WE HAVE MOVED!!!

MIHI is exceedingly excited to announce that we have moved over to our new website. We got to many hits on our blog to remain a blog (a great problem to have, I assure you)! I am so in love with the new site. Thank you so much to all who have given financially to make this possible. I am so incredibly grateful! Our regular blogging will resume tomorrow. All the glory to God!

OUR NEW WEBSITE: WWW.MADEINHISIMAGE.ORG

Thanks for all of the love and support,

Maura Byrne

Founder & President

I was absolutely terrified, but I made it!

Often times our society inflicts a stigma upon therapy, which is false. Therapy changed my life and I desire it to be a catalyst in yours as well.

Below is an email from an exceedingly courageous woman who heard my talk at James Madison University. It is my hope that her determination, perseverance, and faith will inspire and instil within you the courage to seek professional help for your recovery. Her bravery is to be extolled.

You are one of the first people I’ve heard to come out and say that getting professional help is okay and, above all else, normal. I think I REALLY needed to hear this. I am scared to death of pushing myself to get professional help- I am scared of the possibilities that my friends and family will believe I am crazy. I’m afraid of feeling like I’ve failed myself. Nevertheless, I really think I should and will be looking into it, thanks to your encouragement.  I have a moral obligation to get help for myself; I don’t want to be stuck in this vicious circle forever.

Thank you SO much for all that you are, and for bravely sharing your story!  You are giving so many girls like me the strength to believe that there is a way out of this darkness, and the inspiration to fight for the betterment of our lives while building a strong and healthy relationship with God the Father. 

I feel compelled to write to you- your entry tonight (Thursday) on your blog really resonated with me. I’ve never been able to really think of our God as the Father. I am so much more comfortable with thinking of a judgmental and angry God. But I feel like He has been reaching out since I heard you speak at JMU. Especially in the past two days. 

Yesterday, I pushed myself to finally go to counseling- it was probably one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. Right before I left, I came across Philippians 4:6-7 about how God wants me to give up my anxieties to Him. Still, I was 10 minutes late to the appointment because I literally had to persuade myself to get into my car. I was absolutely terrified, but I made it!  Little victories. It was awkward, it was scary, it was completely draining… but I’m glad I pushed myself to start this journey. Before I left, my therapist told me that the Lord wanted me to run to Him; His arms are open and waiting to hold me close. That was hard to hear, especially after having read Philippians a couple of hours before. I’m not sure I really believed it. Then tonight, I came across Ephesians 3:16-19, about how much deeper God’s love is than anything we could ever possibly know. And an hour later, I read your entry about our worth as daughters of God… and I almost lost it. I’m still on the verge of tears.

Tonight, I am wholly overwhelmed with God’s love. Though I feel so undeserving and unworthy, at least tonight, the depth of His love feels like a reality. Tonight, I feel like through Him, I CAN recover. Though worldly men have made me what I am now, my Father has bigger plans for my future. There is hope for me.

Thank you for the initial nudge to go get help for myself- Even though I know this is going to be so hard, I can already see that this is where He wants me to be. I’m doing the right thing. I am sure there are still so many more hard days ahead, but hopefully I can look back on this night and remember what it feels like to be filled with God’s perfect love. I just felt like sharing this joy with someone who has been there.

So what about you? Will you not let our Heavenly Father love you through the compassionate guidance of a doctor or counselor? Try it…I gurantee you, you won’t be disappointed.

“God passes through the thicket of the world, and where His glance falls, He turns all things into beauty.” – St. John of the Cross

Tonight is the Night!!

Yesterday I flew to Virginia to speak to the campus of James Madison University! The students and staff here are so incredibly wonderful and welcoming. And their campus is absolutely beautiful. Yesterday I was able to go to Mass and eat with some of the students, along with doing some promotion for tonight’s event. The weather is breathtaking here too. I love it!

Last night I also got to meet one of the beautiful women that MIHI helps hold accountable and tonight I get to meet another! I’m really excited for this! These women are so courageous and I’m honored to know them.

This morning, two of the FOCUS missionaries and I finished passing out flyers for tonight and then we went together to pray a Holy Hour. My time with God the Father this morning was special. I had countless thoughts and emotions racing through my mind, mostly of gratitude. I can’t believe Made in His Image is actually a non-profit. Look at what You have done from the pain? How much you have healed me from so much trauma and abuse Father, You are amazing! I’m so blessed! Thank you for Your love. 

I thought of three exceedingly special people who have helped me in my journey of healing – my sister Clare, who has been with me through everything. On the nights where I couldn’t sleep because of nightmares, Clare was there. When I had to be at the doctors, Clare was there. When I didn’t believe my life was worth living, Clare was there to remind me that it was. When I couldn’t bare the thought of looking in the mirror because all I saw was ugliness, Clare was there to tell me that I’m beautiful.

