I knew I had blown it.
On the other line was someone I couldn’t believe was calling me… and there I was dumbfounded.
With her being the ex-marketing director of American music bands like Delirious from Nashville and Founder of an NGO organizing a big conference coming up in June, I desperately wanted to impress.
I was certain it would be useless. After all, she had never even met me. I was stuttering. I spoke in an accent that was difficult to hear. Why would she even trust me?
As I ruined the moment with stuttery ahs and errs, she finally interrupted me, “OK so, what will you be speaking on next week at Hopkins?”
“What? You mean next week on Sarah-Faith’s birthday at the Kitesong Launch?”
This time, I knew it was over.
At her conference, were leaders in the field speaking about therapy, clinical recovery and counseling. Celebrity singers were being featured. Now that she had found out I was from Hopkins, I was certain my answer would be a letdown.
As soon as the word left my mouth, I cringed.
I had seen people cringe at the word before, associating me with being fluffy and of no substance. In my mind, I saw her shaking her head, face-palming at her waste of time on a phone conversation with me, one which had taken a long time to coordinate.
Instead, she went wild.
“Seriously?! Because I have ALL my speakers lined up for the event and I’m missing the keynote closing speaker whom I want to speak on Dreams. You’re the person I’ve been praying for all this while! I’ve read your story, now I’ve heard your voice. You’re coming to Nashville! And I want your husband to come speak to us on marriage too! You both HAVE to come!”
Suddenly, at that moment, a million memories, fragmented like broken glass through the years of pain and darkness, became mirrors that reflected the sun’s infinite light.
That week, was the final week she was finalizing speakers for the conference. Had we been connected a week later, it would have been too late. She was connected to me through her psychiatrist friend, who was the sister-in-law of a faculty at Hopkins who found out about my burden to help women with eating disorders when she accidentally picked up a copy of “A Taste of Rainbow” displayed on my professor’s desk at her office.
I know. It could only be God.
For so many years I had grappled with the meaningless of my experience with depression and anorexia. Besides making a good news story, I often saw little meaning in it. I kept filing it away, determined to bury this dream of trying to help others. Although people approached me for advice occasionally, either for themselves or loved ones, things often stalled once they found out I did not have a miracle answer, and the way out was a journey of faith and courage to seek help.
Uncannily enough, on International Women’s Day, when women around the world were being celebrated, I received the finalized flyer for the conference, and a link to an online support group for people suffering from struggles with weight and identity.
As I saw my name printed on the brochure, I thought of the thousands of women like me who struggle with this silently and publicly, daily and continuously, to small and debilitating extents, as they are sold the lie that one can never truly be free of the bondage of comparison and worthlessness.
I thought of the many whose stories of freedom and hope continue to await to be written because within the very same box which the enemy has tried to keep them in, lies the very key to the very destiny that God has called them to, to set other captives free.
This month, as millions of women around the world are being celebrated, you might know someone struggling with an eating disorder or self-esteem issue and feel at a loss as to how to help them. You know it’s not an issue about vanity, but identity. You know there is hope, if only they would reach out.
You are not alone. For years, I struggled with how to reply the desperate voices struggling to find help for their loved ones, and struggled to find resources.
Today, something that I’ve only dreamed of being a part of exists.
If you know someone longing to find the freedom that she deserves, tell her that she’s not alone. If she’s in America, encourage her or go with her to the conference this June in Nashville- it will not be just an event, but a life-changing milestone. http://www.findingbalance.com/hfh/
And if she’s unable to, share this online support program with her. Wherever she is around the world, and at whatever stage of struggle she’s in, there is hope. She is not alone- http://www.findingbalance.com/support/
This June, Cliff, Sarah-Faith and I will be in Nashville speaking on the miracles in marriage and the hope of freedom. We hope to see you there.