I have been battling demons within myself since I was about 11 years old! When I was a child, I suffered from childhood obesity. I hated that I was called fat. I also hated watching TV and seeing all the thin actresses and singers because it was not me! I decided I needed to do something. I started to exercise. The exercise worked because I went from a size 15-16 to a size 12-13. However, as I continued to watch TV, I became obsessed with looking like the celebrities. I began to compulsively exercise, exercising three times a day every day! I also cut out several foods. I went from a lifestyle of no exercise and no diet to a lifestyle of exercise addiction and under eating, almost anorexic. On Christmas of my 8th grade year I was a size 12-13 dress by Easter (only 4 months later), I was in a dangerously skinny size 0-2 dress. During this time frame of my life I contemplated suicide and I even self abused. I always wanted to be someone else and was unable to accept myself. This self-hatred fueled my anger.
I was so thin. I had absolutely no curves at all. At this time in my life I was about to enter High School. During my Sophomore year, I became very self-conscious of how I looked again. I hated that there were girls all around me, my age developing and I barely fit into a training bra! I started to eat unhealthy again. I ate Oreo cookies for breakfast and more junk food for lunch. This too did the trick and I had a few more curves fitting into about a size 6.
The problem was, I always wanted to be or look like somebody else, I was never happy with just being me! It would take years before I would be on a steady diet and exercise plan, but finally I would get there!
When I was seventeen my daughter was born. I also married at the age of 17. We were both young and battling our own demons within ourselves. The marriage was plagued with some physical abuse and much mental abuse, in turn it was destined for disaster. Ultimately, we separated and divorced a few years later.
During the separation and after the divorce I dated men and I let these men use me. What I have come to learn was that these relationships were not healthy for me. Those relationships just fueled depression and loneliness. For the past few years I became very distrusting and cynical. I lost myself. I was not really me anymore. I was not able to trust anyone and I had no faith in human kind. I wallowed in my own self-pity often.
I acted like a total unfeeling robot – well only on the outside. On the inside I felt everything! I felt every bad word I had ever been called, I felt all the pain of every bad/unhealthy/abusive relationship I had ever been in and I felt so lonely and depressed even though I had family and friends. I thought all of my depression was due to seasonal depression, but when I found myself looking out the window on a June day in complete despair, I knew it must be something else. My past was haunting me. I felt broken, but how or who could fix me?
I was never overly religious. I went to a Catholic school and I would go to church with my family because I was told to. I believed in God, but honestly I only believed because people told me I would go to Hell if I didn’t. Religion did not really mean much to me and as I got older, I got away from religion. I eventually stopped going to church. However, I was still plagued by my past. I was carrying so much pain in the form of guilt and shame.
Finally I gave up. I decided to go to confessions and light a candle. I felt like this weight had been lifted off of me. I felt loved. I felt Jesus. Yes I felt Jesus! This concept of Jesus no longer became just a belief but a true feeling of unconditional love. It was such a surreal felling to realize that with all my mistakes, imperfections, and lack of faith in human kind and God himself, I was still forgiven and loved. This experience has changed me for the better. I have a new respect for nature and I am much happier in my own skin, but what I am most proud of is that, I made peace with myself. I needed to learn to let go of my past and that is what I did. I went to God and I let go. Jesus took my shame and guilt and replaced it with love. I felt loved and accepted by Jesus so finally I could love and accept myself for the first time in my entire life!
After being saved, I had a vision of Jesus one morning. I was not asleep, but I just did not feel like getting out of bed yet. I closed my eyes and I saw white and blue everywhere. This looked just like the sky on a beautiful spring day. I was standing in the midst of all of this. I had my head down. I lifted my eyes slightly and I could see a man dressed in white in the distance. I kept my head down, but I walked toward this man. When I reached this man, he put his hand under my chin and lifted my head, but before I could see this man’s face my vision had ended. I know this was Jesus. As I stated above Jesus took my guilt and shame, but Jesus wanted me for some reason to literally see my shame being lifted from me so I could hold my head high!
Everything I have done or let people do to me, I did because I was searching for love. I found that love in Jesus Christ. I really relate to the Bible passage the “Samaritan Woman”, (John 4:4-42). This woman had had five husbands and was currently living with a man that she was not married to. Jesus saw her at a well and knew she was thirsty, but it was a spiritual thirst she was looking for. Jesus said to her “But whoever drinks the water I give him will never be thirsty”. I was that woman, I was so thirsty for love and the only person who was able to give me that love was Jesus Christ. Jesus went to people that society regarded as outcasts and loved them even when Jesus’ own disciples did not agree with Jesus talking to these people. Jesus saw the broken hearted and he gave them that spiritual drink that endless patient unconditional love.
In conclusion, I leave you with this, I have heard people say “what has anyone else really done for me?” – I have said this myself. Well I say to that statement, a man suffered and died for me then He gave me unconditional love (even when I didn’t think I deserved it) and not just me but He really does love everyone!