Learning to Love the Girl in the Mirror

Written by Barbara Alpert

I lost my dad to suicide at the age of five. Shortly after that a family member started sexually abusing me. Several years later I lost my step dad to a horrible fire that destroyed our home. We were left with nothing except for haunting memories.  Later, I turned to drinking to ease the pain that tormented me day in and day out and also developed a disorder called BDD – Body Dysmorphic Disorder . The abuse and scars from my past made me think I was the ugliest person alive. All I desired was to take my life just like my dad had.

No matter how much I tried to get better, I kept falling flat on my face. The unbearable anxiety and suicidal thoughts occupied my soul. The ugly reflection from my mirror flooded my mind with atrocious lies. You are never going to get well! You will remain living with this hell! You will never escape and be free! I picked up drinking again, hoping to find relief. Escaping from the monster in the mirror forced me to run towards things even more gruesome.

I needed a way out

Then one night my turbulent way of living caught up with me. I couldn’t handle my extreme highs, lows, and the stack of baffling conditions I juggled. I didn’t want to continue on the wild roller coaster ride any longer. I couldn’t handle the disabling hours in the bathroom, nor tolerate the self-destructive behavior in the bars. I felt ashamed of my life and needed the madness to end. Out of dire desperation, I prayed to God.

“God, I don’t want to wake up to see another day. I’d rather be dead! If you must keep me alive, then you have to help me get better. Please rescue me from this misery! God, let me die!”

To my surprise, when I awoke the following morning, I prayed to God to guide me into a church. It was Sunday morning and for some odd reason I longed to be in his presence. I fought a dreadful conflict in the bathroom as I prepared myself to get ready. The tormenting obsessions nearly destroyed me but I survived the onslaught, the hideous grooming ritual.

As I got into my car, a strange feeling encompassed me. I had no idea which church I was heading to. As I drove down the street, it felt as though a gentle hand was chauffeuring me. I pulled up along the side of an unfamiliar church. I hesitated for a moment, deciding whether to park my car or not. Is this the one? Look at all the people. Will they stare at me because I’m ugly? Should I go in or not? Within a few seconds, an incredible sensation empowered me, urging me inside.

Finding relief in a church

As I walked towards the entrance, several parishioners greeted me with open arms. This made me feel welcomed, so relieved. I found a seat and immediately participated in the singing taking place. I’d never done this before, but my heart longed to connect. The songs were uplifting and joyous.  I cried as I joined in. I don’t recall the exact message spoken, but it infiltrated my heart. As service was about to end, the pastor asked everyone to close their eyes and bow their heads for prayer. After a minute or two of prayer, he announced an altar call, something unfamiliar to me.

He asked, “Is there anyone who would like to accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior? Please raise your hand.”

Without hesitation, I raised my hand.  I knew in my heart, right there and then, that I needed Jesus Christ in my life. I had no idea the pastor was going to ask all of us, who raised their hands, to go up for additional prayer. Right away, I walked up to the front. The pastor had me recite a special prayer, accepting Jesus Christ as my Lord.

Shortly after, elders of the church prayed over me. Tears poured down my face as we prayed together. Later, as I walked towards my car, I felt different. I didn’t feel dirty and ugly. I wasn’t troubled! I feel like I was finally alive!

Everything changed

Something inside me vanished. I felt all cleaned up inside. The obsessions and anxiety disappeared. For the first time in years, I felt good about myself in a healthy way, not in a self-destructive manner. I attended church on a weekly basis. I began to break out of the shell I was locked up in. The greatest feeling anyone could ever experience—imagine a prisoner, set free after being wrongfully locked up for over thirty years.

If you feel lost there is hope for you. There is hope for the aching heart that can not love. There is hope to the one that might be thinking about taking their life. Cry out to God and He will send you help.

For God says, “At just the right time, I heard you. On the day of salvation, I helped you.” (2 Corinthians 6:2)

God is ready to help you right now. Today is the day of salvation.

Do you want to accept Jesus just as Barbara did? All you need to do is pray. Prayer is just talking to God. There is no right or wrong way to do it. God is not concerned about the words that you choose, he cares about the state of your heart. He hears you, the words aren’t that important. You can pray a prayer something like this:

Jesus, I want to know you personally. I know that I am a sinner and that nothing I could do can make up for that. Thank you for dying in my place and paying the price for my sin. I know that my sin doesn’t separate me from God anymore. Thank you for forgiving me. I know that you love me and that I will spend eternity with you. I want you to be my Savior. Come into my life and take control, make me the person you want me to be.

God invites us into relationship with him. He’s not here to condemn, although our sin makes us guilty. God is inviting us back, ready to welcome us home.

66 Responses to “Learning to Love the Girl in the Mirror”

  • Karen says:

    Very good story. Thank you for sharing it. You have been through a lot of the kind of things I am going through. I accepted Christ long ago…but feel like I am falling away from it…Because I am falling apart… :-( Thank you for sharing it…I am gonna save this so I can come back to it every now and then. Thank you for allowing me to read it.

  • Kate says:

    Dear Karen,

    Please do not ever feel you have to walk this road alone. Please consider connecting with a mentor, who can correspond with you regularly, and pray for you. There is a “Talk to a mentor” link at the top left of this page.

