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The Man Who Satisfied My Hunger – An Interview with Maggie Bodeep

Maggie Bodeep was in the depths of despair, battling a serious eating disorder and drug addiction when she encountered and was set free by the Love she was searching for her whole life.

What did your life look like before you encountered Jesus?

When I was young, I felt really unstable and felt pressure to live up to what the world says is beautiful. I just wanted to be seen and loved. I was a competitive swimmer and was always striving to be better, because I thought if I won my races, then I’d be loved and accepted. I remember having a big swim meet, and, after I lost a race, my family looked so disappointed. I thought, “I’m never going to be loved.” That’s when my eating disorder began.

My mom passed away when I was 17. I kept thinking, “If my mom were here, I would be loved.” I was constantly seeking love.

My eating disorder became very serious during college. I had been violated by men and was so full of shame. I felt like I had to hide. My friend offered me some pills, and, because I was a mess, I was ready to do anything people said would make it better. This turned into an addiction to prescription drugs.

My feelings of unworthiness blocked me from really accepting Jesus. I met a Christian friend, and she took me to a worship night. I remember sitting there the whole time, crying. That was the first time I was like, “Maybe there’s something here.” But I still felt so shameful and that I wasn’t worthy of Jesus’ love, so I ran away from that encounter with Him.

What changed that allowed you to let Jesus into your life?

I met a young couple who showed me what real love looks like. There was a girl in their Bible study who was entering a rehab program. It got me thinking, “What would it look like for me to really get well?”

That question led to a massive search. I called about 25 centers, but many couldn’t take me. And then I called The Father’s Heart [in Pennsylvania]. Three days later, I was in their program. It was the hardest year of my life. It took me months to really accept that even after all that I’d done and all that had happened, God loves me. I reached a point where I really needed a savior. And so I made a very honest prayer, which I recorded in my journal:

“God, are You even real? If You are real, why aren’t You with me? Why did You leave me? Do You even love me? Why did You do all these horrible things in my life? I don’t believe in You, but I think I want to. I feel like I don’t deserve You, and I don’t even know what to believe. I’m so lost. Help me. If You’re real, I need a sign; I need something to believe in, because I’m so lost right now. Show me who You are, God, because I think I need You. – Doubtfully, Maggie”

He answered that honest prayer. That night, I went to church, and the Holy Spirit took hold of my heart. The next day, I wrote in my journal, “You are real.”

How did your relationship with Jesus grow?

I remember praying, “Okay, Jesus, if I’m really going to let You in, I need to know a little bit more about You.” So I immersed myself in the Gospels. And He really met me in that place. [Initially], I still feared that if I messed things up, it would be over. I’ve been through seasons in my walk with the Lord where for some reason I didn’t feel His presence. My automatic reaction, coming from old Maggie, is, “Oh, He left. I did something wrong.” But, the truth is, He is Love. That’s really powerful because it means no matter what I do, I can’t lose that love. [Love is who He is]. That was the first time in my life that I realized if God is love, then it must mean He loves me! From there, I was finally able to let Him in.

The first time I experienced that my relationship with Jesus wasn’t going to look like what I planned was when my aunt passed away. We were very close. I liked to envision me and Jesus sitting at a table, having coffee. And I told Him, “Wait a minute; [being in a relationship with You] was supposed to be nice and pleasant.” We think that in coming to Christ, our life is going to become like rainbows and butterflies.

I turned to scripture and read John 16:33: “In this world you will have trouble, but take heart, I have overcome the world.” And I realized, “Lord, You never promised me rainbows and butterflies, but You promised You would be with me.”

I was able to put my faith in God’s promises by looking at who He is. Not only is He Love, He is Faithfulness, and He is Truth. If He is Truth, that means He can’t lie.

How has your relationship with Jesus affected your understanding of yourself?

One of the first things I had received in The Father’s Heart program was a paper that lists who I am in Christ: I am loved; I am chosen; I am accepted. My eating disorder was so wrapped up in identity that I felt like it was my identity. In order to really go on a journey with Jesus, I had to learn who He says I am.

I am loved; I am chosen; I am accepted; I am precious; I am beautiful; I am His masterpiece. If you think of a masterpiece, it’s an artist’s most prized piece of art. To think that I am His masterpiece, was really powerful to me. I’m never alone. He never leaves!

Why is Jesus worth getting to know?

I always wanted to be loved and seen and to know that I mattered. What better way to feel loved than to be in a relationship with the One who is Love? What better way to be known than to be in relationship with the One who created you and knew you even when you were in your mother’s womb? What better way to be seen than to be in relationship with the One who never looks away?

A lot of times we feel too broken to even attempt to come close to Jesus. The truth is, our brokenness is the most beautiful thing we could ever offer Him.

Jesus will never let you down and never leave you. He wants us to draw near to Him. I’ve learned to turn to Him in those times when the old Maggie would have run away. Whenever I want to run, I picture Jesus running right next to me. I’m not alone; I’m not forgotten. I am seen; I am heard.


Originally printed in IMPRINT Magazine Spring 2022.