I have a folder in my Outlook email account created to keep a record of what God is doing through His Son Jesus. Jesus is happening in the lives of men and women around the country. A lot of this freedom work is a result of what God is doing through our FP4H Bible Study, Be Free by Gari Meacham.
- Jesus is the shame taker– According to Brene Brown’s bookI Thought It Was Just Me1of the hundreds surveyed, the number one shame issue for women is appearance and body image. Jesus is changing that. A quote from one FP4H member: “I finally believe my husband. He has told me for years that I am beautiful, but I never believed him. Finally, because of what Jesus is teaching me in my FP4H Bible study, I believe him and I feel loved and cherished as never before.”
- Jesus is the chain breaker-In March I shared some of my personal pilgrimage to freedom at a Wellness Workshop in Hartsville, South Carolina. I shared about my first personal public confession of gluttony. A few years ago, I attended a retreat as one of the seminar speakers. There was a call for confession of hidden sins. I confessed my sin of gluttony before those women and before our loving God. At this workshop I called for a time of open confession. The gates were opened to one person sharing and confessing to exercise bulimia. She was eating unhealthy foods in large quantities and then exercising out the calories, which is almost impossible. Another confessed to “secret eating” late at night after her husband had gone to bed. Jesus said He came to set the captives free and He is doing it.
- Jesus is the way maker-Many are realizing what they thought was just a bad habit is truly a stronghold keeping them from experiencing abundant life. Freedom in Christ is a journey and the knowledge may not come all at once. Jesus shows us the truth! But Jesus does not stop there; He shows us the way to freedom and gives us the courage to take the steps needed. One wrote: “I have some strongholds that need to be destroyed by the love of God. They are deep and have been with me for all of my conscious memory. I don’t even know their names; nor do I want to know unless it is part of my liberation. Bless Gari—bless you and all of First Place 4 Health. If God is for us no one can stand against us, for He has already provided victory.” The steps may be hard, but He has promised to be with us every step of the way.
- Jesus is the wound healer– “I never looked at my childhood pain, so the things I learned to believe there were never put behind. They were just buried and triggered ongoing addictive behavior. Now it has been looked at and addressed with Jesus’ touch and perspective. Now I am able for the first time to eat healthy and stay on course without any addictive pull. I have compassion on myself for the first time.” Wow! Praise God for this one’s healing.
- Jesus is the hope giver– I get a little nervous now that I am at a healthy weight, again. I have been here before; I lost my way and gained back the weight. How do I stay at a healthy weight and keep growing in all areas of my life? Jesus tells me in His Word:
- Be careful – Be careful, or you will be enticed to turn away and worship other gods (Deuteronomy 11:16). Been there, not doing that. I’m not perfect in this, but I am a good student of hard lessons learned. I am being careful with my life. I send my weight and trackers weekly to one of my group members.
- Be with Me – I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing (John 15:5). I truly believe I could be two quiet times away from being right back where I was—bound up with food issues. My daily connection with God is my strength and my power to resist that old way of thinking and living. I tried to conquer my weight issues without Him for years and it amounted to nothing.
- Be hopeful – Jesus speaking, I’ve told you all this so that trusting me, you will be unshakable and assured, deeply at peace. In this godless world you will continue to experience difficulties. But take heart! I’ve conquered the world (John 16:33 MSG). I do not have to worry or fret over the future about where I will be or what I will encounter. It does not matter. Jesus is my hope because He is my victory.
Thank you to all who email me, call me, and text me your freedom stories. Jesus gets the glory and we get the good! Keep it coming.
First Place 4 Health National Director, American Council on Exercise, Certified Fitness Instructor, Certified Life Coach and Wellness Coordinator for her church in Edisto Beach, SC. Vicki is author of Don’t Quit Get Fit and Wellness Journey of a Lifetime. She has led a successful First Place 4 Health ministry in her church for twenty years.