Time for confessions…this is hard. Bear with me….yikes!
My name is Heidi Bylsma. (This sounds like something I would say at a 12 step group…). Well, I was…um…erm….I um….was the collaborator for the Thin Within book. (This really DOES sound like something I would say at a 12 step group! YIKES!)
I need to not hide this any more. See, I have felt such shame…that I would have such a wonderful opportunity. I was pretty fresh out of Weigh Down (July 2000), getting involved with studying the Thin Again book and then having such a great opportunity to get to know Judy and Arthur and even be accountable to Judy for what God was doing in my life. How many people get the chance to get inside the head of someone they deeply respect and admire and, in fact, write her words to the world? It was an incredible opportunity. Even my husband told me later he was surprised that I was throwing away such an opportunity by turning my back on what I knew was true.
Oh nuts…I get ahead of myself!
God was sooooo gracious to me then (and He is now!). He gave me all of that and I still walked away. I was on and off with Thin Within until I finally walked totally away about two years ago. Then, just about a month ago, he began a series of things (I am sure I don’t even know what they all were) to draw me back…so here I am. But I felt afraid to tell anyone of my connection with the Hallidays and the writing of the book.
God convicted me today that this is shame remaining in my life. I don’t want to allow that willingly! Please…no matter what I do, don’t let it give you an impression of what Judy or Thin Within is like. Even if I fail, I know that TW is something that we can honor the Lord with! Judy and Arthur are amazing people.
I get ahead of myself AGAIN!
Back in 2001 Judy and Arthur needed a writer. They found me when I was writing devotionals on the internet for an email group to go along with our study of Thin Again (their other book…did I say that already?) at the time. Pam Sneed sent them samples of my writing and they emailed me and talked to me on the phone and then we met in person. God has such a sense of humor! He knew what a failure I would be and allowed me to be involved anyhow! It floors me! We had just thirty days!!! to write the manuscript for the Thin Within book because of a book contract….and the rest is history. 😀
I only share all of that because it gives a bit of a background to what I wanted to say really….and that God is doing something HUGE AND NEW!!!!!! Oops…getting ahead of myself (AGAIN AGAIN!)….
When we were editing the book, I worked through the material…trying hard to BE a reader…so that I could better know how to edit it. Judy was awesome. She took in all my suggestions and incorporated some. Day 5 caused me no end of trouble and always has…each time I have tried to cope with it. Shame just covered me, no matter what I did or how I processed it all.
In Day 5, there is the Mirror Mirror exercise. Even back then, I HATED it with a passion. In the first completed manuscript, we had written that you were supposed to be unclothed for the exercise. After forcing myself through this exercise the way it was written, I was a mess and felt like I had been violated! Sharing my heart with Judy, we changed the exercise to read as it does now…We took out the part about taking off your clothes for the activity. I just felt that maybe too many people could relate to the feelings I had…and gosh, even so, it was a hard activity to do five years ago. (We completed the manuscript in winter of 2001 and it was published in 2002.)
This morning, as I completed working through day 4 of the TW book, I eyed day 5 knowing that God’s grace would have to get me through it. I knew I would put it off if I planned to just do it during tomorrow’s quiet time. You know…something was bound to “come up.” So I figured today when my kids (who I homeschool) were set up with their lessons, I would steal away some time to work through it.
What happened was nothing short of a miracle for me. Not only did I (we…God and me!) do it, but it was a peaceful activity. It was one done with not a drop of shame! PRAISE GOD! I believe this is a CRUCIAL corner for me to have turned!!! I was able to praise God for the way my body was made…each part…even the really flabby parts (which is all of it really…) and thank him for the way I had been able to use each part to serve God and others–even my tummy, which has stretch marks from being pregnant with the precious babies God has given me!
I was able to view myself without judgment, but assessing what each part feels like and looks like. It was simply stunning.
I had to tell you all…this is a huge breakthrough for me. You probably think I am nutsoid…I suppose I am.
I only tell you that other junk because I hope it gives context. I am a colossal failure with a capital F. After all God has given me…the way He orchestrated Divine Hand Holding for me through the material with the Hallidays, you would think I would have had a clue soooooo much sooner.
It took FIVE YEARS to get through DAY 5!!!!!!!!!
But WE DID IT!!!!
YIPPPEEE! I am FREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Looney in the Lord,