As we have clearly seen in the past couple of months on the blog, our internship program is a huge part of Vision of Hope which really offers 2 tracks for spiritual growth: one for residents and one for interns. Not only does VOH provide counseling and help to women who are hurting, but also trains and equips other godly women to lead and serve those beyond VOH. God has blessed us tremendously by allowing us to be a part of the spiritual growth of so many women, and it is a privilege to see how God works in the lives of our interns after their time with us is completed. We have asked one of our former interns, Rachel Bailey, to share with us how God has been working in her life since she completed her VOH internship in January, 2014. You may recognize her as one of our former blog-writers, too. Please join me as we welcome Rachel back to the blog with this update below:
Holy One of Israel: ‘I am the Lord your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go.’” -Isaiah 48:17
Well, there you have it. My bags were filled, my car was packed, my gas tank was full, my internship was over. I came to Vision of Hope in January 2013, having just graduated from college with a psychology degree and a passion to help individuals struggling with eating disorders. Previous blog posts on this site will attest to the sheer magnitude of God’s faithfulness to me. I am so blessed to have been part of the VOH family for a whole year! As do all good things, my internship came to an end. Even so, God was not finished with me yet.
As I was driving home to Texas—accompanied by mixed feelings about moving in with my parents—I received a call from The Houston Eating Disorders Center (HEDC), one of the nearly 30 organizations I had contacted in the weeks leading up to my graduation from VOH. Over the phone, still a day’s drive from Houston, I was asked to come to HEDC for an interview, ASAP. “You bet!” I beamed, surprised, yet excited.
I was hired and I am currently working as their Recovery Coach, offering hope daily to individuals struggling with eating disorders. I absolutely LOVE my job. It’s a dream come true! Working at HEDC truly exemplifies to me God’s uncanny ability to provide that which I thought was impossible! Even in the Mecca of Houston, there is only one PHP/IOP program to help individuals with eating disorders, and that is the program I currently work for! I didn’t have the ability to plan something like this, but God in His sovereignty allowed my internship to conclude the same month HEDC decided to hire a new recovery coach. God orchestrated my life’s direction perfectly to place me right where He wanted me. I don’t say this to boast in my ability. As I mentioned before, I don’t have the power to plan things like this! Rather, it shows how God always has our lives completely in line with His purposes. Throughout all my fear and worry regarding the future, He had only confidence and grace.
So, let me tell you a little about my job description. I get to provide nutritional support to individuals attending the program. This includes meals and snacks. Each person has their own meal plan, and I help them choose items that will meet their exchanges. Additionally, I lead an Art Therapy group each week (which I love!). There are two programs at HEDC (PHP/IOP) which are both outpatient and relatively quick programs (approx. 4-12 weeks). At first, I really had to adjust to this. At Vision of Hope, you are able to invest in people for a year or more. At HEDC, people may only be there for a month. That makes the process of getting to know them, earning their trust, and speaking truth into their life extremely expedited. Plus, I’m not extremely outgoing. It takes me awhile to open up to people. In the last 8 months, I’ve really seen God change my heart to be open to others coming in and out of my life. I’ve had to become more patient and more willing to get hurt. I can say wholeheartedly it’s been difficult; but it’s been worth it.
But wait, there’s more!
God didn’t stop there. In addition to having my “dream job,” I have been invited to participate with my church worship team! God not only controls our lives, He blesses them with opportunities like this one to serve Him and His children. About 5 years ago, I was involved weekly in my church’s worship team in Idaho and I looked forward to serving in this capacity each week; worshiping my worthy Creator is truly a joy for me. It was generous in the most extravagant sense for God, 5 years after the heartbreak of a church split, to bring music back into my life through leading worship. He didn’t have to open that door, but He did.
And when God opens doors, He opens them WIDE!
For the past year, I have been privileged to work on a book with two wonderful co-authors: Pastor Mark Shaw, D.Min., executive director of Vision of Hope, and my fellow intern-graduate, Bethany Spence. The book was created to provide a much needed BIBLICAL resource on the treatment of eating disorders that recognizes sin and suffering, not sickness, as the primary cause and root issue. Instead of creating another “self-help” tool, we wanted this book to reflect and exalt Christ, not self, as the ultimate Helper and Healer.
The title of the book is Eating Disorders: Hope for Hungering Souls. This is an apt title, as the problem of eating disorders is not a person’s hunger (or fullness). The problem is soul-deep, not skin deep. I’m pleased to say the book has now been published by Focus Publishing, Inc. It is my intent to boast in Christ. He is the true Author and Perfecter of all things, and it is my joy to follow and reflect Him by writing to His glory. I celebrate the publishing of this book not because I want people to know who I am. On the contrary, I celebrate the publication of this book because I believe it will draw lost souls to a saving knowledge of Christ and who He is. I believe it will help people who think they’re “stuck” with their eating disorder realize there is hope. After all, God isn’t in the business of “recovery,” He’s in the business of transformation.
Thanks for listening to a little bit of my “where they are now” story! I hope it has encouraged you. Go about your day and your life confident that God loves you. His lavish affection and heart for transformation have certainly been proven true in my life, as He continues to make me new, day-by-day, to His glory.