The Heart of Change....

Alright, I'm about to get all biblical up in here....(forewarned is forearmed I always say lol)

What was the start of change....for me.
I will tell you.
It started at my Lowest point.
My lowest point was 2005-2006.

My marriage was falling apart after years of deployments, alcoholism and denial.
I had a miscarriage because the state of my health had deteriorated to the point that carrying a baby was nigh on a physical impossibility.

I was burnt out cause I had been homeschooling for years. I had no one to really talk to. NO support to speak of, no family nearbye...and I had finally, yes finally made ONE Friend. But after moving so much and leaving friends behind...I was even tired of trying to make friends.

I found out my big brother had AIDS.

This put a dent the size of texas in my whole hearted Faith that God works all things for good for those who love him.

My brother had been abused in an awful way. Ran away from home at sixteen, ended up in a texas penitentiary at 17...got out at 27. Got hooked on Drugs by 28 and by the age of 33, was diagnosed with full blown Aids and was given two years to live. (He has outlived that prognosis by the way). He was completely estranged from his family and was living in a basement.

How could a God who was a loving God allow the kind of life my brother had led?

I knew that alot of the bitterness and unforgiveness my brother carried was causing some of the issues he had, but still...when was he going to catch a break?

I stood in a movie theatre parking lot, ripped that fish off the back of my car and whipped it across the parking lot and literally, to the amusement of spectators, gave God the finger.

Nope, when it comes to suffering...no one could call me job. (Did I mention that I have a temper)

After that I grew more and more distant from my feelings. It got to the point that other people didn't really register with me. I was just going through the motions. I didn't feel anything. Not happy, not sad...nothing. I thought " I have given everything, and I have nothing".

I really thought that. Sad.

I had been trying so hard for years to 'make things better'. I was going to 'fix' my husband.
I was going to teach my children, I was going to make the 'right' decisions. I was going to be the rock of everyone's life. You could count on me. It burned me out, period.

I said I believed in God, but what i did was make myself God.
I didn't see that though.
I was pissed at God...when i should have been pissed at chris .
Then my little brother called me and asked me to come to his wedding.

I was going to be the only one there. No one else could come. So I said Yes, Chris to the rescue, Chris will help, Chris will tote the bride around.
I was so down, that I was shopping in a christian bookstore, in preparation for my trip, when I came across a sermon called Suicide watch: Sauls suicide. I bought it. all 70 dollars worth.

I thought it would talk about depression. I thought it would have soothing words of comfort that I desperately thought I needed.

I was dead wrong.

It was about TAKING RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE PROBLEMS IN YOUR LIFE. Of course I didn't know this until I was in the back of beyond, Utah.

Back of beyond...Utah

I listened to it. The first time through, I was thinking of all the other people that should be listening to this. The second time through I was offended.

The third time through (I was driving through Utah and it is a loooooooooong state) I started to listen.

When I listened I finally woke up. It talked of the seven sins that lead you to fall on your own sword. One is arrogance. I never thought I was arrogant. My husband was arrogant, I was simply strong minded ;).

I was arrogant in the assumption that i could be everyone's rock and not fall or falter, or that everyone or anyone even expected me to.

Another is denial....um, I had denial down pat. So much denial I had to listen to this sermon three times before I applied it to myself.

This sermon was like some one had taken the mirror I was holding to the world and turned it around and shined it right in my face.

I talked a good game about God, but did I pray? Were my thoughts and actions towards others, including my own family....integrated with the way I was speaking and acting? No.

I was bitter. I was angry that my marriage was a mess. I blamed everything on my husband. But took no blame for myself.

As one preacher famously said "you say you can't trust his judgement, well your right...look who he married."

I was a little girl parading around trying to look like an adult. Too afraid to say no, Too afraid to really fight for what I wanted. Too afraid it would all fall apart and I would be alone, never realizing that as a child of God..you are never alone.

