Doesn’t it feel like we face challenging times often? Do we ever say, “things are exactly how they should be”? Do we realize when they are? Why do we always seek or yearn for something more, some different season, some other job, or some stage to pass?
No matter what difficult circumstances we are facing, we can hold onto God’s promises to help us get through these times.
God’s Promise and Our Identity
I’ve struggled with eating disorders for half of my life. I did not know God for the first years, so I lacked hope. Those years were tremendously more difficult than when I learned of His promises. Without the promise of the Lord about who He is, I found my confidence from the approval of my peers, I sought fulfillment from food, and I got intoxicated to obtain some sense of peace.
Psalm 8 explores the theme of God’s majestic splendor and our puny insignificance by way of comparison. And yet at the same time, God has created us in His image and graciously crowned us with glory and majesty. We are His children. Knowing my identity as a child of God who was created in His image brings me hope and helps me overcome my struggle with eating disorders.
God’s Promises Past and Present
In the Old Testament, Moses predicted that the Jewish people would go through a time of judgment and dispersion when they would live outside the land of Israel. But the Lord who gave them the land would eventually bring them back! We have seen this prophecy come to pass.
“…then the Lord your God will restore you from captivity, and have compassion on you, and will gather you again from all the peoples where the Lord your God has scattered you…The Lord your God will bring you into the land which your fathers possessed, and you shall possess it; and He will prosper you and multiply you more than your fathers.” -Deuteronomy 30:3-5 (NASB)
We are just like the people of Israel because He will not fail us. I have seen this throughout my journey as my struggles have taken me through peaks and valleys. Never once have I been or felt alone. I hang on to His faithfulness. Just as He took care of the people of Israel, He will take care of me.
God’s Promise of Guidance
I moved to Waco in 2012 for a new job. Knowing no one and living alone, I relapsed to using my eating disorder as a comfort. My depression spiraled, and I needed help. But reaching out can be so difficult. Finally, I scheduled an appointment with a new therapist.
Rather than heading to my appointment, I thought I would skip the appointment and drive to the grocery store for food to binge and purge on. I would take the $100 financial hit by not having the courage to call and cancel.
While driving to the store, I heard “Courageous” by Casting Crowns. The lyrics, “The only way we’ll ever stand/Is on our knees with lifted hands,” gave me the strength to walk into the therapist’s office. I remembered God’s faithfulness.
The Lord is faithful to His covenant promises and delivers His people through His powerful right hand. -Exodus 14-15
He guided me with His gentle hand through the words of a song. Unfortunately, we often forget quickly that God is with us. A way to remember this during challenging times is to read His Word, the only truth.
In addition to reading the Bible, you can reflect in a personal journal. I find it a useful practice to record the situations where He intervenes. Through my own words, I can see how I have felt these emotions and have been through these challenges before. Then, I can ask myself, What different turn will I take this time? How can I learn from the past?
These two practices assist me in making wiser decisions for the future. Although emotions and fear can cloud our judgment, the truth and our reflections can help to lift some of the fog, providing clarity for how to proceed.
God’s Promise of Struggle
An unexpected difficult time in my life happened last year when my mother attempted suicide. What made it so challenging was I didn’t understand how or why. I was very upset at her for what I felt was the easy escape at the time.
To process this difficult moment in my life, I participated in a 15-week church recovery program with a mentor, which brought insight as to why I felt the way I did about my mother’s attempted suicide and how to respond in a Christ-like manner.
The most telling lesson for me was the assessment (personal inventory) of the feelings, bitterness and resentment. The bitterness and resentment I harbored toward my mother for her actions were toxic to my soul. There wasn’t a need to understand the why because she was suffering from mental illness. What needed to be dealt with were my personal emotions and how to move forward with my mom in a loving, Jesus-driven way.
I forgave her and then proceeded to show her love and to rebuild our relationship. Yet, the road is still very difficult. She has many non-theological beliefs we must work through. I have to catch myself not trying to discipline or correct her, but rather, I need to share my point of view from the Bible with love. This challenge humbled me in my biblical knowledge, which is limited.
Before going through this struggle, I was unaware of the beautiful and exciting parts of the Word. The knowledge is so vast. We will never be finished being molded by our Father in Heaven until He returns and we are reunited with Him.
God never promises us an easy life. In fact, He tells us we should expect struggles in this life. But He is faithful and promises to never leave us. He will always help us through our struggles.
Finding Hope in God’s Promises
I am thankful for both the challenges I face: struggling with an eating disorder and with the crisis with my mom.
God has a such a sweet way of teaching us through our struggles and growing our faith. I can’t say my mother and I have a relationship like I’d want, but for now, it is just where God wants it.
I’ll never understand the why for so many things…and that isn’t God’s purpose for us. His purpose is for us to be sanctified through our trials to be more like His Son, Jesus.
The promise that helps me get through the challenge with my mother is that God is in control. I can’t control others’ actions, but I know and trust God is in control. This is a freedom and relief.
God has us just where He desires at every point in our life. We make our own choices, but ultimately, they are part of His plan, and He will use them for His purposes. Join me in relaxing in His promises.
If you missed a week or were unable to join us for the Pick One series, check out Pick One Resources. Our resources can help you navigate the difficult parts of life and help you make important decisions.