Blog

Eating Disorder Recovery

“No two eating disorders are the same.
No two individuals are the same.
No two paths to recovery are the same.
But everyone’s strength to reach recovery IS the same.”
― Brittany Burgunder

Meditation: My family of origin has dealt and is dealing with eating disorders. It is a genetic disorder that has caused much shame and physical and emotional harm in my family. I struggled with anorexia when I was 14 and with binge eating when I was 21. At the age of 29, I finally entered therapy and my eating disorder went into recovery. I will always need to have a conscious and mindful relationship with food.

My daughter recently went through 4 months of eating disorder treatment. For both restricting food and also for food binging behavior. Her symptoms had become severe, so that recovery was a must. We found an amazingly modern eating disorder hospital here in Atlanta only for teens age 11-16 years old. This recovery place became a safe haven for my daughter. She learned language to talk without shame about her eating disorder, she developed new coping mechanisms, she had individual and family therapy and learned to eat mindfully and in a balanced way. As family we began eating dinner together (which we had not done for years), and we have learned what triggers an eating disordered person. We try to avoid those triggers and practice having the shared meal be peaceful and pleasant. I am relieved and grateful to share that my daughter has come a long way in her recovery. She has learned what triggers and causes her restricting or binging of food. She now has a nutritionist and a therapist who specialize in eating disorders. There is no shame in having an eating disorder. There is help available. Recovery is possible.

Prayer: Thank you God for professionals who specialize in eating disorder treatment in teenagers. Thank you for the holistic treatment of the teenager and of the family. Thank you that a disordered relationship with food and body can be recovered. Thank you for having my daughter back.

Instead of shame and dishonor, you will enjoy a double share of honor. You will possess a double portion of prosperity in your land, and everlasting joy will be yours. Isaiah 61:7

 

Mother’s Day Reflection and Prayer

God could not be everywhere, and therefore he made mothers. Rudyard Kipling

Meditation: Many of us remember their mothers today. Many women are being thanked and celebrated on this special occasion, and they deserve all recognition and love that comes their way. I like to also remember on this day, that there are many unusual and unrecognized “mothers” among us. I am thinking of and I am grateful for all kindergarten teachers, nurses, teachers and loving neighbors. I am grateful for all men and dads who choose to be mothers and who have motherly features. I am thankful for aunts and grandmothers who sometimes love a child exactly how the child needs to be loved. I am also grateful for women who are in their heart and in their ways with children definitely mothers, only not in a biological way. And I am grateful for the joy and the challenge to be a mother myself. I have never learned as much, grown as much and have been stretched as much until my children came along. They have made me a more patient and forgiving person. They are my mirror and show me my growing edges and my weaknesses. And they are such loving and forgiving girls who also see my strength and who appreciate me in my effort to be a Mom who learns and changes along the way as they grow and mature into their very own personalities.

Prayer: God, we are grateful for spouses and children everywhere who prepare red roses, thank you pictures and cards, self-baked cakes and breakfast in bed. We thank you for all families that celebrate in this way today. We are also aware of those who are sad today, as they miss their mother, or miss being a mother. Comfort them and help them see You as their mother who wants to provide them with what they need. Thank You for all who take the role of mothers in biological or in chosen ways. They make the world go round. And they stand in for Your presence. They help us believe that You still exist and that You still care. And we are grateful. Amen

As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you. Isaiah 66:13a

“Always remember”

Never forget that everything Hitler did in Germany was legal. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Meditation: The phenomena we see in the US today resemble the ones in Germany eighty years ago. What we can observe as parallels are the strategic abuse and perversion of a democratic system by influencing the uneducated masses, by either controlling or demonizing the media, and by undermining the legal system. The propaganda back then was put out every day and fed nationalistic material to the masses, which sounded patriotic, but it covered up the elimination of basic human rights and of groups of people who were considered “not Aryan enough”.

Today many “not American enough” immigrants are leaving the US, or they are being imprisoned. The Fox News channel has become a right wing propaganda machine of the current government. Immoral and unethical behavior is being normalized and legal loopholes are being constantly utilized with the help of highly paid lawyers. Violence is being glorified. Wake up USA !… Never forget Germany’s history!…Always remember how minorities were systematically oppressed and killed back then… The US president is encouraging and defending a world wide movement of white supremacy…

Prayer: God of history, wake us up. Where are the demonstrators? Where are all the women who were marching in January 2017? Help us to organize and help us to resist. Let us learn from the past. In your mercy, do not allow the same strategies to cause the same harm! All that happened was done in small increments. “Everything was legal” – and “all became lethal”. God, have mercy. Amen
So be careful how you live. Live as (wo)men who are wise and not foolish. Make the best use of your time. These are sinful days. Do not be foolish. Understand what the Lord wants you to do. Ephesians 5:15-17

Letting Go…

Letting go helps us to live in a more peaceful state of mind and helps restore our balance. It allows others to be responsible for themselves and for us to take our hands off situations that do not belong to us. This frees us from unnecessary stress. Melody Beattie

Meditation: I am challenged every day as the parent of teenagers. What am I responsible for and what not? What is mine and what is theirs? While my husband has the gift of easily letting go and letting them make mistakes, and in doing so learn to claim responsibility for themselves, I often feel uptight and overly responsible for my daughters’ actions. Where does this come from? Some of us have grown up within family systems where members were either depressed, stressed, anxious or have been addicted to a substance or to work. We learned to cope by feeling overly responsible. Responsible for parents, siblings, household and the family image to the outside world. We over-functioned without being aware.  We consequently learned to “be in the world” feeling responsible for everybody and for everything. For us who learned to cope this way, it is important to remember that all persons have the right to be responsible for themselves. We need to take our hands off from what is not ours. We need to give back what we falsely took on. We need to allow others to make mistakes, learn from them and become responsible for themselves. I am allowed to feel and enjoy the relief that comes from no longer over-functioning.

