Once upon a time there was a young woman who suffered from depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem. Because she didn’t really value herself, she saw no reason for others to value her either. She found herself in bad situations and sometimes abusive relationships in hopes of finding whatever it was that seemed to be missing. She was on a destructive path and didn’t know how to get off.
She went on and on for years like this, and so did the extra pounds, which only exacerbated her low self-esteem. But even in the darkest places, she felt drawn to God.
Her name is Mary. And this is an account of her transformation journey.
It was 1993 and Mary was pregnant, diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and had just suffered a stroke. “But even then, I lived in denial,” Mary said.
She carried on with her internal struggles for sixteen more years.
It is said that a journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. Mary’s first step in her transformation began in July of 2009 when she walk into church and recommitted her life to Christ. Slowly, one step at a time, God was beginning a work inside of her. Mary drew strength from scriptures like:
Joshua 1:9 NLT “…be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
Philippians 4:13 NLT “For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.”
They were no longer just words, but motivation to grow. To continue her growth, she joined a bible study where she met Sean Sorey. Mary and Sean were married soon after. Then followed the birth of her fourth daughter. And then followed even more extra pounds which worsened her diabetes, anxiety, depression and self-worth—despite what she read in the bible. Mary said she struggled with negative thoughts so often, they became like one constant voice that felt like a dark, heavy cloud hovering over her.
But God knew her thoughts. He knew how to begin healing her from the inside out. In 2011, God brought a Christian friend into Mary’s life who struggled with weight issues as well. Mary decided to take another step of faith, and the two women started a fitness journey and accountability partnership. Shortly after they began however, her friend got pregnant and Mary was without an accountability partner.
In 2012 when she became too out of breath to make it up a hill for her daughter’s graduation, Mary was devastated. Her health had gotten out of hand. Her type 2 diabetes had brought on neuropathy, and she also had bone spurs in her feet. This caused Mary to feel defeated because exercise was out of the question. Despite her feelings of defeat, Mary took another step, when she made a decision that she needed God’s help to lose weight and to tackle those negative voices that told her she wasn’t valuable.
The progress of losing weight was slow, but Mary pressed on through faith that she could do everything through Christ who gave her strength. Mary admits that it wasn’t just one thing that gave her the push to start her transformation journey. It was several little things that she believes God orchestrated— like a song, a verse, a scripture, or a friend with an encouraging word. But always God came first. And God was where she found the strength, determination and consistency needed to press onward.
In February of 2015 Mary and her husband Sean signed up for a six-week weight loss challenge at a Camp Transformation Fitness Center. “I learned that I was capable of doing more physically than I ever thought possible,” Mary said. “One day I was trying to lift a heavy weight that seemed impossible. Then I thought about the cross that Jesus carried for me, and I was able to lift that weight and more!”
“Through this experience, I have discovered God on new levels,” Mary said. “I’ve discovered Him in the scientific complexities of our bodies and how they function. And I’ve discovered that God cares intimately for each one of us. One word that keeps coming back to me is, AMAZING.”
Since Mary’s weight loss journey began in 2011, Mary has lost a total of 100 pounds! She was a size 3X and she is now a size 8-10. As a bonus, she no longer has a need for insulin shots!
But the most important part of the transformation has been on the inside. Mary no longer feels that she is not valuable because God has given her real VALUE and PURPOSE. Mary knows what it feels like to be trapped and depressed inside of one’s own body.
“Now I have a purpose to help inspire and encourage woman. If I can do this, anyone can,” Mary said.