Harvest Contributors, Harvest on Health, Healing, Wellness

God’s Grand Plan of Transformation in My Life

[tweetthis]God wanted to heal me in more ways than one. He had a plan & was waiting for me to end my efforts to “fix myself.”[/tweetthis]
Sherita Parks
Harvest Magazine Contributor

[su_dropcap]G[/su_dropcap]od’s plan for me has been one of deliverance in many ways.  One of the biggest, visible transformations has been in the area of weight loss and then fitness.  I separate the two components because they look very different for me, and one has led to the other.  The journey has been one of ups and downs but now as I look back, He had me right where He wanted me and all of His plans were perfect for me.  It is my pleasure to share with the Harvest Magazine community a bit of my journey to fitness and wholeness.

 

My journey begins with brokenness.  We all deal with some level of brokenness in our lives.  Just the fact that we lived our lives without Christ confirms that.  But at some point, we made the decision to follow Christ and everything changed.  For me, the change that led me to such a passion about fitness began with a 275 pound woman who was recently divorced, raising a son with special needs, and battling a new diagnosis of diabetes that was being controlled with both pills and insulin.  Because I had witnessed the decline of my father’s health from this ugly disease, this new diagnosis gripped me with fear, and a slow decline into depression and sadness over my life and the choices I had made.

 

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At some point, I resolved to not let diabetes beat me.  I had overcome some difficult things in my past so surely this disease was no match for the God I served.  Thus began my journey, one foot in front of the other, I started running, strength training, and eating healthier.  I didn’t hesitate to go down this path because I had previously lost 80 pounds so I knew what would work for me.  Unfortunately, the uncommon denominator for me was the presence of insulin, which made it much harder for me to shed the weight.  Also, due to the additional weight and lack of proper coaching, my knees began to rebel against me when I ran.  “My” efforts were met with failure and frustration!  I was crushed and I felt hopeless  (I eventually had to have knee surgery to correct the damage to my knees, which was caused by osteoporosis).

 

I vividly remember traveling to Hawaii and having to take insulin and needles with me just to ensure I didn’t end up in a diabetic coma.  I had already been hospitalized twice with extremely high blood sugar levels.  I sunk into a depression that caused me to eat all the things that I didn’t need to eat.  I figured, “Why diet if it’s not going to bring about change?”

 

I was tired.

But God……He saw me, He cared, He wanted to heal me in more ways than one.  He had a plan and was just waiting for me to end my efforts to “fix myself” and surrender to Him.

Anyone who knows me well will tell you that I am the queen of research and quite the geek.  One day I was doing some research on diabetes and came across several articles published by French doctors who spoke of gastric bypass surgery being a cure for diabetes in 85 percent to 90 percent of the patients who had the surgery.  I kept digging because I didn’t quite believe what I was reading at first.  They claimed that it was the actual “bypassing of part of the intestine” that was bringing about the drastic cures in these patients.  After repeatedly reading this, I decided to find a doctor with lots of experience in the surgery and DRILL HIM regarding these studies.

I was not expecting to get much validation and I was quite skeptical, but I agreed to attend a weekly information and maintenance support group for a group of his patients so that I could get hear stories first hand.  As each person spoke and answered my questions, I found that most of them in the room had been diabetic or pre-diabetic and that their condition improved drastically after having the surgery.  Some even shared that they were able to stop taking their medications altogether.  I finally felt like I had done my due diligence and was ready to seriously pray about whether to have the surgery or not.

Fast forward one year, I had the surgery, and have been diabetes free for 11 years now.  I haven’t had to take insulin – by pill or injection– since the day of surgery.

 

Here are some pictures of my journey.  I hope it inspires you to make the changes that you need to for your own healing journey.

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What God did next is the “real story” for me, though.  As I began to lose the initial 80 pounds post-surgery, He simultaneously began showing me some things that were not visible illnesses that He wanted to heal me from as well.  He showed me that if I did not deal with these things, the weight would come back.  I kept crossing paths with people, who told me I would gain the weight back just like everyone else often did.  What they didn’t know was that their negative comments lit a fire in me.  I saw my surgery as a gift from God.  You see, my decision to have the surgery had nothing to do with the weight loss and everything to do with quality of life without diabetes.

 

I was so thankful and the shedding of pounds was like an extra bonus.  He did exceedingly, abundantly, beyond anything I could have asked for or thought of. 

Over the past decade I have sought counseling for help me with the emotional issues that have plagued my life.  I also learned to use exercise as a holistic means to bring healing to my life as well.  Running did that for me.  Yes, I started running again.  I have run numerous 5Ks, 8Ks, 10Ks, and five half marathons.  I also completed a 35-mile bike tour in 2015.  My goals have changed in 2016 and I am now focused on strength training and training for an updated 60 mile bike tour in the spring.  Pray my skrangth!

 

Exercise is a means to think, pray, release, challenge myself, and grow both physically and spiritually.  Some people see it as a bit obsessive.  I would ask them, “Is brushing your teeth or taking a bath every morning obsessive?”

 

God gave us these temporal temples to care for.  The choices we make to care for our spiritual and physical bodies have consequences that will either bring Him glory or not.  I see people every day who are living beneath what God planned for them.  They are limited because of illness, tiredness, depression, and a lack of encouragement from others.  Not everyone’s story will involve surgery, but each of us has things that God wants to do in and through us and many of those things will require us to have strong, healthy bodies and minds.

 

I’d like to share a few tips or lifestyle changes that keep me focused and on track:

  • Practicing balance with my food choices
  • Eating to live versus living to eat
  • Having the occasional treat when I want it (I typically burn it off via exercise so that helps)
  • Learning to love and crave movement (exercise)
  • Teaching those around you that your healthy lifestyle choices are yours, not theirs
  • Learning new and fun ways to stay active and bringing friends along
  • Finding a positive circle of friends that enjoy being health conscious
  • Using exercise as a time to pray and hear from God
  • Always learning and evolving in the journey
  • Finding a time that works for you and sticking to it for exercise
  • 1 hour out of 24 hours in a day is not too much to care for our bodies
  • Establishing relationships with experts whom you can learn from and be encouraged by
  • Encouraging others with my own story and helping them develop a passion for this lifestyle when possible

 

My journey has been full as you can tell and He’s not finished with me yet!  I can’t wait to see what God does next.  I already feel Him prompting me to step out and embrace what’s next.  Without his leading and love none of this would have been possible for me.  For that I will forever give Him thanks, and all the credit and Glory belong to Him.

 

 

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