I just returned from visiting my parents in North Carolina this last week.  It was a wonderful time for Zoe to see her "Mumu" and "Mufa" (these are pseudo-Norwegian terms for "grandma and grandpa" because, well, we can't seem to get the sounds right). 

 In the mean time, I have been thinking a lot about how much to share on this blog. 
Its a little bit terrifying to think about all the people who do (or don't ) read this blog. Random friends from high school, grandparents, cousins, etc. There was a time where I couldn't share openly about my life because, well, it wasn't going so well.

Who I am and where God has taken me are an indispensable part of how I relate to people. My faith defines me, molds me and compels me to share about what God has done. Its hard for me to share on this blog. if you don't know how I got here, you might not understand because it influences everything I do or say. I am incredibly respectful of all my diverse friends' beliefs and treasure the wisdom and love that my friends and family have shown me on this journey.
So, in a nutshell---
 I grew up as a missionary kid. My parents are Christians who have traveled around the world to translate the Bible into another language. As a result, we moved frequently, and the loss and change I experienced from these constant upheavals left me searching for something to help me control my world.
 When I was around 14, I developed an eating disorder that quickly took over my life. I know that many girls struggle with food on different levels and I was no exception. My eating disorder controlled almost every waking second of four years of my life. The physical aspects of the disorder took a huge toll, and I found myself wandering through a haze of confusion and depression. At one point I was diagnosed with bipolar (though later we determined this was probably a nutritional imbalance). My parents did everything they could to help me get better. We didn't have a lot of money because we were supported by churches and individuals, so an expensive in-patient rehab. was out of reach. 

  I had spent four years fighting an impossible battle and I was ready to give up by my senior year of high school. The choices I had made during my junior and senior year, were, as my parents would aptly describe "not the Briana we know and love". It was a really hard time. The first ray of hope was an inpatient rehabilitation center called Mercy Ministries. They are a totally free inpatient care center that believes in God's love and grace to change broken girls' lives. I was humbled and sad that I had gotten to the point where I could no longer physically care for myself and I needed serious help. At Mercy,I cried for two weeks straight because I was so overwhelmed and exhausted with my life. Then I hit a breaking point. Completely humbled, I asked God if he would give me complete freedom. I told him it seemed impossible and that I felt the alternative was dying. I told him I didn't have the strength to fight for "half-freedom" or to struggle my entire life with control and addiction. He told me he would give me that freedom.
 I read my Bible and realized that his freedom was complete. Matthew 16:25 says "For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it."  I took God at his word that there was a life to "find" that he had for me.
  I spent 6 months letting God rebuild the "Briana" I remembered being before my eating disorder. 2 Corinthians 3:17 says: "Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom." I recovered this freedom, step-by-step, by letting God rebuild my life. I chose Psalm 119:32 as my life verse after Mercy: "I run in the path of your commands, for you have set my heart free." These verses (and many more) gave me the strength to believe I was a beautiful, loved, fun, free girl.  
When I left Mercy, I took these verses with me as God's words that I could leave all the sin and problems I had created behind me. Through these verses, he asked me to trust Him with my life, to know that no bad things could ever do anything to take away His protection over my life. He asked me to get up from where I was lying on the ground in dust and to walk in his love and purity. He was with me on every side (to fend off the addictions,temptations and fear) and he promised me I wouldn't "go in haste" because I was so afraid I wasn't ready to face the world alone. I would go when I was ready. And it all came true:
 1 Awake, awake, Zion, 

   clothe yourself with strength!
Put on your garments of splendor,
   Jerusalem, the holy city.
The uncircumcised and defiled
   will not enter you again.
2 Shake off your dust;
   rise up, sit enthroned, Jerusalem.
Free yourself from the chains on your neck,
   Daughter Zion, now a captive.

 3 For this is what the LORD says:

   “You were sold for nothing,

   and without money you will be redeemed.”

( I felt I was worthless, sold for nothing--but really I was bought without money, by God, to be his princess and adopted daughter, for the highest cost of all--his life! He died on the cross for me to redeem a life that I thought was worthless, but he thought was precious.)
 11 Depart, depart, go out from there!
   Touch no unclean thing!
Come out from it and be pure,
   you who carry the articles of the LORD’s house.
12 But you will not leave in haste
   or go in flight;
for the LORD will go before you,
   the God of Israel will be your rear guard.  

 I don't want to give the illusion that everything after this was easy, because it wasn't. However, I also don't want to give the illusion that I had to "struggle" through the next years of my life as I went to college, rebuilt my life, married an amazing man, and had a baby girl! 
 I remember, one year from my inpatient experience, crying tears of JOY because of the happiness I felt each day waking up to a new day of God's mercies. I remember seeing God lay out each step for me when I thought I couldn't possibly be ready for an incredible guy (my Christopher!), for a new job, etc. It is from this joy that I write now, approximately five years later, when the impossible has become possible.

So that's it. This is the story I have to tell. I don't really know why it happened. I do know that  all the hurt and pain in this world propelled me into such a dark place. I can't answer all your questions. This is the best thing I have to offer and the truest rendition of my life I can afford. If you have any questions (which I might not be able to answer because I don't know all the answers!) feel free to ask me and I will do my best. I hope that if you are hurting, or sad, or unsure where you are going in life, that you will feel like you can search for those answers in the Bible.