Day Sixteen

I have been arguing with God all morning. If you have ever been in that situation, you know that He always wins. It may take us a while to surrender, but ultimately He wins. Let me preface this entry by saying that I do not believe we should live in our past. I believe that, at some point, we as adults, must take responsibility for ourselves and not use our childhood woes as a crutch. Having said that, there is no doubt that our childhood experiences affect our roles as adults. This morning I am struggling….I am struggling because my heart has felt led to revisit some revelations that I have had over the years concerning my unhealthy relationship with food. This is very heavy and hard for me to do, but apparently it is necessary.

Since I have become a mother and have been blessed to witness each stage that my children go through, I can’t help but wonder what the adults in my life at that time were thinking. My daughter is 8 years old, so naturally I often reflect about the way things were when I was an 8 year old little girl. I spent a great deal of my childhood feeling unwanted. The family that the law had decided I should live with was not very nurturing. My dad was very busy. I don’t remember seeing him much during that time and I always felt that I was a burden to my stepmother. The other family, that I had visitation with, was more nurturing, but still a very dysfunctional family unit. My grandmother, very overweight herself, showed love with food. She was the lunch lady at the school cafeteria. She made sure that I got extra portions through the lunch line at school and on special occasions, she would leave 35 cents in the drawer for me to get snacks. She always made a big breakfast when it was my weekend to visit and was eager to make a beautifully decorated cake with lots of icing for any occasion. She showed love through food.

My dad later divorced again and before I knew it, I was spending my 12th birthday living in a camper on the back of a truck. It was a challenging time for both me and my father. Here was this man, struggling through his own personal turmoil, and this angry, confused yet manipulating preteen who barely knew each other. He didn’t know how to deal with me (I’m sure I was no picnic) and I was angry at the world. I believe he was trying to be a parent, but I was trying to find my own way…which led to many arguments. I don’t remember the fights, I just remember how it was always resolved. Food. He, too, was very overweight and when he was trying to smooth things over with me, he would bring me a bag of Cool Ranch Doritos… or give me a few dollars to get convenience store fried food.  He showed forgiveness through food.

The most challenging connection for me to make was an ongoing disturbing relationship with a member of my “step” family. He was an older man that everybody loved….and for a time, so did I. After school, my stepbrother and I would go to his house if my stepmom wasn’t home. It wasn’t always a tainted relationship, but after the woman in the house died, things changed. He was never angry, never mean, never forceful, but he was beyond appropriate and ultimately abusive in the most violating way. One of the things I remember most about going to his house is that he always bought special treats for us. He bought things that we never had at home….special drinks and snacks. I know every kid likes an after school snack but when I would go to his house, it was a daily binge….at 8, 9, and 10 years old. “Shame on you,” he would say. He taught me shame and used food to do it.

There is no wonder why I have struggled with food my entire life. From early on, it has been misused and caused pain and confusion. The exciting thing that I am learning through my Daniel’s fast is that God’s purpose for food was very different. In the beginning (literally), he said “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food.”  He didn’t say He would love us through food, forgive us through food, or use food to hurt us and cause shame in our lives. He gave us food to sustain us…. to fuel this miraculous vessel so that we can have life …and have it abundantly! I look in the mirror and then I look around and I wonder how we got so far from that. I can’t even imagine the stories behind the origins of pain for so many obese people in our country. My prayer for myself and for anyone who is carrying their pain in the form of extra weight is that God reveals to us the abundant life He wants to give us…..and that we go to the right Source for love and acceptance. Amen.

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. noel
    May 17, 2010 @ 21:44:15

    Wow!

    Reply

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