Monday Morning Meditation: Gratitude

This weekend, I had the privilege of attending the Choices conference in Hershey, PA with some ladies from my church.


I was most excited to go to this because Sara Groves was going to be there.


She led worship at each session, and then she’d sing a couple of her songs after. It’s a surreal feeling to sit and listen to songs that you have memorized from listening to them in your room, in your car, on a run. Songs that have carried you through trials and victories, through post-partum depression and questions about whether God is really who He says He is. Songs that have walked with you through major marriage struggles, loved ones dying, songs that have run with you as you trample on child sex trafficking for 26.2 miles and all the training before.

Songs that have brought much healing to your life.

I sat through those songs at that conference, just grateful. My life with Jesus flashed before my tear-filled eyes, and I was once again amazed at all that He is and all that He has done.

Are you grateful today?

I’ve written a lot about gratitude here.  If this is something you struggle with, now is a good time to read some of those posts.

Lord, help us. Help us in the midst of grief and celebration to cultivate gratitude. Your Word implores us to rejoice always, and so help us to choose joy, to choose thankfulness. Keep our eyes open to all the things God has done and will continue to do. In the words of Sara Groves, “He’s always been faithful – He will be again.” Thank You, Jesus.

Freedom Friday: The War for Your Identity

I’ve been thinking a lot about spiritual warfare.

Part of the reason for this is I’ve had several opportunities to share Freedom Step 4 from my book  Learning to Walk in Freedom lately with groups of people. Freedom Step 4 is Think Like a Free Person. Freedom Step 4 states that most spiritual warfare takes place in our minds.

As humans, we walk through different types of spiritual wars. There is a war for our souls. There is the first battlefront. Jesus said “What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?” (Mark 8:36). Satan tries to convince us that there is no God, and even if there is, we don’t need Him. We can be successful in life through accomplishments, strong relationships and power or wealth.

Once we come to believe in Jesus, there is a second battlefront. This battle concerns the obstacles we face, and our struggle with sin patterns in our lives. “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full,” said Jesus, as recorded in John 10:10. Jesus didn’t want us to know Him simply so we can go to heaven when we die. He desires that we live life to the full, throwing off the “sin that so easily entangles” as mentioned in Hebrews 12:1-3.

And yet there is another battle, one that is far more insidious than the others.

It is the battle for our identity.

Even after I laid down my sexuality at the cross and chose to walk in obedience in that area, even after I stopped starving myself and began to be more at peace with food (a much longer and more painful process), even when the urge to self-injure had mostly subsided, I was still left with – well – me.

I still experienced quite a bit of self-loathing, insecurity, worthlessness, depression and deep core beliefs that maybe God really wasn’t who He says He is. I was still left with all the ways my thoughts and perceptions and speculations affected me.

God led me through a process of learning to recognize the lies I believed and how they impacted me. He taught me how to go to war against my false beliefs and make them obedient to Christ.

Yet the battle continues.

I no longer struggle with self-loathing and worthlessness to the degree I did in the past. Now, I struggle with self-limiting thoughts.

Those self-limiting thoughts that say things like, What have I gotten myself into? I thought this dream was from God, but nothing is turning out the way I planned. I should be safe and keep my hopes reined in. 

But here’s the thing. You’re not really limiting yourself; you’re limiting God.

Years ago, I set part of Isaiah 49 to music with an intro I added. I sang this today as I went to war in worship and praise for some friends who need Jesus to show up in a mighty way. This is sung from God’s perspective.

I gave it all up for you 
So I wouldn’t have to live without you 

Zion says, “The Lord has forgotten me.” 
Oh, they say, “The Lord has forsaken me.” 

Can a mother forget the child 
who is nursing at her breast? 
Will she have no compassion 
on the baby that she has given birth to? 

Though they may forget you, 
I will never forget you! 

Look; you are written on the palm of my hand! 

Father God and His Son Jesus gave up everything for you. And yet we tell ourselves we will never be able to walk out the dreams God has put on our hearts. We tell ourselves we are too weak, too insubstantial.

