Archive for the ‘Forgiveness’ Category

Having been on the receiving end of many of these phrases and been made to feel like it is my burden alone to carry, it is time many of our called Christian favourite pull-out phrases go under the microscope. We tout these out making us feel like we have responded in a caring, Christian manner when in fact we have only added to the isolation and pain. Some of the responses below aren’t even biblical. Like many other sayings, they have come about from home spun, pull yourself up theology. I never want to be on the receiving end of these again, nor do I want to ever find myself saying them to someone in painful, messy, traumatic circumstances. Instead I hope to offer practical help, just turn up with the cleaning gear, the meal, the hug and never ever offer empty phrases or wait to be asked to help out. It also means forgiving those, who in their narrowness and inabilities, didn’t intentionally mean to harm. And hope through grace and maturity will grow to be more caring and embracing of pain in others.

Marilyn R. Gardner


  1. God will never give you more than you can handle. While some may believe it is theologically correct, depending on your definitions, it is singularly unhelpful to the person who is neck-deep in a crisis, trying to swim against a Tsunami. A wonderful phrase recently came from Support for Special Needs. They suggest changing this from “God will never give you more than you can handle” to “Let me come over and help you do some laundry.” This strikes me as even more theologically correct.
  2. It gets better. Yes, yes it does. But right then, it’s not better. And before it gets better, it may get way worse.
  3. When God shuts a door, he opens a window. Maybe, but maybe not. Maybe he just shuts a door. Maybe there is no window. There was no window for Job. There was a cosmic battle that raged as he sat in distress. There…

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Eating Disorder Recovery: Overcoming Denial of Your Past

Boy facing fearsIndividuals with an eating disorder or disordered eating are often unaware of the source of their pain. In order to begin the recovery process, they first must discover the wellspring of pain from the past. Denial is a significant detour in that quest.

There are two kinds of denial. The first is your own denial of what has happened to you. This may take the form of doubting that what you remember ever took place. Because the abuse has been denied, it may take on an unreal quality when remembered. Almost as if it happened to someone else. If the abuse is remembered, it is often seen through the prism that “explains” why the abuse was not really abuse after all.

Denial enters through self-talk. These are the messages repeated over and over to ourselves as we try to deal with the pain and our relationship with food. Thoughts of “nobody’s home is perfect” or “it could have been worse” or “it wasn’t that bad” or “there’s nothing I can do about it now” allow you to minimize the damage. “I should be strong enough to deal with this on my own” or “everyone turns to food when they’re down” increases frustration at the inability to bring the eating disorder or disordered eating under control.

But denial, this minimization of the pain, is merely a coping mechanism to keep the pain at bay. Denial is the ticket that allows you to transform life-altering pain into that limbo state of “not that bad.” If it is “not that bad,” you believe you can find the strength to go on.

The other form of denial comes from the person or people who hurt you. They may deny that the abuse ever took place or that there was not anything wrong with it if it did. He or she may accept that the event or events happened but deny responsibility or minimize the damage. This can happen regardless of the nature of the abuse. Whether the piece was a single, specific event, or a pattern of hurtful behavior carried over out a number of years, this person may refuse to accept the ramifications of his or her actions.

This person may even attempt to make you feel responsible for the abuse itself or responsible for your “version” of the events. They may deny the damage by calling into question your natural response to the damage.  It is to his or her benefit that denial goes both ways—their denial of the event and your denial of the damage done. They may resist acknowledging your eating disorder or the place food now has in your life, because acknowledgment means recognizing the abuse or pattern of hurtful behavior behind it.

So the responsibility for the abuse itself and the resulting eating disorder could be shoved back at you, increasing stress surrounding your eating disorder or pattern with you, escalating its progression. As this escalates, it becomes easier to focus your attention solely on its progress, diverting attention from the root cause.

The desire to go back and rewrite your past is seductive, especially if your past was one of the abuse and pain. Denial allows you to do just that. Denial takes the pages of your past and alters them according to “if onlys,” or it substitutes blank pages for the pain that is really there.

A familiar proverb assures us that those who refuse to learn the lessons of history are doomed to repeat them. You can also be said that those who deny the events of their own history are doomed to relive them. To deny abuse is to perpetuate it. The only way to stop the chain of abuse is to stop denying the truth of that abuse.

Each of us is the product of our experiences, and not one of us is immune to the pain they have cost us. We may not be able to control what happened to us, but we can control who we become as a result of those past events.

First, however, we need to look at those experiences honestly. The light of reality can seem harsh and bright to those who have been hiding from the truth. Clarity and detail spring forth from the light of truth.



Excerpts taken from Gregory L. Jantz, Hope, Help & Healing From Eating Disorders: A Whole-Person Approach To Treatment of Anorexia, Bulimia, and Disordered Eating, WaterBrook 2010.

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family therapy

As confronting and difficult as it is, getting 3 people in a room to talk about the past, feelings, where things are at the moment for them, is a good thing.

