Have you ever had a prayer that you’ve been praying for soooooo long, that you are tempted to give up on it altogether thinking that God is NEVER going to answer it? I’ve had many such prayers over the years. Praying for the salvation of unsaved loved ones tops that list. With these prayers, I am confident that God will answer them … eventually. After all, He loves my loved ones more than I ever could and He’d like nothing more than to bring salvation to all of the unsaved. So, while the prayers for salvation are taking their sweet time, I know those prayers will be answered in God’s timing sooner or later and not according to my timetable.
This past year, however, I did see the fulfillment of a prayer that had gone unanswered for many, many years. Every January as I prayed this prayer, I felt certain God was sitting up in Heaven laughing His head off at me because I’d prayed this prayer so many times without results. This prayer was starting to feel like an impossible request.
My prayer has always simply been to weigh what it says on my driver’s license.
Where I live a driver’s license is issued for up to 25 years. In my defense, I DID weigh what it says on my license when it was first issued nearly 20 years ago. Since that time though, I’ve lived a lot of life. As many can attest to, when life happens, it usually shows up on your face or your body.
The 50 pounds that I gained beyond my ADL (Arizona Driver’s License) weight began shortly after my mother’s death 14 years ago. Rather than seek a doctor for treatment of the depression caused by that major upheaval in my life, I self-medicated with Double-Stuff Oreo’s, Ice Cream, Cheese Balls and all manner of assorted junk foods. The slide into obesity led to depression that coincided with a simultaneous and very long, slow courtship with Mr. Menopause. Factor in some major Empty Nest Syndrome depression and before long I’d become unrecognizable to myself. I loathed my very reflection that mocked me every day, reminding me that I was out of control with a serious eating disorder.
During this time, I sought help in group therapy sessions for my emotional eating issues. I attended church and prayed like a Sister Woo-Woo mad woman. I begged and pleaded and played “Let’s Make a Deal” with God and only made minimal progress. Years of yo-yo dieting had all but crippled my body’s fat burning system. No amount of therapy, counseling or prayer could fix what was broken inside of me. There were moments during this long period of darkness that I felt it nearly impossible to climb out of the black abyss my self-esteem was lost in. Overwhelmed to the point of self-harm, I felt scared and abandoned by God. So much so, that prayer became forced, difficult and fairly pointless over time.
And then one day … God set a series of unfortunate incidents into motion that would eventually lead to His answering my long unanswered prayer.
I fell. Literally. Flat out on the asphalt while walking my dogs one night. At first, I laughed it off. My daughter’s wedding was six weeks away; my son’s wedding a few months after that. All I could think of was thank goodness, I didn’t hit my face when I fell! (I was more worried about how my face would look in upcoming wedding photos rather than my body.) Because I was walking with two other people at the time of the incident, my ego and pride suffered more injury than my body. Or so I thought.
Slowly over the next few days I realized that I’d done some serious damage to my right knee and right hip. I already had a bad left knee from minor surgery years ago, but suddenly my bad knee became the good knee and I had a brand new bad knee. Because it was nearing the end of the year and I was light-years away from meeting my insurance deductible, I opted to forego any exams or treatments because it simply wasn’t in the budget at that time. Hopefully time would heal all wounds.
Fast-forward to my daughter’s wedding and I was still in considerable pain. Walking, sitting or standing were new adventures in pain. I missed all of the wedding dancing which only fueled my mounting depression. I ended 2016 battling chronic pain and the worst depression I’d suffered to date, which carried over to the first few months of 2017. I was finally able to schedule a doctor’s appointment which was scheduled for two days after my son’s wedding in March 2017.
At my doctor’s appointment I was referred to a pain management doctor and prescribed – at long last – some much-needed depression medication. I waited nearly a week before I began the anti-depressant. I wanted to give God ample opportunity to heal me supernaturally, but eventually felt like God was telling me that it was time. Time to fight my way out of the darkness. Time to shake off the shackles of food addictions, low self-esteem, pride, obesity and time, at long last, for healing years of grief and self-hatred.
I began a course of injections for my knees and trusted God to work through the medication I was taking. The depression meds worked quickly in the fact that one of the side-effects was an appetite suppressant. I was eating less and with my knee pain starting to subside, I was able to start working out again. I quickly began feeling the effects of a unique domino principle as everything lined up.
Falling and injuring myself was the first initial domino, which forced me to see a doctor who not only referred me to a pain management specialist, but also recognized serious depression when she saw it. The medication helped me to make my way out of the darkness as well as deal with eating issues, which led to weight loss, exercise and a new outlook on life.
As 2018 gets under way, God accomplished more in the past year than I ever imagined possible. As of today, January 3rd, I am officially at my driver’s license weight and I’m mostly pain free. (Hey, I am 60 years old, so there’s bound to be some age-related aches and pains!) I’m still on the depression medication, although my dosage has been cut back. My appetite has returned so now I’ve got to do the work to keep from overeating and putting the weight back on.
Without the chronic pain now, I work out every day. Not because I HAVE to, but because I GET to. Some days, the exercise is harder than ever and I definitely don’t feel like pushing myself. What motivates my exercise obsession is the possibility of waking up one day and the knee and hip pain will have returned making exercise difficult again. I’m taking every advantage of being able to work out now without pain. For now, exercise is a blessing.
Through this unexpected journey I’m reminded every single day that we serve a BIG God. Every day that I wake up and put on smaller sized clothes, I want to weep with appreciation for all that God has done. At the beginning of this voyage I prayed for God to keep me grounded in the fact that I would recognize that HE, God alone, was responsible for my good health and weight loss. My faith was, is and always will be in God – not medication, doctors, injections, the foods that I eat, exercise or anything else tangible. God has certainly used all of these outlets to bring about my success story, but it’s to Him that I give all the glory for making all of these things available to me.
The question begs to be asked … did God allow me to fall in the first place to set the wheels in motion? Or was that dumb luck? Was it merely coincidence that I fell or me just being clumsy? Perhaps it was the enemy who tripped me hoping to make me miserable — but God intervened and used my fall for His glory.
Only God knows.
What I DO know is that God hears our prayers but chooses to answer them in HIS timing … even if that timing may take 14 years and even if He answers those prayers in an entirely different manner than what we would like.
But those who wait on the LORD
Shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint.
Isaiah 40:31 (NKJV)
Blessings in Christ … Happy New Year … and as always … happy reading!