Improvement is simply stated as “to make something better”. Personal improvement, in my perspective and the focus of this post, is about self-development. I think back to the person I was 5 years ago when I weighed 370lbs and battled self-doubt, insecurities, and God, and I see significant improvement – STRIDES upon strides of improvement. I look back at where I was in my faith walk just a year ago and I am just in awe of the quick, soul-deep, improvement I’ve experienced. I’ve always been fond of the saying “to see change, you must make change”; this is true to see improvement in any area of your life. Embrace change!
5 years ago, when I was morbidly obese and infertile, I knew that I wanted a baby. I didn’t know how I would “get” a baby, but I desperately wanted one with my husband. Back then, I felt I had no control over the amount of food I put into my body, no ability to weightlift or exercise in any form or fashion, and I hated going shopping for myself knowing that I’d have to seek out the plus size side of the store. To have a baby, I had to lose weight. To lose weight, I had to control what I put into my body and how much, in addition to exercising. To eat right and exercise, I had to make conscious decisions about the foods I purchased, and in consideration of my husband too, and I had to buy equipment or a gym membership. It all seemed so far fetched at the time. In November of 2011, I had hit rock bottom emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. I felt “dead” inside in a sense. My friends were pregnant. My little sister was pregnant. Everyone was pregnant but myself; I couldn’t bare the heartache anymore. It was in those very deep moments that I knew I had to make change, make improvements.
February 1, 2012, I elected bariatric surgery in Mexicali, Mexico. I paid for this surgery with cash that only God could have provided. For 3 days, while medicated, I went through withdrawal from soda and carbonated beverages, sugar, and unhealthy foods. I KNEW I was going to go home and I was going to work hard because I had given my best to God that I would have surgery for the “control”, that I would come home and be the best version of myself in terms of food, that I would get involved in fitness, and that when I did what I set out to do in getting to a healthy weight, that He would bless me with a baby. Something inside of me just KNEW.
This journey has never been easy. A few weeks after I got home and back to work, my body still hadn’t healed properly inside. I was rushed by ambulance from a local hospital to another hospital for bariatric specialty and I endured 22 days in that hospital. In that 22-day hospital stay, I endured 5 endoscopies, 2 stints to help open my stomach back up, a PICC-line feeding tube for nutrition, insulin injections multiple times each day, and loneliness. It was a very scary time for my family. Interestingly enough, every time I had to be put under by aesthesia, I wasn’t fearful. I wasn’t fearful when I heard the bad news each time. I wasn’t fearful when a blood vessel in my eye burst because of the after-effects of recovery. I wasn’t fearful when my family looked at me as if I were truly dying. I wasn’t fearful when I was alone because not many family or “friends” visited me during that time. I was strong. I was GOD-FILLED. God knew what He was doing – even if I didn’t.
After I fully recovered and was released, I healed at home. As soon as I was finished healing, I got into personal training. From that point on, I have not looked back. I kept my word to God and He gave me grace and mercy. At my 1st annual review with the bariatric doctor I had become “close” to with my stay, I was authorized to start trying for a baby. I had lost 200lbs in that first year from sticking to my guns with nutrition and fitness – I worked HARD.
Three months later, I ovulated once [in my entire life] and I was blessed with a little growing seed inside; my little miracle baby – he is 3 years old now and is my pride and joy.
My faith in God didn’t stop there because He had fulfilled my prayer. I knew that I wanted my son, God’s son, to live a life in God’s will. I wanted to be the prime example in my son’s life – to show him that change is not always easy, but it’s always worth it; that eating the right nutrition, the right portions, that being involved in physical activity and fitness was a healthy way to live longer and fuller; that believing in God and the power of prayer and the power of His grace and mercy will always move mountains; that he is the gift of a Redeemer who lives in us. Not only has my health improved, my value of life has improved. My attitude has improved. My health and wellbeing has improved. My spirituality has improved. My relationship with my husband has improved. My perspective of life has improved.
In the last year, God has opened up doors in His house that I would not have considered in the past. I give back to the church. I give time and talent. I volunteer. I am patient and kind. I am humble. I hear His voice and I am obedient! I have become relationally involved with music again so that others may hear my voice and hear God through me. I inspire others in a way that is pleasing to Him. I am learning to be more like Him and less like me. And it has been beautifully fulfilling to see my soul grow in His purpose.
Today, as you read this, I pray that God speaks to you; that He fills any worry, any fear, any questions you may have in your life with answers and direction. I pray that you embrace the need for change; that you see the beauty in improvement.
In Matthew 5:16 as I feel today, “In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”