Friday, May 11, 2018

Diary of a Weight Loss Journey

Dear Diary...

This is a journal entry that I found, one that I wrote a few years ago... and I wanted to take time to share my heart today!


   I'm going to share another story for you, back in October, when my heart was breaking, that I haven't felt the strength to share until now.
   I was doing engagement photos for my baby sister.  We were standing by the lake getting in the last few photos before the sun went down.  I was so excited about going home and editing them!  Two older ladies stood on the bridge and watched us.  They were laughing loudly and drinking wine.  I dreaded walking past them on the way back to the car, so we intended to wait it out...  until their tiny dogs barking their heads off ran over to us.  Annoyed- we walked back toward the bridge and toward the car.
   As we crossed the bridge, the oldest lady grabbed my arm.  I turned and she said, "Honey, when is your baby due?"  I flushed.  I didn't even know how to respond.  I stuttered for a second and said something along the lines of, "I just had one"...  then she asked me how old the baby was..(he was 16 months...not exactly a newborn..)  so I responded with the only thing that I could muster out..  "I'm not pregnant, I'm just fat."  It stung like a knife, but the look of disbelief on her face was even worse.  It wasn't a look of, "Oh I can't believe I said that.." but a look of, "how can she not be pregnant and look like that?"  it was a stab and a twist of the knife.  I blew it off like it didn't bother me all the way home.  My sister and her fiance were so kind, telling me that she was just drunk and crazy...  I laughed it off... but it hurt...  it hurt SO much.
  Back at home I pretended all evening that it didn't hurt me.  I even told my Dad and then I laughed loudly poking fun like it didn't hurt me at all.  I turned sideways in the mirror and saw why she would have reason to think that..  but blew it off and went on with my day.  That evening, I was doing laundry downstairs in the little room detached from the house, when my mother called.
   Something about talking to Mama makes it all just come out.  As I told her the story I sobbed like I had not sobbed in years.  I cried so hard I could feel the wetness puddle against my phone and run down my cheek. My Mom cried too.  She told me I had prioritized my family over myself for so long, and I should never feel guilty because of that, and I should never wish I would have done anything any differently- but that it was time to start taking care of myself...
  A few days after, I was home without the kiddos so I was channel surfing, trying to find something decent to watch, (we have cable for the first time in five years..  unfortunately it's really not all that enticing to us, so we rarely watch it, and when we do, we rarely find anything worth watching.)  I fell upon a movie with Natalie Portman in it.  I have to say that I have ever since my Star Wars obsessed teen years thought she was one of the most beautiful women in the world..  but I also have always envied her.  She's so small, so tiny in stature.  I watched the movie, but didn't really watch the movie..  rather I watched her, and wished I could be like her.
  You know those times you ask God something, and wish you could take it back? But then you remember that he knows your thoughts, so why bother, lol.  I questioned..  why God, why didn't you make me like that?  Small.

  I had spent my entire life wanting to be small, like Ms. Portman.  There's something feminine about being small that I had never felt.  Something about feeling tiny, that I longed for.  Although I'm not a large person, I haven't ever been small.  Naturally, we are all built differently, but when you are hurting you don't take things like that into consideration.  So I outright asked God, why didn't he make me small?  If it hurt so badly, if I was so thin skinned, and felt like that was the one thing often times that was holding me back from actually living..  why didn't he just make ms small?  Instead of all of this heartache..  instead of all of this that I've gone through with my weight,  If I were small like she was..  like others that I envy, I would not have to have this hurt, my heart would not be so heavy.  What God responded, was so profound!
   He does everything for a reason.  He created each of us for a specific purpose.  Although he does not do harm to us, we bring it upon ourselves..  sometimes our means of overcoming can bring forth our greatest ministry.
   Really?  A ministry?  Is that even possible?  That I could use this, being overweight and the hurt, pain, misery that I felt..  the things I had experienced, the things it had kept me from...  it could be useful?
  Just by being broken, and overcoming, I could make this my greatest ministry?
   I believe that the term 'ministry' gets really confusing, especially for those who are in a ministry position in a church.  After my husband was ordained, I had this idea that we were supposed to be picked up and placed in a church to serve in some sort of pastoral or associate pastoral position.  I had this vision that I needed to start teaching Sunday School and doing vacation Bible schools.  I had this idea that 'ministry' was specific and had to be in a church...  that's not what God meant by ministry.  Granted there are some chosen for that specific ministry, and with my husbands position its possible that sometime during the season of our lives we will find ourselves in that position...  but God created each of us for a specific ministry.  We are all specifically designed for ministry.
    Perhaps your ministry is in preaching, or teaching...  but perhaps its in schooling your children, or being a teacher for other children in a school system. Perhaps its to just mother and be a good wife, or to teach women in a small group setting.  Whatever ministry you are called too, it will give you life..
  God can also use the circumstances that we place ourselves into as a ministry!  I know you have seen recovering addicts who use their recovery as a means of ministering to those who suffer from addiction...  or women who have been in abusive relationships to show how Christ emerged them from that relationship and placed them in a place where they could minister to others.  Often times, we don't see being overweight as something that can be overcame and used as ministry..  but when God revealed that to me, I realized that it absolutely could!

