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Never give up. The plan for your life far exceeds the circumstances of today.

I started this post 2 years ago. It didn’t seem eloquent or poignant, so I left it here undone. Today I turn 36 and even though I’m still finding it hard to properly articulate my thoughts, I feel like it’s a story that would be beneficial to share.

June 15, 2021: Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about how grateful I am to be getting older. I’ve been noticing more and more the lengths taken to prevent the look of aging. But tonight, on the eve of my 34th birthday, I just want to say that aging is a gift.

When I was putting my 8-month-old baby boy to bed this evening, an overwhelming sense of gratitude came over me. Gratitude for the miracle that it is that I even exist on this planet. For years I had hoped that my life would end. It’s heartbreaking to think of now, but it wasn’t even until I met my husband that I started wearing a seatbelt. It was the first time in my life that I had something I wanted to survive for.

Just a year before I met him, things were very different. 3 days before my birthday in 2013, I tried taking my own life. If it hadn’t been for an angel woman who called 911 when she saw me lying on a beach that day, I wouldn’t be here. I remember waking up in the hospital and being devastated that my attempt to end my life had failed. That is how unbearable living with anorexia had become.

The next 10 months were spent giving absolutely everything I had (again) to recovery. The difference this time, though, was that I asked The Lord for his help. I had never prayed for help to recover from my eating disorder before because in my mind it was truly an impossibility.

Today my life is defined by more than a number on a scale. I have so many reasons that I want to live. I have peace and happiness in my life that I will never take for granted.

June 16, 2023: Before I was healthy, I hated my birthday. I didn’t want to be here, so every year was just another reminder that my suffering was not complete. At the same time, I had the strongest sense that there was something worth living for in my future. I did not believe that I would have chosen to come to earth if anorexia was the only thing I would experience. I had this quote painted on a bowl that helped me eat and it said “Never give up. The plan for your life far exceeds the circumstances of today.”

I am here to say that this quote that gave me hope was true. I can’t put into words the gratitude I feel for every minute of my existence on earth now. I can hardly look at my kids without crying because the love and contentment I feel is overwhelming. Choosing to have a life that I love is something I work on every day. I don’t take it for granted because I will never be able to forget how unbearably painful my pre-recovery life was.

Every day I actively choose to complete my list of things that I know keep me healthy and happy:

I eat 3 meals regardless of if I want to or not. I don’t say bad things about my body or myself. I take medicine for my depression. I walk in Central Park. I pray and study scripture and try to show Christlike love to someone I encounter throughout the day. I choose to spend time with people who make me feel happy and at peace.

I know that everyone feels joy and contentment through different means. I would like to challenge each of you to pay attention to what choices bring you joy and peace and then do your best to incorporate those into your daily life.

We are here on earth to experience joy.

“…men are that they might have joy.” 2 Nephi 2:25

I know this. And I thank The Lord for holding my hand through the darkness of my past and blessing me with the light and joy I feel today.