“He sent out his word and healed them; he rescued them from the grave.”
– Psalm 107:20
At the beginning of this year, I read or heard somewhere you should choose a focus word(s) that would define the year; words God would bring to fruition in your life. Having read “Uninvited” by Lysa Terkeurst, I chose the words “living loved.” I had no idea how God would use these words in my life but it’s now November and those words have echoed so loudly throughout the year. I didn’t truly understand what it meant to live loved through God’s eyes. I’m not sure I fully understand it now but I’m on this journey to live loved hand in hand with the Lord.
Part of this journey was going to my first ever eating disorder walk here in New York. For a few years I wanted to go but was never fully ready. This year was different. This year, I’d vowed to follow God into the deep. As I write this, my heart is being tugged at because this is the most vulnerable I’ve felt in a long time. But I trust God has already written this in my book He has in heaven. . .
Going to this eating disorder walk was so vital to my walk with Christ. It was a physical declaration I am more than a conqueror in Christ Jesus. It was a living testimonial God walked with me through my 13 year battle with an eating disorder. It was a vital component of my healing journey. Recently, God reminded me of the story of Jacob who I identify with because he was a fighter. God showed me how in my greatest fight, He was there in the struggle with me and the scars are evidence of His physical presence in that struggle. I am no longer ashamed of my scars because they proclaim I belong to Jesus. Galatians 6:17 says, “For I bear on my body the scars that show I belong to Jesus.”
The eating disorder is one of my scars. It was my identity. My identity was founded on what the eating disorder did for me. I didn’t know who I was outside of the eating disorder. It became who I was. It was how I dealt with issues and problems. It was how I essentially became the abuser to myself. I developed such a self hatred I didn’t care if I lived or died. I hated myself, my body, and who God created. I was driven to break myself down because I grew up thinking love was abuse and abuse was love. The eating disorder essentially robbed me of my sanity. It stole my innocence and my passions. It took my relationships and my loves. It destroyed my light. And for a long time, I couldn’t ever talk about it because there was such shame attached to the eating disorder. Being a Latina with an eating disorder was unheard of. Being a Puerto Rican with bulimia or anorexia was ridiculous. Yet, here I was fighting for my very life because of it. Having to crawl out of that was a difficult process as a Latina woman because being Puerto Rican, “You don’t get eating disorders because that’s a white woman’s disease.” It was an internal battle that no one could comprehend. Yet God saw fit to rescue me from the grave. He saw fit to snatch me from enemy territory and call me freed and loved.
I remember on my birthday, March 29th, God Himself met me exactly where I was. I did not know this day would change my life’s trajectory; that what the enemy meant for bad, God would be glorified through. I woke up that morning with an emptiness so heavy, I sobbed. I sobbed as if I were mourning the loss of myself. It went on for what seemed like hours before I would finally cry out, “God if you really love me, then why do I feel so broken?” It was in that moment God came to meet me where I was and I felt a love so tangible and so thick, it was as if Jesus Himself stepped off the throne and wrapped me in His arms. His love began to heal me.
I grew up thinking God didn’t love me. I grew up thinking abuse was love. I thought God just wanted to punish me. Yet here I was fully known by God and He loved me enough to mend my brokenness. He loved me enough to show Himself as lover of my soul and healer of my life. This is where my healing journey began.
The healing is lifelong but going to this walk was so symbolic to how Christ walked with me through the wilderness. That walk was a key component to knowing how to truly live loved.
To live loved means to tell your story with freedom and boldness; whatever it may be. It means knowing without a shadow of a doubt you are loved by God so even if you are rejected by those you love, you won’t be shaken. It means choosing to see life through the lenses of our Savior. It’s choosing to be intentional about giving love when it’s most difficult. Living loved means embracing the pain and feeling the hurt but moving forward with Christ anyway. To live loved is to be vulnerable and transparent that others may see God through you. Living loved requires self sacrifice; it’s not focusing on how you are being perceived but how God is being perceived through you.
In order to live loved, you choose to undergo self-examination that you would develop a Godly character and a Jesus filled heart. You give God access into those shameful broken places so the light of Christ would radiate through you. Living loved is all about the work God does IN you that you would know healing and live whole. When we allow God into those secret places, we have to be willing to go through the refiners fire, the potters molding, the surgeons touch, and to be drenched in the healers salve. We allow the restorer of our souls to mend what has been broken and take back what has been stolen.
Living loved is a process of learning who you are in Christ which is a result of committing to knowing God intimately everyday. It’s a difficult process because you have to come face to face with things about yourself that are heart wrenching, things that hurt, things that ache your soul, but it’s so so worth it. In her book Unashamed, Christine Caine states, “I now know that the only way to get to the promised land of freedom is to walk through the wilderness and to embrace the pain of recovery as a part of the healing process.” (p.110)
Living loved comes as a result of choosing to know God in the wilderness to get to your promised land. Living loved is having a teachable spirit in order to teach others how to live freely clinging to the one God who has never and will never let you go. Living loved is standing on Christ the solid rock. To live loved, you learn to live life with an eternal mindset honed in on God’s truths.
My mom and my sisters!
My mom is my rock and the person God gave the strength to push me forward when I could not walk on my own.
My little sister writing a letter to someone in an inpatient unit. She is the joy of my life!
I can sit here confidently saying I am healed from my eating disorder. Will it always be the limp I walk with like Jacob? I believe it will be because it keeps me dependent on God. I have good days and bad days but I am healed and I have chosen to live from a place I know I am loved, I am accepted, and I am regarded by my God more deeply than I will ever comprehend.
If you or someone you know is struggling with an eating disorder, visit https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/
You are loved!