These past few years have been both the hardest and most fulfilling in my life as the Lord has set me on the path of healing from a long-term battle with anxiety. Although this process has been incredibly painful, it has left me with an unwavering faith in my God’s goodness and sovereignty and has given me a new appreciation for the freedom that Christ offers through the gospel.
I walked into January 2019 confident and filled with expectations for the new year. I had recently turned 21, I was a year into my marriage, and I had just taken big steps forward in my dream of acting in television and film. I couldn’t wait to see what 2019 had in store.
As I was spending some time with the Lord, reflecting on 2018 and praying about his will for the new year, my spirit could sense that God was preparing me for something big he wanted to do in my life. I remember saying that day, “Lord, I’m all in. I’m ready.” What I was unaware of at the time was that God was planning on putting me face-to-face with my biggest fears in order to heal some deep wounds in my heart.
My process of healing started when a friend helped me recognize I had an eating disorder. I had developed an unhealthy relationship with my body and food in my teens and for years have struggled with cycles of binge eating and restrictive diets. My friend helped me see that my broken relationship with my body was clouding my ability to see myself as who I was: a beautiful daughter of King Jesus.
The realization that I had an eating disorder hit me hard—I spiraled into a deep depression as I met with therapists and struggled to make sense of how to heal. For about seven months, I rarely left the house and gained about 70 pounds. I felt completely stuck and helplessly lost. I had never before so deeply resonated with the lament passages of the Bible.
It was during these months that I witnessed first-hand the compassion of Jesus. In my hurt, I could feel Jesus sit and cry with me. There was a closeness that I experienced with him in this season that was really special.
My current stage of healing has come with the Lord opening my eyes to the fact that I have anxiety. I have always been an emotional person with high stress levels, but it wasn’t until I started having panic attacks in the winter of 2020 that I knew something bigger was going on. Pieces finally started to fit together as I was officially diagnosed with anxiety, began working with a therapist and started taking medication.
This was when I began to see the bigger picture of what God was doing in my life. There was something incredibly freeing about recognizing that the fear I felt everyday was not normal and was in no way what God wanted for me.
Today, I am still working hard to heal from anxiety and restore my relationship with my body and food. Although I did not expect my early twenties to look this way, I am so thankful that the Lord loves me enough to not leave me in my brokenness. I am nowhere near the end of the healing process, but even now I can say that the Lord is faithful, and his plan for me truly is a beautiful one.
If I could leave readers with one thing, it would be that God wants freedom for us today. This isn’t something that we have to wait for heaven to experience. I have gotten to see these past few years that when we say yes to what the Lord wants for us, the journey may be difficult, but it is worth it every time!
Carly Lepard lives in Denver, Colorado, with her husband, Andrew. Lighthouse Church is their home, and the people there are their family. Lepard was the worship leader at Lighthouse for a season (she loves to sing!), and her husband currently heads Lighthouse’s digital media. Lepard is an actor and voiceover artist and has also spent the past three years developing a wedding videography business with her husband. On top of that, she is getting her degree online in Business Communication.