My doctor, who I completed two years of trauma therapy with. Words could never describe what Dr. Bellet has done for me. He challenged me to take my suffering and turn it into something beautiful. I will never forget those years I spent being coached by him – they were the hardest, but best years of my life so far. He changed my life.

My spiritual director, Father Jacek has helped me immensely. He’s always there to encourage and guide me when I question what I’m doing or wondering how the heck I’m going to pay my rent on any given month. To guide me closer to virtue and holiness, and to lead me in regards to MIHI. His words of wisdom and prayers are exceedingly invaluable.

I am blessed.

So come on out tonight and let’s find meaning in suffering together! Let’s let the Father transform our lives into something beautiful! Let’s find beauty in the cross!

Suffering is a gift-though, like all gifts, it depends on how we receive it. And that is why we need a pure heart, to see the hand of God, to feel the hand of God, to recognize the gift of God in our suffering. – Mother Teresa

My worst days in recovery are better than the best days in relapse

In response to Friday’s post, Alright, let’s do this, an incredibly brave young woman sent me the following email message.

Maura! You are such a blessing in my life right now. This week when I was in counseling, my therapist and I talked about how I can really get myself to start recovering because I always feel like I will never be able to do it. We started talking about discipline and how it takes a lot of discipline to have and continue an eating disorder. We also discussed the amount of discipline I must have in order to workout 4 times a day for the last 2 weeks even when I didn’t want too. After a lot of talking, I started to understand that I needed to discipline myself differently. I needed to put all or at least some of my energy and endurance into getting better and not so much into my eating disorder. All those times I go to the gym when I don’t want to, I could be using that energy towards recovery. After our session I decided that I would pray about it and maybe I’d try and maybe I wouldn’t. Then tonight I read your blog and it was exactly what I had been praying about all week. I finished reading it and was totally overwhelmed by God and His presence. I have been struggling all week to feel Him and while I was reading your blog, I felt like God was speaking to me through you. It was amazing! I am a fighter and I always have been my whole life. It is a grace that God has blessed me with and I want to show Him that I am going to fight and I am going to recover from my eating disorder so I may glorify Him through my actions and more importantly now, through my body! Thank you, thank you, thank you for helping me feel God’s presence again! Made in His Image is amazing!!!

What about you? Do you want to mirror this woman’s determination and resolve? Well you can, and today is the day to make a change! Today is the day to claim your life back. This is YOUR life, don’t let your eating disorder deprive you of your happiness and future! You are stronger than that! You are brave! You are courageous! You are a fighter! Now go kick your eating disorder in the two front teeth and get to work!

And don’t forget to let Made in His Image help you. I hired a counselor just for this reason, click on MIHI Counseling Services on the home page of my blog to set up an appointment today with Catherine.

Check back tomorrow for another inspiring post. All of this week, MIHI will be writing about and addressing eating disorders.

Something has got to change. This has to end somewhere.

Last night I received the following email from an incredibly courageous woman. Please read, and glean hope and healing from her story, from the Father’s love and healing touch, and from the Saints in Heaven, who are waiting to intercede for you. All the glory to the Father!

I appreciate all the work with you and thought I would share a success I had tonight. I’ve been struggling a lot lately, and it’s been really hard for me to get through a single day without either restricting or binging and purging. Today, I ate dinner with my mom before going to my evening chemistry lab. When I got out of the car and was walking into the building, I was overcome with a desire to purge. It’s still really uncomfortable for me to sit with and digest meals because I’m not used to it, so I was both physically and mentally uncomfortable.

As I was walking, I thought to myself, “Something has got to change. This has to end somewhere.” I started saying Hail Mary’s in tune with my walking steps. Then I thought of you and decided to say a prayer to Padre Pio, whom I’ve actually never prayed for before. I asked him to pray for me, that I may have the strength not to purge.

Well, I made it through the night. I sat down outside of my lab even though I was early, and I started up a conversation with one of my lab partners and ended up getting through the anxiety. Days like this give me hope, which I’m a little low on these days.

I still remember the day you came and visited me in the hospital and shared part of your story with me. I felt honored and inspired. I know that one day I can achieve the kind of recovery that the Lord has blessed you with. I’m trying to make peace with the fact that this is a long and difficult journey, and honestly, I’m not very good at suffering in patience. I just want it to be over already, and I get frustrated.

Reading your blog helps me remember that there is a kind of beauty to suffering, to sharing our own personal crosses, and to connecting with God and with His children through suffering. In fact, had I never hit the low that I hit in my early college years, I probably still wouldn’t be going to Mass today. So there are blessings if we look hard enough. Thank you for encouraging me to look hard enough.

I am excited for the work you and MIHI will accomplish. I am proud of you because I know what it is to want to give up, and so the fact that you’ve made it this far is amazing. I look forward to joining you in “walking before the Lord in the land of the living.” (Psalm 116:9)