Ché tells her story of overcoming eating disorders and the healing God brought to her heart and life
I don’t particularly see myself at the end. The end or any ending usually embodies some type of completion. But when I look over the story God has woven thus far, I can see His testimony unfolding and my life beginning.
I wasn’t born in tragedy. I had two parents who, up until the time of their divorce, showed me love. I wasn’t abused by them or mistreated. I was pretty sheltered from so many painful realities of others I know who somehow wound up in the same place as me. At the age of 17 I would begin my first diet. Yet, at the age of 18 I would be a functioning anorexic. By nineteen I would begin purging my food (throwing up) in order to maintain my weight and not be deemed another Orange County chick with an eating disorder. I’ve told this story so many times and each time I feel like I leave something out or miss something. But God alone knows the details behind how I became who I am now from who I was then. And ultimately it is by His grace that I became His child and set free from the bondage of eating disorders and body dysmorphic disorder.
The molestation I endured from a family member didn’t stop until I was in 6th grade. By 4th grade I had become aware and disgusted by what was taking place and had begun to say the words “no” when the time to play “games” arose. The games always ended with me doing something sexual or having something sexual done to me. I was told early during the games that I liked it which made it all the more confusing and shameful when I realized it was wrong a few years later. On top of the personal stuff taking place, school seemed to have the same effect. In second grade a girl who was the particular ring leader of a group I was beginning to hang out with decided to initiate me into the gang. The bathroom was cleared out and I was forced to play certain sexual games with girls I was friends with while the ring leader watched in approval.
Between the years of 4th and 6th grade the word ‘no’ had made me less of easy prey from all ends. 4th grade ring leader had left school and set me and my friends free from her reign of manipulation and my personal attacks had seemed to cease at home. Or at least I had thought so until I was awoken one night to the unfamiliar feeling of an arm wrapped around me and a struggle of some sort taking place behind me in my bed. I’ll never forget the waves of emotions that washed over me. Confusion, alertness, panic… After the panic faded I began to think of my possibilities. I could silently lay there and allow whatever was being attempted to be done to happen and pretend nothing had happened the next day to risk drama and embarrassment; Or I could turn my elbow up with the hardest possible force I could emit at their face. I chose option B.
The night ended with me managing to confess what had happened to an adult and being told I had lied about the event. The case was closed and ruling had not gone in my favor. I was about 10 years old. I didn’t sleep in my room that night. In fact, for the rest of my life, until I hit 19, I struggled with not only sleeping in my bed but falling asleep at all. Once I fell asleep I would wake up scared something had happened while I was sleeping and I became a stealthy guard dog constantly listening for sounds and silent attacks hoping to protect anyone from what could happen when they closed their eyes.
By 8th grade, I didn’t realize it then, but I had gone into a weird state of depression masked with humor and joy. I had become a professional at getting close to people and making friends and being outspoken but that was as far as relationships went. I didn’t trust anyone, especially men, with the secrets I was too ashamed and confused to admit aloud to anyone including myself. My mind had become a prison of conflict with the reality I had lived and the reality I was desperately trying to make come true. The reality where I had been involved in things that I somehow asked for and welcomed but could never tell another soul without risking public humiliation and rejection was something I wanted to be freed from and the more I ignored it the darker my filter and perspective became.
