Testimony from a Russian Reader

It is e-mails like this one that made the years of study, writing and struggle to market my book all worthwhile. I corresponded with the following reader a few years ago, as she was unable to find biblical counseling resources in her homeland of Russia.

Hello Marie!
I don't know whether you remember me... about 2 years or even more ago i wrote you an email and you answered straight away.

My email was story about my struggles with bulimia and asked for helped and encouragement.
After that i sort of disappeared.. so a year ago i graduated and went back to my hometown to stay with my parents and to figure out and pray about my future.   
I still had bulimia and i definitely knew by that time that no one but God could free me from this bondage.. I shared with my mom. she helped me in many ways too... 
I was reading a lot of books, articles, blogs, served in church, worked and was praying that God will open doors for me, that He is willing to open. At the same time i started working on my applications for a Master's degree to several universities. My elder sister has been studying in America for 2 years and I decided to try too. I was accepted, God provided finances and after certain complications with the visa documents I came to California.  
Several days ago I was in the book store of my college and saw your book "redeemed from the pit". My heart was filled with joy and gratefulness to the Lord for what He has allowed in my life and for people that had been helping me. You were one of them!And the most exciting thing for me is that currently I am a student of the Masters of the Biblical counseling program in the Master's College (MacArthur College).
I wrote you to say thank you and to encourage you to continue your ministry! I would be happy to keep in touch! and to learn!
p.s. oh,i think i didn't mention, but i don't struggle with bulimia for half a year now)


The BCC Author Interview Q & A with Marie Notcheva

Read original post on the Biblical Counseling Coalition's website here

As part of our BCC vision, we want to help you to get to know gifted Christian authors and their books. This week we’re highlighting Marie Notcheva as she talks about her book Redeemed from the Pit.

BCC: “There are many books available about eating disorders, which impact up to 15% of American women. What sets your book, Redeemed from the Pit, apart?”

MN: “When I began looking at Christian books that discuss anorexia and bulimia, I noticed that most of them either fell into the ‘self-help’ or ‘pop-psychology’ genre. I saw a lot of talk about self-esteem and loving ourselves more, but very little Scripture. In order to be transformed from the destructive thinking that leads to eating disorders, it’s important to see anorexia and bulimia as life dominating sins. My book focuses on the importance of renewing one’s mind with the Word of God, while actively ‘putting off’ sinful eating patterns and ‘putting on’ God-honoring behavior.”

BCC: “What is your perspective on how to ‘classify’ eating disorders?”

MN: “Anorexia and bulimia are learned behaviors—which, by God’s grace, can be unlearned.  God offers forgiveness and cleansing from ‘addictions.’ This is GOOD news! God’s Word has already given us the answer: faith and repentance. Some of the harshest criticism I have received for calling them ‘sins’ has actually come from Christians. If we are in Christ, we do have the power by His Spirit to turn around and overcome any self-destructive behavior enslaving us. Helping people realize this is one of the most loving things we can do. Popular wisdom claims that someone with an eating disorder will ‘never be recovered; but always in recovery.’ Where’s the hope in that? Compare that with 1 Corinthians 6, which says the believer can leave behind their old way of life and be totally transformed.”

BCC: “Where does the title of your book, Redeemed from the Pit, come from?”

MN: “It is a reference to Psalm 40. David was stuck in a slimy, muddy pit of sin, and called out to the Lord to rescue him. God responded, and set his feet on a solid rock. That image stuck with me when God granted me repentance from eating disorders—He heard my cry, and patiently walked me out of the ‘pit.’”

BCC: “So, you personally struggled with an eating disorder. Is the book autobiographical?”

MN: “I battled both anorexia and bulimia from age 15 to 32. Chapters 1 and 14 include my testimony, but the book is not an autobiography. My purpose in writing it was to point other women towards the Great Physician, and share with them the same lessons God had taught me. Those were the hardest chapters to write, because an eating disorder is something so deeply personal. It was much easier to write about the theology of repentance, and how to ‘take every thought captive’ than about my own personal struggle.”

BCC: “What would you say are some of the things that cause a young woman to slide into an eating disorder? Where do anorexia and bulimia come from?”

MN: “Of course, everything starts in the mind—unbiblical thinking becomes a meditation, which ultimately determines how one behaves. Some of the underlying sins include fear of man; vanity; idolatry; seeking control of others; lack of self-control (gluttony); perfectionism, and prayerlessness. I unpack each of these throughout the book and counter them with the biblical alternative—the ‘put on.’ Of course, there are also external factors, such as media, parental pressure and the food-obsessed culture in which we live, but the main culprit is our own sin nature. It all goes back to pride and wanting to live independently of God.”

