I have already shared ED’s need for isolation and how that stole my social life for the past 15 years or so. But man, I’m making up for it. I am having fun! I mean, when I say I’m having fun, I mean, I’m really having fun! I feel free to talk to people, to laugh, to express opinions, ask questions, listen, respond, hug – I love to hug people! I took the love languages test a couple months ago after Pastor Bob preached on it. My love language is physical touch. That totally surprised me. I could never figure out what my love language was, and now I know why. ED never allowed me to use it. No wonder I had no idea what it was or why I couldn’t believe what it was when I found out.
Here is where all I have learned in the past month starts coming together. ED isolated me because that is how he kept control over me and could thrive and survive. He isolated me through pride and shame in my looks, in my exercise, in my secrets over eating. But ED is out. And what is left behind is this big, wide, screaming-to-be-filled hollow space in my heart that ED had taken from me and claimed as his own. Let me correct – ED slithered into that space that God had already said was his. Spiritual warfare is real, I’m thoroughly convinced. And this is how I know. ED is gone not because of what I have done. ED is gone because of what Jesus has done.
If you’ve read all my posts you know this story. You know how I got to Melrose. You know all the pieces God put together to bring me to the bottom of my pit, to the lowest point in my life, to the deepest pain I have known. That deep pit was summed up in the one scene that plays over and over in my mind. It is me sitting on my bed on the third floor of Melrose on Monday, November 7, tears rolling down my face, feeling more alone and scared than I have ever felt, as I watched my husband walk out the front door below me, across the parking lot, get into his truck and drive away, knowing he was crying just like I was. That moment plays over and over in my mind not because I want to dwell on the pain, but because I see now in that dark moment the very pinprick of light that poked the walls of my heart and the first tiny drop of joy that seeped in. Of course I didn’t see it then. That day was not a day for sensing joy’s awakening. But in that moment, even though I didn’t see it, ED did. ED knew he was screwed. The tears flowed – not my tears – they were ED’s. He knew he was out. God does not take lightly anyone or anything moving into the space he has already claimed. He always gets back what is his because he has already won.
When I see that moment in my mind now, I can see clearly the birth of joy. When I realize the very real spiritual battle God has raged with ED over my life for the past 15 years, all I see now in that horrible scene is God’s final front, his last push forward across enemy lines. I see him leading his army of angels, and I see ED’s terrified face and horrified eyes watching his empire in me crumble. To know God has fought that hard for me for that long brings me to my knees in humility, gratitude, and joy indescribable. Even right now, I want to stand up and scream, I want to hug Benj until he turns blue. I want to squeeze my children until we collapse in a giant happy heap on the floor. I want to call my friends and throw a party. I want to make one big group hug with my students and tell them God loves them and so do I. I want to join in the laughter with my colleagues. I want to shout “Amen” in the middle of every sermon Pastor Bob gives.
ED is out.
I have joy overflowing so much that I don’t even know what to do with it all. God gave me a second chance at life. What do you do with that gift? What can I even do with such a gift? I will tell you what I can do. I can love and I can have joy unending! I feel it to the tips of my fingertips that never go numb anymore. I feel it in the depths of my heart that pumps with energy and life every second. I feel it in the freedom of a brain that is mine, with no ED to share it with. I can think for myself. I can feel for myself. And all I want to feel is God pouring in and overflowing out.
I am redeemed. I am transformed. And I have a purpose.
I pray every day that God will use me any way he can with all he’s taught me in the past month. My life is his to use because I wouldn’t have this life without him giving it back to me. The bottom of the pit is the place he set me so that he could break down the wall ED had built and kick him out on his backside. I am free!
I am free.
I can have friends again. I can love Benj again. I can focus on my boys again. I can be a good teacher again. I can leave my house again. I can hug again. I can laugh again. I can be God’s again. This is life, and it is life to the fullest.