So I realized the other day that I never posted my testimony that I promised a few months ago. And I have been HORRIBLE at taking pictures here lately. Hence, not much to blog about! So I think it's perfect timing to let you in on what all has happened in my life in the past 29 years. And what God's done with it. =)
I've had it written out because I've spoken at different events.. also had it posted on Kayla's devo blog last fall so if you read it there it's the same thing. =)
I have always prayed that my testimony is not a crazy soap opera story but evidence of what God has accomplished in my life so far. There is such a difference between a life story and testimony. So here’s my testimony…
I had your typical Christian upbringing. I am the youngest of 3 with parents that were incredibly amazing. They loved each other, put our needs before their own, and most importantly they loved Christ and they implemented His Love into our family. I accepted Christ at a young age at church camp and was baptized. In high school I did pretty well in gymnastics and volleyball, had boyfriends, and always had a ton of friends. I was very active in my church youth group and never missed a Sunday of church. When people would stand up in church and give their testimony, I remember thinking, “Wow... I have had a really easy life and my testimony is so incredibly boring!”
My “boring” testimony ended when I left for college in the fall of 98’. I met a guy (let’s call him Kurt) and we quickly fell in love. Everything seemed perfect except for one huge thing… he wasn’t a Christian. I could see the potential in him and even though I was warned about being yolked with an unbeliever, I stayed with him. After many long talks, lots of tears, and my threat of breaking up with him, he accepted God into his heart.
During this time, I became very obsessed with my eating and how much I exercised. Growing up, I was always the cute chubby girl with blond ringlets. In high school someone hurt my feelings and I decided to watch what I ate and lost 20 pounds. Because I was an athlete I still had a very muscular build. So in college, I decided to not gain the freshman 15, but loose it. My day would consist of an hour and a half of cardio, a salad for lunch and dinner and of course I had to walk a couple of miles to class. I knew how many calories gum had in it and I wouldn’t even eat hard candy. One day I journaled my exercise and what I ate to find that I only consumed 500 calories and burned 700. I got down to 105 pounds... a healthy Darcy is about 130. Despite my hair falling out, fatigue and uncontrollable tears, I thought I looked pretty good... but could afford to loose a few pounds. From the outside everyone thought I looked perfect, but on the inside I was very depressed and seeked something deeper than what my cute new body was providing me. Some of the reasons that my family and friends thought I struggled with this eating disorder was because I tended to be obsessive compulsive, loved to be in control and didn’t have sports to consume my life now that I was in college. As I look back at the situation now, I realize that I was making my body an idol and worshiping it. I was sinning big time and trying to achieve perfection in the world’s eyes. I know now that this was totally a lie from Satan and I completely believed him.
During the worst part of my eating obsession my mom became very sick. She was having severe back pain and after many months of tests we finally discovered that she had Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma of the bone, cancer in stage-4. God used the diagnosis of mom’s illness to make me examine my own illness. I was harming my body INTENTIONALLY and mom couldn’t help what was happening to hers. Praise God for His timing! I needed to be healthier to divert the attention OFF MYSELF and to mom’s health.
She started chemo immediately after we discovered that she had cancer. About a year after her diagnosis and many rounds of chemo that helped shrink her tumors, she underwent a stem cell transplant. We could tell that God was in control during the month that she was hospitalized for the transplant. For example, the 29 year old in the room beside her passed away while going through the same procedure that she was going through but somehow mom was strong enough to make it through. She was able to donate her own stems cells so we had no need to find a match and worry about her body rejecting the cells. Infections that could have killed her stayed away throughout the transplant. She was in total isolation during the procedure. One person could see her at a time with gloves, a mask and booties. She wore a mask months after her transplant because bacteria could have killed her. God brought her out of the transplant stronger and with less cancer. We were never told that she was in “remission”, but just that her tumors had shrunk. We believe that it prolonged her life by 1-2 years. A verse that I found during this time that really helped me was, “Romans 5:3-5 “Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance, perseverance character and character hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.” God really showed me the power of prayer and hope. Instead of worrying about Kurt, college, or what my body looked like, all these selfish things were put on the backburner... my mom was fighting for her life.
In the fall of our senior year, Kurt proposed. We had been together for 3 years and all my friends were engaged and I’m pretty sure he was sick of me hinting that it was MY turn to be engaged! I was selfish, wanted my dream wedding and was ready for my happily ever after. We had been through so much together with my eating disorder and mom’s cancer. He was always my source of comfort when bad news would come about mom’s health. May 2002 I graduated from college and the next month I married Kurt.
My brother was married February 7th, 2003. Up until this point, mom was going through chemo treatments to make her new goal to be at Greg and Natalie’s wedding. A few days after the wedding she was admitted to the hospital and refused further treatment. She passed away a month later on March 4, 2003.
