When I was preparing for this first meeting I sat down on my couch with my 3 ring binder full of blank pages, a pen, and a question from the Lord on my mind: WHAT IS YOUR VISION? What is your greatest hope/desire for your health, wellness, and weight? Do yourself a great big favor - answer this question! You can do it right now, when you’re done reading this post, or sometime very soon. But take the time to do it. Answer the question.
The Lord also gave me 3 great pictures to share in our quest for true health, wellness, and weight loss (emotional, spiritual, and physical!) But I will wait to share those until the end of this post. First, Let me fill you in on all the wonderful sharing, discussing, encouraging, questioning, listening and learning that happened in my living room on Tuesday, August 8th, as 8 beautiful women gathered for the first meeting of The Weight of Glory!
This is something the Lord has put on multiple hearts for a while!
We all have gifts and we all have needs. And I think it is “for such a time as this” that the Lord has brought us all together.
This group is meeting “live” each week in a small group setting. We are recording our times together, and the edited transcript will be posted here each week so that those who are unable to attend in person can join in as well! And it’s great to have an archive to go back and really study what is put before us each week in our own space and time frame.
SO - Jesus, lead us in print as You do in our presence! It is through You that all things are possible and by You that all things consist! We give YOU the glory for the work You are doing in and through each of us and we praise You now for all that You will continue to do as we continue to trust You for our wellness - emotionally, spiritually, and physically! AMEN!
Our hosts for this course are:
Stacey Fitzgerald - Certified Nutritionist
Tamara Fitzgerald - Master Herbalist
Rachel Fitzgerald - Spiritual Facilitator
Yes! It’s a family affair! And the truth is that we are ALL one BIG (and hopefully, happy:) family!
God has made our individual bodies to be a picture of His Body, His Bride, His “Church” family. As no part of our individual body is self-sufficient, neither is any member of the collective Body of Yeshuah (Jesus the Christ.) Together we form a beautiful picture of a healthy, vibrant and lively body of believers, tied together in Him!
Let us see ourselves and each other the way the Lord sees us. We are beautiful in His sight! Let us not compare or ever feel less than or greater than any other. So many wonderful things happen when we come together in a vulnerable and honest way, seeking to connect and grow and encourage. So don’t let the enemy discourage you - and he will try! Instead, recognize that whatever he speaks to you is a lie, so flip it around and declare the truth!
We each have our unique stories and reasons for being at this group and for reading this blog. Many of us have had major physical challenges - broken bones, near death experiences, auto-immune diseases, cancer, transplant surgeries, degenerative disease like diabetes and high blood pressure, eating disorders, smoking and other addictions, excessive weight gain, infections, skin disorders, and more. And emotionally many of us have struggled with concepts of our identity, acceptance, love, broken relationships, loss of loved ones, self-worth, selfishness, confusion, facades of confidence, fear, control and the lack thereof.
Our desire, collectively and individually, is to walk in wholeness and wellness in all areas of our lives - physically, emotionally, and spiritually. And yet we see that many of our emotional and physical sufferings continue despite our greatest efforts and prayers. Sometimes it’s for lack of knowledge. And in this group we hope to grow in our knowledge so that we can be faithful stewards of the lives and bodies with which we’ve been entrusted. Yet sometimes, though we pray and diligently work in all we know to do, we are left in some area or areas of struggle.
Be encouraged, my friends! Our struggles are working for us a much greater weight of glory!
Rachel encouraged us with what the Lord has been encouraging her - be fully responsible for your own health! And that doesn’t mean that you walk alone - it means that you choose to partner with others who can help you and that you can help as well! Isolation is often the strategy of the enemy. If he can get you alone, or feeling alone, he can pick you off with discouragement and despair all too easily!
If you’re struggling with negative self-talk (which can often be straight from the mouth of the enemy), a great tool is to ask yourself if you would say those words to someone you care about. If you wouldn’t say those negative things to the people you love and care about, don’t say them to yourself.
