Understand, first and foremost, that I do not share my story so that ‘Mo Isom’ can be known. I share my story so that God’s grace can be seen. I am a witness. I am a vessel. I am just one of His many tools–and proudly so. My explanations may seem vague and brief, but throughout the year and throughout my journey, details will be revealed and elaborated upon. For my trials are the stepping stones that guide my path.
My entire life has been a battle for control with our King. I was raised in a Christian household, attending church every Sunday (which, for most of my childhood, consisted of doodling on the prayer cards and fighting the urge to fall asleep during long sermons). Nevertheless, I was reared in a happy home…a peaceful home…a humble home. Being a “Christian” was what I knew and what was comfortable. But, like many young kids, that is where the pursuit of the faith rested stationary.
My parents were all that a young girl’s parents should be–supportive, passionate, encouraging, humble, patient, strict, loving, proud. (the list could continue on to fill the pages of this blog, but more will be touched on throughout the year) They sacrificed so much to see me succeed, whether it be in the classroom, my relationships, or my athletics.
Going into highschool, I wanted control. I wanted to be in the driver’s seat for this new, exciting phase of my life–I wanted to call the shots. I had ambition the size of a mountain and an ego to match. But with personal pride, comes corruption, and as I tried so desperately to steer my speeding course, I lost control along the way. The demands of my academics, the pressure of my growing soccer career, and the overwhelming expectations I felt to succeed pushed me down a slippery slope. And once I hit the bottom, I fell into an illness of obsession and control.
I developed an eating disorder that overwhelmed every aspect of my life. What started as bulimia evolved into a combination of anorexia and bulimia, some days eating so little as a piece of fruit and purging it shortly after. My illness grew to the point where I was forcing myself to throw up close to 10 times a day. When my fingers could no longer stimulate my gag reflexes, I started using objects. Toothbrushes, the base of hair brushes, anything that would cause me to vomit. Eventually, my body became so accustomed to pushing the food back up, I found that I couldn’t even keep food down.
The calories that my brain convinced me were still inside of me had to be burnt somehow. With my soccer career progressing and the pressure to be the best riding heavy on my shoulders, exercise became my absolute obsession. In the summer of my freshman year, I began exercising close to 6 hours a day. Religiously, obsessively. Running constantly, lifting weights, sprinting stadiums, then repeating it all over again. With no fuel in my body to engage my energy stores, I turned to pills. Any dietary pill I could possibly take that would provide me with energy, I took. I was weak, broken, hurting on the side, strained, tired, empty.
I’ve come to learn that our popular society today is Satan’s biggest cheerleader. Throughout all of the pain, the abuse of my body, the neglect and obsession, I found myself succeeding by society’s norms. I was finally selected onto the Regional Olympic team, began traveling the world playing soccer, won beauty pageants, fielded new compliments of “how beautiful” I looked, was signed with a prestigious modeling agency, and eventually signed a Division I scholarship. But at what cost?
I am not trying to take away from the successes and the character, discipline, and perseverance it took to achieve them, but my disorder did play a part. It defined my highschool years. It was a secret I hid so carefully, so methodically, that it would have most certainly ruined me had it gone on. Satan has a funny way of deceiving us…of blinding us to what’s True by cloaking our pain in success. But I was empty, I was broken, and I was thirsty for the Love I once knew…
So 6 months before I was set to enroll at LSU, I came clean to my mom. I spilled the darkness I had endured for 4 years and I pleaded for help. I entered therapy and consulted with a nutritionist, worked diligently to overcome my disease, and worked relentlessly to rebuild my relationship with Christ. After a great deal of learning and rebuilding, I made a very serious promise to my mom before leaving for LSU. I promised her that I would not fall back into the hands of my old demons. I promised her that I would not digress.
Through our gracious, unfailing, forgiving King–my strength was renewed. I gave control back to Christ and made my way to the Bayou…..