Even though I only spent 22 years of my life with mom, she was an example of how to conduct yourself in a way that is worthy of Christ. She was the best example that God could have given me! She taught me not to complain in any situation. Even through the immense amount of pain that she endured, I NEVER heard her complain. Nurses would fight over who would get to take care of her during their shift! I learned to smile through the worst of my own pain and suffering. It puts a whole different perspective on things when you smile. A friend wrote a song inspired by my mom and there is a part where she sings, “Do I smile when it’s hard to breathe?” When my mom had to wear an oxygen mask and was close to her death, she was smiling. People could see the joy in her life only possible through Jesus Christ. She was different. I want people to think that about me! She was an example of how to put God first, others second and yourself last. She didn’t just say it, her actions proved it. A couple of hours before she died, with myself, my brother, sister and dad present, she prayed. Her oxygen level was so low that she should have been unconscious. The first words that came out of her mouth were, “Dear heavenly father, thank you for this wonderful day.” My mom was praising Jesus hours before she met Him! Romans 8:28 tells me, “28And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Mom was called home at the age of 51… even though she had a loving husband and 3 kids who still longed for her to be around. She is experiencing her reward in full from her relationship with Christ and the life that she lived for Him here on earth! I know I will see her again!
After my mom’s death, my marriage quickly went sour. Kurt’s spirituality really took a dive. I noticed that he was pushing God farther and farther away months before we were married but was naive and thought that being married to me would straighten him up. He always had his nose in a philosophical book and would play devil’s advocate to challenge my faith. He admitted that he was agnostic very soon after mom died. He totally denounced God at that point. Up until mom’s death, he would attend church with me. Shortly after mom died, he decided that church wasn’t for him. So, I went by myself. With our different beliefs in God and our life goals pointing in different directions, Kurt found comfort in a new friend. At first he told me that their relationship was just a friendship, but after a few months of spending time with her, he fell in love with her. My world felt like it had been taken from under me. The night he told me he was in love with her... I’m not sure how I didn’t drive my car into a tree. I even picked out trees and couldn’t turn the wheel in fear of bringing more sadness to my family. I pleaded with God to take me home. I felt like God took me to the very brink of what I could handle. How could God allow my mom to die and my husband to not be faithful within months of each other? What did I do to deserve this? It didn’t take too long for me to quit blaming God, repent for my own sins in my relationship with Kurt, and completely give my life and future back to God. Even though Kurt was not being a Christian husband, I knew that God commanded me to follow His word on how to be a Christian wife. God showed me 1 Corinthians 7:13-16, “… 13And if a woman has a husband who is not a believer and he is willing to live with her, she must not divorce him. 14For the unbelieving husband has been sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife has been sanctified through her believing husband…15But if the unbeliever leaves, let him do so. A believing man or woman is not bound in such circumstances; God has called us to live in peace. 16How do you know, wife, whether you will save your husband? Or, how do you know, husband, whether you will save your wife?” So I had to do the hardest thing I believe that I have ever or hope to ever do... I told Kurt that I vowed to be his wife, would forgive him, and would work through our problems if he chose to stay. If he chose to leave, it would completely be his decision. I knew that I had to be the best wife that God made me to be even though I made the mistake of marrying the wrong person. Shortly after I gave Kurt the ultimatum, he decided that he no longer wanted to be married.
My entire life, I have thrived on being in control. Yes, I was a Christian but wasn’t giving God my life in its entirety. God allowed me to live by my own selfish ambition and experience the consequences of the bad decisions that I made. Mom’s death, my first failed marriage, and my eating issues have been incredibly painful to endure. I used to put people, earthly things and even myself up on pedestal. My mom was my rock. I would go to her for her approval and guidance. Kurt’s happiness dictated my happiness and I let him consume me. Every time I put a human, my self-image, or any “thing” on a pedestal that I place above God, I will be disappointed every time. Only God deserves to be on that pedestal because He is the only One that is worthy of holding my life in His hand. I never realized that Jesus was all I needed until I lost everything and He was all I had. I might have never known the intimate friendship of Jesus if these things had never happened. Of course I wish that none of this had to happen… wish that I was naturally a size 2… wish that my mom was still here helping me raise my Adie & Joya… I wish I could have looked at Darin on our wedding day and known I saved myself for him… that I didn’t have “baggage”… but he has done an amazing job of showing me that Jesus believes that I am his pure, spotless bride and that is how he saw me on our wedding day too. I am at a point in my life that I am thankful for the experiences that God allowed me to go through... it’s my testimony. I’ve talked to SO MANY girls telling them that their bodies are God’s temple and if we abuse it with our eating we are sinning… and I’ve talked to women going through rough marriages and have given them hope to stay close to Jesus and the desires of their hearts will be filled IF they are putting Jesus first. God has truly poured out his Grace on me and I am totally forgiven for making bad choices in my life. My slate is wiped clean.
I will no longer judge my happiness by the size of clothing that I wear (even though I struggle EVERY MEAL even 10 years after my eating disorder). I have learned to be at peace that mom fulfilled her purpose on this earth. I wanted to have her to see grandchildren and experience all that life could have offered her but she is healthy and whole and spending eternity with our Lord. I am not responsible for Kurt’s mistakes or his salvation. My responsibility now is to pray for his salvation every day of my life. I would have NEVER been the women I am today for Darin if I hadn’t married Kurt. I used to refer to my past as “my baggage”… but all these experiences have sharpened my character, given me this testimony, and made me the Darcy that Christ created me to be.
I was not “picked on” but rather “picked out” by God himself to live out this life. And by golly if it helped YOU in any way... then it was totally worth it.
1 Peter 5:10 (New Living Translation)
“10In His kindness God called you to his eternal glory by means of Jesus Christ. After you have suffered a little while, he will restore, support, and strengthen you, and he will place you on a firm foundation.”