EDITOR’S NOTE: We need to talk about this in the church; so many of us struggle with body image issues, eating disorders and mental illnesses and yet they are not discussed very often. For Kourtni, having anorexia is not the end of her life; in fact, she sees it as an opportunity for God to shine through her life and draw her closer to Him. If any of you also are dealing with a mental illness or have a family member/loved one who has a mental illness, know that it isn’t over for them. God has you and them in the palm of His hand and will demonstrate His glory through your life.
“Surrender” has been my word for 2015.
I have prayed over this word countless times, asking God to give me the desire to wholeheartedly surrender to Him. To surrender my fears, desires, doubts, etc. To be honest, I chose the word “surrender” because I can be quite a control freak. I enjoy knowing the details, to have a plan.
Well. Let’s just say this year has presented me with some opportunities to give up control. I tend to “white-knuckle” many moments in my life. But finally my hands became tired, and God has shown me in beautiful assurance that I can not go through life “white-knuckled” anymore.
This might be too vulnerable to share online, but I have a peace in my heart that my story needs to be shared. Since Freshman year of high school, I’ve battled anorexia. Throughout the years I’ve had moments of recovery, and other moments of relapse. During the end of Junior year, I had to go to the doctor and get an EKG after developing slight heart pain. My weight was down to 80 pounds and the doctor told me I was suffering from the eating disorder anorexia.
After this, it didn’t take me long to decide that I didn’t want to let this illness win anymore. For my personal battle, it was never about feeling like I was not beautiful enough or about what the number on the scale said. Instead it was me looking for a sense of control. I couldn’t control what was going on in my life, but I could control (so I thought), that part of my life.
At the time I began to battle this illness, my mother became mentally unhealthy. After many years of seeing doctors and searching for answers, my mother was diagnosed with “Bipolar-Paranoid Schizophrenia”. At a young age, when a girl might need her mom most, mine was mentally not available. My twin sister and I were forced to grow up fast, living with a mom who was losing a battle to paranoid thoughts. We saw our mom test out new psychotic medications, spend time in mental hospitals, and doctors trying their best to treat an illness that was still so unknown. (Would like it to be known also my Dad has played a HUGE, godly roll in this, he and my mom have been married for 30 years and he loves my mom so well).
Without doubt, I know God let me experience being raised by a mentally ill mother and my own battle of anorexia to bring Him glory. I remember being upset with God and doubting His goodness in some difficult, dark moments. But today, I see more clearly and know God was there and because of His strength, kept me fighting. Exodus 14:14 says, “The lord himself will fight for you, you only need to be still.” I’ve held this verse close to my heart over the years.
Currently, I’m in a season where anorexia is trying to win again. Let me share some truth with you. What ever battle you’re facing today, whether it’s comparison, doubt, pride, lust, self harm, fill in the blank ____. This does not define you! My eating disorder does not define me. It’s apart of my story and my story is still being written, Your story is still being written!
To whoever is reading this, I hope you’re encouraged. Encouraged to share your story, to ask for help, or that God is walking with you. This journey has made me beautiful, brave, and strong.
If you were to ask my close friends, they would tell you that “She Is” was put on my heart back in August. I’ve prayed for the eyes who read this in hope to share that you’re not alone. I hope by sharing part of my story it helps to cultivate storytelling and to bring awareness.
Thank you TONS for reading! If you have any questions or positive feedback, feel free to message me 🙂
she is beautiful. she is brave. she is strong.
SHE IS Kourtni.