You know when you are looking back at parts of your life and it feels like this sea of confusion and hurt? Maybe some things get jumbled up. When I try to tell this story I think it might be more like a web of here to there and back than an exact chronological story. So I want to apologize in advance for that.
When I was in 11th grade I came down with Mono. If you don't know what that is, it's basically a virus that there is no medicine for, it just makes you really tired all the time, it can take months or weeks to get over. For me it took six long months, and even longer because when you try to recover you have to go slowly. For the first two or three months I was just angry. Angry that I couldn't get up and walk across the room without being tired. I couldn't go to school like everyone else. I couldn't go to youth group or church (very often) so I was home alone a lot. I watched a lot of daytime TV. Ridiculous shows because we didn't have cable. A lot of them were those (this is really embarrassing) reality shows where they follow people on a blind date or a double blind date and they are basically making fun of these people the whole time. I think all of this caused me to go headlong into a deep depression. I was questioning my relationship with God, asking Him that if he existed, why wasn't He healing me like I was asking Him. While staying at home and watching television I ate as much as I could. I gained 20 pounds in those two months. I'm surprised I didn't gain more, because I wasn't exercising. I also had trouble sleeping, I've always had trouble sleeping. So I had to just sit and "rest" for most of the time.
Mom was pretty desperate to help me. I think that her efforts may have gone the other way. I'm sure that many moms can relate to this, you think you are helping, but it ends up hurting. Finally, she gave me some tapes by Nancy Leigh DeMoss called "How to Fall in Love (and Stay in Love) With Jesus" where Nancy went through the book of Song of Solomon, it was amazing. Her teaching showed me that God is more than a Father, he is a lover. She also gave me a book by Dr Bill Bright called "Blessed Child" which was a story about a child who walked step by step in the Holy Spirit. This exhibited walking in the Spirit better than any how-to book ever did. For some reason, stories just resonate with me. I love analogies. Then she gave me these tapes (yes, more tapes, and I had a tape-player in my room) by a woman named Gwen Shamblin who started a weight-loss ministry called "The Weigh Down Workshop" ... her teaching was revolutionary in my life.
I realized that food and overeating had become an idol in my life. She said we don't carve out golden calves any more, but we will carve out a pan of brownies and say, "O pan of brownies, you calm my nerves, O pan of brownies, you help me in my sorrows." That hit me so hard! I was going to food to calm me, to comfort me and it was just leaving me empty handed. There is a Proverb that says food eaten in secret seems good at the time, but ends up being gravel in the mouth. Here I was, eating gravel.
Here God was, waiting on me to come back to Him. He was gently wooing me and drawing me to Himself. Over the next several months I lost the 20 pounds, just through my eating. What's also very strange is that I didn't limit my food choices during this time. I found that if it was okay for me to eat anything the "forbidden foods" tended to lose their appeal, one bite of cake didn't send me down the slippery slope anymore. It was okay. God created us to taste sweet, salt, fat and everything else. Tastes are okay, but the over-indulgence is what is the problem. I found that my evil heart wants to eat a whole carton of ice cream or bag of potato chips (which I have done on too many occasions) but God's plan is that I would fill up on healthy things and then if I wanted to just have a little taste of the other stuff, then that's okay. My dieting, restricting mind had a hard time getting around this one.
So I had about 4 good months. :)
What's strange is that when I got over Mono my life got back to normal. I guess a lot of people would call this "backsliding" ... I think that point in 11th grade was a time that I can look back on and testify of God's faithfulness. He brought me to a place of being in love with Him. He gave me a taste of what freedom from food and overeating and dieting was. He showed me what it meant to walk in Spirit and just rest in prayer. He taught me to just REST. I'm not a good rester, I'm a goer and doer, so this was all new to me.
Whew, this is taking a lot longer than I thought. Maybe it's because it's my life. :) I will post more later. Thank you for staying with me. I hope that this is an encouragement.