Yesterday marked the day my daughter returned to her full weight after a steady gain of 9kg's in 11 weeks!
She still has a little more to gain to help her body cope and strengthen. But let me share her journey!
So for the first few
weeks she gained nothing which scared us. She was eating 1800 calories, what we thought was the average for her age. We did not panic, but grew concerned about what was happening. It turms out to have been the perfect start to have given her due to something
called the refeeding syndrome.
Refeeding syndrome can cause heart attacks among other things. If she had started eating more too soon her risk would have increased. As it was she had been experiencing dizzyness, palpatations, headaches and bloating
from the impact of prolonged malnutrition clashing with regular input. God seemed to lead us to the information at the right time. We learned she actually needed between 3000-5000 calories a day to begin weight gain. This is because of the massive repair work
her bones and heart and other tissues needed. So after 3 weeks she happily (though slighlty astonished) increased her calorie intake through protein bars/drinks, nuts and dried fruits, youghurts and wholegrain carbs and lentals. She is a slow eater and this
helped her not panic - but it meant she was actually eating or snacking for most of the day! A huge change for her.
We loved that she had such calm and had made the decision to remain largely sugar free with her diet so she would not have addiction
issues later on. By filling up on health foods she quickly gained a light in her eyes and an energy we had not seen for a long time. She was becoming Lovese again! Our hearts have been healing and overflowing iwth love and gratitude like never before!
Lovese has still been writing and more importantly reading scriptures daily and soaking in their truths about life and identity. She has become interested in biographies such as The Heavenly Man - Brother Yun; An Asian Harvest by Paul Hattaway; Seeking
Allah, Finding Jesus by Nabeel Qureshi, and others. Her faith and knowledge is growing and she is more thn content with this formational stage of her life as she turned 13 last month.
Her hair has been falling out daily which she knows will be
regrowing soon with strong beautiful shine, and her joints are sore often, but again, she smiles through all this and grins and cracks a joke and hugs fiercely and unashamedly!
Through her story, shared with non-Christian friends (rewritten below),
hearts ahve been moved and questions have been asked - and a daughter of a close friend has decided to follow Jesus last weekend at a Sistas Conference she attended with her mother and us, and her mother may soon be following with giving her own heart to Jesus!
They came because of their love for our family and what they have seen us walk through. Others are looking and wondering and asking questions. It is exciting and a deeply powerful time of celebration on the other side of such a God-held trial.
what? At the Sistas conference I attend most years, well last year I specifically asked God to please please confirm regarding the Pilgrim's Progress (I was feeling very cheeky but really wanted confirmation). So I asked specifically if God would have one
of the speakers mention the name "Pilgrim's Progress" in one of the sermons, even twice for me to be more than sure. And he didn't.
But one year later exactly, when I had not even remembered my prayer, a speaker on the last day talked about the
Pilgrim's Progress and used the words twice and talked about an anology from it!
Hmmm...so I still know that God is supreme and in control of everything and I will not be crushed if the door to this land does not open, but I do know that was from
God encouraging me, and I do know he has placed these dreams and ideas in my heart for some reason.
Also my daughter Riva who was Lovese' main support this year, said she would like to work as a counsellor helping young girls break free from eating
disorders. And I can see this happening at the Pilgrim's Progress venue as a place of nurturing and healing! We shall see!
