…my health, friendships, and most importantly, my relationship with GOD. My parents, David and Jennifer Martin, had been working with Gwen Shamblin in the program as early as 1998. My father lost 40 pounds almost immediately through the Strongholds class, and I was able to watch him transform into a loving husband to my mother, and a GODLY leader to our family. Not only did my mother lose 10 pounds initially when she began applying the Weigh Down principles, she also lost any pregnancy weight gained with each of her 5 children! She now works as an Outreach Representative at the Weigh Down Office and spends her days selflessly giving, encouraging, and loving others. Not only did they receive this message of total obedience with glad and sincere hearts, they also answered God’s calling to help Gwen Shamblin establish Remnant Fellowship Church, a place that teaches personal responsibility and wholehearted obedience, following in Christ’s footsteps!
Growing up under parents who had consistently and faithfully loved God with all their heart, soul, mind and strength was relentlessly convicting. However, I didn’t personally begin to follow those examples and gain my own personal testimony until later in life. My first year of college was definitely a transition, as it is for most young adults. I moved out for the first time, and wasn’t able to attend the services at Remnant Fellowship Church as much. I allowed my relationship with God to take a backseat, and let my mind be filled with cares of the world: the stress of school, friendships and relationships, and acceptance from man rather than acceptance from GOD. The ironic thing was that the more I focused and worried about those areas and depended on myself because I didn’t think I really needed God, the more things went wrong, and there was a total lack of peace.
It really was the fulfillment of the curses described in Deuteronomy 28 when one is disconnected from the spirit of God. My grades plummeted; I was a miserable and negative person to be around so my friendships with pure and righteous people were becoming strained. I wrote in my personal journal that I didn’t feel any strong anger, sadness, or happiness. I felt numb-and those were just the internal effects. My weight skyrocketed as I ran to food for comfort and fulfillment instead of God. I was lazy, unfocused, and was still so blind to the effect it was having on the outside and to those around me, that I had convinced myself that everything was okay-I was justifying my own sin. I came home for the summer and my parents were able to clearly see I had changed, and not for the better. They recognized that I was heading down the wrong path, because they themselves had experienced a life without a wholehearted relationship with God before.
However, it wasn’t until early June of 2013 Mrs. Gwen gave a sermon entitled “The Daunting Warning”, that I felt the intense conviction I had been pushing away for so long. “The death of the church has always been from WITHIN. Deceiving itself is the favorite pastime of the heart; it becomes so hard that soon you find yourself genuinely believing you have not sinned.” It hit me to the core. I could see the extra pounds on my body and my disfigured appearance, but I was blind to the evil I had let into my own heart. God, through Mrs. Gwen, allowed me to see that it’s not just an extra bite of food, or an unkind word or thought, it is taking God off the throne and placing yourself in his seat EVERYTIME you disobey his will. I broke down in tears after that sermon, and finally felt the rush of repentance, humility, and true sorrow for hurting and rejecting God for as long as I did. I immediately went to my parents and confessed everything, and with their loving guidance and authority that they learned through this Ministry, we resolved that this summer was going to be the one where I finally laid it all down. I would be finished with the food, and I would beg God for one more chance. I still look back on that year and shudder. It terrifies me to think about how quickly Satan can come in and give you reasons to sneak food, talk back to an authority, or give a rude response. The more I allowed myself to sin, the more excuses I provided to silence any conviction, the more hard and calloused my heart became. It wasn’t just food; a disconnection from God affected every area of my life, and I became an empty shell of a person, something I never thought could happen.
The transformation began, but it was not a quick process. My sins had consequences. My mom helped direct me back to the basic principles of Weigh Down: hunger and fullness. Only eating when I was hungry, and stopping as soon as I felt satisfied. Remembering that my stomach was practically the size of my fist, and I never needed as much food as I thought I did. I felt like a child learning how to walk all over again. I had pushed past those boundaries set by God so many times that I had to beg him to come in and help build them back up. It took a diligent minute by minute, hour by hour mindset. Before I had really only read the Bible and sought The Lord when I went to church twice a week. I was looking at my walk with God and his son Jesus Christ as a to-do list: pray-check, clean my room-check, read a chapter of Psalms-check, brush my teeth-check. But my parents reminded me how often they speak to God, and Mrs. Gwen frequently talks about asking God for help, even walking up and down the stairs. I had forgotten how much I really needed God and his voice until I didn’t have it at all.
I then resolved to actively seek Him every chance I got, in everything I did. I listed to Truthstream, (also known as Weigh Down All Access), when I woke up, got ready, on my lunch break, on my way home, and before I went to bed. Nomatter what was playing, whether it was a class, sermon, You Can Overcome segment, or one of Michael Shamblin’s praise and worship songs, I had an immensely peaceful feeling knowing I was filling my mind with pure and righteous things, and the effect it had on my heart was immediate. I was able to lose 30 pounds of greed, but that was minor compared to the transformation inside my mind, heart, and soul. I looked forward to getting up every day, and waiting for the growl became exciting instead of a burden. I was happier, more energetic, and filled with joy and love for others. My relationships with other righteous-minded people strengthened more than I ever thought was possible.
The Remnant Fellowship Youth group became my foundation for encouragement and place of safety; I know I can go to any of my godly peers with any testing, and I will be pointed in a pure direction that has reaped a harvest of blessings. Even NOW I am still working on my relationship with God, with the APPRECIATION for the sheer amount of second and third and fourth chances he has given me despite my sins. My parents encouraged me to write down all the answered prayers and blessings I get through ought the day (everything from a traffic light turning green to getting an A on a test I thought I failed)- and it makes HIM all the more real when I know he is hearing my thoughts and prayers. I knew I had a relationship with God when I went ALL IN to obedience, authority, and what Weigh Down teaches, and his blessings and love IMMEDIATELY came forward.
I’m crying as I share this thinking about the times he’s played a song I loved randomly on the radio, or blessed me with a smiling face or a good tip at work during a hard day. He is SO PERSONAL. I can’t praise GOD enough for my parents, who I can go to at any time; I now CRAVE their guidance and advice, because I know it comes from this line of authority. I am so thankful for Remnant Fellowship Church and Gwen Shamblin, which has absolutely changed my life, and without whom my family would not be here today. I am completely unworthy to hear a life changing message that teaches us daily that we CAN follow in the footsteps of Jesus Christ, and embrace every opportunity of self-denial. I am eternally grateful to God, Jesus Christ, and what Gwen Shamblin has given the world through Weigh Down and Remnant Fellowship Church! I am changed for the better, and am never going back!