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My Story: Part 1

I grew up as a pastor's kid and accepted Christ as my savior every week in Sunday school. I think I was mostly trying to help out my Sunday school teacher so she wouldn’t say the prayer of salvation on her own. But when I truly meant it was at the age of eight when my dad led me to ask Christ into my heart. At a young age I felt the Lord put a seal on my heart. And from a very young age I learned to love and serve the church, but most importantly to love Jesus.

As a child I was imaginative and creative. I made my own dress-up couture from donated clothes, and I wrote songs on my Walmart Yamaha keyboard and sang them out loud on old microphones I would steal from my dad’s office.

When the teen years hit, I became very shy and quiet. I was aware that I looked different. I was taller than most of my classmates and at one time mistaken as the substitute for our 8th grade science class. It wasn’t only my height that made me stand out, but it was also that I had severe acne, thick glasses, braces, and an underbite. My jaw did not align with my face. It had continued to grow out.

At 14, I developed a love/hate relationship with food. I was athletic and became obsessed with my body and weight. At that time, I was given a project to research and present for my 9th grade Communication class. The topic I chose was on eating disorders. While researching, I found dark websites that would help girls become bulimic. Steps on how to make your body purge easily, tips on hiding your eating disorder from your family, body stretches and positions to do when you are hungry and want to avoid eating, images of skeletal bodies to inspire your eating disorder, all that and…more. I had my own bathroom on our second floor and for the next five years my parents would never know that I became a prisoner of those dark websites.

Throughout my high school years, my self esteem was at its lowest. Bulimia did not heal my lack of self love. It made me feel more like an outcast. But throughout those years, I also continued talking to Jesus, serving in church, and figuring out my purpose and identity. I knew I was set apart and that what I was doing did not align with who I was supposed to be.

A month before I turned 17 I had a surgery to correct my underbite. My jaw was removed, pushed back, and screwed back on to my face. My mouth was closed shut for two months with rubber bands tied as X’s on my braces. It was a painful recovery, but I’m glad I had it done.

At 19, I enrolled at Christ for the Nations in Dallas, TX. During my first semester, I moved into an apartment with three other girls. One of my roommates and I were obsessed about losing weight. During one of our evening workouts, we cut out magazine images of girls with beautiful bodies; models with flat tummies wearing bikinis. We taped the images all over our kitchen so that whenever we got hungry and wanted to open the fridge, a beautiful model would remind us that it was not worth it. The next morning we got ready for class and locked up our apartment. We returned in the afternoon and grew silent when we walked into our apartment. While we were at our morning classes, someone had taped bible verses of love and identity over each magazine image. I took down the pictures, threw them away, and went to my room to talk to God.

I am done living this way.

I don’t feel beautiful.

I don’t feel wanted.

I don’t feel important.

But I know you can change that.

I did not have a huge amount of faith, but I did have a little and that’s all it took. The rest of the semester I encountered God through worship. Exalting and magnifying Him decreased me. The things I had made idols of, became less and less attractive. I think that’s why I LOVE worship. Worship breaks off chains and sets people free.

I wish I could say that was the end of my struggles. I continued dealing with self-esteem and body issues. But now…now I had weapons to fight.

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