Charcoal stained lips.


Second floor of the dorm, they had just completed it that spring.

I  lay on the bathroom floor.

Cold tile against my ribs. Hair matted, crusted with last night’s red pasta sauce. Head propped on the toilet.

Because of your wrath there is no health in my body; my bones have no soundness because of my sin. Psalm 38:3

 Not sure if my roommate could hear me crying.

This time. This time I had taken too many. Too many little blue pills that promised to make me feel better and look thinner. She had tried to hide them in her room behind her Biology book.

 I lay there and could taste the tears, salty, wondering who would find me first.

Maybe she hears me.

Maybe she hears my emptiness.

I am feeble and utterly crushed; I groan in anguish of heart. Psalm 38;8

 I can’t move.

 My heart is going too fast.


Someone see me.

My heart pounds, my strength fails me; even the light is gone from my eyes. Psalm 38:10

The ambulance came that night. As morning pushed her way in.

 My brother knelt over me crying. I could hear them say someone had found me like this.

This way. The way where the price of being thin had now caught the attention of the entire campus. The sirens rang my addiction for the seminary students to judge.

 Tubes shoved down.

Raw throat, black charcoal spewed over the grey tattered t-shirt of the boy who broke my heart that winter.

Friends that would never come. Never come to see the girl with the charcoal lips. They had given up watching me pile bowls of cereal on my cafeteria tray. Cereal they knew they would hear coming back up within the hour.

They stopped asking me to go out to dinner with them. Wasting money on food . Wasted on a girl who cared more about the size of her jeans, than the relationships she left walking through the bathroom door.

My friends and companions avoid me because of my wounds, my neighbors stay far away. Psalm 38:11

They had tried to save me. Tried to send me nutritional printouts through campus mail. Tried to distract me with activities and conversations.

I am like a deaf man, who cannot hear, whose mouth can offer no reply. Psalm 38:14

But where the mind wants to go, there the addiction stays.

Trapped in the image of emaciation is where control was found. Where no one would see the pain that I forced out multiple times a day. Toilets, trash cans, napkins, pillow cases, showers, ditches. When grief would surface, the quicker it could be driven out, the more I could breathe. The more I could have control again.

Yet this morning.

When night was leaving me there on the tiled floor.

When the secret was made public.

Here is where He found me.

Here is where I began to see the emptiness. Emptiness  in the sin that had bled me of actual feelings. Another addiction that clouded any connection others tried to grasp from me.

Oh Lord, do not forsake me; be not far from me, O my God. Come quickly to help me, O Lord my Savior. Psalm 38:21-22

Here on the tiled floor is where He met me. That is where He is meeting you.


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  1. stitchedbygod says:

    Beautiful… Redemption is just so beautiful.

  2. Without knowing who you are, I have been drawn to your blog two Fridays in a row now….and I am blown away by 1) your gift of expression and 2) your story. Thank you, thank you for being raw and honest about your past. I can see this bringing so much healing and hope to others.

  3. Lesa Engelthaler says:

    Thank you! Thank you! Lovely words to describe painful darkness. Immanuel God is with us in the dark on the tile. A crazy redemptive truth.

  4. tabithahannasmith says:

    Like Miss Mish, I’ve also picked out your blog from among the many on SRT on both Fridays so far – and it’s brilliant again this week. Thank you for sharing this so eloquently. It made me read the psalm in a whole new way.

  5. sheli. i’m completely blown away and blessed by you. what a beautiful, sacred picture of redemption. thank you for your courage. THANK YOU.

  6. Oh boy.

    I can relate. So many years wasted chasing the elusive and unattainable ‘thin me’.

    So many physical wounds, emotional black holes. Now, years later, saved and forgiven and restored…. I still suffer from what I did to my body, the years of spewing food and bile and hurt and anger, chasing control and never finding it.

    I am deeply moved by your story, your pairing of Psalm 38 with your painful, crushing journey.


    I stumbled upon your response in the SheReads Truth list of posts today.

    I am so glad I did – or rather, so glad God directed me to your blog.

    God BLESS you, Sheli! Thank you for your open heart and courage. I love you, sister in Christ. I do not say that lightly.

  7. Interesting indeed. We are never too fargone nor too messy for God to reach us. He is God all by Himself. Glory be to God gor your courage to share, this will heal and save a soul. God bless u richly.

  8. Like others, I stumbled upon your blog this morning because of randomly clicking links and seeing what God would show me. You’ve got my teary eyed and deeply moved, sister. While I’ve never had an eating disorder, I remember a time when, due to many traumatic things happening outside of my control, I had extreme control issues when it came to life in general, especially pursuing righteousness… they left me hating myself, hitting myself, and later on, cutting myself, consistently gnashing my teeth and literally beating myself up for not reaching my own set standards view of perfection. It finally became wishing for death to come under the weight of never attaining the perfection I so desired, something that gnawed on me night and day, killed me spiritually even if it never did physically. It was never “just right.” Even today– as in, today– I struggle with not letting myself be overcome by my past and this mentality of “perfection or annihilation.” Praise God, for showing us not only the results of a life that is trying to be lived without Him, but also how capable and willing He is to pick us up firmly off the floor, look into our eyes, and say, “You mean more than THIS. I will SAVE YOU from YOURSELF.” How willing and able He is to then to bind up those wounds with only the tender grace and love He has for us daily, replacing the hateful fingers that cut me so ruthlessly with the loving fingers that now hold those places and praise God.
    This devotional has brought me back to the heart of God… I’m crying. Thank you sister, for reminding me not of the Christianese, flowery love that I’ve let His love become in my mind, but the honest, no BS, strong, no-matter-what, gut-wrenchingly perfect love that grabbed me up out of the pit and said “NO. I WILL NOT LET YOU SUCCUMB TO THIS.” May God bless you, sister. Abundantly. I can’t explain how much this has blessed me today.

  9. Sheli, like you, I fought a nasty battle with bulimia. David’s heart-wrenching words in the Psalms brought me to my knees.

    Keep writing. Your voice is beautiful and your story matters.

  10. Sheli, thank you so very much for your take on psalm 38…..I had tears in my eyes….yeap, reminded me of a time long ago that I had buried deeeep in the recesses of my mind…..Thank you Lord that you led me to this today, to remind me that you are a God who saves, NO matter what….the chances keep coming, the redemption, ours if we hold on….
    Praise God for you Sheli, Praise God for your beautiful writing, Praise God for His gifts to us….God continue to bless your gift of writing….it touches hearts….


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