I have never listened to the sound of my own voice more than I have in the last several weeks.
This coming Saturday, the 20th, I am going to be speaking at the 1:38 Women’s Conference in Erie, Pennsylvania. And one of the ways I prepare for my hour speech, is that I record myself giving the talk on my voice notes, and then listen to it several times per day – while I’m running, while I’m cooking/cleaning/running errands. So let’s just say, I’ve gotten my fair share of my own pipes for the next decade.
But I’ve gotta tell ya – the timing of this talk, and the preparation leading up to it – in conjunction with Lent, it has really given me a profoundly deeper meaning to these 40 days of fasting and sacrifice as a way to join in Jesus’ suffering, preparing us for Christ’s Passion and Resurrection on Easter.
You see, having to listen to my talk twice a day…it’s not some jovial stand up routine. It’s not like I’m listening to Kristen Wiig do a comical retelling of some hilarious hijinks she witnessed at a supermarket or something on SNL. No – this is the testimony of my life. It is reliving the pain and suffering I went through – and my loved ones went through – during my anorexia. It is an emotionally gripping talk that frankly, is difficult to give.
Every day since Lent began, I have revisited that place, not once, but twice a day, in preparation for this speaking engagement – which I am so excited and humbled to be co-headlining.
But the thing that has been so powerful to have my mind be so consumed on during this Lent, is not just the suffering…but Jesus’ rescue and redemption from it. That is what hits me over and over as I’m going through this talk – the incredible gift that is Jesus’ redemption and forgiveness from all of the deception and manipulation and lies I was consumed by during my anorexia. I never fully appreciated the magnitude and love of Jesus’ death on the Cross, until I realized that my eating disorder put Him there.
My sin. My lies. My destruction and all the horrible things that accompany an eating disorder – they were on the Cross. That is what He died to save: me. And you.
And this daily reflection of that, as we’re leading up to that most holy day: Easter, when we celebrate in humble gratitude His coming to earth, taking on our sins, and – out of immeasurable love – saving us from death through His death — it has given me this renewed appreciation that I am so grateful for.
Yesterday, I was watching Mass online with my special gentleman, and the second reading hit especially close to home with me, given my current closeness with my own story of destruction, forgiveness and redemption. And it is this:
From Eph 2- “God, who is rich in mercy, because of the great love He had for us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, brought us to life with Christ.”
That was me: dead in my transgression, and Jesus absolutely rescued and redeemed me from it, bringing me quite literally back to life.
What I have walked away with this Lent, is a renewed appreciation for how much God loves me and you. How deep and personal that love goes. How unwavering. How forgiving and healing that love is. And if we have any doubt, all we need to do is look upon the Cross, to see our Savior hanging there for me. For you.
We still have a couple more weeks left of Lent. And I’d like to invite you to join me in reflecting on your own story. Your past. That history that you might not always love remembering, because there might be pain there. Or loss. Or shame. Or guilt. Or anger. And I’d invite you to just go there with a heart that is open to receiving where God played a role in your healing. A role in getting you through those difficult seasons. Moments where, looking back now in 20/20 hindsight, you can fully see His love playing out.
Because I’m here to tell you – this exercise doing just that with my own past, it has made the meaning and purpose of Lent not only more powerful, but immensely more personal than ever before.
After all, this Lenten season is the Gospel boiled down to a single sentence: For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, so that everyone who believed in Him might not perish, but have eternal life.
And I’d be willing to bet, if you look hard enough, you’ll see the Gospel is written into your story too, just like mine.
What a love story, indeed.
If you’re interested in joining the live streamed conference and listening to my talk on Saturday, you can join here: https://www.138women.com
“This is what the Lord says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life.” Ez 37:5
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