November 10, 2001 marks the beginning of what would become known to me as my own personal Exodus out of Egypt. It was on this day that I found myself hearing (for the first time) the truth of God Almighty's powerful and permanent deliverance from a life of slavery to food and sin. This truth was being spoken through a mighty servant of God, Gwen Shamblin, in South Bend, Indiana. At 283 pounds I was a dedicated and extremely active member of the independent, fundamental Baptist church I attended. I was there every Sunday morning and evening service, Wednesday evening service, choir practice and even spent every Saturday morning and afternoon out knocking on doors to build up the bus ministry and junior church programs. If the doors were open - I was there - and sometimes even when the doors weren't open, I was there.
I had spent 30 years serving myself and grabbing for things that were not mine. From the age of eleven years old, I began swallowing a pill to manage my mood swings and fits of rage and deep depression. Many times I planned how to end my own life, but being a coward - I never succeeded, praise God! Starting at such a young age to focus on myself, it was only natural that I had more and more depression and needed more and more pills to combat my own self-destructive behavior. It was never "my own fault" that I acted like I did or that I was morbidly obese or that I spent too much money shopping as a way to feel better about myself. I needed all these things to fill up the emptiness in my heart. I can recall sleeping in, waking up only to watch hours of soap operas and talk shows all day long and getting up just before my husband was due home and racing around to make it look like I had spent my day dedicated to housework. And of course dinner wasn't ready for him after a long day's work because of all that time I spent "cleaning". To cover up my own self-focus, I would be sure to point out how he was falling short of his duties around the house - which would "justify" my nagging and controlling behavior. I praise God for showing me my greed through the tight clothes and embarrassment of being obese and the negative checkbook balance because I was overspending. I went to endless doctor visits because the two or three anti-depressants I was already on weren't strong enough and I couldn't sleep - so I needed sleeping pills too. At one time I was taking over twenty pills a day just to keep going. To lose the weight, I tried all the diets including: Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, and Richard Simmons' Deal a Meal. I had a membership to the popular fitness club and bought the latest fitness equipment featured on the Saturday afternoon infomercials. I tried diet pills and invested in the latest vitamin regimens offered by the nutrition centers. I even went so far as to pursue the latest solution - the gastric bypass surgery. I praise God that despite my own appeals and letter-writing campaigns after being denied this "life-saving" opportunity by my insurance company, that He did not allow this to happen. All these things only put me more in debt and deeper into this sick and destructive self-focus. God has delivered me from shopping and overspending as a means to feel better. I no longer have the hatred in my heart that would explode into fits of rage towards my husband and children. He has also delivered me from nineteen years of taking anti-depressants and six years of using sleeping pills. God took me from 283 pounds to 133 pounds in nine months. I feel wonderful - better than I ever have in my life!! I have energy like I have never known and a love for God and others that is inexpressible!!! I now know that this life is not about me - it's about God and obeying His perfect will each and every moment of every day!!! I am so thankful to know and thus be walking in the truth. I praise God for all that he has done and is continuing to do in my life. He is the Great I Am and the Creator of the Universe - He is my All in All!!!