Those are lies from the pit of hell.

Where do we find our identity? Where do we find our worth? We find it as declared in the cross and nowhere else.  Jesus fought the battle for us so that we could walk in the fullness of all He created us to be.

Where do we find our potential? In the God who is able to raise from the dead.

Peter, when addressing the crowds on the day of Pentecost, stated, “But God raised him [Jesus] from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him” (Acts 2:24).

That is what God is capable of doing. In your life.

“We deem ourselves too inconsiderable to be used even by a God capable of miracles with no more than mud and spit. And thus our false humility shackles an otherwise omnipotent God.” William J. O’Malley, SJ

We need to stop limiting God by believing the lies the enemy has told us. We need to go to war for our identity.

Freedom Friday: I Saw You in Whole Foods Today

If you have struggled with an eating disorder, this post might be triggering to you. Please pause and pray before you read this if that is a concern.

I saw you at Whole Foods today.

I noticed you pretty quickly. The clothing you wore, the way you held yourself, the frenzy in which you ate.

I wondered if you had an eating disorder.

I watched you out of the corner of my eye as I reviewed some work on my laptop. I lost sight of you as I packed my things, stopping at the restroom as I left.

There, I saw you. With your drink. Going into the handicapped stall.

Then I heard you vomit.

This is clearly a skill you have mastered. You were quiet. But I knew.

I knew because I’ve been there.

I had an eating disorder for 14 years. Borderline anorexia with an addiction to laxatives (ED-NOS did not exist then). I know the tricks of the trade, even for the behaviors I never engaged in.

I saw you. And I knew.

I spoke to you in the dining area minutes later, after I fumbled with my wallet to find my card. I told you I had an eating disorder for 14 years. You replied that you had yours for 11 years, and you loved it.

As if it were a pet or possession. Or a lifestyle choice.

You took my card and turned to leave, and I followed, searching for words. I asked if I could say one more thing. You paused and I told you that Jesus loves you and wants a different life for you. You thanked me and left.

I have a different life now. And I remember vividly the moment when everything changed.

I was in LA. I had been “in recovery” for over 4 years, continuing to starve and abuse laxatives while receiving treatment. I thought in that moment, I could live the rest of my life like this.

Suddenly, I keeled over in pain and weakness, as my muscles cramped and stomach revolted. And in that moment, I had clarity for the first time.

Something inside me quietly said, You will die if you keep doing this to yourself.

My treatment team and my friends had been telling me this for years. I finally believed it. 

After several more years or treatment and its ups and downs, I finally began to make choices to move toward recovery. I wanted a different life for myself, no matter the cost, and I was willing to do the work needed to have that life.

I also came to know Jesus as friend and Savior a week after that moment in LA. With the strength that He provides, I have been symptom-free from starvation and laxative use for over 11 years.

And I wouldn’t trade any of it for a number on the scale.

11 years ago, as you took your first steps toward your eating disorder, I took my first true steps away. I chose life, and continue to choose it every day.

My wedding in December, 2002
My 2 boys at the start of school this year

What I don’t know if you can see is that you don’t have an eating disorder – your eating disorder has you. It controls you. It is not a lifestyle choice; it’s a choice to die. It’s a choice to never fully live.

Today, I saw you. I saw your pain, hidden under your baggy clothes and bloodshot eyes. I saw your pale skin and yellow, worn out teeth. But more importantly, God sees you; that is one of His names (Genesis 16:13). He sees you as you are and as He created you to be – and He loves you. He loves you so deeply and passionately that He allowed His Son to die for you, so that you could live a different life.

I don’t know if you will ever use my card to find this blog. If you do, know I’m praying for you. I’m praying you have a moment, as I did, where you realize the truth about your eating disorder. And when you face that truth for what it is, I want you to know that there is a friend who can be there with every tear cried, through every painful step toward health. There is a hope offered for a new life, a fresh start. You don’t have to hide behind your eating disorder anymore.

It’s OK to be seen.

Related posts:
I sold my birthright for a plate of food
Disordered Eating