I became a Christian at three years old, and seven years later I was baptized in my neighbor’s hot-tub by my pastor dad. I was raised on theological discussions over Saturday morning pancakes and blaring worship music with the windows rolled down. Jesus was just as real in my life as peanut butter and dandelions.
But somewhere in my teenaged years I got lost. I became addicted to bulimia and cutting, swamped by shame and guilt and self-obsession.
One night I was lying in bed watching some trashy TV show, nauseous from purging, fresh cuts on my arms, when I suddenly sat bolt upright. God was there. And suddenly my head was clear, and I knew that Jesus accepted me even there, that I didn’t have to distance myself from my sin to talk to Him, that I didn’t have to prove I was really truly repentant this time to deserve Him. He was mine, not because I chose Him, but because He chose me. I was His daughter in whom He was well pleased: beautiful, righteous, pure. That grace changed everything. Of course that night was just one moment in a long series of humbling and surrendering, but today my addictions no longer own me. I am free.
To those who struggle with eating disorders or self injury or any other addiction, Jesus is the only thing I can offer. I’ve tried yoga, organic food, self-esteem, and counselors. I’ve tried friends, journaling, long walks, and success. Nothing else has the forever-and-ever, purifying to the bone, soul-scrubbing and soul-healing and soul-transforming force of Jesus Christ.
His arms are open to you just as they were to me. Start running. Don’t look back. There is nothing behind you but death, and nothing ahead of you but joy.
The desert and the parched land will be glad;
the wilderness will rejoice and blossom.
Like the crocus, it will burst into bloom;
it will rejoice greatly and shout for joy.
Strengthen the feeble hands,
steady the knees that give way;
say to those with fearful hearts,
“Be strong, do not fear;
your God will come,
he will come with vengeance;
with divine retribution
he will come to save you.”
– Isaiah 35: 1-4
My Identity Statement
I am a daughter of God.
He is my first love. He is the trees whispering princess princess, the wind unfolding my hair like a banner, the ocean capturing and releasing my heart in its tide.
I am a woman.
As a woman, I have a responsibility to the young girls around me to radiate true womanhood, wearing confidently my body, my passions, and my adulthood. I have a responsibility to the other women around me, nourishing them, loving them, reflecting their radiance. I have a responsibility to the boys and men around me, to encourage them, build them up, and inspire them to pursue their great adventure.
I am pure.
I am not building a wall but drawing a veil, waiting for the purest revealing. The fruit of surrender will, in the end, be my greatest pleasure and satisfaction.
I am beautiful.
Not through perfection nor society’s definition, but through God’s declaration over this new creation: “It is good.” The art of making myself beautiful is an art, and it has its precious place in womanhood. I don’t have to use fashion and make-up to prove my worth, but neither do I need to boycott them to prove a point.
I am a storyteller.
I will write. But I will not be satisfied there, I will ravenously consume mediums. I will be a shameless beginner in every possible world, from animation to painting to sculpting. I will remember not to rely on energy, but on love. If I fall in love, I won’t be able to do anything but create. This is my greatest gift to the world: my love. Because under love – this ordinary love overflowing from the extraordinary love my Creator has for this small creature – the world blooms. Through me, may God reveal another glimpse of the renewed Eden.
I am in love with creation.
I will delight in the earth: in strawberries, in chocolate ice cream, in sunrise walks, in a friend’s warm hand, in the smell of old books, in moths at dusk, and in constellations of stars. I will garden, walk, eat, drink, and dance. I will create space in my life to wander, breathing in God’s world.
I am a daughter of God.
He is my final love. When passions fade, He is my light. When obsessions fall away, He is my center.