Monday, May 4, 2009

2009 Scripture Memory Challenge #9 and How it Relates to My Weight Loss Journey

And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light. ~Colossians 1:10-12


God had been working on me for awhile. I’m ashamed to admit I tried to ignore His loving persistence. I can’t even tell you exactly how long this battle of heart wore on, but early one morning last fall, He finally got through to me and I surrendered. A day or two later, I received word that a Weight Watchers At Work group was starting in my office and they were seeking participants. I had to chuckle at God’s apparent swift work. He clearly didn’t want me to have time to change my mind (He knows me too well). I immediately signed up and later that week, attended my first meeting. I had done Weight Watchers one other time 7 years prior and had lost some, but I knew this time was different because my motivation had changed. This time, it was about being more pleasing to God and taking better care of the body He had given me.

During a difficult season early in my marriage, I began turning to food for comfort (unknowingly at first). Though I became a Christian at the age of 13, after high school I began drifting away from the Lord and soon there was little evidence of His presence in my life. I met and married Tom during this time. He was unsaved. Thanks be to God, eleven years into our marriage, Tom became a Christian and I returned to the Lord. As you can imagine, God worked within our family in amazing ways and our lives radically changed.

Years went by and though I believed I had given God full access to my heart, my previous coping patterns with food continued. Though I would typically cook relatively healthy meals for my family, my personal eating habits were horrible. I would buy pop-tarts, snack cakes and bags of mini candy bars and keep them hidden at work and at home. Even though most days I would eat a decent lunch and dinner, I would snack constantly on sweets. If I went to the grocery on my way home from work, I'd buy a candy bar (or two) in the checkout line and eat them immediately.

It wasn't always sweets...sometimes I'd stop at a local drive through for a cheeseburger and fries. I'd eat them in the parking lot, throw away the bag then go home to prepare dinner that I would also eat. Strange as it sounds, for the longest time, I didn't even see the irony of that. Once God began to open my eyes to what I was doing, I felt shame, which in some ways only made matters worse. I then shifted into denial mode which for a time, seemed to be working -- that is, until I began outgrowing all my clothes.

Over time, God began to wear away my defensiveness. Through scores of verses, through music and other believers, He showed me that only He was able to fulfill the needs I was trying to fill with food...but I had to let Him. Most importantly, he assured me of His love. Last September, I finally "put down my dukes" and laid aside the temporal comforts for His. Has it always been easy? No. It required accountability and sometimes moment by moment prayer. But God's strength and presence has been so evident. Often His spirit would speak love and encouragement during my exercise or a particularly hard day. Seeing the number on the scale go down, and knowing my food choices were healthy and pleasing to God brought much joy along the journey as well. I no longer crave "the junk" that was once a part of my daily eating habits, yet I know this struggle is not over. This battle is won, but the war itself will continue. This time, however, I believe I'm far better equipped to fight than ever before.

This verse has become a prayer of mine. How I truly desire to please God in every way, to fully surrender an undivided heart in order that I may be worthy of what He has given me and called me to be. 39 pounds lighter and several sizes smaller than where I started this journey, I'm living proof of the strength of His power. There is no greater comforter and there is indeed no greater coach. (It's true, Carrie!) Please know if you're struggling in this way He can and will help you, too. Feel free to e-mail me via my profile if I can help by answering any questions or lifting you in prayer.

Several have asked to see photos. I have wrestled with this for a number of days and had nearly determined not to include them. I then remembered how God used things like this to encourage me before I began, so in that light, I've decided to post them.


Before:
178 pounds














After:
139 pounds




Giving thanks and praise to God...

Tracy

21 comments:

Krista said...

You look great! Weight Watchers is an awesome tool that God has given me in my own personal weight challenges. Several years ago I lost 62 lbs w/ WW! Over the last two years I have let my guard down. I could feel myself slipping away...not just with unhealthy eating choices, but in my walk with the Lord too - not in big things it seemed, but there came a point (actually several) where I would say "enough is enough." It was an aweful feeling. I am back on track, loving the Lord and desiring to serve him wholeheartedly. Also, back on the weight loss track w/ WW again. Just started last week and had a loss of 2. : )

Thanks for sharing your testimony,
Krista

Melanie said...

Oh, Tracy... you look GREAT! I'm so happy for you. What an encouragement to others, as well.

Love you!

Joan said...

Praise the Lord! Wonderful testimony and the pictures are the proof. So glad that you decided to post them.

Blessings

Kathy S. said...

Praising the Lord with you for such a wonderful testimony and encouragement for so many ladies who wrestle with weight. His power to set us free is amazing!