BCC: “Martha Peace wrote the foreword to Redeemed from the Pit. In what ways was Martha of assistance to you in your writing?”

MN: “Martha was very helpful. She went over each chapter with a fine-toothed comb, making sure that my language was unambiguously clear and biblical. For example, she suggested I avoid using the term “delivered” because it might suggest to some readers the exorcism ‘deliverance ministries.’ She also helped me clarify to the reader the importance of our ‘position in Christ’ to our sanctification, versus our ‘identity in Christ’ model. I think I re-wrote that chapter at least four times! Martha also brings decades of experience from the counseling room to her perspective, and that was extremely valuable.”

BCC: “You discuss the role of the local church in your book. Do you feel it is appropriate for someone who suffers from an eating disorder to seek help from her pastor?”

MN: “I absolutely think it is appropriate! Rather than looking outside of the church for a faith-based inpatient facility, a believer may be best helped at home by receiving the counseling and accountability she needs by someone who knows and cares about her. Of course, ideally a pastor would be able to provide another woman in the congregation to disciple the woman seeking help, and she should always be monitored by a doctor. But the biblical model of providing hope, help, and spiritual care for the hurting has always been through the local church. An eating disorder, at its root, is a spiritual battle. While medical care is indeed necessary, true hope and lasting change comes from knowing God’s Word  and being able to correctly apply it through a right relationship with Him. This is where the church can come alongside someone struggling, and help her live her life to glorify God.”

BCC: “Thank you, Marie, for introducing our readers to Redeemed from the Pit.”

BCC Staff

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BBC Interview with Shannon K. McCoy - Author of "Help! I'm a Slave to Food"

The Biblical Counseling Coalition ran the following Q & A with NANC counselor and author, Shannon K. McCoy. Shannon wrote a very helpful booklet to help believers and biblical counselors overcome life-dominating food issues, which I will review in the upcoming weeks. The booklet is available on Amazon, as well as through the BCC site. It is indeed a pleasure to find and recommend other soundly Scriptural resources that help Christians walk free from eating disorders!

The BCC Author Interview Q & A with Shannon Kay McCoy

As part of our BCC vision, we want to help you to get to know gifted Christian authors and their books. This week we’re highlighting Shannon Kay McCoy as she talks about her booklet Help! I’m a Slave to Food. Her booklet is part of the series Living in a Fallen World.

BCC: “Why did you write a booklet on overeating?”

SKM: “First, my interest in this topic is very personal. There have been times in my life when I felt I was a slave to food. I tried to use food as a balm for unwanted emotions and to distract me from undesirable responsibilities. It brought a false sense of pleasure and satisfaction, only to end in confusion and betrayal. Then I discovered God’s empowering grace and I am now walking victoriously in the words of Jesus that “life is more than food” (Luke 12:23) and “Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4). Second, I am concerned about the effectiveness of the Christian church. Excessive overeating, which is called gluttony in the Bible, can no longer be considered a subtle, respectable, and silent sin. It is hindering the spiritual growth and effectiveness of many Christians.”

BCC: “Why did you choose to include the word ‘slave’ in the title?”

SKM: “The word ‘slave’ describes what an overeater really feels. A slave is a person held in servitude or bondage resulting in loss of freedom. A slave is completely subservient to a master. The master has ownership, authority, power, and control over the life of a slave. The overeater feels like food is her master, and that she is completely helpless to set herself free from its prison.”

BCC: “In your approach, how important do you think it is to identity overeating as a sin?”

SKM: “Identifying overeating as a sin means there is great hope because Jesus has overcome sin for us. By faith the overeater acknowledges her sin and seek God’s grace through Jesus Christ who then delivers the overeater from this sin.”

BCC: “Why did you not choose to use the term ‘addiction’ with overeating?”

SKM: “The danger in labeling overeating as an addiction is that it undermines the personal conviction of sin. If sin is not the problem, then you will be looking for solutions in a system of theories and not in the person of Jesus Christ.”

BCC: “How is your booklet different from other materials that address this subject?”

SKM: “This booklet is not a diet plan, but a compass directing the reader to the heart of the problem and to the only solution: Jesus, the One who can bring you out of slavery into freedom.”

BCC: “What are some of the practical helps that your booklet offers?”

SKM: “The booklet offers personal application projects that can be done individually or with a group.”

BCC: “Who should read your book?”

SKM: “Anyone who may be struggling with the sin of overeating or knows someone who struggles with this sin.”

BCC: “Thanks, Shannon, for helping our readers to ponder biblical principles for victory over the temptations we face in our daily Christian life—especially related to overeating.”


"Body Gossip" Clip

Motivational recovery short from British celebrities about walking away from an eating disorder and rejecting the lies the obsession causes one to believe.