There is always a seed of truth in a lie. We are not all the same and we shouldn’t strive to look all the same. That is true. But the implication that it doesn’t matter how much you weigh, is not true because being significantly overweight is truly unhealthy. So instead of trying to look like some sort of clone of what the world tells you is good or ok (whether that is thin or thick) let us strive instead to be the best version of ourself, in every way that we’ve been created. In this we find our true identity which is only found in Christ. When we first find our identity and our worth and value in Him, we will be free to love, enjoy, and embrace ourselves right now and also free to joyfully pursue the best version of ourselves!
Worry - how needless is worry!? We have a Father in heaven who loves us and everything He does comes from His love for us. “For God so LOVED the world…” not God was so disappointed with the world, or so mad at the world, or so disgusted with the world. He loves us! Every one of us is looking for unconditional love and acceptance and that is exactly what we have from our God and Father! Can we in turn give ourselves that same unconditional love and acceptance? And can we extend that to others? First we must receive it from our Lord.
This scripture 2 Corinthians 4:16 was shared by one of our group members in regard to how while our outward man (our physical body) may be perishing, our inward man (our spirit) is being renewed day by day. Unknowingly she led us right into the scripture that gave me the name for our group! 2 Corinthians 4:17 says “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.” Isn’t the Holy Spirit cool how He orchestrates and confirms everything?!
It’s important that we address physical issues physically as well as spiritually! We are a united body - spirit, soul, and body.
Here are just a few great scriptures (Amplified Version) to encourage us spirt, soul and body:
Romans 12:1 & 2 “I appeal to you therefore, brethren, and beg of you in view of all the mercies of God, to make a decisive dedication of your bodies (presenting all your members and faculties) as a living sacrifice, holy (devoted, consecrated) and well pleasing to God, which is your reasonable (rational, intelligent) service and spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world (this age), (fashioned after and adapted to its external, superficial customs), but be transformed (changed) by the (entire) renewal of your mind (by its new ideals and its new attitude), so that you may prove (for yourselves) what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God, even the thing which is good and acceptable and perfect (in His sight for you).
Proverbs 23:1 - 3 “When you sit down to eat with a ruler, consider who and what are before you: For you will put a knife to your throat if you are a man given to desire. Be not desirous of his dainties, for it is deceitful food (offered with questionable motives).
Proverbs 11:1 “…a just weight is his delight.”
Deuteronomy 25:15 “But you shall have a perfect and just weight and a perfect and just measure, that your days may be prolonged in the land which the Lord your God gives you.”
3 John 1:2 “Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in every way and (that your body) may keep well, even as (I know) your soul keeps well and prospers.”
1 Timothy 4:8 “For physical training is of some value (useful for a little), but godliness (spiritual training) is useful and of value in everything and in every way, for it holds promise for the present life and also for the life which is to come.”
Hebrews 12:1 & 2 “…let us strip off and throw aside every encumbrance (unnecessary weight) and that sin which so readily (deftly and cleverly) clings to and entangles us, and let us run with patient endurance and steady and active persistence the appointed course of the race that is set before us.”
2 Corinthians 4:17 “For our light, momentary affliction (this slight distress of the passing hour) is ever more and more abundantly preparing and producing and achieving for us an everlasting weight of glory (beyond all measure, excessively surpassing all comparisons and all calculations, a vast and transcendent glory and blessedness never to cease!)
God wants to GIVE us the weight of His glory! That is a great and awesome value! He wants to bless us with more of Himself, not take anything of value from us. The only thing He wants to take from us is the sin that so easily entangles us! That is good news, friends! So we have nothing to fear when we are in His hands and we have everything good to gain. We give up control of ourselves (which is really a false sense of security) and give full control to a loving and good God. That’s a great exchange!
We may never see our perfect health, perfect bodies, or even our complete physically healing for which we earnestly pray for here on earth. But we will receive the weight of His glory, our spiritual well-being and complete and totally restoration forever. And the good that He intends is SO much greater than the harm the enemy intends. Sometimes the greatest gifts on earth come through our deepest pain, loss and struggles. We can’t always change our situations but we can let the Holy Spirit change our hearts and use our hearts and our situations to bring others into His family. As Rachel shared, sometimes we must be prepared for the worst while we believe for the best.
