Friday, March 9, 2018

Israel 🇮🇱 Day 1

After traveling  approximately 600 miles from Tennessee to Chicago and flying 3036 miles from Chicago to Iceland and then another 5126 miles from Iceland to Tel Aviv we finally made it to Israel 🇮🇱.   By the time we made it through customs,found our luggage,  got on our shuttle and arrived at the hotel in Netanya, which was an hour away from the airport, it was nearly 7:30 PM and we have been traveling since Monday @ 1:00 p.m. We did stay with a friend in Chicago Monday night which was a huge blessing to us. Once we made it to our hotel we ate dinner, showered and went to bed! It was so exciting to finally be in Israel but traveling was exhausting! The time change in Israel is 7 hours ahead of us!!  So when we finally went to bed  at 9:30 p.m. On Wednesday it was 2:30 p.m in America!! We slept so well the first nightin fact we crashed so when I woke up I thought we missed the tour bus, and here it was only 4:30 a.m. in the morning.  We didn’t think we were going to get a chance to visit the Mediterranean sea but we were fortunate to be able to walk the beach and it was beautiful site. We began our tour around 8:30 and visited the following sites;
Caesarea  Maritime
Mount Carmel
Mount Precipice,Nazareth

Each site was unique and interesting; to see the places the Bible talks about is what brings the Bible to life!!  It is amazing to see how some of  these areas or even artifacts have survived over  2000-3000 years! For example Pilate Stone: 26-36 AD -The writing is the earliest surviving record and evidence supporting the historical existence of Pontius Pilate!! Mt Precipice had the biggest impact on me of the day! As I was sitting there imagining the angry mob attempting to throw  Jesus off a cliff, after He gave His bold proclamation in Nazareth’s Synagogue (Luke 4:16-30) I couldn’t imagine being so angry and wanting to throw Jesus off a cliff. The very guy who they held in their hands would be the guy that would SHOW THEM LOVE. The very guy that they held in their hand would be the guy that would OFFER FORGIVENESS if they just asked for it. The very guy they held in their hands would be the guy that would LAVISH GRACE and MERCY upon them. The very guy hey held in their hands would be the guy the WOULD CARRY OUR BURRDENS for us.  And that very guy who they held in their hands would be the very guy that would PAY THE ULTIMATE SACRIFICE AND DIE FOR EACH AND EVERYONE OF US.

I have held that Guy in my hands before. When I couldn’t love myself or others, when I tried to carry my own burdens, when I was angry and didn’t want to love, when I didn’t want to choose grace and mercy... I have tried to push Jesus off the cliff.  You see by pushing him off the cliff we are rejecting him! How many times in your life have you rejected the Father?   I began to think about how much He actually was rejected, and yet he still shows compassion and love! We are to model after Christ but often we choose bitterness and resentment when we are rejected! He offers love  but we offer hate! He  offers forgiveness and we offer judgement! I was moved to tears and overwhelmed up on that mountain  even though the crowd tried to throw Him off the cliff Jesus in His sovereignty just walked away! God help us to be more like YOU!!!

Sunday, March 4, 2018

The Journey to Health Part 2

I started my journey on January 1st, 2017.  At that time I couldn't even walk five minutes. I went outside in my driveway to try and literally started crying because I was embarrassed. Not only did it hurt my back to walk, but I was completely out of shape. Through- out this year I have learned many things that I want to share with you in hopes that I can inspire or encourage someone else. 

I was determined to begin somewhere so the first thing I decided to do was to try and walk five minutes every day for a week to build up some endurance. I had to start somewhere even if it meant small baby steps. This journey has been filled with many small steps.  So one of the very first lessons I learned is that WE HAVE TO START SMALL!!  Some of the small goals I set for myself seemed ridiculous at the time. But I needed to achieve the  small goals to build momentum to tackle some of the bigger goals that I would need to accomplish.  The second lesson I learned earlier on is that WHAT WORKS FOR ME MAY OR MAY NOT WORK FOR YOU!!! I would try things that other people were doing if they were successful so I would assume that would work for me. Please do not assume anything!!  Comparison is the thief of joy. We can do that even in our journeys to health. I would compare my journey to someone else's and it just never amounted up to theirs. I would feel defeated and want to give up.  YOUR JOURNEY is  YOURS. We must keep our focus on our own journey. IT is nice to have a support group (in fact I highly recommend it)  that will offer encouragement, prayer and support, however don't let someone else's opinion dictate what you should do. Try IT if it isn't working CHANGE it up!!! You are allowed to do that!!  I saw a shirt the other day and it said "MY RACE MY PACE!!  I needed to do things gradually but others may need to jump in with both feet.  Determine what works for you and then do that!! 

