"i can come as i am

and be changed by the Lamb." ~dave clayton, ethos church, 8-9-15

once again, i've been resisting this seat. this screen. this authenticity. i don't get why. i love writing. always have. and now that i am actually living a life that i can share with the world and not hide in the shadows i don't know why it's still scary to write. the only thing i can really come up with is writing means stopping. it means slowing down. it means thinking. it means unplugging from TV, work, my phone and plug into me. i haven't been very good at that in the last several years. i got really good at existing and not living. and learning to live again hasn't been easy. it hasn't felt safe. for 3 years i wasn't allowed to be me. i didn't allow it and he didn't either. i molded into what didn't cause fights and allowed myself to be trampled. fast forward to now. i am married. to an amazing man who wants me to be me all the time. and yet, i'm still hesitant. granted i know he's stuck with me now :), but i still don't want to disappoint him. and being the whole me all the time isn't the prettiest thing in the world. gah. my pride sucks.

i've realized lately that i am so, so prideful. i never ever thought of myself as a prideful person. i figured to be prideful, you actually had to like yourself and since i didn't then how could i be prideful. but, oh my, i so am. what i've learned is my pride is in my independence. in my "i do it myself" as my mother says i came into this world saying. i view asking for help as weakness. that's crap. asking for help is the strongest thing a person can do. the strongest thing. when i finally admitted i couldn't rid myself of my bulimia on my own, i was strong. i was strong enough to say "help." strong enough to say "save me." and He did to the extent that i let Him. it'll be three years on Monday, the 28th since i purged. i'm not sure i ever really believed i'd be writing those words. years. not hours or days or weeks. years. wow. that is something to celebrate and be "proud" of, but i'm not done. food still isn't just food. it's still my rebellion. it's still my dirty little secrets. now, of the dirty little secrets i've had over the years, food is relatively benign, but still. it's there. it's something i can turn to other than the hubs, this screen, Jesus. it's easy. it doesn't talk bad. i can't disappoint it. i know how it goes. i am comfortable with the process (although i hate it at the same time). it's a weird paradox. and one i don't want anymore. but i haven't been able to let go of my pride long enough to truly ask for help. to allow someone to stand in the gap for me when i want to numb out and want the easy fix. i have to though. i can't do this alone. clearly. my health and heart know that.

i guess by writing this, i'm putting it out there. i'm asking, though somewhat begrudgingly, for accountability. for permission to set my stupid pride aside and ask for help. and to ask Him to save me.

she's making me write

sarah, my therapist that is, she's not wrong to do so. when i resist her recommendations, it's because i know it's always exactly what i need to do, but am terrified to. i am resisting this like crazy. she wants me to write about my eating disorder, "ed," and where the hubs fits into all of that. (i know i owe this blog a gigantic update on my life since october - main one - we moved up the wedding to april 24, 2015 and have been newlyweds for 96 days!). i don't want to be afraid of this screen. i know that every time i finally do sit down and just start typing, the words flow and my heart pours out.  to accommodate my OCD-ness, sarah gave me a list of questions to think/write through before she, the hubs, and me get together to discuss. i've had the list since the end of may. talk about avoidance and my familiar shut down reaction. well, here it goes, finally.

things i want him to know about my history: it has been a part of me as long as i can remember. it's like a piece of me. it is a piece of me. it's a safety net. it's where i go when things spiral. it's what i know. i remember being told i was too fat to play with a skinny friend when i was 5 years old. i remember always wondering why i couldn't be skinny like the other girls. i remember feeling like i was less than them because i wasn't as thin. i remember my mom dieting and constantly being concerned about her weight. i remember my brother becoming anorexic when i was 10 -11 years old. i remember thinking why i couldn't be like him and why did i always have to have a snack after school. i remember the summer before 6th grade being told that i had to sit next to him in the back seat of a van on vacation to "even it out" because the other girl that was my age was thin and the other boy my brother's age average. so to "even it out," we had to have one skinny and one fat in each seat. at least that's what i heard. i always heard fat = not good enough. and i always knew i was fat.

i don't remember specifically the first time i purged. i know it started as a diet. i know it started in 8th grade. i would only purge when i ate what i deemed to be too much or a "bad" food. it was kinda all the rage among us girls. every so ofter one of us would say we were bulimic and get to spend certain classes in the guidance office talking about why and how we should change. to them it was a fad. to me it became a life. i remember my best friend and i making a pact to purge any time we ate something "bad" or off of our list of ok foods. she lasted a few weeks before she told me she didn't want to do that and hoped i wouldn't be mad at her. i think i told her i agreed. we shouldn't. only i lied. i figured out how to do it silently. which bathrooms to use. the amount of time i could wait before there wasn't enough to get back up and what i should or shouldn't eat so that it didn't hurt as much when it came back up. i remember my best friend telling my mom what i was doing. i remember another friend's mom nearly catching me after a breakfast of chocolate chip pancakes. i lied some more. nothing really came of my bff telling my mom. at least not right away. several months later, i had to go to a counselor. i'm not dumb. i knew what to to say and i said it and only went a handful of times. by now i'm in 9th grade. i'm a cheerleader. a straight-a honor student. i'm doing everything right. except i'm not eating and when i do, and can get away with it, i'm purging.

i fake it until my sophomore year of college when what i now can identify as anxiety exploded. i was actually binging and purging now. that started the year before. i remember sitting in my dorm room staring at all the photos on my wall and just wanting to rip them down. my heart was racing. my head was pounding. i called home in hysterics. i left school before my last mid-term. miss 4.0 was risking her perfect GPA but i couldn't function. there'd been talk on my floor (it was my sorority floor) of someone being bulimic and using the last bathroom and everyone was concerned about who it could be. my college best friend was president and i was on exec and terrified they'd all find out it was me. i went to the doctor when i got home. just my GP and he put me on an anti-depressant. no therapy, just a drug. i guess it helped. but a little over a year later i took myself off of them, because i was sick of not feeling anything. i decided i'd rather be sad than be nothing.

