In the early 2000s I participated in a First Place (FP4H) group at a nearby church. I attended the meetings for two or three months lost some weight and then stopped attending. I wanted an easier way to lose weight. I had to wander around in circles longer.
I became extremely ill. It took some time before the doctors diagnosed and then removed a growth from my brain. I had an intense, raw, amazing time with God. Methodist Hospital couldn’t figure out what caused the benign growth.
I was bald from the surgery! Very scary looking, so there are no pictures from that time in my life. Recovery was slow and to this day, I experience side effects such as weakness on the right side of my body, muddled thinking, and constant treatment for seizures.
You are looking at exceedingly rare photo of me 100 pounds heavier in 2016 at age 63. I was so disappointed with myself. I couldn’t stop eating. My weight went up and down and up again.
I cried out to God often. (Psalm 18:6). Desperately I googled searched Christian weight loss programs. I spent hundreds of dollars on books and programs. I wanted to try FP4H again. I had been flirting with the program for years.
My eyesight was failing so driving into Houston from my home wasn’t possible. In desperation, I tried a virtual group. Was it even possible for me to connect with my limited abilities? The entire process of connecting to the group intimidated me.
Once connected to the virtual group, immediately I could relate to group members and my soon to be friend and group leader. I imperfectly focused on doing “the next right thing” and let God take care of the weight. Slowly the pounds came off. In the first year I lost seventy pounds. Also, I’d lost twenty before I joined the group. The following year I lost another ten. I have continued to maintain a healthy weight since. Thank you, Jesus.
Since rejoining FP4H in 2017, life has been challenging! I have broken both feet, had cataract surgery, had multiple foot surgeries and two abdominal surgeries, been a shut-in in a wheelchair and often alone because my husband traveled for work, mourned the death of both dogs and been in the worst non-medical crisis of our lives. I have invasive medical procedures scheduled throughout the year to maintain my limited eyesight and to continue physically functioning. At present I am responsible for my husband’s mother who is in her nineties with dementia. Amid all this we decided to remodel our home. Then the impact of Covid to all of our lives.
Thank God that even as a shut-in I was able to log on to my meeting, receiving renewal and encouragement! I am finally growing up a bit and learning the perseverance Paul talks about in Romans 5:4 “And endurance produces character and character hope.”
One example of how the enemy tries to stop our efforts. In 2017, my first day at Wellness Week, a horrible crisis with my family filled my mind and heart. I wanted to go home. My leader, Helen asked me a question. “Are you going to let Satan win? You are under attack. The enemy wants you to leave.” I stayed. I was a cranky mess all week. On the last night I received the Love from the Holy Spirit that was evident because of the prayers poured out by the people of FP4H. Upon reflection, this was the season of my greatest weight loss – another blessing.
I constantly ask God to grow me and change me, but gently. I thank God, He brought to First Place. I thank God, He and my friends encourage me to stay. “We know that a cord of 3 strands is not quickly broken.” Ecclesiastes 4:12
We are better together.