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It has been almost 7 years since I first started my first dance steps with the devil on self-image. I had recently gone through a tragedy in my life, losing a friend to a car wreck, and I was broken. My life around me was falling apart. I couldn’t get along with my parents; they didn’t get along with one another. I had recently quit being friends with my best friend and I really had no one. Actually, I thought I had no one. The Lord was with me the whole way through it all. Every single step of the way. 

The last 6-7 years have been hard. There have been a ton of trials and a million and one roller coasters going up and down in my life. When my life seemed to be spinning out of control, no matter what was going on, I turned to my lack of self-image and tried to get approval through losing weight, and also self-harming. It was an extremely dark time of my life. I have hit rock bottom a couple of times. 

2 years ago I went to church camp after hitting rock bottom and trying to work myself back up. It was a huge realization time for myself. The whole week of camp was about how to love yourself. Can you say a huge 2×4 right in the middle of my forehead. It could not have been any clearer. The biggest concept that stood out to me at the time was…

“If you had made a ceramic pot. You worked for weeks and weeks on this pot to make it perfect. When it is all done, you take it to your best friend to see what he/she thinks and she starts nit picking your masterpiece. He/She finds flaw after flaw after flaw with your creation. How do you feel? Obviously, you will be extremely upset and will most likely want to throw the pot in her face. (Just kidding) But honestly, you will not be happy. You were so excited to show her this work of art that you worked so carefully on to make it just perfect, and here he/she is tearing it apart like it’s scrap. God has created you and I. He has worked to make each of us perfect in His eyes. He has made us us for a reason. If you stand there and think/talk about all of the “flaws” you have, how do you think God feels? He has worked hard on this “master piece” and here you are tearing it apart just like your friend tore apart your pot.” 

 

At this point I was just like “I am done. God you have been reading my diary and I don’t appreciate it.” The more I thought about it though the more it made sense. A lot of events had worked it’s way up to me being back in the youth group and having the chance to be at church camp that summer. I was about to go off to college not knowing anyone and if it wasn’t for that church camp and trying to turn my life around I would not have stayed on the right track in college. It’s amazing to know that even though we go through hard times, God is still there, directing our lives trying to better ourselves. He didn’t give up on me. He kept trying to get me to come back to His loving arms. I was a lot of work, let me tell ya!

For those of you out there who have reached the end of your rope. Who have been dealt a tough hand at life, and just want to give up. For those who feel like there isn’t much more you could do, and who really cares anyway. For those of you who have given up hope, and just want to curl up in a ball and stay there… You aren’t hopeless. You have so much going for you. You have a God who loves you and just wants you to run into His arms and say “I Love You”. You are loved. You are cherished, and cared for by a God who has created you as you for a reason. 

Start to think of your darkest day, the hardest trial you have gone through, the steepest mountain. How did you feel? Did you feel alone? Did you realize the Lord was there? Now try to picture Him standing beside you. Now before you brush this off, He isn’t ignoring your hurt. He knows you are hurt, He knows how you feel, but did you reach out to Him. He was standing there the whole time holding out His hand waiting for you to reach for Him. He is waiting for you to take that step of faith towards Him. It is easy, just reach for Him. Whisper His name. He hears you, I promise! 

1 Peter 5:10-12. And it says ‘the God of all grace after you have suffered a while will strengthen, perfect, establish, and settle you.’

The Lord isn’t done with you. He has wonderful plans for you. You might be going through a hard time, but look at the above verse. The dark times are to make you stronger, He is preparing you for battle. Imagine, if I was to never go through what I have gone through, I would not be able to share this testimony with you today. I am now able to use my story to share hope through eating disorders, and self-harm. I am able to share my story to show girls that it isn’t the end of the world and we have a Lord that loves us even through the times where we can’t love ourself. 

Remember, you are loved. Don’t forget that. 

If you have any questions, (I am completely open to anything) please ask. Email me at arielpaige5893@yahoo.com or comment below. I would love to hear your story, whether it is about this topic or not. How is God moving in your life? Have you had some of the same struggles as me? Please share, I would absolutely LOVE to hear from you!

God Bless,
Ariel 

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