Liv began running at school age 10.5 for a cross-country event. At first, we had no
clue of a hidden danger as she was just running lots and keen to win - which she did. She lost puppy-fat weight and we thought this was normal though I kept an instinctive eye on her. Then at age 11.5 we learn her best friend (a class older than her) was struggling
with bulima/anorexia/PTSD and depression because of a serious incident of abuse. We had been unaware of this and that Liv was her only confidante. We began to advise her, and put caution into their interactions, but Liv kept asking us to pray for her friend
and that all was fine. Lovese, being a high performer, had a perfectionist nature which spiralled her down a path of darkness when her beautiful heart caught hold of a deep black lie and told her she was not perfect after all. Someone had told her she would
never make it across the high jump at school which added to her new awareness of being unhappy with her body. Early last year she grew much thinner, moodier, more critical and spiteful to her siblings. Her bossy moods and some tell-tale signs of bulimia wrenched
my heart so strongly when even at her denial, we could not deny the facts before us. I could have died from mental pain. I thought I had done this to her and that I should have protected her so much more. I knew the enemy and battle ahead personally in my
transition to adulthood. I thought I had passed this on to her. This enemy was beautiful and stunning and admirable and comfortable, and manipulative and deceitful and red-skulled behind her fake mask. She killed everyone she could. There were no playing games
with her. You either entertained her voice on a slippery slope or you ran weakly uphill from her, covering your ears and screaming at the top of your lungs to block out her voice, while her soft fingers pulled you down into brief moments of reprieve - where
she whispered more lies to your stunned brain, and danced images of tantalizing skinny bodies free from care and fearless of the world. She made me feel soooooo good in those moments. Places of bliss. She stroked egos and held sense and logic in her hands
and squeezed the life out of them. She said this was what it looked like to be in control. You wouldn't be hurt here. She would protect. It was her and her victim against the world. Together Riva and I we have been with Liv at her worst as Riva chose to stay
at home to help this year when her teacher said Liv was no longer safe in school. I have repeatedly held Lovese as she physically fought with her tormented mind and environment while Riva sank down to pray. I have had multiple times of distressed giving up,
I have become crazily angry at nothing, I have cried a billion tears, prayed a trillion prayers, been lifted on as many angel’s wings and been strengthened with the open floodgates of God's own Holy Spirit speaking truth to mine. We have ridden on waves
of joy and closeness to Jesus like at few other times. Riva tag-teamed with me when I needed time out. I tried hard to get the balance right in giving Riva the praise and time away from us all that she so needed. My husband has been so important, our steady
sense and loving arms. But we felt like we were getting nowhere fast. Until four weeks ago today, God nudged Riva to find and read a few pages in a journal-like book that belonged to Liv. We were at a town homeless meeting with Lovese that night, trying to
get her interested in the world around her. When we got home late, Riva was standing in the dark by the fire, crying a soul-deep quiet cry. She couldn't talk. She just held the journal up to me. One glance at the first few words, and I felt God reach out and
steady me. At the same time, Lovese glimpsed the journal and fell face down in utter fear and grief and pain. She began to wail, then keen over what had been exposed in her written words. My husband and I made some quick decisions...one being that we would
not read it until morning. The other that I would sleep with Liv that night, and Riva joined us also. Liv cried for hours and rocked and writhed in her way when she is in the thick of anguished thoughts. We are always praying, so eventually after she fell
asleep and I still couldn't, I read the words she wrote - just four pages written 10 days prior, the rest of the book was largely blank. (Liv has given permission to share). The first sentence was this: I LOVE LOVE LOVE ANOREXIA! So Lovese woke the next day
as distraught as ever. In the journal she had written from an anorexic 'moment of bliss', which makes you feel as if the world is yours and no one is going to stop you. She wrote in laughter and derision of the times and many ways she hid food when we thought
she was eating it. She detailed minutely her plans and hiding places and ways to reach a BMI of 14 - her ultimate goal. She was currently BMI16 and had lost another 3 kg's over the time we spent with my parents a few weeks before. She talked about a website
she sneaked onto called My Proana which was her strength. She belittled our attempts to 'trick' her into believing lies about food, health and her future. It was the voice of anorexia speaking. Well...you can imagine we were devastated, but I have to say that
even in first reading those words in the middle of the night, I felt Jesus presence close in and his peace surround our home. I knew he was feeding me wisdom not my own when the morning came. Lovese continued to be in mental pain - more stunned though and
like an empty used pillowcase - she had a deep resignation about her, yet with one ounce of hope swirled so thoroughly inside we almost missed seeing it. Then it dawned: Lovese secretly wanted someone to find her writing! Our tactical team gathered. Further
proceedings were discussed, and the number one rule became: 24hour serious monitoring. No chance for any tricks for a full 4 weeks, then we would recalculate. Doctor visits were amped up with blindfolded weekly weighing and bloods repeated. I did not want
Liv to have numbers in her head. Her bloods came back not so good - with cellular changes again that would soon be permanent damage in the bone marrow. So we asked loads more people to pray! THANK YOU SO VERY MUCH!!! Privacy for her no longer mattered and
perhaps never should have among God’s prayer warriors. Those first three days I would never like to repeat or hear of again. Loads of physically holding her as she struggled and yet pleaded internally for us to stay strong in the same breath. It reminded
me of the scene in C.S. Lewis The Silver Chair where he begged to be set free but in his sane moment he had told them never to listen to his words when he was under the spell. It was confusing, agonising, exhausting, but filled with purpose and Godly influence.
