If you follow me on Instagram you’re bound to see pictures of food, usually displayed on pretty plates that we affectionately call our “thanksgiving plates.” The name comes from my husbands childhood. These plates were his late mothers, and they only used them once a year, at thanksgiving. I instantly fell in love with them. You see, they have more meaning to me than just being pretty.
I have had a lifelong love affair with food. We’ve had good moments, and we’ve had bad moments. I can remember coming home from elementary school, flipping on Family Feud, and curling up in the recliner with a box of Triscuts and canned “cheese.” When I’d drive a long 5 hours home from college, to spend the weekend at home, my mom would ask what I wanted to eat. My answer was almost always the same, “My favorite meal, please!”… pan-fried pork chops, Velveeta shells and cheese, and buttery corn.
Fast forward through unhealthy relationships, a baby and difficult marriage at 20, a divorce a few years later, now a mom of two, and depression, deep depression. When I had no one to turn to, when I felt absolutely alone and helpless, I’d turn to food. Food was always there for me. There were bags of chips, jars of salsa, ooey gooey cheesy pizza, Froot Loops, Fruity Pebbles, binge eating after gatherings with friends or family. My depression and self-loathing spiraled out of control, and so did my eating. I would try to reel it in, to use tools I’d learned at Weight Watchers; however, food had it’s grasp on me.
I got married again, this time to an amazing and loving man, who has always been there for me. He helped me through multiple tough times. You would think with the love he shared, my depression and binge eating would go away. It didn’t. I was plagued with insecurity, and deep wounds from my past. The thing that remained constant through those times, food, was still there, calling my name, beckoning me towards the hot, buttery popcorn, the sweet tea, fast food.
In a loving, healthy marriage, I still struggled with my addiction. My accepting of Jesus didn’t cure me, at least not instantly. He lead to me a book, It Starts With Food. He showed me that the love, and acceptance I always craved, had to come from Him. I was shown how food had become an idol in my life. In the bad times food was an addiction, in the good times it was an idol. Counting calories, focusing on the numbers on the scale, how I looked in clothes, in bathing suits. My eyes were opened and my heart was healed. I now see the true beauty in food, and in myself. I have learned, and am still learning, how food can nourish your body instead of destroy it. My relationship with food is finally a healthy one.
So, those “thanksgiving plates” are a daily reminder to me how thankful I am for His healing presence. A daily reminder of how thankful I am that food no longer holds any control over me. I can now make beautiful meals, displayed on beautiful plates, and feel absolute joy, thankfulness, and fulfillment through Christ. Food is amazing. I still have a love affair with food, but it’s no longer abusive, it’s redeemed and beautiful.