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A Beautiful Rescue

Nicole Coggins' Story

Late one night during my sophomore year of high school, I sat in my room in front of a glowing computer screen.

The pictures and posts of a prominent Anorexia/Bulimia blog pouring from the screen were an unexplainable attraction to me. Something literally “clicked” in my brain that said I needed to do more. I HAD to look like these girls.

I am beautiful because I am made in the image of the God.

I decided I’d make a list of foods I would allow myself, and swear off anything else. I carried on this pattern for several weeks, only consuming mostly green tea, and occasionally candy, when my sugar would drop from lack of nutrition. It became increasingly evident that I was losing weight to an unhealthy extent.

Dying To Be Thin

My friends and family became concerned as I fought my way through years of this disorder. My lowest weight dropped to around 100 pounds, and for a 5’6” athletic frame, I was a walking skeleton.

Eventually, I began drinking heavily, going out with friends regularly, and even got a tattoo commemorating my disorder on the body I hated.

It was another morning standing in my usual spot in the bathroom, routinely picking apart the gaunt frame in the mirror. I was listening to the voices of "reason" in my head, arguing over what I should do next to lose MORE weight when I felt God speak to me so clearly it literally sank me to the floor and brought me to tears.

A Beautiful Identity

It wasn't an audible voice, but the words I had heard attending church as a teenager resonated in my mind so clearly:  “You are made in MY image. You are MY daughter.”

Literally, in that moment, I just felt this huge weight release and the grips of this eating disorder loosen. For the first time in a long time, I had hope. I texted my best friend about the incident, and she told me about a church nearby she had heard about called NewSpring Church.

So on an overcast day in April 2010, I walked slowly into the Florence campus with my head down, avoiding eye contact, when I saw a gentleman walk by in a grey shirt with bright neon green letters that read: “No Perfect People Allowed.” I could only smile. This church definitely seemed to be different.

Freedom At Last

During the first week of the Stories message series in June 2011, a story of a tattoo artist who met Jesus flashed up on the screen. Her story followed similarities of my own of pain and regret, and in an instant I could feel the weight of change surging over me.

When Perry Noble gave the invitation to receive Jesus, I began to pray, finally admitting to Him and myself, that I could not battle the eating disorder on my own anymore. I could not defeat this enemy who had my whole life in its clutch.

I asked Jesus to come into my life and take on this battle for me. On that day I fully surrendered my heart to Jesus, along with the troubles and regrets from my past years of battling the eating disorder.

New Worth

I became an owner of NewSpring and was baptized shortly after. God continues to surprise and bless me daily, using the years of destruction in my life to lift Him up and help others struggling with acceptance and self-worth.

There are still times when the enemy rises to attack me on the grounds of my appearance and weight. But God fights that battle for me now, reminding me within my daily walk with Christ and my NewSpring family to stand firm on the words that He spoke to me that day in my bathroom:

I am beautiful because I am made in the image of the God who cared enough to save me, and most importantly my body, my mind, and my health are all in the hands of the God of the whole universe. I am His.

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