We all know what’s coming…your typical end of the year recap about all the wonderful things that happened and how great your life was this past year.
I wish I could say that that’s what this will be. But this, realistically, is likely to be an unedited version of the overly emotional turmoil and war that went on in my life this past year.
2014 was somehow simultaneously the absolute worst and the one of the best years in my existence. We’ll save the good stuff for last :p
I don’t really remember much of January because I was so so very sick. I do remember the day (January 30th) that my parents and I went our separate ways. Me on the 4th floor of a Denver Colorado Hospital, them on a plane back to Virginia. And there I sat. For almost 3 months. I had a few therapists, 2 psychiatrist, 2 dieticians, and lots of group therapy. I was miserable. I called home in tears every single day. I was made to gain what felt like the weight of the world – but was realistically between 30-40 pounds. I was made to feel things which I had previously numbed out of my memory. I spent a lot of time crying, avoiding mirrors like the plague, and wishing that I could be someone else. For three months I ate 6 meals a day. I slept very little and was weighed every single day. I felt like as I was gaining weight, my life was falling apart. I was out of control. I didn’t get to make decisions about what or when I ate or even what I felt – everything just spiraled. The story gets better though. (Thank the Lord for that, right?!)
Once I was finally released from hell (I mean, treatment) on April 12, I made my way back to Virginia. I was absolutely terrified. I have to like…do this eating thing on my own now. What if I can’t do it? But I can. And I did. When it comes to food, failure isn’t an option. Unlike other addictions such as drugs and alcohol where you can permanently remove yourself from their presence, food is simply a part of life – a very necessary part at that.
Of course, there were lots of ups and downs. Arguments with my treatment team (which I ultimately lost because…let’s be real? What part of an eating disorder is logical?) I got a job over the summer at Target and let me tell you…I hated every minute of that job! Retail is NOT for me. It lasted a total of 6 weeks before they scheduled me for a 5am shift and I said, “I quit!” I also started teaching some wonderfully talented, beautiful little souls how to play the violin. They are my pride and joy to this very day!
August came around and I felt like I was simply treading water – every day was the same, in and out, and I was lonely. I had some friends in town, but I didn’t feel like I was actually DOING anything with my life and that definitely needed to change. So I took some classes at the community college. And in the midst of taking three class, teaching my students, practicing violin, I also began applying for music schools!
There were many breakdowns, tears, anxiety attacks, frantic phone calls – you name it. But I am still here to tell about it, so that’s something, right?
I never thought that I could be this blessed. I didn’t know it was possible.
So here I am. January first will soon be crashing down upon us and I have a lot to be thankful for. First and foremost, God. God taught me so much this past year and he used me in remarkable ways. I can’ wait to see what he has is store for me during 2015. I know that not a milisecond of that year will pass by without him overseeing it, and in that, I find the ultimate comfort and hope. I am so thankful for the people that stood by me and never gave up on me. I am so sorry that people had to watch me destroy myself from the inside out, had to watch me fight and create a war within myself, and had to see things get to where I allowed them to get. I will forever be sorry for what I put people through, but as God offers his followers the ultimate form of forgiveness, I also must learn to forgive myself for the ways I allowed myself to be lead astray. I am thankful for all the support I received in the forms of prayers, mail, hugs, etc. I am also so thankful for the insight which God has provided me with throughout these past 365 days. I never planned for things to get as out of control as they did. I also never planned to recover from things being as bad as they were once they began to be out of control. I found the deepest, darkest, lowest place and somehow managed to slip even lower. But God, alongside many difficult meals, taught me how to live again.
I grew up in a Christian household. I’ve attended church my whole life. But it wasn’t until this past year that I did more than recite prayers and attend church services. This past year I fell head over heels in love with a God who loves me and all my imperfections. I finally found my identity in something far bigger than myself. I began to piece myself back together again in the form of journals, meals, new friendships, therapy, prayers, and bible verses. I am far from whole, but I am mending. 2014 has been a year of torture, love, new friendships, lost friendships, endless tears – a combination of joy, fear, hope, and learning.
I am learning to love myself. I am learning to stand up when I fall. I am learning to find my identity in Christ. I am learning to use the voice God gave me. I am learning to form my own opinions, to make my own decisions, to move forward when everything around me is trying to pull me back. I am learning to make friendships that will last a life time. I am learning to fight for what I want and what I deserve. I am finding out who I truly am – a girl rooted in Christ, following the path God has laid before her, learning all of life’s lessons while holding the hand of her Savior.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
“The Lord will fight for you, you need only be still.”