    This scripture comes to mind:

    For we do not want you to be unaware, brothers, of the affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead. He delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will deliver us again. You also must help us by prayer, so that many will give thanks on our behalf for the blessing granted us through the prayers of many.

    (2 Corinthians 1:8-11 ESV)

    God will deliver us, He is faithful, even when we aren’t!!! His grip on us is tighter than our grip on Him! Trust, no matter how dark or broken things look or feel. I will pray earnestly for you, helping you by prayer, to see the great blessing of our Lord in your life.

    Your sister in Christ,

    Kate

  • Karen says:

    Kate, I was talking to a mentor before and I haven’t heard from them in a while… :( my guess is they are either busy or on vacation or something…but anyways…I’ve felt alone in this for a long time..and I still feel like I am..even whilst in treatments for different things..the people on my treatment teams are not being very helpful..they aren’t agreeing with me on what I think would be best for me or what I think would be good for me–with the severeness of some of the stuff going on.. but anyways–I appreciate that you will be praying for me Kate..very much so..They are much needed..so..Thank you…

  • Barbara Alpert Barbara Alpert says:

    Father God, I pray on behalf of your beloved daughter Karen. I pray that you would give wisdom and knowledge to all who are trying to treat her at this time. I ask that if these doctors are not the right ones that You would want treating her that You then open up a door of opportunity for her to receive the best treatment possible for her multiple issues. I pray that You would be the greatest healer and physician in her life. By the wounds of Jesus may she be healed. I ask that You do a miracle in her life and pour blessings of healing into her body, mind and soul. May she come to realize how much You love her and when she is hurting so are You. May You set her free from all that she is struggling with. May she begin to cherish and take good care of the precious body You have given her. May she come to realize that she need not be afraid to eat food…because it is a gift from You that brings nourishment to her body just like Your Word is nourishment to her spirit. Father God, I thank You for all the wonderful things You are going to do in Karen’s life. I praise You because You care so much about those that are hurting and suffering. I thank You for the awesome testimony that Karen will be able to share with so many others because of Your marvelous healing touch in her life. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen

    Karen, do you have some “praise and worship” music to listen to on a daily basis especially when you are feeling real down? There are examples of people in the Bible who were down and God used music to minister to their ailing heart. Also, do you have a pastor or some one from your church that you can call and ask if they could come and pray over you?

  • Karen says:

    Barbara, Thank you for the prayer. It is much appreciated and much needed. I listen to the Christian station here where I live…I usually have it on most the time when in my room unless I am watching a movie. When I am feeling real down, it doesn’t always help. Sometimes it does, but other times it doesn’t. There are pastors at my church and people at my church who are in my life and trying to help me as well and who I could call,but have never had any of them come and pray over me. They pray for me at church if I happen to ask them to. Very often though, I don’t ask them directally for prayer. I put a prayer card in the offering each Sunday when at church.My church has us do that when we have prayer requests that we either want on the prayer sheet or if we just want the staff to see it and pray for us if we don’t go up for prayer during the prayer time at church. Which I usually don’t do..because it makes me feel like everybody is watching me and knows that I am frickin crazy or something or they think I am. So yea..Thank you for the prayers Barbara. Much appreciated.

  • Barbara Alpert Barbara Alpert says:

    Dear Karen, it is so good to hear that you listen to the Christian station in your room. During times like this, you need to receive as much as God’s word into your heart, mind and soul. So tuning into that Christian station is a good thing for you to carry on doing. Sometimes it may not seem like it is helping…Satan will have you think that it is of no help…but that is a lie! Anytime we hear and read the Word of God it is a blessing to our spirit and at times God’s Holy Spirit will bring to our remembrance what we heard or read.

    Karen are you aware that the Bible says that when we are sick that we are to call the elders of the church? In James 5:14-15 it reads, “Are any of you sick? You should call for the elders of the church to come and pray over you, anointing you with oil in the name of the Lord. Such a prayer offered in faith will heal the sick, and the Lord will make you well. And if you have committed any sins, you will be forgiven. ” Never “feel” embarrassed of going up for prayer or calling and having one or two pastors come over to your home and pray over you. Remember that Jesus said He came for the sick not those that did not need a doctor—He is the greatest physician we could ever have.

    When I was struggling real bad with the BDD that was playing havoc in my own life I stumbled a plaque in my churches’ book store that ministered to my heart deeply. I would love to share it with you. It is called “She Touched the Hem of His Garment”

    For many years she suffered
    For there was no earthly cure
    But whispers in the street proclaimed
    He Savior tarried near

    She had heard about His healing power
    The miracles He had done
    Changing bodies, hearts and souls
    As God’s anointed One

    So she pressed through the busy crowds
    Unashamed and afraid
    He trembling hand reached our to Him
    Then at His feet she laid

    And as she touched His garment
    Virtue filled he soul
    And she heard her Savoir
    Speak these words…
    “They faith hath made thee whole”

    Luke 8:48, “And he said to her, Daughter, be of good comfort: thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace.”

    Karen I believe that the Lord is going to heal you and set you free from all that is taking place within your body, heart, mind, and soul. He loves you so much and you need to believe…have faith…that He can heal you just as He did the woman in Luke 8:48 mentioned above, many others in the Bible, and many that are living today! He did it for me and I know He will do it for you too!

