Walking slowly had become a way of life for Elisabeth. At forty, she tipped the scales at 375 pounds and her knees were wobbly at best. To make matters worse she had just been diagnosed with diabetes and would have to concentrate on making significant changes in the area of eating…mainly no sugar.
Breathing heavily Elisabeth walked to her desk and sat behind her beloved computer. This is where she felt safe and needed. As a pastor’s secretary she had developed all the programs from bulletins to finances. She was a whiz at it and felt this was where her gifts lay.
However, emotional turmoil churned inside from the time her eyes opened until they closed at night. Her weight was never, ever off her mind. How did this burden of weight happen? Why couldn’t she be like her friends and be a ‘normal’ size? She didn’t feel like she ate much, but maybe she did. From the time she passed her driver’s test at sixteen, fast food had become her friend. Day after day, the back seat became loaded with empty bags and cups from McDonalds, Burger King, Krystal and of course, Taco Bell.
The sadness crept in and with that came the hoarding. It began slowly, first with the car then when it could hold no more, the hoarding moved into her home. Stuff was everywhere in stacks, piles, or just thrown in the floor. Empty Kleenex boxes were never thrown away because she could use it as pencil holders…but didn’t. The sickness prevailed and her life became consumed.
With a heavy sigh, Elisabeth turned on her computer. Wanting coffee but not wanting to get up she waited until the Pastor arrived and hoped he would ask if she wanted any. Within another ten minutes Pastor Joey arrived in his colorful floral Hawaiian shirt…very loud to match his celebrity-type personality. Not one for mincing words, Pastor Joey stopped at her desk and said, “Elisabeth, when are you going to clean out your car? People in the congregation are beginning to ask if you live in it.”
“Well, I don’t,” she snapped back, “and you can tell them to mind their own business.”
Joey stood back and stared at Elisabeth trying to find the right words. His wife, Barbara always encouraged him to be more sensitive…he might as well start with her.
“Elisabeth, why don’t we see about getting you some help in the area of your weight…I’ll even pay for it. You could try Weight-Watchers and they’ll help you adjust it for diabetes.” Smiling on the inside, Joey was right proud of his solution. Isn’t that what men do? Women have a problem and men solve it.
Elisabeth stared hard at the computer screen trying to control her temper. “First, my weight is none of your concern and second, neither is my disease.”
Pastor Joey threw his hands up and said, “Alright, have it your way,” and walked back to his office.
Elisabeth slowly got out of her chair and walked to the break room to make a cup of coffee. Tears of frustration streamed down her face while pouring sugar and cream into the swirling back liquid.
“Lord…please help me,” was all she could manage to utter.
Embarrassed and ashamed, those two words described her life. People talked about her hoarding, her weight, her out-of-control lifestyle. She didn’t feel like living but she didn’t feel like dying either.
Walking back the few feet to her desk was agony and she knew she needed help. Elisabeth picked up the phone and dialed her doctor to make an appointment.
The only time she had experienced any significant weight loss was a few years ago when she decided that every time she thought about food, she would read the Bible. After all, God’s word was the bread of life. Maybe she would try that again.
Looking around her desk her eyes were opened as she saw what other’s saw. Piles of papers, notebooks, messes everywhere including bags of yarn and knitting needles stored behind her chair to knit during the lunch hour.
Pastor Joey walked by her desk about the time Elisabeth had her heart tweaked.
“Joey,” she said, “is that offer still good?”
The pastor shook his head yes as he said, “But, it expires in the next 5 minutes.”
Elisabeth laughed. She felt a little lighter as God removed a burden…not in pounds but the burden that had weighed-down her soul.
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