A Kiss on the Forehead

Encountering Heaven in Every Day Life

Multitude Monday: Take 4

First of all, I want to take a second to return to last week’s blog post.

Honestly, all I did was quickly put my thoughts onto paper, so to speak.

They were unfiltered, not completely well formed, and passionate.

My blog usually has about 20-40 hits on it for a normal post. And of course, the post from last week has been viewed several thousand times.

Yeah, I wasn’t prepared for that. First of all, I’m honored that so many people would take time to read my story. Which is really God’s story. On the other hand, based on some of the feedback I received, I probably should’ve taken a little more time to clarify some of my thoughts so as not to be misunderstood. So at some point this month, I am going to take a little time to go back and touch on a few things for clarification’s sake, and try to share the rest of my story, if that’s okay with you. It seems strangely appropriate since February is also Eating Disorder Awareness Month.

But today, I want to take a little time to be thankful. Because we really don’t do that enough. And I really gotta get back into the swing of that habit.  🙂

So here’s my Multitude Monday – Take 4.

Today, I’m thankful for…

66. Mr. Right. I will probably say this each Monday. But this week, I’m thankful that he’s aware of how exhausted I’ve been, and that even though our toddler has not been sleeping much AT ALL these past two months, he has VOLUNTARILY taken the night shift with him, and allowed this preggo to get some good sleep.

67. Snow. Because snow is fresh and pretty and white. A this point in the winter I really don’t enjoy it, but honestly, it keeps life interesting, to say the least.

68. Those who have supported us to be able to do this internship. It’s SUCH a blessing to not have to worry about finances while focusing on ministry and trying to figure out what’s next in life.

69. Living within 2 hours of my parents. Time with family is precious.

70. “Touchdown M&M’s” on clearance – a big bag for $1.50 at Target. (Basically, touchdown M&M’s are regular M&M’s with pictures of footballs printed on them. Um… yes please!

71. Acts of love from Mr. Right – He brought me starbucks and flowers on Saturday morning!!  🙂  Totally made my day!

72. Heated seats in my Subaru. At least my butt stays warm.

73. Pinterest. I LOVE pinterest. AND I actually use it to help me meal plan and be creative!!  I don’t know how I could be a stay at home mom without it’s inspiration!!

74. Worship. I’m planning on hopefully starting another mini-series on my blog about worship. Stay tuned.

75. My new devotional book. I’m currently reading “Search the Scriptures” by Alan Stibbs – it’s totally different than ANY devotional I’ve EVER done and I’m LOVING it – it takes you through the entire Bible in three years, asking you to read a passage, then asking you a few VERY basic “get you thinking” questions about what you’ve read. What I like about it is that it forces ME to THINK about what I’m reading, rather than a lot of “fill in the blank” devotionals that are very leading and basically teaching me what someone else has thought about the passages I’m reading. I think that kind of learning is valuable too, but I can get SO lazy studying scripture that way. This is JUST what I needed to re-engage my mind in my love of the scriptures!!

76. Frozen Pizzas. Fast, cheap, and right now I can’t seem to get enough of them.

77. My new business venture with Origami Owl. WHAT a BLESSING!!  Be looking for a blog post about this VERY, very soon!!

78. Hope for the future. Need I say more?

79. Snuggles with Buddy Bear. He is becoming increasingly cuddly. I LOVE that.

80. Sweet kicks from Sweet Pea. She’s getting mighty feisty!! I can’t believe we get to meet her in three short months!!!

81. Maternity jeans in MY SIZE that FIT PERFECTLY on CLEARANCE for less than $10 at Target!!!! Any woman who has EVER been pregnant and had to pay $35 for a pair of jeans she’ll only wear for 4-5 months CLEARLY understands the joy here.

82. Winter boots. I finally invested in some after wearing my running shoes everywhere in the snow. WOW. What a difference warm feet make!  HA!

83. God’s sovereignty and protection. I sense it around me all the time and love seeing Him at work in my life!!

84. Technology. Even though I don’t have many friends where we are right now, it’s so nice to stay connected with those who are far away.

85. Chik-fil-A in the land of no Chik-fil-A. There just happens to be one 20 minutes from my house. Today, that little southern corner of my heart was so thrilled to enjoy Chik-fil-A with a DEAR younger sister in Christ downtown. 🙂

What are you thankful for today, friend??  If you’re reading, leave me a note with ONE THING you’re thankful for!!  C’mon, there’s gotta be SOMETHING!!  🙂

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Supporting Rachel: My Story

**disclaimer: I am not directing anything in this post at anyone in particular (apart from names mentioned), nor to cast judgment on anyone. my goal is merely to educate and enlighten using my own thoughts and experiences.**

Let me start by saying that this post will NOT be what you think. My goal is neither to bash “The Biggest Loser” nor to share my opinion on Rachel’s appearance in the finale of the prime-time weight-loss reality show. Neither of those things are my place, and as much as I have opinions, there are plenty of other blogs and places you can go to read about those things.

