Sunday, May 13, 2018
Cream & Ecru with Navy accents
My mom found Weigh Down, one of the many ministries of Remnant Fellowship Church, for the first time back in 1999 and then she came back to it in 2008 when I was in 7th grade. At that time I did not have any weight to lose. I was always a very active kid. I played baseball from late spring until winter and in the winter I went straight into basketball. Weight was never an issue for me. When I quit playing baseball I continued to eat the way that I always had, but with no physical activity I gained weight very quickly because my body didn't need all of that food.
I was blind to this transformation though and it wasn't until my freshman year of college that I had my eyes opened. I was on vacation with the Days when I looked in the mirror one night and it just hit me: I was 225lbs, prideful, anti-authority, greedy, I was lusting after things I shouldn't have been, and I was searching for the praise of man in all things. I immediately shared what I had seen with a few of my friends and some of the adults on that trip, and started putting into practice what I should have been all along. For basically the first time ever I started listening to my body, waiting for the growl and not eating otherwise. Whenever I felt like eating, but wasn't truly hungry I would go to God and pray or read my Bible just like we have been taught to do. I started a strongholds class with my mom and got set up with a truth stream. For me that was huge! From January 2014- April 2014 I lost 65 lbs just by following these basic principles that we hear consistently in Weigh Down and Remnant Fellowship. From there I started working on getting more under authority, turning my focus off of what I wanted and onto what God wanted and slowly all of the vices that I had hidden away in my heart for so long started to disappear. I laid down lust, and greed for food. I restored relationships with my parents that honestly should have been beyond repair because of how I had treated them.
"I fell in love with her gentle spirit, her caring nature, and her desire to only do what is right. I knew within a matter of months that she was the girl I wanted to spend the rest of my life with." - Josh
When I say "I" I really mean with the help of God I was able to do these things because without Him I would have been stuck going down a path that led to destruction. I know I am young but I have spent my whole life in public schools, and in work places where everyone just seems lost. They turn to drugs, alcohol, lust, food, everything just to feel "alive." When the only real way to feel alive is to find a true relationship with God and live your life following in the footsteps of Jesus Christ. We are taught how to do that at Remnant Fellowship and I am forever grateful for a place that teaches me the truth and has helped me do a 180 with my life. Praise God for truth.
How We Met
Hope and I met almost 8 years ago at Feast of Harvest in 2010. We quickly became very close friends and stayed in contact texting while she was in Arkansas and making sure to always get together when she came up to Nashville. There was always a feeling of love there, but for the longest time it was just love in the friendship form, "Philia." When Hope moved in the summer of 2016 I felt it on my heart to at least explore the option of turning that friendship into something more. We started spending more and more time together as time went on and during Feast of Harvest in 2016 we started dating. We already knew each other and had been so close for so long that everything just came easy. God quickly turned that Philia love into "Eros" love as I spent more and more time with Hope. I fell in love with her heart for God first and foremost. I fell in love with her gentle spirit, her caring nature, and her desire to only do what is right. I knew within a matter of months that she was the girl I wanted to spend the rest of my life with.
The Engagement Story
Last August I got the opportunity to ask Hope's dad if I could marry her. The plan originally was for Hope to not even know that I had asked, but someone it let slip that not only had I asked, but that I was given a yes. Then I had to tell Hope that I was actually given a no, and I really had to play it up so that she would believe me. I could tell that she was bummed out, but I knew it would all be worth it for the surprise that would come at the end. I planned and schemed all the different ways that I could propose without her even being the slightest bit suspicious of what I was doing. The idea finally came to me and God 100% blessed the whole thing. Hope's mom Carmen, and her brother, Andy, are both phenomenal photographers, so I figured that I could use that to my advantage. My parents had talked about doing family pictures for quite a while and so I convinced Hope that we needed to get dressed up to go take family pictures out at Arrington Vineyards. We took pictures of our family both with and without Hope and then I told her that I wanted to get some pictures of just us while we had access to some great photographers. We walked down a row of grapevines and Andy had us stop so that he could get the perfect shot. My parents moved into the row of grapevines next to us while Carmen and Andy got their cameras ready. Andy gave me the green light and after I confessed my love and apologized for not telling the truth about her dad's answer, I got down on one knee and asked Hope to marry me. I'm not really sure I ever got an audible yes, but her actions gave me the answer I had been praying for. While Hope composed herself, 7 of our closest friends came rushing down the hill to come join in on the celebration before we went back to church to kick off Feast of Harvest 2017. Seven years after I had met Hope, God allowed me to propose to the girl of my dreams!
