Sunday, August 26, 2012

Mercy Anniversary

Today marks 4 years since walking in the doors of Mercy Ministries.  I have come a long way since then.  I remember arriving in Monroe very nervous, yet extremely excited for a brand new adventure.   I knew it was what God had called me to do since there are approximately 700+ girls on the waiting list, and I only waited for 2 weeks.

Mercy Ministries is a place where girls ranging from 13-28 can go to gain back their life.  There are a variety of reasons woman give up 6 months of their lives to go there, mine happened to be an eating disorder.  Something I am not proud of, nor will I ever be.  I graduated in March 2009 a changed woman.  Life after Mercy was great! It was very hard to be back in the real world but I had my best friend by my side.  I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that I wouldn't be able to live my life with out God.  He has been with me every step of the way.

It has now been 4 years so where has life taken me now? It's had the ups and downs, that's for sure.  Moments I will cherish for a lifetime, and days I wish I could forget.  It's easy to tell just by looking at me that my eating habits have not been the best.  It pains me to say that my eating disorder did not go away after I left the doors of Mercy.  A decision I would give anything to be able to take back.   It was a subtle act, my first two years I was binge free.  Little by little, it came knocking at my door again.  I've had a lot of people ask me, "So, Mercy Ministries did not work then?" or "What was the point of Mercy Ministries if you are still struggling with an eating disorder" and I have got to tell you, those words cut through my heart.  It hurts me terribly every time I hear those them, to the point where I almost want to cry.

Mercy DID work.  Mercy brought me my only chance of survival, and that is God.  Mercy Ministries taught me so much about life, people, and Christ.  I have a compassion for lost women more than I ever did before.  Life is horrid sometimes, but through Christ, we can get through it! Mercy taught me about forgiveness, love, patience, endurance, finances, health, the importance of the bible and prayer, cleaning, respect, and so much more! The list is endless.

I can honestly say that God is working on me regarding the subject of my eating disorder.  It's no longer raging ferociously, but has become a hurdle I must jump over.  I have no one to blame but myself. Christ has used Mercy Ministries to change the lives of so many hurting women, myself included.  I would highly recommend for anyone who wants to change their life around.  I am proud of my Mercy experience, and the person I have become because of it.  I thank God for Mercy Ministries.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

It's Not About Me

The situations of life have often created easy excuses for my conversations with God to be consumed with prayers for myself.  I find it interesting that during moments of trial, my prayers hardly reflect anyone or anything outside my own bubble.  Maybe it's because what I am going through hurts, or maybe it's because I don't like what I am going through and just want out.  Whatever the reason is, there are still thousands upon millions of people out there, some closer to home than I realize, that have far worse situations than I have ever been in.

I think back upon my prayers during this last trial.  My prayers usually end up sounding something like this, "God, can you help me? Can you save me from here? Can you help me through this day? Can you do this for me? Can you do that for me too? I know I messed up on this, can you fix it for me?" Granted not all of these prayers are bad, but I found that the more I prayed about myself, the more self-centered I became.  I forgot about how much I had, how much God has blessed me with, and even my dear friends who are going through tough situations of their own.

Usually my commute to work is one of the times when I do the most thinking and praying.  I remember driving to work one day recently, I was running late for work.  The second I left my garage, I prayed, "God, can you give me favor with the stoplights?" As I continued driving, I hit every...single....red light.  I remember asking God, "Why are you not helping me? Why am I hitting all the red lights when I prayed that I wouldn't?" That's when it hit me, as I sensed the sourness of my motives seep out of that last sentence...knowing God had become a "what can you do for ME" relationship, verses knowing God and loving Him for who He is.  I was thinking about all the prayers I had prayed recently and every single one was about me, and how God could help me.  Me, me, me.

Guilt immediately washed over me upon realization of this revelation.  I apologized to God for demeaning Him.  I started trying to thank Him for what He had done for me already that day, even at 6:45AM.  For one, I have a job!, I have a car, breath to breath, I got out of bed, I have a bed! All these amazing things we so easily take for granted.  Then I started praying for my friends and family.  It's amazing how much better I felt, and before I knew it, I was at work!

I think it's important to have prayers designated to ourselves, but it's also equally important to pray for others.  It's then that we receive compassion for those that are around us.  God is well, God.  He is King of Kings, He rules this world, He died to save me, He loves me more than I could ever imagine and yet somehow my motives got so misconstrued into thinking that God is there to serve me, and to perform miracles for me.  When in reality, I am put on Earth to serve Him, and to be His servant.   It only takes a few steps in the wrong direction to feed wrong motives, and that's precisely what happened.  How great God is for giving me that gentle reminder when my motives are not in check.  It takes a true friend to be honest to someone, and God is always someone I can count on for honesty.