Year by year I began to retreat further and further into my thought life where I was everything that deserved to be despised. Freshman year I began carving into my skin. I pretended it wasn’t the same as the girls who seemed to want “attention” that came to school drunk and with cuts on their arms. I was different, of course, because I was creating art through pain and just expressing myself. Plus, I didn’t broadcast it for anyone to see or mention it so that made it perfectly okay and normal. Just another secret I had to keep to myself. Sophmore year I tried to take a few sleeping pills hoping that I could have a peaceful death since I could never seem to bring myself to actually cutting my wrists the “right” way. I ended up just falling asleep and waking up upset. Junior year I spent a few months researching marijuana and decided that everything I was feeling and believing could easily be cured by just smoking weed. A lot of my friends had already started smoking weed Freshmen year and were doing somas, vicodin and other drugs by Junior year. Weed seemed like a safe alternative to being miserable on earth and not ending up in a mental institution. I wanted to be happy I just hadn’t found anything that could take me there and keep me there yet. Weed was the answer. I managed to get through Junior and Senior year high for every class I had and actually enjoying school and people a bit more. By the time I had graduated I was somehow even more depressed and suicidal before smoking weed but I had no way of escaping the thoughts that screamed at me that my life wasn’t worth living. I was running out of things to hang onto to keep me on level ground. My friendships had all fizzled from my inability to open up to anyone and I was hanging on by a thread of hope that maybe someone would just walk into a place and shoot me in my head so I didn’t have to worry about it anymore.
That summer after graduation so many things happened that I would later understand to be God’s beautiful providence at work leading my to salvation. I met someone who showed me love and affection. I shared my scars and threw up years worth of pain and suffering. I’d found my god in the form of a relationship. I was safe for a while knowing it was possible to feel wholly accepted. But it was short lived when I was confronted in the areas of harmful patterns and behaviors. The starving, barfing, depression..etc… Everything was brought to light and I was encouraged to seek help. There’s too many details in this part to really type but God had began to draw me to himself and I was lead to a church where I received my first bible and began to read the scriptures. I couldn’t stop drinking in the truth and having my mind washed and renewed. I was being transformed, saved, from darkness into light and I had no idea. I eventually let go of that god and life for the sake of knowing Christ and making Him known. I am forever thankful for His spirit making me new and whole…
Today I sit writing this all out with one hope: that God would draw more to His son Jesus Christ through my story. I wasn’t special… I wasn’t doing the right things and asking the right questions and then saved. I was everything but that actually. I was a woman on the run, hurt and bruised by the dark, mean world she’d been forced to live in. I was a victim and completely hardened against any type of hope that came from an unseen God. BUT GOD. He reached down into my world of suffering and isolation and drew me up to Himself and breathed NEW LIFE into me. He filled me with waters that cannot be quenched and clothed me in an imperishable righteousness that is like a cloak of promise shouting to the world around me that “HE is mine and I AM HIS”. He lead me to Himself and He used so many things to speak His truth to me.
If you’re reading this and can relate to my story or know someone in that place of bondage I once was held captive by I pray you will call out to the God who intervenes to pardon the guilty. I pray you would speak your pain out loud and ask healing from the God who delivers those in chains to an everlasting freedom in eternity. I live a life of struggling still. I don’t get to walk as if I never sinned against a holy God.
There are consequences to bad choices and decisions. But God is with me and has imprinted upon my heart that He will get glory from every nook and cranny of my story. Yes, even BEING SEXUALLY ABUSED. He has broken me in order to pour me out and draw others to Him. I know that a lot of people want to “try” God and see if He can help them with their problems but that isn’t how it works. I didn’t “try” nothing y’all. I gave Him everything!! Everything I could give I gave and asked Him to have His way. I haven’t stopped walking forward since. I don’t think I’m the most beautiful girl and some days I want to be 20 pounds smaller. But God is WITH ME and He corrects me as I stray from Him and draws me to the truth. I’m not called to think highly of myself, I’m called to think on Him and worship Him for who He is and what He has done for me. It isn’t about me at all!!!
He has me and He will perfect me as His bride and keep me until the day He returns. I will never be lost again. I am found! And I pray He finds you in these words today.
This life with Christ is a journey into a state of perfection and we have to be patient and trust Him if we are going to claim to love Him. It’s a process and it will be worth every single tear shed and bump in the road. He will transform you overnight and continue day by day whether you see it or not.
Be of good courage, He is able.
Christina is passionate about restoring value, purpose, identity and beauty to the young women of this generation. Follow- @beauty_hasnosize