No Answers


I gave a seminar on eating disorders.  I prayed about it and I prepared.  But as I looked into the audience my words felt like dust.

I saw a roomful of hurting people I wanted to help. But I don’t think I did.

I couldn’t answer all the questions.


How eating disorders feel for men.

What to do with a child who won’t eat.

How to teach a girl that she is beautiful.

I couldn’t guarantee that those who asked for support would get it.

I couldn’t say how you help a friend who won’t admit there’s something wrong.


I couldn’t say anything except that the gospel is powerful.

But it didn’t feel like enough.


I walked out of the seminar and into a pit.  So I’m heading back to the throne room to get patched up.

14 thoughts on “No Answers

  1. i am sure that something you said helped somebody there and the lord placed you there.I had to give a talk on what it is like to be a mother of a daughter with an ed,at the time i thought to myself that i had just waffled on doing no good,but then about 2 months later i bumped into this guy whos son was very poorly and he told me what a difference i had made to him and how sharing my faith had brought him to the please believe me that you must keep sharing,as you give so many so much hope and the glory is the Lord’s.

  2. The apostle Paul walked into the sophisticated, messed-up, rich, intellectual and insecure city of Corinth … and just talked about Jesus. He told them the same message that he told the religious zealots in Jerusalem & Ephesus and the poverty stricken people in the ghettos of Macedonia. If we focus on the audience we always wonder how we could ever reach them… but we simply trust that Jesus is able to reach people and He is determined to do it through us. In speaking to Muslims, sometimes I spend ages trying to find great ways to bridge culture gaps, but the most effective times are always when I forget about trying to be an expert and just get excited about Jesus. Emma, you point to Jesus – that is what speaks to me time after time in your blogs, life and friendship.

  3. The failure, oh so often, is that we think we have the solution (or worse, we are the solution), when we have so very little that can really help. I’ve found myself, quite often recently, feeling exactly this kind of ‘powerlessness’, but your answer, Emma, is right… only Christ in the Gospel is truly powerful. We can do no more than trust and pray that something in our broken lives is at least fragranced in a manner that points those who are truly hungry and thirsty to Him – then we decrease, and He will increase.

  4. As an encouragement to you Emma my mum went to your seminar and she phoned me up this evening to tell me about it and said how helpful she’d found it. She said she spoke to you afterwards and you gave her some really good advice for when I go into hospital in 2 days. So thank you. You helped her, and you helped me :)

  5. You’ll never be enough and your thoughts and words will never be adequate but Jesus in you is mighty and powerful and the Holy Spirit can take your uselessness and make you into a mighty woman who speaks His words into people

    The day you think you have the answers is the day you give up.

    The throne room is a great place to be!!! Be blessed!

  6. Emma, I am sending a private email as well but I wanted to say how much your seminar helped me today. You enabled me to hope. I only came to Spring Harvest with my family as a last minute decision. I have been really struggling with the disorder and was hoping that coming to Spring Harvest would help. I really believe that God intended me to hear your story. I am sure it is the case for others too.
    Thank you so much for putting yourself out there and being so honest. I can’t express how much it helped.

  7. Just wanted to say that I have attempted to send a message through the contact page but it keeps failing. Will try again over the next couple of days.

  8. You were faithful in your part. It is God who will work in their hearts – it was never your job to fix everyone. Having said that, I know this blog and your book are reaching and helping people in my immediate circle, so thanks to you and praise to God.

  9. Thank God you did not pass out a little formula!

    Sometimes the questions are far more telling than the answers. Jesus IS the only way out of any darkness. He can not and will not be packaged up neat enough to be a party favor. He is too big. Too everything. Too wonderful to explain. He just IS, and we are called to share him. When we give ourselves we give Him too. Thank you for giving yourself Emma.

    Hope your week is going well.

  10. F,A,P,H,E,M,J, S and C !

    Thank you so much for encouraging me and pointing me back to Jesus. I’m thanking God for you and for our fellowship in Him,

    Ana – that’s a .wonderful testimony: thank you.
    Jenny – I’ve sent you an email and would love to chat.
    E – it was a pleasure to meet your mum. I’ll be praying for and thinking of you: especially tomorrow. Enormous love to you.

  11. Hi Emma, your seminar at minehead was brilliant. I’ve never heard a Christian speaker who has such an accurate and full grasp of what an ED is all about and who is able to effectively communicate it. The talk is a great resource for the church. Don’t feel it was empty words. It was quality!

  12. You said that the gospel is powerful. That was the most important thing you could have said.

    We all want to help, to solve, to mend. But we can never do enough. You are not able to fix us Emma. You are not our counsellor. He is. You pointed us to the God of grace who is bigger than our idols and loves us in our brokenness. You spoke the truth of Christ into our mess and we left hopeful and trusting. The gospel is the power of God – praise Him. We jars of clay rejoice in this; we live because of and in light of this.

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