Suffering is part of this life experience. Yet we have the great promise in 2 Corinthians 4:17 that our “light and momentary” suffering is working for us a much greater “weight of glory!” Amen! It is working for us! We are not wisked away the moment we receive our salvation. We are here on this earth to be prepared as His Bride and to be the salt and light in the world until He returns for us. When we suffer, we are comforted by the Holy Spirit so that we can be a comfort to others who also suffer.
And yet we do not need to walk in this world as “poor me” martyrs. We are victorious through Christ on all accounts! When He died on the cross He said, “It is finished.” The word He spoke in greek was “tetelestai” which is a financial word meaning “paid in full.” Our debt of sin is cancelled, paid for in full! We are free from the law of sin and death! Satan no longer has any legal right to us whatsoever! Amen!
SO let us walk in newness of life, even in our light and momentary suffering.
But what about when our suffering seems anything but “light” or “momentary”? Is the Lord being insensitive to our human condition? No. He is instead speaking the truth to our hearts that what we are experiencing is truly light and momentary when compared to what He is doing in us through it, and what He has prepared for us for eternity!
A “good life” is not a smooth, straight line. Imagine you saw a straight line on a heart monitor? That means you’re dead! We want to LIVE for Him! And a good heart monitor reading has a lot of peaks and valleys. Often we aren’t necessarily afraid of the peaks and valleys, but we only want the peaks and valleys that we are comfortable with, not the ones that come as surprise and seem to be interruptions to our otherwise perfect line! But can we really trust Him with the hills and the valleys? Is He the same God in the valley that He is on the mountaintop? YES.
Let’s take a look at the 3 illustrations God led me to - two from scripture, and one from my front porch!
I need you to read a little so grab your bible and first read the story of a paralytic man who received a miraculous healing in John 5:1 - 15.
Did you read it? :) Great! Because Jesus asked that man a very important question that I think He is asking all of us:
DO YOU WANT TO BE WELL?
In the text you may notice that the man didn’t actually answer that question. Instead he shared his excuses/reasons why he wasn’t able to get well. Which leads us to a few more questions:
WHAT EXCUSES/REASONS DO YOU HAVE? Don’t blow this question off! It’s important because some of our excuses and reasons are valid! And if we don’t take a good and honest look at them we won’t be able to discern which ones are real and which ones are faulty chains holding us back from our healing. Jesus didn’t discuss the man’s excuses with him. He gave him something specific to do - “pick up your mat and walk!”
WHAT IS HE CALLING YOU TO DO? Has He given you something specific that just won’t leave your head and heart? It may be something very small or very big, but He is most likely speaking something specific for you to do. And this man did pick up his mat and walk - he was healed!
WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO? Are you going to pick up “your mat and walk?” Can you trust Him with whatever that simple step is that He’s calling you to take? He won’t give you more or less than you can handle so pick it up and walk!
Now this man was healed physically, but it doesn’t seem that the healing went past his body and into his heart. As you can expect, this healing caused a great stir - greater than the stirring of the water! And the Pharisee’s were mad - not about the healing it seems, but about the fact that this man was carrying his mat on the sabbath! That was against the rules! And when they asked him why he was doing so he said, “The man who healed me told me to!” Blame! If we want our healing to go beyond our bodies and into our hearts we have a few things we can learn from this man:
BE DONE WITH BLAME. Take responsibility for your decision to obey Jesus!
DON’T PLAY DUMB. When they asked him who the man was, he said he didn’t know! Are you kidding me?! A man healed you from being paralyzed and you don’t know who it was?! We must know Jesus, our Healer, and declare His name loud and confidently!
STOP SINNING. The man said he didn’t know Jesus, yet Jesus searched him out and found him. And when He found him He warned him saying, “Stop sinning or something worse may happen to you.” This wasn’t a threat or a curse. It was a compassionate declaration of the truth that this man needed to CHANGE. And unless he did change, he would end up worse off than he was before he was healed.
DON’T BE OFFENDED. Here is the kicker. When Jesus speaks the truth to your heart, listen. Remember that He loves you and only wants the best for you. This man was offended and went right to the Pharisees to tell on Jesus. He went the opposite direction of Jesus. Let’s follow Jesus instead.
