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Change your mind. Change your life.

"That is why we are not discouraged. Though outwardly we are wearing out, inwardly we are renewed everyday" -- 2 Cor. 4:16

Recovery Stories

Rebecca's Story ~ Her ED began at age 15 because of stress in her life. She gained weight. One day (age 18) she just decided to stop eating -- completely. In 4 months she went from size 16 to size 6. She visited her doctor and continued to lose weight. She was referred to a counselor that told her she was going to die. And she didn't care -- she had so much anger, frustration and self-hatred that she didn't care if this disease killed her. She said, "I wouldn't have ever slashed my wrists, but I was slowly killing myself."

One day out the blue, she opened her Bible and began to read Isaiah 54. The words were like warm water on a sore muscle and several months later she laid on the floor and said, "OK God, I give you my life! From the inside out something broke and changed inside of me." She began to eat again and gained weight back. Her life changed for the better. She was able to taste the fruit of salvation. Unfortunately this isn't the end of the story. Three years later she was confronted with a very stressful situation. She returned to the comfort of food and starvation. The problem was is that she never dealt with the internal issues that were generating the eating disorder. She was referred to Mercy.

This time Rebecca fully surrendered to God's power and released control of her life to Him. When she was able to do that, He fulfilled His word and led her to still waters and restored her soul. It wasn't easy. Eventfully, she was dreaming again and had a passion for life. She started believing Jeremiah 29:11 "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Today she owns a cleaning business and said, "I may not know exactly where God is taking me in the future, but I know He is guiding me every step of the way. I live everyday to be faithful with the very thing God restored to life".

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A Father's Story ~ Mary Ellen (ME), has always been the joy of his life. But ME started to withdraw from her dad, as well as her family and friends. What started out as a training diet for her track team turned into starvation and an obsession with her body and weight. Her father was terrified as he watched her become thinner and more withdrawn. They took her to a professional in eating disorders, and all they told her parents is that if they didn't do something she would starve to death. He was so angry and started to blame himself and God.

ME's body was very weak and she was dying - no one had been able to help her. She checked into Mercy. She was gripped with fear and the thought of losing control was unbearable. She said, "I may have given up on myself but God didn't give up on me. One day I had an amazing experience where God spoke to me and I just knew I could be free from the torment I lived in. I was determined that I would live and have a future. I started to fight. My body became stronger. The process was hard, but with God as my strength, I made it through the program and was freed from my eating disorder."

ME's life was transformed because each day, for months, she surrendered her will to God and learned to trust and rely on Him. Her father said, "Holding ME in my arms on her graduation day was a moment I will never forget. I thought I would begin to weep with joy that she was alive and well. It took a miracle of God to free my little girl."

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Breaking the Bondage of Bulimia: The Story of Laura Schultz
An interview by Kristi Watts, The 700 Club

Laura told herself she would just throw up this once. That one act turned into a 10-day-a-day habit. "I remember sitting in a room with my mother and the doctor, and he looked at me and in all seriousness said, 'You need to prepare yourself that this is what your life is going to be like. You're going to be in and out of hospitals for the rest of your life. Eating disorders are not curable. Depression is not curable,' " Laura Schultz recalls.

Laura Schultz was a classic overachiever. She graduated at the top of her class, was active in her community, and was even a mentor in her church. But what people didn't know was that Laura was using her outward successes to cover up her inward insecurities."At a very young age I turned to food for comfort," she says. "It was fulfilling. It was an escape. I didn't notice the world around me if I was eating."

Laura found that food numbed her pain and eased her depression. But as she watched her body double in size, her insecurities and self-hatred intensified."My family tried to be encouraging, telling me, 'You're still beautiful.' They tried to help, but I knew that I didn't like who I was, and I had transferred not liking myself physically into not liking myself at all in anyway," she says.

So Laura thought that if she could just loose the weight, then she would be happy. But that seemed impossible. Food was her addiction, her vice. Then a friend explained how Laura could loose weight while eating as much as she wanted. The first time Laura forced herself to throw up she says she remembers thinking, There is something just innately wrong with this, and I'm never going to do it again. I'm just going to do it this one time because I've eaten way too much.

Unfortunately, it didn't happen the way Laura had planned-one time turned into a 10-times-a-day habit. "I can remember being in college and living in the dorm, and my roommate would go home on the weekends and leave me there in the dorm. I would just take the phone off the hook and binge and purge and then take laxatives." Laura took the phone off the hook because she says she didn't want to be interrupted.

"I didn't have to think about my classes, my family, my emotions. I didn't have to think about anything but the food that was in front of me. And so if the phone rang, it was like a wake-up call back to reality," says Laura. 'Reality' was thousands of dollars spent on therapists. 'Reality' was three failed suicide attempts. 'Reality' was facing the fact that her life was totally out of control.

"One night I had taken about 45 laxatives, and the next morning when I got up to get ready for class, I remember getting into the shower. The next thing I remember was waking up on the floor covered in vomit. I had thrown up and passed out and was just a mess," she recalls. "I just remember feeling so shameful that I had done this to myself and so embarrassed. I knew at this point I really needed help, but there really wasn't anywhere to go for help"

Laura admits to feeling like she was living a lie."I did because that year I was very involved in living a Christian life and yet, on the side, engaging in these horrible self-destructive behaviors. I knew that it was wrong, but I didn't know how to stop."

As a last resort, Laura checked herself into a girl's home called Mercy Ministries. "This place is all about God," she says. "All the counseling was straight from the Bible. My counselor didn't even really deal with the food stuff because she was more interested in dealing with the root causes and things that were underneath. They told me up front, 'This is your choice. If you want to throw up you can. There is no physical way anyone will ever be able to stop you. But you have to decide that you want this and learn to come to us when you're struggling, and we will pray with you and we will help you. But bottom line, it is your choice.'

Being personally accountable for her decisions helped Laura greatly.

"I think giving me back that responsibility helped me be able to let go of that 'victim mentality' of I have no control; this is just something happening to me," she explains. "It turned into 'This is something I can work on. God's going to help me through this.' "

"I never knew to cry out to God in the time of struggle," Laura continues. "I didn't realize that He was right there with me all the time. I felt like I had become a big failure in that I couldn't go to God because I had messed up so badly."

But God met Laura right where she was and gave her what no doctor, therapist, or medication could give her-freedom! Laura says there were two keys to her healing and deliverance.

"One of them was choice, knowing that I had a choice and taking responsibility, realizing that no one ever put a gun to my head and forced me to throw up, and no one was ever going to put a gun to my head and force me to stop. I think the second thing that was so life changing was realizing who I was in Christ. I researched Scripture after Scripture on who I was in Christ, and I wrote them down on cards. I said them out loud every day: 'I'm fully loved, completely accepted, totally pleasing to God. I am the redeemed. I am the beloved. I am the apple of His eye. I am a princess. I have a destiny. I have a future.' I mean, when you start saying that out loud every day, your life just begins to change."

Today Laura is a completely different person. She's free from bulimia, depression, and thoughts of suicide. In fact, the one place she sought refuge in, Mercy Ministries, is the same place she now works as a full-time staff member.

And Laura has a message for young women today who are struggling with eating disorders. "I tell women all the time, 'You have a future. You have a destiny. You are a princess. God has a plan for you.' You may feel like you're not in that plan right now, but if you seek Him and find the resources that you need to overcome and renew your mind, you can be on that plan and you are in your destiny. You have to know that it may seem hopeless, but with God, we're never without hope."

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