Rain is so refreshing in the upper Midwest this time of year. The ground is parched, days seem to grow hotter and longer, and the air is more humid and still. As I write, I can hear the storm gathering outside and I am so thankful for the noise of thunder and the cleansing gift of water from the sky.
Several years ago, the Lord (in his infinite wisdom) chose to redeem me from a dismal pit of sin. Let me be clear – we’re not talking about a sinner who had never before heard the call of Christ. I had been a Christian from a young age, having accepted Christ as my savior when I was a preteen. No, I was someone who had slowly but surely allowed my life to become a place where even I didn’t know I was capable of living. I had consciously turned my back on my faith so that my desires for my life could reign. God very surely brought people into my life at that time who were instrumental in turning my life back towards Him.
I am a woman who has struggled with depression for as long as I can remember. In addition, I have struggled with negative self image, perfectionism, and mildly obsessive-compulsive behavior ever since I was a young child. I developed an eating disorder early in college, only to finally get the help of a nutritionist approximately 8 years later and (finally!) the help of a behavioral therapist about 2 years after that. My first marriage unfortunately was not successful and was, I believe, a casualty of my choice to live a life outside of what God has ordained as good. The ending of my marriage was where the Lord came into the picture.
Part of the behavioral therapy with my eating disorder was keeping a journal. It was especially important to journal during my darkest mental periods, when my demon of self-hatred was at its worst, beating me into submission. The clarity of reading these types of journal entries after the storm has passed and I am back in my “right” mind has always been amazing. I am able to clearly see how my inner demons lie to me. I have written many times in my journal, “I just want someone to SEE ME. I don’t feel like anyone can see me.” This is a common feeling among people with eating disorders, especially anorexic behavior. They are slowly starving themselves out of the literal desire to physically become smaller and smaller, all the while wishing that someone could actually look inside of them and SEE them for who they really are.
Then we come to Genesis 16:13. Hagar, the Egyptian maidservant, has become pregnant by Abram and is fleeing the harsh treatment of Abram’s wife Sarai. Yet we read that an angel of the LORD (written in all capital letters in the Old Testament as a translation of the Hebrew word for “YHWH” or “Yahweh”) finds Hagar by a spring of water (“sees her”) and assures her that the LORD has listened to her affliction and she will be blessed. Hagar’s responds to God by calling Him “El Roi,” which can be translated as “You are a God of seeing” or “You are a God who SEES ME.”
Yes, and God saw me too. As part of His process of healing me from depression and disordered eating, he gave me the desire to start an educational ministry for women and girls called “Women In His Image.” And this is just the beginning.