By Guest Writer
Years ago, I was a sometimes anorexic, but mostly bulimic, church secretary/Bible-college student/pastor’s wife. Wow, that reads pretty rough, even now. Then, on September 10, 2008, I called my pastor-husband from a Starbucks parking lot and told him I was going to die. Exhausted, I’d just ordered a double espresso so I could sit up straight, but then my heart began beating too fast. I kept looking at my eyes in the rearview mirror, wondering why the whites of them looked so gray. Actually, they’d been looking gray for a while.
Up until that point, being dysfunctional with food was my secret life. I’d always thought of myself as an honest person, but I was desperate to hide my secret—so I became deceitful. Nearly every waking moment was spent lying and then trying to cover up the lies. Even at that time, I was familiar with every passage listed in today’s reading. I knew James 5:16 by heart: “Confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, so that you may be healed.”
But I couldn’t confess. I wouldn’t confess. I just wanted to be healed. I wanted the healing part without the confession part. Hiding seemed safer than sharing because I was convinced confession would bring the opposite of healing: humiliation, destruction, and ruin.
Still, God’s Word kept telling me that His kingdom was different. That keeping silent would brittle my bones (Psalm 32:3), but sharing would bring life, not death. God repeatedly led me to one verse in the Bible that I could find right now, blindfolded and upside down. It was like a weight hanging around my neck for all those miserable years when I was caught in this sin.
The one who conceals his sins will not prosper,
but whoever confesses and renounces them will find mercy (Proverbs 28:13).
I can’t really think about it without crying. Mercy. I’d never wanted anything so much, yet nothing felt further away. But on that September day, with the espresso and heart palpitations and gray eyes, I just knew something had to change. My sin and disobedience and hiding were going to kill me. With a sliver of surrender and a mountain of God’s grace, after three-and-a-half years proving I just wasn’t strong enough to stop on my own—I obeyed. I made a phone call to confess my sin and my struggle. First, to my husband, and then, to a counselor.
And I felt a release. I’m not sure of the exact moment, of where or when. Maybe it was there in my car, sitting in the Starbucks parking lot, my heart racing. Or in the lobby of the counselor’s office. Maybe I felt the release in my confession. The exact moment doesn’t matter so much. What matters is that God heard my cry and confession. He met me in my brokenness. His healing, however He chooses to give it, is always miraculous. It’s always a kindness and mercy.
Written by Scarlet Hiltibidal