    You keep going up to the alter for prayer, keep dropping your prayer request in the basket, and keep reaching out to God’s people that can minister over you during this season of dimness. His Light is going to break forth soon in your life and you will come out shining brighter than ever before.

  • Karen says:

    Barbara, Thank you. I appreciate it. My faith is shaky though and I am having trouble believing He is even there at all. It doesn’t feel like He is. I never go up for prayer when my church does prayer time. Because I just feel like everyone is staring at me…and I don’t like that feeling. I do put a prayer card in the basket every time I do go to church though.I know staff people are praying for me then..because I always mark it as staff only. I don’t like putting stuff on the prayer sheet itself. So only the staff read my prayer requests and I know they are praying for me. As for being aware of the verse about the elders and being sick..I was aware that that was in the Bible some where. Don’t remember when I had that done last time…It’s been quite a long time since I had the elders do that. I/we, my family never have people come over to our place. Unless they are just dropping off a gift or something. Otherwise we never have others over. But anyways..Things to think about I guess.

  • Jamie Jamie says:

    Hi Karen, Your faith will become stronger as you follow in obedience to the things that God is saying to you. I guess the opposite is true as well: if you find something like the instructions to call the elders to pray for you but don’t follow it you faith will weaken and break down.

    Lord I pray that you would strengthen Karen’s prayer life. Help her to recognize the ways that you are answering her prayers and give her the faith to pray more fervently. Heal her body, mind and heart and allow her life to become a testimony to Your love and power. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.

  • Karen says:

    Jamie, thank you for the prayers. I appreciate it. I’m starting to recognize ways He is helping out and such…I know He is working through me somehow…but I certainly don’t feel it or take it into thought–like when my distress levels are in a high state. As it has been for some time now. Struggling quite a bit right now..I was told at my last appts at the ED clinic that I am at a critical point right now in the ED…with trying to start eating regularly again and with the transitions I am going through with groups and stuff and everything changing and because of the way my moods have been in that high level of distress..it all has me at a critical point apparently…trying to get me back to regular eating again.like..solid foods and stuff is proving to be really difficult..not just for me, but for my care teams too…I was also told that they are all still concerned about this too and the fact that I am in a critical place right now with it..according to them…but anyways….That’s about all I have right now…so..again..thank you for the prayers…They are much appreciated and as much needed too.

  • Jamie Jamie says:

    That is good news Karen that you are recognizing God’s hand in your life. Even though you are not sure exactly what He is doing make sure you thank Him for that growing awareness. Wait in anticipation for how He will open your eyes at the perfect time to see what He is doing.

    Thanks God for Your presence in Karen’s life. Continue to bring healing and hope for her today. Amen.

  • Karen says:

    Jamie, Thank you. Thanking Him is a little harder for me to do at times..especially when I don’t recognize it a lot of the time when in those high distress states. Anyways..Thank you for the prayers as well…Still struggling a lot….but it is likely going to happen anyways…considering the things going on..but anyways..thanks..

  • Jamie Jamie says:

    Hi Karen, I know it can be hard at times to be thankful but it is a matter of choosing to be thankful and trust that His promises are true for you. Promises like, “For we know that in ALL THINGS God works for the good of those who love Him and are called to live out His purposes.” (Romans 8:28) “Whether we are high above the sky or in the deepest ocean, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:39) “Do not be anxious about anything but in EVERYTHING by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7) Choose to believe that these promises are true for you and thank God for them.

  • Karen says:

    Jamie, those are all really good verses. Thanks for sharing them. I probably needed to hear them. Being thankful and choosing to be thankful are both easier said then done when in high levels of distress…but, you are also absolutely right too. You do have to choose to be thankful but also believe in His promises as well. Especially when in those high states of distress. Those are the times you need to really look for the things you are thankful for and believe in the promises given to you. Easier said then done, but that is the time you need to try to look for those the most. But anyways…I got a lot to say…but don’t know what to say or how to say it. So yea…Have a good evening.

  • Jamie Jamie says:

    Hi Karen, I know part of my struggle when I am in a downward spiral is that I look at everything with a pessimistic point of view. I miss the good things of life because my thoughts are turned toward the negative. That’s why I pray that God would give me eyes that see the positives of life. I find ways to remind myself to ask for His help to see the positives–I will write notes to myself, set up my computer screen with that message, or wear a bracelet to remind me, etc. Having that kind of constant reminder that I am depending on God’s help to see things from His perspective, I am then prepared when that happens–I see something beautiful or something good happens to me–and am ready to give thanks to Him for it. And when I am giving thanks, I am more likely to see more positives and it can help break that downward spiral. It is not easy and it is not an instant change but when I invite God to change the way I see things, I know He will answer that prayer with a resounding “You Bet!” (or some other appropriately divine equivalent)

  • Karen says:

    Jamie, good points there, in what you wrote. Thanks for sharing them. Some very insightful stuff there. And I appreciate it..so thank you…am just thinking pretty much..lot on my mind…go fig…but anyways…thank you.

