My drug of choice is food. There it is... out there for the whole world to see. I have struggled with this complicated addiction for several years. There are days when I actually have wished my addiction was one of the more socially acceptable addictions, like illicit drugs, alcohol or smoking. People seem to embrace those who struggle with those addictions. Most of us understand that life is tough and as much as we desire to give our worries over to God, our very human sinfulness seeps through, and we fail. A lot. At least I do. For those of us who struggle with weight, we are subjected to unfair scrutiny. We are said to be people who have no self control, poor self esteem and (given the current administration's tone) we are openly vilified.
Listen, it's tough to have my sin out there for the whole world to see. I struggle with self control. I struggle with anxiety... about a lot of stuff. I look in the mirror and I like who I see. I'm far from gorgeous, but not hideous. I'm healthy. I'm a good person. A likeable woman. And boom!- Someone makes a comment which on the front end sound like concern for my over-all health, but then ends with a, "as long as you're happy with how you look..." How I look? When did I become repulsive? Okay, really? I'd much rather deal with a person who blatantly calls me a name than the passive aggressive crap. Because what then happens is that I look at that same mirror and think I look like Jabba the Hutt!
We all have hard things to deal with. And we all must choose our method of dealing. For some that method is denial. For some it's facing head on. Either way, numbing the pain is sometimes all we want to do. My world changed about 6 years ago, when I really thought my husband was going to die. I felt so alone, and I stayed so scared. I would pray constantly. In my heart I knew that God would take care of my boys and I. I didn't know how. That unknown was scary. Where would we live? What would I do for a living after being out of the workforce for over 10 years? I had no current certification or license that would enable me to jump back into a decent paying job. How would I take care of my boys?
Crackers and chips made me feel better during this time. They numbed the fear. When something feels good during a really bad time, one tends to keep going back to the "feel good" stuff. I did.
During this same time, my youngest son, who was obviously struggling with language and developmental delays, was diagnosed with autism. Great. All I knew about autism was from in the movie, Rainman. Was this my son's future? "Wapner at 3?" "KMart Sucks?!" Would I be able to be his advocate and fight to get him the therapies he needed? How would I have the stamina left to also become the expert on autism that I had become on Wegener's Disease? How could I afford to pay $50 an hour for his therapies if my husband died, or even if he had to go on permanent disability with kidney failure?
Chocolate. I needed chocolate... it made the fear seem more manageable. I needed something to numb the pain.
During this season of my life I know I gained weight. I know I aged a lot, too. I certainly grew up! I had to. I had to take on the role of mom and dad. I had to take my husband's place as the decision maker, as he bravely and so amazingly would put in a whole day in at the office, then toggle between a dialysis chair and the upstairs' recliner. He shouldn't have been asked to do what he did, but he did it without hesitation. I know that was God who gave him the strength to get through. I look back, even 4 years after he reached remission, and I shutter to think about it all.
We all have a story. I'm certainly NOT the only person in the world who has struggled with issues. And my story has a somewhat happy ending. He didn't die!! Plus, my son is getting the therapies he needs. It's not perfect. Like most everyone, our lives are still full of tough decisions and ongoing struggles. But we manage the best we can. I still work at becoming an expert on autism, or at least my son's version of autism. This means being able to navigate through IEP meetings, legalities, psychotropic drugs, ADHD therapies, pragmatic language, sensory diets, and social skills. Oh, and remembering to not step on toes, burn bridges or bruise fragile egos.
But my sin is still out there for everyone to see. For people, even those who mean well, to comment about. And comment they do!--In love, of course, and with a well meaning post on social media that feels as though someone just slapped me in the face. I struggle to figure out what I did to warrant such... love.
I write about my faith, and yet it seems I am so lacking in that faith. But really, I couldn't even get up each morning if it weren't for my faith in God and knowing that even though I don't understand all the "whys", He's still in control. He only wants the best for me. He is my strength and my shelter. And in that truth, I'm able to not go and get a cracker every time I want to make the pains in my heart go numb. But I still fail a lot. And it doesn't take much for me to see how very fallible I am. The self doubt and self-hate creep in, over and over. But, again I must take it to the cross. Take it to He who loves me unconditionally. Perfectly. And in spite of all my many flaws.
Thank you Jesus. In your eyes I really do remain, captivating, beautiful and worthy of love. Now, to just remember that all the time!!