  I would get discouraged throughout this journey. I would push myself harder than I needed too. I would not see results as quick as I wanted too.  I would not meet goals and have to start over. i would get exhausted and or ache longer than normal, which leads me to my next tip; LEARN TO LISTEN TO YOUR BODY!! I wont lie, This one is hard and I still struggle with this but seriously your body will tell you what it needs. I plateaued a while back for several weeks, once I rested I lost 4 pounds!! 

I  was sharing with a friend that I couldn't even do a plank. She asked if I could at least try for a  second? What a different perspective. We just assume we should be able to things when we haven't ever done them and expect us to be able to do more than what we actually can and then get discouraged when we feel defeated. Well I set a goal to do a plank for a second each day and by the end of the week I was doing a 30 second planks. If I had tried right away to do a 30 second plank I would have given up. Same with walking a mile. I couldn't do that right away but as I continued to increase my time of walking, I was shortly able to walk a mile!  TIP: DONT MAKE UNREALISTIC GOALS AND EXPECT TO ACHIEVE THEM. This sets us up for failure, however in the failing we can adjust in order to succeed. It's okay to adjust goals if the goals we set aren't working for us. This is not regression it's adjustment!!

I judged my victories based on the number on the scale. SO if I was losing weight I felt successful, but if I wasn't I would feel discouraged.  TIP: THE JOURNEY TO HEALTH IS FAR MORE THAN THE NUMBER ON THE SCALE.  Another lesson I learned is that we can not be a slave to the numbers, or the things we use as resources to help us. They are that, resources to help us they do not define us.  Non-scale victories are victories we experience that the scale does not measure. They are the emotional and mental progress we make in our goals, Goals no matter how big or small, once accomplished are non-scale victories.   

Some of the earlier goals I set into place was:


  • Drinking water daily
  • Exercising daily (like I said at the start that was five minutes a day!!!) 
  • Eating more vegetables 
  • Don't be SO negative (Yes this is a huge one!! Your journey to health is not just about physical activities. It is also about making changes emotionally and mentally. 

The journey takes time!! I didn't get this way over night so I can't change overnight.  TIP: THIS JOURNEY TO HEALTH IS A LIFE STYLE CHANGE NOT A DIET. Change takes time especially when there are  a lot to changes.  One of the many things I believed was that I was healthy. I ate veggies and salads. However, I didn't eat them everyday, and one of my biggest habits I had about eating was eating very inconsistently. I would go most the day without eating one day, because I would say I was too busy. Then on a different day I would eat and eat.  I love my CANDY, JUNK FOOD, COOKIES, CEREAL and ICECREAM!!!  I never ate these foods as a treat but more like an additional food group! I used to eat cereal morning and night and NOT just one bowl either!  The amount of food I ate wasn't healthy. I never cared before. I used to think food was for dieting and I didn't want to diet. I have seen so many people omit things from their diets because it was "the diet" they were on, only to give up in a few weeks maybe months. All the work ended up in vain because they began eating the foods they omitted and gained the weight back that they tried to loose. It happened to me. I tried weight watchers before unsuccessfully. I tried doing the 5K and in doing so lost some weight. Once I hurt my back I began to gain that weight back and then some. The thing is in doing all of these things, it is only a temporary, quick solution to a permanent problem. Until I changed my mind set things would go back to the same ways and habits. We are creatures of habit!! I wasn't healthy because I ate vegetables occasionally. I wasn't healthy because I ate junk food like it was another food group. I wasn't healthy because I didn't exercise. Oh I would play with the kids or do an activity occasionally but that was my mind set. I thought because I was active with the kids then I was healthy. I WAS NOT!  

