By Amy Dalke
“I can’t change.”
“There’s no way I’ll ever beat this.”
“I’m miserable with it. But I’m more miserable without it.”
“Life is pretty much…hopeless.”
“I’m so tired of living this lie.”
There was a time that I believed every single one of those statements.
I went to church. I signed up for every Bible study. And I occasionally got a glimpse of what true freedom looked like.
But I couldn’t quite reach it.
I knew that Jesus loved me and all…in a hazy, big picture sort of way. But how that applied to my every day life was a mystery. Real-life satisfaction in Christ, and the peace that he claimed to offer, seemed like a distant hope that was always just beyond my grasp.
The tracks in my mind were laid with the belief that my appearance (my size, my physical fitness and features) was the defining measurement of my self-worth. The only hope for a life of significance was found in the mirror (or so I thought); therefore I obsessively fought to maintain a modicum of control over the size of my jeans. Just to preserve even a dime’s worth of personal value.
Jesus came to set me free, right? Yet my conclusive assumption was that he must either be hypothetical, or I was just destined to be a failure. Because he never seemed to work in real life. What was I missing?
Eleven years of going to bed, begging God to change me overnight. Night after hellish day, I would lie awake, wondering how long my body would hold up from all this destruction.
The starving. The over-indulgent gorging.
The deception. The hiding…and the shame.
His Word literally transformed my life, as I began the process of exchanging the lies I believed with the Truth. I’m living proof that God’s Word works. That Jesus isn’t a character in some fictitious story, told at Easter and Christmas to give us warm fuzzy feelings.
Because in December, it will be ten years since my life took an upward turn to cut off the downward spiral of self-destruction. (Though the details of the recovery process are certainly important, they’re not critical to the purpose of this post.)
To be candid, I’m not a fan of telling you all this today. It’s too ugly. Too gross. (And come on, no one wants to read about vomit on a Monday morning.) There’s not even a way to put a glamorous twist around that.
My story reeks with a stench that, at times, is still a little too ripe for me to bear. I just prefer to turn my head and deny that this weak side of me exists, but then I’m reminded…that to tuck this part of me away, is to somehow waste his glory.
If I could sit across the table from you, and let you see into the utter depths of my mess, you would leave that conversation with hope that God might just be worth believing.
Because here’s the deal: I share my story so that you might see there really is hope for your own. And it’s not a pie-in-the-sky kind of hope.
It’s so real. And so near. And it runs deeper than your greatest failure.
Jesus came to earth to conquer sin and death, and to conquer that thing you’re dealing with right now.
He came to free you, so that you don’t have to live stuck anymore. Jesus came to mend those places within you that have been completely crushed and shattered.
He came to release you from the darkness…from the shame that keeps you in hiding. He came to take the ash heap that is your life…and make something beautiful out of it. Because that’s what he does.
Jesus came to give you joy in place of your sadness. He came to replace your coat of despair with a garment of praise. He saves. He redeems. He works out the knots in ways you cannot even fathom.
Because he loves you. Because he knows you.
You have hope because he crushed death. You aren’t stuck…because he lives.
And because he lives to save you, your story isn’t finished yet.