December 3 - Akiko Ota

“How long, Lord? Will you forget me forever?
    How long will you hide your face from me?
How long must I wrestle with my thoughts
    and day after day have sorrow in my heart?
How long will my enemy triumph over me?

Look on me and answer, Lord my God.
    Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death,
and my enemy will say, “I have overcome him,”
    and my foes will rejoice when I fall.”

Psalm 13:1-4

My darkest time in my life was between 1992 and 1998. Within these six years, I suffered from an eating disorder. I felt my brain was acting up and giving me signals that it shouldn’t have— depression, anger, hate against food, strong irresistible feeling that led to food addiction...

I stayed in the hospital for about a year for treatment, which didn’t work. Then I stayed five years at home without any social connections—no work, no activities, no friends…I was too sick and depressed to do any of those. 

I did not know the Lord back then, so there seemed to be no way out of suffering and darkness. But one day, the chief nurse of the hospital where I stayed said, “You will be okay. You will not die. I do not know how, but I know. So, please do not doubt this, and focus on getting better.” 

Fast forward to 2014, I accepted Jesus Christ as my savior. But I still did not know how one would hear what God has for us. So I asked my good friend who loves God. He told me that God speaks to us in many different ways, including through other people. It was then that I knew he was speaking to me through that nurse all those years ago.

And God is always right. I got out of misery after six years of darkness. What’s surprising, however, was how patient our God is. It took sixteen more years for me to come to him, but he welcomed me with open arms.

If my earlier life between 1992 and 1998 was Psalm 13:1-4, then my life now is Psalm 13:5-6:

“I trust His unfailing love, my heart rejoices in His salvation, and I will sing the Lord’s praise for he has been good to me.”