The words out of The Living Bible translation of Romans 12:1-2 sum up the mindset I adopted over a year ago: “And so, dear brothers, I plead with you to give your bodies to God. Let them be a living sacrifice, holy—the kind he can accept. When you think of what he has done for you, is this too much to ask? Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but be a new and different person with a fresh newness in all you do and think. Then you will learn from your own experience how his ways will really satisfy you.”
May 18, 2014 I was broken. I was failing to thrive. I faced an excessive list of diagnoses that came with injections, medications, and then more medications to counteract the side effects of the medications. After surviving a horrible asthma attack that night, I realized I no longer had the ability to serve the LORD whenever He called upon me; however He called upon me, because I was focused on my health instead of Him. I was obese, and I finally had to admit I needed a divine intervention.
May 27, 2014 I fully submitted my body and mind to the LORD for renewal and retraining. I gave Him all of the aches and pains due to early arthritis pain, the asthma attacks, and the numerous diagnoses and medications that stacked up with every tick up the scale. I gave my body to God and I allowed Him to satisfy me and sculpt me with a fresh newness in all I do and think. I began by admitting that food was my idol, my god, and I gave my habits and menu to Him to master for me.
This was the starting point of my journey back to good health physically and spiritually. In this journey, I began by prayerfully creating a plan for when, what, and how I ate. I kept myself accountable by keeping a food journal. I set short term goals and long term goals for both weight and exercise, and I marked them in a journal as they were met. Within weeks, I no longer had food cravings, I wasn’t looking forward to my next meal or snack, I was excited to get dressed in the morning because my clothes were fitting better, the aches in my joints decreased to nearly nonexistent, and I had so much energy I couldn’t sit still.
I started exercising by dedicating thirty minutes of my day to walking, the amount of time slowly increased as the amount of energy I had also increased. Then I began challenging myself in miles instead of time. I can still remember the first time I could walk a mile without pain or trouble breathing. Then it was two miles, then three. Eventually I was challenging myself by how many miles I could walk within an hour. The weight was peeling off me faster than I had thought it could, and I was able to put away my inhaler without anxiety.
By the end of June I was measuring inches off of my waistline and how many sizes of clothes I was down besides how much weight I’d lost. I was no longer giving myself injections. I was able to discontinue taking the medications I’d been taking. I was absorbing the vitamins and minerals my body had been starved of through the whole foods I was eating. More importantly, I was able to run the race the LORD had placed before me again. I needed to prove, however, that I was not on this journey to fail, but to glorify the Father and conquer the disabilities I had placed on myself.
The last Sunday in June, just a month after beginning this journey back to health, I decided to walk my way home from the lake where our church’s picnic was held that day. The total distance was just less than 9 miles. The sun was strong, and I had not decided on this goal until after we were already at the picnic. I wasn’t really prepared for the challenge, but I felt a keen desire to do it. I started out strong. I was alone; so, I spent the time communing with God and celebrating my new energy and the pounds I’d already lost. I ignored the few people who drove by and made fun of the overweight girl with the red face pushing herself to keep going. I kept walking despite the uncomfortable heat and the growing sunburn. I felt so sure of myself until I got to the top of the rise just half a mile from home. Suddenly I was too tired to go on, and my feet were so swollen they felt numb. I was ready to quit! I really just wanted to be finished, and for a moment I couldn’t fathom where I was going to get the strength to finish. Fortunately, I wasn’t really alone in this walk. “He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” (Isaiah 40:29-31)
I sought the LORD with what little was left in me that day, and gave it all to Him. That is where I realized He was ready to give me his all, and how much more his all was. He did not let me down. His renewal coursed through my very being, my feet kept moving, and I made it home. That was the day the walls of doubt came down. From that point my strength was set in the LORD to accomplish my goals and more. Whenever I hit a bump in my journey back to health, whenever I feel troubled or weary, I think on this moment when my feet became like lead and tried to ground me to a halt. That was the day I was lifted as on wings, I was taken through the weariness, and I was no longer faint.
June 28, 2015 I plan to walk the distance from that same lake to my home again, God willing. This year two of my sons want to walk beside me. They want to help me celebrate my first year of good health. I have lost a total of 95 pounds and I have gone from a size 20 to a size 4 in pants. I often walk between 6 and 8 miles without even thinking about fatigue. I am free of the injections and medications, the pain and the wheezing, and the misery of being focused on me. I am a living sacrifice, and I am wholly aware of how much his ways really do satisfy me.
Father, you are my mighty savior in so many ways. You are the breath I take in and the power I give out. You are greater than anything I can imagine and more. You are never weary, and You won’t grow faint. I am confident in You. Thank you LORD. Thank you for the life You have given me, for the fresh start You have given me, and for the strength You have given me to accomplish much. I love you so much. Be blessed now. I pray this through your son’s holy name. Amen.