An Unlikely Calling

So how did I go from all I learned and experienced in the summer of 2001 to 250 pounds in 2006?

To answer that, I have to fill in the time gap between summer of 2001 and summer of 2006.

I process what I am learning by writing about it all. I enjoy sharing what God is teaching me in case anyone else can be encouraged. That is one reason this blog exists. Writing helps to bring home whatever truths He is working on in my life. I also hope that the bumps and bruises I get stumbling along might not be for naught…maybe others can avoid the pitfalls I have stumbled into…If someone can be encouraged or helped or inspired (or warned!) in any way (God is amazing!), then it will be worth it, in my opinion!

So, through all my dieting and obsessive working out, I wrote online devotions. Whether it was Weight Watchers, First Place, Free to be Thin, step-aerobics, marathon running, calorie counting, dabbling in The Zone, or even while leading Weigh Down classes, I wrote online devotions for an online distribution list (like a Yahoo group). I scratch my head now as I wonder how I could be blind to the continued captivity of my heart all the while, but that is something I guess that took more time for God to reveal to me!

When I first read Thin Again in 2000 and while I worked through the material more deeply in 2001, I continued to write devotions online. Honestly, I had a lot of starts and stops. I thought I had “released” weight only to “recapture” it again…on and off, on and off.

I met Judy Halliday in the summer of 2001 at an informal gathering in Dallas, Texas. Unknown to me, Pam Sneed (bless her heart) had sent Judy some of my online devotions that paralleled the Thin Again material.

Mid-August 2001, I received a phone call that surprised me quite a bit. Judy Halliday asked me if I would consider being the writer/collaborator for the new Thin Within book. The manuscript deadline was September 30! The Thin Within book that had been published in 1985, while filled with powerful truths, was written primarily before Judy was a Christian. Judy wanted to update it to reflect truths she had discovered since God got a hold of her life and grounded her in the precious Word of God.

I submitted additional writing samples to Judy and Dr. Halliday (and their agent) to be considered for the collaborator role on the book project. Having never done anything like that before, I was floored at the possibility. My journal entries written at that time reflect that I was frightened, excited, and just simply…blown out of the water! What on EARTH was God thinking? 🙂

Within two weeks, Judy and I were off and running, starting the partnership with a wonderful full day together where our hearts clearly connected in a way that only God can accomplish. Doing most of our work via the telephone, fax, and email, our goal was to have an 80,000 word manuscript completed within one month! It was quite the wild ride.

I joked about it then (and still do) that God wanted me to GET this material…so he decided to have the author of it hold my hand through it all! I am a slooooow study, however…as even that didn’t do the trick for me. Nevertheless, it continued to strengthen a foundation that would be built upon later.

In fact, you would think that connecting daily—and sometimes multiple times daily—and getting “inside the head” of the author of the Thin Within program so I could write her thoughts on the page for the Thin Within book, I would be all set—finally living according to the principles and “melting down” to my “God-given size” daily! You would think that it would have been a prerequisite to my being involved in the first place!

From a human perspective, that is certainly the case. But I guess if God can call a Jewish Christian-killer to be his number one missionary for the Lord Jesus (that is the Apostle Paul) or a man with a fidelity problem to write about godly marriage (that would be Solomon), he can call someone with “issues with food and eating” to link arms in writing a manuscript to speak to these very issues. While I am definitely no Paul or Solomon, the principle is there…”God, who gives life to the dead and calls things that are not as though they were.” (Romans 4:17b)

Thought for you, reader…To what task is God calling you that you keep assuming He would never call you to…all because you assume you don’t “qualify?” Please reconsider His invitation. God has prepared things in advance for you to do…(Ephesians 2:10) and in your weakness, His strength is made perfect (2 Corinthians 12:9).

God calling me to this clearly demonstrates in a very tangible way that God not only is a God of grace, but he sure does have a sense of humor.

When people think that God doesn’t “approve” of them or condemns them for the way they have sinned in their eating, it really breaks my heart. That is NOT our God! If it was, he wouldn’t have ever let me touch the Thin Within manuscript let alone chosen to use me in a partnership with Judy and Dr. Arthur. It still boggles my mind, but it is true.

While our God IS a holy God who desires sanctification for His children, He is also loving in His gentle insistence! If you have been reading this and you wonder about the kindness and love of God reaching to so great a sinner…know it is true. Our Father chose to send His Son… “He who did not spare His own son, but graciously gave Him up for us, how will he also along with Him, graciously give us all things?” (Romans 8:32) And “God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were yet sinners, Christ died for the ungodly!” (Romans 5:8) Before we had our “act together,” the Father planned to send the perfect lamb to be slain for us. He did this because He knew we never could pull off holiness apart from His gift to us!

What God was teaching me through all of this is that God’s kindness leads me to repentance! (Romans 2:4) Such amazing, overwhelming, longsuffering kindness…

Again, I am a slooooow learner, however….

More on this the next time…

Part 4 of Heidi’s TW Testimony is found here