You see, I grew up with only the fairy tales. I grew up with the finger’s – crossed and the blown up Easter Bunnies and Santa Clause coming to town, and also the tooth fairy – but the fears and the insecurities and then anger rooted itself so deep in me-that there was no way out.
All the believing I was doing was only in things like a vapor in a cloud.
When I reached for what I thought had substance to hold on to, it would simply vanish into thin air.
I moved away from my home in Arizona to NYC, and the ‘mess’ that was inside me was working its way to destroy every bit of life in me, the ‘mess’ manifested itself in an eating disorder. My life became unmanageable.
I wasn’t seeking God. I wasn’t thinking about God – but He knew me and He was watching me. So, in desperation, one day, I walked into a room filled with people with the same struggle and I read a poster on the wall- it only had one word on it- written in large letters: GOD.
The mystery? That written word on the wall was the beginning of the rest of my life.
You see, I needed something that had substance to hold on to – all the other stuff was vapor.
I knew all the things that I needed to do. But, I had no power to do them.The one thing I finally knew was, I couldn’t get it right alone.
I needed help.
Somehow, on that day, I realized that GOD was the help I needed. I knew then and there that my only hope was Him.
I didn’t need some ‘religion’ or ‘going through the motions.’ I needed a Savior.
I actually owned a Bible that was given to me in High School by the Key Club. I had packed it with me in my move from Arizona to NYC. Doesn’t everyone need to pack a Bible when moving from your hometown to NYC as a 19 year old?
I had an eating disorder. I was ‘crazy in the head always thinking I was fat, always thinking of eating or how to work off every calorie I had eaten. My thoughts in my brain felt like I was at the circus spinning in a hundred directions with scary clowns and music with confusion and destruction everywhere.
I had no peace.
I had the goals. I had the ‘how to’ books. But I had no control over my life.
I hope no one reading this can identify. Label me perhaps, an addictive personality. But now, I was hungry for God.
I was sick of being sick. I was finally ready to find the exit door to the insanity I was living, hidden behind pretty smiles, (but perhaps not.)
I remember reading one verse in particular, Jesus said it,“If any man come after Me, let him deny himself…” (Matthew 16:24). And God impressed upon my heart this thought, “Toni, you are destroying yourself with this impulsive – compulsive behavior. I want you to deny yourself of that – because I want to give you a life that is free and full.
And it was that one verse, “If any man come after Me, let him deny himself, … As I was learning how to eat without ‘great panic’ ,and ‘denying myself ‘ the destructive behavior that occupied so much of my mental brain, time and energy, God had me focus on the next part of the verse: “pick up your cross…” And even though I didn’t really understand what ‘pick up your cross’ meant, God started helping me understand this simply to mean, ‘not my will but God’s’ .
This is what He wanted me to remember , that ‘picking up my cross was,’ Not my will that wanted to destroy all the good, but God’s will’ which was to love me and give me life and even abundant at that.
He wanted me to have joy.
God began to heal my angry spirit. I learned to continue to “follow Him” (Matthew 16:24), and not my own crazy roller coaster path, to the best of my ability. He drew me to Himself. And through time, He healed me completely, He saved me from the ‘self-destructive’ road I was traveling on, He raised me up from a pit and set my feet on a Rock.
He unveiled Himself in His word.
“Call unto Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you know not of.”(Jeremiah 33:3). He did for me, and He still is, day by day.
And the reason I tell my story. Because I want you to know that He did, and to be reminded that…
Nothing is impossible with God. (Matthew 17:20).