college finished, law school came and ed and i peacefully co-existed. he was there when i needed or wanted them and conveniently forgotten at other times. this pattern continued until 2009-2010 and the worst relationship of my life. when it blew up in flames, i blew up. binging and purging were all i wanted. all that calmed me down. all that made me concentrate on something other than where my life was and where it wasn't. things were still in waves, sometimes it'd be ok, because i was indulging in some other damaging behavior, but i always, always came back to ed. he was the safety net. i finally shattered one june night in 2011 and called my best friend. she talked to me and cried with me and gave me names of therapists. in august, i finally went to see one. we didn't click, but i kept at it until october and then stopped going. but my behaviors didn't stop. june of 2012, i'd had enough. my life wasn't mine anymore. it belonged to ed. he controlled everything i did. every decision made. everything. two days after my 30th birthday i met sarah at the eating disorder treatment center she worked at. i started treatment. september 28, 2012 was the last time i purged. it was not the last time i binged. as of today, the last time i binged was july 2nd. in my car. and i stopped at a random dumpster to get rid of the evidence. that's humiliating to write.

ways the hubs can support me/things i need to hear: these were listed as two separate things, but they seem related to me.  i don't really know how to answer. i'm still not comfortable letting someone support me in this. i'm not ok with appearing weak. in an ideal world, i guess the best things he could do would be to support eating a nourishing diet, engage in activity with me, tell me i'm beautiful while ignoring my eye-roll, and wanting to be healthy himself. as much i don't want it, maybe a check in here and there to see how things are in that department wouldn't be the worst thing. i need to hear about healthy lifestyles and positive things. i need to hear him accepting and loving his own body. i need to not feel like my body is an object to him. i want to be called out if i comment negatively about another's weight or appearance, even when i do it to myself.

i'm going to try this writing thing again. and i'm going to be as transparent as i can be.

that time we got engaged...

september 19, 2014 was just another day. i was under the impression that my man, parents, brother, and psuedo-siblings were heading to the lake to celebrate my dad's birthday. that wasn't weird. like me, the lake is one of his favorite places in the world. it made total sense that we would celebrate his birthday there. my logistical brain was on full alert as i tried to plan everyone else's schedule in a way that made sense. that meant my man and me riding up with my parents on friday night and knowing that the others would join us in the morning. when talking to my mom though, she informed me that dad had a late meeting with his board chair and that they'd come up after that. i questioned the plan for the dogs and was told our longtime house-sitter would be staying with them. i told her to bring izzy because she'd be stressed at their house with remy and shelby. she agreed. mom went ahead and brought the groceries for the weekend to my house so that we could get them up there and get settled. being the planner that i am, i'd also gotten stuff for us for dinner on friday night.

on the drive up, everything seemed normal. i called mom and checked in on their plans, we stopped by food lion to pick up ice and beer for the weekend. we got to the house around 6. i immediately started doing what i always do, unpacking groceries, putting stuff out, and starting dinner. my man was pacing. and kept asking me to go outside on the porch with him. i kept pushing him off saying i had stuff that i needed to do and i'd be out there when i was done. i finally just started giving him jobs because he was hovering. :) after i finished getting the groceries put away, he again asked me to come outside because it was "so nice out." i looked at the oven and saw that our dinner only had 3 minutes left to cook and said no because i'd forget and burn dinner and that i'd go outside and sit after we ate. dinner was ready and salads plated and i made him sit down and eat with me. then i had to clean up from dinner (probably took all of five minutes) and he kept asking me to come outside. i said no, that i wasn't going to leave the kitchen a mess when my parents were coming up in a couple of hours and to let me finish.

when i finished the kitchen, i finally complied and walked outside and sat down in one of the rocking chairs overlooking the lake from our porch. apparently i sat down too quickly, though. he sat down beside me in another chair and i mentioned needing to call mom to ask her to bring up some citronella candles. he spotted one on the screened in porch and said he'd get that one and got up to do so. he came back after finding the lighter and set the lit candle down. but he didn't sit down. he was kinda pacing behind me and after a minute or two asked me to stand up. i did and walked back behind the chairs where he was standing and he hugged me and took my face in his hands and asked if i trusted him. i said 'yes, of course' and he said 'ok, then close your eyes.' i did and he asked if they were really closed (he knows me well and my need to know everything) and i responded a bit child-like by saying yes and squeezing my eyes tightly together. i thought i heard something, but wasn't sure and he told me to open my eyes. i did and there he was on his knee with a lovely ring. he asked me to marry him and i said are you serious?!?! and then yes!! this was followed by hugs and kisses and happy tears and phone calls with shaking hands to family and friends.

it was perfect. he proposed to me at my most favorite place in the world and he surprised me. (his goal). in 368 days, i will be his wife! so blessed!

we've chosen Romans 8:28 as our life verse for our marriage and family to be. please join us in praying over this verse for our marriage.

"And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose." 

