I would like to introduce you to my friend Michelle. Michelle is a hard working mom with 3 beautiful children, Jerotti (14), Mya (10) and Madison (3). She raised her 2 older children as a single mom for 9 years before meeting her husband. She grew up very poor and her parents were hardly present. Life took its toll on Michelle and once she had children, being their only provider, ended up neglecting her body and health. Michelle is 4’9” and weighs 270 lbs. A few weeks ago while visiting with my sweet friend, she expressed to me she is “tired of the seat belt buckle jabbing into her hips when she drives. She’s embarrassed that her thighs rub holes in her pant legs. She’s irritated that her legs fall asleep when she sits on the floor folding laundry due to the heaviness on top of them. And she’s heartbroken that she’s unable to run and play with her children the way she always dreamed.” She is desperate for change but, like so many others doesn’t know where to start. The idea of getting healthy is too overwhelming making it easier to continue her comfortable, predictable habits. While visiting with Michelle last week, the Lord intervened! He put it on our hearts, simultaneously, to tackle her health battle TOGETHER! Over the last few months, God has begun to prepare me for this moment. Although I did not see this coming, God did. As I follow Him through the doors He opens for me He has led me to the opportunity to support my friend in finding spiritual and nutritional FREEDOM! He put on Michelle’s heart the desire to look at her health in a different light than she has the in past. To look to Him and seek Him in order to further the calling He has on her life. It has been two weeks since Michelle’s spiritual and health journey began and it has been intense, amazing, difficult and peaceful all at the same time.
On Sunday, February 12, I met Michelle and her daughter, Mya, at Costco. Michelle had $200 cash to spend on groceries for the week for her family of 5. It was my mission to make this budget work for her family and to include an abundance of healthy fruits and vegetables. Before we walked into Costco, we gathered together outside of the doors, held hands and prayed. We prayed for God to give us wisdom in the food choices we made, for Him to lead us in peace to make responsible buying decisions with the budget we had, and for our focus to remain on Him throughout the shopping experience. We essentially walked down every aisle of the store, making sure we had everything a family of 5 would need for one week of meals. Her children eat lunch at school so our main focus was on breakfast and dinner for the entire family as well as lunch and snacks for Michelle. As we approached the checkout line, I was nervous. Her basket was FULL!!! I was praying we had stayed within her desired budget. As the cashier rang up the last item he looked up and said, “Your total is $181.23!” I wanted to jump for joy! I knew it was possible to stay within her budget all while getting healthy foods for her family, but once I saw that basket continuing to fill up, I got anxious. I thanked God for guiding us through that shopping trip.
Now Michelle was off, on her own, to put into practice everything we had discussed. Her MOST IMPORTANT focus was to spend time with Jesus each day asking Him to guide her through this process. Giving her strength to make this change but to also give herself grace and not condemn herself should she get off track. I sent Michelle scriptures that I thought may help her while encouraging her to also find scriptures she felt God lead her to.
The day after our shopping trip would begin Michelle’s nutritional portion of this journey. I texted her a scripture early that morning during my quiet time, letting her know I was praying for her. She responded telling me that she had already been up, worked out on her elliptical, had turned on her worship music and was hopping in the shower. What a glorious morning! Unfortunately, that didn’t last long. I spoke to Michelle on her way to work and she was full of tears. Her children had been fighting all morning, worse than normal, and her anxiety was through the roof causing her to nearly vomit. She has suffered from anxiety attacks in the past, but it had been a while since the last episode. She continued to pray and was able to fight through the anxiety enough to make it to work. While speaking with her she revealed to me the lies the enemy was putting into her head. With tears in her voice, she expressed to me “This is how I know I am headed in the right direction, the direction God is calling me to go.” Michelle is right! The enemy begins to throw his fiery darts at us when we are working to bring glory to the Lord. This journey she said yes to is not just a simple weight loss journey. She said yes to Jesus in a way she never has before. She surrendered her health to Him and the enemy did not like this. He has been able to control this aspect of Michelle’s life for so long and he is not going to let her go without a fight. My conversation with Michelle that morning was filled with the Holy Spirit. He