Prayer: God, even You share the responsibility for this world with us. You have given us free will. You allow us to mess up, while always calling us to greater and deeper responsibility for ourselves. We are allowed to draw boundaries and set limits. We are free to let go and give back what is not ours. We, too, need to call others to greater and deeper responsibility for themselves, instead of compensating for their irresponsibility. God, free us from co-dependence and from over-functioning. Help us to “let go and let, You, God” call all of us to greater responsibility for ourselves. Amen

Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else, for each one should carry their own load. Galatians 6:4-5

Belonging

Spiritual identity means we are not what we do or what people say about us. And we are not what we have. We are the beloved daughters and sons of God. Henri Nouwen

Meditation: Sometimes life just gets too much. Sometimes the conflicts around us try to swallow us. We feel exhausted, torn, anxious and worried how we will conquer and navigate all the demands. When my job tries to define me, when my family’s needs seem to be endless, when nothing I do seems to be enough, it helps to be still and remember whose I am. I am created and formed by the One who loved me from the very beginning. I am called by name. I am set free from judgement, set free from concern about my value and worth. I am invited not to be afraid. As no matter what the outcome, I am not alone. I belong. I belong to the One who created me and who wants to set me free over and over again. Free from expectations. Free from judgments. Free from anxiety and fear.
Can I take a few moments today to be still? To remind myself that no matter what will happen, I belong to the One who created and loves me.

Prayer: God, when the going gets tough. When I feel I don’t have enough support and I am all alone tackling the demands of my day, remind me of your words that you gave to Israel and through Jesus also to us. Remind me that you know my name. Remind me that you see me and know me intimately. You say: “Do not be afraid for you are Mine.” Thank you that I belong. Thank you that I do not walk this walk alone. Amen

But now, thus says the Lord who created you, O Jacob, and He who formed you, O Israel: Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; you are Mine. Isaiah 43:1

Kill the Wicked?

January 22

“He who does nothing to stop evil condones it” ― Bangambiki Habyarimana

Meditation: What a humanly understandable wish and prayer. “God, destroy the wicked and save those who want to follow you.” If only it were that easy! Usually murderers and liars live long, even if they have miserable and toxic lives, and they make the lives of those around them miserable and toxic as well. The Psalmist wishes and prays for a reality where the unjust and wicked will be stopped or even killed, and the faithful and trusting will be saved.Isn’t that in sync with God’s will? Why does God not just stop evil? Why does God allow evil to go on? And who are the wicked?

Maybe I need to ask differently: Why do we humans allow evil to go on? Why has religion been (ab)used so many times to justify wickedness, condone oppression and perpetuate lies inside and outside of its religious communities? How can life giving spiritual values at times become so perverted that people use religious language to make lies and evil deeds “look good”?

Prayer: God, we are tempted to join the Psalmist asking for protection and wishing for you to intervene and stop the murderers, the wicked and the liars, as if this was alone your job and not also ours. Help us to see when we are the ones called to stop violence, when we are called to name injustice and to speak truth into falsehood. Save us, God, by giving us courage to openly name the destruction and the lies that exist inside and outside of our communities. Help us stop the violence and change the wicked ways in our own communities first, so that we are believable when we work to change the world. Amen

Psalm 55:23 But you, O God, will send the wicked down to the pit of destruction. Murderers and liars will die young, but I am trusting you to save me.

 

Teens feel vulnerable…

Vulnerability is the birthplace of connection and the path to the feeling of worthiness. If it doesn’t feel vulnerable, the sharing is probably not constructive. Brene Brown

Meditation: Yesterday I spoke sternly, I even yelled a few words. I was upset. I was angry. As mother that is what you do when a teenager lies to you, don’t you? I lectured, I demanded changed behavior, I proclaimed “You did not pass the test”… And then I stepped away. I did not like that she lied. Yet I also did not like the way I came across. It did not feel constructive and only raised the resistance on her side. And when I calmed down and went deeper, I realized that underneath my anger was worry and fear. I had been afraid something could have happened to her. I felt vulnerable as a Mom who wants to protect her children. And so I went back to her. We were disconnected after what happened. She was shut down, just as her door was locked. I started with: “Can I, please, talk to you?” I shared that I had been worried and afraid as her Mom who wants to protect her. She shared why she had lied, as she felt I would not have given her the freedom and space she needed. We saw things from each other’s perspective. It felt vulnerable, yet connecting and constructive. We talked about how to handle a similar situation better in the future. And then we ate together, as the whole ordeal had made both of us hungry.

Prayer: God of vulnerability, help us as parents and help our teens to find back to connection in those places of vulnerability. Help us both admit openly our basic feelings of fear, anger and worry as we walk together through those difficult teenage years. Help us to admit that we love each other, even though our tone, behavior and words seem to contradict this truth all too often. Help us parents to make the first step in showing our vulnerability, as teenage life is nothing but… Amen

Then Peter (a Mom) came up and said to him, “Lord, how often will my brother (my daughter) sin against me, and I forgive him (her)? As many as seven times?” Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times. Matthew 18:21-22