“Ya know the Lord loves you just the way you are.”
My mother used to always tell me that, but when the kids started teasing me about my weight, I lost my appetite for Him. And every morning instead of reading the Old or New Testaments, I sought the morning TV. Those talk show hosts looked so pretty and small. I wanted to be more like them.
So when I came across this Mountain View Bible Spa on line, I registered right away.
Three weeks of support, focus and hard work. So far, the worst part of the trip has been living with twenty-four guests.
During group sessions, Roslyn from Oregon was always on her cell phone. And Shelly from Texas was always combing her hair. I just didn’t like them, and I know they didn’t like me either. They probably thought I was too critical or something. I know they can’t wait for their turn during the Gift of words to tell me about myself. I’m ready though. They can’t tell me anything I haven’t heard before: “You should be more patient.” “Stop cutting people off when they talk.” “Stop snickering when you don’t like what people are saying.” Yep, I know exactly what they’re going to say.
Looking back over these last three weeks, I must admit that I’ve learned quite a bit. Most important thing is I learned how to eat right. Coffee, egg whites, yogurt, fruit, one pancake or toast and oatmeal for breakfast. Salmon and vegetables for lunch and a tuna salad for dinner. Their motto: "Breakfast like a king, lunch like a queen and dinner like a pauper.” I can do that.
In between meals, there was yoga, swimming, hiking, tennis and even dance. They kept me moving.
And every week they scheduled a session called Two Moments of Truth. The first moment the coach announced our weight, and the second moment was the Gift of Words to help us on our weight journey and to sustain us once we got there. If we know how to think right, we’ll know how to eat right. These word gifts were supposed do just that.
A different group is scheduled to receive the gift of words each week. Today is my turn. The giver starts with warm comments and then adds the cold ones—if there are any. The receiver stands quietly as the “gifts” are given.
“Anna, would you take the scale.”
I am a little nervous not because of the scale, but the words that I’m sure will follow. I know I was hard on some of the others when I was the giver.
First the coach reads the scale: “Two hundred pounds.”
My arms shoot up in victory. All of my hard work paid off. I succeeded in losing 39 pounds.
Now I have to take the position that so many others have taken in previous weeks. I turn to face the givers. Are they really grinning? I know what’s lurking behind those smiles.They're just waiting for an opportunity.
Roslyn begins. “Well, Anna, I want to say that I’m proud of you for achieving your goals. I know how hard it can be. Oh, and you play tennis pretty well. Maybe next time you can show me how to hit the ball like you do.”
Everybody is chuckling.
Then, amazingly, she smiles and sits down.
“I really liked your recipe for making salmon.”
Is that all Shelley is going to say? I can’t believe it. One after the other rises to give me the gift of words- loving words.
All I can say to myself is, “Wow.”
These three weeks I learned to take certain foods out of my diet, so that I could lose a few excess pounds, but that moment taught me that something more valuable needed to be added to my diet, and that something was what each of those guests showed me and knew I needed and that was love.
What I had probably sought in food I could only find in faith. Increase my appetite for you, O God.
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