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An eating disorder dominated Melodie’s life until she recognized what she was really battling

Melodie Webber struggled with an eating disorder — both loving and hating herself for it — until she found satisfaction in God.

I knew exactly what I was doing from the start.

Throwing up after meals was dangerous, but losing weight was worth the risk to me. I wanted to be thinner because I knew it would make me happy. I thought I could be perfect and keep my body and mind under control.

Jesus taught me to give up the person that I wanted to be, with all my struggles and pride and self-focus

Change for the worse

Six months after having my second baby, I felt disgusting. The healthy diet and exercise plan that worked wonders when I was 21 just wasn’t cutting it. When I looked in the mirror, I hated what I saw. How could my husband love me?

I had gone from being a hard-working, career woman that worked out every day, drove a nice car and brought home half the money for our upscale city apartment to a tired, boring stay-at-home mom who just wanted to fold some laundry so I could go to bed.

The body and career that I had found somewhat fulfilling didn’t exist anymore. I wanted to feel needed, special, and beautiful. And I was ready to take drastic measures.

Love and hate

A cycle of starving for days - sometimes even weeks - followed by binging and purging, dominated every aspect of my life.

Obsessive thoughts about my weight and about food were the direction of every thought, every ounce of time that I had. I lied to my husband. I hid from my kids. I had absolutely no control over my thoughts or actions.

I was a willing participant in my own self-destruction. Knowing that brought so much shame and guilt that I had trouble even facing what I was doing.

I sought help in talking to friends, going to doctors and counselors, praying, planning, and writing. But even though I wanted to be “free” from my eating disorder, I probably didn’t really want to get better. I hated myself and loved myself all at the same time.

A big fake Christian

As I felt overwhelmed one Sunday serving at NewSpring, the realization hit me that my body issues were part of a larger problem: sin owned me.

In my darkest of times, God gave me the grace to see that I had never submitted who I was to Jesus. I had always wanted him to make my life better on my terms, but I had never been willing to give up the things that were important to me to follow Him.

The person I was knew how to talk, act, and look like a Christian, but I was a really big fake. That day, I knew I needed to ask Jesus to come into my life -- for real.

A Time To Heal

My battle with bulimia, anorexia, and obsessive thoughts continued for almost two years. There were days where I felt as if I was living in freedom, followed by days or weeks of torment in my mind.

The breakthrough came after I joined a women's small group to study the Bible together. I was able to be raw and honest, and they were able to pray for me and encourage me when i was weak. As I grew in my relationship with Jesus -- and took my focus off myself by serving my husband, my two children, and my church -- I slowly experienced healing

New identity

During that time, Jesus taught me to give up the person that I wanted to be, with all my struggles and pride and self-focus, and trade that for a renewed mind and heart that wanted what Jesus wanted -- where he was in control, not me.

Now I know I am beautiful because of what Jesus did in me and for me.

The media portrays a warped image of what it means to be a man or a woman. But only by turning to my creator did I find my true identity in him.

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