But Really, #thestruggleisreal

But Really, #thestruggleisreal

Posted on May 04, 2017

BY KATIE WENCLEWICZ, GRACE ATTENDER & BLOGGER

As a Grace communications volunteer, I always love to take on anything that is put on my plate. About a month ago, I was contacted about writing on all of the previous Easter sermons going back three years. That was no problem, as I was so excited. Then, I was asked to write recaps about our new series at Grace, #TheStruggleisReal. Sure – why not? I mean, I love writing and honestly, I didn’t think that it would take much time because when I write – words just flow. Boy was I wrong.

May 28, 2016 was one of the best days of my life. I got engaged to my best friend.
September 24, 2016 was the day that I got my dream dress to marry my dream man. I walked out, shed tears, and immediately knew that this was the dress for me.
April 18, 2017 was the day that I was mortified, beat down, and humiliated.

Let me back up, Grace.

Starting at age four, I’ve always been described as “big-boned.” I’m not morbidly obese or disproportional, but I’ve always been tall and curvy. I never felt different until second grade when boys would make fun of me. At that young age, I started understanding that I was different. I wasn’t allowed the glorious pop-tarts and couldn’t always have dessert like my older brother who was skinny.

When I look back, I tear up thinking of what my parents went through. My mom is super petite and my dad was a college athlete – always in shape. Then, they have this little girl, so full of life, but also someone who they knew would deal with weight issues her whole life. In middle school and high school, I started playing volleyball and swimming. While I wasn’t losing weight, I was starting to grow more and I guess you could say I was filling out.

Behind the scenes, though, I was broken. While my life might have seemed perfect to the outsider, there were constant tears to my parents about how I looked. I hated my body. I hated being bigger than others and constantly wished that I was like my mom. People would jokingly ask how I came out of my mom and that hurt. I remember praying for answers and I never seemed to get them.

At 14, I joined Weight Watchers and had to get a doctor to sign off because I was so young. Ever since then, I have been on multiple programs, watched my weight yo-yo, cry millions of tears of never feeling good enough, and begging doctors for answers. Where did this leave me? Not feeling complete and empty.

When I said I would write this blog post, I never thought I would be going through one of the biggest trials of my life. After service Sunday, I texted my mom and said, “I don’t even know what to say.” Like always – she encouraged me to be my authentic self and to really open hearts and eyes to what I’m going through.

See, on that 18th day of April, I got into my wedding dress for my first fitting and it didn’t fit. This dress that took numerous months to make was too small. In such an intimate moment with my mom, I came out of the dressing room with the seamstress looking at me and telling me I had to lose weight to get into my dress. Tears gushed from my eyes and I stood up on that platform so vulnerable, saddened, and disgusted with myself. What was suppose to be a fun time in life turned out not so fun.

It’s ironic how the Lord works. He knew I would be in this season when Keith preached this week. While many of you had a moment yesterday in service – I had that “coming to light” moment two weeks ago. It’s a trial I would never wish on anyone, but I tell you what, it is so refreshing to be reminded that God designed our bodies as a gift to this world.

Grace, I can’t type and act like I believe that, because I won’t. Right now, I’m hurting, just like some of you are. I’m sad. I feel defeated sometimes and I don’t even know what to think. I sit up at night and pray that my journey is enlightening and easy, but we all know that doesn’t always happen. I loved when Keith said, “We all need to work on accepting who we are and who God made us to be.” I’m still working on that. Right now, I can’t accept myself and it’s hard for me to realize that God loves me just the way I am – but give me some time.

The best advice I heard during this service were the four steps that Keith told us:

  1. Find Your Motivation

  2. Educate Yourself

  3. Choose a Big Challenge

  4. Don’t Do It Alone

For me, my motivation is getting into that beautiful wedding dress that was designed for me. How am I doing that? Well, I educated myself with a dietician and while it wasn’t fun, I cut out a lot of food. I still exercise at OrangeTheory Fitness four times a week, but now I’m focusing on my input. My advice: you can’t go wrong with vegetables and protein. While it’s not always fun, I’m learning that my eating is merely a survival, not a celebration of good foods. What’s my challenge? While it may seem silly, I challenge myself to make new meals once or twice a week. That simply means going on Pinterest and looking for all-natural meals that provide all the nutrients I need.

Last, I can’t stress how big changes require a bigger support system. My parents have been so understanding and my biggest cheerleaders these past few weeks. They’ve texted me almost every day sharing scripture, encouragement, and love. They’ve even driven over to Indianapolis from Dayton to meal-prep with me and buy me groceries. My wonderful fiancé is also constantly encouraging my new lifestyle and taking the extra moments at the end of the day to get little walks in with me. I also couldn’t do it without my small group. They listen, they love, and they support me so well.

Let's Do it Together

All in all – we need each other through tough seasons in life. I didn’t expect to share this all, but it’s liberating. My dear friend, you are not alone through any weight trial that you’re going through. There are so many of us that go through similar seasons in life, so I encourage you to start talking to people about how they can help you better! Interested in getting active with Grace? Check out all of the opportunities coming up here.

Be Encouraged

I want to leave you with this last though. While some of us feel shame, let us be encouraged that we are fearfully and wonderfully made. Even though we might not feel it sometimes – we are masterpieces and precious temples. Let us treat ourselves with dignity, respect, and so much love. 
 

Comments

Thank you for sharing this story! I'm blown away by your honesty and vulnerability. So honored and blessed to read about your journey.

Posted by Brian on May 9, 2017 @ 11:08 am

Thank you for your encouraging words! It is so good to know I am not alone. You can do this!

Posted by Dianne on May 8, 2017 @ 8:12 pm

Holy cow. Thank you. Your words are powerful and representative of all of us in some way. Blessed to read your story.

Posted by Tyler on May 4, 2017 @ 11:21 am