  • Barbara Alpert Barbara Alpert says:

    Hi Karen,

    I hope and pray that you are doing well today! This past Wednesday night while at church participating in worship and “communion” you came to mind. While holding the little piece of wafer and tiny cup of juice God’s Holy Spirit reminded me of how far I have come in my own struggle with “ED” and that you are going to be set free from it as well.

    Years ago, when I was in the height of battling with “ED” I did not realize how bad it had become until I was partaking in a Sunday morning communion service at church. As I stood with a little piece of cracker and the tiniest cup of juice the only thing that was running through my mind was how many calories was in those items, and how long it would take to exercise them off so I wouldn’t gain weight. It was at that blessed moment in time God’s Holy Spirit made know to me that I had a serious problem that was controlling my life and destiny. I thanked God for that revelation and at that time began to take steps in dealing with the issues in order to be set free from that bondage.

    Karen, I believe that the Lord is going to set you free from the ordeal that you are struggling with now. Do you believe that He, the Lord, can help you overcome these issues? It is through faith that He steps in and helps us in our darkest moments. Here is a link that may be of help and encouragement to you.

    http://powertochange.com/discover/faith/anorexia/

    At this time, I would like to pray for you:

    Father God, I pray on behalf of Karen today. I ask that You continue to help and heal her from all that she is battling with at this time. Little by little may You set her free so she can live the blessed life that You have for her. I ask that You open her inner prison cell so that she can live and travel onwards on the blessed new path You would have her. Bless her with abundant life so she may fulfill all that You would have her accomplish. I ask that You align her with the best help that You would have her receive in dealing with the multiple issues that are taking place within her. Give her doctors, family, and friends wisdom to know how to help her along this road of healing and recovery. May Your Word begin to speak to her inner soul and spirit like no other time before. Restore that which the enemy has tried to destroy so that Your beloved daughter Karen can live and profess all that You have done on her behalf. I thank You Lord for all that You are about to do in her life. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen

  • Karen says:

    Barbara, Thanks for the message. I am not doing the greatest–but thank you for asking–am relapsing hard with some things–have had a lot of triggering things happen for me this past week–this past week has been he** for me. Cancelled all my appts this last week that were scheduled–Have had several people come to me with some pretty serious things that have been triggering for me..am not sure what to do about it all–Karen, I believe that the Lord is going to set you free from the ordeal that you are struggling with now. Do you believe that He, the Lord, can help you overcome these issues? It is through faith that He steps in and helps us in our darkest moments. Here is a link that may be of help and encouragement to you.You asked me if I believe the Lord is going to set me free from this ordeal that I am struggling with, you asked me if I believe HE,the Lord, can help me overcome these issues…honestly–right now—I don’t know what to think or believe, I feel like He is not doing anything and I feel like I am so distant from Him right now–In these darkest moments I have been experiencing–I feel like God hasn’t done anything–no matter how much I’ve prayed and asked for Help to get through this stuff. I feel like I am being punished or something like that–and I’m not even sure why…Why do I feel like God HAS given me way more than I can handle right now–When does it end…. :( Anyways–Thank you so much for the prayers Barbara–They are appreciated and really really needed too… I will check out the link you gave me too and then once I look at it and read it some–I’ll let you know what I think. Thank you for the prayers Barbara,,, <3

  • Karen says:

    Struggling with the ED a lot right now. Relapsing hard. No one has posted here for a while–but yea—I am struggling a lot—Some days are not too bad–but then there are days where it is very bad when it comes to the ED…Monday was a bad day—The smell of any kind of food item was making me nauseous all day Monday–so I found it extremely hard to eat anything–so–I ended up not eating anything at all really…Struggling lot with the ED…so yea…

  • Barbara Alpert Barbara Alpert says:

    Dear Karen, sorry to hear that you are still struggling with ED and are having a bad day. I understand your inner pain for I had lived with an overwhelming disorder that nearly destroyed me. Trust in the Lord and believe that there is a “Light” at the end of this dark tunnel. Karen, is there a certain thing/issue that triggered the bad day? Knowing my “triggers” helped in my recovery. When you are having manageable days…what types of things are you engaged in? To gain understanding of what allows you to have good days and what brings on the bad ones is a great help.

    At this time, I would like to pray for you…

    Father God, I lift your beloved daughter, Karen, up to you today in prayer and in faith. I ask that You set her free from the bondage she is batting with at this time. I pray in the mighty name of Jesus that You would heal her from the troublesome eating disorder that has her captive. May she receive freedom from ED so she can live the wonderful life You have for her. Take away her suffering, despair, and bless her with Your Holy Spirit. May all shadows of darkness fade away from her as Your Spirit shines within her…may Karen arise and greet another new day…filled with Your abiding love and peace. Take away her sorrow and fill her with Your joy as she turns to You for help and support. May You comfort and guide Karen along the path that needs to life as she determines within her mind to seek after You with all her heart. Let not the enemy steal from her anymore as You step in and heal her from within. I ask that You place the right people in her life that will encourage and be a wonderful support to her in this great time of need. I believe that nothing is impossible with You, Father God, and Karen will be able to live a full life without Ed. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen

  • Karen says:

    Barbara, well, first off, I don’t have manageable days really…not much at all…they are very rare. Lots of things can trigger me—being in DBT group can be triggering it, being around people who insist on eating all the worse foods out there—Smells of foods can be triggering–making me nauseous and more–an event in my life that has come up can trigger it…what triggered it Monday—I think part of it could have been I was soo exhausted from the weekend an from Monday itself as I did a lot—but–if I could smell food, It made me feel really nauseous and sick–I got home Monday night about 5:45 PM and went in my room about 6 to lay down–I was asleep by probably 6:15 or so…woke up on and off quite a bit but didn’t do anything or get up to do anything till 2 AM—then I did what I was going to, and laid back down and went to sleep again and woke up on and off a lot until I got up at 7 AM Tuesday morning. In the past week and a half–there were also at least 4 days where I did not have energy to do anything—including getting on line…but anyways—even the smallest things can trigger me…when it comes to ED…

  • Barbara Alpert says:

    Dear Karen, how are you doing? I pray that you are okay. Here is a special link I would like to share with you…it has blessed many and I pray it will do the same for you. Know that God loves you and has a great plan for your life.http://powertochange.com/blogposts/2012/05/27/arise-my-daughter/#comments

  • Karen says:

    Barbara,Hi there.How goes it? It’s been a while. I am hanging in there thanks for asking. I finished the 3 day a week DBT program and February and now I am a 1 day a week group and continue with IT appts and such. Compared to a year ago, I am doing better. There is progress but there are a lot of fall backs too. It’s a long road. I’ve come a long way but still have a long way to go. I get discouraged though quite often too because I’m still not where I want to be in life yet and the progress is so slow. I still struggle with the ED a lot. I am still restricting quite a bit and I haven’t had my period for quite a few months…again…but am working on it. And working hard! I’ve had a ot happen too since the last time I posted here. My mom was in the hospital and a rehab clinic most of august last year and into September. She spent 2 days in the hospital like 3 weeks ago…so that’s one of the biggest things that happened, I graduated the 3 day a week program this year and move to a 1 day a week program, I am on vacation right now…for a couple weeks…anniversary dates come and go…I have one this month at the end of the month, one of my sisters had a baby in November last year. So, that’s another big thing that’s happened. I’ve cut back my time spent online, I go on once or twice a week now, usually, just to check mail and stuff. So yea…Anyways, that’ what I have for now. I look forward to reading your reply and I will definitely check out that web site. Thank you.

  • Barbara Alpert says:

    Hi Karen, so good to hear from you and the good news that you shared as well. So glad that you graduated to the once a week program…that is great progress…regardless of the setbacks you mention. Till the Lord bring us home we are all a work in progress in God’s eyes. Sorry to hear about your mom. I pray that God blesses her with continuous healing. Try to relax and enjoy your vacation time. I know when I was held captive to Ed many years ago going on vacation was beyond my grasp not to mention even going to family gatherings where I had no control over the food served. Praise God for deliverance(s). You keep strong and going forward and you too will overcome Ed. too! Remember…”All things are possible with God.”

  • Karen says:

    Barbara, thank you for the prayers for my mom and such and the good wishes. As far as ED goes, it is still beyond my grasp to even be on vacations or even going to family gatherings and such. I struggle a lot with ED still. More than I want to…It is very hard. And not to mention, we’ll be staying with family when we get to our destination and I’m not thrilled with that, in fact, I am downright NOT ok with it, but I really don’t have a choice because we are very financially strapped for this trip, we were lucky to be able to take it though. Beautiful scenery though…long car rides and I don’t get along well though due in part to my Fibromyalgia. But, the weather is beautiful where we are and the scenery is beautiful too. I am trying to enjoy what I can because when we get to our destination, everything will change because I am NOT ok with staying with the family we’ll be staying with..but for now, I will enjoy what I can. Look forward to seeing your reply when I get online again…not sure when that will be exactly, but, will look for it when I do get on again.

  • Barbara Alpert says:

    Dear Karen, I understand what you are feeling at this time being on vacation and Ed still being a huge throne in your side. I pray that God’s peace will rest upon you so that you can relax and enjoy as much of your trip as possible. I know how heart breaking this battle has been for you BUT we have such an awesome God that is able to deliver us from whatever ails us. His word says, “The Lord will perfect that which concerns me.” Psalm 138:8 I have faith that God is perfecting all that concerns you and you will be freed from Ed and singing a victory song!!! Look forward to hearing back from you when you are able. God’s Blessings be with you!

  • Karen says:

    Barbara, it’s been hard, I’m not eating much here at all and I’ve been to the pool every day since being here, so I am exercising without proper nutrition pretty much. So, I feel like I am spiraling into another major weight loss period where I am losing 4-7 lbs every week for a period of weeks. It’s been hard. We are staying with my sister and her family and I am so not okay with staying with them. I love them and all but sometimes it gets to be too much and I am scared as well as other things too. Anyways, the first day I was here, I got sun burnt pretty badly, I have been by the pool everyday and there was one point when I was talking to my sister about something relating to being sun burnt and I said to her, I don’t give a damn (pardon my language) how badly I am burnt, I don’t care what happens. So, I am having some ok days and some really bad days while here. ED is really strong right now though, I’m not eating much and doing a lot of exercise and such. Struggling with different thoughts specifically related to ED..and the kind of thoughts those cause..so yea…anyways, that’s what I have for you. I await your reply.

