Can't Live A Day Without You
Writer Author Natalie Groce
- Fiction No
My Testimony of how God rescued me from a path of self-destruction. God sent a courageous stronger Christian brother who risked everything to rescue me when I was perishing.
Your beauty should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight
(NIV) I Peter 3:4
My name is Natalie Groce and I have a very ugly secret. My story is not about a dramatic conversion experience. I was not an immoral person caught up in the sins of the world doing drugs or living a life of promiscuity. I have never committed any crimes. I am from a normal Christian home. I have never done drugs or smoked or even tasted alcohol. I am a virgin and I am saving myself for the husband God has waiting for me. My story is about how a Christian who is not growing in the Lord every day can be sidetracked and deceived by Satan. The sad truth is that when a Christian is not on guard against Satan and does not recognize his evil schemes, you can get caught up in things that will destroy you spiritually and may even destroy your life.
The Bible in 1st Peter chapter 5, says:
"Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.." I Peter 5:8
I am one who was almost devoured by Satan's lies.
I have gone to church my whole life and my family has always been really involved in church activities. I understood what it meant to be saved at a very young age, but I kept putting it off and for years I waited to ask Jesus to live in my heart. He kept tugging and I repeatedly told Him, "No, I can wait." I always thought there would be plenty of time for me to get saved. Finally, I realized how crazy that was... We're not promised tomorrow.
I was at church youth camp when I quit resisting God's tugging on my heart and asked him to forgive me of my sins and come and live in my heart and become the Lord of my life. The most incredible feeling filled my soul! I wanted to run up and down the beach telling everyone about His saving grace! It felt as if 100 bricks were lifted off my chest!
After youth camp, I came back home really on fire for the Lord and told all of my friends and family about my loving relationship with Him. God filled my soul with a joy greater than any other I have ever felt. Every day, I made a special effort to have a quiet time with Him. I was growing in grace and in a close loving relationship with Jesus.
About a year later, at age 14, I started to slip. My quiet time started to be less frequent and then not at all. I know now that Satan was telling me that I was fat, ugly and that nobody liked me and that I was useless. I fell into the trap of believing what the "Father of Lies" was telling me. And at the age of 14, I developed a serious eating disorder. After certain meals, I would make myself vomit. I thought this was "No biggie."
I started dating a really popular guy. He was the most popular guy in the school. I fell further into the trap of needing to be popular and putting that and every little thing before my relationship with God. I was already "popular" with God, but I thought I needed to be popular with the world, too. What started as a small foothold that I considered "No biggie," became a controlling stronghold in my life. That is how Satan works! Satan will try anything to destroy you. Don't let him!
My parents knew something was seriously wrong with me. The more they tried to find out what was wrong, the more I rebelled against them. I know that they prayed more for me during this time than they have ever prayed for anything.
I never realized how fast you can slip away from God. Soon, I locked myself off from the rest of the world and began concentrating on losing weight. It didn't help that everyone was telling me how great I looked. I put God on hold and was letting everything else come before serving Him. You can't straddle the fence and be happy. God wants 100% of our lives.
This whole eating disorder thing was a secret at first and I was good at hiding it. It got a lot worse. I tried to have a quiet time but I was getting nothing out of it because I was living a lie. I was in rebellion against God and was on a course of self destruction. You can't live in constant sin and hear from God.
My bulimia got worse still. I was making myself vomit 20 to 30 times a day. Even when there was nothing in my stomach, I would make myself throw up stomach acid. Bulimia was like a cancer that was getting bigger all the time and I was fooling everyone. Or so I thought. During this time, everyone noticed my weight loss. Satan was STILL telling me how ugly and fat I was. Soon, I became anorexic, too. I dropped 35 to 45 pounds in just a manner of months. I was never heavy to begin with. But, now I was skin and bones. I cold not play in my tennis matches for the school because I was too weak to run and would faint if I tried very hard. I could rarely make it through a chorus concert without fainting from standing so long.
Everyone started noticing my dramatic weight loss and making comments about how they wish they could lose weight and be like me. Little did they know my ugly little secret. Their comments were like fuel to me. Wow! I must look pretty good, I thought. Just think how much more attention I will get if I lose even more weight. This was an awful stage to be in. I was just miserable. I would lie in bed at night and think about how horrible and ugly what I was doing was. I wondered why I was even alive. I hated what I was doing and I hated myself, but I couldn't stop. Sometimes I could even feel the demons hovering over me as I trembled in fear. Now, I know a Christian cannot be demon possessed, but I had listened to Satan and his lies for so long, I had completely forgotten who I was in Christ.