I grew up in a small town in southwest Arkansas. My mother found Weigh Down Ministries in 1996 after having my older brother. She went to her doctor asking for a safe diet pill, and he gave her the number to the Weigh Down office. She lost over 100 pounds, and our lives were changed forever! We became members of Remnant Fellowship Church in June of 2002. I've had the amazing opportunity of basically growing up in this message of total love and obedience to God. It truly is the MOST blessed life!
I was in public school from kindergarten to the seventh grade. As I got older, I realized my peers were starting to go down a path I did not want to be a part of. Their lives were full of pain, and they were starting to turn to drugs, alcohol, and lust. If it were not for the powerful messages being poured out from God through Gwen Shamblin, I would have been right there with them. However, since I knew that God was the only way to fill an empty, hurting heart, I never had to go through the suffering my peers did. I knew how to run to God when I was struggling and that saved me from so much pain and regret.
After much prayer, I started to home school in the eighth grade. This eliminated worldly distractions, and it allowed me to graduate a year early. I finished in May of 2016, and God allowed me to move to Brentwood in the same month! I had been praying since I was a little girl to move closer to our church, and be around others who were constantly seeking God and His Will. It was one of the sweetest answered prayers ever!!
God totally took care of every detail when I moved. In the last two years, I've gotten to live with two of the most Godly, loving families. They selflessly took me in and let me be a part of their lives, and I am forever grateful. I was also accepted into a competitive medical program and that was a huge answered prayer as well. This life is truly over the top!! I'm incredibly thankful for Gwen Shamblin and the truth the Heavens continue to pour out through her. The conviction to love God with all of my heart, soul, mind and strength has made all the difference in my life.
"There is no fear going into this marriage because we've been taught how to go to God when the tests and trials come." - Hope
There has definitely been testing with all of these different chapters, but the beauty in that it's all been for my refinement. I've been tested with self-focus, self-protection, greed, anti-authority, and more. Anyone who knows me knows I have a sweet tooth. If it were not for this message, I would no doubt be a cow. However, through God's perfect boundaries of hunger and fullness, I can eat oreos and brownies with no fear of ballooning up. His ways are incredibly generous! It's more than just being able to eat sweets; it's about having a personal relationship with God over food indulgence of anything else that is priceless! I am so grateful that He has always come in with conviction to help me realize when I'm being tempted and how to choose His way. No matter what the test is, I know there's a whole body of people I can go to who have gone through it before me. There is so much peace in that!
Josh has been one of my best friends for over seven years now. We met at Feast of Harvest in 2010. We quickly became friends and kept in touch while I lived in Arkansas. He was someone I could always count on to be there for me through testing times. After I moved in May, our friendship became stronger throughout the summer. We started dating during Feast of Harvest in 2016. Almost a year later, Josh proposed on the night that Feast of Harvest was starting in 2017. In that year, God taught us so much! We were able to put into practice being under authority and wanting His Will above all things. I'm so grateful that the man I get to marry is someone who loves God more than me, has gently guided me closer to God, and seeks to find the perfect lead for our lives. Every single day gets better! There is so much love, joy, and fun! As we fall more in love with God, we fall more in love with each other, and I cannot wait for the rest of our lives!
There is no fear going into this marriage because we've been taught how to go to God when the tests and trials come. With the countless, righteous examples we have to look up to, we will always have someone to help us. Without our selfless leaders and their help, we would not be here today. We are so undeserving of this life! I cannot believe I get to marry my very best friend and spend our lives serving God together!