  • Barbara Alpert Barbara Alpert says:

    Hi Karen, I understand how hard it is at this time for you while being on vacation…pushed out of your comfort zone. I’ve been praying on your behalf that the Lord will comfort you and in time set you free from Ed so that you can begin to enjoy the life that God has for you. When I was treading through some of my own issues with “Ed and BDD” the Word of God helped me greatly on those scary, dark days that I just didn’t know how I was ever going to get better and live a normal life like everyone else around me.

    I want to share with you, today, a few scripture verses that helped me out in my deepest times of sorrow. I pray that as you read them and believe in your heart that God hears your prayers…you will begin to sense the presence of His Holy Spirit comforting you through this situation.

    “I cry out to the Lord and He heals me.” Psalm 30:2

    “He sends His word and heals me and rescues me from the pit of destruction.” Psalm 107:20

    “He heals my broken heart and binds up my wounds (curing my pains and sorrows).” Psalm 147:3

    “Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed; save me, and I shall be saved, for You are my praise.” Jeremiah 17:14

    “The Lord has declared that He will restore me to health and heal my wounds.” Jeremiah 30:17

    May God’s Spirit of healing be poured into your heart, mind, soul and body. May His peace enter in so you may find rest from Ed and enjoy healthy eating that will sustain the lovely body God has given to you.

    Write back when you feel up to it.

    Barbara

  • Sharon says:

    good article I am very slowly accepting the girl in the mirror for the longest time I disliked myself but God is healing me slowly from a lot of things in my life

  • Barbara Alpert says:

    Dear Sharon, We praise the Lord…for the healing he has been doing within you! May He continue to heal you from within so you can see yourself as he sees you. May God’s blessings of peace and joy be within your heart as you embrace more fully the wonderful person He has created you to be.

  • Karen says:

    Barbara,

    How goes it? I am on the next part of my vacay right now. Still struggling with the eating stuff, Thank you for those verses though and for the prayers you have been saying on my behalf. Much appreciated. Anyways, saw an old friend today here. It was nice seeing her but it turned into a really long day for me, so I am tired. I am trying to enjoy my vacay the best I can, not an easy task, not just because of the ED but some other things going on too. So yea, thank you for continued prayers.

  • Sharon says:

    dear Barbara– thank you for the sweet email to me it is much appreciated so thank you again

  • Barbara Alpert Barbara Alpert says:

    Good Day Karen, things are going well. Thank you so much for asking. I’ve been thinking about you each day and have been praying on your behalf as well. I’m praying that God will bless you with His peace so that you can enjoy the rest of your vacation. Would the other “things” you mentioned that are troubling you be related to “old” family issues and/or members or perhaps visiting former grounds that are scary to roam through again for they stir up prior thoughts? I know that when I was still battling with ED, BDD, and prior wounds from my past…whenever I went back to certain places it was as though I was reliving the prior hurts and devastations. However, I count my blessings now and “Thank God” that He heals us from our past and even present circumstances. I am believing that God is healing you and victory is in the making!! Feel free to write back when you feel like to. Enjoy the rest of your vacation. Barbara

  • Karen says:

    Hi there Barbara. Hope your day is going well. Thank you for thinking bout me and praying on my behalf as well. Much appreciated. The other things troubling me are related to family things. Some new really big family things and yes, even some old family issues and members and visiting old grounds as well and family members saying things that further my symptom use related to my ED. I wish I felt ok…but I am struggling today. Even though I did a lot of sight seeing and stuff today, you’d think I’d be happy visiting those places…but, with those things going on, it makes it hard. But anyways, I will be making dinner in a while here. TV Dinners tonight. So yea…waiting to hear back, have a good evening..

  • Barbara Alpert Barbara Alpert says:

    Hi Karen, how have you been doing the past two days? I hope that you have been able to relax a bit from all that you have been going through while on vacation. I want to share with you one thing that helped me make it through similar trying times in my life. Back when I was battling with sooo many challenging life issues…God place it on my heart to write about all that I was going through. During this process He gave me one Bible verse to cling to as a source of hope in making through all the darkness that blanketed me as I diligently wrote myself out of my past and into the better life He promised. The verse was and still is, “I will not die; instead, I will live to tell what the Lord has done.” (Psalm 118:17 NLT) It was through clinging and standing in agreement to this verse that the book, “Arise My Daughter – A Journey from Darkness to Light” that God placed on my heart to write would be one means of saving me from all that I was held captive to and be a resource in helping others.

    Currently, I lead a “Women’s Writing Circle” small group through my church and the one valuable thing I have recommended that the ladies do is to find at least one Bible verse for them to cling to as they go about accomplishing the God-given dream that God has placed on their hearts in regards to writing whatever book He has called them to write in hopes of helping others.

    Yesterday, Wednesday, our small group gathered and it was a delight to see one of the ladies come with her nearly completed manuscript of beautiful, encouraging, inspiring book of poems. When I began to look at the beginning of her manuscript with her I could not help but to notice one of the Bible verses she had chosen from the start to claim as she pressed on to accomplish her God-given dream. Her particular verse was, “Beautiful words stir my heart. I will recite a lovely poem to the king, for my tongue is like the pen of a skillful poet.” (Psalm 45:1 NIV) On the days that she was a bit uncertain of her completing this enormous task she stood on this passage, “Publish his glorious deeds among the nations. Tell everyone about the amazing things he does.” (Psalm 96:3 NLT) She included this one in the formatter of her soon to be published book that will bless the hearts of many.