My parents were desperate because they were so worried about me. They asked me over and over again if I was making myself throw up. I think they knew that I was bulimic but did not want to believe it. They took me to different doctors at least 11 times in the next three months. I had every test you could have run. I kept lying to everyone about it. Never once did any of the doctors that examined me think that I was bulimic even when my parents asked them if it was possible.
I couldn't take it any longer. I was lying to everyone and was killing myself. I even thought about suicide. I was emotionally drained and so weak physically. I was at the end of my rope, about to finally let go and give up.
Just when you're at the end, Jesus is the strongest. The Bible says "when we are weak, he is strong." Jesus is the anchor that holds no matter how far we have drifted away from Him.
God sent one of His finest to rescue me. He sent a Godly young man into my life. We met by chance, or so I thought. This servant of His was the Godliest young man I had ever met and I don't know why but I trusted him almost immediately. I admitted to him that I was bulimic and told him how bad it was. He was the only person I had ever told this ugly secret.
What would you do if someone told you something terrible about themselves and you knew they were in terrible danger of self-destruction?
This wonderful young man had compassion on me. He did something really radical. He took me to Desota Falls and actually climbed over the rail on the edge of a 100 foot rock cliff and danced around outside the rail on the edge of certain death and told me "This is what you are doing with your life." He preached to me for over an hour about how much control Satan had of me and how much God loved me and how beautiful I was to God. I have never had anyone show such a radical concern for me and my future. I fell to my knees in repentance because I realized that this is so much like the kind of radical love Jesus had for me when he put Himself on my cross on Calvary.
I want to help someone, somewhere, the way that "Jon" helped me. I hope God does not ask me to dance around on the edge of a hundred-foot cliff. I am totally NOT into the "cliff" thing, at all. But, I want to have that kind of compassion, the "Jon" kind, the "Jesus" kind. I want to snatch some poor soul from Satan's clutches.
I had yielded so much control of my life to Satan but NO MORE. I was taking it back. No matter how far you fall from God, He's always right beside you holding out his nail-scarred hand, ready to take you back. In fact, He wasn't the one who had moved. Isn't that awesome?
God showed me areas in my life where I was failing Him and totally turned my life around that day. My eating disorder went away thanks to the prayers of my family and friends. My parents are convinced that if God had not rescued me when He did that I would be dead today. What a horrible way to die... But, God had other plans for my life. I am so thankful for His saving grace and forgiveness.
Bulimia can kill you. In the United States, conservative estimates indicate that after puberty, 5-10% of girls and women (that translates to 5-10 MILLION girls and women) and 1 MILLION boys and men are struggling with eating disorders including anorexia, bulimia, binge eating disorder, or borderline conditions (Crowther et. al., 1995.) You know that means if I was speaking to 500 high school girls right now, At least 50 may have an eating disorder like I had. 50,000 individuals will die as a direct result of their eating disorder. Because of the secretiveness and shame associated with eating disorders, many cases are probably not reported. In addition, many individuals struggle with body dissatisfaction and subclinical eating disorder attitudes and behaviors. For example, 80% of American women are dissatisfied with their appearance (Smolak, 1996).
These statistics are staggering. Some of the main risk factors for Bulimia include:
Perfectionism or perfectionistic parents
Difficulty expressing feelings and emotions
Low self-esteem or body image dissatisfaction
Age 13 to 18 years
Difficulty handling stress
Early maturity or early dating
History of depression or anxiety
History of substance abuse
History of physical or sexual abuse
I am not proud of my story. It is very ugly and disgusting. But I do thank God for forgiving me and restoring my relationship with Him. Through it all, I became a stronger Christian. I know that on Judgment Day, looks and popularity will not even matter. But the difference we make by showing God's unchanging love to this lost and dying world is what will matter.
My Lord is my best friend now and every day He shows me new things. I can't live a day without Him. Loving God and giving Him 100% of your life is not easy. It is a daily struggle. It means giving up some things. But, it is so worth it! I encourage you to believe in your heart "Be strong in the Lord and resist the devil and he will flee from you" every day and every hour. Stand firm against the lies Satan uses to try to destroy you or your witness.
I have learned that knowing Jesus and having Him in your heart makes you GORGEOUS on the inside and it is sure to show on the outside, too. God has called me to share my testimony with young people who struggle with such issues as eating disorders. I know He wants me to share His love and I wish I could share it with the whole world.
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