I just wrapped up our Through His Eyes Series this past week at the God’s Enough – Women’s Ministry Blog – Through His Eyes I Was, Through His Eyes I Am, and Through His Eyes I Will Be. I included my part of the series here for you to browse.
Through His Eyes, I Was Intimately Loved When I Felt Unlovable.
On July 3, 2012 I wrote the following letter to God and His response back to me. The words are raw and real. In 2012, I never imagined I would be sharing this with you
So I did my other counseling assignment first because I was trying to put off this letter to you. I don’t even know how to start this thing, I feel so distant from you and I know that I am the one to blame for putting these walls up between us. As I slipped deeper and deeper into my eating disorder (ED), I found myself more and more embarrassed to come to You. I knew that if I were to pray and read my Bible then I would be a hypocrite. To be honest, at some points I didn’t want to give up my eating disorder because of the security I felt it brought me. My ED gave me the excuse to stay alone and avoid social situations, it allowed me to feel distant from everybody like I never existed, after all I am just one person why would I matter?
I’ve learned that I take things to both extremes and struggle with moderation in many aspects of my life. But lately I realized my tendencies to view you as black and white. I either think I am under your wrath because I am sinning so heavily or that you love me. Even as I type that I know it doesn’t sound right, but deep down I believe it. I don’t understand how you could love me despite the fact that you can see me bingeing and purging when I am alone.
I knew that I was sinning and yet I believed the enemy’s lies that you would not want to speak to me anymore. I intellectually knew you were loving, but I couldn’t understand why you would love me. Why do you want to get to know me? I’m really not that special. There’s a whole lot of other people in this world that pursue their relationship with you, that feel near to you, that even give up their lives for you! I don’t think I am one of those people, I’m wrapped up in the past and future never in the present.
About a year ago, I convinced myself that I would be happier if I weighed 120 pounds not 148. I now weigh close to 120 and am happy that I feel lighter, that I fit into clothes better, that I don’t feel weighed down by food as much. But I don’t feel satisfied. I had an episode last Saturday not because I had a desire to, just because I was finally alone and needed to get it out of my system. I did not feel satisfied by bingeing and purging behavior. I’m learning that I have accepted the devil’s lies as my way of living without realizing it. I feel free when I’m reading the book that you still accept me and that you have not left my side, I feel freedom in the fact that you think I’m beautiful, that you created by body and that You can only bring me this satisfaction and fill this empty void in my life. I sure don’t know what that looks like, but I like the idea of it.
God, I want to end this letter with a thank you. I have learned so much about the Megan I was pretending to be for so long and it was exhausting. I’ve enjoyed aspects of this process and getting to know myself, especially what my passions and desires are versus pleasing others. Thanks for this opportunity to grow and search for my identity in You because gosh darn it there has to be something better than this place called Earth.
Please let me feel near to you on a daily basis, and please forgive me for my lack of intimacy with you. Teach me how I can walk with You and give me a desire to pursue You.
This is what I would imagine God saying, even if I don’t believe it.
I love you. Yep, I said it and I’m going to keep saying it, I love you. While I do not feel that bulimia is respecting me or the body I gave you, I still love you. I sent my only Son to die on the cross because I love You, I cherish you, I want you to know me and let me into your life. If you were the only person on this Earth I would still have Jesus die for you because I love you that much. I wish you could feel my presence more, I wish you desired intimacy with me and pursued it. But guess what? Even when you felt alone and didn’t know how to talk to me, I still was there, waiting for you, because I love you so much. I am always near you, you may not feel my presence, but I’m there.
It angers me how the devil has gotten inside your thoughts so deep. Megan, be wary of him, he’s deceiving in ways you didn’t imagine. He found your weakness, he found how hard you are on yourself. I created you this way, I knew this process would allow you to grow and search for the woman I created you to be. You prayed to me on your knees in desperate need for me to bring you out of this eating disorder. You expected me to change you immediately, I hope you are learning I don’t always work that way. I knew this was something deeper than an eating disorder and healing the ED wouldn’t heal your heart.
Megan, I created your body and I think it’s amazing. I want you to fuel it and listen to the hunger and satiety cues I have graced it with. Your body allows you to do so many activities. I want you fuel your body to serve me, food was meant to be enjoyed, but not your ultimate satisfaction. I can see you are learning that food doesn’t fill that hole in your heart. I created all people to desire something more than this Earth, to desire a relationship with me and I can see this tug of war of your heart to pursue me. My encouragement to you is that I am near, please don’t feel awkward talking to me. Guess what? This process never ends so don’t expect that you can check this off your list. You are growing into the woman I created you to be, I love you and cherish you and am here to be with you. Megan, I love you more than you will ever imagine, please let me into your life. I promise to bring the satisfaction you seek.
Again, I love you.
Through His Eyes, I Am Called and Right Where I Need to Be.
In 2016, my husband and I moved from North Dakota to Texas. I had just graduated from nursing school and passed my nursing licensure examination when we received his military orders. Naturally, you would think I would move to Texas and pursue nursing. However, I didn’t. You can read more about that decision here (https://hungryforauthenticity.com/2017/02/03/a-home-baker/). I had this vision that I would speak to women struggling with eating disorders but had no specific direction. I barely knew anyone in our community, nevertheless God had a plan in mind. Less than a year later, Laura Bass approached me about initiating a speaking ministry together. As a result, God’s Enough – Women’s Ministry came to fruition. For the last year, as I let this vision plant its seed in my heart, I struggled with comparing myself to other powerful speakers. “There’s nothing special about me,” I would berate myself, “I have nothing monumental to say.” Per my husband’s coaxing, I wrote myself a letter from God. This letter I keep handy when the, “You’re not powerful enough, You’re not equipped enough, You’re not good enough,” thoughts pop into my head. I encourage you to use this as a template and personalize it just for you.
