Cissie Graham Lynch, daughter of Franklin Graham, began battling an eating disorder in high school. It’s a story she first shared about five years ago but it continues to encourage many who find themselves in the same situation.
“… Just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” —Matthew 20:28
It used to hold me captive. It was the first thing I thought of in the morning and the last thing I thought of before falling asleep. I was a prisoner in my own skin. I hated myself. I hated the person I saw looking back at me in the mirror. It became my secret.
I remember the first time I noticed my weight. It was the week before going into my junior year of high school. We had just started volleyball practice, and one of my friends came back from summer break after a noticeable amount of weight loss. She looked gorgeous. But it just wasn’t her weight loss I noticed. It was the positive and negative attention she received—positive from people who thought she looked great and negative from the girls who were jealous and people who shared real concerns.
And that is when my eating disorder and addiction began. Three years of misery. It first started with just a small diet, then diet pills, and then laxatives. Every night I went to bed angry that I allowed myself to eat too much during the course of the day. And since I didn’t think I could control my eating habits, I turned to laxatives.
I had pills hidden in my car, in my locker, in my purse, in my closet, in my backpack, and anywhere else I thought necessary. Many days I took up to eight pills.
Many nights I cried myself asleep. I was angry because of what I ate, and cried because of the bondage it had over me. I wanted to be set free. I prayed countless nights, “Lord please allow me to see myself through your eyes and not my own.” Over and over again I prayed.
For some of us, over-managing weight is about control, for some looks, for some depression, and for some attention. But all of those reasons are selfish.
I prayed for three years for the Lord to heal me. I guess I expected an overnight miracle, but those rarely exist in these situations.
I honestly can’t tell you a particular day when I was completely set free. Healing was definitely a process.
I took a semester off to work in an orphanage in Thailand, and during my time there I realized I was no longer thinking of myself first thing in the morning or last thing at night. I was there to serve others, but most importantly I was serving the Lord. My days were filled with His word and His promises.
Being flooded with God’s Word was the only tool that could pull me out of my pit.
When I decided to serve Him wholeheartedly before serving myself, He gave me the desires of my heart.
“Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.” —Psalm 37:4