RV update #3
I have been busy with my new business as a Christian fitness coach. I used to be overweight, a binge eater, and obsessed with food. Then I accepted Jesus in 2016 and maintained a 50 pound weight loss. In my new business, I now inspire other women on their health and fitness journey while celebrating the love of Jesus. Please follow me on Instagram @gracelifefitness!
Now here is the update on my and Elijah’s travels through America in our RV!
Date: August 6th, 2019
Location: Amarillo, Texas
Elijah and I visited Texas in 2015. We had a great time in the Dallas/ Fort Worth area at the honkey tonks and visiting my cousins!
We planned to come back to Texas in mid-September this year. But first, we planned to spend a few weeks in Estes Park, Colorado, then return to Brush to visit Aunt Marilyn again, then head to Texas when the weather cooled off in mid-September.
God had other plans for us.
Due to the paperwork with the used van we bought, we were informed at the Colorado DMV that we have to register the van in Texas within three days! So today, August 6th, we are racing down from Colorado to Amarillo, Texas, Elijah driving the RV, me driving the new van (well technically it’s a used van from 2002!).
We hope to eventually settle down and adopt foster children in Texas. I am filled with excitement about what Texas will hold for our future family.
Here is my prayer:
“Dear Heavenly Father, in the Bible in Exodus you are a cloud by day and fire by night so your people can see where you’re leading. Please lead Elijah and me to the right place in Texas where we can settle down in a community of strong believers that welcomes us and raise our kids in our Christ-honoring home. Dear Jesus, thank you for dying and taking our sins away. In your name I pray, amen.”
Date: August 7th, 2019
Location: Amarillo, Texas
Flashback to June, 2011
Benicia, California - My hometown
(28 years old)
Standing in front of the open kitchen cabinet, I hurriedly stuffed the package of cookies into my purse.
“Is everyone ready?” my dad called from the front door.
“I’ll be right there,” I called back. My heart was racing. There was a two hour drive ahead of us, and then a whole day at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. I only had a few seconds to get all the food I would need for the day! My purse and shoulder bag were already bulging with snacks, but I still wanted more. I threw open the fridge door and in desperation grabbed the first thing I saw, which was a pack of sliced diet cheese.
Satisfied, I met my dad by the front door and we proceeded out to the family car, where my mom and husband Elijah were already seated and buckled in. Elijah and I were living in Hawaii and had flown back to my hometown for a weekend visit.
On the two-hour car ride to the Monterey Bay Aquarium, my parents asked us friendly questions about our life in Hawaii - my job as a wedding planner, Elijah’s job as a high school math teacher. My parents were interested in hearing about our favorite beaches, the cute one-bedroom we were renting, and the new friends we had made. But I was so bothered by their questioning. All I wanted to do was eat! Why wouldn’t they stop making me talk? I should have been grateful to God for the gift of parents who were interested in my life. But instead, I just wanted them to leave me alone so I could shovel the food into my mouth. I thought their caring questions were “annoying” because all that mattered to me was my food. They were compassionate parents, but I wanted them to leave me alone because my priorities were skewed and fixed in food only. This was an example of my selfish mindset.
I was grateful that Elijah did most of the talking so that way I could stuff into my mouth as many bites of food as I could from the secret stash in my bag… trail mix, cookies, the diet cheese, leftover pie, peanut butter, casserole… I had forgotten a fork, so I ate the casserole with a spoon, dropping sticky macaroni pieces onto the new carpet of my dad’s car. Whatever, I thought. He can clean it up later. I didn’t care that I was creating extra work for the man who raised me and sacrificed for me. All I cared about was my food! As we approached our destination, I began to eat faster, barely breathing between bites. Elijah looked over at me at one point and my heart skipped. He almost caught me. But I just smiled at him, he smiled back and then he looked away. Safe! Yay, I could continue to shovel in food without being bothered.
By the time we reached the Aquarium, I felt sick to my stomach from the thousands of calories I had eaten. My protesting stomach bulged out against the waistband of my pants. The thought of walking around looking at sea animals filled me with nausea.
“Are you okay?” Elijah asked me when my dad parked the car. I looked at the concern in his eyes. Elijah was so handsome, so kind, so good. And me, I told myself I was a greedy, selfish, pig who had stuffed myself full of junk food. A voice whispered that I didn’t deserve Elijah’’s love.