I needed to incorporate more vegetables into my diet. I like vegetables but not enough to eat five servings a day!! A friend of  mine who is a nutrionalist said 

"Your body craves what you feed it, If you feed your body sugar it will crave that, if you feed your body vegetables it will crave that"  

By the time April rolled around I had lost 20 pounds.  My homeschool co-op was offering a Biggest Loser Challenge and I joined it. I was extremely reluctant at first because we would have to weigh every week and I was embarrassed about my weight. But I needed the accountability and support.  Here are a few excerpts of what I wrote on the facebook page of that support group

A couple of other things I did to help aid in my journey was to jump on the Fitbit bandwagon. A friend of mine was getting a new one at the time so she blessed me with her old one! This helped me see how active I was by seeing how many steps I was getting in a day. I gradually began working my way up to getting 10,000 steps a day. As I continue getting stronger I increased my walking time and by May I was walking 30-45 minutes a day. 

I also joined My FITNESS PAL this helped me track my calories, sugars, fats and carbs. Again, at first when I began using this it was more of a defeat. When I saw the reality of how many calories I was eating, or how many sugars, carbs, or fats I was eating I was so discouraged. I was also overwhelmed. SO another TIP I have learned along the way is that YOU CANT FOCUS ON EVERYTHING, YOU HAVE TO FOCUS ON ONE THING AT A TIME.  SO what I would do is work on getting my calories within the daily allowance. Then I would focus on sugars, carbs and fats! This gave me the motivation I needed. As I worked through meeting these goals I was feeling better with the choices I was making and when I would eat something in the junk food department it became more of a treat to me, as it was meant for, instead of eating all of these things every day and not truly enjoying them. SO before someone asks, YES I eat pizza, cookies, candy and icecream...  BUT, I do NOT eat them every day and I CHOOSE what I want to enjoy as a treat!! 

As I was taking little steps and beginning to make changes that were lasting I began to set some bigger goals so I could work at achieving them. ONE of the biggest goals I made, was that I wanted to loose 75 pounds before my 40th birthday! 

I can not explain the feeling I got when I reached my 50 pound mark. It gave me the motivation I needed to continue! 

I began this journey because I was walking out a healing in my back. God wanted me to do my part in actively seeking out that healing; as HE was going to use me as a vessel so that I can have a platform to speak truth into lives of others about the goodness and faithfulness of God. That God is still in the business of miracles. We struggle in a valley for so long that we begin to think that God doesn't see US.  OR that HE has forgotten US. OR that HE doesn't do for us what HE would do or DOES do for OTHERS.  The truth in this is that HIS TIMING IS PERFECT! HE longs to have a relationship with each and everyone of us and HE DESIRES us to remain in HIM. He looks for those HE can bless to show glory to HIS FATHER. While JESUS was on Earth that was HIS VERY desire, to bring glory to HIS Father by living out GOD's WILL. It wasn't HIS WILL BUT HIS FATHERS WILL THAT HE DIED FOR EACH OF US TO FORGIVE US OUR SINS. AND WHILE IT IS A FREE CHOICE FOR US TO MAKE ON WHETHER OR NOT WE WILL FOLLOW HIM HE WILL PURSUE US AND PATIENTLY WAIT FOR US BECAUSE HE LOVES US SO MUCH!! 
While waiting on HIS timing I had to endure excruciating pain for FIVE YEARS. God answers the cry's of our hearts. HIs answer may be a YES, a NO, or a WAIT! Often times we dont' get the answer we want so we choose to walk away from the LORD. I don't know why God answers the way HE does but I do know HE is a JUST  and FAIR GOD!! 

A few months ago, God showed me that it wasn't just my back that I was walking out a healing from but that it was my health as well. I desire to be healthy so I can be used by HIM to do the work of the LORD that HE has prepared in advance for me to do. I was so sad and discouraged when I couldn't be active. I struggle in some areas but I am confident that I will grow in these areas in the right time. I have so much to learn, I have many days where I like to throw little "baby fits" There are days I am discouraged or frustrated but I can honestly say there are NOT days that I want to give up anymore!!  

I didn't reach my major goal for 2017. When I turned 40 I had lost 67 pounds! Just because I didn't reach my goal didn't mean I quit trying. IT just meant I changed my goal timing and continued trying!! 

