About Erica: I am an Air Force wife with 3 kids...8, 6, and almost 3.
Lets face it, we all are a bunch of hot messes to some degree! Some days I am more of a hot mess than others. Just when I feel like things are going well and everyone is happy…BAM! Hot mess time!
Probably one of my biggest things that I have struggled with my entire life is insecurity. Some people remember all sorts of memories when they were younger, me….not so much. Early alzheimer’s? I don’t think so. My memories really start coming to me probably around middle school. I don’t remember a lot of specifics though. I just remember the pain of middle school and being ackward. Yes looking back we were all ackward, but feeling different is never any fun. We moved when I started 7th grade. I felt at the time that this was like a perfect time to start over. But this is where I really feel my insecurity took off or that this is where my memories really come to me.
I felt like I was “average” in just about everything. I was and still am a shy person and making friends was a struggle. One of the activities that I was involved with at this time in my life was swimming. This I was a little more than average in. I have struggled with being thin my entire life. I have always been curvy but at this time I was healthy and an athlete. I remember in 9th grade a fellow swimmer asked if I would go “out” with him. He wasn’t nice and I said no. He was embarrassed and like I said before…mean, so he retaliated and decided to call me Pear-ica in front of the entire swim team. That was my nickname that followed me throughout the remainder of my life. I can still recall this day exactly… we were using our kickboards during swim practice after school. It’s amazing to me how one mean boy could basically shape how I feel about myself….miserable. I don’t think I will ever forget that day.
Anyways, this lead to further low self esteem and trying to keep up with the cool crowd, but all the while being insecure. My best friend in high school was a mean girl. She turned on me our senior year when I made Captain of the cheerleading squad and she was co-captain. She began to say all kinds of false nasty things about me and made my last year of high school absolutely awful. Again all so juvenile but at such a vulnerable time of my life. All of my so called friends went to this party after graduation, but after graduation I just hung out with a few other people swearing I would never really see these people again. My parents still live in this town. Thankfully they are on the outskirts of town and to this day I loathe going into town. I haven’t been able to get myself to go to a high school reunion yet. I honestly don’t know if I will ever get over the pain that high school brought. I have said to myself that I have forgiven them, but it is still too painful.
College came and I had no sense of who I was. I knew what I wanted to do with my life but I didn’t know who I was. In high school and college, I experimented with alcohol and other things. I had no self respect. I felt like I never fit in and it was very lonely at times. I had a few friends but again always put people at bay. My high school boyfriend ended up going to the same university as I attended. He ended up cheating on me and we broke up. This was heartbreaking because although I knew we weren’t really meant for each other, I still thought maybe he was the one. Apparently not. I finished the last 2 years of college just studying my butt off to avoid the heartache of friends. I had a few close friends, but I had enough of the partying and it never got me anywhere. I graduated college and started working right away as a nurse.
I met my husband in my mid 20’s and after being together for almost 15 years I still struggle with insecurity to a degree. I struggle with trust as well. It’s different now that I am “older”. I still feel like some days are like high school and college but in so many ways I am different from back then. I didn’t know Jesus then but oh how I wish I did. When I had my first child, my daughter, I knew I wanted so much better for her. I didn’t want her to feel the lonely, insecure thoughts that I had growing up. I wanted to protect her from the hurt I felt. I knew that we all needed something more! When my husband was deployed for a year, I was living with my parents. My oldest was 2 ½ and I also had a newborn. I started going to Church with my parents and after several months I became saved. It wasn’t like a magic wand was waved and everything was perfect, but how much I have learned and grown over the years. It has been not quite 6 years since the day I became saved. My life since has had it’s ups and downs and is still filled with insecurity but how much better it has been. I have really learned that God loves me, made me special, I am special and I matter. I have chosen a man who is military and there is constant upheaval but I am so much more calm and secure in myself because of Jesus. I still struggle trying to “fit in” with each move but again I feel like this is getting a little easier…finally. I become insecure over my house…whether it’s clean enough or not. I am finally getting to the point where things like this don’t matter as much and what a relief, because quite frankly feeling insecure all the time is exhausting!
Again, we all have things that we have had to deal with and it changes even today all of the time. No one is perfect and I love the idea that we all have our own beautiful mess that we get to have!
About Christine: I am an Air Force wife and mom to two wonderful boys.
On October 18, 2013 God worked an instant and perfect miracle in me. Wait, let me back up a little.
I have always struggled with my self-esteem and body image. As a young girl, about eight or nine, I started taking weight loss pills to lose weight. I was not over weight at all at the time, underweight if anything. But in my mind, I was fat. I had a huge stomach, and was ugly. I don’t even know where I got the pills from. No one bought them specifically for me. I did not steal them. Yet, somehow, I took them regularly. Although in time, I stopped taking the pills, the mean and negative thought about
myself and food never went away. There was almost no food I could eat without feeling guilty. If it was not raw plain carrots, I would hate myself for eating it. But since I would still eat the food, I thought I was fine. I thought that was “normal” for woman to hate them self and their bodies. I thought every woman said mean things to them self when they looked in the mirror. This went on for about a decade.
Then God started to change my heart. Over the months before the Mops convention in 2013, I started to hear from God. He began working in me and gave me a grace that allowed me to really pursue recovery. I thought that since I did not vomit, or completely stop eating, I thought I was fine. That this was as good as it gets for some people. I did not have an eating disorder. I had gotten over that years ago…. Or so I thought. God showed me that day that not being able to eat anything at all without guilt and bad feelings is in fact an eating disorder. That thinking I am ugly, fat, and will never be as thin or pretty again as back in blank time…. When I still thought I was fat and ugly….is not the life he had planned for me. I sat in the convention room, crying as I heard the speaker talk. She had us right down on a piece of paper our biggest burden, and then crumple it up and though it away. And in that moment. I finally heard what he had been telling me… screaming at me. I wrote down “eating disorder” crumpled it up fast so none of my friends could see, and threw it away. I prayed to God to let me see myself the way I see my friends, and my husband see me. Please take away these thoughts Jesus. I don’t want do this anymore. In that very moment, Jesus healed my mind completely.
To this day, I am 3 months food guilt free and when I say free, I mean free from behaviors AND mental battles! I used to go through a day praying I wouldn't slip and feeling weak and now it isn't even a thought in my mind. I wanted to share because I believe that I am living proof that God can heal and deliver people from mental illnesses with one prayer. If you give your burdens over to God, he will take them off of your shoulders. That is was Father’s do.
Over the course of the next year we look forward to bringing you posts from members of our steering team, our mentor moms, MOPS Volunteer Staff and the MACC pastoral staff!