take the “child-you” to Jesus

i stopped sleeping the night my parents came to visit.

i don’t know why i stopped sleeping except for the memories that accompanied them. memories of decades ago, memories of sitting in my bedroom feeling very alone, memories of mum and i throwing things at each other and dad forcing me to see a counselor and i’m not even sure which memories are true anymore and which are made up,

for anorexia will do that. make things up until you believe them. it will tell you you’re beautiful when you’re skin and bone, and it will tell you God doesn’t love you and your parents want you to be fat and the only one who can understand you is your disorder. so you cling to it until it eats its way into your soul,

and you’re stuck, two decades later, unable to sleep for the memories.

and i spoke to a therapist about this, about the anxiety that comes from communing with a family that i know loves me, that i know would die for me in a heartbeat… and how to overcome, the disorder which still manifests itself through insomnia and obsessive compulsive disorder and fear?

“you need to take the child-you to Jesus,” he told me. “you’re trying to have needs met by your family that weren’t met as a child, and while those needs for affirmation and acceptance and emotional connectivity are good and fair, only Jesus can truly meet them.”

then, he told me, “you need to be the adult-you with your family.”

and so, i’m working on taking those needs to Jesus: asking him to be the protector i always longed for, the one to love me so tight i can’t breathe and then, to love me some more because i’m needy that way. and i’m working on accepting the family he has given me with all of its memories, and to appreciate the kind of love they are able to give, instead of demanding more of them than they’re able.

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13 thoughts on “take the “child-you” to Jesus

  1. Emily, this is heart-breaking and beautiful all at once. I am very blessed in terms of my family, but I always have a fierce longing inside me to feel loved in a way no human so far really has loved me. I am learning/trying to remember that only Jesus can love me like that…

  2. So many of us seek to have needs met by others that only Jesus can meet. There is freedom here, too, for those of us parents who feel like failures–whether our children battle anorexia or some other enemy. Who feel like we have not been the protectors we could have been. We are all so needy. And you, Emily, are oh so brave.

    • yes, dear sandra. i find that freedom too, now that i’m a parent, in knowing God’s grace covers a multitude of sins… how easy it is to feel like we’ve failed our children. how hard it is to trust that He can make it all right again. but he can. love to you friend. xo

  3. Emily, I have never had the disorder you faced, but I can so relate to part of what you are saying. The whole section where you say, “and so, i’m working on taking those needs to Jesus: asking him to be the protector i always longed for, the one to love me so tight i can’t breathe and then, to love me some more because i’m needy that way. and i’m working on accepting the family he has given me with all of its memories, and to appreciate the kind of love they are able to give, instead of demanding more of them than they’re able.” I swear, those words could have come out of my mouth!
    But, clearly, you are blessed now with your beautiful growing family and the ability to put everything … the good, the bad, the ugly, and the beautiful into words! Clearly, He is looking out for you.

  4. So much wisdom in this. I know my expectations of others (especially those in my family) get me into a lot of trouble. It’s hard to remember: only Jesus can show up perfectly, for me. Thank you, Emily, for using your voice. Love you.

  5. hate the memories, too. my girl, the one i mentor, is home from treatment! she has gained weight and is working on the okayness. she asked me if she’s easier to be around now. and the memories flooded in….of her constant fear, constant tears, the i’m-going-to-kill-myself phone calls, the anger and resentment that her parents watched her fade and did nothing….oh, yes, sweetheart. you are easier to be around. and the best part? she likes HERSELF. prasise!

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