My goals for 2018  were to finish my goal from 2017 and then continue to reach my 100# mark!! My major goal for 2018 is to walk a HALF MARATHON! It is a bigger goal than I imagine doing at this point but with God's help I will do it!! He goes beyond what we can expect or imagine!!  I couldn't even walk when we first moved to Tennessee because the debilitating pain I endured. When I started out last year I could only walk five minutes a day. I trusted in the Lord and HIS PROMISES that HE WAS GOING TO HEAL me. 

      Image result for 100#

There were many days I cried and cried because of the amount of pain I lived through. I 
questions whether GOD saw me and if he had forgotten about me. I desired to be a witness 
even through the pain but I often fell short. I wanted for others to see my heavenly Father in my eyes through the storm and there were days I barely hung on. The peace I had knowing that HE would DO what HE SAID HE WOULD do is what kept me going. We can't explain this to others sometimes when our waiting seems like it isn't fruitful. But let me reassure you, YOU DO REAP WHAT YOU SOW.  SO if you SOW a harvest of trusting in the promises of GOD, and waiting on HIS FAITHFULNESS.. FRIEND you WILL REAP the full benefit of what HE INTENDS to BLESS you with!! 
Don't give up short of YOUR MIRACLE. GOD is faithful. HE is full of GRACE and FORGIVENESS. HE loves you and ME so much. 

In January I made IT and LOST 75 pounds!!!

This journey has been hard but I am so thankful that I am feeling well enough to endure the journey.  Every once in a while I will get overwhelmed with emotions of joy and just begin to cry. I am so overwhelmed by GODS goodness. When I think the journey is long or hard I remember all HE has done for me.  I am so thankful,  I am able to walk and even jog. In fact, yesterday I jogged my first 2.5 miles without stopping and did 4 miles within the hour!!!!!! 

I am so thankful that God in HIS loving mercy gave ME a SECOND CHANCE!!!!!



Sunday, February 4, 2018

The Journey to Health Part 1~

See the source image

I'm saying goodbye to 200's!!  What does that mean? Well, normally a girl wouldn't share her weight but when she just looses 75 pounds and finally gets to no longer say she weighs 200 then she tells!!  And this is my story......

Truth is I have always struggled with a lack of confidence. I have had low self esteem and battled with depression. I have always hated the way I look and just never seemed to care about my image. As the years passed my image reflected those thoughts. Not entirely, as I do believe true beauty comes deep within which is something I strive for and long for. But I also witness on more occasions than I could count of people going on a diet to change this or that about them only to witness them land right back where they were before they started. I myself have tried varies things occasionally but half heartedly as well. Mainly, I would do it for reasons that weren't concrete which landed me right back at square one. I was extremely active with the children when the were young; by the time we played, did chores, errands etc.etc. I was tired. I believed I was living sacrificially by putting myself last. I didn't have time to take care of me or my needs, my kids were the utmost importance. I believed that lie and many other lies such as:
I believed  when I hurt my back I was truly unable to do anything about myself.
I believed the lie that image equated to dieting.
I believed I wasn't worth looking good and Mike loved me unconditionally.
I believed that I ate healthy and was active so it didn't matter.
I believed I wouldn't get heavier than what I really was.
I believed LIES.  Because of the lack of knowledge or I should say the lack of interest to learn about a healthy lifestyle I did what I always did when  overwhelmed, and that was avoided the topic and the situation.

