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by H Sykes
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They have taken over again. No matter how I try those self calming techniques that one reads about in journals, no matter who I talk to, whose advice I take or how many pills I pop, nerves take over.

It feels like a blanket on my shoulders- not thin enough for warm weather, too thin for the cold. I shiver. Hot and cold rivers running along my spine. I sigh, and reluctantly open my eyes. It is morning. Just as I feared.

I do not know when my confidence slipped. I really cannot pinpoint it. Maybe it was as a child, when I discovered no matter how hard I tried, no one wanted to be my friend. Or perhaps as a teenager...studying hard and always having poor grades. It definitely was before I became a young adult. One only has to look at my photo album to show that. Down cast eyes, poor dress sense, overweight, and never holding down a proper relationship always the odd one out.

The final straw was when I finally attempted to reinvent myself. I heard of this technique called a vision board, so I decided to collect pictures that represented what I wanted to be. Just 4 pictures...A skinny successful woman, a wedding dress, young children playing together, and a pretty house. Those were what I thought would make my life complete. What would make me happy. Boy was I wrong.

I tried all those diets on the market...green diet, cucumber diet, pepper diet (celeb of course!!), weight watchers, yoga, hypnosis...but each time I failed. It was at the hairdressers where I finally found what I thought was the solution. There, in the back of a tatty glossy mag, were spectacular before and after pictures. The solution? A gastric band.

The article helpfully listed clinics that did the procedure. Not bothering with the sharp prick of my conscience, I surreptitiously tore out the page and stuffed it in my handbag. There it lay unread for weeks, until I needed a polo mint rather badly and was hunting for one in the rubbish at the bottom of my handbag.

Without even thinking, I made myself an appointment and in less than a week, I had completed the preliminary assessment and had a whopping balance on my credit card. I did not care. This was the way forward.

The surgery was horrific...but in time the pain and scars faded. Most importantly, I achieved what had defeated me for years. A slim body.

I changed hairdressers, coloured my hair with fiery highlights, chopped and tamed my limp frizzy mass into an ultra sleek and modern bob. I did not recognize myself.

My new look needed a new personality. I changed jobs, worked the party scene, and voila, I had a man on my arm. And not just any man...A rich handsome one with a brain too...This was too good to be true.

Then the unthinkable happened. He proposed and told me he wanted to spend the rest of his life with me...We had a cheap court house wedding with a few friends...but I got to wear the dress I always wanted. Just like on my vision board. Three months later...Im pregnant!!

Then the hormones took over. I got more acne than I had ever had in my entire life...constant morning sickness...and a craving for chocolate that could only be satisfied with me waking at 2 am to eat ice-cream directly from the tub...
Naturally my weight ballooned...my skin became doughy, and before long I was back to my old weight again! I was horrified.

I saw my husband gradually spend longer and longer at the office...and he became horrified at me...this thing that used to be his wife...

An affair ...two affairs...and finally, he left me for the mirror image of the woman I used to look like!

I was gutted. Nothing could take away the pain.

I went into labour. All alone. I telephoned the hospital, who sent an ambulance. It was a long labour. I called for an epidural very early on so I was not in any real pain. Desperate for something to read while I waited, I opened the draw of the bedside table next to my bed. In it was a solitary book.

The New Testament.

I frowned...then opened it in desperation. The familiar words poured over my soul. I had grown up in church, but had let the cares of the world claim their wicked ways. I looked up and saw a reflection of myself in the mirror. I realized then that it was not a new body I needed, but a new soul...a deeper relationship with God. I needed to realize that God loved me no matter what... that alone I am nervous, but with God, I can do ANYTHING!

There, on the hospital floor, I eased my large frame onto my knees and rededicated my life to the Lord...and it was in this position that a new life was brought into the world.
Praise the Lord!

If you died today, are you absolutely certain that you would go to heaven? You can be! TRUST JESUS NOW

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