October is here...

this has always been my most favorite month of the year. i love the crispness of the mornings. the changing of the leaves. the sign that it is time for creation to rest a bit. and now the month of my wedding. october 4, 2015 i will marry the kindest, most thoughtful, handsomest man i've ever known. God is so faithful.

a year ago, i was in such a dark place. engaging in all kinds of self-destructive behaviors. withdrawn from everything and everyone. living a fake life. walking through life in a daze. hoping to get through the next minute without tears and despair and failure. something had to give in my life. my therapist, sarah, was fighting for me every way she knew how. showing me tough love and pushing me to confront my life. i am so grateful for her. for her servant's heart. for her love of our Savior. for her faith in His redemption. i had decided basically under duress to attend the intensive therapy weekend in november. to be honest, i did it to shut her up. my heart was 1/2 in it. thankfully, God took that 1/2 and made me more than whole. He showed me His grace, His freedom, His redemption. my life changed. i finally felt the God i'd wanted for so long. i gave into Him and His plans for me. everyday hasn't been perfect, but everyday has been redeemed and grace-filled and loved. He is so good all the time and all the time He is so good.

september 28 marked 2 years since i last purged. 2 years. wow. redemption is an amazing thing.

that time i fell in love, part 3

may the 4th be with you. numerous facebook postings declared this clever phrase on may 4, 2014. well, there was some force with me on that day.

i knew i would go to ashley's annual cinco de mayo party. i also knew he'd be there. and that'd the day would be a bit interrupted because of AG's dedication and looking at houses. i chose my outfit that morning with all of these things in mind. the heat, being in church, him. a simple black linen dress and a baby blue sweater. there was no hope for cute hair on a summer spring day and so up in a ponytail it went. flip flops finished off the outfit. i wasn't too impressed with myself but it was what it was. i looked at a house down the street from ashley that day as well as a few others. none of them were "the house," (another post on that with pics soon) but i had some time to kill before i the dedication so i stopped on by ashley's.

i pull up just as he does. i take my time finding a spot to avoid any awkward run in and make my way inside a minute or so after him. i was immediately drawn to him. again. i wanted to talk to him. to flirt with him. he was aloof again, not rude, but didn't indulge me like i wanted. i only stayed for an hour or so and then headed to the dedication up the road. after it was over, i called ashley to see if they needed anything and she said ice. so i stopped and got two big bags and beer. i found a parking spot on the side road across from ashley's house when i got back. it was conveniently just a few yards up from his truck. hmmm, maybe he'd walk me to my car tonight. when i got back to ashley's, i texted him and asked for help with the ice and beer. to my dismay, he didn't respond. not a good sign, but i'd still have a good day, i was determined to do so. i managed to get all of my loot inside and teased him about not answering me. come to find out, the vibrate on his phone was broken and so he didn't see the text.

the rest of the afternoon was fun. stealing glances here and there. playing with the dogs. talking. making a point to sit in an empty seat beside him. darkness fell and it was time to head home. he had said goodbye and walked out before me. i wrangled the dogs and headed towards the front door when remy sprinted out, leash flailing behind her. that dog is a rocket and i took off after her with shelby. i was terrified. ashley's street is busy-ish but the street that her street is off of is a highway. remy has no concept of danger when she is outside. she just wants to run. i chased her up and down ashley's street hoping she'd stay away from the highway and trying to keep her in my line of sight. a nice young man pulled over and helped me chase her. i fell - running in flip flops isn't pretty. finally she was cornered and i grabbed her leash and started walking back towards my car. i have no idea how long this little chase ensued, it felt like forever, but as i was walking back i see him. he said he thought he heard me hollering for the damn dog just as he was getting into his truck and having seen her houdini skills a few times while working at my parents came back to help me catch her. he took her leash from me and walked with me back to my car. i opened the tailgate and got them in and he said goodbye again and started to walk away...

ok, i won't leave you hanging. this is where it gets really good. and that force i was talking about overcame me. i stood at my car door watching him walk away, looking at my door handle, watching him walk away, hoping he'd turn around or come back over. he was getting farther away and finally i managed to squeak out "hey." he stopped. turned. started walking back towards me and i to him. we met about halfway and he looked at me a little confused. i didn't know what to say, i only knew that i didn't want him to walk away like that. i said something about that's not the way to say goodbye and said i wanted a hug. he obliged me and then as we pulled back and looked at each other we kissed. i honestly don't know who went 90 and who went 10 (see Hitch for the reference), maybe it was 50/50. i like to think we were on the same page he was just gun-shy because of what happened after the last cinco de mayo. a few more kisses later and some whispered words about trying again and for real this time, he left. i turned and walked back to my car wondering if that really just happened.

well, four months later (tomorrow) i can tell you, i'm so blessed that it did.

that time i fell in love, part 2

so october rolled around. another football season alone. i was doing better, not great, but knew i still wasn't where i needed to be to even consider being in a relationship. thankfully, said mutual friend (she does have a name, it's ashley) and i got closer. enjoying wine nights with our pups and talking through life as a 30 something single surrounded by a world of marrieds and babies. one saturday she texted me and said she and some others were watching football at her house. she has a pretty sweet set up with a tv under her carport outside of a little barn. it was a beautiful day so i happily told her i'd be there. a few minutes later i got another text from her that he would be there. i was ok with that, but wanted to make sure he was. she was his close friend first and if he didn't want me around then i'd respect that. thankfully, she said he was fine with it (come to find out she didn't tell him until right before i got there, but he handled it well, i think she was still playing matchmaker). so i showed up. dog in tow, beer in hand. it was surprisingly not awkward. we didn't really talk alone, but had pleasant group conversations and i remembered how kind and cute he was and wished that i was great and not just better. but i wasn't and i was not going to be careless with his heart again, if he'd even have me back.

then i saw him again in november. most of you know that he and his brother have their own landscaping business. i decided that my house needed a pick me up so i texted and asked him if he'd come look at it and see what they could do. i didn't expect he and his brother to show up that saturday morning. and i was a little deflated that his brother was with him. shelby and i greeted them outside and she was so excited to see him. he kept the interaction strictly business and i respected that given what had happened in the summer.

