The other day on Instagram, I posted this pic
And I shared my heart + funnies:
“You know that feeling when you run 2 days in a row and all of a sudden you’re like, ‘OH MY GOSH, I’M A RUNNER!!’ And you start googling bumper stickers of runners to slap on your…rusty minivan so errry body knows!
I’m being ridiculous. Honestly, I’ve learned that in my own strength, I’d last maybe a week.
I’m learnING that in HIS strength, I can get fit again, whether running or just being active and eating healthier. I’m not a slave to my post-4-baby-pregnancy-body, my sugar addiction, my heartache, the stresses of life.
I’ve been given all I need to lead a godly life- He lives, LIVES inside of me.
And He has more for me…and I’m on a journey to find out!
#RedeemingBree and #MyRedemptionJourney are hashatags I’ll be using to keep track of redemption unfolding…or maybe I will just stop because I do that sometimes, too! But God is still working and pruning and I’m thankful to His consistency!
This is a VERY sensitive and vulnerable place in my life/heart for me to write/talk about. I don’t talk about this with many people, but hello blog! ha!
I’m about to get real (imagine that!) and vulnerable (eek!) and I hope you’ll hear me out and find grace in your heart for a part of my story that has haunted me for years. It’s a place in my heart that needs major healing, and I really am on my way, because of Jesus.
Growing up, I was a skinny kid. I ate 2 whoppers (I’m NOT kidding…ask my lifelong friends who knew me then) if I was allowed, I’d eat multiple bologna sandwiches with cheese and mayo which quickly gave me the nick-name “cholesterol queen” from my family, knowing it didn’t hurt my feelings because I was so, so skinny. I was active because I wanted to be, not because ‘kids need exercise!’- riding bikes, playing kickball with my siblings, tag with neighborhood friends, sports (including competitive cheerleading!), etc.
In 6th grade, all within 1 week, life took a very different turn as I was spotted by modeling and acting agencies who saw potential in my ‘look’. I did some runway shows, some photoshoots over the next few years, but in general, I was young and it fizzled out- I didn’t pursue it.
When I was a senior in High School, I was spotted by an agency again, while at a concert and was asked to join an acting and modeling convention in Charleston, SC 2 weeks later to act and model in front of the top agencies in the world. I was SO excited, but despite being 6 ft tall and 140 lbs, I was asked to loose weight.
At that time, I was still eating whatever I wanted, but I didn’t eat much. I starved myself until dinner but would binge on candy and Wendy’s with my friends. It wasn’t about getting healthy, it was all about staying thin.
I kept this a secret, at least I thought. I was always battling with getting thinner, staying thinner or simply put, not ever, ever becoming overweight.
I was obsessed. I didn’t ever feel thin even though everyone told me I was.
When I went to the convention in Charleston, I did really well. I placed in the top 1st, 2nd and 3rd in runway, photography and acting. I also placed in top 6 out of everyone there.
It was a very family-friendly place to be, I met the sweetest people but still, the top agencies in the world were there, and they were, well, not so friendly.
They looked through our portfolios as if they were bored, sitting in a waiting room, flipping through a magazine- whether they liked you or not.
In the end I was told, “If you don’t loose the weight, you’ll just be another pretty face.”
I didn’t take well to that and my heart rebelled. I don’t like being controlled or told what to do, so I found myself obsessing over food, and slowly gaining weight, then loosing, then gaining.
Those words still ring loud in my ear.
During all of this, on top of everything else I was dealing with, I was also told I was vain for modeling by some who were closest to me. Oftentimes, when people would get to know me they’d say, “You’re too pretty.” or “You’re too pretty to be nice.” or “Until I got to know you, I assumed you’d be a b_ _ _ _.” I would quickly assure them, “I swear I was nice to people in High School! I was voted ‘friendliest’!” as if that made the situation any better, or made me less of a target.
I would act surprised but deep down, I had heard it enough and no, it wasn’t flattering- they were hurtful and gave me all the more reason to struggle with body image. And simply put, they made me feel guilty for being pretty.
This has NOT been everyone, some people are amazing and love me for me, as I love you for you. But, during those times, I felt like I couldn’t catch a break. I know there were times, early on, that modeling got to my head, but really, if modeling was that important to me, I would have made myself loose the weight. It was a fun thing for a time. I mean, I LOVE fashion, getting made up for runways and photoshoots was a blast, but it never really took root in my heart.
My looks, they do not define me.
My own struggles with staying thin, the agencies’ words and people in my life all telling me their thoughts and opinions, well, it was a lot. I cringe at the memories.
He gave me this body, this face for a reason and those kinds of opinions aren’t a part of it. Those opinions are on them, not me. I’m done carrying others’ baggage, opinions and issues- it’s too much.
And because of those words, chalk that up for more struggle in getting healthy because of the lie that says, “Getting healthy and fit is the same as being prideful and vain.”
