Loved, Redeemed, & Transformed — Inside and Out!

I started this journey 178 days ago, when I picked up Judy Halliday’s Thin Within book.  Little did I know that it would change my life.

I began my walk with Christ at age 13, but until now I never understood Grace.  You see, even though I trusted Christ by faith, I’ve been living under the law for the last 44 years—a hard life, full of rules and self-judgment.  I struggled to please God, serve people and live the life of a good Christian.  Others looked up to me, but I always felt like the biggest fraud in the universe, because what I knew in my head didn’t always make it to my heart.  I listened to the sermons, tried all the formulas and attended all the retreats, but nothing worked.  The harder I tried, the more I failed.  I was dry like the desert, and the spiritual highs I experienced never really lasted very long.

BeckiPedrebefore

LBG – April 2013

So I stuffed the emptiness with food, and food, and more food.  The bigger I got, the emptier I felt.  I was at an all-time high in weight and an all-time low in spirit.  My health was shaky and my fattest clothes no longer fit.  For a person driven to succeed, I was totally disgusted with my failure.  The last time I had lost weight, it was with Weight Watchers.  I knew I had to do something, but every time the taskmaster inside me told me to go back there, every fiber of my being rebelled against the very thought.

God had other plans for me.  My “why, oh why, God?” cries were answered when I picked up the Thin Within book.  A new diet, I thought.  And if I put all my effort into it, in my typical type-A-over-achiever, I-can-do-anything-I-set-my-mind-to way, I would lose the weight again.  I’d done it before…never mind that I always gained it all back, and then some more.

I realized very quickly that God was going to do a new thing.  Reading the book turned into a very meaningful quiet time.  I looked up every verse and highlighted it in my Bible, even if it was quoted in the text.  I journaled my thoughts (more like rants, at times), and my prayers, and whatever I heard God say to me in return.  His Words started saturating my conscious being until they would totally overtake me.  Invariably, each day, a word or a thought would come through loud and clear.  Then I would search You Tube for a song related to the daily teaching, and finish my time with God in worship.

It took me 69 days to get through the book.  Along the way, God started stripping away my crutches and I started to rely on Him.  He shone His light into my darkness and filled me with His joy.  He told me that this journey was not a diet; in fact, it had nothing to do with weight.  It was a full-fledged restoration project, from the inside out!  I surrendered completely to this new thing.  I gave Him permission to go into the deep wounds, the ugly places, and do whatever He had to do to make me a suitable place for His Spirit to dwell.  The closer I drew to Him the easier it became to tell the difference between physical and spiritual hunger.  I was learning to satisfy both!

after1

LBG October 25, 2013

Verses like Ephesians 1:7-NLT came alive for me:  He is so rich in kindness and grace that He purchased my freedom with the blood of His Son.  He drilled into me that I am not my own, that I’ve been bought with a price, and that I must honor Him with my body (I Corinthians 6:19-20).  That I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. That the life I now live in my body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. (Galatians 2:20).  That His strength is made perfect in my weakness (II Corinthians 12:9).  And most importantly, that I must make sure that I stay free, and don’t get tied up again in slavery (Galatians 5:1-NLT).  I learned that all this can be accomplished by His power, on the Path of His Provision. Most importantly, I learned that my weight problem did not stem from what I was eating, but from what was eating me.  I must say that by God’s Grace, this has been the easiest most difficult thing I’ve ever done in my life!

I have a ways to go yet, but He is taking me there step by step.  He is helping me to set aside every weight which so easily snares me (Hebrews 12:1).  I must have released about 500 pounds so far…35 of which have been body fat.  The rest are burdens that I’ve carried most of my life—emotional wounds, misconceptions, condemnation, legalism, false teachings, lies of the enemy, unforgiveness, and plenty of unhealthy belief systems.  And God is replacing all that with freedom, joy, hope, confidence, and a glimpse into His plan for me.  He showed me that I am His miraculous creation, and that He loves me, truly loves me, just the way I am…and I believe Him.

In the last six months, I’ve walked an incredible journey of self-discovery and God discovery.  I met my God, the real God…the Lover of my soul.  And He performed open heart surgery on me.  When I surrendered to Him, helpless to help myself, He replaced my heart of stone with a heart of flesh, and proceeded to fill my empty places with His Spirit (Ezekiel 11:19).  He has given me hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11).  For me, these are no longer concepts; they are the truths that I cling to as I learn to walk in this new-found Grace.

after2a

Hang on for a beautiful ride!

This is the real thing!!!

