The most important thing I have gained is Freedom from the bondage of overeating. I am no longer enslaved to the power of food.
People say a picture is worth a thousand words. I agree! A picture also reveals truth, just like the scales do. That is probably why I never really liked having my picture made! I have avoided the truth, like so many of us have a tendency to do. I hear so many people say I want to be small again or the size I was back when, but the truth is I have always been big. All my life. My Family Heritage has been that we are all big. I have never known anything else. I like so many others have used all the excuses in the book of why being overweight is acceptable and for me unavoidable. A lie I told myself for way to many years. I have also tried every diet and weight loss program that was ever created. Sure I would lose a small amount of weight but then I would go back to my old lifestyle and guess what, All the weight came back plus a little more.
A few years ago out of shear desperation I started attending a First Place class and this is what I told myself. This is your last hope! I was so miserable, discontented, and unhappy with myself. The smile on my face was fake and was covering much pain and suffering. I kept asking the Lord to free me from this desperate battle that I seem to constantly fight within myself. How could a Christian struggle with this bondage. I weighed in at 339 pounds. I had much to lose; so much so that I almost gave up hope, but with the help of some great leaders, a wonderful support system and much commitment and sacrifice, I made it through that first session of First Place and I can honestly say God has radically changed my life! Jeremiah 33:3 is my life verse and when I committed to First Place He began to make that verse which says Call unto me and I will answer thee and I will show you great and mighty things that you do not know very real to me. That is a promise from the heart of God to me that has sustained me through this journey. I am not alone! The God of the Universe loves me and wants to help me make it to the Promise Land to that abundant life which is God’s desire for all of us. What a Journey God has allowed me travel!
I have taken quite a few classes since then and now help lead and teach First Place at Crossgates Baptist Church in Brandon, Ms. In September of 2006 we started our first class at Crossgates. I weighed in at 226 pounds. I am involved in the Summer Session of First Place here at Crossgates and at this point am almost at my goal weight of 169 pounds. You know at this point I have lost 171 pounds (a whole person) but may I say the things that I have gained far out weigh what I have lost.
My weight was the outward sign of deeper problems in my life. God has used First Place to reveal those things to me. God has given me New Life and it started on the inside and because of the radical change made there; God has changed the outside too! The most important thing I have gained is Freedom from the bondage of overeating. I am no longer enslaved to the power of food. When Christ sets us free we are free indeed! I am reminded of a song that we sing at Crossgates and it goes like this: Amazing Grace how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me, I once was lost but now I’m found, Was blind but now I see, My chains are gone, I’ve been set free, My God my Savior has ransomed me, and like flood His mercy reigns, Unending Love, Amazing Grace! His grace is truly amazing! What First Place has given me is the opportunity to become all Christ wants me to be. I have learned that balance is necessary in all parts of my life. This is not a diet but a Lifestyle Change. I have some long term goals to meet and some new short term goals to set. The most important thing for you to know is that I am committed to serving Jesus Christ through this program. I believe this program works but it only works because of Jesus! He is the center and focus of this journey to the Promise Land that I have embarked on. My journey is not over and I am thankful that the Lord is not finished with me yet!
Carole and Vicki,
I am writing to let you know on the 29th of December 2011, I made my goal weight of 147 pounds. That is a total weight loss of 192 pounds. My starting weight was 339 pounds. It has taken me about 5 years, so I have lost it the right way for sure.
ANOTHER UPDATE: Joyce has written a book about her journey. Go here for more information: http://www.firstplace4health.com/store/?cat=1&item=122