    I share all this with you in high hopes that you too have at least one Bible verse to cling as the Lord pulls you through all that is taking place in your life. Karen, Is there one special verse that you are holding onto and claiming as your own on your journey of recovery and new life?

    Look forward to hearing back from you.

    Your Friend,

    Barbara

  • Karen says:

    Barbara, I’ve been struggling the past couple days. I do not have a verse I cling to really. Anyways, thank you for sharing that stuff with me. I appreciate it. We are starting our journey home tomorrow morning. Should be back home by mid afternoon Saturday. Did a majority of packing the car tonight though. So..that is good. Anyways, I think it’s good that you run a women’s writer circle group through your church. That sounds nice. Anyways, lots going on and so I am struggling a lot. Not going to go into too much else at the moment though, waiting to hear back. Have a good evening.

  • Barbara Alpert Barbara Alpert says:

    Good Morning Karen, This is the day the Lord has made. May you rejoice and be glad in it. (Psalm 118:24) I pray that God places a hedge of protection around you as you begin to journey back home. May He guide you back home safe and sound. In Jesus’ name, Amen

  • Karen says:

    Barbara,

    Thank you for the prayers…we made it to Ohio tonight…so it is where we are staying for the night…tomorrow will be trying to get to the Wisconsin/Illinois border….and then stop there for the night…so yea…we should get home Saturday some time…

  • Shelley says:

    Dear Father God.
    Lord I lift up Karen to You and anyone who is going through difficulty in ther lives that you will heal them of this and bring them back to you In Jesus Might name amen

  • Barbara Alpert Barbara Alpert says:

    Hi Karen, praying that you made it back home safe and sound from your vacation. I imagine you will be feeling a bit better once you return home. Write back when you feel up to it. God Bless, Barbara

  • Karen says:

    Barbara,

    Hi there. We got home yesterday at noonish. Then we were running around for a good part of the rest of the day. But all in all, we got home safe and sound. It is kind of nice to be home. At least the weather is nicer here now and that is good. Went swimming this morning and have a membership at the YMCA now…so, excited about that. Means I can go swimming whenever I want to pretty much or walk around the track at the Y whenever I want to…for at least the next year….so, I am excited about it. I love swimming. Anyways, thank you for the prayers, I appreciate it.

  • Barbara Alpert Barbara Alpert says:

    Hi Karen, it is so good to hear that you made it back home safe and sound…praise God! Also, it is marvelous to hear your upturn in spirit and the excitement and joy that you will be able to go to the YMCA throughout the year. I know exercise has been one of the greatest gifts God has given to me in dealing with life issues and anxiety in a healthy way. I’m currently working on a new book with a subtitle that reads, “Striving to live a Holy, Healthy, Happy Life…One day at a time!” I pray that God blesses you with a wholesome in living and going forward into the wonderful plans He has for you!!!

  • Shelley says:

    Dear Father God.

    Lord I lift up Karen to You at this time in her life that You will heal her and comfort her everyday and every second of the day. In Jesus Mighty name amen

  • Karen says:

    Shelley,

    Thank you for the prayers. Appreciate it.

    Barbara,

    It sounds like you have a good idea in mind for your book. That is good to hear. I am happy that we have memberships at the Y for now…yet, I am very cautious too because in the past, with my ED, overexercising has been a symptom of it, so it is scary to think that I

  • Karen says:

    could so easily fall back into that. Sorry bout the last message…It got sent too soon somehow by pure accident. Anyways, my mom had her appt with the cardiologist this afternoon…We just have to check her pulse every morning and if it seems off 2 days in a row we are to take her to ER…So yea…Played disc golf this evening. I am tired now and a bit sore…but it comes with the territory when you have a chronic pain disease…like me, with Fibro….but anyways…going swimming tomorrow morning…Looking forward to that. There is some good and bad stuff going on..typically…I did have group this morning and then IT after that…they went okay…not sure what the rest of my week and weekend looks like…but anyways, that’s all I have for now, waiting to hear back from you.

  • Barbara Alpert Barbara Alpert says:

    Hi Karen, I totally understand and can relate to your concern about going to the YMCA and falling back into over exercising. Years ago when I was in the height of my battle with ed, bdd and ocd I exercised a great deal and had know idea how out of control I was with it. However, one day while in a therapy session with my doctor she asked me how many hours a day I spent exercising. It was not until that day was the veil removed from my eyes and thinking when I told, “I exercise about three hours a day.” Right there and then she told me it was way toooo much and we needed to work on reducing the amount of time I was exercising. Shortly after that truth settled into me God graciously shed light and revealed another area that I needed to surrender….my obsession and paranoia with food. One Sunday while I was partaking in Communion at church I was standing in the middle of the church with everyone else and we all had a tiny piece of cracker in one hand and a thimble size cup of grape juice in the other hand…waiting to take it all at the same time. As I stood there waiting in my ed, bdd, ocd mindset I started calculating how many calories might be in that little piece of cracker (that represented the body of Christ) and how many calories might be in the little cup of grape juice (that represented the blood of Christ)and how much I would have to walk as soon as I left church to burn those calories off. In the midst of this taking place, before I even left church, God’s Holy Spirit spoke to my heart and made known to me how I was still held captive to and eating disorder. From that day forward I’ve been blessed by God’s grace and mercy to see me set free from those out of control areas of my life.

