Before you really dive into this blog post, I want you to do something.
Sit back in your chair, couch, simple seat- wherever.
Close your eyes, take a few deep breaths, and just be still. Allow the Lord’s love and His adoration for you to wash over your soul.
Have confidence in knowing that you are His beloved. You are a treasure worth far more than you could ever imagine.
My prayer is as you read my small story of grace and rescue, you will be reassured that the same can and will happen for you.
You are not the exception to God’s unconditional love. He hears you. He sees you. He wants you. He REJOICES over you. And that is the truth.
Take one more deep breath and press in with me.
I have always struggled with my identity. For about half of my life, I have never been comfortable with who I was. I am always too much of something and never enough of something else. I remember being in middle school and praying I would wake up physically different.
And, oh, the disappointment when I woke up the same. This feeling of dissatisfaction with myself ebbed and flowed throughout my middle school years and into my adult life. It would get better, then worse, then better again. I would try different things to “fix” my physical. Diets. Different clothes. Pray. More exercise. More makeup. “Give it to God”. All of which created a temporary fix that ended up in more disappointment. And then I met my husband.
Suddenly, I was swept away in a love story that only the Lord could write. How I felt about myself was put on the back burner. I met a man that saw me as a Creation and would counter words or thoughts of self-depreciation with Godly truth and love. With his constant compliments and unconditional love, the Lord used him to begin to slowly heal 10-year-old wounds. And in all honesty, I was too busy to think about myself. In the first year of “us”, Christian left for boot camp and went to multiple other trainings around the country. During all of this, we dated, got engaged, eloped, had our wedding, moved to NC, moved again, and prepared for a deployment. All on top of normal life stuff- sickness, new jobs, new people, and so on. It was a whirlwind.
Somewhere in the middle of settling into our new home and preparing for his first deployment, I was introduced to Holy Yoga. It was being offered as a small group at a church that we were attending at the time. I couldn’t believe it. I had already been practicing yoga and worshipping Jesus on my own. So to find out that it was a real thing – I was pumped. I immediately fell in love with the ministry and felt called to get certified. I had so many ideas for myself with yoga.
I could serve OTHERS. I could love on OTHERS. I could help OTHERS. I could be a tool of the Lord and be used to minister to OTHERS. The possibilities were endless.
My excitement quickly diminished as Christian’s deployment finally came. I said goodbye to my best friend for 7 months. And that hit me hard. Even writing this now I can feel the deep sense of loss that this caused me. I literally felt like a piece of myself was ripped away.
With my husband and my biggest supporter thousands of miles away, a lot of things began to resurface. All the events and stress (good and bad) from my year turned into this feeling of not having control. I couldn’t control how far I was from my family, where we lived, or that my husband was gone. And long story short – that need and craving for control turned into an eating disorder. I COULD control how much I exercised, what I ate, and how much weight I was losing.
But, man, was I ashamed. I knew what I was doing wasn’t right. How could someone who had been walking with the Lord for so long be going through an eating disorder? Where was my faith that Jesus would deliver me? And how the hell was I STILL dealing with this? Had I not “gotten over” how I felt about myself? I obviously wasn’t praying enough. I wasn’t Christian enough. I was alone. I was lost.
So I isolated. And then I was drowning.
Until the Lord sent a lifeboat.
A few months into the deployment and my eating disorder, Holy Yoga training started. The VERY first teachings (by Brooke) were about walking through old ruins and being in liminal spaces.
Being in between the beginning and the destination. The almost but not yet.
She talked about how sometimes the Lord brings us back to places that need more work. We come back because there is more healing that needs to come, more walls that need to be broken, and more Jesus that needs to be let in.
And suddenly I wasn’t alone. As I progressed through training, more BIG T truths were revealed.
Christians suffer through worldly things.
You are not less of a Christian when you suffer through worldly things.
It was time to bring darkness to LIGHT.
I had a voice again. I began to let people in. I truly let the Lord in. I told my husband and my mom. And when I went to retreat, I told my cabin (which was the HARDEST but most freeing thing ever).
I had people in my corner that began praying on my behalf. I tasted the Lord’s freedom and lost my cravings for control. That’s when I began to heal. Like TRULY heal.
Now I see that healing can be a lifelong process.
My biggest takeaway from Holy Yoga training is that you don’t always have to be okay. Jesus called the broken, the poor, the dejected, and the least of these to do great things. It’s about taking your trials and tribulations of life and turning them into your TESTIMONY to help others.
I went into Holy Yoga expecting to serve others but instead, my cup was poured into until it overflowed.
God used Holy Yoga to meet me in one of the darkest pits I have ever been in. And the Holy Yoga community met me in my brokenness; dusted me off; and sent me off with the tools and confidence I needed to continue my journey of healing.
And for that, I will always be grateful.