“Are you car sick?” My parents asked. They were so worried about me. They had planned a fun day for us at the aquarium, driven us all this way, paid for our plane tickets to come see them from Hawaii… and I didn’t even enjoy it. I had shoveled so many calories into my belly that I couldn’t even move. You’re a greedy pig, the voice said.
This was a lie from Satan. But that is how I thought of myself back then. I didn’t realize how much God loves me, and I called myself those mean names. Now I realize that we are all made in God’s beautiful image (Genesis 1:27). But back then, I didn’t realize this.
I’ll never eat so much and be sick again, I promised myself. But I knew I would.
I had made myself sick from eating too much food since high school in 1998, and would continue to do so until 2016.
2016 was the year I accepted Jesus and allowed His redeeming love to flood into my life and make me a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17).
By filling myself with His love, and not food, I maintained a 50-pound weight loss, and I never made myself sick with food again.
Now, in 2019, I am a Christian fitness coach with Joyfully His Fitness. I inspire other women that our worth does not depend on our clothing size or how much we weigh. Whatever we believe becomes the truth. And I believe the Bible: God made us for a purpose and gave us eternal salvation through His son Jesus Christ.
I often look back on the day at the Aquarium and regret that I “wasted” it… that I didn’t enjoy the time with my wonderful family because I was so consumed with my selfish thoughts about food. But the Bible tells me that I have been forgiven. I can’t change the days that I chose food over my family. What I can do is change the life before me. Ahead of me, I have my entire life with Elijah and a chance to make my parents proud in the way I live. I can prepare myself now to be a good mom to the foster children we hope to adopt so we can build a Christ-honoring legacy. Through this legacy, my parents will live on, and God’s work will continue.
I also know that Elijah loved me through it all, even in college when I was at my heaviest, and other students in our inner circle made fun of him for dating “that fat girl.” I know he will be a great dad.
In our 100-day Gracecamp with my Christian fitness coach business Joyfully His Fitness, we are reading a devotional called “100 days to Brave” by Annie Downs. Annie encourages us to “make brave, God-honoring life choices in response to God’s love.” For me, that means being brave enough to forgive myself for the past. It is time to forge a new life with Elijah and our future adopted foster children. I long to make my parents proud, to make God proud.
Mom and Dad: Thank you for taking me to church and loving me and never giving up on me, even when I turned away from God. One day, God willing, we will take our adopted foster children to a museum or aquarium together on a fun day we plan just for them, and I will show them the selfless love of a parent like you showed me.
Mom and Dad, because you took me to church when I was a kid, I heard the words of the Bible and learned how to pray. You saved my soul. Even though I turned away from God in my own ignorance, the messages still came through because God is that powerful, and in 2016, I could no longer deny Him!
Today, August 7th 2019, Elijah and I have a long drive as we make our way to Livingston, Texas to register the van at the DMV. Elijah will drive the RV, I will drive the van. I have memorized the verse from the devotional and will keep reciting it on the long drive: “But you Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger abounding in love and faithfulness.”
Though I have regret about binge eating in my past, I am thankful that it led me to the faithful and uplifting group of sisters I have met through my business as a Christian fitness coach, and the promise of a bright future with God’s grace.
Date: August 8th, 2019
Location: Livingston, Texas
Flashback: My pain had returned. My black, consuming pain that was all too familiar.
Elijah took my hand as I lay in bed. How long would this continue? How many more incidents? As he watched me in pain, Elijah felt scared, but not powerless. He had the power of prayer. “Dear Heavenly Father, please comfort my wife. You are the light.” As I tried not to cry from the pain, Elijah read from the Bible, our source of hope, the words of life: “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.” (John 1:5)
Present day: As a Christian fitness coach in my own business with Joyfully His Fitness, I have plenty of energy to complete my workouts and motivate my clients. But there was a time when I was in so much pain that I couldn’t walk, couldn’t breathe.
From 2015 to April 2019, I suffered from headaches that baffled doctors. My doctors prescribed countless remedies, but said I was not a candidate for daily medication.
