This post was written by Adventer Shanna Shadoan. Thank you so much for sharing what God has been doing in your life, Shanna!
“He will beautify the humble with salvation” - Psalm 149:4
I - who have been consumed with how ugly I felt for so many years - beautiful? But it’s true. The Lord has beautified my life, a life that many times I’ve been willing to throw away.
I spent the last ten years of my life dreadfully ill, sick of an eating disorder and virtually incapable of an honest relationship. See, the worst part of being so sick is that not eating gives you so many things to avoid: birthdays, family dinners, Thanksgiving…all celebrations of any sort. It is, indeed, a holidayless existence. I can remember wondering how many calories communion wafers have in the - forget birthday cake. And in order to do all of that holiday-avoiding, you end up lying all the time. And when you are lying to everyone you love, it is impossible to feel close to them.
I have been terribly lonely. Truly, I felt like I was perishing of it; that it wasn’t lack of food, but lack of love, a starvation of the most basic need. I was lonely for so long that once I finally feared that I couldn’t bear it any longer and I found help with my eating. It was a blessing of the most tremendous magnitude - I found myself in a situation to have full therapeutic support in recovery. I began to get better, with many tears, one difficult mouthful at a time.
But still I was astonishingly lonely. Soul-lonely. Even in the middle of my friends’ birthday parties, I’d feel deeply and terribly alone, such a big aloneness that it would sometimes make me panic.
At the time, I lived in a very cold place where I could hear church bells every day. And one day, walking home and maybe hearing the bells, or at least thinking about the bells, I knew that I had to write away to some charity that would give me a free Bible. It was weird, how intense it was, how the idea just came to me.
So I found a website that would mail me one, and I got it, and it just started things changing.
When I moved back to Denver, I Google-mapped all the churches within a certain distance of my house, vowing to stay at the church that was the friendliest. Good news, guys! It was you. You were so friendly that I felt that this was the right place for me. And you know the story from there on out, probably, right? The way things change when you know there is an impossible love, that you are a child of the Most High King. Where your heart is so full of peace and brightness and even when things seem impossible there are piles of blessings all around you-AND that peace even when you are in the darkest of depressions and God feels infinitely far away. Even recently, when I was struggling with a terrible depression and crying for hours and hours, I could cling and wait and know that someday He will wipe away all tears from all faces, and our hearts will know no grief anymore. It’s not that I wasn’t still sad during those times. It’s that my heart was restless until it found rest in the Lord.