“Pastor told me to come and speak to you...it’s about food.”
This simple sentence created the perfect foundation for a new-found friendship.
Onaola and I had met at church; we often shared laughs about kale, but I noticed Onaola would conveniently be ‘fasting’ when we celebrated our church potluck. For the first two months, I kept it to myself but the third consecutive month, I mentioned it to my husband as I saw Onaola running out of the church, yet again.
I kept an eye on her as the months passed, but there was always an overwhelming sense of mother hen as I was continuously reminded of this behavior; a behavior I had known quite well. More and more I could see the mood changes, but other than praying for Onaola, I did not address what was believed to be a delicate subject. Then, one beautiful Sunday she came and sat next to me, gently requesting to talk.
Our first meeting went fantastic, it was in the second hour when she announced her previous struggle with an eating disorder. Within minutes she was sobbing using the words, “fat” and "diet.” God gave me a nudge and said, "this is it." God opened a door, knowing the love I have for counseling and helping people create a healthy relationship with food.
In those following weeks, we became friends. We prayed, cried, and modified eating habits. Even though troubling times arose, the friendship grew and the spirits died off. There were ups and downs and long conversations but five months later, there stood a lovely young woman, tears filling her eyes; Onaola declared freedom from her eating disorder. Onaola's words quivered as she spoke in front of our church congregation. This declaration was not planned but she began pouring her heart out, revealing all the struggles no one but her and I knew about.
Then I heard my name. She had turned her body toward me, speaking the most beautiful worlds I’ve ever heard from another woman,
“Thank you Carolyn. You helped save my life.”
This compliment created tears to whelp up in my eyes as I dashed for tissues. Her words were recognition from God for loving with no expectation of anything in return.
It was pure.
It was raw and real.
She spoke love.
It was then I realized, “I was used!”
I was a vessel, God used me! In all of my mess, for years on end, God used me.
All of the laxatives, restriction, compulsive weighing, fasting and starvation, He used me!
Here it is, years later, and it was all worth it because for the first time since God delivered me, I was finally able to give back what someone once gave me.
Thank you Father for delivering my dear friend. Thank you for intervening in our lives and making us whole again. Without you Father God, we would be nothing. I ask for You to continue to guide our steps on a path of Righteousness and create us in the likeness of You. Father, I ask You to continue working on our hearts, creating the best versions of ourselves as possible. In Jesus' Name, Amen.