Jesus brought me from the darkness into His glorious life. And for this I am eternally grateful.
I was raised attending church- baptized as a baby, first communion in elementary school, attended Sunday school, confirmed in high school. I went to church, sang hymns, and said prayers and knew of God but didn’t truly know God or have a personal relationship with Him.
I struggled deeply before knowing Jesus, crushed by the weight of perfectionism and mental illness. Defined by numbers- my weight, my grades, my race times. My identity was in running and I was a slave to it. Compelled to run even when my mind and body screamed no. My soul screamed yes because that’s where my worth came from. Without running I was worthless, with running I was somewhat worthy. Worth based on times and places in races, but it was never enough. I was never enough. There was a hole in my heart- searching for worth, searching for identity. In college, my identity wasn't just in running, my identity was in my eating disorder- what my body looked like, my weight, what foods I ate. I was trapped. OCD crept in and my social anxiety was rampant. Then I became ensnared by depression and PMDD, leading to suicidal thoughts. I was lost. Struggling to stay afloat. Many times not wanting to continue on. Wondering what the purpose of my life was. Feeling purposeless, directionless, hopeless. Questioning at times if I should even stay alive.
Attending Intervarsity Christian Fellowship at Carroll was a turning point for me. The first large group meeting I attended my freshmen year I was in awe. I felt the presence of God while surrounded by nearly 40 other students my age worshiping and glorifying God. I could feel His love, His presence in that room. I heard countless testimonies my first few years of college. Hearing how Jesus redeemed so many individuals. Hearing sermons about His love and goodness. And yet I didn’t surrender my life to Him or accept Him into my life. I wanted control. I wanted to control my life and didn’t want to hand it over to Him. I didn’t want to let go of the eating disorder identity or the perfectionism, or running. Jesus spoke to me again at an Intervarsity Conference my Junior year through a room with hundreds of other college students singing the song “Build my life” by Housefires.
And I will build my life upon Your love
It is a firm foundation
And I will put my trust in You alone
Holy, there is no one like You
There is none beside You
Open up my eyes in wonder
And show me who You are
And fill me with Your heart
And lead me in Your love to those around me
I will build my life upon You
Lead me in Your love
I could feel Jesus gently asking me to surrender all. I could feel my heart softening, wanting to build my life on Him. Yet I still wanted that illusion of control. But when I returned to my room after the conference, I got down on my knees and prayed. I prayed to Jesus to come into my life- that I surrender all to Him. That I want to live for Him now. That I want to build my life on Him. That I know God sent Him to die for the world, to die for me. I declared Jesus as Lord and Savior of my life. At that moment I was saved.
Jesus began to transform my life in amazing ways in the years following surrendering my life to Him. Instead of my identity in running, my weight, or my eating disorder, my identity was as a child of God. A daughter of the King. Holy, beloved, accepted, known, chosen, fearfully and wonderfully made, created on purpose for a purpose. My soul finally started to feel my worth and value. God gave me the beautiful gift of getting connected with some wonderful therapists and dietitians and attending an intensive program for my social anxiety and OCD. God made me aware of the Lasting Freedom program-a Christ-centered food and body image program to help break me free from the bonds of the eating disorder. At a young adult retreat, Jesus removed the shame I had associated with my struggle with suicidal ideation and helped me to share my experiences to give the gift of hope to others.
God transformed my life in ways I could never imagine. He brought me from:
Loneliness to building community and connection.
Anorexia and orthorexia to freedom and self love.
Depression and suicidal ideation to joyful and shining a light to others.
Severe social anxiety to public speaker and small group leader.
Bound by OCD and health anxiety to living a full life.
Perfectionism and self hatred to self compassion.
Feeling unworthy of love and goodness to worthy.
Trying to “fit in” to being my true, authentic self.
Fearful of death and dying to knowing that my future is in heaven and that there is a place in heaven already waiting for me.
Quiet and timid to passionate, loud, and bold for Christ and freedom from eating disorders.
Lost to found,
Death to life.
Genesis 50:20 became the theme verse of my life. “You intended to harm me but God intended it for good, to accomplish what is now being done. The saving of many lives.” This verse is what brought about the start of the Genesis 50:20 Facebook messenger group which eventually became this beautiful gift of this ministry- the Live RecoverED nonprofit. A holy ripple effect had occurred in my life.
Last year, at 24 years old, Jesus nudged my heart to become baptized, a public profession of the declaration I had made 4 years prior that He is Lord and Savior of my life. It was one of the best days of my life.
I’m living a beautiful life I never thought I’d live. Being surrounded by the love of my boyfriend, family, and friends. Having this beautiful ministry. Using my voice to shine a light on eating disorders. Playing on the playground with my students at work. Free from anorexia, orthorexia, depression, health anxiety, OCD, and social anxiety. But most importantly, in a relationship with Christ, having His constant companionship and love.
I write this testimony as I’m listening to Back to Life by Bethel Music & Zahriya Zachary and these words are true for me:
“No longer I who live, but Christ in me
For I've been born again, my heart is free
The hope of heaven before me, the grave behind
Hallelujah You brought me back to life
Oh You brought me back to life
And the enemy thought he had me
But Jesus said you are Mine”
Jesus brought me out of the darkness into His beautiful light. And He can bring you there too.
Jesus never forces Himself into our lives. He extends many invitations to us but never pushes us to say yes, to surrender all to Him, to accept Him into our lives. Jesus has the power to bring you out of the darkness into His glorious light. He can take your darkness moments and most painful experiences and turn them to good. He can show you your true worth and identity. He loves you and wants a relationship with you.
If you’ve never accepted Jesus into your heart, I encourage you to do so. Open your heart to Jesus, declare Him Lord and Savior of your life, surrender all to Him. Life with Christ is absolutely amazing, and I pray that you experience His love, goodness, salvation, and redemption.
If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.”
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
*If you would like to talk more about accepting Jesus into your heart and declaring Him Lord and Savior over your life please don’t hesitate to reach out to me, I’d love to support you.
Megan Ludke is a woman of God, Founder and Executive Director of Live RecoverED (formerly RecoverED Athletes), a school-based physical therapist, and a current PSU graduate student (M.Ed. Health Education & Promotion concentration in Eating Disorders). She is recovered from anorexia, orthorexia, depression, OCD, and social anxiety. Megan is deeply passionate about her work at Live RecoverED, having felt the pain and darkness of struggling with an eating disorder. When not working, Megan loves spending time with her boyfriend and family and loves being outside- hiking or reading in a hammock.