I am afraid I won’t do this topic justice at all and the thing is that I won’t, so let this be a disclaimer from the beginning. I have never been a parent, obviously, of an eating disordered child, but I have been an eating disordered child with parents who were desperate for answers as to how to help me. I love my parents so much, and haven’t really talked much about what my eating disorder did in terms of destructing my relationship with them, relationships only God can administer and repair. When I was in refeeding, my mom was not only a college student but had to sit with me five times a day until I ate all my food. She was the one who was there in all the tears, the yelling, the pain, and she was the one who was most affected by Ed’s wrath.
There are quite a few online sites specifically for parents of eating disordered sons and daughters to talk and relate and vent. Some of their words are so insightful.
I still remember when I first told my mom my biggest fear about going to the clinic. “They make you eat 2500 calories, Mom!” I said, “No one in human history has eaten that much.”
^^Please do not be triggered by this statement. I recognize now– and did somewhere deep down then, too– that the average human eats around this much, probably and often much more, every day just to keep satisfied and healthy. The “diet world” doesn’t get that. The “diet world” is trained on numbers such as 1200-1600, but this group more than anyone could probably benefit from more food– just the RIGHT food. Without focus on it. Just living. Just eating to fuel. No dwelling on food. Perhaps that is the cure for eating disorders. But how?
It certainly would not have worked if someone were to tell me back when I was starving every day that I “just need to eat.” In fact, that is one of the worst things you can tell an eating disordered person because in the midst of the enemy’s grip, eating is about as complicated as a calculus equation. I didn’t need people, I didn’t need words, I didn’t need, even, food– what and all I needed was God.
And God was right there, just as there, in the midst of my self-fulfilling, purpose lacking struggle. But the enemy was in control of my life. In this I am not blaming my human self but the enemy’s work to bring mental illness to the earth in attempt to stave our hearts from God.
If we live our lives as we were intended to, fully regarding the Spirit and living for Christ’s purposes alone, all these things will come. But part of that purpose is that we can’t be living for Him SO THAT those things happen, because that’s not living for HIM. But we can be expectant that by His good grace a life lived for Him WILL DELIVER these things.
Only through Him and for Him do I know I can recover. For if He is truly my reason for living, my obsession, I will reckon that food is necessary for my serving Him, not to be abused or dwelled upon. The Spirit in me knew all of this, but now, as I know God more each day, it is all I know.
My parents saw a starving girl who thought any amount of food would be worse than death, because she wouldn’t be in control of her life. But the thing is that we will NEVER be in control of our own lives. The enemy can try to make us think we can, but only God can pilot us. This has always and will always be the Truth, and God knows you. Know Him.