My heart is full as I remember all that December means to me. It holds my life and my history…it holds celebration and gifts…it holds anticipation and hope…it holds the birth of Jesus Christ. My daughter was born on December 6th, my granddaughter on the 16th, I was born on December 23rd and my brother on the 25th. To top if off, both my children were married in December. It’s a big month with big expectations. All these were received as wonderful gifts and worthy of timely merriment. Yet there was one birth in December that created ambivalence…one that made me wonder, “Now what? How will I navigate my life now that I have put it into words, all contained in 123 pages?” Interestingly, my book, Living On Empty, made its grand debut in December with mixed reviews, mostly from me.
Now it didn’t start out to be something that would cause me anxiety. I had thrown “caution to the wind” writing my story as I knew it in my 40 something years. I had wonderful endorsements on my book…someone referred to my story as “captivating,” he even said I was “captivating.” Another said, “Mary Jane writes out of a heart that struggles courageously, a mind that wrestles honestly, and a life that carries the growing aroma of Christ.” You would think I could bask in those affirming words enough to carry me through the exposure… yet as I actually started to read my book and flipped through those pages, a deep sense of shame began to prevail. Contempt was soon to follow as I turned against the courageous woman I had become.
The book, Living on Empty, is my story about the 25 years I struggled with eating disorders. It is literally a gut wrenching narrative of isolation, secrecy, desperation and humiliation. As I read through my book those words resonated loudly. It was all I could see…I was blinded to the goodness and hope my story has to offer. I had no idea that I was breaking generational sin and writing a legacy for the next generation. This realization came into light soon after my children were married and began having children of their own.
My oldest grandson, Jack, was the first to take notice of my book. He was 6 years old and as he leafed through it he was impressed that I could think up all those words. Although he did show some disapproval that there were no pictures in my book. In that moment I realized that one-day Jack would read his Mimi’s book. Soon after Jack, 3 granddaughters came along Ellie, Chloe and Faith…little girls who, too, will be 17 one day experiencing all the insecurities for what their future will hold. I realized my book is a gift! Tucked away in those pages is my salvation story for them to read and to know that Mimi will one day be in heaven. This will hold great security for my other 2 grandsons Kaleb and Parker as well. How interesting that God has held my story and me for such a time as this? That 40 something gal had no idea, but today I sure do.
It is with kindness and love that my book is being offered once again to you my readers. I am proud of my story…it is what has made me who I am today. How fitting that the month of December is the rebirth of my book? I am not the same gal who wrote this book because much has changed. But know that I embrace the woman I was with great compassion, with eyes that see her pain and with a heart full of gratitude for her life.
Yes, December holds much to celebrate…I join the celebration. My life holds that and so much more. Thank you for joining me in this celebration with my book, Living on Empty.
Mary Jane Hamilton has grown to love her sense of style and her peaceful lake living. Mother of 2 and grandmother of 6, she has a wonderful capacity to love and is still active as The Tooth Fairy. She is extremely fond of her dachshunds, who rarely venture from her lap, and enjoys biking with her husband of 44 years. She is rekindling her writing skills and finding it life giving.