Strange title, I know. But I really have been stripping for Jesus for quite a while now. Allow me to explain. I guess my stripping career began in my 20’s. God began showing me things in my life that had to go – pain, memories, etc. Like cleaning out a closet you have to pull everything out, deal with it and decide what you can throw away and what you will deal with later. I stripped a lot of painful childhood memories then. But like an onion there are layers.
In my 30’s I had to strip some more. Pain from the baggage my husband and I brought into our marriage was the theme of the stripping of my 30’s. This is also when I began to learn about forgiveness. It was a completely foreign concept to me. To me forgiving meant forgetting and I just wasn’t there. God taught me so much about forgiveness during that time. He taught me that forgiveness means freedom for me. I began to learn that like my emotions, forgiveness is also like an onion. Many times it comes in layers and many times you have to forgive over and over. Towards the end of my 30’s I was faced with the biggest forgiveness journey I would ever embark on.
Part of my stripping process was dealing with childhood abuse. Like that onion, it was a process and came in layers. One day about 10 years ago I found out that this same childhood abuse and been inflicted on another family member. To say I was devastated was an understatement. My onion was blown wide open. After all the work I had done stripping myself of the pain, it was back and it was back in a big way. I felt responsible. If I had told, perhaps she would have been spared. I felt guilt, shame, and pain in a huge way. It was during this time that my brother found out about my childhood abuse. Since that day he has never spoken to me again. I don’t even know how to process those feelings.
So along with the stripping process and the forgiveness journey, there was real life legal and family issues that nearly paralyzed me. It took me 3 years of very hard and painful work but I ended up reconciling with my abuser who was my father, and forgiving him and ultimately taking care of him during the last days of his life. God had brought me through a desert of complete stripping and healing and allowed me the privilege to watch my father take his last breaths. I would have missed that had I not done the stripping work as well as the forgiveness work. I’m so grateful that I did.
As I’ve written before, my 40’s have been my latest stripping journey. God stripped me of a school and many friends that I loved so much, not to mention all the children at the school. Again, it nearly wiped me out. I went back to the desert asking the Lord why He needed to strip so much from me? Wasn’t I done yet? Later came the loss of my family and my husband’s family through a great deal of pain. I have sat with the Lord so many times asking why but I think as always my time would be better served simply doing the work I need to do and getting on with it.
As with any desert, in the midst of it there is beauty. My current beauty is the engagement and soon-to-be weddings of two of my children. Since the time my first child was born, I’ve been overweight. I used food for comfort as I went through my stripping journey. Over the years and of course with all I’d been through I felt I deserved it. I never could understand why God would strip me of my pain and not allow my weight loss efforts to be successful. I tried everything. I tried shakes, bars, starvation and packaged food. Nothing worked for long. I even thought about gastric bypass but knew that unless I could strip myself of my love affair with food I would never be successful.
This past October, 2 of my children became engaged. I decided that I wasn’t going to their wedding as the fat mom. Honestly, I wasn’t convinced I’d be successful. I had made this same resolution a million times before. But on October 17th I set out to strip myself of this weight once an for all. As of today I’ve lost 55 pounds. I still have 35 more to go. I probably won’t have it all off in time for the wedding, but I’m getting there. What I discovered in this journey is that God’s timing is perfect and that He had to strip me of all the other pain in my life and have me work through that before he could strip me of the food. I have been determined and successful. I won’t say its been easy (I really miss cake) but it has not been the struggle it’s been in the past and it’s a wonderful feeling to see it go, not to mention the fun I’m having throwing out my old clothes!
So my career as a stripper for Jesus continues. Right now he’s stripping me of weight and that stripping is fun. Who knows what it will be in the future, but for now I’m embracing my career as a stripper.