I want to first just start out by saying how grateful for I am for my wonderful Patreon supporters. You are the reason why I am still able to do this blog. Even just one or two dollars is so greatly appreciated, and allows me to continue to devote the time and energy into this blog. And to everyone else – thank you for reading, for your prayers and for sharing this blog with your friends – that is so generous. And if you want to join the Patreon family, and get access to my daily podcast, Oh What a Beautiful Morning!, as well as podcast versions of my posts, I ask that you prayerfully consider doing so. That would mean the world.
I mention all of this, because this past weekend, during my Oh What a Beautiful Morning! podcast, I was reminded of a very specific memory from my three month stay at inpatient treatment for my anorexia, ten years ago.
I’m going to be honest, sometimes it blows my mind when I think about the life I’ve lived so far. I mean – the things I gone through are seasons that, I honestly don’t know of many people who have had to endure. And my season of inpatient hospital treatment is one of those times.
I remember it like it was yesterday. I was adamant about not going. I was supposed to graduate high school in 5 days, but a bed had opened up. It was the best inpatient treatment facility in the country. Christian based. Waiting list months long. And they finally had an opening.
I was barely clinging to life, 78 pounds. I didn’t have 5 days to spare. But I refused to go. And as an 18 year old girl and legally an adult, my parents couldn’t force me. So they staged an intervention.
Long story short, I ended up on a plane the very next morning, flying across the country to spend the next three months at an intense inpatient treatment facility where I would not only have to gain 30+ pounds, but kick a crippling addiction to exercise, silence the manipulative and controlling voice of the eating disorder in my head, reestablish my relationship with food, repair the important relatioships in my life, and rediscover who I am without my anorexia.
I can remember that first day, exactly. Walking into that community room, seeing the nurses, and all the girls with feeding tubes coming out of their noses. It was cold, and sterile, yet trying desperately to feel “homey.” There were couches and big round tables where grown woman were coloring. Yes, coloring. Like children. There were cubbies. And arts and crafts. And books. It was almost as though it was a cross between an adult daycare and hospital.
I had spent the whole 5 hour plane ride anxiously imagining what it would be like. Little did I know…
I said goodbye to my parents at the threshold of that sliding door, and never looked back. I was there on a mission: Get in. Get out. Get on with life.
My feet barely hit the aztec/adobe style area rug, when I was rushed into an exam room by the head nurses. “Strip and step on the scale,” they grunted, as they handed me a paper gown.
Let me tell ya, there’s not much more humbling in life than standing there, shivering, naked with half of my hair fallen out, getting searched – head to toe – for signs of self harm, or sneaking drugs into the facility in my “unmentionables.”
I was weighed. Poked. Prodded. Stuck with needles. Had my vitals taken. And then sat at a school desk where they slammed a lunch tray down in front of me — “Eat.”
Not so much as an ounce of warmth or flash of a smile from these two women.
The whole episode was hauntingly traumatic.
And I learned very quickly that if I was going to survive that time, I was going to need one thing: Jesus.
So now, how did my podcast on Patreon make me think of this?
Well, in the episode, I was reflecting on the verse from Matthew 19:14 ”
“Let the children come to me, and do not prevent them;
for the Kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”
And it made me think about how we are to have the faith of a child: completely and absolutely trusting in the Father, one hundred percent.
And talking about that brought up this specific memory and image from inpatient, that honestly, got me through.
Growing up, there was an image of Jesus in my mom’s bible study room at church.
It was of this gentle, loving Jesus with kind eyes, holding this helpless little lamb with a broken leg.
And sitting there at inpatient, completely terrified, and honestly not knowing how I was going to get through three months of facing fear food after fear food, meal after meal. I was alone. I was petrified. And I was hopeless.
And then that image of Jesus came into my head one night. I had to sleep in a cot at the nurses’ station, as they feared my heart would stop in the middle of the night. I only learned later that I was the most severe case they had ever seen.
But lying there, I saw that image.
And it completely changed things.
I envisioned myself as that helpless, broken little lamb. I saw myself as a child – pure and innocent – climbing up into the Father’s arms.
He was strong. And smelled of clove and cedar, and He held me in His sturdy arms and kept me safe. Protected me. I buried my face into his chest and cried, or yelled, or took deep breaths to calm me down. But sitting there in that cold, sterile environment, I could smell His woodsy, soothing aroma.
And knowing that I was safe in His arms, it was exactly what I needed to get through the next moment of fear or panic.
We all have that inner child inside of us – hidden, somewhere deep in our spirits. We’ve lost sight of it, in all of our shame or regrets. But that child is there, waiting to crawl into the Father’s lap, waiting to be seen and loved wholly – and completely trusting with everything we have, that He will take care of our needs, protect us from harm, and carry us through the storm.
Inpatient taught me a lot. It may not have *healed* my anorexia, per se, but it did give me a lot. It saved my life – put the weight mostly on – but more than that, it awakened in me the need for Jesus in my life, on a daily, moment to moment basis. It provided the setting for me to get reacquainted – or rather, reintroduced – to Jesus: my Savior who forgave me, and gave His life because He loved me that much.
Going back, today, and reading through the extensive journal I kept at inpatient, I can see just how that relationship grew and blossomed. Starting with the decision to climb into His lap when I was terrified and unable to go on. And I’m so glad that I can share those experiences, and offer provocative, guiding questions in my interactive book/journal, Bloom, for others going through their own adversity in their lives.
Because the truth is, we don’t have to go through it alone.
Not only do we have each other, but we have a Father who will carry us in His strong, sturdy arms, every step of the way. Especially when we do not have the strength or courage to go another inch.
Crawl into His lap. He’s waiting just for you.
See ya tomorrow morning on the Podcast!
A big thank you to my foundational sponsor, BetterHelp Online Therapy. I cannot begin to express how beneficial therapy was for my recovery from anorexia. Speak with an online therapist. Or check out content about eating disorders from BetterHelp.
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