Well, here we are. 40,000 followers. To say that my heart is overwhelmed would be an understatement.
When I began this blog, back on February 19, 2015, I had one goal: to tell my story so that one person who is suffering from an eating disorder, or one loved one who feels hopeless and scared, could find hope. Could know that they are not alone. Could find strength to fight another day.
Never in one million years would I have thought that this blog would have become a little community of 40,000 people who I count as blessings in my life, and friends.
And it’s a funny thing…the number forty.
You see, I had been wanting to celebrate this day on the blog. And I had been praying about how to go about doing that. Do I share a fun personal video? Do I plug my book, Bloom, or share blogging insights from my Blogging Tips ebook? Do I just breeze by it and not even mention it at all? And to be honest, nothing really seemed quite right.
So this morning…yes, as in like eight hours ago…I’m cuttin’ it close, here, people…I was given a little nudge by the Holy Spirit to look at what the number forty actually means.
And no, I’m not talking about the swanky 40/40 Club in NYC, or a cheap bottle of malt liquor that one buys in college.
Nope. Instead, I took a hard left, and turned to the Bible.
And it turns out that forty is not only a pretty biblically significant number, but also precisely emblematic of this very blog, and what it stands for.
Allow me to explain.
In the Bible, there are really the “Big Three” when it comes to the number 40.
First of all, you’ve got Noah’s Ark. During the Great Flood, it rained for 40 days and 40 nights as God wiped out the earth.
Secondly: The Ten Commandments. Moses waited on a mountain for the Lord for 40 days and 40 nights – fasting – until God gave him the stone tablets containing the Ten Commandments.
And finally, Number Three: Jesus being tempted in the desert by Satan for 40 days and 40 nights. AKA — Lent.
And after reading these three instances, I thought to myself “Eureka!” This is literally a numerical representation of what my blog is all about:
Perseverance. And God’s Faithfulness.
So many times, I’ll get emails from girls struggling with recovery, or from worried parents, desperate for answers or strategies, and I always feel like I’m giving unsatisfactory advice, because the only thing I can say when it comes to that harrowing trial in their lives, is to fully lean on God. To just throw yourself at His feet, because that’s honestly about all you can muster when you’re going through adversity such as that.
Perhaps you can relate.
But to just completely hand yourself over to the mercy of God. Because the truth of the matter is that God will see you through.
Yes, it’s going to be hard. And take incredible strength and patience, but if there’s one thing these “Forty Stories” has taught us, it’s about perseverance. Through the fasting in on the mountain. Through the temptation in the desert. Through the torrential rains and storms and floods.
Persevere through those catastrophic seasons. Because God is faithful. And not once will He abandon you.
I think there’s a grave misconception about my recovery: that it’s been all sunshine and rainbows. And that I just *boom* one day saw the light during a chapel service at inpatient where my knees buckled, I cried, and then fully adopted a turmoil-free recovery, where the weight came on in all the “right places” and I never had another negative thought again.
Well, sorry to burst that idealistic bubble, but that couldn’t have been further from the truth.
I relapsed. Hard. I went away to my first year of college just a couple weeks after returning from inpatient, and I dove head first back into my eating disorder. Only this time I was across the country from anyone I had to be accountable to. Long story short, I ended up not returning for that second semester. Instead I took the rest of that year to truly recover, and get to a place that I really could successfully go to college and be accountable to myself.
My recovery has been nothing short of a perseverance test, if I’m honest.
And so today, reading about the rain, the desert, and Moses’ mountaintop fast, you’d better believe that those hit home, pretty darn close.
And here’s where being a Jesus follower really gets sticky…
If God is so good, why did He make those things happen in the first place?
And this is where the rubber meets the road when it comes to our faith.
Because you’re right. Does it suck to have gone through such challenging trials? Yes. Absolutely.
But do I shake my fist at God and curse Him for supposedly pointing a finger and sending me lightning bolts?
Because that’s not how God operates.
He’s not some vindictive wizard behind a curtain that delights in pain and misfortune.
God knew that there were lessons that I needed to learn — that I couldn’t have learned any other way.
And that main lesson — aside from having to let go of pride, or perfection, or self – idolatry — was learning to depend on Him.
I learned — without a shadow of a doubt — that God. Is. Faithful.
And that’s what I try to communicate on the pages of this silly little blog.
God shows up in the storm. In the desert. In the wilderness. He shows up. And gives you the strength and perseverance and ability to go on. But the thing is, we can’t recognize Him doing it, until afterwards, when we realize that it wasn’t actually us surviving at all, but Him carrying us.
That’s my story. That’s what I hope to share with all 40,000 of you.
We’re not alone. We are never, ever alone.
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