I am SO excited to officially kick-off my Shoulder To Shoulder Guest Post Series with one of my recent blog-circle connections! Yes friends, when you share your writing with others amazing connections are created! Please take a minute to read her incredible story below. You will be blessed!
RUBBING SHOULDERS: A Message From Our Guest Post Author – My name is Devonne Ramer I am a mother driven by love, prayer, and an insane amount of coffee. I have a love for the Lord that has gotten me through my darkest times. I struggle daily on how to be the woman God called me to be, but I’m enjoying the journey. My prayer is that my stories can make you laugh, and at sometimes see things in a different light. Blessings. Please check out Devonne’s blog “Musings Of A Christian Housewife.”
Our teen years shape us so much. We are vulnerable, and timid at our strongest moments. So much damage can be done with just being laughed at. We struggle to find our own identity in a world that pressures us to conform. This is my struggle. . . .
It all started with one question. “Your not having seconds are you?” A seemingly innocent question, yet the disgust in her voice was unmistakable. At that moment my world changed, pulling me along with it. Shame covered me. My face red with embarrassment. The girls at my table laughed at me. My friends! I decided then and there, I would never ask for seconds no matter how hungry I was.
As they say hindsight is 20/20. If I would have known how much pain, or how dark my days would get by making that promise to myself, I would have ignored their taunting. But at 13 years old, what do we really know about life?
As any 13 year old, I was unsure where I fit in in life, but I was happy. Coming from a large family, I loved summer camp. I got to get away, and create me. The me I wanted to be for that week. This camp, my life changed.
I had 3 girls as bunk mates in my cabin. They were all my age and we clicked right away. The second meal as a group was when “it” happened. The comment. After the laughter ceased. One of the girls, (we’ll call her Annie). Annie shared with us that she hadn’t eaten breakfast, and she wasn’t eating lunch. She was going to lose weight at this camp. Losing weight wasn’t even in my thought process at 13. But for some reason, all us girls looked up to her. We all decided to go along with her, and stop eating as well. I went along with the plan because I didn’t want to endure anymore teasing. It didn’t become about weight till a few years later.
During that week at camp Annie had passed out twice. Been sent to sick ward numerous times, (for severe stomach pains). Finally her parents were called, and she was sent home because she refused to eat. Even with her gone us girls stuck to our pact. We ate just enough to not get sent home.
The fear in my mothers eyes when she saw me after 7 days, pains me to this day. Being a mother myself now, I find it even more painful. She looked like she had seen a ghost, I literally remember seeing her turn a shade of white. “What happened?! You are skin and bones!” She gasped as she held her heart. She immediately made me get on the scale.
Ah, the scale. . . . such a useless tool. Why does it matter so much? Does it measure our worth? I learned to despise, and be obsessed with it all at the same time. Like a friend I would visit it 5 to 6 times a day. But always when my mother was distracted as not to draw attention to my ever dwindling body.
I had lost 8 pounds in 7 days! My mother immediately started feeding me cake and goodies. While she watched me eat, I made the excuse that I just ran allot at camp. But I could see her eyes scanning me as if she was trying to see what was in my mind. I kept my head down, ate the goodies, and plastered a fake smile on my face trying to look as carefree as I could.
My poor mother. She had no idea what journey she was headed down with me. Even now, the guilt of what I put her through hurts my heart, and makes me realize how incredibly strong she had to be.
Never in a million years could I have predicted, that the poison I had ingested by listening to Annie would destroy so much of my youth.
For a long time it would be a game I would play with myself. I would try and see how long I could go without eating. If I had succeeded in making a new “record,” I would reward myself by doing something i loved to do. If I didn’t make a record I would punish myself, making myself clean my room till 2AM while everyone was asleep. It was a horrible cycle. One that took many years to break.
I was always creative, and loved to write and paint. My once calming poems started turning sad and angry. My colorful paintings were now dark and scary. The happy young girl, was now an empty shell of herself.
At 18 I was 5′ 9″ and about 90 to 95 pounds. Years of playing Russian roulette with my body was starting to show. I had no menstrual cycle anymore. I was irritable and angry all the time. I can’t remember a day that my stomach didn’t hurt, or I didn’t cry myself to sleep. I was cruel to myself, saying things I would never utter to another human being. I was severely depressed and thought of suicide daily. I hated dinner time the most. It was always miserable. My mother yelling at me to eat. My family seeing if, and what I would eat. I hated it. I hated me.
I was now deep into what I know now as anorexia. It was like an ocean I was drowning in with no raft.
Honestly to write this all down seems a bit surreal. See, God has given me peace, and a confidence that I did not know back then.
Usually when people hear my story they are stunned. “But you are so normal!” (I get that a lot). I want you to know that anorexia is a disease. A disease that is still spreading like wildfire. We need to protect and pray over our young. It is looked up to as beauty. It’s sick, and it needs to stop. Anorexia leaves a residue that stains your soul, one that only the blood of Jesus can remove. I’m sure some of you are wondering how I “got over it” or “got healed.” On an especially hard day, I dropped to my knees in prayer needing a miracle. I prayed out loud “dear God take this from me. I’m tired. I’m done. I don’t want to hate myself anymore. I can’t look at the sadness in my mothers face. HELP ME!” I was tired of fighting this battle alone. I just couldn’t do it anymore. I sobbed and sobbed until no tears were left. Then I laid on the floor with no more words to say. That’s when I heard a small voice. ” I am here. It’s going to be ok.” I knew without a doubt that was my God. I grabbed onto those words and made them my life’s mantra. I repeated them over and over again . . . . . “it’s going to be ok. . . . . it’s going to be ok . . . it’s going to be ok.”
Whenever guilt would creep in I would repeat my mantra,”it’s going to be ok.” Whenever suicide thoughts flooded my head I would repeat my mantra, “it’s going to be ok.” I kept saying it till I believed it.
I won’t lie to you and say it was easy. It has been a long, hard road I have traveled. But I knew Jesus was holding my hand through it. I also know he was holding my mother up through her tears and prayers for her daughter.
Pain sometimes takes decades to heal. If I could impart one thought to you today, it would be . . . .it is going to be ok. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but it will be ok.
2 Corinthians 7:6
But God, who comforts and encourages and refreshes and cheers the depressed and the sinking. . . . .
The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will NEVER leave you nor forsake you. Do not afraid; do not be discouraged.