his birthday is november 8. that was the weekend of my life changing retreat, but i wanted him to know i remembered, so before i "went dark" (ie no cell phone, computer, etc), i texted him that i was going to be out of pocket on the actual day, but i wanted to wish him a happy birthday. i didn't get his response until after the weekend was over because i turned my phone off.

ashley's parents had an iron bowl party since her two siblings went to auburn and she to alabama. family rivalry big time and such a fun day. i have to admit. i was nervous to see him this time. i had chopped my hair and was still fat, but i'd been on the retreat. i'd found redemption in the sweet, saving arms of Jesus and was a different person. still gun-shy, but redeemed and free from shame and hopelessness. much closer to great than i'd been just a month before, but still not there. he was somewhat aloof (later found out he was super nervous), but not rude. we sat next to each other and chatted a bit and carried on with the group, both of us cheering loudly against alabama. it was as easy and nice as i remembered. i left after the game was over because i had to get shelby from my parents. i didn't hear anything from him.

and then may 4, 2014 happened...

that time i fell in love, part 1

whoa. wasn't sure i'd ever truly be able to write those words. in love. after blanton and the boy and the hell that ensued over the past 5 years, i honestly believed there was another path for my life. and i was pretty much ok with that.

and then he reappeared in my life.

you see, last year we "met" (i use quotes because we went to the same high school and middle school he was just the grade behind me, my dad coached his older brother in baseball, and our parents already knew each other) at a mutual friend's party. the same friend who had tried to set us up in december of 2012. but timing being what it was things did not pan out. thankfully, the night we were supposed to go out for the first time, i'd already cancelled because my mom wanted me to go to see my sue-sue with her. on the way home from doing that, my mom and i got into the biggest fight we've ever had. complete with tears and angry words and broken hearts. then the date was rescheduled as a more of a hangout after said mutual friend's annual girl's christmas ornament exchange. only i'd been sick that week. hated my body and had no desire to pretend to be ok, so i bailed after the girl part of the party and blamed it on being sick earlier that week. he texted and asked where i was and i told him, but i guess two cancelled dates were enough because he didn't reach back out. until may 5, 2013 and the mutual friend's annual cinco de mayo party. i thought i was in a better place and enjoyed the day with him talking easily, maybe even flirting a bit. then he walked me to my car and asked if we could hang out again. i wholeheartedly said yes, of course. the following sunday night we had our first date and it went well. it was easy, fun, comfortable and he was such a gentleman.

but i immediately started pulling back. getting scared. wondering why in the world someone as kind and thoughtful as him would want anything to do with me. not understanding why he'd want to date a fat, undesirable mistake ridden girl. so i did the logical thing, i closed up and pulled back and was horrible to him. i was selfish and thought only of guarding my heart and was careless with his. he, on the other hand, was the most thoughtful, old fashioned, understanding MAN i had ever met. it was like i was blind to him. i finally realized how terrible and unfair i was being and told him that i didn't need to be dating anyone at that time because i clearly couldn't handle it. he deserved so much more than the way i was acting. i hurt him and it sucked. for all i knew, i had just let go of the best thing in my life because i couldn't pull my shit together.

and then i saw him in october....


wow. it's been a CRAZY month. i'm the board chair of a local charity and we had our main 3 events in april, so things were crazy; not to mention easter, another event, and life in general. but i started may with a renewed since of piece and am thinking a bit like lara casey - that may is the new january. so even tho it's nearly 1/2 over, i figured better late than never...so....onto the changes!

i sold my house! what?!?! yep. i listed it on a bit of a whim and sold it the second day for more than my asking price. i also have a back up offer of the same price! what's next? no idea. but this is something i've been thinking about for a while. i'm looking in downtown franklin, but am in no rush to find a house. i really feel like God is preparing me for something and selling the house took one obstacle/excuse away. so i close in about 6 weeks. crazy. if i haven't found the house by then, then i'll move home. that oughta be interesting.

i have decided to be more intentional about my goals, plans, etc. so for accountability's sake here are my may goals :

  • complete the advocare 24 day challenge (i started today, more on that later)
  • blog at least 1/week
  • media free night 1/week
  • send at least 1 handwritten note/week to someone
  • be more intentional about my prayer life
  • start power sheets for june (by may 30)
to expand on those - i'll start with advocare - i have seen and known a bunch of people who have used these products and i have been very skeptical despite there awesome results and ravings about them. i have to be very careful about "diets" since i'm in recovery. a diet can very easily lead to eating disorder behaviors, obsessions, etc. and that is not what i want. however, i do want to be good to my body. i want to treat it like the gift it is and not like it's something i'm entitled to or even stuck with. so enter advocare. i've been following a april's blog for years and also follow her on instagram. while i don't actually know her, the heart that she shows the world is one of love for Christ, love for her family, and not hiding the day to day life struggles. i was intrigued by her thoughts on advocare and lifestyle changes and decided to ask her about it. after talking to her i ordered the challenge and looked into it a little more and was happy to see that this isn't a crash diet. it's not even a diet. it's eating for your body. it's following the "structured flexibility" that my nutritionist always talks about. i have learned in all of this recovery stuff that i need structure. i do best with lists and check marks and short-term goals. long term absolutes do not work because i pretty much feel like i've failed before i even start. so long story short - 24 days of eating balanced meals and taking supplements to help me get back in the habit of caring for my body seems doable. i'm not weighing myself, taking before and after pictures or anything like that. this is about my health, not what my body looks like. 

