This email came from a woman I will call "Janice." The subject line read "struggling."
Dear Jennifer, Answer:
I have written you before. I am struggling through so many areas of my life. I have a support system and see a counselor (Christian-based), however I still do not seem to be able to accept myself. I look in the mirror and am still not happy, so I am still fighting the demon of my eating disorder. I am not even sure I know how to be "normal." I was born with a type of muscular dystrophy. I do pretty well, but in the last few years have had to face the fact that things are getting worse. I have always been taught that if you fight hard enough, then things would not happen. So now that things are there and changing, I just seem to sink.
You seem to have adjusted and accepted your blindness with such grace. HOW? I am ready to give up. I know the facts and that God loves me, but truly, I admit that I do not accept that love. I have learned to fake life.
I listen to you in the car and have read several of your books. I just don't seem to let things in. I just cry (a lot). I am sure that things stack up for you, too. How do you keep going?
I am looking to take a road trip soon to hear you in person. I am ready for an escape.
Thank you so much, and with much Christian love,
Oh, girl, I appreciate your honesty! I am glad you have support and a good counselor. That is so important. But, I understand you are discouraged when you are trying to change and nothing seems to change...except for the worst!
I have no magic words or wand to fix or soothe. If I did, I would send them your way. But, this I know - just because we fight against depression or eating disorders or low self-esteem doesn't mean we will always win. Fighting is no guarantee for success. But, before you think that is a statement of defeat, consider this:
In 2 Chronicles 20, Jehoshaphat faced enemies and he was afraid. He sought the Lord, and God said, "Listen, King Jehoshaphat and all who live in Judah and Jerusalem! This is what the LORD says to you: 'Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army, for the battle is not yours, but God's.' " (vs. 15)
Janice, this battle is not yours, either. It is God's. Instead of fighting on your own and faking it when you fail - admit your weakness, fear and powerlessness. God wants to fight this battle for you.
When the wave of despair washes over you, ask God to fight for you and bring you victory in Him. Your weight may not change, but you will.
And, sister, can I just say...DON'T LOOK IN THE MIRROR! If that is a source of discouragement, just get a hand mirror and see your beautiful face. Ignore the rest. Focus on God being strong in your weakness and celebrate His victory in your heart. Sometimes miracles come slowly, but they will come!
Keep walking by faith and be honest with your support group.
And now the beans are officially spilled.