Thursday, January 17, 2013

a story of healing. bulimia && alcolohism.

This is an entry that I am reposting from my good friends, Shane and Christina Nearman. ((They are the International Directors of Models For Christ and are currently living in England (hopefully they will return to California soon!! and hopefully they will have adorable THICK British accents too!))

This is one of the most powerful stories of God's healing and restoration that I have ever been a part of. 

Robin Curuz (the author of this post) is a good friend of mine. 

I met her 3 years ago... she was dying... 
I had breakfast with her 3 days ago... and she is healed. 

I pray you are encouraged by her story. 

Being asked to write about my healing process is funny because, in treatment for an eating disorder, my first session with my counselor ended with him asking me to consider whether I wanted to be saved or healed. He told me those were two very different things and that while I might desperately want relief he wasn’t sure I was willing to go through the process of healing, which would require patience and work.

It HAS been a process, but relative to the 11+ years I was enslaved by my addiction to food and my appearance, this time of recovery has been like the blink of an eye. More importantly, all those years I had been so afraid because I thought I was alone. These past three years, though extremely challenging and uncomfortable at times, I have known Help and Love are with me always.

When I called Christina for the first time I had been brought to my knees by bulimia and didn’t believe there was any hope for me. I don’t remember much of our conversation, but one thing I remember clearly was saying I didn’t want to say the name Jesus…I didn’t know why, but I didn’t want to. She helped me by letting me repeat a prayer after her. When I went to Models for Christ for the first time I was moved to tears by the worship but didn’t understand much of what was being said. I was baffled that people prayed for other people (I had always only thought of myself!) and, though I didn’t understand why, I really believed the love and joy in their eyes was sincere. A few women prayed over me my second time there and when I said I didn’t want to pray to Jesus because I didn’t know what that meant and I didn’t know Him, one said something along the lines of “isn’t that exactly what the enemy would tell you…that you don’t know Him enough to pray to Him”. That set me free.

Soon after that, a man from Remuda Ranch called Christina just as her speaker for that week was cancelling (wow!) and so, ended up speaking to us about eating disorders, image and who we are in Christ. He told me after that meeting that I would probably need to be separated from the behavior cycle I was in so an impatient treatment would be helpful. When I went for the physical he suggested I get, my doctor told me he didn’t know much about eating disorders and that I should see a specialist. The nurse came back in with a list of references and on top was a little blue post-it that said “Remuda Ranch” (whoa!).

A woman who had been healed of an eating disorder was also brought to me at MFC and it was her and a bunch of amazing people at YWAM LA who prayed with me before asking my family for financial support and helped me move everything out of my apartment. The way I saw it, they didn’t know me and had no reason to love me or help me…but they said they did it because they loved Jesus. I struggled to believe them…but still couldn’t wrap my mind around it (now I can!!).

One of the most pivotal experiences I had at Remuda Ranch was when the body image counselor explained to me that I had inherent worth to God; I could do nothing to make Him love me less and nothing to make Him love me more. I am STILL meditating on that and trying to really embrace it. It changes everything! 

My aunt and uncle came to see me there for family week and during one of the sessions I thought “what if I moved to Miami to live with them?!…well…I’d never ask them…so, God, if you want me to go to Miami they will have to ask me”. The next break my uncle looked at me and said “Rob, what do you think about coming to live with us in Miami?” (wow!…the prodigal niece!) I had so many ties to my addictions in LA and was such a slave to appearances, so I knew I needed a change but I was also very afraid of moving away from the people and giving up everything I knew…everything I thought I had. Really, I had nothing to lose and everything to gain. Making that move was the first time I did something I was afraid to do because I believed it was what God wanted, so it had to work out.

At that time, I was on 3 different psychiatric medications and had a treatment team of five different professionals. I had been in therapy since childhood, was put on antidepressants at the age of 16 to treat my anorexia and had been on 10+ other medications since. My body had not functioned properly in over a decade and I had never eaten regularly or had a healthy relationship with food.