DO YOU WANT TO BE WELL? Do you?!
Let’s look at another man who did answer that question and received a miraculous healing. Read Mark 10:46-52…
Bartimaeus was blind. Jesus was passing by with his disciples and a great crowd.
HE HEARD that it was Jesus passing by and HE CALLED OUT saying, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”
HE RECOGNIZED JESUS AUTHORITY and ASKED FOR MERCY. He knew he was a sinner in need of salvation and he knew that Jesus was His healing.
HE WAS NOT DETERRED BY THE NAYSAYERS but instead HE GOT LOUDER! He wasn’t going to let anyone stop him from crying out to Jesus for what he knew he needed. And in fact, when others tried to discourage him it only made him more determined.
HE RESPONDED JOYFULLY, QUICKLY, AND PASSIONATELY. When Jesus heard the man calling out to Him, he called for the man to come to Him. And this blind man threw off his cloak, jumped up and RAN to Jesus! Now that’s someone who knows who and what he wants!
HE TOLD JESUS WHAT HE WANTED. Jesus asked him “the question” - What do you want? Bartimaeus said, “I want to see!” He wanted to be well!
HE WAS HEALED! Jesus said, “Go your way, your faith has healed you.” And he immediately received his sight! Wait…did you catch what Jesus said? He gave the man a very important choice when he said “go your way” and he affirmed that the man had received his sight because of his faith - his belief in Jesus and in His desire and ability to give him his sight.
HE FOLLOWED JESUS! When Jesus said “go your way” this man chose to align his way with Jesus’ way!
Notice the BIG differences between these two men! While both received a miraculous healing in their bodies, only one man chose the greater gift of an intimate relationship with Jesus himself.
This has been a BIG first day for all us as well! So let me close with one last analogy that the Lord spoke to me when I went out on my porch this morning to water my 3 hanging ferns:
I used to go through 2-3 sets of plants each summer. I wanted them to thrive, and I knew what they needed - water. But I just couldn’t seem to remember to water them consistently! I would do great for several days in a row and feel so proud of myself and my efforts! Then I would forget. And it only took a few days without water to ruin all my previous effort. There was almost no room for error! The hanging baskets we had didn’t hold the water, so most of it ran right through the soil and out the bottom. It felt like an endless and worthless cycle. I would go to great lengths to try to rescue them - take them down and soak them for days in the yard. But to no avail. They never thrived. The tools I had were not working and so my efforts seemed in vain. I knew I needed some sort of plastic lining or pan to keep the water from running out. But I couldn’t find it. I tried several homemade ideas. I stuck a plastic plate under each plant and even lined the basket with wax paper to try to keep the water from running out. It only helped a little. I needed a better tool. Then I found it! One day in Lowe’s I saw a stack of thin plastic containers that were designed to hold the plant so that you could pour the water into them and the plant could suck up as much water as it needed all day, with leftovers! There would be some room for error now! Still I had to make the effort. I had to buy the containers (they were quite inexpensive), take them home, take the plants down, put the potted plant into the container, put them back into the hanging baskets, and hang them back up. And that’s not all - I still had to water them! But now I had the right tool to make my efforts work. Because the tool worked well, it did give me some room for error. And because I wasn’t discouraged when I fell short, and was encouraged by the positive results I was seeing in my plants, I started to actually enjoy watering them. And I started to remember! It has become a happy habit to care for my ferns and I can tell you that they are thriving!
Hopefully you can see the parallel of my efforts with the ferns to our journey of health, wellness, and weight loss. God longs for us to thrive! We are that important and valuable to Him.
In this group we will discover tools that work. We will need to put forth effort, but our effort won’t be in vain. We will have room for error. We will minimize discouragement and maximize positive results. We will partner with each other through encouragement, knowledge, and accountability.
We will thrive - physically, emotionally, and spiritually!
DO YOU WANT TO BE WELL? I do! And if you’ve already put the effort in to read this whole blog, I’m thinking you do too!
Let’s get on our way, and follow Jesus!