blogging once a week - originally my new years goal was  to blog 3x/week. clearly, that hasn't happened. once a week seems reasonable and it is the minimum amount of time that i need to be taking to slow down and breathe and think and feel and love myself. along the same lines is the media free night once a week. the retreat i went on back in november was completely media free. when we arrived on wednesday afternoon they took our phones and we got them back at 6pm on saturday. i'll admit, this was the scariest, most uncertain part for me. and it turned out to be the best thing ever. sitting in silence is so important in order to hear God and feel His presence. way too often (like all the time), i make Him compete with TV, candy crush, facebook, twitter, email, texts, etc. so the media free night is my commitment to at least one day/night per week of turning off the phone, tv, internet. maybe it'll be the night i blog, maybe not, but i know i need the silence. more than that, i want the silence. 

sending mail. that one's kind of self explanatory. i just really love the idea of staying connected to those that i love through good ole snail mail. it always makes my heart smile to get a random card in the mail and i hope others can feel my love and gratefulness for them when they open their mailboxes. 

prayer life - this is something i've always struggled with. i don't think i really learned until law school that it was ok to pray for myself and i'm still learning how to do that. i randomly pray throughout the day when things hit me or something comes up, but i want to be more intentional about that time. again, being silent and intentional with the Father is something that i am learning is so vital. 

power sheets - these are monthly goal sheets that i invested in in january. i've yet to do them. but i figure june is kinda my january since it's my birthday month. it's the reset month. the fresh start. the chance to make 32 the best year yet. 

love y'all for walking this road with me. 

what if...

on Sunday, my amazing church, ethos, revealed our plan for Resurrection Sunday and the week following, which we are calling Resurrection Week. the plan started with a simple question, what if we didn't put any constraints on what God could do? what if we pretended there was no money issue, manpower issue, time issue, etc? what would we want to do in His name? the leaders asked this question and came up with several answers and a plan. raise $200,000 on Resurrection Sunday and use that to love people in our city the following Sunday and beyond. a lofty goal? sure, but my God is SO MUCH BIGGER than anything i can dream up. 

our pastor encouraged us to ask the same question of ourselves. what would i do if there were no constraints on my finances, time, etc? how would i hope God would use me?  those who know me, know that this summer i fell in love with seattle. "coincidentally" one of the missions the Resurrection Sunday will support is the planting of a church in seattle by a family who is currently training and preparing at ethos. hmm....is that a God-wink (what i call coincidences) leading me towards seattle? i don't know, but it is worth praying about. i wrote this on the plane to seattle in august:

I sit on a plane on my grandmother's 89 or 90th bday (she wouldn't tell her real age) wondering why I am here and if I will have to courage to keep praying for the life I so desire.  The life away from fat, thin, food, depression, and loneliness and into the life of Love, service, and  obedience to the only One that matters. He is where my worth comes from, in Him is where I find completeness and fulfillment. I want nothing more than to submit to the life he has planned.  A life, I feel, may not be in the sheltered world of Franklin, TN.

I read a book today. It was about human trafficking, something that has been on my heart for years. I am HUNGRY for information about this, about Moldova, about Project Rescue, about a life like His. The stirrings in my heart seem to become louder everyday as I realize that the "American Dream" I thought my life would be, might just be crap compared to the one He has in store for me.

What if my life meant moving or at least going to Moldova? What if it meant giving myself back to the One who died for me?  What if fear of losing the life I thought I would have mattered less than the promise of a hope filled life with Him? Serving the women who the world forgot, the world undervalues, the world treats as inhuman.  What if my f***ed up life could make a difference in theirs? What if I never marry or have biological kids, but I have the privilege of being in love with my Savior and being a mom, sister, and friend to countless others?  What if that was enough? What if that is enough?

How do I rearrange my life? How do I even begin to say that, while I know I am so blessed, I honestly am coming to believe that my world isn't the precious hometown that I love. And my life may not include a husband and kids. And what if that is just fine?

I know that my worth in this world comes only from my Savior - I know it. I need to meditate and pray so much more on this, but the constant tug at my heart that my life might be planned as something totally different will not go away.  

that's actually the first time i've read that since i was in seattle. God is pulling and tugging at my heart and it is terrifying, but so freeing. i am coming to know the divine romance of loving Him and i cannot possibly want for more than whatever He has in store for me. i need y'all to pray for me about this. about God's will for my life. about what He can do if i quit putting limitations on Him. 
My response is to get down on my knees before the Father, this magnificent Father who parcels out all heaven and earth. I ask him to strengthen you by his Spirit—not a brute strength but a glorious inner strength—that Christ will live in you as you open the door and invite him in. And I ask him that with both feet planted firmly on love, you’ll be able to take in with all followers of Jesus the extravagant dimensions of Christ’s love. Reach out and experience the breadth! Test its length! Plumb the depths! Rise to the heights! Live full lives, full in the fullness of God.
God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us.
Glory to God in the church!
Glory to God in the Messiah, in Jesus!
Glory down all the generations!
Glory through all millennia! Oh, yes!

~Ephesians 3:14-21, The Message

this week

i've had a bit of a rough week. behavior-wise i've been ok, but i've had more moments than i like of squeezing my eyes shut to hold back tears. of squeezing my fists open and closed to feel something. of physically counting like a child 1,2, 3 to slow my brain and actions down long enough to think. the loneliness has crept in. i've had a busy week- volunteering at the nashville rescue mission on monday, keeping precious AG on tuesday, book club dinner on wednesday, and finally a night home on thursday. my house was a mess. i was tired. i need my eight hours, my body does not cooperate without it. so i was waking up nearly an hour later than usual because i was going to bed an hour later (yes, i like to go to bed at 9 and wake up at 5). weeks like these while so fun and full of experiences i wouldn't change for anything leave me vulnerable to behaviors. one of the things they teach you in recovery is to H.A.L.T. this means before you engage in a behavior you stop long enough to ask yourself: am i hungry? am i angry/anxious? am i lonely? am i tired? for me i add an S and ask am i sick? these are all triggers than can lead to acting out with behaviors.

