At age 17 I weighed as much as a third grader. Maybe even less. But that doesn’t really matter. My soul was as empty as my stomach, and apathy permeated every crevice of my life. I cannot even remember my last two years of high school as I sit here replaying this chapter of my life in my head. Those years are gone, lost to a whirlwind of hopeless desperation to find a voice. The years of my childhood were spent listening to the voices of those around me that said they were more important than I me, and that I would never be good enough to earn their love or respect.
“Go to your room!”
“I don’t want to hear it!”
“You think I’m wrong? Well, then I’m just a f—ing idiot, aren’t I?”
I heard this daily from my mother who would send me to my room before I even had the chance to get in trouble. Tragic irony.
But I sit here and I have my voice. I found it deep in the heart of a God who endured the yelling, the punishment, the divorce, the eating disorder, the hopelessness, the hunger, the hurt, and the confusion with me. Then He did something miraculous. He used these hurts for my good and didn’t leave them to rot in my memory. I tried to get rid of them and forget about them. I tried to move on, but God showed me how to move through. He shaped me into a person with a deep knowledge of suffering, and He is showing me His heart for His suffering people. God does not ignore my suffering. Quite the opposite. God experiences it with me, and draws me to Himself through it.
So where was the God who said He loved me, the One I trusted? Closer than I would ever have dared to hope. This I believe, God is the hope for my suffering. He raises it from its own destruction, redeems it, and uses it. He heals it and uses it to heal the world.