Losing a baby that quite frankly, when I found out I was pregnant, I didn't want to carry.

I was afraid of being pregnant at that weight, afraid of bringing a child into a marriage that was crumbling. Just Afraid.
Then afraid that i had 'caused' the miscarriage through bad thoughts or being overweight. I had quite the God complex.

For a believer, I was a fraud. I didn't trust God at all.

When I realized that, I realized what position I had tried to take. That obviously it wasn't working my way. As was evidenced by my life. I was very good at pointing fingers, but lousy at looking at myself.

Nothing was ever 'in my control'.
In my victimized mind, I was fat cause I had two kids to take care of (good mother's don't take time for themselves ya know). In my victimized mind, I had a lousy marriage because my husband is an alcoholic who was never home. (I picked him. hello)

There is always a way to blame someone else for the predicament that you are in. I chose him. I chose to eat what I ate, when i ate and how much. I chose to homeschool, I chose to be alone, I chose to be the saviour of the world (and do a lousy job). I chose to stop drawing, stop reading, stop taking care of myself...and ultimately, to stop caring at all.
I was on my way back through utah, listening to this sermon yet again when I decided to unload my baggage. What that means is this.

I was offloading everything I didn't have any control over.
I had no control over my husband's decisions regarding whether he chose to give up drinking, reenlist or any of it. I couldn't control his feelings or his decisions. I gave it to God.

I gave alot of things to God, and I took back one thing.

Response-ability for the choices I had made.
You know what's awesome about acknowledging that we are responsible for our own choices?
As mary j. blige says "it's up to us to choose, whether we win or lose, and I choose to win".
(This may very well be the first hip hop christian testimony blend)

I stopped feeling resentful of the time spent at lessons for dancing and karate. I stopped feeling as if my time were being stolen from me by things like endless dishes.

Instead I decided to feel grateful.

Grateful that while I had made quite a mess of my marriage, there was still one to salvage. That while I sometimes felt overwhelmed, i had the two greatest kids in the universe. That while yes, I was fat as h*ll...I was still breathing.

The biggest decision I made was to note the sin in my own life, in my own heart and really learn to forgive others for whatever pain they may have caused me. I truly believe that we do what we do because it's what we know, and when we know better we do better. (Thank you Maya angelou)

That was four years before I decided to lose weight. but, in reality...it was those decisions. The decision to let go of the things I couldn't control, the decision to learn to forgive, and the decision to accept responsibility for things I could control that allowed me to mature enough to let go of the food as a source of happiness. To recognize it for what it was doing to me. To know that if I didn't kill my obsession with food, it would kill me. So, When I finally handed my body over to God on May 18th of this year, in much the same way I had handed my marriage over in 2006...I meant it.

In between December 2005, when I handed over my marriage till July 4th, 2006 when God accomplished what can only be called a miracle in my marriage. I talked to my husband maybe four or five times via email. He was in Iraq for the fourth (and thank God, final) time. On July 4th, 2006, God brought about an event that caused my husband to quit drinking, get out of the army, get counseling- both personal and marital, and restored our marriage.

That is why I believe in God. He works. Things I had tried for over a decade to accomplish, were done, just like that.

I handed over my body on May 18th. I said God, I can't do it, I know I can't. You take it.

And he did. I have lost 54 lbs in a little over five months. The only time I slip is when I start to think it's all me.

And then there is my big brother. What possible Good could come of my brother getting Aids.

I will tell you now. When my mom hadn't heard from my brother that summer of 2005, she went to the basement underneath his friends house to see him. He was covered head to toe in a rash, weighed 98 lbs and had pneumonia. She took him to the hospital where he found out he had Aids.

What good- He stopped doing heroine. He apologized for all the pain he had ever caused my mom. He moved back in with my parents and now has a loving relationship with them. He has two nieces he is getting to know. He has a girlfriend. He has friends and a life. If he had continued on the path of drug addiction he was on, I doubt he would be here today. Are there consequences for the years spent doing things the wrong way? Yes.

