How do you react to life’s difficulties? Do you react impulsively or calmly; thought through or spontaneously? For me, I tend to act impulsively/spontaneously. Most the time when I react, I do it out of the emotions I am feeling at the moment. Is the way I react in certain cases right? No, but I tend to continually fall into that habit. I have hurt a lot of people with my impulsive actions; thinking I am doing the right thing until after I have done it. I am not proud of some of the things I have done, but all I can do is own up to it. I cannot deny that I have done wrong in some of the ways I tried to handle difficult situations. There are times I have even hurt some people that I loved just by my words and the uncalled for things I would say.
My conscience has been haunting me so much lately telling me I need to change the way I handle things. I have felt such a conviction to apologize to the ones I have hurt because what I did to them was not right. I cannot take back words that I have said, but I can prevent from letting myself get out of control again. Through being in so many counseling classes, I am learning new ways to handle things. I am searching for a more positive outlet that will help me deal with my anger the right way, that outlet for me is going to the counselor at my school. For the past year I have tried to avoid counseling like a plague, but I am realizing that I need to vent to someone who has good Godly advice rather than taking out my anger on others. By venting, I am able to get things that are bothering me off of my chest; keeping me from lashing out.
I know that a lot of people think that counseling is dumb and that they do not need to go seek help from a stranger, but as a client and counseling major, I can honestly say it helps. I used to hate counseling, but I knew I needed it, and actually, counseling saved my life. If I did not have my counselor when I was going through hell with my eating disorder, I would have died. Counseling is not just a place for crazy people, but it is a safe place for anyone who needs help dealing with certain situations and who need someone to listen to them.
I would recommend counseling to everyone because it really can help in any circumstance. Every counselor is not the same, and you may not like them because they are trying to help you, but don’t forget, they do care for you. When going to a counselor, it is also important to go to one that fits your needs. I needed a counselor that specialized in eating disorders and that was a Christian. I was with her for 3 years and when I tried going to one closer to home, I realized how much I wanted my old counselor back because she understood me and knew what I was going through.
God has called us to share each other’s burdens and he has equipped some of us in this world to do exactly that. Counseling is more than just a profession, but it is also a passion some people have. I know that counseling is a passion for me because I love to help people. I love to actively listen to people and have compassion for them. No matter where someone has been in their life, I will not judge them, but will continually show the love of Christ through my words and actions. Counseling is not for condemning, but is for lifting up the fallen and helping others heal. It may not be an easy task, but it is well worth it in the end!
Two days ago I was asked if I wanted to participate in helping out the interns with Heroes camp coming up this week. At first I was a little scared to say yes, but I knew in my heart that it was something I really had a passion for. I have done the Heroes program several times in my teen years and I always came out of it learning something new. I am so excited about being able to engage in these campers’ lives and being with them as they continue to learn about God and the wonderful plans he has for them.
Earlier when I said I was a little scared when I was asked to help, it was not because I did not like the camp, but I was afraid of the activities they would be doing because I was afraid I would not be able to do them because of how out of shape and weak I was. I had one experience where I gave everything I had on the first day and I was scared of the pain and suffering I would endure the rest of the week.
Now when I sit here and ponder on why I was scared, I am realizing that what I may go through is nothing compared to what Jesus went through. I feel like I am about to die just by being physical exhausted; complaining the whole way when Jesus is getting beaten and crucified but without one single complaint. Who am I to complain when Jesus was killed for me because of my sins? I always forget what Jesus went through because all I think about is myself. I am guilty of being a selfish sinner, but now I am realizing it with a want to change. What good is complaining anyway? What fulfillment do we get when we are worried about ourselves and no one else?
I grew up learning how to care for others, but sometimes I am too focused on myself to do that. I am ashamed of my actions when it comes to selfishness, but I am just being honest. I was put on this earth to serve others and not myself. I forget that a lot when in the moment. I wonder how I can grow in Christ more so that this would not be such a battle, but I am coming to the conclusion that I am trying to answer my own problems the way I think they should be answered instead of listening to God and hearing what he has to say.
