When I was in 1st grade, I wrote my first book. It was 222 pages of notebook paper - double spaced hand-written, unillustrated (except for the lovely cover...apologies to anyone who can actually draw who views this.) As many careers as I explored throughout my years growing up, one thing never changed: I was going to write a book. So in many ways, by releasing The Look that Kills: An Anorexic's Addiction to Control, my longest life dream has become reality.
Yet, it's a bittersweet dream come true. I remember the day after I admitted to my family that I had an eating disorder and needed help. I heard God's voice echo in my head: "Write it down."
Why? I thought. I never want anyone to find out about this ever. Why do I need to write it down?
A similar dialogue went back and forth several times before I finally obeyed. After all, I'd always said that writing was my therapy. Maybe writing it down would be part of my healing process. So, whenever anything significant happened throughout my recovery process, I would frequently keep a record of what happened either in a locked file on my computer or scribbled in my prayer journal.
That all changed on Mother's Day in 2009. I wrote one particular blog entry, and God triggered a different thought in my mind: Did you really think this was all about you?
Suddenly, I was faced with the scary realization that God wanted me to share everything I had been through: every lie, every unkind word, every deceitful action, every selfish decision....As a perfectionist who has spent most of my life proving that I am always right and covering up anything that someone could potentially view as a mistake, this was totally unchartered ground.
I came up with a compromise in my mind. I would write my story...but I would write it as fiction. That way, God would be pleased; after all, my story would be out there. But I could totally save face and put off my shortcomings on a fictional character.
In my mind, I justified that I might widen my audience by writing it as fiction. After all, wouldn't that be less threatening to someone who had an eating disorder? Instead of thinking that someone had given them yet another book about their problem, this could be a "beach read."
But after writing a few chapters, my story was all there....but something was missing. The actual events were all there, but it was bigger than that. It needed...transparency. Authenticity. And the hardest of all -- humility. And God didn't need to be a supportive character. He needed to be the center of the entire plot.
So, taking a deep breath....I erased the fictional account and started over on the writing project that is now The Look that Kills.
It is my prayer that more than reading my story, you will be drawn to the merciful God who created you. He longs to use you. He desires a relationship with you. And no matter what you've been through, He is fully capable of making it beautiful.
"and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness
instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
a planting of the LORD
for the display of his splendor."