Don't misunderstand. I wouldn't begin to compare the value of our son to the price I would pay to lose that weight. There's no comparison. I would gladly have gone through it 100 times over to have such a gift from God. But, let's face it—it's no walk in the park!
One morning soon after my son's birth, I was murmuring to myself after stepping off the scale, remembering all the times in my past I'd been where I was again that day—facing what seemed like a mountain of fat. I wondered: Why am I not one of those women who only gains 20 pounds when they get pregnant, has the baby, and then squeezes back into their old jeans in three or four weeks? That's when God gave me the idea that it would encourage some of you to know the challenge I faced.
Yes, I had already been delivered from overeating. Yes, I had learned self-control through the power and promises of God's Word. Yes, I had been so interested in helping others achieve this same freedom, that by instruction of the Holy Spirit, I became certified in fitness, nutrition and personal training.
But even with all of that, where had I found myself? Facing weight-loss—again. Because I could not exercise during my pregnancy, it had been one year since I had done any kind of aerobic or weight-training exercise. I was completely out of shape for the first time in seven years.
I must say I had forgotten how hard it was, both mentally and physically, to get in good shape. My brain wanted to take up where I had left off—at an advanced fitness level. But my overweight body was screaming, No! No! No!
Now, I did well during most of my pregnancy, making healthy choices, putting the health of the baby and myself first. But, I confess to you, by the last two months I was no longer walking in the spirit in the area of my eating. I was tired all the time and very uncomfortable. The last six weeks, I slept in an upright position. Waa, waa, waa—somebody call a waambulance. Ladies, you know what I'm talking about.
During that time, I allowed myself to fall into a temptation I haven't succumbed to in years—eating for the wrong reason. Eating simply because it tasted good, made me feel better, and after all, I was pregnant.
It was as if, somehow, it wouldn't count. A little extra here, a dessert there. Oh, I heard the Holy Spirit quicken in me, Don't do that. You're sowing to the flesh. But I found that if I ignored Him long enough, He would quit "bugging" me. So, my disobedience—sowing to the flesh and ignoring the voice of God—put me in position to suffer.
I'm being very open with you here, because I want you to learn from my mistakes. Did God set me free seven years ago? Yes. Did I receive deliverance from overeating? Yes. Have I enjoyed freedom from the bondage of weight, and kept my weight at a very healthy weight? Yes. Was I experiencing complete control over my eating, and in the best shape of my life? Yes, for all these years.
So, what happened? Here's the key issue: While God can and will deliver you supernaturally from any bondage, your job is to maintain that freedom. When you let your shield of faith down, Satan comes immediately to steal the Word. Whatever areas you were weak in, that's where he'll try to tempt you.
When I began to feel so bad physically those last couple of months of my pregnancy, I began slacking off in my prayer and Word time. This created the weakness the devil needed. When thoughts to indulge came, my spirit man was not strong enough to dominate my flesh, and my mind was not renewed to the Word. I didn't cast down those thoughts with the Word.
I see now that the real "suffering" we face as believers is simply to never let down our guard. We must be mindful of the devil's tactics and keep our spirits and our mouths full of His words—even when we don't feel like it. Those same scriptures that gave me victory and freedom seven years ago were just as powerful today. Glory to God! All I had to do was repent, get back in prayer, back in the Word, and sow to the spirit with my eating and exercise, and I was on my way!
Now, eight months after the birth of our baby, I have lost all of the weight I gained during pregnancy and I truly believe I'm in the best shape of my life. I invite you to join me and go back to those truths that freed you from bondage and keep on keeping on. Stir yourself up in the power of God's Word. You can believe me when I tell you—I've faced fat for the last time! It's great to be free.
(Note: This article was originally published following the birth of Marty and John Copeland's second child, Jonathan, and before the surprise pregnancy of their third child, Alexandria. A more appropriate title now would be: 'Facing Fat for the Second to Last Time.')