He Conquered My Struggle - Lindsay's Story
Sometimes the people who appear to have it all together are the most destroyed on the inside.
In High School, I was the student body chaplain. I had lots of friends, was well liked and I loved my life. I dated the same boy for five years all through high school and was blissfully happy getting ready to start nursing school at Clemson in the fall. I was set up for a "perfect" life. But, two weeks before I left for Clemson, my blissfully perfect high school identity was crushed when a series of immature decisions on my behalf led to the abrupt end of that dating relationship.
I set out to redefine myself in college. I found myself wanting to be a "party girl." I traded in the unconditional value I knew I had in Christ for a self-worth soaked in alcohol and a dependency on the attention I got from boys through hookups. After several months of my first semester, I found alcohol in combination with "all you can eat" in the dining halls was the perfect recipe for about a 30-pound weight gain. And I discovered a new friend in bulimia.
Food and alcohol binges followed by secret, violent purges ridding my body of the unwanted calories, gave me a false sense of control over my self-worth. I was soon throwing up 12 to 14 times daily.
Despite serious warnings from doctors and pleadings from my parents I only feigned interest in getting better. I intermittently attended church at NewSpring with some college friends when I was not hung-over from my Saturday night escapades. It may not have appeared this way on the outside, but in my heart I had totally forsaken my walk with God and felt He abandoned me completely. I felt overwhelming despair that this is never going to get better—that this is who I am.
But the Lord had not given up on me. My dad signed the two of us up for a mission trip to Jamaica over the summer with my family's church. I did not want to give God a foot in the door to my life, but despite my unwilling heart, my Dad convinced me to go. The last day of the trip, God threw the door to my heart wide open. During dinner, there were dozens of little Jamaican children outside the windows watching us all eat. They were so malnourished that their little bellies protruded.
In that moment, I was cured of my eating disorder. I could not imagine one more day of wasting the food I had the opportunity to eat, while these children starved to death. I clearly heard God's voice saying, "I am not done with you. I have great plans for you." Before the trip, my doctor told me I was ruining my teeth and could bleed to death from a ruptured esophagus. My parents had threatened to make me withdraw from Clemson, so that I could go to a treatment center for help. I hadn't cared. Instead, it was the love of Jesus Christ that shook me to my core and saved my life, body, and soul. It's been 8 years since that day, and I have never once struggled with the eating disorder that had so consumed my life again. I went from throwing up every hour to being completely healed by the power of Jesus in an instant. I'm a nurse practitioner, and I know that's not normal.
At NewSpring, I'm serving with the student ministry as a ninth grade girls' small group leader, and God has given me a burden to guide and direct them as they grow and develop their self image. It's amazing to see how He turned my struggles into an opportunity to share His glory with these high school girls. As a nurse, I've also had numerous opportunities to use my story when talking to my patients. Seeing God reconcile what was such a terrible mess relates to a lot of people.
I want Jesus to get all the glory for what He did for me. I know that I would not be alive and well today if it were not for the grace of God and His sovereignty in my life.
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