i'm learning as i walk this road that punishing myself and shaming myself is the main reason my eating disorder still exists. i still get angry/shamed when i am hungry. i hate it. my knee-jerk reaction is that i have enough "stored energy" on my body that it doesn't need food.  so most times if i'm hungry, i'm pissed. and sometimes just one "bad" food can knock the whole day off. that almost happened twice this week. but thankfully, i was able to eat dinner even after making a snack choice that i wasn't thrilled about. why'd i snack in the first place? because of the last 2, lonely and tired. it's exhausting sometimes to put on the happy face of it's ok that i am alone. and yes, while i am choosing that right now, i think i am choosing it partially out of fear. it's pretty darn safe in my little bubble. no one can hurt me again because no one gets in. all of my closest friends are married. most have kids or are close to that point. i love this and i love those ladies and their babies, but i feel like i get lost in the shuffle a lot because i don't have a husband or boyfriend. with the exception of a few, i don't get invited over to people's homes to just hang out or for dinner like i would if i was 1/2 of a couple. i think this just makes me realize one of biggest fears and that's being forgotten. not being important enough for someone to remember. for someone to check in on. for someone to celebrate. i don't mean any of this as a shot against my friends. they are amazing people. it's just part of dealing with this season of my life. with being ok, with knowing that no matter how i feel in the moment, i am NEVER alone.


“By day the Lord directs His love, at night His song is with me- a prayer to the God of my life.”
-Psalm 42:8

i borrowed this verse from Ellie and her post about why she wrote the song "night song." i have to confess, i do not memorize scripture like i would like to. like i know i can. it's easy to take advantage of the fact that i can google any verse i want at pretty much any time i want, but knowing the words on my own and having them just "pop" into my head when i need them most is something i so treasure about memorizing verses. 

if you know me, you know i love music. i related to the words of a song so easily. sometimes that's all i need to change my mood. sometimes a certain song can trigger bad junk. (thankfully, i've learned what most of those are and when they come up on the ole iPhone, i quickly skip to the next song) point being that music is a great way to help me memorize scripture and that's why i am obsessed with ellie's music. she starts with the simple loving message of our Father and puts it to music. 

i can't tell you how many times when i am struggling songs come to mind. or how often i find myself frantically skipping through my iPhone looking for the perfect song to give me peace in the moment. God truly speaks to me through music. He calms my soul with His words put to the gift of music by some pretty amazing people. 

on being "alone"

sorry i've been MIA. i've been posting in my head but hadn't taken the time to stop and sit and write. this topic is one that has been brewing for awhile. i'm blessed to know people in all stages of life- single, divorced, married, kids, no kids, mid-twenties, late 30s, and even 50s. it's interesting to me to think about how different the word "alone" means to each group. i guess before i start making assumptions for others i should tell y'all what being "alone" means to me.

in college and law school being alone meant i wasn't good enough, smart enough, skinny enough to be worthy of a boyfriend. it meant days and nights of bad decisions as i desperately tried to push away the loneliness. if i was alone then i might actually have to deal with myself. i might actually have to examine myself, my soul, my heart. and nothing seemed more terrifying than that. so i learned how to numb out with "relationships," with binging and purging, with staying busy, with TV, with anything that had noise. being alone was the worst possible thing because all i thought it meant was that i wasn't good enough for someone to love. i wasn't able to look at being alone as something different than loneliness. to me, loneliness is what you choose to feel and wallow in. it's the feeling you have in room full of people as you stand in the corner. it's the way your heart aches when you try to force love at the expense of yourself just because it's better than being alone. it's the result of inaction and bad choices and not knowing yourself. it's the result of numbing out.

"alone" is something totally different. alone is a an active choice. and it can be a positive or negative one. i wish i could rewind 5 years after breaking up with the boy (we'll go back to the old nicknames) and appreciate the time alone to figure out who i was and what i really wanted. instead i feared loneliness and jumped head first into the most destructive relationship of my life. i used to call him reagan, but that seems an insult to our late president, so how about blanton. anyway, the fear of being alone and not choosing that only leads to loneliness and satan has such a good time torturing us with loneliness. and bringing in every insecurity we have pushing us farther and farther down. it did a number on me.

i can now say that i am choosing to be alone. not lonely, but alone. i am actively choosing not to date and to take time to learn myself. to learn the true love of my Savior. to wait for the man who loves Christ and finds me through that love. do moments of loneliness, doubt, hurt still creep in? of course, satan is a crafty m-fer. but what i finally know and believe to be true is that i am NEVER alone. the Father is always with me. the Holy Spirit in me.

the mean girl

we all know them, right? we've all, regrettably, been one at some time or another. but you hope that ends in high school or maybe after sorority life. but it doesn't. even at 31 i have to deal with the mean girl. the one who thinks everything she says is funny or sarcastic and that it's ok because she's "just joking." the one that it's easier to appease than fight because she never changes. the one that if you call her out you know that will just lead to more back-stabbing, gossiping crap. but that doesn't mean her words don't hurt. it doesn't mean her words can't trigger. it doesn't mean her words don't embarrass you. yes, i know this is her deal. her hateful words have more to do with her than with me, but it still hurts. whoever came up with the adage "sticks and stones can break my bones but words will never hurt me" didn't know what they were talking about.

words are so powerful. and can be used to lift people high or rip them down, even just as a "joke." because let's face it, usually "just joking" just means you think you can say something mean and get away with it. 9 times out of 10 you have no idea what the person you are making a flippant comment about is going through. you have no idea that getting out of bed was an accomplishment for her that morning. or that smiling through tears is a normal occurrence. or that the night before his heart was broken. or that she is in recovery from an eating disorder.

