My friend, Emily Wierenga, not only shares her personal struggles with one of the enemy’s favorite take-down maneuvers, otherwise known as an eating disorder (ED), but she also shows how healing is found only at the foot of the cross.
Since an eating disorder whacks!-smacks! its victim and his/her family and friends flat to the mat, oftentimes in tangled, bloody messes, Emily also includes their stories, their hearts, their confusion, and how they’ve found ultimate victory over this far-reaching disease.
“So, while it is understandable that you’re worrying about the physical toll this illness might have on your child, take a moment to look more closely at his or her soul… Your child wants to be loved. He or she may not know it, but refusal to eat is a desperate attempt to draw you close.”
To tell you the truth, when I first cracked the pages of Chasing Silhouettes I expected nothing less than a beautiful story of pain & confusion & sadness that was set right by God’s immeasurable mercy & grace & love. I got that – plus a whole lot more.
Emily’s book follows a pattern that gives readers a birds-eye view into the hearts and minds of herself, her family, and her friends, but also a glimpse of several other ED victims, one of which is a doctor. Chasing Silhouettes offers practical advice, dos & don’ts, statistics, medical facts, and suggestions for the everyday situations, dilemmas, and struggles – all geared toward those who know and/or live with a person who suffers from this disease.
“Ask God to show you where your own identity has been broken, fragmented or bruised, and invite Him to work in your life to create a confident, caring, loving person who can then serve his/her family.”
Because of my higher education areas of study (School & Community Health Education, Athletic Training), I was both taught about and dealt with anorexia’s vise-grip on collegiate athletes and classmates. I could recognize symptoms and knew the practical dos and don’ts, as well as the dire outcomes of the body if the disease was left unchecked. Of course, being a secular state college, there was no mention of the spiritual side of it and/or its treatment.
I remember one terrifically hard exercise physiology class that had a lot of hands-on lab work. The students were primarily fellow student athletic trainers and superb athletes, at least two of them later played in the NFL and one later earned multiple Olympic gold medals in cycling. And within that group was an elite distance runner. All the student athletes knew she suffered from anorexia and had worked had at assisting her in her recovery.
“At 18, a coach took interest in Andrew. ‘He gave dietary suggestions to maximize performance,’ recalls Harold. ‘Andrew took these very seriously and almost became obsessed by them.”
One day the professor accepted volunteers to undergo body fat – muscle ratio testing via different methods. Some of us tried to get to the professor to warn him not to accept the runner if she volunteered. We were unsuccessful in our attempts and before we knew it, she was in the tank for a hydrostatic body fat test. Today I cannot even remember the science behind the test, let alone her numbers, but these fifteen years after college, I still recall the look on her face as she went from excitement (to learn her numbers) to sadness (that they weren’t good enough) to determination (to do something about it).
In just those few moments we lost great ground with her recovery that day.
That instance showed me that a team effort is needed for ED recovery. And in hindsight, and as a child of God, it was a clear demonstration that without the Lord God Almighty as part of the healing, it’s a near impossible task.
“Yet the only way to make the truth sink in is through God’s Word. ‘The Scriptures are the only tools I know that can completely change a person’s heart,’ he says. ‘Meditating on them daily is the best medication for the soul.’”
Chasing Silhouettes is a book, a tool, a friend between the pages that offers prayer after prayer and scriptures galore; unfortunately not something I ever found and/or was given access to in college textbooks or instruction.
Although written about her struggles with anorexia, Miss Emily’s book isn’t just for folks dealing with EDs – nope, it is for anyone who has suffered at the stranglehold of addiction – and maybe that’s why it spoke so much to me.
Like the author, I was bound, gagged, and controlled by an addictive disease. Mine started around age twelve and lasted about nine years.
Similar to Emily’s realization and choice to untangle from the snare of her disease, I also had a “Jesus take the wheel” moment when I knew I couldn’t do it alone. Even though I was far from accepting Jesus as my Lord and Savior, I knew He was there, and I knew I needed help bigger than me. I needed immeasurable strength to lay the bottle down.
“Disordered eating stems from seeing oneself through the eyes of the mirror; healthy eating, through the eyes of Christ.”
When I look back to that moment, I realize now that the promise I made to God that I’d never take a drink again is also when I started the process of not only my healing, but also when I started to know Him as my Abba Father (which ultimately led to my salvation and my continuing sanctification).
Praise God for the trials that bring us to the foot of His cross.
In the dark corners of our minds where doubt and comparison lurk and live, that nasty ole enemy sets temptations, lies, and traps because he wants nothing other than to devour and destroy those akin with God. That’s why we all need to keep armed with Truth and mercy and love and strength – each and every single day.
“I believe in full recovery, but I also believe it is only possible through God’s supernatural power, and that it is necessary to choose this healing, every day… I need to let God renew my mind daily. And in order to do that, I need to walk in holiness and in light…”
All in all, I’m very impressed with Chasing Silhouettes and I agree with Emily’s outright claim that it’s not a manual or a how-to guide – it’s more. Much more.
“Teach your children God’s ways. Help them see that God made each of them uniquely, and He loves each of creations (flaws and all!).”
And ain’t nobody gonna get through, over, around, above, or healed (from whatever their addiction or affliction may be) without something like this… something that continually guides hearts and minds to the One who holds the ultimate healing.
~ To buy the book, go HERE.
~ To visit miss Emily’s site, go HERE.
(Review by Simply Darlene)