   Being overweight is something that Satan can use against you, and he has used against me on several occasions.  It makes me feel bad, so I don't play with my children as much.  It makes me dislike myself, so it makes intimacy with my husband difficult at times.  It makes me not want to be seen with him, so there are several times I have not supported his ministry, simply because I did not want to be judged by others.  I also have some health issues that could be changed completely if I would lose weight, and ultimately if I do not change it, it could cost me my life.  He can use it to hinder our lives, and our spiritual walk.  It makes me not feel good enough to minister to others, because my lack of self control is on display for the entire world to see.  I didn't even want to be a bridesmaid in my sisters weddings because I did not want to be seen in a dress, or photographed...  what joy to stand beside my sisters when they become wives, especially because becoming a wife has been the greatest accomplishment I have ever made in my life..  and I almost missed out on that, because of nothing else but my weight.
   It's a stronghold and he won't let go of it without a fight- because he knows he can use it to disable me when I become a threat to him.  Its something that I must overcome..  and its just as much as spiritual battle as it is a physical battle.  He knows that he has caused so much grief and heartache by convincing me my weight makes me useless.  He knows the times I've been depressed because of it, and the depression has kept me from ministering, it has kept me from being a good wife and a good mother to my children.  He knows how it hinders me.  Its an issue of self-control..  of loving myself, of taking care of myself and teaching my children to take care of themselves...
   This is a spiritual issue in every sense.  And I believe, with all of my heart and soul that God is right in the center of this for me, and that he is giving me the tools and support that I need to get my life under control, and become a person I can love and be proud of..  and then, to help others who are in the same boat as I am...  to learn that if you stay in the boat you will never do anything but paddle around in circles...  but maybe- just maybe- if you jump ship..  you will learn to swim.
     I feel like I've spent the past ten years on a ship.  I feel like I've remained the same because I've been afraid of change..  the ship seemed comfortable when compared to the ocean.  I've read stories of those who have challenged the ocean, and their stories are exciting and exhilarating...  but I've often thought that the ocean wasn't for me.  I've stayed in my ship, and never changed.  Not changed my eating habits because I was comfortable with them, and food was my comfort.  I wouldn't allow myself to let go..  sometimes honestly it felt like I couldn't spend an entire day without some sort of sweets for reward, because I found comfort in its familiarity, and sometimes in the often mundane life of being a stay-at-home Mom, sometimes its what I look forward too..  sadly.  What if I gave that up?  Would I really find that it was silly to be fulfilled by food?  Why did I feel this way anyway, and is it even something I should honestly tell others?  What would they think and how would they judge me?  No.  I shouldn't..  I won't even admit it to me.
   I'm ready to jump ship.
   I've spent my life thinking that I could never allow myself to be honest with myself, or anyone else about this issue.  I didn't want to admit how big of an issue it was for me, and I suppose I thought if I didn't talk about it, no one would notice.  I believe that the first step in seeking help is to be honest, not only to yourself but to others.
   What if I fail?  Circled through my head.  What if I blog about it, and all these people read it, and then I fail?  Just that thought is setting yourself up for disaster, and I know this because I've stopped just short of success so many times, because I was afraid I would fail, and the world would be watching.  I'm not doing that this time..  I'm prayerfully sharing this with you because I believe a lot of our ministry must come from our willingness to be vulnerable.  The most intensive 'ministers' (men and women, in books, speeches, blogs...not only preachers, but of course there are several of those on that list) that have really helped me along the way were the people who really put themselves out there on the line, and I'm finally willing to make that step of faith, and share with others just how real a weight struggle is..  even if it makes me seem silly, even if it makes me seem like less of a person in the eyes of some.  Perhaps there is someone out there, just waiting for that encouragement, and if its just for One, I'm willing to do it.
     I believe God gives us tools to help us along the way, and he lead me to this through a dear friend who I've seen her journey and I'm so encourage and inspired by her!  She was willing to share her journey with me, and I want to share this journey with you, because I believe there is someone out there who knows my heartache, who knows that Satan is using obesity to hinder their walk with God, to hinder their ministry and their relationships with others, and they are just as ready as I am to jump ship.
   So just do it.  Don't sit around and wait on someone to pull up to you in a lifeboat.  Don't paddle around in circles in an endless ocean that you can't even see the shore.  I've sat in that boat for ten years now.  For ten years I've allowed the meager surroundings in the boat to be the only sights I would allow myself.  I've allowed the waves to crash against it and seen the beauty of the sun sparkling on the ocean..  I've longed to feel the refreshment of the water on my face..  yet I've constrained myself to this boat..  because its my boat and I'm comfortable in my boat.  I'm afraid to get out of it, to change the way that I live..  I'm afraid that without this boat I will sink...  this boat is familiar, and unchanging..  and I've hated it but felt comfortable in it.
   I'm tired of this boat..  and I'm ready to jump ship.
   And more than anything, I'm thankful..  because the one who will be there outside of it...
   He walks on water.