If you have a Bible, I want you to stop reading my blog for this moment and turn it to Psalm 91. Trust me, this is worth it. Even if you live in a household that just has a Bible because its a good thing to have, and you've never read it...just turn to the middle and find the book entitled Psalms. They are divided up into numerical chapters. Flip through until you find chapter 91. And, just in case you do not have a Bible, you can go to Bible Gateway and type in Psalm 91 and read it there! :) (I'll wait! You go do your assignment!)
Okay...are you back? Are you ready to go on an amazing journey with me today? This could be a lengthy blog today...or it could be short...I'm not sure. All I know is that God wants me to process everything I just took in by sharing it with you today.
So, I have mentioned before that my beautiful sister Lisa died in 2005 at the age of 20 because of a heart attack. My dad had a heart procedure done at the ripe age of 38. I'm 29...which is right in between those ages. (I've written much more about this in my blog post entitled FEAR in March if you are interested in reading more about my history.) Anyways, as I have mentioned before, my fight to lose weight is more than just a vain pursuit...it's life or death.
Hence, the reason for the last four weeks of boot camp. I praise God for the last four weeks. I've learned I could live with a lot less than I ever imagined, food wise. I've also learned a lot about my priorities, my motivations, and who I am. But, nothing sums up boot camp ending for me like Psalm 91.
See, when Lisa died, my friend Jen was in the backseat of my pretty blue Dodge Neon reading the Scriptures from Psalm 91 to me as we drove to the hospital. I doubt if she even remembers that, but I will never forget it. Even in those first bitter moments of realizing that my sister was gone, Psalm 91 comforted me.
I loved Psalm 91:4, "He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and your rampart." At that very moment, I imagined God protecting me with a soft, bountiful pile of feathers. I could feel his love for me. Whenever I use my down comforter, it reminds me of God's promise there!
Then, as I read on the promise of God's protection for me encouraged me. Even if the worst things that we think of on earth happen to me, God is still my protector. What a relief! And if I die today, tomorrow, or in 70 years, God is still my God, and he will protect me by saving me from the pits of hell for eternity.
I have turned to these Scriptures literally over a hundred times.
But, today, at the end of boot camp, new life was breathed into these Scriptures for me.
This morning at my weigh in I weighed in at 313.8. I measured 1/2 an inch less around my belly than I did two weeks ago. And I took pictures.
While David marveled at my pictures, I was secretly crying inside. "Only 6 pounds? After all those intense workouts? Seriously? Only another 1/2 inch? You've got to be kidding me!!! THIS IS RIDICULOUS!" I felt defeated. When I looked at my pictures, I could see how my body had changed, but mostly I still saw fat. I know things are 23.8 pounds better than they were 4 weeks ago, but really? I still have so far to go. I feel doomed to die fat and that was that.
So, my smile was hard to come by. Until I stepped foot into church and Pastor Rod started preaching from Psalm 91. Okay, truthfully, at first I lost
my breath and started to cry, because I wasn't sure if I could handle listening to these Scriptures on a day I felt so defeated. But, as Pastor Rod preached, something inside me clicked.
I want to visit another couple verses that hit the very core of my heart as Pastor Rod spoke this morning. The first is verse 1 "He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty." The second are the last verses in the chapter, verses 15 and 16. "He will call upon me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him. With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation."
As Pastor Road spoke about dwelling in the Lord and resting in his shadow, he talking about how so many times we go on about our day to day tasks without asking the Lord for his input. We think we've got it all under control. That's when the beauty of my struggle really hit me. Without boot camp, without being 200 (and then some) pounds overweight, without having to be aware of every morsel of food that goes in my body, I would have never drawn so close to the Lord. What a humbling thought. That without these struggles, I may not rely on the Lord like I do now. Right now, I whisper prayers constantly and rely on the Lord in ways most people will never know, just because I have a BIG FAT LIFE OR DEATH STUGGLE. And to that I say..."WHAT A BLESSING!!!" Thank you Lord for drawing me close by...near your shadow, helping me dwell in you. I've had this realization earlier this year, during my online Made to Crave study, but this time, it just struck me as even more beautiful!
And then, verses 15 and 16...they offer all the promises a girl like me needs. God's going to answer me. He will be with me in trouble. (Please, notice it doesn't say that trouble will not come, but simply that God will be with me!) He will deliver me. Honor me. And this last promise I cling to desperately..."With long life will I satisfy him and show him salvation." Oh, the sweetness of those words. I am just letting them linger...with long life...satisfy....salvation...ahhh. God's word is refreshing.
Now, I can't say that God will let me live until I'm 99 here on earth...I can't even promise the age of 30...or even tomorrow...but I know that my life with God is eternal. I wish I had a hammock. I would lay in that hammock today, and look up at the sky, and just let God's words float in my brain. Because they have soothed me.
So, to wrap this up...yes, boot camp is done, with 23.8 pounds off in the last four weeks and 45.2 pounds total down. But, I still have so much more to do. And I want to continue on my journey with the correct mindset. I want to take today to recommit myself to my goals: Getting healthy so I can serve the Lord in the ways He has called me. I want to continue to dwell in His Shadow...be close by him. I want to continue to serve the people I know and love by sharing the things God is teaching me. I want to live life the way Jesus meant us to...to the fullest (see John 10:10). I want to be full of joy...not fat!
So, I will continue to plod on! Maybe the weight loss will not be as rapid as it was the last four weeks, but it will be steady, and I will be building habits that will last me a lifetime!
Thank you God for the lessons you've shown us today!