Happy Fun Friday, SHINE girls!
As we bring this week to a close, we have one last Freedom story for you.
Melissa is a very good friend of mine, and I know you will be blessed and encouraged by her story. She is also one of our very own SHINE prayer girls. I absolutely love this girl!!
Before you read her story, here is your Friday Challenge! (did you think you were getting off the hook that easy?) :-)
Your challenge is this:
Write down Psalm 139:14-16 on a note card, piece of scratch paper, Kleenex, chic-fil-a napkin, whatever you have. (the whole verse!)
Here is the verse:
"For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be." Psalm 139:13-16
Carry it with you all day today. Look at it throughout the day, and speak the words out loud.
Try to look at it and say it aloud on every hour of this day. For example: 6 am, 7 am, 8 am, 9 am, etc. If you cannot do it on the hour, just try to do it as much as you can! You NEED this reminder, my friends.
Okay, now it's time for Melissa's powerful story. Be blessed, SHINE friends!
Winning the War
By: Melissa Martin
When Jill asked me to share my story related to body-image issues with the SHINE sisters, I answered that I would pray about it. My prayers were a little timid…something like “Lord, I don’t think I have anything to say, but if you want me to share I’ll need you to lead me.”
Fast forward a few days to Jill’s first post about “Freedom.” When I read that post I had just returned from a Memorial Day get-together with my best friend and her family (you’ll read about her further down the page…she’s the naturally skinny one – sigh!). And, we were in our bathing suits (double sigh!) During our time together I opened up to my friend about my newest discoveries about body image, prayer, scripture and the journey I am just beginning. The fact that the SHINE topic and my Memorial Day conversations were happening simultaneously were the confirmation I needed that God wanted me to share my story.
But first we’ll have to back up a few weeks…at the beginning of May, Jill posted about VICTORY. She wrote that she had thrown down her crutches and refused to live in bondage to an issue she had struggled with for years. Her post really resonated with me…I knew that Jill and I struggled with different issues. Mine was weight – lose it, gain it, focus on it, stress over it, complain about it – you name it…I have been there, done that! I felt the Holy Spirit prompting me to address the issue in prayer, with scripture, and to claim victory over it. I wrote the following in an email to Jill on May 4th to tell her about my revelation:
Confession: My whole entire life I have wanted one thing that has always eluded me...to be skinny. When I was growing up I was always "big boned" but I wanted to be like my skinny-minny best friend who could look cute wearing a paper bag! Maybe it's even an obsession. I literally wish to be thin every time I blow out birthday candles (have for as long as I can remember) or whenever the clock hits 11:11. I feel so dysfunctional just typing this!
Fast Forward to the mom years...I started struggling with being "chubby" right about the time I started struggling with trying to get pregnant. Chalk it up to hormones, stress, whatever. I gained a ton of weight when pregnant and then worked my tail off to lose it (not quickly - it took at least nine months of w.o.r.k) then I would be at a healthy weight for a short time and get pregnant and start the cycle all over again (I have been pregnant 6 times in the past 10 years). And then, after having my 3rd child I have just not been able to lose the weight. I have tried it all: Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, Atkins, Spinning classes, elliptical...) For at least 3 years this script has played in my head: " You are always going to struggle with this...it's your genetics, your age, your love of food. It's your burden to bear in life. "
Obviously I know that it could be a whole lot worse -- I mean, there are way worse problems to have than being fat! But then I read your words on SHINE and HE spoke to me. Even if I never get to a certain number on a scale, there is victory in Jesus. For me, victory means:
- not finding my worth in the way I look - I AM A DAUGHTER OF THE KING OF KINGS!
- not believing the lie that I will always be this way - WITH CHRIST ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE
- not telling myself that my problem is too insignificant for me to take to God (oh boy, the enemy has been feeding me that for a long time)
I got on my knees and gave this to God - told Him that if I never saw my magic number on my scale that was fine! But, I want to be freed from this bondage!
(Quick disclaimer – I am speaking about my body image/food issues and not a diagnosis of an eating disorder…I believe strongly that God can and will use doctors, therapists, and medical interventions for HIS good. If you are struggling with something that feels way too big for you to carry alone, please pray that God will direct you to the right professional).
I wrote that email about a month ago. I wish I could say that my negative thoughts are gone, my eating habits have completely changed, and I am happily wearing my skinny jeans. Could God make all of that happen? You bet! But here’s how it’s actually playing out for me – I have good days and bad days on this journey. I am trying to consciously make better choices with my eating and my exercise. I have resolved to pray for the strength and perseverance to remain in scripture and prayer throughout this journey. But, even so, I lose a few “battles” – I give in and eat something that is not part of my plan. I get a little prideful and think I have it all under control and then try it without my prayers and scriptures some days. If it were always easy for me I would likely forget that it is not about a number on the scale. For me, I choose VICTORY. Walking in victory will look different for each of us, depending on what we are surrendering to the Lord. During the hard days we can practice trusting and surrendering. During the easier days we can choose to praise Him.
"Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us" Ephesians 3:20
I may lose a few battles, but with God on my side, I am going to win the war! I may never reach the magic number on the scale, but I will have healthier habits and a more authentic relationship with my savior. After a great Memorial Day, I am blessed to share my story with you. Freedom and Victory – it’s what HE desires for each of us!