This is a redemption story. A story of grace and self discovery, which commonly go hand in hand. Like all good stories it starts long long ago…
Many people could confirm the thickness I possessed throughout my schooling days. Extra, extra thin was the style back then. Thank the good Lord for pulling the plug on that nonsense. Girls making themselves sick over it.
I was one of them. Obsessed with my extra weight I only made things worse for myself. Middle school 145lb, high school 175… it wasn’t until after graduation that I really hurt myself.
My high school boyfriend John and I decided to get married, thinking that was the next logical step, if we couldn’t afford collage we would get hitched. The problem was we were friends, I don’t believe we ever really loved one another or understood what marriage ment. A handful of people on my parents front porch and just like that I was a Mrs., however it never felt right and my now 200lb form was showing it.
Seven months later we were both miserable. With no council, guidance or church we became what so many marriages become, wrecked.
We both displayed it in different ways, he became more and more distant and I became more and more…. fat. The last time I looked at the scale it said 263lb. My pants were 18W and not fitting any more. I had givin up on everything. I could see nothing over my stretch marks and painful knees
God was the last thought on my mind, but I remember saying, “God, if you just get me to the point I can run, I can do the rest. Help me get up and I know I will never look back. ”
The moment we divorced everything changed. It was as if a spell had been broken. Freedom, not from my marriage but from the pattern of what I was “supposed” to do or had to do. All of the sudden I could write my own story. Who am I? Can you be who you want to be? Just like that? Can a person make new thoughts? Can a person change their destiny? What if I want to be brave? What if I want to travel? What if i want to sing? What if I want my own apartment by myself? What if? What if? Can someone just live their life the way they want?
As I asked these questions and started knocking on rocks and looking behind doors, and the weight started falling away.
Up and down through the next 10 years, my weight strictly motivated by the direction of my own steps. When I’m headed the right direction everything is beautiful, I step of the path and boom! Fat.
Interestingly enough when I moved to Malawi i was about 15lb heavier than I am today.
Until Gift moved in. Gift is awesome and I love her. But keep in mind she lives with me because she is…. difficult. One of the main reasons she is here is because I saw the common scars on her face and on her neck where she was cut, by a razor blade. A practice that the witch Dr will use to let the devil out of her. After watching how she reacts to getting a needle vaccine or malaria test, I’m sure that she was held against her will. Yes it’s upsetting, but removing her from the family doesn’t fix everything.
I always thought adopting troubled teens would be the most difficult job you could volunteer for.
So I decided to take it a step further and do it in a country of a completely different culture and make sure that we don’t speak the same language… “it’s difficult”- seems a shallow statement.
Needless to say not all my thoughts have been in line with the holy spirit.
My bible study took a side shelve to endless conversation and time mending her past hurts. We both started eating a lot. Rice and eggs turned out to be something we have in common.
All the while feeling Jesus getting jealous, I was forgetting my first love, and it was starting to show.
There are no scales here. No mirrors. But lots of strikingly honest people.
“Wow, your fat!” , “Your getting fat!” , “Your really now much more big!”, “You and Gift are so fat!”
(It’s only kind of, sort of a complement, kind of just stating facts, different culture… )
The cherry on the cake was the kids “your strong, you have the muscles of a pig!”
Okay, okay…. time for self evaluation!
That was a couple weeks ago. I started a new bible study and started getting up a little earlier so my mornings could start with God and not Gifts bath. These simple things took the weight back off and added more gentleness to the relationship between Gift and myself. But it didn’t fix everything. Gift is still some days impossible. Last nite she left without saying a word, over to her friends house. She was supposed to be doing dishes. When she finally came back I was steamed. “Do the dishes”, I said.
She laughed as said, “ahwha (no).”
??!!?? Can you do that???!!?
“Do the dishes or don’t eat dinner.” I said and walked away. Before I could say more.
She did the dishes but on her own refused to eat her dinner.
I begged her. I pleaded. I smacked the table.
She would not talk (which is her go to move). She would not eat. Finally I said, “go to bed then.”
This morning I heated her bath, packed her lunch, and rewarmed her dinner for breakfast, which is what we all had- left over rice and eggs.
Gift was pleasant but still refused to eat.
“Please, Gift talk to me. Are you mad at me?”
She shook her head.
“Are you sad?”
She shrugged her shoulders.
(Lord show me what I’m missing)
“Are you starving yourself to lose weight?”
She hung her head.
“Oh, Mawana…” my heart sank thinking about my own struggles starting at about 13 years old. I don’t want that struggle for her.
“Look at me.” Her eyes were dark and sad. “You are not fat. You are prefect. You are strong. You are beautiful. I love you just as you are. You are not ugly. You are my daughter and I love you.”
She smiled. She bashfully hid her face in her jacket. When she looked at me again her eyes were sparkling. She quickly ate her breakfast, every bite and left for school, skipping. Encouragement induced skipping.