I have been struggling recently with whether or not to continue with this blog. Several things have prompted this wrestling match with myself. School, baby-sitting, working at Wal-Mart, not keeping the house very clean, etc. - with so much on my plate, I have been absolutely exhausted, physically, mentally, and emotionally. It's hard to write when you live in a dazed, gray fuzz. Have you ever read any great Zombie literature (as in, written by Zombies)? No, I didn't think so.
And my computer has been doing weird things lately, things I don't have the technical savvy to diagnose or treat. Seems I finally find a 30-minute window of time when I'm somewhat conscious and can think to write...and then it takes me 10 minutes to connect to the internet. Or my mouse isn't working. Or one of the kids needs the computer to download math homework. Or, whatever...the opportunity to write slips away, and I find myself frustrated for having even tried.
Perhaps my biggest discouragement stems from the comments of a close friend, that I'm "too heavy" here at the blog, that I need to lighten up. That I take things too seriously. That I'm just a little too weird and not much fun to be around. True, I'm no Shirley Temple, with bouncing curls and dimples and a toothpaste-commercial smile. And I'm not very good at making jokes. I explained that this blog is a place where I can work through some of the things I struggle with: doesn't it make sense, then, that it's more often heavy than light-hearted? My friend thought medication might be a better alternative to blogging. I've been mulling that over in my head for a couple of weeks.
But something peculiar has happened over the past few days. First, rather out of the blue, several people have emailed or called or come to me personally to say that something they've read here at the blog has encouraged them, and they've appreciated my writing about my faith struggles and my weaknesses. Not one person, or two, or three, or four, or five...but several. All within a span of only a few days. I'm learning that many people find themselves in some of the same valleys I've traversed, and that they are grateful to know someone else shares their struggles and griefs. Yes, someone else has been as confused or messed-up or weak-faithed or broken: They are not alone! And I am amazed and humbled that God has ministered to someone else in the body of Chirst, not in spite of my un-loveliness, but through my un-loveliness - my heavy-ness, my weirdness, my brokenness.
Second, I acquired and read a remarkable little book by Jena Morrow - Hollow: An Unpolished Tale. Jena Morrow has struggled with an eating disorder almost her entire life. Now in her mid-thirties, she remembers a moment when she was only 3 years old when she thought to herself, "I am fat." Sixteen years later, that first lie had grown into a monster that almost killed her, landing her in a residency program where she had to be monitored around the clock by medical staff.
Jena has an eating disorder. She is also a Christian. And writing from a unique perspective of faith, she shares her journey and her struggles - honestly, without any whitewash to clean up the filth and ugliness. She has learned to fight for life and for joy, even though she admits that she doesn't always win. The beauty of Jena's story is that it takes her - and her readers - back to the Cross. Back to Christ. Back to this amazing, faithful, beautiful, forever love that God has for His children, even the messed up ones.
Jena writes: I used to fear nothing more than giving up my eating disorder. I once thought that to grow in my faith and draw nearer to the heart of God, I would have to give it up first - 100 percent of it. After all, the disorder is sinful, and God hates sin. I used to weep over the passage in Psalms that says, "Who may climb the mountain of the Lord? Who may stand in his holy place? Only those whose hands and hearts are pure" (Psalm24:3-4). I felt condemned, believing these verses meant I could not struggle with an eating disorder and still come into God's presence. But I have discovered that, on the contrary, the only way to come to God is as I am, dragging whatever mucky barnacles have attached themselves to me. Only by bringing my filth before God would I ever have hope of being washed clean.
She continues later, The eating disorder is not my identity, and it does not make me so ugly that God cannot bear to receive me. He can handle it. But He makes it clear that He does not want me to hold on to the disorder. He wants all of me...He is not concerned with what I can or cannot do, what I have or do not have. He wants my heart, my love, my devotion, and my trust. He wants me to let go of all that would keep me from embracing Him fully. "But I need this," I tell Him. "No," He says gently, firmly. "You need Me..."
The power of Jena's story, the power of her writing, is not that she gives you a problem-solved, happily-ever-after ending. The power of her writing lies in her honesty: "On a good day, life is beautiful. On a bad day, life is survivable. The trick is, simply, not to die." "Maybe the victory is in the living, and life is supposed to be messy sometimes - and that's okay." "...the plan is to keep on squeezing tightly to the hand of God..." Amazing how much hope and encouragement are packed into this "heavy" little book. Amazing how God is glorified in Jena's weakness.
I'm so thankful God gave Jena Morrow the courage and the motivation to write Hollow. If you or someone you know struggles with an eating disorder, read this book. If you find yourself constantly overwhelmed by feelings of guilt or worthlessness, read this book. If you are a Christian who, like me, can't seem to go two days in a row without crashing or finding yourself mucking about in a slime pit, read this book. Why? Because it won't downplay your struggle or you situation; it won't tell you 10 steps to being "fixed"; it won't tell you to "just get over it" - but it will point you back to Jesus.
Meanwhile, I'll be blogging.
4 weeks ago