Thursday, October 25, 2007


This summer, when I was home in Colorado, my parents and I went out for lunch. As usual, my Dad started talking to the waitress and making conversation. He always found a way to bring up the fact that his daughter would be going to Cambodia for a year. She was shocked and impressed that I was going alone, for a year, to a foreign country, to teach!

As I told people of my plans to come here, I always got about the same reaction. Apparently, serving God for a year in Cambodia is bold, life-changing, awesome, incredible, daring, adventuresome, crazy, risky, scary, a huge commitment, radical, and inspiring. Or so I hear.

Apparently, what I am doing here is a big deal. I need reminding. Of course my reality is nothing special to everyone here because it is their reality as well. There is nothing special to them about "another" student missionary. But this should not make what I am doing here any less important.

Ths "suck-it-up and move on" mentality, is not one I favor. Yeah, I prefer to feel. But truly feeling isn't necessarily a bed of roses. Feeling can be horribly painful. Before I came here I had no idea that such absolute loneliness could actually cause physical pain.

On Saturday night, I was lonely. Having an eating disorder means that I often substitute food for feelings. I ate so much my stomach felt like it would explode. Walking back to my apartment, I had decided I was going to throw up, just this once. I haven't vomited in over a year, but I figured I could just this one last time, then I wouldn't ever do it again.

The apartment had been empty all day, but of course, now my roommate Liz was there. I was frustrated. She was headed across the street to watch a movie with some friends and asked if I wanted to come. Of course, I declined. I had other plans.

I sat on the couch waiting for her to hurry up and leave. She went into the bathroom and I continued the battle inside my head. I prayed, "Dear God, I don't want to do this. But I feel so powerless to stop. I feel so empty. I won't throw up if Liz shows even a bit of concern and asks how I am doing." The bathroom door opened, "Hey. What's wrong?" she said. I buried my head in my hands, explained what was "really" going on, and asked her to take me with her to the movie.

Sometimes I feel like I completely lack perspective. I don't always think very clearly. I can quickly forget that I was very brave to come here. I can just as quickly feel worthless and resort to old habits dealing with ED.

When I was suddenly dropped into a foreign world without friends and family to help me through, I lost myself. I forgot how I usually deal with situations or even what used to bring me peace. I forgot I could be funny. I forgot I liked to sing. I forgot that sometimes I like to just sit and read. It is like starting all over again. Only now, this week even, do I feel like I am slowly remembering.

The real me is coming into view and I think I am ok with what I see.


Peter Casillas said...


How brave of you to share such struggle inside of you ... I won't invite you to the "suck it up mentality", yet I will invite you to be present with yourself as you are. Psalms 40:1-4 and 69: 1-3 share the difficulty of being in a place of reality. This reality where God seems to have taken you ..what does it mean? Could it be that God is inviting you to embrace your surroundings as you look up from your self to Him? This is not an easy task ... Heather I'm not trying to rescue you but inviting you to the battlefield ... there is no Moses without a dessert, and no Joseph without a prison ... its hard, no doubt ... God believes in you as well as the young adults of the Aurora First Church, as we pray for you. In the midst of your your struggles keep the fire burning thats were true men and women are born. Keep it up U-Crew girl!!

Anonymous said...

Heather---Your honesty is are asking when you need help...God hears and God sent Liz to hear! I recently heard someone say...when the commandments instruct that we are not to lie - it doesn't just mean we shouldn't tell a means we should be HONEST! I like that and I see you practicing that. Way to go! I love you, Sandy