I hope this week I am able to learn more about God and more about myself. I want to allow myself to be quiet and just listen for that still small voice. I know that God is there speaking to me, but now I have to learn how to be quiet and listen.
It has been a rough but good couple of days. The rough part consisted of some painful flash backs from the past and hard decisions that I had to make, but the good part consisted of being with great friends and celebrating the 4th in the mountains. On July 4th, I was able to go with one of my best friends to her grandparent’s house to eat and relax. We played some phase 10, took pictures, and even danced like complete idiots, but it was great.
I am blessed to have amazing people to hang out with here in Toccoa. We sometimes get in fights and want to kill each other, but what friends don’t have those days. One of my friends has really been an encourager, especially when I struggle with my appearance and when I am just having a really bad day.
One thing I think is amazing about this friend is that she stands up for me when others hurt me. I have been struggling with some people because of the way they treat me or see me. I know I look a lot younger than 18, but that does not mean I am stupid and completely immature. I hate when people don’t take me seriously at school. I am 2 classes away from a junior and the fact that people think I am so young and don’t know anything really hurts my heart.
I have had to shed a few tears lately because of the pain I have endured this past year, but I know that God is going to use all that I went through for good. It’s sometimes hard for me to think that God is going to bring good out of the bad, but I know he will. I also know that God is with me everywhere I go, but my faith has been weak. I have become angry at God for letting me get hurt like I have. I don’t understand what I did wrong to endure so much pain, but that again leads me to knowing God will use it for his glory. I sometimes forget that I am on this earth for God and not myself. I actually believe most people forget that, but we are human and we are selfish. I cannot lie and say that I am an awesome Christian and I do everything right. I have made so many mistakes in my life and I am still making some, but that does not mean that God does not love me and will not help me. I know that I trust and believe that Jesus died, rose from the dead, and ascended to heaven. I know that I will spend eternity in Heaven one day, but I also know that I am not perfect and will never be perfect.
Throughout my years I had always been scared that God was gonna hate me because I got angry or because I sinned and did not read my bible. I felt like I was letting him down and that I had to act to get his approval and keep my salvation, but I am slowly learning that I can’t lose my salvation and that God does not want me to read his word because people say to, but because I want to and I want to learn. When we just sit and read but don’t understand and reflect, what are we doing? Are we considered better than those who don’t read? The answer is no. We have to reflect on God’s word and learn and seek God will all out hearts.
We all have days where we feel all alone and that nothing we do is right, but how do we deal with those feelings? Some might develop a sense of depression or anxiety, but is that healthy? I have been in that situation many times, and I can testify that those actions are not healthy, but detrimental to your life and the plans God has in-store for you.
When we focus on the negative self-defeating aspects in our lives, we tend to feel more pain and sorrow. We know we have God, but don’t feel like we can turn to him because he is not physically here as a friend or a parent might be.
We all strive to build relationships in our lives, but when we feel we have failed; we lose our self-esteem, like we can never be good enough. I can personally tell whoever has felt this is wrong. We are all special and we are all good enough. God loves us and though he may not be here physically, he is still in our heart and in the air.
People hurt people because we are all still human, but that does not mean we are worthless and that we are a mess ups. God works in mysterious ways and he will not let us down. The pain we feel when we are alone is the pain that Satan is trying to place upon us. The last thing God wants us to feel is pain, but sometimes we have to feel that pain so we can learn to rely on God.
A lot of times we get so caught up in the world that we forget God. We turn to the world for satisfaction, but when things go wrong, we blame God. Have you ever begged God to save you from a horrible situation, but when he saved you and life was good, you pushed him aside until things get bad again? I have done that, and it hurts to admit it, but I know it’s true.
I claim to be a Christian, but I know a lot of the time I don’t show it. What does that do to my testimony? How am I supposed to share about Christ when my life does not reflect him?
