Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. (2 Corinthians 5:17)
My story began when I was about fifteen, I was in the midst of a break-up with a boy I was dating for almost a year. He was the first person I had ever dated, and the break-up took a huge toll on me emotionally. A week after our break-up, I found out he was seeing someone else, someone who in my mind was prettier, thinner, and more athletic than me. Although I didn’t play any sports, the competitive side of me started to show once I found out these two were dating. I became very self-conscious and wanted to change my outer appearance just so that I could be noticed by other guys. I started to take up running and began to run for at least forty minutes a day until I started noticing a decrease in my weight. I went from being 125 pounds to 99 pounds, in about three months. I was also depriving myself of the food and nutrients I was needing and reached a point where I was eating less than three hundred calories per day. People started to notice the change in my appearance and became very concerned. A friend of mine at the time reached out to her guidance counselor at school, hoping that they would sit down and talk to me and discuss what was going on. When I told them about my struggle, they referred me to an eating disorder clinic. It was at this clinic where I was diagnosed with anorexia nervosa, an eating disorder that included self-starvation, but in my case, it was mainly in form of excessive exercise. I was so addicted to working out, that the nurse at this clinic told me that if I were to run for an extra five minutes, I could have had a heart attack because my heart rate was at 45.
This ‘disorder’ had prevented me from spending time with friends and family, and I often remember times where I would isolate myself from everyone just so that I could run on the treadmill. I remember expressing my thoughts in a journal about wanting to be set free from the disorder but didn’t know how. I thought about going to church sometimes, although I didn’t know what to expect from going. I told my mom that I’d like to attend church and she immediately told Ben, my step-dad. Ben nearly fell off of his chair because he was so happy, he had prayed for fifteen years that my mom and I would attend church with him regularly and become saved.
One Sunday morning, Ben took my mom and myself to a church where we met the Pastor at the time Tim Harden, and his wife Jackie Harden. My mom and I truly enjoyed listening to Pastor Tim preach the Word of God because it was a big contrast from what we were used to being brought up Catholic all of our lives. My mom and I would have attended our Catholic church maybe once a year if that. Pastor Tim would always emphasize trusting and obeying the Lord, and would often encourage people by saying “obedience brings blessing.” He gave people an opportunity to make Jesus the Lord of their lives, and on Easter, Sunday in 2015 is when my mom gave her heart to the Lord after hearing Tim’s message. As I continued to learn more about God’s character, I also learned who the enemy is. The enemy’s main goal is to lie, steal, kill and destroy us. The enemy would say I’m unworthy, I’m ugly, and would often torment me about what I had eaten in a day. I would often act on his false accusations by feeling jealous and envious of others and falling into the trap of self-pity. My mom suggested one day I go to Pastor Tim’s house to discuss what I was going through. When I went to speak with him and his wife Jackie, we sat down and I explained to them the struggle I had with food. Although they were not able to understand the disordered thoughts about the food I was having, they did know Someone who knows every detail, His name is Jesus. They told me that in order to have an intimate relationship with God, I needed to accept Jesus Christ as my Lord and Saviour. I needed to repent of my sin and ask the Lord to forgive me. It was on this day where I desperately wanted to change and to have peace with God, and so I made the best decision I could ever make by accepting Christ as my personal Lord and Saviour. On this same day, Pastor Tim informed me that my mom was getting baptized on June 7th, 2015 as an outward expression of her salvation and asked if I wanted to get baptized as well.
The bible says in 1 Corinthians 5:17 “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new”. This scripture passage Has proven itself to be true in my life, because of where I am today. It is only by the grace and mercy of God, that I am no longer the same girl I was six years ago. Accepting Christ as my Saviour has changed me in many ways. My heart was changed, and my mind was changed. From walking through the first portion of my life with bitterness, envy, lust, and pride, I am now free and forgiven for my sin in order to live a Godly life. My motivations and moral standards have changed because I no longer engage myself in sinful behaviors like partying or drinking as I did when I was a teenager. I praise God and thank Him for placing certain people in my life to be an example of what a Christian looks like. Take Ben for example. who never forced me to enter into a relationship with God, but set an example of how Christian’s ought to walk, talk, and act. I believe that God places people in our lives for a specific purpose and at the specific time to help lead us, guide us, and direct us into knowing more about Jesus and how He has the power to transform our lives for the better. Ever since I made a commitment to follow Christ, I have developed a new love and appreciation for the Bible. I dedicate the first part of my morning to reading my devotion, studying the Word, and praying for others and myself. I believe that God has transformed me by reading His word and making sure I’m lining up my life with what He says. I know I’m not perfect, but I strive each day to become more like Jesus just by imitating what is written in His Word. The Lord has blessed me by sending me to different parts of the world, like Nicaragua and Greece in the summer of 2016. It was in Greece where I spent time walking along the ocean, praying that God would give me a sign that He was with me. I was hoping to bring home some kind of souvenir when I looked down at my feet to see an oddly shaped rock. When I picked it up, I noticed a little cross engraved at the top of the rock. My mouth dropped, I had so much joy and excitement from seeing this! Not long after, I found another rock in the shape of a heart which was more than enough confirmation that God was with me and had answered prayer.
The Lord has given me the opportunity to study Nursing where I have met so many wonderful people. Also, the Lord has given me an opportunity to share about His faithfulness by writing on a blog called Back to Being Sara, where I share how God has worked in and throughout my life. An old friend of mine reached out to me after reading one of my blogs and apologized for how she mistreated me in high-school. She saw how the Lord was working in my life, and stated how happy she was that I was getting healthier. I have been so blessed to be a part of a church who prays for one another, and I thank God for placing us here when He did. Although I can’t go back and relive some of the years I had lost due to the eating disorder, there is one thing I know for certain; and that is God is able. He is able to use what was meant to harm us, and use it for our good. He has given me a heart that desires to know more of Him and wants to seek His will for my life. I’ve learned through the many trials and tests in my health, there is hope for the ones who call on Him. Ever since I put my trust in the Lord to take care of me, He has proven Himself to be faithful, merciful, and graceful towards me despite my failures.