I'm a wedding and portrait photographer living in Vancouver, BC with my husband Randy.  I photographed my first wedding when I was only 17 years old - and I've photographed over 200 weddings since! I am an avid bookworm, lover of green tea, pretty nail polish & my Labradoodle Harley. Thanks for visiting!

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the girl i once was: part 3

July 11, 2012


[The Girl I Once Was is a series of blog posts compiled from real-life journal entries from my teenage years. If you’d like to read the story from the beginning, you can find the introduction here.]

part one | part two

September 9, 2005: Back from youth. It was alright. I’m going through a really weird time right now. This whole week at chapel, I have felt nothing. I tried to worship but I feel empty. I feel numb. I cried with Mrs. W because I miss God. I miss him. I try to read my Bible but it’s hard. I read an amazing verse, in Job somewhere a few nights ago. It says after hard times we will turn out like gold. Sometimes I feel like the hyper/smiley person at school isn’t me. This is the first time in a while I have journaled any kind of emotion; which is weird because usually my journals are entirely emotions… not just facts and stats about what I did. But those are the only things I know for sure. Anyway, today at school, Jess came up to me and said, I wanted to let you know that I’ve been praying for you and if you ever need to talk, I’m here. I said it meant a lot to me and thanks. I couldn’t believe it. She’s an answer to my silent prayers. I really do look up to her. I would love to get to know her more.

September 11, 2005: I phoned Jess tonight. I was nervous. I started crying on the phone. Jess said she talked to Mrs. W and found out we both were feeling alone with no idea how we’d get through the next three years. Jess really wants to get to know me better. She says she’s been crying a lot the past few weeks too. When we hang out, I think I’ll mention my struggle with God and ask about her life a bit. I’m not going into my stomach allergy/problem. Nobody understands that.  

Oh Jamie,

My heart aches for you but I love that I am seeing the name of Jesus in the words you write. You’re trying to find your way in a world obsessed with self — and how dark of a world it is! this is a desert time. You’re right, it sucks — but God is faithful — and you will come out like gold. As the Israelites in Exodus 16 wandered through the wilderness on the way to the Promise Land, so you are wandering through the wilderness. God blessed them with daily bread from Heaven and God has also blessed you with “daily bread” for this season: and it’s Jess. Sometimes God places our hearts — hearts made for the Promise Land — in the wilderness. And with our handful of manna, our hearts learn to praise.


Oct 16, 2005: I don’t know where to begin. I gained 10 pounds. It’s real. I want to cry. I can’t process my thoughts right now. I’m such a PIG. I can’t believe I stopped counting calories. Gross. I worked so hard for those last 10 pounds. I’m such a failure. I don’t even pray anymore, I just get frustrated and give up. I can’t do it. I’m miserable. Gross. Gross. My jeans are too tight. I need to fit in them again. My cords that used to be lose fit now! I’m X* now. GROSS. Ew. I’m getting back to X* by Christmas. I’m so disgusted with myself right now. MAD. Mad.


I remember this moment clearer than any other entry. I stepped onto the scale in Dad’s bathroom and saw X* pounds. Disbelief. Shock. Horror. I stepped on and off again. I ran to my room and threw myself on the floor. I cried. I grabbed my journal, furiously writing, crying, tears dripping off my cheek and onto the page. Disappointment, anger, defeat. I didn’t want those ten pounds — but apparently my body did. My period came back after nine months. It was a first step towards a healthy body.

My sickness was hard on my family. My over-exercising disorder was my first but not my only struggle: weekly appointments to the naturopath, missed classes for more rounds of blood tests and long drives to the city to see a new specialist had all become routine. I was constantly fatigued and light-headed after climbing the stairs. I found concentrating on a task impossible and was horribly pale. Digesting simple vitamins like carotene seemed a task too arduous for my body and the palms of my hands and the bottoms of my feet soon turned yellow. Swinging hormones — no menstrual cycle for nine months will do fun things to you — led to developing social anxiety. Dad didn’t know how to handle my moods and emotional outbursts. My brother was my enemy in arguments that ended with my screams and tears. Mom was my rock. She held me as I cried — every day for over a year. [When I started healing, we marked my progress by the time elapsed between tears. I was excited to reach three days once.] She delivered hot lunches of peas, turkey and brown rice when it was all my doctor-appointed special diet allowed. On mornings I couldn’t face school, she’d let me stay home. When I called her crying at lunchtime, she’d hang up the phone and grab her car keys to meet me.

When I didn’t have the strength to pray, I knew my parents prayed for me. Whenever healing was mentioned during a church service, I felt my back tense. Don’t ask me to come forward, don’t ask me to put up my hand. If God wants to heal me, He’ll heal me right here, thank you very much. My parents watched, silently praying and believing for a breakthrough in my life each week. Occasionally, Mom would put her hand on my back during worship. I knew she was praying. Her hand was like an electric shock to my tear ducts. The emotion made me angry. I fought… against what I wasn’t sure. I was fighting for control in a world that was spinning out of control. God was asking for my vulnerability and a surrender of my will. I was unwilling to give it to Him.

