I’ve been away at Women’s Convention this weekend and have been deeply challenged and encouraged and … blessed. Plus, there were a few excellent speakers (here’s one of them!) and I was able to spend time with 8 other ladies from church – lots of talking and eating and sharing with each other. It was lovely. This years Women’s Convention was hugely different for me, eating disorder wise – so I just wanted to share some of that very briefly with you all 🙂You may recall that I have started to write some of my ‘ED Booky Wooky’ down already, and after we returned from Women’s Convention last year, I wrote about the weekend:
I have just spent the weekend in Katoomba at a Women’s Convention, a Christian event held annually in the freezing Blue Mountains. It was my first year to attend, and spending the time with eleven other ladies from church, all of various ages, was very encouraging to me. The theme for the weekend was ‘A Life worth Living’ and focussed on the book of Philippians. A few major things I took away: I need to be spiritually, emotionally and physically well to go out and minister God’s Word to others. To be humble, I need to be able to have a sense of humour – I need to stop taking myself so seriously! I heard this great quote by C.S Lewis; “Humility isn’t thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less.” I love this! I need not to be negative, but to be selfless. On the first night, before we arrived in Katoomba at the place we were staying, we stopped in Lapstone for dinner at a pub. I had pumpkin soup and then promptly stood up and went to the bathroom to throw up. The majority of the ladies who went away together knew about my eating disorder, there were just two in particular who were completely oblivious. On the second night, we went out for dinner again at a quirky restaurant in town. I ordered a warm chicken salad with the dressing on the side and had a glass of wine. The meal was huge and I was already talking myself out of eating before it arrived at the table. Eating out for me is still a big issue for the time being. It is difficult to comprehend that people can eat a meal at a restaurant or cafe and not balloon out the next day. I sat there and ate the food, crying at some points and managed to make it through the meal with quite a lot of encouragement from Liz (who was sitting beside me), Fi (on the other side) and Marilyn (across the table). They were actually superb on distracting my mind from the food itself and getting me to focus on listening to the guy playing double bass behind me, what I could smell, what else I could hear. They were distracting my brain from the negative thoughts it was attempting to engage me in. After the meal, I needed to go to the bathroom which Liz made sure to supervise so no purging could occur! I was not allowed to lock the bathroom door, she held it shut “just in case [she] need[ed] to get in there quickly.” I have no frustration or anger about Liz doing that – I can understand that she was trying very hard to stop me from throwing up. The act of purging for me is something I am working on overcoming, and any time I do it is another step backwards and another step away from my long-term goal of being healthy and well. So I am thankful for Liz and her incessant efforts.
Back at the house, we made a lovely platter of chocolate, raspberry lollies, crackers and dip, had a cup of tea and sat in the lounge room playing a most absurd card game just to get some general chit-chat happening. This went on for a while until the cards fortunately ran out and Liz initiated a time in which we could share prayer points and discuss what we had been encouraged by from the four talks we had heard that day. I sat there and listened to others, encouraged by how some of the women were expressing the things they had learnt. All the while, my heart was consistently getting faster and faster. God was putting it on my heart to share with these women and pray with them about my eating disorder. But I thought to myself “I cannot do this.” I have struggled to talk about my eating disorder in front of two people, let alone eleven! It was not my boldness that made me speak at that time, it was God at work in me. I am more than 100% sure of that. It was hard. It has been one of the most difficult things that I have done in the last few weeks as I have been focussing on recovery – I turned to Liz and asked her in a voice that broke “Can you help me?” to which she responded “You can do it.” And I could and I did. I talked about how I had been suffering from this eating disorder and needed prayer and support, especially as the Glovers go to Cambodia next week. I talked about how I had been challenged about being well; emotionally, spiritually and physically, to go out and talk to people about God. How I desired to do that. How I want to look back at my life and be so thankful that I have lived a life worth living; that I have not wasted my life with my fingers down my throat, with my head in the toilet, with an empty stomach. I want more than anything to be well and to live my life in such a way that is pleasing to God. Liz was slightly teary at this point and asked if it was okay if we all prayed together. All of the women there prayed and I am quite sure I silently cried the whole time. I am so thankful and blessed and I know without any doubt in my mind that God will bring me to complete healing.
… And hasn’t He just.
What a contrast to this year. We ate at the same pub in Lapstone on Friday. I ate salt and pepper squid. I didn’t even consider purging. We went to the same restaurant on Saturday night too – I had chicken fillets and salad and potato hash deliciousness and a wonderful lemon aoli… And a baked licorice cheesecake for dessert! Which sounds absurd, I know … But it was wonderful.
And I was very, very thankful and could not wipe the grin off my face 🙂
When we returned to the house, I gave everyone an update from last year. Talked about God’s graciousness and goodness. Realised how much had actually changed in a mere year. It’s astounding, really.
And so I just wanted to share it with you all too.