I began working at a gym on South Beach, where I was tormented with thoughts of self-pity, envy and suicide constantly. Mornings, I woke to a fear that was nearly paralyzing and I slept as often as possible to escape the way I felt. My depression and anxiety were not responding to any of the treatment and my psychiatrist was recommending electroshock therapy. One of the most beautiful things about that time was God gave me coworkers who spoke to me about Him and the things He had promised me in His Word. The ONLY time I had any relief was when I talked with others about Jesus and when they prayed with me. This increased my faith so much because I had tried EVERYTHING to find relief.

At 17 years old, when my mother died of alcoholism, I was living like an animal. I was binging, purging, drinking myself unconscious as often as possible and stealing from and stepping on anyone who got in my way. I was set free from the alcohol addiction at 18 but for the following 8 years, used my eating disorder, destructive relationships, therapy, medications, shopping, chanting, hypnosis, self-help…ANYTHING I could get my hands on, to try and fix what was wrong with me. In ignorance, I criticized and stayed far away from anyone who spoke the truth and surrounded myself with those who supported my addictions.

THIS is why I am still in AWE of how Jesus drew me to Himself. He NEVER gave up on me. Now I am grateful for every moment that brought me closer to knowing Him.

In the months after Remuda, I began to accept that my problem was spiritual and that God was my ONLY hope. I learned how to take inventory of my thoughts and combat them with the truth, started daily practicing prayer and meditation and worked hard to stay focused on who He is and what He has done for me. I was guided through examining my past with a new perspective to heal resentments, identify harm I caused and make amends wherever possible. I was given all the support I needed in friends and family and also learned how important it was for me to be of service to them and all those around me.

Slowly, I became abstinent and found a joy and a peace I had never known possible. My mind became quiet enough to hear the guidance that I was promised and I found that when I let God direct my paths things go MUCH better in my life. People often asked me if I was in love or had “met someone special” (YES!) or how I always kept a smile on my face. I still find myself amazed that a life free of fear is even possible. The old way of living had seemed SO very real. It really is true – God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7)

Six months ago I slowly began making art again. I had failed out of art school because I could not handle any kind of pressure without self destructing. Without knowing my worth in Christ, I had always believed it was determined by my art, my appearance and the attention I got from others. The pressure to succeed and the fear of failure had been unbearable. I still don’t know how some people seem to “pick themselves up by their bootstraps” and live life. I can’t do anything without God.

My first experiences with drawing again were incredible. I had no question in my mind that it was what I was supposed to be doing. I had moments outside of time where I felt more complete and content that ever before. When I made time and space to meditate and ask for guidance I was FILLED with inspiration and ideas for many days in a row. As I began to take further steps to start painting again, I first had almost unbearable headaches and, when that didn’t stop me, I was filled with the tormenting thoughts again…of doubt, insecurity and fear of failure. I kept showing up and putting in the time and I still pray before every time I paint. Without that Help, I would not have been able to keep going. Those first few weeks taught me so much! I would have thoughts about how impossible it all was…and when I’d take those thoughts to God He would remind me “I’m God!”….and I’d feel so silly!

I have been abstinent from my eating disorder for over two years now and God has healed everything in my body and my mind. When I had my closing session with my dietician she told me she had not believed that recovery would be possible for me. She also said that she knew it was my seeking help from God that made all the difference (sooo cool!).

NOTHING and NOBODY is beyond His Grace, His Healing and His Hope.

I am so very grateful to Christina, Shane and everyone at MFC LA and Miami for telling me that I have a Father in Heaven who loves me. I’d go through it all again and again to never live another day without knowing.

Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. -Matthew 7:7

reunited for the first time in 3 years! we used to meet at this coffee shop in Montrose, Ca often so I could teach her more about Jesus and pray for her healing! now three years later she is teaching me about Jesus and praying for the healing of others! God is so good!! 

1 comment:

Tiffany @ She Loves Yoga said...

God's timing in this is perfect! Thank you for reposting, Jess. xoxo <3 Tiff