I do want to say, my heart goes out to Rachel. Seeing the joy and excitement on her face on Tuesdays finale, I can only imagine how devastated she must feel at the social media backlash she is receiving for doing EXACTLY what she was challenged to do – and that was to loose as much weight as possible in as little time as possible. She was doing what she was told would make her healthier, happier… she was told it would give her confidence and a bright future. She lost an amazing amount of weight. You see the look in her eyes during the finale and she is proud. She is excited. I’m sure she sees her weight loss as an amazing victory. Something to be celebrated. Because in our society, that’s what we do.

Rachel-Frederickson-Biggest-Loser-Emag

I remember being in a similar situation in my late teens. Puberty hit me late. Around my junior year of high school, I started to “fill out” and my once stick-like and lanky figure became fuller, rounder, more womanly. I was never obese, but I’ll admit it – I was that girl who had always eaten a cheeseburger, french fries, a bag of Cheetos, a coke, and an ice cream cone for lunch (not even an exaggeration) and never thought twice about it because I had a “super-metabolism.”  That was NEVER a “healthy” choice for me, but my unhealthy decisions took awhile to catch up. By the time I graduated from high school, I was teetering on the “overweight” side of the BMI chart. I was starting to become uncomfortable in my own skin. Between friends, family, and acquaintances, I began to receive comments, encouragement to choose another path… a path to become “healthier.” I was told I needed to start exercising and eating healthier, that I couldn’t keep eating ice cream twice a day. I was told “calories in, calories out” and encouraged to trade my cheeseburger for a salad. None of it was bad advice. All of it was well intended.

When I got ready to leave for college, I was warned time and time again about the “freshman fifteen,” and when my college roommates and I sat down on the first night of school to create goals for ourselves for the semester, I made it my goal to be “healthier” – I was going to exercise, eat healthier, and stop midnight snacking. Sounds innocent and healthy, right? I was supported by my friends and family. They gave me tips and held me accountable to my eating and exercise regimen. I remember celebrating the first time a pair of pants was so big on me, it fell off. I was SO proud of myself. I was SO excited.

And then I went home for Christmas.

People who hadn’t seen me for awhile saw me for the first time in months, and I was met with concern after concern about my weight loss. I kept assuring people I’d done it healthily, and in my own estimation, I had! I didn’t know any differently! I had discovered, as Rachel said during her victory speech on Tuesday night, that I COULD take control of my eating and my life and make myself healthier. I had NO idea that I had already spiraled out of control.

So imagine my shock and confusion when later that semester, I found myself sitting on one side of a long table, being confronted by faculty, staff, and administration of my college, my parents on speaker phone, being told that I had an eating disorder, was being dismissed from school, and would be unable to return until I “got better.” In my mind, I had done exactly what everyone had told me to do. And here, they wanted to send me to a psychiatric hospital. How on earth was it okay for the girl down the hall from me to eat right and exercise “for her health,” but when I tried to do the exact same thing, I was suddenly deemed “crazy”??

(Do you see the parallels here with Rachel’s story?)

I will say, I AM SO GRATEFUL that someone said something. I did spend the next four (roughly) years of my life in and out of treatment centers and psychiatric institutions, uncovering deeper issues (to be discussed at another time and place), and I am eternally grateful to those who saw that I DID need help, and that they were willing to go to any and all lengths to get it for me. I am so thankful to God that He spared my life in spite of my ignorance and foolishness. I’m so thankful for the life that I’m living NOW, FREE from my battle with anorexia and living healthily with my husband, beautiful child, and another on the way. I have been healed, body, soul and spirit. And I’m SO grateful. I can’t say that enough.

However, that doesn’t mean the path was easy. That doesn’t mean I jumped into getting help right away with arms extended and ready for whatever the “experts” wanted to throw at me. That’s just not how it works. I fought it. It took a long time to reconcile the fact that what I had been taught was “healthy” had gone way too far. And I was so scared of going to the other extreme in my life (which I knew I was capable of) that it took me a long, long time, lots of prayer, and lots of “letting go” to get there.

So back to Rachel.

