By Alison Feinauer

So I came home and had a cookie.

They were sitting on my counter for a few days, and I kept saying no.  But then, on a tiring Thursday afternoon, they caught me at my weakest.  So I said, “just one.”  But then I had another, and then maybe some cereal, but not just one bowl, couldn’t stop there.  The numbing wasn’t working. I was still empty and lonely.  So I kept eating. Then my mind started on the temptation to purge. I couldn’t dare let this turn into fat, could I?

Waking the next morning I felt so sad, so defeated, so frustrated, so ashamed.  I sat there not knowing how to even repent.  Again? How many times?  I’ve prayed this prayer so many times. I feel like a fraud, a hypocrite, a fake.

I thought, I can’t tell anyone this is happening.  I can only share my story when it’s all buttoned up with a good ending, when I’m whole, when I’m complete, when I’m free. But that’s the lie right?  It’s the lie that keeps me isolated.  It’s the lie that keeps me oppressed, alone and ashamed.

I was on my way to teach a class and I began crying out to the Lord.

My prayer was a little like this:

Father,  I can’t do this anymore.  I’m angry and disappointed with me. I can only imagine how you feel about me.  I’m frustrated and feel like a failure.  I feel like I’ve failed you, again.  You’ve done so much for me and I can’t even keep it together.  I barely have any faith that I’ll get better.  Can you show me you are still there, that you still care, that you still want to fight for me, that I’m worthy?  I’m tired and worn down. I’m tired of not being strong enough to defeat this.

But nothing came out. I felt relieved to have been honest and knowing that my God can take the very real truth from my soul and not shut me out or shy away. No, He leans in.

Will He answer? Will He reply to my cries?

About 15 minutes later I heard from the LORD! I was shocked. I got a text from a friend that spoke right to my heart. I really believe it was directly from the Lord Himself:

Good morning, Alison. I was cleaning out my purse and came across your notes from when you spoke.  As I was reading through them, my heart was so touched.  Alison, you need to know what a special and precious young woman you are.  I wish you could see what I and others see in you. God is using you in ways you may never fully realize while here on this earth. But one day, God will show you all the lives you’ve touched.  You’re beautiful inside and out!  I feel extremely blessed and honored to call you friend.  Stay the course. Keep pressing on. And keep being you!

“You never can measure what God will do through you, if you are rightly related to Jesus Christ. Keep your relationship right with Him, then whatever circumstances you are in, and whoever you meet day by day, He is pouring rivers of living water through you, and it is only of His mercy that He does not let you know it.”  (Oswald Chambers)

Wow! He does care!  He is listening! I am thankful that I have friends who are being used by Him to send me this message.

This gave me the courage to confess my sins to a friend.  I was feeling lighter by the minute.

Then later that night I was reading. I have heard this verse thousands of times, but this time it was different. “It was for this freedom that Christ set us free [completely liberating us]; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery [which you once removed]” (Galatians 5:1).

I read it over and over and over and over.  I wrote it down and kept reading it.  Wow, that is promise and action all at once.

Yes! I’m hearing Him!  I’m taking my stand!  I am Free because of Christ and will not be put in those chains again!

Jesus, thank you for grace. Thank you that I don’t have to be perfect before I come to you.  You love me in my brokenness and in my shame. You receive me! Thank you for speaking to me. I know you do this often, and I often don’t pay attention. Please help me to pay attention and to listen. I’m not sure what standing firm looks like yet, but I’m asking your Holy Spirit to guide me, to show me, to direct me, to prompt me, and to counsel me.  I give myself completely to you to take over and transform me.  When I lose my way and forget my name, remind me who I am and whose I am.  I am all yours!  ​In the Character and Name of Jesus I pray.  ​Amen.

“​I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry.  He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand”  (Psalm 40:1-2).

“The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.  Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged”  (Deuteronomy 31:8).

“My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.  He will not let you be defeated.  He who guards you never sleeps” (Psalm 121:2-3).