Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The Ties that Bind Us

Let me say before I even begin talking, that I am in NO way taking any sort of credit for what God is doing in the life of my family.  He is doing it all!  Anytime you want to think something good about me, think about Him.
                I have been thinking a lot about my family lately.  Not just about Mom, Dad, Luke and his family, and Andy but my whole family.  Most specifically, my Dad’s side of the family.  Not that I don’t often think of Mom’s side but they don’t struggle with my particular form of addiction.  If you know me well, you know that my Dad’s family struggles with obesity.  So many of them, my Dad, and me fight the never ending struggle against food.  Everything revolved and still to some extent revolves around food.  Of course, this takes its toll over the years.  Unfortunately, many of our family members have died early in life.  So many in their fifties from heart attacks.
                My Mammaw was one of these people.  She died when I was just a kid but there is probably no person I adored more at that point in my life (and still do).  I remember always feeling so safe and so loved by that woman.  I thought she hung the moon and I loved her dearly.  Unfortunately, for some reason I don’t have many childhood memories but I do have two in particular.  The first is that Mammaw and Pappaw used to take turns letting us come over and spend the night.  When you got to spend the night, it was a big deal because you got to pick whatever you wanted to eat for both supper and breakfast the next morning.  I remember clearly that my choices were always Little Caesars for dinner and Sweet Sixteen chocolate donuts for breakfast.  We didn’t go play outside or do anything active.  We went and ate.  My other memory is the fact that she wanted me to come spend the night with her and I told her I didn’t want to.  That memory still haunts me because I didn’t get to say I love you or spend that one more day with her.  It breaks my heart.  She died of a massive heart attack a few days after that.
                My father and I both inherited that love of food.  Even though I have always been fat, I never really thought about myself dying but my Dad dying was a constant fear.  I never thought he would live long enough to be in my wedding or see me have children.  The year he turned fifty I knew it was just a matter of time until he followed in the footsteps of his Mom and the others in his family.  Then he had triple bypass and they told him he had to lose weight.  I thought, well finally he will do it.  He didn’t and I didn’t understand why.  He finally was convinced by his doctors to have gastric bypass and lost 160 pounds.  I am not going to argue the merits of the surgery but I am thankful that it gave my Dad to me for what I hope is several more years.  During this whole time I never once thought, “Hey, Hannah you are heading in the same direction.” 
                If you are reading this blog then you know that about 14 months I finally began changing my life.  The funny thing is that one of the key causes of this change was a family picture we were taking of all the grandkids and great grandkids for my Pappaw.  I couldn’t stand what I saw in that picture.  I am not shy about talking about what is going in my life.  I am an open book and as you can imagine the few times a year I am with my extended family it is a topic of conversation.  Many of my family members are my friends on facebook and they celebrate my successes with me.  I tell them about changes and talk about what is different in my life.  You never know what your words are going to do when you just open your mouth and speak.
                A couple of weeks ago we had a small party to celebrate my 100 pound weight loss.  My Aunts and Uncles all came.  One of my Uncles told me that he had overheard a conversation between me and one of my Aunts about how this time was different.  How when I fail, this time I get back up and keep going.  This was a key.  He told me that he decided to start doing something about his health and now he has lost over 30 pounds.  I was blown away.  I never thought that my journey could help someone.  Especially someone I love so much.  Then that same night another Uncle told me he wanted to run a 5k with me.  Again, I was blown away.  I of course agreed and we are doing that 5k this coming Sunday.  Of course, I can’t run at the moment so we are walking and not only are the two of us walking but my other Uncle, my Aunt, and I believe 3 of my cousins are walking it with us.  I went home on Christmas Eve after being with my family and learning this and just cried.  I was so overcome with the realization that being obedient to God and his prompts could not just change my life but change the lives of those I love so much.
                This realization flipped another switch in my mind and heart on this journey.  If you can imagine a wall of light switches in your heart.  They all have to be switched for ultimate success but God has a pattern in which he wants them turned on.  I had been stuck for awhile and not being able to appreciate or understand the depth of what I was doing.  I was watching myself from a far and not living in my body through the success but only through the failure.  I feel like this growth in my family has flipped that next switch. 
I fully believe in generational bondage.  Exodus 34:6-7 says,” Yahweh!  The Lord! The God of compassion and mercy!   I am slow to anger and filled with unfailing love and faithfulness.  I lavish unfailing love to a thousand generations.  I forgive iniquity, rebellion, and sin.   But I do not excuse the guilty.  I lay the sins of the parents upon their children and grandchildren; the entire family is affected even children in the third and fourth generations.  Let us not kid ourselves and say that overeating is not a sin.  It is gluttony.  This sin has been passed down in my family.  It is bondage and I became determined to be the one to break it.  My children will have other things that they battle but as much as I can control, food will not be one of them.  But it isn’t just my children that can be saved from this destruction.  This past Sunday I heard a verse at church that really hit home about what I believe God is doing in my family.  Acts 16:31 says, “They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved, along with everyone in your household.”  I am not saying that I am saving my family because I can’t.  I can’t save them in anyway but my Jesus can.  He only asks me to believe.  I do believe.  I believe that my family can become more active.  I believe they can start eating healthier and I believe that one by one the chains of an early grave and the chains of destroying the temple God is made to live in will fall.  I believe whole heartedly that God can change my family.
My question to you is this, what is God calling you to do?  No matter how small you believe it is, it is for a reason.  I know 100% that God called me to this journey at this time for a reason.  I always wondered why I could never have success when what I wanted was Biblical and it would please God but he had a plan.  He had a plan for me to be at the gym I am at, with the people I am with, at this time for a reason.  What if I had disobeyed?  What if I gave into my constant fear or didn’t get back up when I fall?  What if I had questioned his timing or how he was going to provide?  It is not about what I do, it is about just showing up.  Take that first step.  Show up!  God can do amazing things with someone who is just willing to show up.

“Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live!”   Deuteronomy 30:19

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