Barb: I was working on a project at my second home (otherwise known as "Hobby Lobby"), when I met an inspiration. Her name was Jill.
Jill works in the frame department...and as a photographer, I'm always needing to buy frames. We began talking one day, and discovered that we go to the same church. After that, I would frequently stop by to chit-chat with her when I was at Hobby Lobby.
Jill's story, in her own words...
"I had "thought" of losing weight for a long time - and that was where it usually remained - in my head, and never resulting in any real effort. I knew my daughter had prayed for me to lose weight - and that didn't seem to be helping me to budge from my stubborn resolve to remain fat and unhealthy. But, God was doing his thing behind the scenes.
My sister Karen, who I don't normally do very many activities with and who was battling her own health issues at the time, asked me to go to Zumba. I went and was hooked immediately. It was as if something clicked. From that point on, I won't say I was perfect, but something had changed in me. All of a sudden I wanted to do good things for my body, to take care of it, to encourage others to do the same - and it has been quite a journey.
Along the way I have gone through several changes - I no longer use food as a crutch, I no longer live to eat, I think about putting things in my body that will beautify it instead of harm it. I think of putting living, colorful things in my body that will help it to repair itself and ultimately help me to live a life that will not only please God, but benefit my kids as well.
As long as God affords me breath, I want to be able to get around on my own, to continue to learn what it means to live life in the fullest, to run…to be in the midst of everything and not sitting on the side lines because I'm out of breath. I can remember being out of breath just walking across the room or even reading a book - and I never want to go back to being that way again. I have said goodbye to that person - and I welcome more of the person God wants me to be - which is literally less of me and more of him. I want to be that glorious sunset at the end of my life, not a fading plume of smoke vanishing on the horizon…
And…I am still running…until I reach the finish line one of these days…God help me to get there and finish well!
I have lost approximately 75 lbs..." ~Jill
Two years ago, Jill suffered a tremendous loss when her sister passed away. That day, not only did Jill lose a sister, but three young girls lost their mother.
In a hug tight enough that said "you belong with us," Jill, her husband, and their teenage son welcomed her sister's three daughters, 16, 11 and 10, into their home. Legal guardianship soon followed. And with that, a small family of three became a large, beautiful family of six.
As you can tell, Jill is an absolute knock-out. But her love for the Lord and her compassion for others shines even more brightly than her gorgeous smile.
It is an honor to call Jill my friend. She is so beautiful – and so Christ-filled. I am very proud of her.
When Jill came over for her photo shoot, I asked her to tell me more about her diet. She said, "It’s all about discipline. You have to care enough about yourself to have discipline. There’s no easy fix. It’s a journey; there will be ups and downs. It’s hard sometimes, but it’s worth it."
If you'd like to leave a note for Jill, or have a story of your own to share, please feel free to enter a comment below.
We'll see you next week!
Love, Katie and Barb
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