a flippant remark today by a mean girl has me nearly in tears. and it took all i had to eat my lunch in front of people, thankfully, she made her jab and disappeared to her office, but others were there. they heard it. did she mean to be cruel? probably not. did she even think about what she said? probably not. would common sense tell you that the comment was, at best, pointless? one would hope. you'd think that seeing someone on pretty much a weekly basis for 5 plus years and watching a transformation in their body would lend you to think that maybe there's something going on there. maybe commenting on what she is eating or not eating or usually eats isn't the best idea. or most helpful. or kind. or compassionate. or any of your damn business.

it was a stupid and untrue comment (that i don't eat anything that's not covered in chicken and cheese and she's never seen me eat steamed veggies), but it has wrecked my day. i am trying so hard to fight the voices in my head that tell me i'm unhealthy, i'm fat, i'm unworthy and that all that is determined by what is or isn't on my plate, IT IS SO HARD. i'm fighting back tears but i'm here. i'm writing. i ate my balanced lunch. i'm not going to binge or purge and i'll even eat dinner, hopefully. pandora on my casting crowns station helps. saying over and over again over the voices that I AM WORTHY simply because of Christ helps. He and He alone make me ok. makes me beautiful. i am so grateful to have been captured by that love. 5 months ago today would not have been pretty.

"For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth." Psalm 139:13-15

thank you, Jesus.

i wear purple

this week marks the NEDA awareness week. there's a campaign called "i wear purple" that people are doing on facebook to bring awareness to eating disorders. so i thought i should think about "why i wear purple." in other words, why i am still walking this road? why am i still fighting? this world tells me that being food obsessed is normal. that dieting, not eating, binge eating, over exercising, etc is all normal. everyone does it. and maybe that's true. maybe the vast majority of people do do it.

but my God tells me not to conform to the world, but to be transformed by Him. Romans 12:2 in the message version of the Bible puts it this way: Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you. i love this! and the past few months i have seen how true this is. i am being changed from the inside out. my life since an intensive therapy/spiritual retreat in november has been radically altered by the Father. my shame is gone. i have finally been able to leave all the crap in the past and accept the unconditional love of my Savior. i finally quit cheapening His sacrifice on the cross by thinking that i am the exception somehow to His grace.

giving God my eating disorder has been a SLOW process and it's still an evolving one. the past month has been pretty good. i've been able to keep from bingeing on certain foods, kept my food journals pretty consistently, and been able to eat a bit more mindfully, or at least be aware of when i'm not. one thing i've started to notice is that i want to be able to enjoy food. hmm, i almost wrote again, but i don't think that would be true. as long as i can remember i've fallen into the eat to live category as opposed to the live to eat one. i don't want to be that person. i want to enjoy food. i want to taste the sweetness of strawberry, the gooeyness of a chocolate brownie, the spice of thai food, etc. God gave me taste buds because i'm supposed to enjoy His creations. He could very easily give me manna everyday like He did the Israelites in Exodus 16, but He doesn't. He gives me the opportunity to eat a variety of His creations and gave them each a unique flavor because He wants me to enjoy it. not feel guilty or shameful. not to eat to a point of pain and abuse this blessing. it's a helpful way for me to look towards recovery.

so why do i wear purple? because one day i will be free from negative thoughts about my body, one day i will enjoy eating, one day i will really savor and taste the food i put into my body, and ultimately more days than not i will be grateful for the blessing of a diverse diet and food will be just a good part of my day.

i wasn't supposed to see it

when i started treatment for my eating disorder in the summer of 2012, i didn't know what to expect. all i knew was that my life had become unmanageable. i could not keep existing like i was. notice i didn't say living. because i wasn't living. i was simply going through the motions of day to day life. some days more successfully than others. some days less so. some days i couldn't make it to work or get out of bed. some days all i could do was think about food and when and how to get it and when and where to throw it up.

i've had some version of disordered eating all of my life. restricting and purging anything "bad" started in 8th grade. i was 13. it took me 17 years to really get help. that's a long time to spend obsessing about something like food and body image and weight and self worth. last night i was out walking shelby and an amazing peace came over me. i realized that i was done. i am done obsessing about food. i'm done obsessing about my weight or skirt size. i'm done believing that my worth lies anywhere other than in the loving arms of my Savior. i am choosing to take care of my body and health because He took the time to make me. He took the time the dream me up in this world of 6 billion people. He decided that i was worth making. and His is the greatest love story there is.

you see, this weekend i got to spend the night in the hospital. bronchitis and life-long asthma kicked my butt and i had a small portion of my right lung collapse. i resisted going to my "real" doctor because i knew she would weigh me. i do all of the recovery eating disorder things i'm supposed to like weigh backwards, don't tell me, etc., but i've seen it before or something was said and it's sent me spiraling before, so i avoid that and do to the minute clinics and urgent care where they just ask you for your weight. and yes, i shaved off about 20lbs. anyway, back to the hospital. so the nurse tech comes in to get all my vitals and brings in the scale. i panicked. both of my parents were in the room. as well as this tiny nurse tech and the nurse. i was so embarrassed. i told her that i needed to way backwards and not be told my weight and she said, "ok i get it, it's a girl thing" and i said no, "it's an eating disorder thing." i stepped back onto the scale and looked at my mom. i have no idea if she could see the number but i yelled at her that she didn't need to see it either. ashamed. not only of my lack of care for the body that she grew for 10 months, but that what that number said actually impacted who i was in her eyes. it doesn't. i'm her baby girl at 100lbs or 300lbs. it doesn't matter. i've been bothered by my reaction since and feel as if i need to apologize for snapping at her. i took my shame and cast it on her because that was easier than accepting where i am and where i've been and start moving forward. it was a real eye opener.