LBG

—Loved by God and Living by Grace

24 Responses to Loved, Redeemed, & Transformed — Inside and Out!

  1. Reneyda October 28, 2013 at 6:08 am #

    My heart is sooooo moved by your testimony! What a precious testimony of the grace of an awesome God. You have blessed me deeply by sharing how God has transformed your life. Thank you for sharing your heart.

  2. Barb Raveling (@barbraveling) October 28, 2013 at 6:10 am #

    This is so great to read, LBG. I’m rejoicing with you!

  3. Jenn October 28, 2013 at 8:25 am #

    Awesome testimony! Thank you for sharing and for your encouragement. I can’t wait until I can write my own success story!

    • Heidi Bylsma October 29, 2013 at 9:49 am #

      Yes, Jenn! And to volunteer to share it here! 🙂

  4. Lisa October 28, 2013 at 8:44 am #

    God is go good!

  5. Jamie October 28, 2013 at 2:00 pm #

    What a wonderful testimony! = ) I was greatly encouraged to keep focused on the LORD and keep fighting the good fight of faith in Christ Jesus.

  6. Carrie October 28, 2013 at 2:52 pm #

    Thank you for sharing. This is so encouraging and reminds me that this journey – and it is a journey, not a diet – is not about food or the size of my pants. And it is not at all about my self-control. Thank you for reminding me to set my mind on things above and not on earthly things. You’ve inspired me to dust off my journal and find a good pen!!

  7. Christina October 28, 2013 at 3:32 pm #

    I wanted to share with you the difference I notice between your before/after pictures. I see your more recent picture as a “lighter” you, meaning, that the Lord has released those burdens you were carrying off of your shoulders. He has breathed life into you through His Word! Like Carrie said, this makes me want to dust off my journal as well!

  8. Barbi October 28, 2013 at 10:15 pm #

    Wow! What an incredible testimony of God’s Grace! What a beautiful transformation..inside and out..You just glow! Thanks for sharing..Hugs..

  9. Joy Miller October 30, 2013 at 12:06 am #

    This is an amazing testimony and so encouraging.
    I love how the source of all your healing is staying in the word and declaring His promises over your life.
    I also appreciate you mentioning how it was never about the food, but the things that we’re eating you.
    We can often get so focused on food being the issue when it isn’t the food at all, and then our eyes are off of God.
    This was very encouraging.
    Thanks so much for sharing!

  10. peacelily70x7 November 3, 2013 at 2:15 am #

    Wow, what a blog [wish I hadn’t waited so long to read it] to post to it! Hope you still check back, as ..so many of your words and visuals fit where I am too. That our Confidence is in God AND to fill our empty places with His Spirit (reminded me of a video we just saw in my Online Bible Study “A Confident Heart.”) Would you care if I posted the link from youtube [here] Heidi as it’s a good description of this concept of God filling up the empty places.. check it out and see what you think, here is the link… http://youtu.be/1fcUZtVrJW4
    I hope you will watch it Heidi… and thank you for sharing such wonderful testimonies.

    • Heidi Bylsma November 3, 2013 at 4:47 am #

      What a great video, Peacelily. Thanks so much for sharing it.

      • peacelily70x7 November 3, 2013 at 9:50 pm #

        Heidi, just incase you didn’t know, this is Lynn from FB .. 😀

      • Heidi Bylsma November 4, 2013 at 6:17 am #

        🙂 Of course! LOL! I must admit to having a hard time keeping handles straight with names…but then I never know when someone doesn’t *want* me to use their real name to reply—even if I DO manage to keep it straight! LOL!

  11. peacelily70x7 November 5, 2013 at 7:08 pm #

    No, problem, just wanted you to know it was me.. 😀

  12. LBG November 6, 2013 at 8:36 pm #

    Peacelily, what a beautiful video! Thank you for sharing it.

  13. heartflyte April 2, 2014 at 9:21 am #

    LBG, your face RADIATES God’s love in those after photos! What a transformation. Thank you for sharing your testimony.

  14. Elaine November 18, 2014 at 6:52 pm #

    Thank you so much for sharing your heartfelt testimony. The joy, peace and love of our LORD shines brightly from your eyes which has inspired me to enroll in one of the new classes in January 2015! Your words, His Words resonate deeply within me and Jeremiah 29:11 has been my cornerstone for the past year which has now lead me here. I am eternally grateful for this Grace-based approach! Praise God! Praise Jesus!

  15. Penny February 16, 2017 at 12:27 pm #

    “I must say that by God’s Grace, this has been the easiest most difficult thing I’ve ever done in my life!” I love this statement! Thank you for being so real! I have been reading and rereading this book for over 10 years. I give it to God and snatch it back to return to the diet mentality. NO MORE! I want true FREEDOM. The kind that only comes from HIM! Thank you for sharing and encouraging me.

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