Now, I don’t know Rachel personally. I can’t sit here and look at her picture and what I know of her journey and diagnose her with an eating disorder. Nor should I.

However, based on my own experiences, I can appeal with you to respond to her reveal on Tuesday night in a few ways. These things can be applied to ANY situation where you fear someone you know MAY have an eating disorder.

1) Try not to judge her based on her appearance, or the number on the scale. It’s NOT our place to do so. If Rachel does have an eating disorder, comments like “you’re too skinny” are not helpful. In fact, they can be just as damaging as comments of “you’re too fat.” If you are ever concerned that someone in your life may have an eating disorder, there are much gentler, kinder, and more effective ways to approach it. Now, I understand that we live in an era of social media and people are going to say what they’re going to say (and Rachel, I’m so sorry for that!) but it’s a good habit to not comment on peoples weight and/or appearance. It’s okay to be concerned for them, but I would be careful about how that concern is expressed. **Let me add here that in situations where this is someone you know personally, finding a way to gently confront the person to get help IS necessary – but make sure you have approached the situation prayerfully and with tact and forethought, and never make their appearance or number on the scale the focus of that conversation. This is something else I will discuss somewhere else at a future date.**

2) Pointing fingers of blame is not helpful. I’ll be honest. I don’t watch “The Biggest Loser” regularly. There are reasons why I don’t watch it. The same reason a former alcoholic wouldn’t spend a lot of time in a bar. But I have seen enough to know the premise and understand WHY the trainers and producers of the show overall are being blamed for her appearance. I have my own opinion, but I also know that the problem is much, much bigger than a reality TV show. It’s a sin issue in our society involving the idolatry of health, fitness, nutrition, and appearance. Does that mean that taking care of your body is wrong or that it’s wrong for people to go on that show and loose weight? Not at all. I applaud them for it. I’m a huge advocate for taking care of oneself through proper eating and nutrition. The issue is much, much bigger than all that. But I’ll talk more about that another time.

3). What Rachel needs right now is NOT CONDEMNATION, but rather COMPASSION, UNDERSTANDING, and SUPPORT. First of all, as I mentioned above, none of us know if Rachel has an eating disorder. We should leave that up to her own support system, counselors, nutritionists, friends, and family. However, if she does, the LAST thing she needs is people screaming at her and judging her through social media outlets. Going through a struggle like an eating disorder is ANYTHING but easy, and NOT something one should be judged for.

I remember, so clearly, the day I was first told I had an eating disorder and dismissed from college. I was humiliated. The very thing I had spent so much time working my tail off for and celebrating was being condemned as WRONG. I had SUCH a hard time reconciling that in my mind. I remember walking around campus feeling like everyone was judging me. I felt so much shame and condemnation. I felt embarrassed. I felt stupid. I felt like everyone would think I was completely superficial and selfish. I felt so guilty as my roommates helped me pack and said goodbye, and I knew they’d be so much better off without me. I felt suicidal and alone.

IWU

The thing is, the support I was receiving from those around me was completely the opposite. Sure, there were those people who kind of stood at a distance and didn’t know how to respond, but for the most part, I was surrounded by loving, compassionate friends. No one called me hateful things like I see being said about Rachel on social media. No one started out telling me I had control issues or I that was too competitive. I received nothing but love and support.

I get that by going on “The Biggest Loser” Rachel was putting herself in the public limelight. I know, but even being in a public light, I don’t think that changes how we should handle the situation. I also understand many saying that she did it just for the money. That may be true, but again, not helpful. We should never take it upon ourselves judge another’s hearts or intentions. (I am guilty of this, but working on it. Haha).

Oh friends, can we put aside our shock and our judgement, and instead pick up love and compassion? Can we pray for Rachel and those around her instead of publicly blasting her? If it comes to light that she does, indeed, have an eating disorder, can we be there to support her instead of clicking our tongues in judgement and saying “I told you so?” And instead of trying to find someone to blame, can we look within ourselves and see how we might be contributing to the bigger problem at hand in our society?

**I rarely post anything controversial, because I know there are plenty of people out there who can “out-talk” me or back me into a corner in a debate. That is NOT the goal of this post. I recognize that I may have lit a fire in some of you to argue and bash me and this post. That’s a risk I took in writing this. In fact, I’m struggling with whether or not I will publish it as I type this. But I feel that in order to have compassion, we must have understanding. And that’s what I’m yearning for us all to have.**

Let’s have our arms stretched out in compassion, seeking to understand, speaking the truth in love, instead of ending with pointed fingers of accusation.

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