Updated: May 2, 2020
On my 36th birthday, I joined my friend's gym where the goal was to be "healthy, strong, and confident." I loved the circuits and found lifting to be an area where I excelled in form and strength. My favorite lift was the deadlift and 9 months into training I noticed a strange bulge in my side when I lifted. I delivered four children over seven years by cesarean section and had been told hernias were a distinct possibility in my future. I decided to see a general surgeon and was told in addition to two hernias, my lower abdominal wall had completely separated. If I didn't do something, tissue and eventually organs would push through that separation and I would face major health issues. I knew in order to heal, I needed to repair what was damaged.
My personal best deadlift weight prior to my major surgery was 195 pounds. One of my goals in having surgery was to repair, heal, and lift more. It would take me 18 months to get back to the strength I had prior to surgery. I remember sharing a barbell with my trainer and her telling me not to worry about the weight, just focus on form. I almost locked and held 295 but failed, and was pleased that my new personal best was 285 pounds! Those 18 months taught me to take my time, listen to my body, and never limit my potential. The mental strength I gained, superseded the physical strength. It gave me more tenacity to overcome other limits I had in my mind and health, like running. Over time I began to push through more and more areas of defeat and found myself in the best shape of my life. I didn't focus on health, I focused on healing.
One way I have handled hurt and shame in my life was by eating sugary candy, creamy chocolate, and tasty baked goods. Eating when I was disappointed or felt out of control of someone's choices was easy because food is always available and easy to forget about once you eat it. My body held on to weight as a means of telling others, "back off and leave me alone." It was my shield that deflected the arrows of shame and guilt. Excessive sugar converts into alcohol in my body and so most times after a "low point," I'd crash in my bed and essentially have a sugar hangover. I'd hide out and live in a cycle of self-pity and self-loathing, and eventually would come back to the land of the living. Loving friends and family saw I was at an all-time high for an unhealthy weight and would encourage me to make healthy choices. I didn't feel worthy of healthy choices, but I discovered I could make healing ones.
One night after a sugar crash, I was laying in my bed with a pounding headache and feeling awful. I knew I had two choices, accept the damage I had done or make a new choice. I got up from my bed and went downstairs. I knew when people had hangovers, they needed water to rehydrate themselves, so I got a large bottle of water, sliced up some fresh lemon, and began drinking away the shame. I thought it would be a good idea to add back some nutrients that were lost by the excess sugar, so I took my multivitamin, a supplement for blood sugar control, and another for adrenal gland support. It was amazing to see that one healing choice caused a new mindset and repaired the damage I had just done. I began to see those healthy choices resulted from healing ones.
Facing my unhealthy and damaged choices have been painful. It's embarrassing and sometimes shameful but left alone, my soul would have become more and more darkened and damaged. One small healing choice to give my life over to Jesus, caused my damaged heart to become whole. He loves me enough to get rid of the infected and damaged thinking that keeps me ineffective. As I turn more of my damaged life to Him, He leads me on paths of peace and rest. Each step away from living a life of despair, allows me to take steps leading toward a life of healing choices. Healed wounds often leave scars. Those scars remind me that there is no one beyond repair and healing because there is always hope to rise again.