     On May 5th, 2015 I was rushed to the ER, after visiting one of my pain management doctors  with extreme high blood pressure. In fact, I was there for a scheduled pain injection, but they couldn't administer the injection because my blood pressure was 200/122.  The doctor went to call the ambulance but I begged him to let my husband, who was waiting in the waiting room,  just drive me since it was within 10 minutes from where his office was. He compromised only after calling the hospital to warn them I was coming, and making my husband promise him he would deliver me to the hospital. OF course Mike was scared for me and he did exactly that.  That afternoon  I was rushed to the ER.  Upon arriving I was whisked back to a room immediately and administered IV's and all of these things. IT was happening so fast! I had several nurses and two doctors working on me. My blood pressure was 217/148. They couldn't believe that I had not had a stroke.  When I saw the look of fear in their professional, medical faces I became scared. I even made a joke to try and lessen what really was happening that the quickest way through triage is high blood pressure. I didn't even have to wait in the waiting room.  I think we can learn to simply overlook something if it makes us unhappy. We can be blinded by things that can hurt us, never having a desire to change because it seems the easier thing to do is to look away.  Our emotions can be so deeply rooted that we aren't aware of their roots or how they effect us. When the doctors said I would need to go on blood pressure medicine I literally cried. I didn't want to have conditions I would need to treat daily with medicine. When my mom died, and we started cleaning up her bedroom, we nearly took a garbage bag of medicine to the police department to expose of them! I have had that image, along with other family members mistreating or abusing drugs and I just never wanted to walk down this path.  I begged the doctor to let me try and fix my blood pressure by changing my diet and exercise regimen.  I tried to reason with him (like I knew and He didn't) that I had high blood pressure probably because of the chronic back pain I suffered daily. At this point I was several years into herniated discs in my lower back & sciatica down my right leg. In addition, I was having heart palpitation and dizzy spells but I couldn't tell the doctor that!! The doctor wasn't convinced. HE explained the blood pressure and pain is like a cycle, yes pain causes the high blood pressure but high blood pressure can keep me from healing properly due to the improper blood flow. That evening was the beginning of a wake up call for me. Unfortunately, it wasn't enough to change me quite yet. It scared me and I did make some changes, and I DID START taking the stupid pills.  I believe we often need several things to happen in our lives to really shed the blinders from our eyes. I continued to see the pain management doctor once I got my blood pressure under control but then we moved. Before we moved to Tennessee I barely could walk. Often times I would need one of my sons, or both of them, or my husband to help me get to where I needed to go. I couldn't bend my back, lift my legs and many days I cried out in pain. I herniated my first disc back in 1999 and required surgery. When I herniated another disc in November of 2011, I never had peace about having the surgery this time around. I truly believed God was going to heal my back and I needed to wait on him. In the meanwhile, I herniated another disc possibly a second. I never had those medically diagnosed which would have required an MRI, but I recognized the pain all too well!! I KNEW! In the course of the 4.5 years while in Nebraska I got three different opinions all suggesting surgery. One doctor said if I didn't have the surgery I would risk becoming paralyzed. I was debilitated most days with the excruciating pain. I walked with a limp due to the sciatica in my leg.  The doctor was concerned about nerve damage. My pain management doctor, prior to looking at my MRI said that he didn't usually recommend surgery that often times given time and proper exercise the disc and realign itself. After looking at the MRI and himself, recommended surgery but agreed to do the injection so long as they worked for the first year. My first injection lasted 6 weeks. It never took the pain away entirely, but minimized it to where I could at least function. The second one lasted 2 weeks, and the third one was a double shot that sustained me until I moved.  The shots helped some but never completely and only for a short time prior to the next shot. Because the shots weren't helping like the doctor thought, he then suggested the surgery once again. I explained to him I was moving and would seek treatment once I moved. I  needed to find a different method of helping me through this time.
    I found a doctor who didn't believe in surgeries but all he did is over medicate. Once again I was on two different times of medicine. One to help the pain and one to help with the sciatica.  I was discouraged because I had been on different times of pain medicine for 4 years now. I started taking prescription narcotics but hated how I felt on them. So I compromised with prescription pain meds. I also found an acupuncturist and started with acupuncture treatment for awhile.  By this time I had done physical therapy, acupuncture, pain management (shot injections) and several doctors later. People would ask if I had seen a chiropractor but that practice was completely out of the question. When I had my first herniated disc I had a traumatic experience with a chiropractor and so I wrote that off as any option for treatment.  I continued to pray for God's healing. I was so blessed on days I could move. I believed that what we pray for, God will answer to those who remain in him and in HIS perfect timing. However, our answers may not look like His answers or to the extent of what we ask for them to be given to us either. God is a sovereign God, so I knew that by praying for a healing the answer may just come in the form of having the strength to live every day in the amount of pain I endured. I also would tell others that when I died and went to heaven I was going to leap, jump, do backbends and dance before the Lord!!  Oh to have no more pain and suffering!! One of the many times during my acupuncture treatment I remember laying there after the acupuncturist had left the room. It was dark, quite, and it was relaxing. As I lay there quietly I whispered to the Lord and asked him how much longer I would need to endure such pain? My prayer during that time was to have strength to be a light even in the pain. I wanted desperately for others to see Jesus in me and trust that if he was walking me through this I was not alone. As I asked the question I waited. and waited... and then in a still small voice I heard God whisper to my spirit that HE was the ULTIMATE PHYSICAN.  Tears streamed down my face because in that moment I had the peace I needed to walk this journey. I knew God was calling me to trust him and wait for his timing and I knew in faith that he would heal my back!