That was us this week. One mum, 2 kids and our counsellor. Sophie found it difficult, she is used to having the space all to herself and didn’t want to share. Will found it also confronting as he isn’t ready yet to talk. I no longer have anything to hide but found it hard to listen to my kids.

No one wanted to talk about dad, but we did get to talk a bit how anorexia stalled our family, and what it meant for brother and sister to live through that. With Will teetering on the edge of an ED it is was more poignant.

However as our counsellor said (and she is right), it’s about hearing, really hearing what is going on for other members of the family. We are all affected by the same events but see and feel them differently. By opening up, we can share, empathise and journey towards wholeness as a family.

It’s never about wiping out the past, but harnessing it and using it for growth and wholeness.

Our counsellor was so thrilled, we all get to do group therapy again next week!

Today Sophie sees the psychiatrist and tomorrow Will sees her. The psychiatrist has rung the dietitian Sophie saw, he has txt me. Our counsellor already knows this. Clearly a lot of phone calls and talking has gone on this week. Meaning, Will is not in a good spot and possibly his bloods have problems. Get those results tomorrow. Once Will is settled on his new medication, we will bring the dietitian into the mix of appointments. Yes it is back to the days of early recovery with Sophie, with rounds of appointments, medications and supplements.

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I can’t even begin to describe this week, never mind even post a small bit about it. It has been a very hard few days on all of us. So instead of putting any of that into words, I decided the best thing I can do is count my blessings. My gratitude list. My stars in the darkness list. Focus on the small things, the things that will get us through.

light in the darkness

  • The sun comes up each morning
  • I am blessed and surrounded by supportive friends
  • Help is never far away
  • Forgiveness is real and can be freely given to others
  • Sophie has finished her HSC!!!!!
  • She is getting in touch with deeper feelings about her dad
  • Will is not great, but managing
  • We have a new medication plan for him
  • He is starting to express more of his feelings
  • We are blessed to have such a caring professional medical team around us
  • Prayer and support from all areas
  • Again I have been given an album that musically holds me – this time it is Hillsong’s “Glorious Ruins”.

He Never Fails

When waters rise all around me
When mountains stand in the path I see
I look to love that’s unfailing
I look to grace that is all I need

For there is no one like our God
There’s no one like our God
There’s nothing that can stand against You
There’s no stronghold You can’t break
No life that You can’t save
Our God You never fail

Your light will shine through the darkness
Your word will calm every crashing wave
My hope it lies in Your promise
My faith it stands on the empty grave

For there is no one like our God
There’s no one like our God
There’s nothing that can stand against You
There’s no stronghold You can’t break
No life that You can’t save
Our God You never fail



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Whilst everyone who reads my blog is not christian, the below article is excellent. Yes, it comes from the christian viewpoint and is my personal belief. However the concept is very important in recovery. A lot of stories and biographies I have read explore the spiritual side of recovery. Recovery is a holistic term. It is about healing mind, body, and soul to be the full and effective person you were created to be. The exploration of your own spirituality adds depth, insight and wholeness to you as a person.


Eating Disorder Hope is a Christian organization dedicated to promoting eating disorder recovery for individuals of all faiths.

Here’s a question worthy of consideration: can you recover from an eating disorder without faith in God? The answer is simple. Absolutely.  And consider this: You can walk from California to New York, instead of driving a car; or clean your home each week with a toothbrush, instead of using modern conveniences such as a vacuum. But why would you?

Breaking free from an addiction is tremendously difficult; recovering from an eating disorder is no different.  It will undoubtedly be the hardest thing you will ever do. Then why do it alone?

spiritual journeyWays to find Spiritual Fulfillment While in Recovery

In the journey of healing and recovery, you will be able to re-discover and salvage a sense of purpose in your life that comes from giving and receiving, completeness through fellowship and compassion in relationships, counting ones self.

Here are some suggestions that may help you or your loved one have spiritual fulfillment when recovering from an eating disorder:

  • Recollect times in your life that you felt a greater sense of wholeness and solidity.  Delve into what might be keeping these things at a distance from you now.
  • Discover ways to introduce a pursuit that allows you to feel more purpose in life.  This can include religious affiliations, participation in the arts-such as dancing, singing, or painting, or anything that has a positive influence on promoting your wholeness as a person.
  • Consistently choose and uphold those activities that promote your greater purpose and fulfillment in life.
  • Keep in mind the spiritual nature of our existence as human beings and find ways that nurture your soul!

