Why I'm Glad I Had an Eating Disorder

Brooke Peterson

life was rosy.

Straight outta the “subs”.  I was the kid who loved school, including picking out my outfits the night before. I missed several recesses standing in front of the elementary school bathroom mirror ensuring that my middle part was pressed down and intact. I guess it payed off - I became a hairstylist. 

I was raised in a Christian household and have a rich Christian family heritage.

i had Nothing to fret…

My first real memory is surrendering my heart to Jesus late one summer night.

Immediately filled with peace and joy that came alive in my three year old heart. I never knew hopelessness. Knowing Jesus my entire life is the greatest gift I can imagine.

i RECEIVED this marvelous gift without understanding the cost.

"I tell you, her sins--and they are many--have been forgiven, so she has shown me much love. But a person who is forgiven little shows only little love." Luke 7:47 NLT

I took the magnificent gift of grace for granted. Apathy crept in like a weed. Challenge ahead would help me fully grasp His love for me. 


Eating Disorder


It started in high school.

I suffered from the normal teenage phenomenon. I thought I was awesome, while simultaneously positive I knew everything. My God given determination was channeled into team sports. My passion and potential was not reciprocated by my dad. His rejection of what was my passion felt like a rejection of me. It was in that vulnerable season, without the affirmation of my dad, my heart was vulnerable. I don’t blame my dad for the bitterness I chose to hold onto. No parent is perfect. As a parent myself, I’m fully aware.

My heart was vulnerable to the voice of the enemy of my soul to taunt, tempt, and terrorize. I believed his lies that I wasn't good enough, pretty enough, or smart enough.

It was up to me to prove my worth.

My job at a local gym gave me a perfect excuse to exercise. All of the time. Working out is a great stress relief, but it makes a terrible master. Good nutrition is healthy, but it makes a terrible god. I ran 13 miles on a treadmill after school one day because I ate a cookie or had a stupid argument at home. I can’t remember which.

From the outside looking in, I still seemed fine. When no one was looking I binged, restricted, and spit out my food. A horrendous rollercoaster ride I couldn't exit no matter what I did.

I was stuck in a hell of disordered eating.

I thought going to ministry school would solve it. I thought getting married would stop it. I was positive I'd quit after the birth of my first child. I was terribly wrong.

Here I was, a fasting, praying, reading my Bible, ministry leader - Christian. No matter what I did, including confessing to trusted friends and family in the past, I could not get free!

How embarrassing...

The enemy of my soul whispered in my ear whenever I started to feel victorious. “If they knew how you struggled…you will never be free… you will always struggle with weight/body image/eating… you are not beautiful!” 

 


deliverance


After yet another relapse, I lost all hope.

A book by Derek Prince entitled; Blessing or Cursing: You Choose came to mind. Stories of Christians of all people, delivered from emotional and physical ailments.

I wanted to be delivered too.

I did the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my marriage, and told my husband. Granted, it took me an hour into a car ride until I finally choked out the words. He received my brokenness with gentleness and unconditional love. He urged me to confess to some of our close friends and mentors. I was terrified and initially refused.

I knew if I didn’t humble myself and get this thing out into the light once and for all I would'nt get free. 

"Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed." James 5:17

"So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor." 1 Peter 5:6

It really sucked to have to confess your darkest secret to people you respect and love most. Like ripping off a bandaid it only stung for a moment. They too, received me with such love and grace. An earthly extension of my Heavenly Father. In that moment, I was the prodigal son returning home. Like the prodigal son in the Bible I was ready to accept a life of "pig slop" and "dirty chores". Instead, I was greeted with a kiss, a ring, and a promotion.

We prayed, I confessed, and I felt something leave my body. Instantly feeling clear headed, able to breath deeply.

I was filled with deep joy. It was like being saved all over again.

I was a Christian for 23 years but now I was finally set free to walk in authority, grace, and power in my Christian life.

The binge, restrict, spitting cycle - every form of disordered eating has never returned.


freedom Forever


I am free.

So why am i thankful for an eating disorder?

In no way do I believe God "gave me" an eating disorder. I reaped the fruit of decisions I made, and bitterness I held on to. I strived to earn my worth apart from believing in my tremendous value Jesus purchased for me through his life, death on a cross, and resurrection.

I'm grateful I know what it’s like to have lost all hope. I know what it feels like to be trapped in an addiction. I know what it feels like to feel unloved and ugly from the inside out. I know the exhausting cycle of relapse. I know the depth of hidden shame. I now understand the immense courage it takes to step out and humble myself. The gift I was given of freedom through Christ now means much more to me. I don't take His sacrifice for granted. I'm compelled to become LOVE not out of religious moral obligation but because of an overflow of relationship with Jesus.

My heart aches to see woman FREE.

Salvation is just the beginning. I know what it's like to be a Christian still in bondage to something. There is FREEDOM FOREVER from anything that holds us back, not just eating disorders.

I want to see her free. Living out her destiny. Empowering the next generation to do the same.

what freedom looks like..

I’ve never felt such joy. The very thing that held me captive is being used to set others free. I know health and strength come from the inside-out. Discipline follows deliverance.

Now my daily battle is staying positioned in faith.

Believing the truth that I AM FREE, and rejecting the familiar lies that want to guilt trip me for eating a cookie or persecute my beautiful love handles. 

Living out freedom looks like living within the context of community, good family and friends. It looks like making good decisions to honor my body and those around me. There's a practical side to all of this which is the premise for the creation of Fit Mom's Guide - real community and practical health tips for daily living.

It starts with freedom. It ends with being loved so that you become it.

Great health is one of the many wonderful side effects.

What would your life look like if you were FREE?

Train in your lane,

Brooke