It has taken me a long time to figure out that I am not who I should be. I tried so hard to make the flesh feel good and make myself seem important to others, that when I thought about God, I would feel so much shame. I knew I was doing wrong, but at the time I did not want to admit it. I tried to suppress the pain until I could not suppress it any longer. I know now that I have not been living to my greatest potential, but have been settling because I thought unless I did I would be considered a loser. I thought I would not be able to make friends and that I would always be considered the immature, young looking college student, but now I realize now that I was the one feeding those lies to myself. I wanted to fit in so bad, I let my guard down, and Satan took full advantage. Even though I may have a few wounds in my heart right now, God is slowly healing them. I realize God never left me, but was waiting for me to come back to him so that I could heal and work towards the amazing plan that he has laid out for me.
Don’t let the lies take control of your life because that is what Satan want, but let God’s truth reign in your heart and mind. God loves you more than you will ever know and he does not like to see you hurting, but wants to help you heal and grow in him. He has a wonderful plan for you, but you have to be the one to accept it and to accept him.
A couple nights ago I struggled with my body image. I was getting ready for bed and I saw the way my body looked in the mirror. I was shocked...I did not think I was that fat...I mean....I am not fat, but I have gained a little bit in my tummy. I understand that that is normal in life and that it can be fixed without worry, but my mind last night went into disarray.
This morning when I woke up, I kept thinking that I wish what I saw was just in a dream, but I knew it was not. I wanted to control all I ate and work out a lot, but then I remembered what my mom would tell me....she would say, "Chelsea, Satan is trying to destroy the wonderful plans God has for you."
God blessed me with an opportunity last night that I know Satan is trying to keep me from pursuing and I will not let him. I will not let Satan mess with my mind and make me turn to unhealthy actions because I feel fat...pudgy. I know I just have to trust in God and do his will. I am here for Christ...not for me. God made me beautiful and I do not need society to tell me if I am or not because my father does think I am beautiful and that is all that matters.
I have learned that when we do the Lord's will and trust and obey him, he will provide. God has provided me with great friends, a wonderful boyfriend, a Christian school. I don't need societies acceptance... I just need Christ's.
I am here for just a short time, and I do not need to waste that time worrying about my looks and what people think of me. I am beautifully and wonderfully made. I am intelligent and no one can tell me I am stupid. I am strong, I have Christ on my side.
Today in Barnabis Group, we talked about the fears of disappointing God. I have had this fear for many years now because I feel I have disappointed him every day since my experience with anorexia. One thing that struck me today during our conversation was the fact that I almost killed my family because of my anorexia. I told my group that I dropped the ball when I developed anorexia because I felt as if I tore my family apart by putting them in debt, causing tension because I was always acting like a 5 year old, and putting stress on my mom because I was homeschooled and she had to be with me more than anybody else. I found out last September, when my mom met Barlow Girl, that if it was not for the Barlow Girl’s songs, she would not have made it.
When I heard this, my heart broke. I have been progressing to full freedom from my eating disorder since 2008, so now that I am in my right mind, my heart brakes because I can finally realize what I have done and the effects my decisions have had on my family. I feared that I did not just disappoint God, but my family also.
While we were coming to an end to our discussion about fears, Mrs. Baily mentioned my story and how I could use what I have been through to help others, and with this, I told the group about what God has already done with mine and my mother’s testimony to help others.
We have to remember that we have a God that can take our mistakes and use it for good and for his glory. God will never stop loving us, even when we make mistakes. Christ died because he loved us and he wanted to take our sins on the cross so we could have the free gift of salvation and forgiveness. When we ask God for forgiveness, he wipes away all the sins we have committed and sends them as far as the east is from the west.
We cannot stop fearing God but we can know that he loves us and will always be there to protect us. God has an amazing plan for my life, so he protected me from death; from the strong hold Satan had on me. Satan tried to steal my life, kill my body, and destroy my future, but God placed his arms around me and pulled me back to life. God forgave me and so has my family. We are not perfect, but we need to learn to follow God and his commands because we are his. Sin just causes pain and heartache, but life comes through following God.