Articles on Faith & Spirituality in Eating Disorders Recovery

  • Spirituality in the treatment of eating disorders (ED) has become a widely-discussed topic among clinics and centers that specialize in helping ED sufferers.  One major reason seems to be a growing number of clients asking for individualized treatment that keeps their belief systems in mind; after all, people cannot simply leave their spiritual selves at the door when they seek relief from eating problems. Spiritual life is innate to many individuals’ self-understanding and identity, and to leave it unaddressed in treatment would leave these clients feeling as if their deepest convictions were pushed to the side. But how does a person’s spiritual world interact with her ED?
  • Perhaps one of the most challenging yet equally beautiful aspects about the recovery journey is the way we progress, develop and mature throughout the process.  Recovery does not just speak to one feature of us as human beings, but to our complete entity: Mind, Body, and Spirit.  Perchance one of the most apparent marks of progression in recovery from an eating disorder is the physical aspect.  This is seen as dangerous eating habits are ceased and as one allows the healing of their body while establishing a peaceful relationship with food.  There is a deep interconnection between physical and emotional/mental healing as one cannot exist or occur without the other. Read more about the role of spirituality in eating disorder recovery.
  • Are you in recovery from an eating disorder but feel as though you are stagnant in life?  Do you ever feel empty or that something in your life is missing?  Jenni Schaefer discusses the spiritual aspect of her own journey in recovery and how her search for God changed her healing process.  In acknowledging a higher power in your own recovery, you have the potential to embrace and behold a future you may have never known existed before.  Read this article to learn more eating disorders recovery with spirituality.
  • As human beings, we are composed of body, mind, and spirit.  If you or someone you love is seeking treatment for an eating disorder, it is helpful to address each of these components in the recovery process and healing journey.  In treating a man or woman in this whole person approach, the best possible chances for recovery will emerge.  Read this article to learn more about how Timberline Knolls, a treatment center, approaches eating disorder treatment with a faith-based component.
  • If you are a clinician seeking how to better address your clients individual needs, relating to the body, mind, and spirit, it is important to understand the spiritual component of psychological healing and care.  With a positive correlation between spirituality and psychotherapy, it is vital to make spiritual a significant part of the healing journey.  Read this article to learn more about how to provide comprehensive care by considering the whole mind-body-spirit in the recovery process.

Last Reviewed By: Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC on October 9, 2012


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But what if today we just owned a small part of ourselves?

What if we accepted a certain part — maybe even appreciated it?

What if we declared — maybe even out loud — that such and such part is OK?

Starting small is the idea. Accepting bits and pieces about ourselves and saying “I’m OK with that”. Recovery is learning to love ourselves, accepting ourselves as we are. To NOT compare ourselves with everyone else and to believe we are always on the ‘loser’ end.

So for me:

  • I want to write a bestseller. I’m OK with that.
  • I am smart and academic. I’m OK with that.
  • I am insecure about myself. I’m OK with that. I’m learning to be OK with that.
  • I am proud of my ability to have kept my kids safe, mistakes included. I’m OK with that.
  • I am a tech geek. I am OK with that.
  • I am romantic and hoping to fall in love again. I’m OK with that.
  • I am probably going to have depression for the rest of my life. I’m OK with that. TRULY!
  • I am a bit OCD. I’m OK with that.

Mention your likes and dislikes, your personality traits, your looks, your contradictions. Mention the seemingly small and the really big.

Start with a few words, if that feels more comfortable. Or write a paragraph, if you like. Or even an entire page. Keep it to yourself or share it with someone you trust. Meditate on it. Pray about it. Read it to a therapist.

This is you owning yourself. On your terms.

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In the end what is important is not apportioning blame or responsibility onto anyone. The aim of anything you read about eating disorders or learn is to be focussed on the recovery of your daughter or son. It’s about being there, loving unconditionally and being supportive. Both parents need to do this. If there is behaviour in the home that may need to be addressed then do so and move on. Don’t get hung up on she did, no he said, then he or she did….  That doesn’t help anyone. I am not picking on fathers but they do seem to struggle with the whole teenage girl part in itself. Their daughters growing up is not something many of them handle very well. When that daughter then gets sick with a mental health illness it becomes easier to just hide and let someone else hold the reigns. Mothers can do exactly the same thing as fathers, but it is not as common. The bottom line that brushes away all our failures as parents and our human nature, is that our daughter or son needs us to recover. That is the point we need to focus on and to put aside our own fears, frailities, insecurities etc and get on with being there for them.


  • This is my own post about a father’s role in his daughter’s life


  • Ten tips and ten things dads should know


  • Research findings about the importance of the father role in eating disorder recovery


  • Paper: How important is the father in eating disorder recovery


  • In 1991 Margo Maine wrote (in ‘Father Hunger) : “It is time to focus on the positive and crucial role that fathers can play in their daughters’ emerging identity and self-esteem.”


  • A blog written by a father about living and dealing with his daughter’s eating disorder


  • Father and daughter relationships


  • Father hunger – this one is more for the daughters or sons who feel they have no relationship with their father.


  • Ten tips for dads to respond in healthy, supportive ways to their daughters if they have an eating disorder. Is also just plain good communication regardless of whether your daughter is ill or not.

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