Thursday, February 17, 2011

Joining In!

Hi, my name is Donna Bixby.  I am a happy, single nearly 37 year old that is excited about being busy about what God places in my lap.  As you can see from the photo, I have been on a journey!  I started last February, and it is all because of Him. My goal here is to be motivated to persevere for the right reasons: to better serve the Body of Christ.  (And because Maribel B. invited me!)  My introduction is an edited version of  what I have put on my own personal blog.  I'm sorry it's so long, but I really don't know how else to help you see my history.  I really did cut it down!!

We all have spiritual battles.  Some are visible.  Some are invisible.  All are battles, and the battle is fought in the invisible realm, where no one sees, no one knows, no one has access.  No one, except a loving, faithful, gracious, and merciful Father.  These are the ruminations of the deepest and most secretive part of my heart in my battle of obesity.

My parents are missionaries.  I was born in the heart of Africa, and when I was 10 we moved to France. I have struggled with weight my whole life.   I think it's pretty safe to say that the only time in my life when I wasn't over weight was probably when I was born!  Obviously, my body makeup has a tendency toward obesity, and I have hidden behind that excuse, however legitimate or illegitimate it was, my whole life.

I realize now that as time went by I became bitter.  Bitter that the rest of my family and friends could eat whatever they wanted and not get fat.  Bitter that God had given me such an obvious thorn in the flesh.  Bitter that I got the Morgan family genes and not the Bixby genes.  As a result, I reacted.  I reacted by eating.

My parents tried everything: from bribing, to monitoring, to lecturing, to ignoring, to taking me to doctors--nothing worked--at least for long.  And, if anything, I think I became more bitter.  Before starting college I was put on an incredibly rigid diet, took some type of diet drug given by the French doctor for the obese American girl, and weighed in with him every week.  I did lose weight.  I think I lost about 50 pounds and was probably the closest to a normal weight that I have ever been.  Then, I was released to dorm life.  Unfortunately, the vending machine just down the hall and no authority were more than I could handle.  While the diet/drugs had worked, they had not taught me how I needed to eat for my body.  I was still not able to accept that my body was going to require a different form of eating.  I LOVE food.  Therefore, I EAT food.  I gained back the 50 pounds with probably 20 or 30 more to boot.  (I do not have records of my weight, and I don't remember--perhaps repressed memory!!)

My guess is that I hovered around 80 pounds overweight for the rest of my college years.  I was constantly depriving myself--in public at least.  I was always embarrassed, always felt ashamed, and always felt like I was an embarrassment to my family.
When my sister got engaged, I used that as motivation and rejoined a program I had been on before.  (After all, I didn't want to be the fat, old maid sister on the platform!)  Then she changed her wedding date, and the knowledge that there was no earthly way for me to lose anything significant within 3 months discouraged me.  I remember crying in bed one night and literally saying:  "I quit--this is the way I am.  I'll never be skinny like the rest of my family.  I've just got to accept it and quit worrying about it and stressing over it."  That was when I truly quit.  I no longer cared.  Oh, I made appropriate comments about dieting, or being careful when they were called for and were socially demanded, but inside I knew I was hopelessly doomed. 

I listened to the comments/lectures about how talented and beautiful I was, the “If you’d just lose weight, you could have any guy you want” comments and just sank deeper into hopelessness and deeper into bitterness.

Then my sister-in-law (who was not THAT over weight) started losing weight.  One day when we were talking she told me how she had had to realize that it was a spiritual battle and that she needed to lose weight for the sake of the Gospel.  I listened and paid obeisance, but truthfully I was rolling my eyes.  I think that was perhaps the beginning of my “break-through” though. 
However, during the next two years, I seemed to gain even more weight.  I was not necessarily trying to lose weight, but I was certainly trying to at least maintain.  With no one living with me anymore, I quit cooking.  I started just picking.  Eating here and there, and not really noticing what or how much I ate. 

By January of 2010, I hit rock bottom as I hit an all-time high on the scales of 302 pounds.
Through the preceding few weeks, I had been realizing that my desire to serve and help people (and potentially caring for my parents in their old age) was being/would be hindered by my weight.  There were ministry opportunities that I was missing out on because of my weight.  I suddenly realized that if I didn’t lose weight, someone would be having to give of their time and their energy to serve and take care of ME—and I wanted it to be, by God’s grace, the other way around.

About 2 weeks later, my aunt mentioned that she was going to join Weight Watchers and asked if I wanted to do it with her.  I did.  For the first time in about 26 years of weight loss struggle, I was ready to lose weight for the right reasons.  NOT to find a husband, NOT to please my parents, NOT to avoid being an embarrassment to my siblings, NOT to avoid personal embarrassment, NOT to make a good impression, but because it was the BEST thing to aid me in my desire to glorify and magnify Christ by serving His Body.  It was for the sake of the Gospel.