Four years of debilitating pain that threatened to sweep me and drown me...but I had hope always that my Savior would rescue me. The pain from the headaches drove me into His arms. Satan tried to consume with the pain, but Jesus never left my side. When my head pounded and nausea wrenched my body, Jesus was there, comforting me. Jesus also showed Himself in the physical manifestation of Elijah, who carried me up the stairs when I couldn’t walk, who held my hair back as I vomited from the pain. When I thought I couldn’t take it anymore, Satan would try to whisper that God had abandoned me. But I worshiped my Father in spirit and in truth through it all. My Heavenly Father comforted me every moment.
Then in May 2019, God inspired Elijah to change our insurance to Kaiser. I saw a Kaiser neurologist who said I could try a daily medication. “The other doctors told me I wasn’t eligible for a daily medication,” I told her. The Kaiser neurologist said they were wrong. She prescribed a daily dose of 100mg of Topiramate (generic for Topamax).
After four years of consuming pain, my headaches are under control. No more dark hours wracked in pain, praying for the night to end. No more hours huddled, crying, next to the toilet, wondering how long I would keep vomiting from the pain.
I praise God for Elijah changing our insurance. I praise God for the wisdom of the Kaiser neurologist. I praise God for the inventor of Topiramate. God in His mercy saved me from the headache pain. I don’t know why He decided to save me. All I know is I owe every pain-free breath to Him. I owe Him my days, my life. How do I ever repay Him for the grace in sparing me from the pain?
These following verses describe how God heard me cry out to Him in my pain, how He saved me in His mercy, and how I now praise Him for saving me, and how I pray others will read my miraculous story of healing and that God will be glorified for healing me.
“I waited patiently for the Lord; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry.
He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings.
And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the Lord”
-Psalm 40: 1-3
Here is my prayer:
“Dear Heavenly Father, please show me ways to make decisions to honor you and thank you for the life that you restored to me. You made me well, you made me whole. May I live to glorify your name all my days and proclaim your miracle. Please help me be a good mom to our adopted foster children and leave a Christ-honoring legacy. Please let my actions draw Elijah and my family and all who meet me to you. Dear Jesus, thank you for dying and taking our sins away. In your name I pray, amen.”
As we spend our third night in Texas, in Livingston today August 8th 2019, I wonder, will Texas be our home? Is this where we will make our legacy?
Date: August 10th, 2019
Location: Livingston, Texas
In my devotional today, I read: “Let your eyes look straight ahead; fix your gaze directly before you” - Proverbs 4:25
This reminded me not to be distracted by outside circumstances and to keep my focus always on God.
When our internet went out in our RV and I couldn’t get online , I thanked God that He had provided our 2002 van, which we just purchased for $2,000 from craigslist, so I could drive into town.
Though “town” in Livingston, Texas where our RV is currently parked isn’t very bustling, it does have a McDonald’s which boasts free WiFi. And in McDonald’s, Elijah and I met a woman who invited us to church on Sunday at 10am. So in the end, I’m grateful that our internet didn’t work!
Comment on anything or describe a time when an annoyance or unfortunate circumstance had a benefit.
Date: August 12th, 2019
Location: Livingston, Texas
When I was 50 pounds overweight and a binge eater, I would try any diet that I saw on the latest magazine that came out.
Today in the DMV in Livingston, Texas, I heard two women talking about the latest fad: Low-carb animal crackers. One woman was eating from a huge Ziplock bag stuffed full these crackers.
When I was heavy in college, I was desperate to lose weight. I remember the days of eating tasteless diet food, consuming huge quantities and massive calories, yet never feeling satisfied because it wasn’t “real” food. In fact, when it came to diet food, I ended up eating more than I would have ordinarily. I told myself the calories didn’t count since it was a “healthy” food… and then, half a box later, surrounded by crumbs, I still wanted more.
Since accepting Jesus in 2016, and becoming a Christian fitness coach with Joyfully His Fitness in June 2019, I have tried to view food as a gift from God and approach meals with an attitude of praise.
One of my favorite Christian authors and speakers, Gwen Shamblin Lara, wrote that God did not place high-fat and delicious foods on earth to tempt us. He placed them here for us to enjoy. When I focus on being grateful, all the guilt about food is removed. I can move on with my day and direct my energy to loving my husband Elijah, praising God… and declaring “V” for victory in Livingston, Texas (see photo!).
The following verse reminds me that there is so much more to live for than counting grams of carbs. That does not matter. We have new life in Jesus. That is what matters!
“Just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.”
Comment on anything or describe one of your favorite ways to reward yourself.