I felt like giving up at least once every day, and so overwhelmingly so each weekend, that I am not sure how it has come to this. I wanted her in hospital, I wanted her in specialist care. I wanted to keep screaming. But deep down I knew the experts repeat
- family therapy is the best chance. The past 3 weeks have been all of the above, but the waves would be a little lower and further apart. Lovese began to recognise her triggers and that the waves did nothing but come and go. She could ride them or jump over
them now that she knew the outcome on the other side would always be the same steady resolve to protect her. My wonderful mother txt us a special word each day to be grateful for and as we talked throughout the days of these words, Lovese began to participate
more. And my closest friend checked with us each day for support. Our family worship times in the mornings took on deep meaning as we devoured the Word of God and let it reshape our minds and took it up as weapons against the enemy. So… we were at Kauaeranga
Christian Camp last week – Riva and Em as leaders. We lasted 2 hours at camp as Liv fought anxiety over the new situation, even knowing I was to be there throughout the day and for each meal as a first-aider. She was so not ready. She pulled herself
together enough to line up for lunch...saw hot chips and sausages on everyone's plates and fled the room in fear. Together we cried and drove home where I am sooo sooo ashamed to say, I became angry and briefly said things I should not have said. I had been
dreaming of my evenings with just me and Stephen. A time to recharge. Now I had her alone with no one else to tag team with. But God's thoughts are so far from our own. He knew this is what she needed. One on one mother and daughter time. The next day was
Stephen's birthday. After he came home from work, she lost it again but gathered herself and tried to relax and enjoy the evening. Stephen had put old music on and we hung out on the rumpus room beds. Soon Lovese left the room which means I had to follow her.
She was getting angry and she yelled at me that she just needed to feel the cold. This was highly unusual for her as she is always freezing due to lack of weight. I followed her to the door as she walked outside in socks into 4degree night air with puddles
under her feet. I wanted to panic as she had NEVER done this before. She kept walking but was slowing so I stayed at the door ready to pounce if needed. She stopped about 10 metres from me way out in the dark and looked up and cried. Her shoulders shook and
she cried something like “God, help me”. Then she just looked and looked up into the stars - for 5 full minutes. I wanted to go to her but God stopped me. It was like she was staring up into space searching for a world to see that had no pain and
only God. Then she turned and walked back into the house right past me. At the same time, Stephen not knowing any of this had happened, was nudged by the Holy Spirit to walk out of the rumpus room to sweep Lovese up into his arms and dance her around the room.
I sat down to watch and blink and wonder. Liv's face just glowed. She shone with delight at the closeness of her father's arms wrapped tightly around her. The music kept playing and as I watched I saw more than physical changes in my girl. She had an overflowing
peace and utter trust and satisfaction, an unchecked joy and even surprise, and most of all - a full and fearless love for us all, and I know most especially her Father God - who had also swept her off her feet in life dance out there under the stars. So we
went to bed and smiled inwardly, hoping. BUT THIS IS THE BEST PART!! The next morning Lovese said she wanted to eat the full 1800 calories that an average 12yr girl should have. She decided to divide up her meals with 600 per meal so she wouldn’t panic.
Then she proceeded to do this and ate confidently and without any residue of doubt. Today is her 7th day of doing this! She began that morning devouring the Bible even more and a Christian book written by Sadie Robertson called Live Fearless. She has
spent possibly 3 hours each day at different times reading the books and writing out the scriptures within in her own school book. Then she adds every point that she finds wonderful. Then she might add her own thoughts also. I often see her pouring gently
over her previous writings and scriptures and then starting another page with more of the same. She flops on our bed at our feet with books in hand. Or she will lie by the fireplace. You cannot begin to imagine my soul and spirit souring in pleasure and gratitude
at our awesome God who bends but never breaks us, drills but also thrills us, calls and never turns his back when we cry out to him. He is so good. The good good Father. Liv has times of remembering the fears but turns to us and we are with her always. She
has never missed a meal and is forming wonderful new habits in her head! A couple of days ago she told me she has never felt so close to God than over these past days. She said that when she went out into the cold she was angry but couldn’t help herself
from ending up praising God and in awe of him! This has been our biggest prayer that God would speak to her so clearly and in such a life-changing way. My precious precious girl! So please please praise God with us and continue a while longer to intercede
for her so the ground she has gained will be permanently lost to the devil! Continue to pray that every scheme satan has planned for her will fail, and that God continue to get all the glory from her life throughout her future! And thank you so very much from
Stephen and me and our whole family. God is goooood