I Found Hope
A few weeks ago, speaker, blogger and author Rachael Stevens published an interview with our Director Rachel Morris on her blog. On finding out her own story about overcoming anorexia and depression, we asked her to share it with us. This is Rachael’s story of how she found, and chooses, hope.
Out of our darkest moments hope can emerge. I choose hope.
I love speaking to young girls in high schools about hope. In fact, it’s what I am most passionate about in life.
The word Hopeless defined my life for many years. I had it said to me by professionals, people at school, and eventually I started saying it to myself. My situation seemed hopeless and that’s how it felt too.
I was 15 when I was diagnosed with a severe eating disorder. My family situation was highly dysfunctional. I couldn’t stand being at school, but most of all I couldn’t stand myself.
When I was hospitalised for anorexia the word hopeless screamed at me. I honestly wondered if I would make it out of that hospital alive. I needed to put on a huge amount of weight, challenge my self-perception and change my thinking.
These were not easy or simple things to do. Especially when I didn’t have any hope things could change.
Anorexia tore away at my physical health and left me empty and struggling to breathe most days. I could not see any light in the darkness. I could not see purpose in the pain.
When I was transferred in to the psychiatric part of the hospital the word hopeless became my reality. I believed that my future would be one of sickness, disappointment and a constant battle with mental illness.
I was wrong.
In the psych ward I found hope. It was there I started asking the big and uncomfortable questions about life like “Why I am suffering like this?” and “Where will I go if I die here?”
After days of battling confusion and doubt and with many tears, in desperation I prayed.
My first prayer was so honest and simple: “God if you are real…can you please help me?”
Afterwards there was no light shining down from heaven. No audible sound. I had never been to church or read a Bible, but that moment changed my life. I knew God was real.
I felt as though He reached out to me and whispered, “You are not alone. You will survive this. I will never put you through more than what you can handle.”
It was true.
The doubt and fear that controlled my life slowly melted away since that day.
I am 23 now. It has been hard work but over 3 years I have put on 20 kilograms. Today I am fully recovered from anorexia and depression. Jesus did not change my life, He did much more than that. He saved me from death.
This hope I have found has come to define my life. The word hopeless does not carry power any longer.
My life is an illustration of God’s ability to bring hope and love in to the darkest places of our lives. There is no situation or sickness that is greater than His love.
What will define our lives? Is a choice we all have to make.
God has given me a new life and although it is still hard at times…I choose hope.