Tonight as I was sitting in the coffee shop when something struck me. I was talking to Donovin on facebook and we brought up the topic of my mother. While we were talking, Donovin told me my mom was his role model. At that moment I felt my heart smile. I realized that my mom was my role model too and that if it was not for her, I would have died several years ago. When I was in the midst of my struggles, I just wanted to die. I felt there was no reason for me to be on this earth any longer; there was no purpose for me here. Even though I gave up on myself, my mom never did.
When I began my issue, my dad thought I was going through a phase. He figured I would grow out of it soon and there was nothing to worry about, but what he did not realize was that I was not going through a phase at all, but a downward slide towards death. My mom knew from the start something was wrong with me. I would always get so mad at her because she kept getting on to me when my dad was saying leave her alone she’s fine. I guess when they say mom knows all they are right. Though everyone thought I was ok….my mom knew I wasn’t.
Once I started getting really bad, everyone else started to realize something was wrong. I felt I had everyone on my back, and the truth is, that made me want to die even more. My dad would sneak boost into my milk and get upset if I through a fit, but my mom always told me the truth even if she knew I would throw a fit. She promised me she would not lie to me and I never believed her. She dealt with me every day even though it broke her heart to see me turning into a monster. She knew there was nothing she could do, but she would try anyways. Everyone gave up on me, but my mom stood strong and her and my dad decided they would do anything to save my life.
My parents went into debt so I could get better. They sent me to Remuda Ranch for 3 months and Mercy for almost 6 months, but even thought it was hard for them, they knew it was the best thing for me. Now, I was blessed to have my grandparents help my parents out with Remuda, but I feel horrible because after I got back I relapsed. All the hope my mom had faded for a moment, but she still was not going to give up.
My mom decided to take me to a counselor 2 times a week that was an hour and a half away. We never really left there without some type of an argument, but my mom still persisted to take me. When I went to Mercy, my mom started to fall. She was so beaten from the years of pain I stuck her through and she knew Mercy was my last hope for survival. Mom would tell me she loved me every weekend when I would get to talk to her, but I knew she missed her baby girl.
I recently found out that if it was not for the Barlow Girls, supporters of Mercy, my mom would not have made it. I caused my mother more heart ache than any mother should ever have to go through. Now we are good, but we still have our moments. I love having my mother come and visit me at college and see her smiling face because she knows her baby girl is alive, healthy, and happy. I am blessed to have my momma and I could not ask for anyone better!
November 10th, 2011
My spiritual walk has been characterized by the cleansing process of laundry. Before I came to Christ, I was dirty and filthy. I had been soiled with dirt and disgusting odors. I knew I needed to bathe and become clean, and it was by the power of God’s grace and living water that I was able to be washed white as snow. With Christ I felt new! There was a comfort in the feel of my spiritual freshness, but just as my laundry can become soiled in a single day, so can my heart. When I walk out the door, I am allowing this dirty world in. My heart hurts because what I thought was clean now feels ruined, but as I walk through my spiritual journey, I know I have God walking right beside me with a fresh bottle of Clorox.
In everybody’s spiritual Journey, they begin to find their different strengths and weaknesses. I have come to the conclusion that some of my strengths and weaknesses come from the fruits of the spirit. The first one I have encountered is love. When I was growing up, my mother taught me how to love everyone. She instilled in me a love for others and a longing to help everyone around me. When someone asks me to do something, I try to do it. I want to be like Christ by being a light for Him. When I show others I care, I am able to gain their trust and show them the true love of Jesus. But even though I am able to find my strength in love, I am also able to find my weakness. Because I have so much love and I want everyone to be happy with me, I get discouraged anytime I feel someone does not like me. I begin to shut down and avoid everyone who asks me what is wrong. I forget to talk to the lord, read my bible, and focus on the blessings of life, but by doing that, I notice I am seeking my identity in others and not God.
