Christina, 2012 Graduate

This is MY story of how God has loved me, and has so gently drawn my gaze back to HIM, the one that I had always loved. The only one who can AMAZINGLY satisfy the longings in my heart.

I grew up in a church where I felt accepted and loved. I accepted Jesus into my heart when I was only seven years old. Though church was my absolute favourite place in the whole world, life at home was unhappy. My mother battled depression and an alcohol addiction and my parents did not get along.

Looking back, this was the start of a trend where I felt I was living two lives.

When I was 12 years old, my mom disappeared for a day without explanation. She began a pattern of disappearing without warning. My parents eventually divorced, and after about a year my mom left for good. I didn’t see her again for a very long time.

I focused on my dad, trying to work hard to keep things at home perfect, worried by a fear that he might leave also. When I was 13, I read an article about a young woman who battled with bulimia, and this planted a seed that grew into an eating disorder that would stay with me for the next 16 years.

After high school, I had an opportunity to intern with a youth pastor at an exciting, charismatic church. However, the eating disorder stayed with me. It was only at the suggestion of my pastor that I started counselling.

Around this time I met my husband Trevor. I was attracted to the freedom I saw in him. He didn’t try to impress anyone, and I so badly wanted this freedom in my own life. After dating for a while, I told Trevor that I was getting help for an eating disorder. With hope for my healing, we got engaged, and got married.

Unfortunately, married life became a magnified version of the double life standard from my childhood. Outwardly living a “perfect” life, I was still hiding the reality of my inner struggles.

I was depressed a lot of the time, trying to numb myself by eating next to nothing and obsessively exercising. I had to quit my job, as I was too weak and would frequently faint. Feeling so ashamed of myself, I was in and out of the hospital and treatment programs, I didn’t know what was wrong with me or how to get over this.

My mom came back into my life when she heard that I was sick, but in a short while she began drinking again and then one day, as she had before, my mom disappeared.

I was devastated this time, assuming that I was just too much for anyone to handle. I believed I had failed Trevor, being locked in my own world of pain. He was always lovingly devoted to me, but I feared that secretly he wished that he had never married me. And I despised myself for all the hurt that I had caused him. Even more devastating to me was the devouring sense that I had failed God.

At one of my stays in the hospital, a nurse told me about Mercy Canada and encouraged me to apply. Eventually, with Trevor’s agreement, I applied and came to the home in Surrey.

How in the world do I begin to put into words, the absolute miracle that has taken place in my life? I am CERTAIN that the Christina I am today has nothing to do with me and everything to do with God’s work in me. I WAS LOVED! Staff have cared about me, accepted me, on days I was striving to perfection, and when I was plagued with insecurity. Day in and day out, I was seen, listened to, prayed for and challenged. I was given space to wrestle things through. They have shared their hearts and lives with me, allowed me to share mine as well, and encouraged me as I learned about the Grace of God.

At God’s leading, I wrote a letter to the eating disorder. I wrote about how it had initially captivated me, and helped me in a tough time. Then how it had deceived me, trapped me, and eventually stole EVERYTHING from me. I wrote about how God has rescued me and adopted me. I belong to Him now. He offers me genuine security and true life. I wrote that I knew God was asking me to let go of the eating disorder, so that He could show me how to walk in health and His authentic beauty.

So, one date night, Trevor and I walked down to the beach. I read the letter with tears in my eyes, Trevor prayed, and we destroyed the letter as a symbol of freedom from the eating disorder.

We walked away, that night, holding hands, smiling, and FREE of this obnoxious entity that had plagued my life for 16 years and our marriage for another 7. NOW THAT’S A MIRACLE!