“I once believed the lie that my identity was rooted in my past, singleness, weight, past rapes, inability to overcome temptation, and the destruction of my own body. Through Christ, I learned that my identity is rooted in who He says I am.” – Stephanie Metzger
“’Work hard, play harder.’ Those were the words I lived by for six years as I searched for life in partying, relationships, the perfect body, a successful career, and wherever else the world said it could be found,” said Stephanie Metzger. “I grew up believing success was in my control, and only I could be trusted with the trajectory of my life.
“At 18, I strove to mimic the Hollywood version of ‘the college experience’ – nights full of parties and guys – while trying to maintain the GPA necessary to secure a successful career. Marriage was another huge part in this vision of success. I yearned to be loved and cherished.
“During that time, I went to a party where I was assaulted by a guy. I blamed myself being taken advantage of and started believing that my body was the only thing that made me worthy of attention. I was so ashamed that I never told anyone what happened.
“After graduating, I moved to Fort Worth to work in the oil and gas business. My life felt very empty, so I searched for fulfillment by pursuing an MBA on top of my full-time job. I continued to party, pour myself into my career, and strive to achieve the perfect body. When I became exhausted, I turned to food for comfort. Binging and purging turned into a four-year battle with bulimia. I was out of control, burning myself out in every area.
“One night while I was out with friends on 7th Street in Fort Worth, it happened again. I had too much to drink and don’t remember what happened after a certain point that night. I was assaulted by a man in my home. I still have no idea who it was.
“The next morning, I dragged myself into a Fort Worth church, crying out to God. I pleaded with Him to show me where life was found. There had to be more to life than this! As God had so perfectly planned, the pastor announced the church needed Sunday school teachers. I knew that was where I needed to be.
“God used the opportunity to teach sweet, 3rd grade girls to draw me into His Word daily. As we walked through the New Testament, both the life of Jesus and Paul’s letters radically changed my view of salvation. I had always believed in Jesus, but only saw myself as saved from automatic admission to hell. Through studying Scripture, I learned that my performance had nothing to do with earning a spot in Heaven. I was saved through faith in Christ alone (Ephesians 2:8-9). Jesus paid it all on the cross.
“I made my way to Watermark through The Porch in 2015. I met so many people whose lives had been transformed through a relationship with Christ. At the time, my quest for success on the world’s terms – marriage, career, family, and the perfect figure – still ruled my life. Exhausted and unfulfilled, I yearned to experience authentic life change. (Isaiah 43:18-19)
“At just the right time, the Lord provided me with the gift of community as my eating disorder had reared its ugly head again. Desperate for prayer and help, I confessed my battle with bulimia to my community group and was met with tremendous kindness. It was so freeing to reveal one of the many secrets I’d been harboring and be met with love and support from God’s people in return.
“My community group continued to encourage and pray for me as I confronted other struggles in my life. I didn’t trust God’s plan over mine, and I was still struggling with body image and idolizing marriage. Tired of captivity, I walked into re:generation, Watermark’s biblical recovery ministry, on July 11, 2016. I couldn’t continue fighting this battle on my own. I needed the Lord’s help.
“Through re:generation, I found freedom as God broke the chains of guilt, shame, my struggle with control, and my eating disorder. I once believed the lie that my identity was rooted in my past, singleness, weight, past rapes, inability to overcome temptation, and the destruction of my own body. Through Christ, I learned that my identity is rooted in who He says I am. I am loved, cherished, and I am made new because I am His. God is not some far-off entity, looking down from the clouds in disappointment with my every failure. Instead, He is my Savior who is always ready to take my hand when I need help out of the pit. (Psalm 103:2-5)
“God was so faithful to change the desires of my heart. Today, I know His plan is best – not because the Lord gives me the fleeting things I idolized for so long, but because He promises us eternity that surpasses anything on this earth. God truly satisfies my heart more than worldly pleasures or success ever could.
“I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.” (Ezekiel 36:25-27)