A peek into my life this weekend would find an average Midwestern mom going about the mundane tasks of life. I must catch up on laundry, which requires climbing the stairs a time or two. Later, I’ll get on my knees to scrub the kitchen floor, still dirty from last night’s impromptu teen taco party. After lunch, I will walk up our country hill to the mailbox to retrieve today’s correspondence. Then, this evening, I need to shop for some jeans in the ladies’ section at Wal-Mart.
I was a desperate housewife. I desperately wanted to just be normal.
While my appearance disheartened me, what troubled me most was the horrid medical condition in which I found myself: bursitis in my right foot, a torn meniscus in my left knee that would not heal and that made bending and straightening my leg tearfully painful, a cholesterol level skyrocketing over 300 and even occasional chest pains. To top it off, I had an embarrassing little issue called “female incontinence” that I thought was due to birthing large babies. My doctor corrected me, saying it was due to the excessive load of stomach fat sitting on my bladder. Gee, thanks, Doc. As with many aspects of my unhealthy state, I just chose to make a joke about it, claiming that my next book would be entitled “I Squeeze When I Sneeze and I Cross When I Cough: Life After Forty!”
My health, however, was no laughing matter. I secretly feared that if I did not do something, my husband would become a widower and my children would finish growing up without their mother in their life.
Desperate and at my wit’s end one day, I finally dared to trust God to do what He promised He would in His Word. I stumbled upon 1 Corinthians 10:13, “No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it” (NIV). I had read that verse dozens of times before, usually applying it to other temptations, but that day, it screamed at me. “Food! It’s food! When you are tempted to eat the wrong food or too much food or trigger foods that keep you eating all night, I, the God of the universe, will provide a way out for you. This temptation has seized you, Karen, and now it has a chokehold on your life. Nevertheless, I am faithful. I am ready and willing, as I have always been, to do my part. Are you ready to do yours? We can do this together.”
The next day I walked (okay, waddled) into my first Weight Watchers meeting. Eleven months later, I’d dropped over 100 pounds and seven dress sizes. I could troop up a flight of stairs without having my heart beat as if it were about to leap out of my chest. I not only could walk without pain, I could actually run on a treadmill. Yes, this couch potato ran her first nonstop mile at the age of 42. I burst into tears at the fitness center. Sure, I drew puzzled stares and inquisitive comments, but I didn’t care. My sweet Lord was faithful. He had provided ways of escape for me time and time again. He had performed an extreme makeover on my heart, physically and spiritually. As the icing on the cake (low fat, of course!), every one of my health conditions disappeared without any medication.
Now I can go about the routine business of being a wife and mother with much greater ease. I can take a brisk walk with my husband. I can toss the baseball around with my boys. I can get on the floor with my daughter and her friends as we attempt to do a Pilates tape without cracking up. And I can testify to others that the God of the Bible keeps His Word - to mankind in general, and to one Midwestern housewife in specific, who so desperately just wanted to be average.