         In September of 2016, I had went away on a girls weekend trip to one of the cabins in Gatlinburg. We had an amazing time and it was much needed. Afterwards, I looked at one of the pictures that was taken and for the first time my eyes were opened to how heavy I had become. I think it also had to do with how inspired I was with one of my friends that was with us that weekend who had just lost a ton of weight herself and was checking off her list of goals she wanted to achieve. I was so inspired by her! I hated the way I looked, I hated that I didn't care or pretended to care, I hated that I felt ugly and unattractive and I focused on the outward beauty of everything I wasn't. Every flaw I have and just everything I hate about myself. I really beat myself up for a few days. And then I decided to weigh myself!

     I really never got into a practice of weighing myself. I guess I didn't really 'notice' how heavy I had become. I knew I was heavy and I didn't want some number to tell me just how heavy I was. SO I avoided it!!  When I got on that scale I weighed 275 pounds,  almost 300 pounds!!! I starred at the scale for a long time hoping it would move. How could I have let myself get this way? I blamed the back pain, I blamed how ugly I was and the attitude of not caring, I blamed it on my lack of sleep, my inconsistent eating habits, my medicine, anything I could think of. I think the tears came quicker than I anticipated. I didn't know it then but that day was my break through. I was so sad that I looked the way I did. I was so mad that I pretended to not care when in fact it was embarrassing to look this way I didn't have the discipline, support or encouragement to change so I didn't. I was angry that I could have such low confidence and such low self esteem that I would just ignore this. I was ashamed, I felt guilty, I felt heartbroken. I never meant to get this heavy! I really didn't even know what to do. Anytime I think back to a change that could have brought some confidence, I think back to something I have never shared with a single soul. I think of my teeth. I have very bad teeth. They are crooked, stained and I have a huge overbite. We grew up very poor and so my mom couldn't afford to get braces for me. But one day I remember her telling me that if I would behave and be good that she was going to take me and see if she could work out an arrangement to pay for braces herself. I was so hopeful, so excited. I hated that everyone looked at me and wondered why my teeth were the way there were. I hated that I had no control to fix them. I hated that they didn't look as nice as every other persons teeth. I never felt worthy enough to have something fixed on me that was imperfect. We went to the doctor and I just always remember how embarrassing it would be when I would open my mouth and the look on faces when they would see my mouth. It mortified me. They took a mold of my teeth and explained to my mom the procedure and what it would look like to get the braces. She agreed to it and I was to come back to get my braces in a few weeks. I couldn't believe it. I would look in the mirror and just imagine being able to smile with straight teeth. I was so filled with hope and wonder, I counted down the days for that appointment. The day came and my mom and I had gotten into a big fight. We fought a lot so this wasn't anything out of the unusual. The words she said that day destroyed my self esteem.  I was heartbroken. I was deemed unworthy of having something fixed on me to make me look better. What was the point? I believed I was ugly anyways so I had to pretend it didn't bother me and I pushed it down.  I did not get braces that day or any day. In fact when I became an adult, I had kids at a young age so every time they needed something, our money went towards them and that was where the lie grew that I had to take care of them and not selfishly take away from the kids. We never could afford it, in fact I finally got the courage to go to an orthodontist as an adult to see the course of action. The ortho looked at my mouth and gasped out loud and said my teeth were AWFUL! IT would need to take a miracle to fix them. I believed I was not worth that. And I never went back! The guilt came when I started having back trouble and the money that needed to be spent on that. I believed that the money I could have used to fix my teeth was the money I had to spend to make myself better. Oh the lies we believe and still believe!!