revealed His truths to us both. Reminding us that He wants to continue to grow us for His glory and no matter what darts the enemy tries to throw at us, He is here to get us through if we remain focused on Him. The rest of Michelle’s day got better as did the following day, Tuesday. But Wednesday was a day no one saw coming! While at work, Michelle received a call that her 16-year-old stepson Brandon was being taken to the hospital by ambulance. Upon Michelle’s arrival to the hospital, she found out more details and was able to call me during her drive from Baylor Hospital in Garland, while Brandon was in Careflight on his way to Children’s Hospital Dallas. Her stepson Mason had found his brother, Brandon passed out on the floor and was unable to wake him. The doctors eventually determined that he was in a diabetic coma. Up to this point, the family was unaware that Brandon was a diabetic. Michelle and I both felt the timing of this tragic incident with Brandon was not a coincidence. God was using this tragedy to remove any feeling of doubt from the enemy by showing Michelle that her health is not something to take for granted, it is truly a matter of life and death. The next few days went by slowly as Brandon regained consciousness. Praise Jesus Brandon was able to go home end of last week and is doing well. Prayers for him and his family are appreciated as he is focusing on the new way he must live as a diabetic. You can visit his go fund me page to keep updated on his progress as well as donate, should you feel led. https://www.gofundme.com/help-brandon-fight
Although Michelle’s health journey has started out much harder than she had imagined she has continued to make her health, both spiritually and physically, a priority. She believes there is a bigger purpose for her and is excited to see all that God has in store for her as she continues to surrender to Him. Just this morning, as I prepared to post this blog I received this text message from Michelle…”I am so pumped and so excited to be getting healthy and closer to God through this journey! The facts are tough and sometimes people want to ignore what's right in front of them because that is the easier thing to do. But feeling worse and worse physically over time combined with everything that happened with Brandon, is scary. Does it make sense to be so obese because something tastes good? Absolutely not and the idea of it is kind of crazy when you think about it! Like you and I were talking about, often times people fail because they are relying on their own strength. Eating is an addiction much like drinking alcohol and doing drugs. Many times people can't overcome their addictions and have to go to rehab centers and then often fall right back into the same habits. If you pray for and truly seek strength from the Lord and His Word, He is just to provide what you need. Addictions are not of God, and if it's not of God, then it's of the devil. Why would anyone think that their worldly strength alone is enough to break the chains of that bondage?!?!? I never thought of health as a subject to go to the Lord to for help. In Matthew 11:28 He says, "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." He is basically saying, "I will be your rock." How awesome is that?!?!?”
Michelle’s spiritual and physical journey is just beginning and I am on the edge of my seat to watch her story unfold as God continues to work in her life. Please join me as I post updates on Michelle’s progress. God is using her story to minister to me in so many ways and I'm praying it does the same for you!
Below Take Action, you will find my go to Costco shopping list. This includes everything you need for the GGS (Glowing Green Smoothie) which you read about in last weeks blog post as well my favorite produce items offered there.
Is there something your flesh desires that you have never sought the Lord’s strength to carry you through? Like Michelle never grasping that she could submit her overindulgence in food to the Lord, is there an area in your life you could rely on Him to help you overcome? Spend some time in prayer asking God to identify what He would like for you to submit to Him. Ask Him to also reveal a spiritual partner being a friend, mentor or spouse, to hold you accountable to surrendering this area of your life to Him.
Costco/Grocery Store Shopping Guide:
A) GGS essentials: $43.22
1. Organic Gala Apples (14 pack)- $9.99
2. Bosch pears (8 pack)- $6.99
3. Organic bag baby kale or Organic bag spinach- $4.99
4. Celery Sticks bag- $3.49
5. Organic Romaine heads in bag- $3.99
6. Organic Lemons (approx. 14 count)- $6.79
7. Organic bananas (Approx. 10 count)- $1.99
B) Other fresh produce necessities: $69.39
1. Organic bag of broccoli- $5.99
2. Organic bag onion- $5.99
3. Organic bag baby carrots- $5.99
4. Organic strawberries- $8.99
5. Grape tomatoes- $5.99
6. Precut butternut squash- $5.49
7. Organic blueberries- $9.49
8. Bag avocados- $6.99
9. Whole Pineapple- $2.99
10. Organic bag of yellow and zucchini squash (7 count)- $6.99
11. Crimini mushrooms- $4.49
Michelle and Mya after our Costco shopping trip