Before I even begin I want to encourage you to listen to this song – Jericho

This will probably be one of the least approved, offensive, and toe stepping post I’ve ever written, and I’ve written a lot over the years, but I have to speak up.

There are some things the Lord has me write that I know won’t be liked, and I do openly share a LOT about my life – but I have never shared the heartache and pain of a woman that struggles with obesity, gorging, and binge eating – and just typing the words makes my heart skip a beat and my face turn flush.

It makes me want to vomit.

It makes me vulnerable to the core. But I’ve ignored the Lord’s prompting for too long . . .

But before I can even go there – here’s what I need to say to you.

If you can’t look at me without sizing up how much weight I’ve gained, then don’t look at me. My eyes aren’t at my feet. They are on my face.

If you can’t compliment my appearance when I weigh 240 pounds then don’t compliment my appearance when I weigh 180 pounds. Fat people need to know they look good too.

And if you can’t say I’m beautiful without specifying, “You have such a beautiful face, Stacey.”

Or . . . “You would be so much prettier if you would just lose weight, Stacey.”

Then take this advice from a fat woman . . .

“Just. Shut. Up.”

I am sure your intentions are good but they are painful.

It hurts most fat person’s feelings.

Not just mine.

Just like it would hurt your feelings if someone told you how pretty you would look if you gained weight, or didn’t have freckles, or weren’t old and wrinkled.

Why can’t we just look beyond a person’s limitations and see their abilities? Their gifts?

Whew. Okay. Now that I got that out – let’s move on.

If you have known me for any period of time you have seen me fluctuating in my weight. My weight became a problem for me after I quit drinking and doing drugs.

My highest weight was 290 pounds. And I haven’t weighed less than 168 since I quit drinking.

I think it’s sad I’ve already defined myself by numbers on a scale.

It’s sad I’ve been conditioned my entire life to believe fat people are ugly, thief, liars, lazy, and not pretty. Because I have been conditioned to believe these things all my life – literally – ALL. MY. LIFE. – I have struggled with believing what my Savior says about me.

I have believed and been deceived my the words and opinions of man that fade away over the words of my Savior that last forever.

There’s a grip I just can’t seem to be released from.

I spent eighteen months eating healthy, removing refined sugars, bad carbs, intermittently fasting – and I lost 80 pounds.

But then . . .

In December I started listening to the words of the enemy just like many addicts do when they relapse.

“Look how far you’ve come. You can have one bite! How is one little bite gonna hurt you?”

Does that sound familiar?

I eerily hear those words replaying in my ear as Satan spoke those same words to Eve in the Garden of Eden.

So December I started tasting but my March I was binge eating and gorging.

I couldn’t stop.

I literally was craving food and sugars like an addict craves a drug and a drunk craves a drink.

I. Couldn’t. Stop.

I began using the Most Excellent Way’s Ten Steps to Victorious Living as a platform, again, to try and pull myself back up – but sharing the details of food addictions seemed shallow and not important in regards to those struggling with drug and alcohol so I sought outside help through Overeaters Anonymous.

Again – do you see how Satan wants to deceive us? He wanted me to be isolated in my own shame – he wanted me to think I was the only one struggling with food. He didn’t want me to see it as a sin problem.

He wanted me to not only think my food problem wasn’t as bad as drugs and alcohol but he also wanted me to think I was alone in this journey AND he wanted me to think the tools I had which have gotten me through twenty-three years of sobriety weren’t good enough to deal with food addiction.

He wanted me to be alone in this journey.

He wanted me to isolate and be ashamed of myself.

He wanted me to think the tools in my toolbox didn’t work for this.

And I listened – I fell for it.

I went to my first and only overeaters anonymous meeting on a Thursday night. There was a familiar face but I couldn’t say for sure that I knew her . . . the thoughts running through my head . . . “There’s no way that could be her. She has it all together. She has a beautiful family. She is wealthy. She’s active in her church. There’s. Just. No. Way.

A few days later a text came through . . . “Do you go to XYY church? I think I know you.”

And I can’t type this without crying . . . The Lord whispers, “You think you are the only one overeating, gorging, and thinking the horrible thoughts about yourself you should never have but I placed you in that meeting so you can see a Jesus loving saint, serving me in her church and community – struggling the same ways you are. You’re just the only one that will speak boldly about it.”

I stayed quiet because of guilt, shame, condemnation, and embarrassment.

And that was four months ago.

I started studying humility again, the first step in admitting there’s a sin problem – that I am powerless over drugs and alcohol and other self centered behavior – because this is a sin problem. I’ve been there – studying the Beatitudes and learning to sit in humility at the Lord’s feet.

In fact, in His Devine manner – the topic I was assigned to teach on the previous month for MEW was . . you guessed it . . . Humility. And it was then the Lord gave me the courage to speak up – become vulnerable- and be real about my struggles. .

So – for all those who think a face is pretty but could be so much prettier if it was thin . . . AND for all those like me – who are heavy, struggle with finding balance with food but love a Jesus, serve Him, and want to be more like Him . . .

Jesus says you are enough. PERIOD. He doesn’t say you are enough IF you look a certain way.

When Jesus healed the woman with the bleeding problem- He didn’t send her away and tell her to get the problem fixed herself – He. Healed. Her. in her sickness.

When Jesus says come to me ALL who are weary and burdened – He didn’t say “all the skinny people get in the front of the line” He said ALL – come.

Jesus. Accepts. Me. Not because you approve or disapprove of me. He accepts me because I’m. His.

There’s another thing scripture says though. It says my body is the temple of Christ. The Holy Spirit lives in me. He resides there. And it is my heart’s desire to be healthy. But my struggle is this . . . Do I want to be healthy because I was brow beat into thinking a person has to be healthy or do I want to be healthy because I want to radiate Jesus in every aspect of my life?

But that’s between me and Him – and Him working on me.

It’s not my place to judge a person’s outward appearance when it is the internal state that is eternal that matters most. I wish I hadn’t been raised to place so much stock in the physical body – I wish I could undo all that stinkin’ thinkin’ and believe Jesus’ truths over lies. One day it will come – and maybe this is the beginning of the breakthrough He wants me to have. To speak out and speak up.

You are beautiful. Right here. Right now. With every dimple. Every roll, Every sagging part. Every wrinkle. Every gray hair. With every number on the scale –

And so am I . . .