i've been working a lot with my therapist about getting out from under the shame that i've been stuck in for years and in a lot of ways i've come so far. i am at peace with my decisions made in past relationships and confident that no matter what happens in that realm of my life i am NEVER alone and i am loved by the most amazing Father. it took a while to get there. i still regret my decisions and knowing my heart now wish so much i could go back to that teenager and tell her what true love looks like. what unconditional love looks like. what a real man looks like. but i can't. i can only learn and move forward and hope that maybe my story can help someone else along the way. the shame with food has been harder to come out from under. our society is so caught up in getting healthy, losing weight, airbrushing, BMIs, etc. it's all we see, it's all we hear about, it's all we know. since being in treatment i've become much more sensitive to these messages and while they don't trigger me like the once did to act in a way that harms myself, they infuriate me. no one who loves me cares what my weight is anymore than i care about theirs. sure, they want me to be healthy so i'll stick around these parts for a bit, but the number, the size, is just crap. it does not matter.

that brings me to the title of this post. on monday, i went to the gyno for my yearly check up and again followed my eating disorder procedure of weigh backwards, don't tell me, etc. the nurse tech there is great and totally respectful of that and so is my doctor and her nurse. but this morning i pushed the envelope. i logged into my health account through the practice and clicked on vitals and i saw that number. what's more i saw the numbers from as far back at 2010 (when i was in the height of restricting and weighed a number my body has no business being). the numbers are very different and range over many pounds. but i wouldn't go back to 2010 and be that size in that place again. i know that. i like me now. i'm not ashamed of my heart anymore or my actions and while i'm still a work in progress, i'm so much better than i was.

a year ago, seeing the number i saw today would have sent me straight to papa johns for pizza and bread sticks so i could continue to punish myself for being fat, gross, ugly, unworthy, etc. but that's not what happened today. today, i saw the number. i didn't like it, but i went to lunch and ate a balanced meal. i don't feel like i'm a lost cause anymore. i will get better because i have the God of Angel armies fighting before me and behind me and there is nothing better than that.

First Real Week

it's the first real week of 2014. after the hell of the last few years, i can honestly say i have a real HOPE in what this year will bring. one reason is a bit silly - 14 is my favorite number, but it can't hurt, right? the real reason i have actual, real hope this year and actual, real resolve to set and accomplish certain goals this year is because i have been wrecked by the absolute love of my Savior.

i guess some back story would be appropriate. this is something i wrote when i joined my awesome church a three years ago: "i guess i always thought i was a "christian" since i was raised in church. i was baptized after summer camp when i was 10 (in 1992) by a neighbor who was a retired church of christ preacher. i spent most of middle school, high school, and college going through the motions of christianity. it's not that i didn't believe in God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, but i don't think i really got what believing meant. christianity was a convenience at times. and an inconvenience i was happy to ignore at others. again, i never doubted God or that i was meant to be His, but i also never surrended to Him completely. i'd give Him bits and pieces of my life and my soul but i wasn't ok with letting go of all of it. when law school rolled around i ended up in a small virginia town at a great school, but i knew no one. God, however, had big things in store for me there. everything worked out in a matter of days as far as my living situation (i was wait listed and was notified of my acceptance just 2 days before i had to leave to move up there), meeting friends, and even ended up living just 4 houses down from a couple who grew up in a nearby town. about a month into law school, satan creeped into my head and caused me all kinds of doubt. this was the hardest thing i had ever done. i begged my parents to let me come home and they said no - trust me, my daddy saying no to his tearful and terrified daughter was probably the hardest thing he ever had to do - but thankfully he did. at that point, i was on my face, broken, scared, self-doubting and i heard "ok kate. it's You and me. are we going to sink or swim?" i swam because He was my life-preserver. that's when i think i truly "became" a Christian. something clicked. i'd love to be able to write that since this point i've been obidient. faithful. joyful. but i'm guessing smoke screens isn't what you're after. the past 3 years have been really hard. i've made awful, awful decisions that have led me to some very dark places. i thought i had met the love of my life 2 years ago, only to have him break up with me, meet someone new, and marry her this past december (2010). after that i met another man. he started out as the guy. he was a christian, prayed before he ate, when to church, was smart, loved his mom and sister, etc. almost immediately though there were red flags. i was so desparate for love after the devasting break up a few months before that i rationalized his behavior. he isolated me from my friends and family. demeaned me. called me all kinds of names. and finally became physical with me on 2 occasions. i stayed despite the abuse and despite the fact that he had been continuing his relationship with his on-again, off again, college girlfriend that actually resulted in their engagement after he'd spent Christmas day with me. i've been truly and honestly free of him for about 2 months now and it has been amazing. i know without a doubt the only thing that saved me was the Father. i had looked to others to do it and they couldn't. i'm finally in a place where i can say i am happy and content and excited about life again. i'm not scared anymore."

once again, i would love to say that after that post i really did surrender my life to Christ, but i didn't. i still held on to the things i wanted most. love. marriage. kids. i went about every wrong way of trying to get those. from dating a guy who was so arrogant and conceited he "jokingly" poured beer on my brother the first time he met him, to trying to force relationships at any coss, including my own beliefs. i've said before that i never knew someone could alter your soul and the guy i mentioned in my statement to church did that. he changed me. but, as much as i've wished to go back and unmeet him or something, because of him i have found true intimacy with my Savior and true Hope. Something i've wanted, thought i had at times, but never really did. i really had to go to hell and back to find the woman i am supposed to be - although she is still a work in progress :). i finally sat still long enough to show up for my precious Father who'd been waiting all along.

this year is already so much better. here we go.


My theme for 2014 will be, is, and will remain simplicity. My goal this year is to break down the craziness of everyday and move towards a simple, Christ centered life. Here's to an amazing 2014.