The second Fruit I can relate my spiritual journey to is self- control. I have found that I have a huge weakness when it comes to self-control. In my spiritual journey, my emotions change at a rapid rate. I can go from one day feeling horrible and guilty, crying to God to forgive me; to another day being happy and excited, thinking that I am such a great person and people will be able to see Christ through me. One example I have took place this past summer. This past summer I went to Honduras. While I was there, I began to feel dread and torture because I was away from my family. I knew I was doing the will of God, but I could not bring myself to feel excited and happy. Whenever I was able to talk to my mom, I would act like I was the happiest person ever and there was nothing wrong. I would write in my blog about all the blessing I was receiving, but I would act like all the horror and anger never existed. I hate the fact that I can be bipolar in my emotions with God. I wish all I had was a positive outlook, but when it comes to my selfishness, that outlook turns to horror.
The third fruit I can relate my spiritual life to is Joy. When I encounter joy, I feel such a peace in my heart. Most the time my joy comes from standing alone singing or hearing a great speaker in Chapel. When I have joy and peace, a smile does not leave my face. Sometimes when I talk to people, they will tell me they see me glowing, and whenever I hear this, I think about all the blessings God has bestowed upon. When the Love of Christ comes upon me, my joy begins to overflows. Soon reality seems to disappear and I feel as if I am in a dream that no one can disturb.
After I acknowledged my strengths and weaknesses parallel to the fruit of the spirit, I started to look at where I was at in my process of Faith development. In faith development, we begin by being dependent on others and seeking higher authority. When we find somebody we know we can lean on, we eventually start to cling to them and what they believe, but stray from reflecting and thinking things through in our own lives. When we reach an age we feel we can be more independent, we start to separate what we have learned from the authority figure we spent most our adolescent lives looking up to. So where do I fit in? What stage am I dwelling in? I have seen throughout this semester the actions I have made when trying to improve my spiritual walk. I noticed I have been looking for people to help me stay on track and remind me to pray and read my bible. I tried looking to those who I felt were a higher authority and began to adapt all the things they were doing, but forgot to reflect on what it was doing in my own life and in the lives of those around me. At this very moment, I can see I am still stuck in stage one, but as I get older, I will eventually begin to progress to the stage where I learn to transition to an independent; leaving all that I clung to behind.
As I progress in my faith development, I am so also learning how to live my life devoted to Christ. To a live a devoted life, I have to be willing to do things that I may not want to do. For example, if I want to be devoted to reading my bible every day, I would have to be willing to set aside time for it, even if it meant getting up 15 minutes earlier. I want to try and do all I can for Christ and live a life fully devoted to His plans for me, but to achieve this goal, I must first come into a relationship with Him. Before I gave my life to Christ, I was lonely, I had lost all my friends, I felt guilt that pierced my heart, and I allowed Satan to tell me lies that in reality was not true. I know I am not perfect by any means, and when I live my life devoted to Christ, I begin to see a change in my attitude and daily walk. I have realized that God allows me to go through trials so that I may learn to stand in faith at anything that may come my way, because I am to be formed to the image of Christ, and unless I live my life completely for him, I am walking on a wide path that will lead to destruction.
So, as most can see, I have a lot of progress to make in my spiritual journey, but I have come to the conclusion that I am here to learn to rely on God, grow in Him, and share the good news of His love and Mercy; which He so graciously bestowed upon each person who has come to know Him. I must strive to conform to His image and live a life fully devoted to Him. No matter what trials may come my way, I know Christ is right beside me. He is the one I must seek in all that I do; my identity is found in Him.
God has done so many amazing things for me over the past few months! I am sorry for not writing lately, I have no excuse and I apologize.
These past months I have made so many friends. They have made me feel so special and so loved because they want to be around me. I Love being surrounded by people who see the true person you are. They do not judge and they do not just look on the outside, but they look at who you are on the inside. I needed this since I had to leave my other wonderful friends back home. Sometimes my friends from home get to come with my mom to visit me here and that always makes me feel special and it makes my day!
