Jaeden Luke is a singer-songwriter who wrote the single “Beautiful” for his older sister Kianna, who experienced and fully recovered from an eating disorder. Kianna is a graduate of St. Martin’s University, a young adult group ministry leader, and the author of a forthcoming book about her healing journey, The Cross That Set Me Free.
Jaeden and Kianna join us in this Peace Meal episode to explore the sibling experience of eating disorders. The brother and sister pair recall how Kianna’s eating disorder impacted their relationship as well as how their relationship—and “Beautiful”—helped her heal.
The siblings have always been close, they share. But Kianna’s eating disorder wedged itself between her and her brother, as is characteristic of these isolating illnesses. Entrenched in the depths of her disorder, Kianna grew distant from the family and friends so meaningful to her. She turned down plans and hid from others, her eating disorder isolating her in misery and darkness. It was hard to accept help and love.
Jaeden describes the difficulty of witnessing the dimming of Kianna’s light and stealing of her spunk. Though he didn’t understand what was happening, he remembers that one feeling was clear: “I just felt like I was losing a lot of her.” Feeling confused and helpless, he turned to a means of expression most familiar to him, music.
Jaeden wrote “Beautiful” for Kianna in the early stages of her recovery. His goal in writing the song, he reflects, was to package a message of comfort that would travel with her anywhere. No matter what, the song would be a reminder that he would always be there.
In a Peace Meal first, Jaeden then plays the song live, sharing his encouraging anthem again with Kianna as well as anyone affected by these illnesses. “You are so beautiful,” he sings, strumming his guitar in rhythm.
Kianna takes us to the moment she heard the song for the first time. She recounts the complex mix of emotions she felt then: shock, love, and determination along with the numbness that often comes early in recovery. “It was incredible,” she says, “and it gives me goosebumps every time.”
The two then unpack the lyrics of “Beautiful.” For Jaeden, they captured Kianna’s journey as he saw it, and for Kianna, they inspired her to commit to recovery more fully and actively. More determined after hearing it, she hoped that one day she would believe its resounding chorus.
Reflecting on their own experience, Kianna and Jaeden offer advice for other siblings, including creative ways to reach out to those struggling in isolation and darkness. They champion support that is less about “fixing” things and more about walking alongside your loved one in love and presence.
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