My testimony, in essence, is really a LOVE story. A Story of a little girl who truly believed that she was unlovable, unwanted, and invisible. A story of a God who saw her, rescued her, and won her heart. As she grew, He watched as her heart became captivated with other things. He watched as she forgot who she was, who she belonged to; and tried desperately to draw life from herself and others. But He could not give up on her, because SHE BELONGED TO HIM.”
This is MY story of how God has loved me, and has so gently drawn my gaze back to HIM, the one that I had always loved. The only one who can AMAZINGLY satisfy the longings in my heart”
When Christina was a young girl, her mother became a Christian and she grew up in a church where she felt accepted and loved. She accepted Jesus into her heart when she was only seven years of age. Though church was her “absolute favorite place in the whole world,” life at home was unhappy. Her mother battled depression and an alcohol addiction and her parents did not get along. “As I look back on my life, I can see a pattern starting, in which it would seem as if I was living two lives.”
When she was 12 years old, her mom disappeared for a day without explanation. This started a pattern of disappearing without warning or explanation. Her parents eventually divorced, and after about a year Christina’s mom left for good and she didn’t see her for a very long time. Christina focused on her dad, trying to work hard to keep things at home perfect, worried by a fear that he might leave also. At 13 years old, Christina read an article about a young woman who battled with bulimia, and this planted a seed that grew into an eating disorder that would stay with her for the next 16 years.
After high school Christina traveled around Canada with a Christian theater company and then had an opportunity to intern with a youth pastor at an “exciting, charismatic church.” However the eating disorder stayed with her and she did not face it until a couple of girls in the youth group she led, confessed their struggles to her. At the suggestion of her pastor Christina started counseling
MARRIAGE, MINISTRY AND MASKS
Around this time Christina met her husband Trevor, she was attracted to the freedom she saw in him. “He was just Trevor. He didn’t try to impress anyone, and I so badly wanted this freedom in my own life.” After dating for a while, she told Trevor that she was getting help for an eating disorder, and with hope for her healing, they got engaged, and married in June 2004.
Unfortunately, married life became A “magnified version of the double life standard” from her childhood. Hiding the reality of her inner struggles and outwardly living a “perfect” life.
Christina and Trevor were very active in the church and youth ministry, always smiling and enthusiastic. They had a new house, great friends, fun vacations, and genuinely good times, but on the inside of their home, life was very different.
“I was depressed a lot of the time, trying to numb myself by eating next to nothing and obsessively exercising. I had to quit my job, as I was too weak and would frequently faint. I was in and out of the hospital and treatment programs, feeling so ashamed of myself, and what was going on in my head. I didn’t know what was wrong with me or how to get over this.”
Christina’s mom came back into her life when she heard that Christina was sick. She stopped drinking moved to the city where Christina lived, then moved in for a while to be a support for Christina. Christina’s heart opened up to her, but in a short while she began drinking again and then one day, as she had before, she disappeared.
“I was devastated this time, assuming that I was just too much for anyone to handle. How horrible of a person could I be, if my mom didn’t even want to be around me? My passion for life was suffocated with the darkness I felt. I believed I had failed Trevor, being locked in my own world of pain. He was, always lovingly devoted to me and audaciously fought to be everything I needed, but I feared that secretly he wished that he had never married me. And I despised myself for all the hurt that I had caused him.
Even more devastating to me was the devouring sense that I had failed God. I had read self help books, attended seminars, freedom prayer, read my bible more, but I remained stuck. I couldn’t be real with God anymore and felt like I had to have more faith, pull myself together, and work a little harder; and because I couldn’t, I just assumed that God was disappointed with me. I believed that there was so much more to a life with God than what I was living…this ABUNDANT LIFE I so often dreamt about seemed out of my reach and I had no idea how to get there.”
At one of her stays in the hospital, a nurse, told Christina about Mercy Ministries and encouraged her to apply. Eventually, with Trevor’s agreement, she applied for Mercy, and came to the home in Surrey on August 2nd, 2011.”
“How in the world do I begin to put into words, the absolute miracle that has taken place in my life these past eight months? I am CERTAIN that the Christina I am today has nothing to do with me and everything to do with God’s work in me.
Now, when I remember specific painful moments in my past; I can see, in my mind, Jesus, standing right there beside me. Holding me, loving me, and giving me strength. If He was with me then, there is this conviction deep inside that He will always be there as I walk into the future… When I think of shameful memories; I can see His eyes, and the way He is looking past my behavior, right into my heart, and calling me beautiful and cherished.
My heart is FILLED with Love and tenderness toward my mom, and I know that God will lead her back to Himself. I also believe that my dad will come to know Him, and that God will heal my siblings’ hearts, just like He did mine.”
Christina describes how God used Mercy Ministries to free her in this way:
“I WAS LOVED! Staff have cared about me, accepted me, on days I was striving to perfection, and when I was plagued with insecurity. Day in and day out, I was seen, listened to, prayed for and challenged. I was given space to wrestle things through. They have shared their hearts and lives with me, allowed me to share mine as well, and encouraged me as I learned about the Grace of God.”
SAYING GOODBYE TO THE EATING DISORDER
As Christina faced the pain of her past The Lord led her to do one more thing:
“At God’s leading, I wrote a letter to the eating disorder. I wrote about how it had initially captivated me, and helped me in a tough time. Then how it had deceived me, trapped me, and eventually stole EVERYTHING from me. I wrote about how God has rescued me and adopted me. I belong to Him now.” He offers me genuine security and true life. I wrote that I knew God was asking me to let go of the eating disorder, so that He could show me how to walk in health and His authentic beauty.”
So, one date night, Christina and Trevor walked down to the beach. She tearfully read the letter, Trevor prayed, and destroyed the letter as a symbol of freedom from the eating disorder
“We walked away, that night, holding hands, smiling, and FREE of this obnoxious entity that had plagued my life for 16 years and our marriage for 7. NOW THAT’S A MIRACLE!”