“I think this might be the first time you’ve ever cooked for me.” Though I could think of a few other times I had actually made her a meal in the fifteen years that I had known her, the general concept was true. I hadn’t shared a meal with her as often as I should have. I wanted to deny it. I wanted to pretend it wasn’t fact, I wanted to fill in the gaps with so many other things that I had done for her instead…but the reality was still the same. I hadn’t cooked for her but it had nothing to do with the status of our relationship or the amount of hospitality I was able to perform…it had everything to do with how far I had sunk into an eating disorder and how long it took me to come crawling out.
I knew that I could always stand to be a better host but as I scrutinized the situation, I became less discouraged with my homemaking skills and more in awe of the amazing miracle that God has worked in my life. After years of only eating in front of people who knew about my food excentricities and didn’t make a big deal out of them. After years of avoiding restaurants and feeling terror over social gatherings that involved food. After years of not wanting to cook for anyone else because I lacked the physical capability of adding flavor to anything because of my strict limit on fat, sugar, sauces, dressings and carbs. I knew it tasted bad and I didn’t want anyone else to have to endure it. After years of bondange to an eating disorder I finally found freedom.
It was a process of handing things over to God. It was an exchange of my own desire for control for the understanding of His ultimate sovereignty and care. It was denying myself the need for approval so I could realize that I am already loved and accepted by the only one who truly matters. It was valuing and cultivating other characteristics in myself…kindness, love, generosity, patience, joy…above being thin. It was letting go of fear and letting mercy and grace reign. It was getting my life back after years of thinking I would be lost in that spiral forever.
She appreciated the time and work that I had put into her meal, not realizing it wasn’t just the hour spent in front of the stove. That meal was fifteen years in the making. She may never see all of the steps it took me to get there but in that moment I saw how far I had come and I was thankful.