I truly have to say that I have laughed more these past few months than I have in the last 8 years of my life combined. There is one really special person who contributes to most of the laughs. I met him at the beginning of school when I went to an event called Paint Wars. He had Elmo written on his arm in red paint and I thought it was so awesome that I took a picture. We became Facebook friends because he wanted the picture for his profile pic. After this, we became good friends and I am really glad we did because he was ALWAYS making me laugh.
About a month ago, I began to fall for this guy and I soon found out that he was also falling for me! Last week he came home with me for Fall break and he asked my father if he could date me, and of course, my dad said yes. I am pretty sure my mother was the most excited person (other than me) in my family because my mom already loved him; she tells me everyday. Lol! Mom is just so happy to see me happy. . . . .it has been such a long time coming after being through so many hard times over these past 8 years!
I have come to the conclusion that laughter truly is the best medicine. God blessed me with an abundance of laughter when he brought Christian to me for an amazing boyfriend! Now, I am not saying he is perfect and we all know that I am not perfect either, but Christian is sweet, kind, funny, thoughtful and considerate. I am so thankful for all that Jesus has given me! I could not ask for anything better!
I have found that when we submit ourselves to the Lord and stay true to His ways, He will bless us beyond measure! Not always in the time frame that we want, but in His time. Now, other than my boyfriend, I have been blessed with some other amazing friends as well! One of my wonderful new friends, Ana, is also so funny and sweet. I met her at the gym one day after class and we became friends almost instantly. It is sad that we are in only one class together, but the good thing is, that class is my favorite class. Ana, my roommate, and I make that class so much fun! I also go to Zumba with Ana, and all I can say is that she keeps me laughing. We just look at each other trying to zumba and we bust a gut looking at each other being crazy. She also speaks fluent Spanish so I have an opportunity to learn how to speak Spanish when I am with her.
My roommate is another Blessing! Some of the most amazing moments are when I walk into the room and I see my roommate yelling at the computer screen because something is happening in her favorite show. There are even times when her fear of spiders makes me laugh because if she sees a spider, she will jump across the hall; throwing her books in every direction. Alex is always there for me when I need her, and even though we do not hang out all the time, we get along really well and I am honored to be her roommate!
I think mom has been going through withdraws these past few months because everyday when I talk to her she tells me how much she misses me. I love my mommy so much and I am blessed to have her as my mother! I love having my mom come see me and I miss her so much as well. Yes, we still have our differences, but we are so thankful to have each other! I love my school, my friends both old and new, and I love that God is using me for His glory!
God does everything for a reason. This weekend I went to Nashville, TN for the AACC conference. While I was there, I met some ladies who were working in the Remuda Ranch booth. I went to that booth because I went to Remuda Ranch 4 years ago for anorexia. I was interested in meeting these people who were affiliated with Remuda, and wow, I was surly blessed!
As I was sharing with one of the lady about how I attended Remuda when I was 13, she began to become engaged in what I was saying. I told her how I found out about Remuda, from my therapist at Mana, and she turned to a lady standing by and asked if she knew someone from Mana. This lady told her that she had a really good friend who worked at Mana, and while I was standing there, we realized her friend was the therapist I had during my battle with anorexia. We were both totally amazed and she gave me her information so I could contact her and then contact my old therapist whose office had moved and I could not find to share about my new life.
Another blessing I got was, The lady who knew my old therapist was a psychologist in Atlanta. She thought it was amazing I shared my testimony with people and she gave me two books, that were $17.00 a piece, for free so I could give one to someone I felt needed it or to use as I please. I thought that was a blessing and when she gave me those books, I knew exactly who I wanted to send one of them to.
God used my past for good and even though I relapsed after Remuda, it still was a blessing in my life. It kept me alive at the time and it gave me a door to meet some amazing people there at the conference. I also got a book that I could give a girl I knew who was struggling with bulimia. God wanted me at that conference for a reason, and maybe that reason was to meet those people from Remuda.