Dying To Be Thin

I am sharing my story with you because the Lord stirred me up. This part of me, I have desired to keep hidden away. I wanted it to be locked up in a vault no one could get in to. God pressed upon me that as long as I kept it a "secret," I wouldn't be able to share with others of the amazing power of the Lord Almighty. I would be missing out on giving others hope, that might be struggling with the same thing. I would essentially be robbing the Lord of the glory that was due Him and I did not want to do that. So, here it goes.

Ever since I was a little girl I always wanted to become a model. Growing up this just never seemed like a possible option. In elementary school I was the girl with the bucked teeth, stringy hair, double chin, who refused to wear jeans because they were not comfortable around my rolls. I was on the chubby side. When I looked at myself in the mirror, I just never saw model.

As I entered Junior High, I had a growth spurt that caused me to lose all of my baby fat. It felt like it was overnight. I was suddenly tall and skinny. I almost felt like a different person. I grew to LOVE being thin.

When I was thirteen years old I decided to go to a model search. "This could be my opportunity," I thought. There were going to be lots of different agencies there, so I knew I needed to give it my all. I assumed that meant being as thin as I could be. I started by cutting back on a few foods that I told myself I didn't "need." Then, I would start to eat less and less. I had a pretty high metabolism anyways, so when I did have to eat around others, I could and it wouldn't affect my goal very much.

The devil had my mind so consumed with being thin that it was all I thought about. I would daydream all day about what I was going to eat later. I would imagine the taste of all kinds of different foods that were now "off limits." I could remember how tasty, succulent they were, so that helped me not to give in to my cravings. I would pick up the magazines and pick a part the girls featured in there, comparing our bodies ever so precisely. I started not caring about anything else. I just wanted to be skinny. I thought it would make me happy. I found my worth by the number on the scale or the size of my jeans. I was so monopolized with this, that I allowed it to take over my mind. My mind had such a distortion upon it. I didn't see it at the time. I didn't see how skinny I was, for when I looked in the mirror, my eyes showed me a different picture. I gave in to the bait the devil enticed me with. I gave in to his lies, his manipulating thoughts.

I basically starved myself before this model search. A few days before my parents and I were to take off to Kentucky, I passed out while shopping at our local mall. Thankfully, I was with my mom checking out at the counter, because I could have really gotten hurt. After I passed out, I even peed myself. I was out for several seconds and before I knew it, the emt's were checking my pulse. They put me on a stretcher, into the ambulance, and took me to the hospital.

Even as I am typing this, I am having to fight off tears, so bear with me. This is hard. I have seriously buried this memory and now I am reliving the terror of it all. The pain, agony I caused so many, even the ones I loved. I lied for this disease. I deceived others. I even robbed myself of precious time that I can't get back. Ok, so I am now at the hospital, they take my blood, check me out. The doctor comes in and basically tells my parents that I have no nutrients in me. They were beside themselves. I felt so bad for them. It wasn't their fault. I was allowing the devil to manipulate my mind. I was the one that fooled them.

My parents went back and forth as to if they should even take me to this model search. They were in complete shock that I was in this state. After MUCH deliberation, they decided to. I had to commit to drinking lots of Ensure drinks, and eat whatever they put before me. I obliged.  I had raised money to go by selling subs door or door and I didn't want to miss out on this. And they didn't want me to look back on my life and wonder "if I could," so off we went.

There were hundreds of wanna-be models there. I was beyond exhausted from all the trauma that I caused my body. But, in a way, I was excited because I wanted to know if any agency saw any potential in me. Well, come to find out 7 agencies gave me a third call-back! That means they were very interested in me. One of those agencies was Elite in Chicago. I was pinching myself.I was so elated that these agencies wanted to pursue me after this search, but my heart grieved. I was so frail. So famished, yet these agencies liked me?! Do you see the problem here?!