    Yes, I get the struggle you are in…wanting to enjoy the YMCA YET so frightened of it consuming you again as in the past. To be honest, for whatever reason these past few weeks have been a trying time for myself in regards to keeping balance in those to vital areas of life, both food and exercise. I was getting very, very anxious in going to the gym with my husband (not sure in knowing if I was going to become over obsessed with it)and had to pull back and just enjoy my at home exercises and getting out for daily walks and/or a bike ride. I love being active, but I have to watch and put on the brakes sometime before God puts them on for me. So yea, I get you!

    I am sorry to hear about your mom. I would like to pray for her at this time. Father God, I lift Karen’s mom up to you this day. I pray that You would send healing her way. I ask that You would restore her body back to good health. I also pray for my friend Karen. I ask that You would continue to do Your healing works within Karen too. I pray that You would place a hedge of protection around her so that she is not dragged back into what she has already been overcoming. I thank You for doing this for Karen and her mom…healing the two of them in whatever areas of life that are needed. May Karen enjoy her new found freedom from Ed and may she enjoy the gift that you have given to her in being able to go to the YMCA. God, we thank You for these bodies that You have entrusted to us to take care of and may we all seek to live within healthy means of doing just that. In Jesus name I pray, Amen

    Karen, may you and your mom have a lovely weekend! Write back when you are feeling up to it.

    Barbara

  • Karen says:

    Barbara,

    Thank you for the prayers. Much appreciated. My mom had her appointment and for now we have to check her pulse every morning and if it’s not the same for 2 days in a row we are to take her to ER..So fr, she seems to be doing okish, we hope it stays that way. I love being able to go to the Y and stuff—but that fear comes back that I might fall into the old pattern of overexercising…Anyways–not having a good day today—just in general–some things came up earlier today that are affecting my mood and such….I am meeting with a friend in an hour….but don’t know how much that will help me–might help some…but don’t know..we’ll see when it gets to that time..Struggling with ED a bit–with some of the thoughts going through my head right now and such…relating to ED…but anyways, thank you again for the prayers…

  • Barbara Alpert Barbara Alpert says:

    Hi Karen, How are you doing today? Are you still in doing the once a week program?

    Father God, I pray on behalf of Karen and her mom. I ask that You would bless the both of them with healing. Set them free from all that is ailing them. May a ministry of healing touch them from head to toe. May Karen and her mom experience Your peace as Your Spirit ministers to every area of their lives. Father God, I thank You for Karen and the concern that she has for her mom’s health. I pray that You would work in the midst of all their circumstances. In Jesus’ name, Amen

  • Karen says:

    Hi there Barbara–today—not sure—been up and down–I can’t seem to stable out…I did go to a movie today–that wasn’t too bad…I am still doing the once a week program plus IT..and then something called a Stephen Minister once a week and then appts with a counselor from my church at least once or twice a month…Need to get in contact with my care manager from the Eating Disorder program too but find myself scared to call her up and talk to her about what I need to…but anyways…That’s what I have for now..waiting to hear back..

  • Barbara Alpert Barbara Alpert says:

    Hi Karen, how are you doing today? Sorry I didn’t get back to you right away. I wanted to take time to look over the Stephen Care Ministry you had mentioned. Wow! It sounds like a wonderful care ministry program they offer. Praying that you are going to be blessed by this caring ministry. Also, it is so good to hear that you connect with counselor from your church on a bi-monthly basis and the other avenues you are getting help from…on your road to recovery. Just take it one day at a time! I believe in my heart that God will bless you with more and more stably days as you continue onwards. Happy to hear that you went to the movies. It is so important to do fun things like that in order to take your mind off other things that are taking place. Look forward to hearing back from you when you are feeling up to it. May God’s blessings of peace and healing be with you!

  • Karen says:

    Barbara,

    Hi there. My Stephen Minister is awesome and it definitely is a great program my church offers. I actually went for a walk with my Stephen Minister today–it was nice. The counselor from my church, we’ve been meeting for years. Ever since I moved back from Delaware which was in 2005. She’s great too–she helped me get into the Eating Disorder program when I did and she’s done way more than just that. I have an appt. with her Friday evening. All I can do is take it one day at a time but there are times where I can only take it one minute at a time–on those days I can’t get myself stabilized I definitely have to do that.I do have to do things that bring me some sense of joy because if I don’t–then that will lead me down a path that is way too familiar to me and a path that does not have a good ending…Anyways–sorry I didn’t reply sooner—didn’t get online one night and I find myself feeling really worn down lately–not just emotionally–but physically too–so that affects whether I get on or not—decided to come online tonight and just check my mail and such–but feeling really worn down still….so–I don’t expect I will be on super long tonight..but anyways–waiting to hear back from you..

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