I grew up with an alcoholic father and in a codependent household. I never knew what type of environment I was walking into at home, I constantly walked on eggshells all of the time, basically playing peacemaker and keeping to myself. My goal as a child was to be the perfect daughter, perfect grades, perfect attitude and taking on several responsibilities.
Also in my childhood, my parents’ separated and got back together several times causing additional emotional stress in my life. I usually very angry and had quite a temper and took it out on my mom and younger brother, or I would become depressed and very emotional. To deal with these emotions I coped by eating. Eating was my comfort and my security, thus this set me up future eating issues.
Because of the eating and my weight I was picked on as a kid. I had some friends, but it was hard to maintain friendships with everything else going on. I struggled with self-esteem issues that were further poked by my father calling me names and making cow noises when I went to the kitchen to eat. Eating brought on a lot of shame for me, while it made me temporary feel better it caused more problems in the long run.
When I was a freshman in high school, my parent’s moved us from the south to the north. It was in the middle of my freshman year, I moved to a high school where I did not know anyone. At the time of the move, I had my first boyfriend and I was very active in extracurricular activities. So I when we got to my new school, I did the only thing I could do, join those clubs in my new high school and try to make friends. My first serious boyfriend was twelve years my senior and during the time I dated him there were bad decisions and poor choices, I did and said whatever I needed to because I want to be loved and accepted. Since I was constantly looking to men to make me feel worthy, this lead to my infidelity and the end of that relationship.
I was very attracted to this clean-cut, strong Christian man that I worked with one summer. He and I started talking and he invited me to an Alive concert that summer, where we saw Skillet and Chris Tomlin confirm. I can proudly say the moment I committed my life to Christ I was at the concert and Chris Tomlin was performing and talking about the beauty of God and his grace. That was an experience I will never forget. I closed my eyes and accepted him in my heart right then and there. I was filled with so much joy and the Spirit, that I started to change my actions and became focused on pleasing God and being :good enough” to date this man.
I ended up dating the man who took me to the concert for a few months, but shortly before our year anniversary we went our separate ways. After the breakup, everything that I thought and felt and talked about relating to God was pushed away. I went back to my old ways of drinking and promiscuous activities. I had several physical encounters with several different men, for the purpose of feeling desired and wanted. Nothing filled the void in my heart, the attention I wanted was the wrong type of attention and I felt very lonely and dissatisfied with my life. The parties were fun and the stories were endless, but it was all cover up to mask my true feelings of unworthiness and not ever feeling good enough.
In the first few months of graduate school, I met my now husband, from an internet dating website. Our whole relationship was different. He made me feel different and loved and appreciated. Not at first, at first his “sheltered” life was intimating for me. I was not romantically attracted to him until one night when my car broke down and I needed a ride and he came right away and picked me up. (About one and half hour drive) Just the fact that I could depend on him was the turning point for me.
When my husband proposed to me on our cruise, I was so excited! I did kind of of nudge him to do it, but nevertheless I was still happy. I was preparing for my wedding and a few months before my wedding we both went on a cleanse and essentially went vegan and gluten free. I lost a lot of weight barely eating and I was so happy that I didn’t’ care that I was starving myself. I became obsessed with food and exercise, every thought I had revolved around my worthiness as it related to the number on the scale and the way I ate and exercised that day. As a result of starving myself and my past with emotional eating my relationship with food was completely out of whack.
Immediately after our wedding, we moved to Georgia and bought a house. The plan was for me to continue my office job working from home, but I become very exhausted and isolated and all of the years of struggling with abandonment and depression crept back in. I started seeking God more. My relationship with Him was growing because I leaned on him to help me get out and make friends. We started coming to a community church and my husband and I immediately got involved in a small group.
A few months after I joined the small group, the feeling of loneliness and isolation were overwhelming and I had just left my database job because it was suffocating me. My father was still a substance abuser at that time, and it came to head because I went home when my mom had surgery and had to stay with my parents. Going back to that house seeing my dad the way I saw him flipped me back into my “binge- for- comfort- and starve- for- fear- of- losing- control” cycle. I wrote my dad a letter, explaining my feelings to him.
At the low point of despair, I shared this with my small group and another girl shared that her dad also suffered with alcoholism and she also wrote him a letter. This encounter was one of the first moments I really felt that God was there for me.
With not having a full time job anymore, I started searching for meaning and purpose in my life and asked God to bring me clarity and direction. My small group prayed over me one night and the next week I was reading a devotional and the words, “Christian Life coach” jumped out at me.
I prayerfully considered this idea and started the training to become a Christian Life coach. During my training, I grew more dependent on God and his plan for my life. The coaching was just the starting point of my desire and pursuit of living my life for him.
I have found my purpose and my meaning and I am lucky to be able to pursue God’s will with such a strong passion. He is asking me to step out of my comfort zone and I am striving to remain obedient to him.
Between the military social groups I’m involved in and the bible studies I participate in, my schedule is very full each day.
I still have feelings of uncertainty and loneliness as my husband is gone most the time at work, but I thank God for this season in my life that is giving me the opportunity to become the person He created me to be. I know that He has gifted me with words of encouragement and support to give to other women and I am very grateful for the opportunity to be able to write my heart for all to see. Transformation can only emerge from transparency, and that is who I am, a real and transparent daughter of Christ who knows my worth in Him and seeks to let others know their worth in Him also! Blessings sweet sisters!