Now, I wouldn't exactly say that I'd completed a make-over.
I had a handful of outfits that fit well and had been enjoying playing with make-up for a while. But, I forgot to mention my hair.
My daughter has twice donated her hair for the Locks of Love program. She begged me more than two years ago to grow my hair out. "Please mom, I've never seen your hair long in person, only in pictures!" So, I began growing it out-for her. I figured I might save a little money on hair cuts too!
My hair was long all through my childhood (aside from a nasty tangle with head lice) and into my adult life. I fussed about my dad's rule that I wasn't allowed to cut it and would have liked to try other styles, but deep down I really enjoyed having my hair long. It was one of very few physical features that allowed me, in rare moments, to feel beautiful.
As I experienced more and more disillusionment in life (and my marriage) and I continued trying to numb myself, I cut off my long hair.
As with my size, I tried to use my hair to help me hide who I was. I felt so incredibly ashamed and inadequate to have people see me, notice me. Physically or otherwise.
God revealed to me about four years ago that the shame I experienced over certain areas in my life, (and my self-image was only one of those...) kept me in bondage in those areas of my life. I asked Him to show me those areas and determined that with His help I would bravely face anything I felt shamed by. After all I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me!
I'm not sure how it is for anyone else, but for me there has been just as much pain involved in losing weight as there was in gaining it in the first place. On the way up the scale I experienced the pain of the lies I bought and the decisions I made based on those lies and on the way down I've experienced the pain of constantly battling with the lies and fighting to keep my eyes on the TRUTH. Sure, it's a different kind of pain, but it's pain all the same. One sort is the pain of bondage and the other is the pain suffered when you're fighting to stand in the freedom from that bondage. Because, of course, Christ has already given it to me, but I forget!
It was the end of January and I weighed 206 pounds. I was feeling 42 pounds of freedom! (20 before HOMFIT, 26 after)
So, I scheduled a photo shoot!
People have asked me why I didn't wait until I'd lost all of the weight? There were two reasons. The first is that it was an exercise in refusing shame. Who likes to look at themselves in a picture? Did I achieve that perfectly? No. But I stepped into the challenge God called me to at that time in my life and that was a BIG DEAL. The second was that I just wanted to remember everything about that time. So much was happening in my life that had me pinching myself. Running, learning to swim, enjoying shopping for clothes, playing with my hair and make-up. I was beginning to feel vibrant and energetic. I just kept thinking, "I can't believe I get to do these things! Thank you, God!" I never wanted to forget where I was. The fighting and the freedom. The beauty.
My friend Rebekah is one of the most "free" women I know. She sees God's fingerprints everywhere and she used her camera to show me some of the beauty He's breathed on my spirit. I've lost more than 25 additional pounds since these pictures were taken, but looking at them still makes me cry.