I love that verse too! I need to prop my heart before the Lord for an examiination on a regular basis!

Congratulations!!!

e-Mom said...

Bravo, Tracy! A hearty round of applause. :~D

Kristi said...

Wow! Hot mama! Way to go! I am so proud for you...what an amazing journey of faith you have had. His glory shines all over you. Blessings to you!

An Accomplished Woman said...

Great job on your weight loss. You look marvelous!!!

Cynthia

TAMMY said...

YOU LOOK GREAT!!!! WAY TO GO.
I LOVE YOUR MESSAGE.

Kim@Seasons of My Heart said...

Oh friend..you look FAB!!!

Great...great...job..... :-)

LisaShaw said...

You are absolutely beautiful in BOTH photos! You're beauty is inside and out. I was deeply moved by your testimony and would like to link to this message on my Living a Fit Life blog if that's alright. Please let me know.

I've not been online much lately but I'm glad I was able to visit with you.

Love ya.

Carrie @ Cottage Cozy said...

Fantastic, Tracy. Many thanks for your transparency and honesty. Your story touched me and I am certain will touch many others too. Inspirational...

Stay Cozy, Carrie

Yolanda said...

I love your heart and your smile, and the best part is not what you look like but truly who you are and WHOSE you are. Your such a delight and most importantly, don't you just feel so much better? God is good and HE is faithful.

Love ya!

Tricia said...

Wow Tracy! I am so proud of you! Thank you for sharing your story... I think that it is just amazing that your success came when you surrendered it to Christ... what an awesome testimony!

Blessings!

Just a little something from Judy said...

Tracy, I missed you. I read this latest post with great joy and praise to you for such a fantastic accomplishment!!! The pictures speak volumes. I am so proud of you and reminded again of God's amazing self-control that He gives us...you are proof. I do feel some guilt as I have shared yet another chocolate cake dessert from last evening's dinner. Would it help if you knew that 7 adults divided 3 desserts? I love this latest picture of you and the words from your heart underneath it. God be praised!

Tonya said...

WOW-WEE!! You look GREAT! Man, I sure wish I'd get focused. I KNOW that my eating patterns are sinful, and yet I continue in the way I deal with everything - by EATING!

WW is DEFINITELY an AWESOME plan! It's by far the EASIEST way I've found to lose weight. (I NEED to join a group again.. I've lost weight with them before but it's so hard to eat right when my hubby and boys wanna eat JUNK all the time) I do realize it'll have to be a lifestyle change.

Anyway, CONGRATS to YOU for meeting your goals!!!! ☺

LOVE YOU!

elaine @ peace for the journey said...

Thank you, Tracy, for your boldness. You didn't have to do this, but I'm so thankful that you did. This post exceeds a "before and after photo." It speaks to a deeper issue of holiness; some may not understand that, but I do, and I confess to you that I need to join you on that road in this particular area of my heart and life.

I've let myself go and have only recently gotten back on track. I have a ways to go, but with God's help and people like you who are willing to encourage, I can do this thing!

Lots of love and thanks from this heart to yours.

peace~elaine

Becky said...

You have no idea the encouragement this post is to me.

I'm so proud of you...you look terrific!

Shabby Olde Potting Shed said...

I am so proud of you Tracy.
Your light is absolutely shining and it even goes way deeper than the weight you lost. It's how you turned things around to put God FIRST above your flesh. You decided to say Here I am God, I'm doing things YOUR way.
Your post IS so encouraging and YOU have been GREAT encouragement to me!!!! Divine friendship, blessings in the mail, and prayers, and many times God's used you to get something through to me.
You are a wonderful soul, that I am oh so happy to know.
I love ya Tracy K!
Holykisses,
Lea
YOU LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOK
MAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARVELOUS!
(In my best Billy Crystal!)

Controlling My Chaos said...

Wow! What an amazing and inspiring story. Thank you for sharing your story AND the pictures. You are a gorgeous woman, do you know that?

Christine A. Mayo said...

Thank you for sharing!

Anonymous said...

Congratulations! God is so good. He cares about every aspect of our lives. I've just recently realized he cares about my health.I have some weight to lose. I told God if he wanted me to get healthy He'd have to find me some free running shoes.(couldn't afford any)I never told anyone my prayer. Rediculous right? Two weeks later, a lady at my church called and said she had several pairs of running shoes donated by a local shoe store.(this never happens) She was taking them to a shelter and called me to see if I needed any. He cares about the little things. Amazing Congratulations on your weight loss. I "happend" upon your blog today.