First, let me preface this by saying that I am not one of those people who see a demon behind every broken down vehicle, sniffly nose, or crashed computer. I usually shy away from the topic of spiritual warfare, because I believe many people get obsessed with it and forget that our focus is to be Jesus and not our enemy.
But, I also know that we do have an enemy who desires to keep us from being effective in our ministry – whether that’s being a Mom or a missionary or writer, or whatever. He also wants to prevent us from living the life abundant that Jesus promises us.
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the last year or so, and how much physical illness and injury I have had. It started almost exactly a year ago. I know that because the trouble started right around our 10th anniversary last year – and we’ll be celebrating our 11th this Friday. It started with pleurisy and then a heart arrhythmia my doctor noticed for the first time. Test after test revealed – nothing. Reactive airways – which means my airways get irritated a lot from dust, pollen, colds. But the experience was a wake-up call to me that I needed to do something about my weight or else next time it might turn out to be something.
As soon as the pleurisy went away, I made a commitment to myself to start exercising. My daughter wanted to join me, so we made a plan to start doing the Walk Away the Pounds videos every morning. The next day, I sprained my right ankle on an outing at the park.
No exercise for a while, obviously. I felt hopeless and had just about given up on trying to lose weight, when my husband suggested I join Weight Watchers. Some ladies at his work had been having great success with the plan, so I decided, what the heck – I’ll give it a try. On a Tuesday night, I went to my first meeting, and found that I had already lost nine pounds from going swimming with the family. I was encouraged and had hope that this was a plan that could work for me – finally.
Three days later, I sprained my left ankle. I’m not kidding. No exercise again for another few weeks. I couldn’t even swim, because kicking made my ankle scream with pain.
A month later, I was so excited to have lost ten more pounds – my first Weight Watchers goal reached. Then I sprained my ankle – again. I’m not kidding. Anyone else seeing a pattern here?
I made it through the holidays without gaining any weight back – actually losing some, which is a miracle. Four weeks ago, I reached my 10% goal at Weight Watchers. With the 9 pounds I had already lost, that brought my total lost to 42 pounds. (I’ve since lost 6 more.) Two days after getting my 10% key-chain, I had a horrible reaction to an antibiotic. I am still having problems – still waiting on test results to find out what’s going on and if these problems are still a result of the antibiotic or something else. In the meantime, I have been extremely tired and haven’t been able to exercise as much as I was.
To me, this just seems like too much of a coincidence. I know that God wants me at a healthy weight, and that getting there is something He wants me working on. I also know that being heavy has kept me from being all that I could be as a Mom and has been the cause of lost music ministry opportunities. So does Satan have a motive for keeping me overweight and unhealthy? Absolutely. It sure seems that he’s doing all he can to sabotage my weight loss efforts.
In Bible study this quarter, we are studying the book of Nehemiah. The parallels are amazing. Nehemiah went back to Jerusalem from Babylon in order to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. He knew it was what God wanted done and yet there were attacks from outsiders and from within their own people. Our leader has been asking questions like, “What does re-building the wall mean in your own life? Have their been attacks to keep you from completing the work? What is your response to these attacks? Do you feel like giving up? Do you remember what you’re fighting for?” This has been such a huge encouragement and stretching time for me. I am learning a lot, and yet struggle every day with getting discouraged. And being afraid. Not trusting that “all things work together for good”.
And yet the fact that God has somehow worked out the timing of things so that I’m studying this book right now, at this time, shows me that He has me in His hand. He hasn’t forgotten me. He has a plan, and part of that plan is for me to learn how to fight.
So I won’t give up. I know what I’m fighting for. Whenever I get frustrated and want to quit, I remember the day Natalie asked me, “Will you ever be able to run with us like other moms do?” And I know the answer is yes.