There is a false peace, if you will, that likes the extra weight. I think, ‘At least those people aren’t saying those kinds of things anymore. At least I don’t make people feel uncomfortable just because of how I look.’
It’s too much, you guys! I’m sick of being uncomfortably (overweight) comfortable. I don’t want their words, I want His words.
We are ALL created by THE CREATOR, uniquely and wonderfully made. Let’s believe that for ourselves AND for others and accept the love of Christ so we can pour it out onto all who we encounter. Whether tall or short, curvy or thin. We are insanely loved by Him!
I met my husband only a few years after that convention and I found love as I was. No pressure. He didn’t have expectations and it was so freeing…maybe too freeing.
We were married and my dreams were unfolding. Next would be becoming a momma! I fell head over heals in love with my son and we had 3 more babies!
I birthed and nursed 4 babies for 8 years and the weight just kept piling on. I ate whatever I wanted and my heart was so full, I didn’t care too much that I was gaining weight because all those BABIES and squishy cheeks! I didn’t feel ‘less than’ as I had before in life. But, my addiction to sugar wasn’t hidden anymore because I was overweight.
As time went on and Zekey started showing signs of Batten disease, getting sleep as if I had a newborn for 3 years, the many stresses life threw at us, and the heartache of loosing my boy, I gained and lost weight like a crazy person- like a broken person.
During this time, God has been so gracious to point out truth that goes beyond beauty. He showed me that I wasn’t ‘just another pretty face’ and the scale and my failures didn’t make or break His great love for me.
I learned more about myself then ever. I learned that I have gifts that don’t involve my outward beauty, I found writing as a form of healing and has been used for sharing the hope I have in Jesus with thousands more than I could have ever imagined. God has greater purpose for my life than being tall and pretty. So, in a way, I’m grateful for the extra pounds, but I am more than happy to kiss them goodbye. And by kiss, I mean kick.
I want to be healthy, but I need healing more. It’s not really about eating less of this and eating more of that. Doing this exercise but then changing it up with that exercise. I mean, it is, but I know those rules. I have searched whole foods till the ends of the earth while I was trying to save my Zekey from seizures before I knew it was genetic and without a cure.
I need Jesus’ words, not mine or yours and I need to learn what it means to lean in on HIM to be all He has for me to be and to hear His words loudest so all the others fade to the background.
He is making me new.
I know I cannot do this alone. I need outward help, from people who are gifted in pouring out God’s truth, cheering me on and building me up in His love, while I get healthy, so I can pour out love out of the overflowing of my heart.
This is where Revelation Wellness comes in. I found out about them through Jess Connolly and I have been intrigued for over a year. I am ready now, in a very busy season, but I’ve been given today and what better time to start?!
After reaching out to the founder of Revelation Wellness, Alisa Keeton and sharing this same story with her, she so graciously and lovingly suggested starting with the “Weigh Less To Feed More” paired with a workout plan called “VIP TV“.
“Allow us to give you a new perspective…your weight-loss and body-image battle is not about your body or the calories you consume. At the root, it is about LOVE. Your ability to give and receive love has been fractured. By enrolling in a WL2FM class you will get to the root of your yo-yo dieting, on-the-treadmill-one-day-and-off-the-next, never-satisfied lifestyle. Sign up for our at-home Weigh Less to Feed More plan and move beyond the scale and calorie counting game.” – Weigh Less To Feed More
The Feed More part?:
“-Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.- Galatians 6:2
-Give and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you. – Matthew 6:38
-For the ministry of this service is not only supplying the needs of the saints but is also overflowing in many thanksgivings to God. -2 Corinthians 9:12
-Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.- Philippians 2:3″
I set a goal for 8 weeks and then I’ll be asking friends to pledge to their favorite organization, ie. church, non-profit, etc. and if I meet my goal, they pledge what they said they would! Amazing, right? It makes this about being able to give to others, not just about me. I like that. I like it a lot.
Shoot. I should probably tell you my goal, huh?
My goal? As I start this journey of freedom and redemption in a place of my heart I have kept secret but am vulnerably bringing to the light, I’d like to see myself not indulge in sweets paired with exercising 4 days a week.
Gah. I don’t write this in excitement thinking, “Yeah! I’m so brave! Look at me telling the world! I am SO going to do this!!”
I write this with a nervous heart, afraid of failure. I write this still not sure I will get the healing God says He has for me. And for that, I am ashamed and I have confessed that to Him and now to you. I’m on a journey to finding that freedom and redemption found only in Him and there is a place in my heart that is hopeful- this is why I am writing to you.
You are welcome to follow along on my new Instagram account, @MyRedemptionJourney that is specifically for this journey of vulnerability in getting healthy from the inside out. I’ll post updates on there but do NOT expect my writing to turn into a health ‘how to’ but simply continuing a journey I am on, accepting grace as I walk in obedience in finding redemption through Jesus Christ in the areas in my heart He is calling me to.
Thank you for your love throughout the parts of my story I have shared thus far, and now this new chapter. You have been so, so gracious to me. I really do love you all!