I grew up in Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada and was an overweight child. I started my first diet when I was 11 (Weight Watchers). Throughout my teen years I was lonely, made fun of, had greed for food, laziness, depression, self-harm, and suicidal thoughts. All of this went on as I was being raised in church. I went on to become very involved in church, attending large youth events, singing on the praise and worship team, teaching Sunday school and vacation Bible school, and doing Bible studies.
However, there was a wanting to please and be accepted by others. I would do anything to be liked including: experimenting with smoking, drugs, alcohol, foul language, lust, and changing my personality. None of this brought happiness and just left me more miserable and empty. I often described myself as “stagnant” – having no feeling most of the time mixed with extreme lows and highs when I went after something I wanted. I still knew God was the answer but didn’t know how. I went on to attend Bible school and Seminary School. Still no hope IIor freedom from the chains that were holding me down.
I first heard about Weigh Down from my mother when I was 16. I read half of The Weigh Down Diet book but forgot about the book and went on to try any diet, weight loss trick, self-help book, and exercise program I could get my hands on. I spent thousands of dollars in lines of credit trying diets that put me on herbal pills, bars, shakes, and juices, had me weigh, measure, and write down everything I ate, and gave me one-on-one counseling which basically shamed me if I ever veered off plan.
Dieting left me with heart palpitations, low blood pressure, and fainting spells in my early 20’s. I went on to try cleanses, detoxes, and Hot Yoga challenges, and even trained for and ran 2 half marathons leaving me injured and heavier; yes, I managed to GAIN weight while training! I did organic and “clean” eating and was left more focused on the food and fearful of chemicals and preservatives.
God did allow me to get married and graduate nursing school, but I still was not happy. I began to have panic and anxiety attacks which felt like I was having a heart attack. I would be frozen feeling like I was going to die. My laziness and procrastination were growing and I felt like life was passing me by as I often slept half my days away. I could see the goals I wanted for my life but had no clue how to get them.
I would often cry out to God, but I was lazy in seeking Him and would stop at one verse or one chapter and go on to misinterpret His word. I started branching out to Christian diet and exercise books and started to “church hop”. I was left with no answers.
In 2013 I had our first child and was thrown into deeper depression and despair. My panic and anxiety attacks were at an all-time high as I saw I was completely unfit to care for this baby. I was very selfish and the pain of losing sleep and “me time” came with self-pity. I also had picked up anger, unforgiveness, and hatred towards others around me and would sit for hours and ruminate on things done or said to me. It was all in all a miserable pit.
Finally, I hit rock bottom when my son was diagnosed with severe failure to thrive. He was wasting away before my eyes as I was getting fatter. It was at this point I made plans to end my life. One night I cried out to God telling Him I couldn’t do this life anymore and that I was done. I heard a voice in my head, “remember The Weigh Down Diet book? Maybe your Mom still has it?”
I knew in that moment there was something in that book I needed to see. I went on to read it cover to cover and felt a hope I had never felt before! I looked Weigh Down up on the internet and was excited to see they were going strong and had classes I could do online. I signed up for the Weigh Down Basics Class and felt God’s heavy conviction right away. I needed to lay down eating in front of the TV to escape. I learned how to wait for clear stomach hunger, the growl, and eating at the table with no distractions.
It didn’t take long to see the blessings come pouring in! I did EVERYTHING Gwen and the homework said to do along with all the reinforcement resources. I started to have a growing hunger for God’s word! I went on to lose 120 lbs in 18 months and was completely set free from depression, suicide, anxiety and panic attacks, and was able to forgive others.
Divine Forgiveness was my first All Access talk. That 1-hour lesson by Gwen Shamblin completely changed the trajectory of my life! I put all suggestions into practice and continued to be in the Weigh Down classes, read through Gwen’s books, devotionals, God’s Word, and got on my knees in prayer. I experienced restoration of relationships including God healing my strained marriage by showing me how to be a Royal Wife (also an excellent All Access talk).
As I continued God convicted of laziness, and I was able to lay down oversleeping, as well as worry, pride, lust, over spending, gossip, pulling out my hair, anger, projection, lazy parenting, vanity, judgement. I have since gone on to have a second baby and have all my weight off thanks to Revolution Class! I need to constantly be in these principles that tell me the Truth! I wake up every day with genuine joy, I go to God on my knees in prayer, and I have also seen that I MUST be constantly digging, seeking, and FIGHTING for this relationship with God.
I have had the most unbelievable answered prayers, and have wept tears of joy at how much God cares. I now have thousands of friends, and God recently blessed my family with allowing us to move to Brentwood Tennessee to be closer to Remnant Fellowship church.
The simple truth I have learned through Weigh Down and Remnant Fellowship church was that Greed IS idol worship (Ephesians 5:5). It’s not what goes into my body that makes me unclean it’s what is in my heart (Mark 7:19). Broad is the road that leads to destruction but narrow is the road that leads to eternal life and few find it (Matt 7:13-14), and not everyone that says “Lord, Lord” will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who DOES the will of the Father who is in heaven (Matt 7:21-23).
For the first time in my life I was hearing that the problem was in my heart and that I COULD go and sin no more IF I followed in the footsteps of Christ! I continue to be convicted and change daily, it’s fun, and I crave it! Gwen has so beautifully pointed out the symbolic relationship of parenting and how God is so gentle with us.
I now have answers for how to raise my children, am seeing a love for God in their lives, and an understanding of obeying out of love which was something I never had or understood. The happiness keeps growing as our whole family grows more in love with God! (Read Jessica’s husband Nick Enns’ Weigh Down story here.)
This is it! I would NEVER go back to that pit of a life. I also know that God is not exclusive and if I can do this and be led to a whole new life than anyone can! It starts one step at a time and before you know it you are running in the race of a lifetime! The only marathon worth training for!
So beautiful Jessica! Encouraging and moving, Thank you for sharing such a wonderful testimony!! I look SO forward to chatting in person!