But I truly believe God is restoring the years the worms have eaten. It is bitter sweet, and I thank God for every Good day he has left.
You may ask why I wrote this.
I wrote it because of this Girl. Amy Jensen.
I went to a website about weight loss, and found a link to her testimony.
I cried like a baby, and I took her question to heart. Am I running my race, or God's race?
I realized that while a young girl was willing to give her testimony, I hadn't bothered to give mine. Amy's funeral is tomorrow. She died just a day or two ago...here's the link.

I said I would link to it, and so I have.
This is my testimony.
So, Weight loss. It's about what you CAN control. Letting Go of the things you can't. And don't you dare say it....cause that poem used to bug the crap out of me. lol.
I hope you all have a great night,

I ate 1590 calories and did a 3.5 mile walk today....with you know who's help.

p.s. This sermon is called Sauls suicide: parts 1-6 by T.D. Jakes. It's on youtube.....Free. lol.


Retta said...

This was beautiful, Chris. Thank you so much for sharing it. It is rich with truths.

Hanlie said...

You are a shining light! Thank you for sharing your testimony.

Roxie said...

Beautifully told, Chris. Thank you for sharing. As always, very powerful.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Chris. The comment you left me last week about God's hold on us, his pursuit for us? Stays with me every day. Thanks for sharing your story.

Anonymous said...

Powerful post - amazing how things fall into place. Thanks for sharing.

South Beach Steve said...

Chris, there are a lot of people out there going through similar struggles to what you have endured. They need to hear this story. Thank you for sharing.

God is an awesome God!

Diane, Fit to the Finish said...

Chris thank you for sharing your struggles, your triumphs, and your testimony. Relying on God for healing in all areas of my life has been the difference for me. I'm so thankful for all that you have experienced and how you have strengthened your faith through your incredibly difficult times.

I loved reading this post.

Fat[free]Me said...

An amazing post from an amazing woman - thanks so much for sharing and for the reminder.

Leslie said...

Thank you so much for sharing your testimony. It is a powerful one. So much of your story and your words and focus remind me of my AA journey.

I think God is likely nodding lovingly and saying, "Well done, good and faithful servant." Yours is a message of hope and redemption. We can all use a little (a lot) of that.

Unknown said...

Thanks for sharing Chris, and thank you for the link. Hard to watch that at work and not cry.

Chupsie said...

Thanks, its good to be reminded of my main mantra. Everything happens for a reason. and its true, and god is the one who puts it there. if you try to control it - it won't happen. Thanks hun! besides the bad that you have talked about you put a smile on my face and made me realize that all the trouble I am going through there is a light at the end of the tunnel, I just have to keep walking in the dark towards it!

Melissa said...

Absolutely beautiful. Thank you.

Christine said...

Thank you everyone for your kind comments...and thank you God for being my strength.

Christine Jeske said...

Wow. I was a Navy Spouse 4 yrs before my hub decided to get out. That's cool that we are twins in the pounds gone department! And I gotta get right and let God walk beside me on the weight loss/marriage trail. Thanks so much for sharing your story. I miscarried years ago too.

paulawannacracker said...

Thank you for sharing your story and posting that link. I listened to Amy sermon and I was deeply moved.

Thank you.

Nadya said...

Powerful post, Chris! I admire your sharing of your story & how some of the 'oh no-s!! have turned around

I came over from Hanalie's having responded to your ? on using coconut milk - I have been using it since the spring (& Coconut Oil) - it's so good for the metabolism (harmonizes the thyroid) & for the brain, etc. & coincidentally, there's a story in Dr. Fife's 'Coconut Oil Miracle' about a fellow with 'terminal' AIDEs who went to S America, ate lots of coconut, & came out with a viral count too low to measure!
There are a number of links & posts about the 'tree of life,' Coconut, over at the Vale :)