I joined WW on February 6, 2010.  Joining WW has been just what I needed.  It is not really a diet.  It is a method that teaches you how to eat.  I had rebelled against writing down every bite of what enters my mouth, but I submitted—for the sake of the Gospel.  And it’s worked!!   God in His grace and mercy has helped me to be faithful and consistent.

So, my journey, for the sake of the Gospel, has begun. I am 93.6 lbs. into it, and I have about 66 more to go, but I know that He will help me do it.
I have been blogging my journey; it is a blocked blog, but if you are interested, feel free to shoot me an email (, and I’ll be glad to invite you.  My desire is that my journey will bring God all the glory and help someone else out there who is struggling like I was.
(I hope I did all the labelling correctly.  I'm still a bit confused!  Feel free to set me straight!)


The Herd said...

I love your motivation and discipline with the WW and for the sake of the gospel!

Charlie said...

Donna B,

You have an amazing story. I'm sure it is one that God can use in so many ways to reach people for the gospel. I am so excited for you. You truly are an inspiration.

So glad that you've joined.


KathyH said...

Hey Donna!

Thankyou for your honesty and sharing your story so far. It is a real encouragement to me.


Kathy <><

Dani Joy said...

AMEN, Sister! I am moved to tears and then want to jump up and shout, Victory! God is so Good!

So glad you posted your journey for us to read! Praising God with you on your victory. This is what I truly belive and am trying to incorporate in our ministry. We must glorify the Lord with our bodies, soul and spirit. It is a spiritual issue. God made us so wonderfully and He wants us to take care of ourselves for His Glory!

I got all teary eyed when I read this part -
"I was ready to lose weight for the right reasons. NOT to find a husband, NOT to please my parents, NOT to avoid being an embarrassment to my siblings, NOT to avoid personal embarrassment, NOT to make a good impression, but because it was the BEST thing to aid me in my desire to glorify and magnify Christ by serving His Body. It was for the sake of the Gospel."

This is the key! Praise God!

Thank you, Thank you for being Bold for Christ and sharing your testimony!

I love you in Him. I am cheering for you and springing into shape with ya,

Big hugs,
Dani Joy

Dani Joy said...

I would love to be invited to your blog.


Vicki King said...

So great to see you here!! I saw that Maribel had invited you and was hoping you would join. I have read your testimony before on your blog, but it was an encouragement to read through it again. Praise the Lord! I met Dani when I was a short-termer in Spain 10+ years ago and we have kept in contact ever since. It looks like you are already doing fine on motivation, but hopefully being a part of this challenge will add a little fun competition for you - you will probably blow us all away. :)

CindyP said...

Donna, your post spoke to my heart. I have used some of the things you stated as motivation, but they somehow weren't enough. I have never thought about being healthy for the sake of the gospel. Thank you so much for your honesty.

Maribel said...

Oh Donna, you made me cry! Thank you for your testimony! I am so excited to have you here. I hope to see you soon. See if I can keep up with your running program. (I got to run 5K the other day). But you are so faithful! May God give you the needed strength and direction. Please let me see your blog.



Donna said...

Thank you, everyone...thank the Lord. Part of me feels ashamed that I ever got to be so big....I am so grateful that in His mercy He allowed me to get a grip on this before it was too late. HE IS GOOD and FAITHFUL!

Donna said...

Maribel, I sent an invite to the email address I had on FB.

Siberia said...

Donna, Welcome to our challenge group. We are really glad to have you join us. I remember meeting you many years ago, as our church supported your family, and I remember you coming twice on 2 different furloughs. BTW, I never remember thinking you were overweight. Praise the Lord for the victory He is giving you in this area.


Donna said...

Tami, which church? I doubt I remember, b/c I have a horrible memory, but I'll try. I'm glad you don't remember me fat, but I can guarantee you, at best I was overweight!

Siberia said...

Donna, It was Calvary Baptist Church in Charleston, IL. It is just a little colonial style church in the middle of corn fields. My dad was the pastor at the time, Tom Trumbull. There is a good chance you even ate at our home for dinner, most of the missionaries did. I remember you coming in either 1989 or 1990, and a few years before that.


Donna said...

Tami, I definitely remember the church! My mom says I remember you, too! haha! Sorry, but at this point, I can't say that I do. We usually remembered people by the description of the church and/or events from that church. Mom and Dad always say "that's the church where...." and we all go "oh, yeah..." :)

rosa said...

Hi Donna, I just wanted to tell you that I am praying for you :) Is everything going well? there has been a long time since the last time you wrote something here. So I was just wondering... Greetings!