If you know me, you know how much I value health. You know how careful I am about what I consume, how I love exercise and being strong. How I do weird things like make vegan cheese and homemade deodorant and run 14 miles because I can.
Well, over a year ago, I started getting sick. I got more and more sick until I forgot what it was like to be healthy. I eventually gave up exercising because I was severely underweight & malnourished and would have to sit down mid-workout in order to not pass out. After a year of unhelpful doctors, weeks of barely getting out of bed, a painful relationship full of manipulation and lies, and a lot of dark days, I started to give up on healing.
I was broken, and I started putting my identity in my brokenness. I defined myself by my weakness, worst qualities, and mistakes. I started believing old lies and dealing with self-hatred that I thought I’d fully escaped before. And soon, the darkness overwhelmed, until I realized I couldn’t keep going. So I hopped on my motorcycle and drove south, as a last attempt to search for healing. I had the smallest glimpse of hope, and I was chasing it desperately.
Somewhere along the way, one of my friends sent a video of me from three years ago. I was dying laughing and overflowing with joy. And when I watched that video, I cried because I could barely recognize myself anymore. My spirit was as broken as my body. I had stopped laughing, barely finding strength to carry the burden of another day.
But one month into this journey, my hope is growing. With the help of a naturopath, my body is starting to heal. With the help of prayer, my spirit is starting to heal. I’m laughing and climbing mountains, befriending all the strangers and kayaking stretches that people say are impossible. It’s a long road ahead until I’ll be as strong as I was before, but I’m reminded of something Jesus said – If you have faith as small as a tiny mustard seed, nothing will be impossible for you.
Here’s what I’m sure of now –
I’m sure that I’m afraid. Afraid I’m not strong enough to face what’s ahead, afraid of going back and finding myself in a dark pit again. But I’m also sure that God is true to His promises. I’m sure that God is leading me to journey further into this wilderness, into this desert, because He wants to meet me there. He wants to redeem the depths of the wilderness, to bring life there, and turn the valley of pain into a door of hope. And I’m sure that suffering eventually leads to hope.
“We rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance,and endurance produces character, and character produces hope,and hope does not put us to shame.