It's Valentine's Day today. I remember when I used to loath this holiday. I tried not to, but I just did. Maybe sometimes I wore black, but I never really outwardly complained, but inwardly ... well, it was just really painful.
I was convinced that I would never find a guy until I had lost all this weight. I was convinced that I would not be beautiful until then. I will just let you all know that I had 21 Valentine's Days with no Valentines. Just stupid cards from my parents or something like that. ... Well, actually, I think there was this one time when a guy bought me a necklace. He was really sweet and is now married to an amazing woman, and I am totally happy for them. He was right for her and I was right for Ben and that's just how it worked out, God is sovereign. But I feel like God used him in my life at that time. He may not know this, I think it was about a year that we hung out, maybe longer, off and on... but he showed me that I was worth more than I thought I was. He never cared about my weight and he told me so. He told me he thought I was beautiful because of my personality, my spirit. I believe, in my heart, that he paved the way for Ben. This at least opened me up to the idea that I might possibly be beautiful.
Now, mind you, for that ONE guy I could probably name 20 who never gave me a second look. But God was merciful to me and provided this perspective.
I look back in my journals (yes, I do engage in the painful reading of my old journals) and it seems like the two: weight loss and being in a relationship went hand in hand. I would rarely journal about one without talking about the other.
Then God broke through all of that.
One day God spoke to me clearly (as I was complaining to Him) that I would not lose weight until I found my husband. It's almost comical how foreign that concept was to me. "Are you kidding me God? Don't you know the culture I live in? Don't you know the models that are on the front of the magazines? No guy will love me if I am this size." ... that was my faithless response.
Little did I know that Ben had been watching me, and beginning to love me all this time.
When I first met Ben I was wearing a swimsuit. I was working at the YMCA and that was my uniform. Why a person who struggles with their weight would work at a job that requires her to wear a swimsuit all day, I don't know. I was taking a break from teaching swimming lessons and wanted to swim laps. The lanes were full. He was under the age of 60 and pretty cute I thought, so I asked him if I could share his lap lane. It wasn't exactly fireworks from there, but he did go home and tell his mom about me, which is always a good thing.
So he ended up coming to my college ministry that I led worship at. He sat in the back and quietly served. ... Oh my gosh, I love that part. Who quietly serves? My husband, and I am so proud of him. ... Rabbit trail.
He wrote me notes, but never had the courage to give them to me. He never let on too much, just admired me from a distance.
All this time I had no idea. Here I was struggling with my weight, struggling with binge eating, struggling with exercising, giving it over to the Lord and then taking it right back. I hate struggling with sin. I was probably nearing the top of the scale at some of these points. I was probably wearing clothes that didn't look that great. There were other girls who sang on stage who were much prettier than I was, other girls who served or who danced... In my comparisons I always fell short.
He went off and graduated in December. He moved back to Little Rock and I was still in Conway. I decided that I wanted to pursue a music career. I had a CD named "Echoes in the Room" that just sort of poured out all my struggles in music form. I had a CD release party that Kris Allen (yes, the American Idol) opened for, I just HAD to drop that in there, couldn't help it. So I went off to pursue my music career.
So I was literally running hard after my music. I had decided that I would not let my weight define me. I got gigs around town, I got on a local TV station, a local radio station, and just did whatever I could. If you were my Facebook friend then you were probably sick of being invited to my shows. I wouldn't have changed it either. That's one thing that I don't regret doing. I don't regret trying hard and going after what had been put in my heart.
Ben and I met up later that summer and finally, finally he was able to tell me that he liked me. I was in shock over this of course, but after a four hour long conversation we both realized we had a lot in common. Coming home I was so excited that this guy whom I was attracted to was actually attracted to me too. I slept maybe 3 hours that night then got up early and climbed Pinnacle Mountain... twice. The adrenaline from the excitement of that conversation was incredible.
We started dating a few weeks later, got engaged in three months and then married four months after that. From July 17th 2007 until March 29th 2008 was all it took for my life to do a 180.