*Due to the sensitive nature of eating & overexercising disorders, I have decided to not publish my weight. Different heights and frames carry weight differently and I would never want my “number” to be an unhealthy motivator. Thanks for your understanding.

Add A Comment

  1. Julie

    July 11th, 2012 at 2:15 am

    My heart aches for you but rejoices at the peace you have found and overcome and how you use God to shine. Thank you for sharing this with us. :)

  2. Hannah Nicole

    July 11th, 2012 at 5:51 am

    Oh, Jamie. This makes my heart hurt for you. So blessed by this series.

  3. Gillian Ree

    July 11th, 2012 at 7:53 am

    Oh man Jamie, you are making me cry! Such an AMAZING powerful testimony. As much as it is hard to read such an amazing young girl going through such hardship, it is also so beautiful to see how God tranformes lives. Your gift of writing is clearly from Him and your openness to share with the world is incredible.

    If you don’t have future aspirations to write a novel or speak at women’s conferences, consider it!!!

    Gillian. (p.s- dont mind me if I comment on every single one of these posts..)

  4. Auburn

    July 11th, 2012 at 9:07 am

    Jamie, I just want to say how much your story inspires me. I’m a 17 year old girl who struggles with my weight, and being content in the body that Christ gave me. Reading your story gives me hope. Thank you SO much.

  5. Rebecca

    July 11th, 2012 at 10:12 am

    I can relate to this in so, so many ways. Than you so much for sharing this and for being so transparent. Looking forward to reading more.

  6. Hannah

    July 11th, 2012 at 7:27 pm

    This breaks my heart reading this. It reminds me in many ways of similar things I went through. Thank you for sharing such a personal thing, God is using your testimony to encourage so many people!! It’s so inspiring to see how far you have grown. You are an incredible woman of Christ Jamie!

  7. amanda vanvels

    July 11th, 2012 at 8:10 pm

    these posts give me hope. that’s all i’ll say in a comment, but thank you so much!

  8. Natalie

    July 11th, 2012 at 8:26 pm

    Hi Jamie =) I’ve been reading your blog now for a few months and just wanted to tell you how much I’ve enjoyed your writing and photography. I love this series you’ve been doing from your teen years. It’s so encouraging to see just how far you’ve come since then and I can relate to pieces of your story =) Amazing testimony!

  9. Ang

    July 11th, 2012 at 9:20 pm

    Jaime, it absolutely astounds me how bang on your journal entries were to my mine! It’s amazing to look and see what the Lord has done in our lives; how He uses such deep pain for His glory, our good, and the good of others; how His healing and His timing are perfect! The evidence of His grace in your story is captivating – as much as it hurts to read of your struggle, it is so uplifting to see the Lord’s redeeming work in your life! :)

  10. Lyles

    July 12th, 2012 at 8:35 am

    Thanks so much for your transparency James! Your words are a window into the mind of a unique teenage girl. But I think maybe not so different from many girls who keep all those destructive feelings silently in their heart. Bless you for your courage in sharing all these difficult words because I know they will help other girls who are struggling to believe that they are precious in God’s eyes. Love you!

  11. vivi k

    July 12th, 2012 at 12:06 pm

    Jamie, your words are such a powerful testimony of God’s work in your life! Thank you so much for your transparency and honesty. I went through something very similar not too long ago, and hearing your story brings me to tears. You are such a blessing, Jamie, and I believe that this series will touch many many lives. :)

  12. Natasha

    July 13th, 2012 at 8:31 am

    Oh Jamie, this is so powerful. I’ve followed your blog for so long and seeing this testimony is amazing. Your words on looking back is so encouraging and seeing the healing makes me so happy. Happy for you, and happy for others who may have struggled with the same thing. Thank you for allowing us to peer into something so personal. xoxox

  13. Brittany Dawson Kerr

    July 13th, 2012 at 10:51 am


    i don’t think there is a better feeling than knowing your prayed for.

  14. Rebekah

    July 13th, 2012 at 11:31 am

    You go girl. Keep posting this. It’s so encouraging to those going through it now–and to those (like me) who have come out on the other side. We still need those reminders of God’s great love for us, and of the joyless bondage produced by devotion to self. It would be so easy to go back. But by His grace we won’t!

  15. Rachel

    July 16th, 2012 at 8:47 pm

    You are beautiful! I teach middle school health, and I would like to share your posts with my girls this year, if that’s okay with you. They so need to hear these things! I have never struggled with my weight or my eating habits, but I have certainly dealt with image issues, depression, anxiety, and feeling like I don’t fit in. I love your willingness to bare your soul so others can find freedom and healing. Not till heaven will you ever know the tremendous impact your openness has on those who read your posts. Blessings to you!

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