8 years ago on my 24th birthday, I was in tears.
I should have said “No” firmly and ignored the hounding calls. But my insecurity, inexperience and most of all, a deep sense of fear that everything I had been through would go to waste bound me.
So I allowed an aggressive, interrogative news reporter to hound me up till midnight, threatening me to drop the news story if I didn’t give her what she wanted.
For my birthday that year, I had envisioned it would be beautiful that I should be interviewed about my recovery journey which culminated in publishing “A Taste of Rainbow.” It seemed uncanny that my birthday landed on Eating Disorder Awareness Week.
But the reporter had different plans- her goal was to publish a sensationalist story about a medical doctor who had anorexia, and the juicy details of the sickness which every health professional had cautioned me not to share, for fear of triggering those with the illness among the public.
That night, in desperation, I remember calling Cliff who was still in Canada (we were still only penpals then)- and I’ll never forget the verse he said to me over the short conversation, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. – Genesis 50:20.”
Right after that, the aggressive, threatening calls stopped.
The story was dropped, my book never got news coverage that week, and I felt like a failure- as if my vulnerability had been a complete waste.
Yet, that verse stuck to me. And over the years, I stand amazed at the ways God has used the book I most despise and am embarrassed by, in His own time.
In those 8 years, it was the first title to undergo reprint, the first to enter America and most recently, Canada to be used by treatment centers formally to help patients in therapy, and the first that opened doors for me to be invited as a keynote speaker in USA.
This year for my birthday, as I reflected upon the ways of God, of how He turns our pain into purpose, I pre-recorded my birthday podcast entitled “The Purpose of Our Pain”, together with a special series of 5-day interviews and messages with experts in the field to answer the many, many questions I’ve received from those struggling and their loved ones over the years.
Based on Genesis 50:20, it is an intensely personal message of how God uses the pain in our lives to give us the victory and authority to bless and heal others.
This time, I wondered, again, if all my efforts of creating these resources (amidst planning Sarah-Faith’s birthday party and baby shower that week) would be of any use to anyone, if my pain would be a waste.
I thought the thought silently, but God must have heard it loud and clear.
Yesterday, on the morning of my birthday, Cliff and I decided to do something different, and visit a church nearby run by our friends.
As usual, I brought Sarah-Faith to the children’s Sunday school, and expected to sit through a lesson of crafts or of stories I had heard many times over.
As I sat there, my hair stood on end, as of all verses that could have been taught that Sunday, the lesson that was taught to a group of rambunctious kids in a place I decided to visit once was exactly the verse that was spoken to me on my birthday 8 years ago by Cliff, the same one I had used to share my birthday message on the podcast that weekend- “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. – Genesis 50:20.”
As I sat there in awe, tears built behind my eyes, as I thought about the incredulity of this all coming full circle.
I felt God speaking to me, that He knows what He is doing, and that He doesn’t need our striving to bring His plans to pass.
As I turn 32, my hope is that these series of messages will be a blessing, to those who are struggling and to those who carry the heavy burden of seeing others struggle.
If you know someone who might be blessed, please share these series of messages this week with them at www.kitesong.com/podcast
And to those of you know the taste of sorrow, know this- that God uses all our pains for His purposes, and they shall never be wasted in eternity.
On our special 5-day “Faith, Hope & Recovery” Series, we’re answering questions sent in by our brave listeners from the Kitesong Podcast!
With a power-packed week of inspiring interviews and messages, join us as we unpack how our pain has a purpose, in light of Eating Disorder Awareness Week.
We have RaeLynn Spanagel DeAngelis, the Founder of Living in Truth Ministries sharing a powerful story of recovery; Amanda Stutz, a mental health counsellor from McCallum Place, a treatment center in Missouri USA, and our very own Founder Wai Jia sharing their wisdom and experience with us.
Share this with your friends and family who need a word of hope, especially if they know someone struggling with an eating disorder.