Tuesday, September 11, 2012

it is real out there.

yesterday i went back to work after a 3 month break for summer camp, vacation, yl assignment, etc. it felt good to be back. i do like making at least a little bit of money. i was not necessarily looking forward to fitting in one more thing to our life...but i know that this is what is best for us right now and i do feel a greater sense of purpose when i change up my days a bit. but don't get me wrong i would way rather be with ava and hang out with my friends. anyways back to work...all 10-15 hours of it a week. that is barely anything so i am not complaining just adjusting.

i provide in-home counseling to young kids and/or teenagers who are dealing with anything from behavior issues at school to severe abuse to suicide and everything that falls in between.

yesterday the pain and brokenness of the world slapped me in the face. it is not that i have not known pain or my own brokenness...because i have. for me it was an eating disorder. binging, throwing up, over exercising, restrictive eating, and an overall obsession with food...what was "good" and what was "bad." it started when i was 15 and for about 5 years or so it was an up and down battle with food. my heart. my body and finding a sense of control in the midst of so many unknowns. battles with depression. even suicidal thoughts as a high school. it it crazy to write this down and go back to those dark times in my life. where i felt like i was a prisoner to food and my own body. i remember telling my mom one night in bed..."will it always be like this? will i always feel like i am in a dark black hole and i can't get out?" she said..."no, libby it wont always be this way." even though i doubted her words and felt very hopeless i secretly clung to those words...it wont always be this way. i imagine we all have our thing...whatever it might be that brings us to a place where we feel hopeless and alone and embarrassed to admit. what would people think? what if i was found out? what if life will never change and it will always be this way? it did not get better over night. i was in and out of therapy for years. i struggled daily with food and whether or not i was going to throw up what i just ate or not. i remember in college sitting across the table from erinn, my young life leader and her telling me..."libby it wont always be this way. food will not always control you. let's take it one day at a time. ask the Lord to get you through today and then think about tomorrow." the baby steps started. let's do today. just focus on today. it was draining and i lied to people i loved and began to realize that there were certain places i simply could not put myself in...the temptation to binge and purge was too great. as i looked into the eyes of my new client and saw deep pain, fear, and no hope for a day that would not feel so scary, unsafe, and where the temptation to do the thing that brought destruction in many ways also provides a sort of release. but in this place that seems hopeless: no way out, no freedom,  no way life would ever be any different. although our addictions are different...i know what it is like to be doing something that is destructive and being well aware of the destruction and still believing that there was no way out. no way to stop. it honestly hurts so good. i do not know your story or where you are coming from or where you have been or what you are fighting for but i know this...it wont always be this way. it wont always feel so deep. so hard. so real. so hopeless.

but and this is key: that does not mean that it wont show its scary face from time to time for the rest of your life. maybe hourly, daily, monthly, yearly...all our stories are different. although i believe freedom exists it does not mean we don't have to fight. to practice self-control. to be disciplined. to choose no...even when saying yes and giving in feels right and good. i believe the Lord carried me through my eating disorder. i believe that my hourly prayers have turned to randomly yearly prayers to fight the urge...the urge to binge and throw up. i know that today i am no longer plagued by my mind and the lies i believed and the dark place i used to find myself when i was alone at night and life often felt like too much. it is not totally gone. but i no longer feel like i am in a dark, deep, black hole with no hope. no hope for eating. for control. for my body. for freedom. i feel free. i feel free. i feel free. as i looked at my young client and the pain was so raw...i clung to this truth and i shared it..."it wont always feel this way. it wont always be this bad. you are not a lost cause. you are not alone. you will not live like this for the rest of your life. but the road to that place wont be fun and it will mostly be hard. it will mean saying no maybe screaming no when all you want is to say yes and give in and find some sort of relief from the hurt that runs through every vein in your body.  

but it is worth it. your life it worth fighting for...i will fight even if you don't want to. i will keep showing up...3x a week i will sit on your front porch and we can talk about what hurts and what is fun and what you like to do on a saturday afternoon along with the deep secrets...when you are ready i will be here.

recovery is hard and long and it will be a road you may always find yourself on. i am still a recovering bulimic. but how far i have come...i would never have believed you as a young 15 year old girl who was just sad and lost. even in the midst of an incredible family and lots of friends i felt alone and found some sort of freedom in food. maybe for you it is not food...but drugs, alcohol, cutting, depression, prescription medications, whatever it is...it is real and sharing your story changes everything. i would like to say i am not ashamed...but i am a little. even embarrassed. but unless we all decide to be real and honest and fight for one another...the dark hole might swallow us up.

let's head in a direction of hope. the Lord provides hope and purpose. that is where my life is found.


  1. thanks for sharing libby, you touched my heart today

  2. i needed this post tonight. thanks for the reminder to look to the Lord in the hard time and trust in him.

  3. Libby, Wow. Thank you for sharing this dark corner of your life. You give me hope, for my son. Yes, my sweet, precious 21-year old son who has battled an eating disorder for about six years now. Like you, he's been in and out of counseling. Trying and struggling to rise above it. It's been so heartbreaking for me. I printed your writing to share with him, hoping that it may spark something inside of him to truly, truly reach out and up for help! Love to you!

  4. An eating disorder is a hard thing to overcome. I know someone personally that didn't make that recovery.
    So glad that you did. God had other plans for you. Thanks for sharing.

  5. Although working part time may not be what you want most to be doing, it sounds like your work is very important and that you are working with these people for a reason! I am a mom of two who works full time, and I often wish it was different, but I work with young children in a preshool setting and I have come to realize that the teaching and care I provide is so important and that there is a reason I am doing what I am doing! I think it is amazing that you are helping young people and I truly believe that God has you in this position right now, with the kids you are working with for a reason! It may take you away from your little one for a short amount of time, but imagine the impact you are making on someones life long term. Hopefully you are reaching inside of them and helping to change something that they cannot do on their own. Thank you for sharing your heart!!

  6. Thanks for posting this Libby and for sharing your heart and your life with your readers. You are incredible, and God is continuing to work incredibly through you.

    Laura Flikkema

  7. Wow, I've reading your blog for a while and following your incredible journey. This post, pretty much word for word and thought for thought, is exactly where i am right now. God so unmistakably is giving me hope and courage through your words. You have no idea how far your transparency will reach and the hearts it'll infiltrate. Thank you Libby.

  8. Dearest Libby,

    Thank you for working so diligently to move beyond. I am very proud of you. And I knew you were not always honest, but I forgave you then and I prayed for a time of truth telling. Thank you for sharing your truth...it will be so helpful to so many.

    Love, Mom


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