'm officially 21, but-- in full disclosure-- I still play on playgrounds and cuddle with stuffed animals.  I've yet to drink alcohol and I know squat about doing taxes.  So, I'd be hard pressed to tell you what magical transformation actually occurred on Friday to make me an "official adult"  (I'll report back on that one).  What I do know, however, is that I am incredibly blessed to have 21 years under my belt. 

 My parents say that I first entered the world screaming my head off.  I was probably upset that my comfort and stability had been jostled by this thing we call life, and I've been Type A ever since.  But Type A is discipline and order.  Type A is NOT regulations and rituals, restrictions and isolation.  That came on the tail end of divorce (and if you haven't yet heard my testimony, I encourage you to read about God's goodness HERE).  


In our segmented little lives, we often miss the timeline of God's goodness.  For me, this birthday acted like a virtual time capsule, a reminder of where I've come from and where I'm going.  See, I spent my last birthday in treatment for an eating disorder that had ravaged my life.  I couldn't fathom sitting down with friends or eating a brownie or relaxing.  But God works in the anguish of our souls.  He lifts us from the pit into the light of day.  At 21 years-old, I'm experiencing that light for the first time.

I've recently been reading about the life of Jacob in Genesis, and boy, is it a story of struggle I can really resonate with  All through his life, Jacob kept trying to manipulate things for his own good fortune.  Heck, he even fought with his brother in the womb (Genesis 25:22).  He tricked his father into blessing him with his brother's birthright and later in life, he slept with his wive's servant in order to have a son.  He was living like a desperate soul with no maker.  And it begs the question: Why?  Despite a blessing from God, clear provision and even a angelic dream from the big man himself, Jacob couldn't grasp the knowledge that God is for us. 

See, all through Jacob's life-- in spite of Jacob's own thwarted efforts-- God upheld His end of the deal.  He blessed Jacob abundantly and He kept His promises.  

That same character of God is true for you and for me.  Wherever you started: God was there.  And from the moment of creation, He has been actively pursuing you in order to give you what satisfies you most, namely: Him.  I've been amazed this week at just how far God has brought me and how faithful He has been in my journey to restored freedom.  I'm approaching a year of being at a restored weight, and I can't help but fall on my face in the presence of the Lord's goodness that never ends.
And Jacob?  Well, He struggled his way into a wrestling match with God.  A crippled hip stayed a reminder for the rest of his years, that God is good and faithful.  As Frederick Buechner said, it was "a magnificent defeat of the human soul at the hands of God"  (The Magnificent Defeat).

Amen.  I pray that your soul and mine will be crushed by the realization of who our God truly is.  He is faithful and His goodness flows deeper than our sin (RELATED: Peace Like a River).  And THAT leaves me awestruck (RELATED: An Awestruck 2016).

I'd love to hear about the timeline of God's goodness in your life.  Comment below or send me an email at  Be blessed!