     Laying there that night I thought of the changes in my past and how changes in my life were more like let downs in my life, more negative than they were positive. How was I going to make a change and it be beneficial and lasting verses some next diet and not lasting. How could I really make a difference? That day I realized how much I did care, how much shame I had, How I longed to radiate Christ love but how I hated how ugly I was or how ugly I felt. How could I radiate Christ when I didn't even love myself!?? I cried!  I was depressed for several days. I knew I needed to do something but didn't know how? I still was in a great deal of pain and didn't have much of an active life.
     Several months passed, I did what I always did and I just avoided it! I knew I was sad, I knew I was depressed but I think it really came down to did I think I was worth it? I didn't want to face the hard reality of that answer! Like I said several months passed and I started thinking about what I would be fasting for the January. The last few years I give something up for the month of January as a way of tithing the first part of the year back to the Lord.  I was trying to consider what would work. In light of what I had just gone through I felt the best thing I could give up was sugar. I wanted to see what difference it would have on my body, and I needed something that would really help me lean into the Lord. During this time, the boys had revealed they were ready to move out so I felt I was losing my boys. Mike had started working on the road which was the first time our marriage had been apart like this. I felt abandoned, unworthy and unloved! My heart ached. We were walking out a few other difficult things as well.  Not only did I decide to give up sugar but I decided to fast face book as well. IT wasn't long after that decision that I felt God was calling me to give up anything that distracted me because I needed to lean on him.  I spiraled into a mild case of depression and God needed to do some work in me.  I had no idea who my identity was. I sacrificed my whole life to be a mother and wife and now what was I going to be? Yes, I still had my daughter at home but my family was breaking up and I was struggling with dealing with this. What was I going to do? How was I going to let the boys go? How was I going to walk this valley, and walk it alone? So for the month of January I gave up sugar and social media!

     I leaned into God during that month. I cried myself to sleep at night and poured over scriptures and bible studies by day.   God began to sift in me somethings that He no longer wanted me to carry, and it was painful. It began with the lies of my self worth and identity. I was beautiful because I was made in the image of Christ. I was worthy because I was a daughter of the king. My identity wasn't lost because I was a believer in Christ. As I focused on Christ and waited to answer some of the prayers we needed answered, I noticed I began to feel better. One day I cried out to GOD to show me what HE wanted me to do and how I could get healthy! I no longer wanted to struggle to walk, struggle to breath, struggle to keep up and be active. I wanted to be used by God to do what he had set forth for me to do and I didn't want the excuse of me being to heavy, or being unhealthy to get in the way. I notice my reasoning for getting healthy no longer included vain things but that I genuinely wanted to be used by God! How could I use weight loss to bring your name glory? I was desperate!!!

     AT the end of January I decided to weigh myself. I didn't go off sugar as a diet, I went off sugar so that every time I thought of it, it would remind me to pray and seek the Lord so I never felt it necessary to weigh myself. I had lost weight!! And I felt better about myself and then the answer came to me! I would stay off sugar for the next month as more of a diet to see if I continued to have changes and how I would feel. The first time was for the fasting, this time I was going to see if I could loose anymore weight. One day I was reading my bible and praying and I felt the Lord say that IT WAS TIME.  I asked God to reveal to me what that meant. The time had come that I was going to walk out a healing!!  Not that God needs us to do anything for him, but I do believe at times he requires our actions because we are co-heirs with him; and faith requires us to move our feet.  I believed he was calling me into a journey of health.  My back wasn't the only thing God was going to heal, he was going to bring healing to my health! In fact, he was going to use my journey to become healthy as a platform to speak into lives about God and how He is still in the business of healing and performing miracles!

     Not everyone wants to know that but everyone is curious at some time or another how people loose weight. I begged God to use me and show him glory and this was how HE was going to do it!  I was excited but nervous! I tried weight watchers for a time.. lost 20 pounds but gained it back. I ran a few 5K's one summer and while doing that lost some weight but gained it back. I just didn't want to say I was losing weight for the Lord and then gain it back. I was worried about the credibility that I could loose by doing that! That was the opposite of what I wanted to do!


Below are several pictures from last year transformation!!