Fast forward a little. I struggled with anorexia ON and OFF for several years. It didn't help that I was actually in the modeling business now. They judge you on your looks. They can say whatever they want, but they do like you thin. I got called out several times for being "too big," although they worded it to me, "I needed to tone up." There was this one time I remember. I just got back from my honeymoon and went to see my agency in Chicago. To be honest, I always hated visiting my agencies. Their eyes are seriously piercing through you. They look you up and down, checking out every inch of you. You can see the judgement through their eyes. Sometimes it is good and sometimes it isn't. This time, it wasn't. The director of the women's board calls me over to her in the middle of the room. There are agents around her and a few models are sprinkled throughout it. She pulls off the measuring tape draped around her neck like a necklace. She says, "here, we haven't measured you in awhile, we need to." I reluctantly stand right next to her. She does my hips first as I am fighting off fear. Fear of not seeing a number that she will like. I hated this side of modeling. It didn't take her a second before she looks up at me with her glaring eyes, tilts her head and points her finger at me like I'm a rebellious child and says, "This is unacceptable." It took everything I had not to break down in tears. I have thick skin, but this was just humiliating. She COULD have taken me off to the side somewhere and told me this. But instead, she did it in front of everyone with such an arrogance it took everything that was in me not to come back and say something! I said in my head, "help me Lord Jesus." I was flaming inside. I couldn't have been bigger than a size 4. I was so angry that this industry promoted such unhealthy behaviors.

I could probably write a book about this. Maybe one day I will. There are so many stories to tell, but for the sake of trying not to make this post too long, I won't. I want you to know that your worth is NOT defined by the number on the scale, the size of your jeans, or even what you see in the mirror. Your worth is defined by God alone! Being in modeling, I was surrounded by so many beautiful people. It made me insecure at times. In my mind I didn't see myself as very beautiful because I didn't measure up to them. God showed me that I am beautiful because I am a child of God. I am King's daughter. I am royalty because I am His. I was worth dying for and so are you.

I took a break from modeling when Matthew and I decided to move to Raleigh almost 4 years ago. To be honest, it has been so refreshing to be out of the business. I do miss parts of it, but a lot of it I don't. I decided that I wanted to get stronger, gain some muscle, which I was always advised not to get too "bulky." I am probably the strongest I have ever been. I don't think I have ever seen this number on the scale either!

If you suffer with an eating disorder there is hope in the Lord. He can change your way of thinking because He can change your heart! You may feel in despair, hopeless, stuck in a hole, like there is no way out. Trust me dear heart, He is THE way out. He is the way to FREEDOM. Those chains trying to strangle you can be broken at the command of His voice. The devil may have taken me DOWN, but he didn't take me OUT. God delivered me. He set my mind free. He restored that which the devil wanted to steal from me. He wants to do that for you. He wants to transform your mind by His Word-Truth. "And ye shall know the Truth and the Truth will set you free." You don't have to live in bondage. God is still on the throne. His power is mighty to save. He is a good, good Father. I can't thank Him enough for where He has brought me.

I am not a Christian because my mom is, or because I grew up in church. I am a Christian because I have experienced Him. I know He is real. I know He is the God of the impossible. I know He is who He says He is. Serving the Lord WILL cost you something, but the cost is worth the reward. I love Jesus with all of my heart and I am so thankful that I am His.

He nudged me today, encouraging me to write this. This wasn't easy to share. This part of me comes with shame, embarrassment, and regret. But by not sharing my story, people would not get to hear of His power, might, and mighty hand that is ready to save His children, even from their OWN mess they've put themselves in. I wish people would run to Him. His arms are open. ready, waiting, for you. All you have to do is humble yourself. He sees your tears. He has them bottled up. He knows the number of hairs on your head. His love is everlasting. "Draw close to Him, and He will draw close to you." There is HOPE-Jesus Christ is Lord and He will be your deliverer! Rest in His loving arms tonight. "Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning." Whatever trial you may be in, it doesn't last forever. He will get you through it, even though it might take longer than you thought. We can learn so much when we are in the fire. We can learn of His faithfulness. We can learn to trust Him. We can learn that His love for us is so deep that our minds couldn't even fathom it.

If this post encouraged one person, then it was worth putting myself out there and writing it.

His,

Shannon :)