Megan, remember you are unique. You have specific gifts. You enjoy solitude and contemplation. You enjoy studying the Word, meditating on it, and memorizing it. You enjoy speaking to me without noise in the background. You have been given a story and experiences that I’ve hand-picked for you. By my grace you have conquered and are conquering eating disorders, low self-esteem, and poor body-image. You are capable of so much. I believe in you and have blessed you with a husband who supports you. You will not be a Beth Moore, Lysa TerKeurst, Priscilla Shirer, or Ann Voskamp. Those women are encouraging to you, they are women to respect and learn from – they are not to be your competition. You see a need Megan. You see a need to bring to light how destructive our minds can be when it comes to eating and exercise. You have first-hand experience and you have a healthcare background. You want to see women excel and step into what I have called them to do. You have seen too many women become stunted by eating disorders, poor self-image, and depression. You want to empower women to conquer these insecurities and stumbling blocks so that they can advance the kingdom. You have not seen a Christian women leader make this their mission, their niche. This is your calling Megan. You have no clue how I’m going to go about my work in you, but this is your calling. For now Megan bloom where you are planted. Continue to study the Word diligently. Continue to serve your husband. Continue to write your book. Continue to serve the young couples at your church. Continue to keep your spirit, mind, and body healthy to set a positive example. Megan, you are going to be an influential leader in your generation. Be patient. Learn to be you. Be not do, for now. Be Megan. Learn your gifts, develop your gifts. Expand your knowledge base. Read and write. Grow. Enjoy life. I have lead you every step of the way so far and I will continue to do so. It has been glorious and challenging, but it has been my plan which is the best plan. Respect those ahead of you, but don’t spend your days coveting their lives or abilities. Instead spend your time developing your talents and gifts. Learn your strengths and weaknesses. Allow your stubbornness and tenacity to propel you toward being a leader. Never rely on your own strength. Trust me and my plan for your life.
Through His Eyes, I Always Will Be Enough for God’s Grace.
Let’s just say it’s much easier blogging about God’s grace than actually living it out daily. I needed this message today just as much as the next gal.
I recently had a conversation with a woman who confessed how easy it is to proclaim God’s grace over other’s lives, but how difficult it is to accept it in her own life.
Why is this the case? How can we have the head knowledge of God’s grace, but have so much difficulty actually accepting it?
My friend was not alone as she shared this with me, I was singing “Amen” right along with her.
**If you’re new to this concept of grace, essentially it means that we are so loved by God that he granted us undeserved favor by sending His Son to die on the cross for our sins. We actually just celebrated Jesus’ death and resurrection this past weekend. Because of this holy sacrifice, those who believe in Jesus Christ as their one and only Savior have been blessed to a life free of condemnation!**
Here’s my theory why it’s difficult for us to accept this gift of grace…
I see all my ugliness. I know my ugly, judgmental, self-deprecating thoughts. I am very familiar with my sinful nature. It’s exhausting.
No one else sees how ugly I can be – well, except Ben. Ben often says I’m like an inside out Sour Patch – sweet on the outside, sour on the inside. I can be super sassy and stubborn and unnecessarily cold and blunt. I compare my body to other women and selfishly covet someone else’s Pinterest home. I’m guilty of skipping my morning Bible study if I feel like I don’t have myself “together” whatever “together” is.
I could go on, but I think you get the gist.
I’m exposed to the not-so-presentable Megan on a daily basis. How could this chaotically, imperfect woman ever be enough for God’s grace?
I feel like I fall short as a wife, daughter, sister, friend, you name it, I feel like I fall short of it. Even last night, I told Ben that I felt I wasn’t being a good enough puppy mama to our two little Boston Terriers.
This whole cycle of self-berating is exhausting!
Which is why I love 2 Timothy 2:1 (ESV), “You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus.”
The phrase that catches my attention is, “strengthened by the grace.”
God’s grace actually gives me strength?
So the exhausting process of feeling guilty and shameful of all the ways I fall short is actually wasting my time, energy, and gifts? Living each day in a guilt trip is actually counter-productive to the work God’s grace can do to strengthen my life?
This chaotically, imperfect woman who shares this blog post with you always will be enough for God’s grace, even when I mess up today, tomorrow, and ten years from now?
Yes, yes, and yes. Because this grace was purchased on the cross simply because the Most High God loves me and you. Nothing on your resume or how many things you crossed off on your to-do list today earned you this grace. It’s a freeing way to live, breaking the cycle of self-berating.
So how do we actively live out this grace in our life?
Granted, grace is not an excuse to become lazy. Instead God’s grace is like having a cloak of supernatural, spiritual strength to accomplish the work set out for us each day. God has given you a specific life – your job, family, friends, circumstances – and specific gifts that enable you to carry out your ultimate purpose: spreading the Good News of His grace.
And each day we will sin. And we will fall short. It will happen today and tomorrow and ten years from now. But God wants us to push past the pain of our human failure and press into the strengthening power of His grace.
Grace is not a guilt trip. It’s a spiritual workout.