Several years ago I went away to a hospital to get my life back and to learn to live. It was truly the hardest thing I have ever done, because while I was dying of anorexia, I was so afraid to change and live.
I was given a chance for a new life – a life with new direction and skills and opportunities. As my mind goes back to that new beginning, I remember that as I carefully packed up each card on the desk next to my twin-sized bed and stacked it on top of the others, I couldn’t help but read each one yet again. Encouraging words from the Bible and hope from friends’ hearts to mine. There were over a hundred pages of people pouring out their hearts, in hopes that I would grab onto the life they were living and desire one of my own. Friends cheering me on, but carefully, as to not write the wrong thing, and I felt as if I were sitting in their company as they imparted their love for me.
I then opened a tiny drawer and found a few shirts neatly stacked, one on top of the other. They were part of the handful of clothes I would be leaving with. My closet looked sparse in the way of hanging garments, and I was intimidated by their new size. With each piece of clothing I held in my hands, there was a new memory, and I was overcome with emotion and gratitude for what God had brought me through in those last three-plus months. Each day so skillfully and lovingly orchestrated for my good by my Father. While I had come with few items, I was leaving with fewer and they were so very different. But I guess, so was I.
Our experiences may be oh so different, my friends, but we all need God’s help to sift through some things...
SIFTING THROUGH THE PILES
When I arrived home from my stay, I had to do something very difficult for me. I was advised by my team of doctors here at home to go through all of my clothes from when I was at my sickest points, and, if possible, with a trusted friend sift through the piles. Each piece of my “old clothing,” as I held it, brought a specific memory or reminded me of a bargain or a gift. But mostly, each one reminded me that I couldn’t fit into it anymore, which was a good thing because it meant I now had more than skin wrapped around my bones. But oh girl…it was a hard cleansing.
So why do it? Why not just shove the old clothes to one end of my closet and pretend they weren’t there? I wish! But that lack of “cleansing” would almost guarantee a relapse. I would want to fit back into what once hung on my frame…and with missed meals they could once again fit the same. This digression would have defeated God’s purpose for my life.
By none other than God, I was given another chance to live, and to give my life to Him with the intention to truly live this time.
PACKING UP AND BEGINNING AGAIN
All of these memories come flooding back into my mind, my heart, and my soul this afternoon as I am taking down Christmas ornaments and stockings, so many of them carrying their own precious memories. I’m reminded that God has fashioned each of us (and our relationship with Him) to need “redos.”
We all need fresh starts, don’t we?
God hasn’t given us life without the tools to live it. Each step, each move, each breath, has been saturated in His grace and mercy and utter love for each of us.
It’s bold of me to ask such questions, but I’m going to still venture out and do it because we need to sharpen one another just as iron sharpens iron…
Do you have some “things” which need God’s mercy and grace to permeate?
What, other than the Christmas clutter surrounding you, needs to be gotten rid of?
As you pack away your Christmas decor, I’d encourage you to think through every area of your heart and life, asking God,
“What would You want to help me not merely temporarily put away,
but rather get out of my life permanently?”
I know I have many things God wants to relieve me of so that my load isn’t so burdensome. I miss the familiarity of my past body and clothes. I do. But they were killing me because my life revolved around fitting into them. Now that’s not supposed to be the reason I try to survive; He is to be my reason to thrive.
Let’s be honest as we let God look through the “closets and drawers” of our lives. Let’s open our hands and let go of what we are holding so tightly. He is the giver of hope, mercy and life and these things are new every single morning!
Great is your faithfulness to your children, Father God. You, God, are the giver of all good things and we give you our hurts, our struggles, our addictions, so that we can move forward one moment at a time into this new year.
Meet the Author!
Lover of diet coke and long strolls at the mall, Stacee Goetzinger is an author, speaker, wife, mother, daughter and friend. Psalm 118:17, "I will not die but live, and proclaim what the Lord has done," is her life verse and describes her passion to allow God to use the pain of a lengthy battle with mental illness and an eating disorder to write and speak words of hope, courage and life.
Connect with Stacee at Speakoutloud.me.