Saturday, March 1, 2014

Happy "NEW LIFE" anniversary to me!

Happy Anniversary to me!!!!  No, it’s not my wedding anniversary; I never married. It’s not my “years of service” anniversary. Nor is it my birthday. But, it is the anniversary of one of the most important days of my life.  Three years ago today, March 1, 2011, is the day I began this incredible journey to change my life. Three years ago today I was at rock-bottom; the lowest point in my life.  Three years ago today, God blessed me with a miracle and set me free from a life of pain, obesity, and immobility. Today, and every day, I give thanks to HIM for His tremendous mercy and goodness!

Many of you have heard or read, probably multiple times, about that moment when “something clicked” in my head, but for those that haven’t, this is how my journey began.  I came home from work on that particular day after an incredibly hard day. All my days were difficult, but this one was especially difficult because the pain from the RA was even more troublesome and I was emotionally and physically exhausted.  I had just arrived home when the phone rang. It was my sister, Kelly. She had called to tell me that her doctor had called her that day, and she was scheduled to have bariatric weight loss surgery on March 17th.  We had a very tense conversation and I begged her not to have go through with it. My reasons were multiple: first I was afraid for her health and safety. I had known a few others who had the surgery and developed serious complications from it. I suppose if it admit it now, I was afraid that something would happen to her and there would be no one left to take care of me… a sure sign of the selfishness that I have been trying to work on since then. I also was secretly jealous….that she would lose weight once and for all, that she could afford it, that she had people to care for her in her recovery, that she was brave enough to do something that I wouldn’t even consider….mostly that she would get skinny and be embarrassed and ashamed of me.  All of these irrational thoughts were just coming from a place in my head that was filled with “lies and insecurities” that I had told myself over the years. I knew that she would be successful and I’m not sure I really wanted her to be….not without me anyway! For the record, I fully support and respect the freedom and right for each person to choose the best plan/method/option of weight loss for him/her. It was just not an option for me. Please don’t take this as a disapproval of any of you that have chosen that option. It is a miraculous gift and has helped many people over the years to regain control of their life.

Our conversation ended with her telling me adamantly that she had made up her mind and was having the surgery whether I approved or not. This was always a characteristic in her that I admired because I always thought I needed the approval of others to be happy, even if it went against my own principles and beliefs. I was angry when I hung up the phone, but in that conversation, something happened inside of me that changed my life. God was present there, and he heard my silent prayer for Kelly, and for my own situation.   I hung up the phone, sitting there in the darkness of my kitchen, and literally, out-loud proclaimed into the darkness, “You little B… I’m going to show you! There is another way!” Reality hit in that moment and I thought, “What on earth  are you going to show her???”  Hmm…good question.  There I was, sitting on the chair in front of the sink; the chair that I needed just to make a cup of coffee or a sandwich, weighing a whopping 428 pounds. What was I going to show her?????? I couldn’t even walk.  I don’t know, but in that moment, I proclaimed, and God heard, my words.  To my surprise, it was GOD that showed me!  I certainly couldn’t’ show her anything, but He could and He did, but first He had to show ME! God showed me another way; He showed me what needed to change in my thinking and my actions. He showed me that He was more powerful than I ever imagined. 

The first thing He showed me was the soda in the fridge….all six 2-liter bottles of Faygo peach soda. A quick bit of math revealed that I was consuming close to 1000 empty calories each night just in soda. Next came the sugar bowl….emptied into the trashcan. And so this incredible journey began. Never in my wildest dreams would did I ever imagine that my life would change so dramatically in such a short period of time, but I have since learned that NOTHING, I mean NOTHING is impossible with GOD!!!!

Today, I am a completely new person….not just in physical size and ability, but in the way I think and feel. But it’s not easy….not one bit of it is easy. Day-by-day I have to surrender my life, my fear and temptations, my thoughts over to God so that He can continue to transform me on the inside. The outside changes are just a visible sign of the inside changes. It has to start in the mind…..something has to “click” in your brain and your heart…..before the rest will fall into place. Sure I lost 270+ pounds, but the “weight” and burden of sadness, grief, fear, hopelessness, and unworthiness is even heavier than the extra pounds. God can take that weight away so that the physical weight can disappear as well.  All I can say, in complete humility, dependence, and awe of God is “TO HIM BE THE GLORY!!!” 

Last year on March 1st, I was on an airplane on my way with my sister, Kelly, headed to New York City for my appearance on the TODAY show. Today, on March 1st, I discovered that my story is STILL circling the globe; I had 39 new members join this Facebook group, and I have hundreds of unread emails in my in-box. I also made a snow angel for the first time in at least 30 years! Life is better  today than I ever imagined. Thank you God!

So, to my sister, I say THANK YOU….for being the catalyst that started this journey. To all those friends and family members that loved me in spite of my weight and immobility, Thank You…. for not giving up on me and for seeing goodness in me when I couldn’t see it in myself.  And to all the new friends, group members, and others who have and continue to share my journey, who supported/inspired/encouraged and empowered me…and continue to do so…..THANK YOU…. for keeping me motivated and for allowing me to share my story and be a part of yours.  Together, my friends….we CAN and we WILL change our lives, one day, one step, one thought, and one pound at time.  Never give up believing in your miracle. God is faithful…even when we are not!