Who Is Kim?

Kim Edwards before

Kim before Unity

It was a Friday morning in March, 2015.  Fridays are casual dress days at work, jeans allowed.  I pulled a pair out of the drawer, went into the bathroom and began to dress.  As the jeans reached my thighs, I had to struggle to pull them over my hips and suck in my stomach to zip them.   The shirt was next, same results, using my arms in frustration to stretch the sides a little wider so it wouldn’t be quite so tight.  And these were my “fat” clothes.  We all have them, the larger sizes we keep for when we’ve “gained a few pounds.”  Okay, so to be completely honest, my fat clothes had become my new norm, and rapidly on the way to being folded and put away for when I could fit into them again.

I avoided the mirror, not wanting to see what I really looked like.  How did I get here? I thought.  How did I go from a healthy, active 5’2”, 130 pound woman to a tired, obese, 205 pound woman?

The answer to that question is really not that complicated.  I’m short with a curvy figure, and weight has always been a struggle.  Not to mention that on the klutz factor I rate pretty high, so organized sports have not been a part of my life.  And I’m a Southern girl who likes to eat.  However, I kept it pretty much under control until my early twenties, and the yo-yoing began, constantly losing and gaining the same 25 pounds.  On someone as vertically challenged as me, that’s a lot of weight.

Somewhere in my middle thirties, I decided to put an end to the battle once and for all.  I began a strict regimen of diet and exercise.  Strength training six days a week, running three miles every day, seven days a week.  No starchy carbs would pass through my lips, no fatty foods, no sugar.  In no time at all the 25 pounds and then some were gone.  I was toned and lean, the poster girl for fitness.  I weighed 122 pounds and could bench press 105 pounds, and liked to show everyone I could do it.  Secretly (I’m sure not as secretly as I thought) I saw myself as better than most.  A Christian, I was a faithful in my church attendance, a Sunday school teacher, fit, exercised, never ate unhealthily and looked down my nose at those who did, even though I pretended I didn’t and certainly would never have voiced it.

Kim Edwards after

Kim after Unity

About the time I became really fit, my marriage began to crumble – my second marriage.  I threw myself even more into fitness at a manic, obsessive rate to give me something else to focus on.  After a long and difficult divorce, I began the process of rebuilding my life as a newly single woman.

At that point, a man from my past came back into my life, a man I had emotional ties to and, though many years had passed since our first involvement, he still held a part of my heart.  My divorce was final, his was in progress.  Our relationship very rapidly became physical and serious, and the intense focus I once had on diet and exercise I now focused on him.  He came first in my life over anything and everything else.  I strived hard to be the perfect companion for him, not just seeking his approval but needing it, immersing myself in his world, his friends, his hobbies.  In my need to please him, I began to lose my individuality.  I was afraid to disagree with him on anything lest it cause any sort of disharmony and weaken the threads that bound us.

After a few years of living together at my home, he purchased some land and built his own house.  Or, as he put it, “our” house.  We lived at his house during the week and mine on the weekends, a constant shuffle between the two.  To make a long story short, it was the beginning of the end for me.  I knew deep down that the relationship would never be a healthy partnership, and would never completely fill the void I felt deep within my innermost self.

toby dog at rodanthe dog park

Toby Dog

I had always been vaguely uncomfortable with the unholy lifestyle I had allowed myself to sink into, bit by bit, but had managed to quell the voice of the Holy Spirit convicting me of the sinfulness I had become so deeply entrenched in.  Now that reality was slowly but surely creeping into the reluctant forefront of my thoughts, the Spirit began to shake my soul and clamor to be heard.  If I did that I couldn’t have what I wanted, the man I wanted, so I shut the door on God and ignored the Holy Spirit’s voice inside of me that made me uncomfortable with how I was living.  If I listened to God it would cause pain, because the unholy relationship would have to end.  Alcohol and food served as my pain pills, blocking out God’s voice as well as the pain of the reality of the relationship.

So I started to drink a little more than usual and gave up even trying to follow a daily, healthy diet.

It wasn’t unusual for me to have a glass of wine or a good cold beer on Friday and Saturday nights.  I’d been drinking most of my adult life and knew quite a bit about wines.  But the more the inner voice inside me began to clamor to be heard, the more I’d drink to silence it.  No one falls off a cliff into a sinful lifestyle.  It creeps up on us a little bit at the time, and we dig the pit deeper and deeper with each compromise.  I’d drink a little more, eat a little more, needing more each time to silence the Spirit and fill the void.

It didn’t take long to become an overweight, functioning alcoholic to the tune of 50 pounds overweight and a half a gallon of vodka per week.  You can’t hide that kind of drinking.  You think you can, and you pretend you have everyone around you fooled.  It’s easy for the functioning alcoholic to convince themselves of that lie when you get up and go to work every day and no one questions or intervenes.

My intervention came in late spring on a Friday night.  We were at my house and he confronted me as we went to bed that night.  I lied for about two minutes, then came clean and honestly answered every question he asked, terrified, but at the same time relieved that this burden was no longer mine alone.  He said he would be there for me, help me to begin the path to sobriety, support me along the way. I did everything he asked, confessed to my family, attended AA meetings and sought counseling.  While I was sincere in wanting to be sober, I would be less than honest if I didn’t own up to the fact that a large part of my efforts were to keep the relationship alive.  Ironically, it was his list of things I had to do in order for him to continue to be a part of my life that finally opened my eyes to the inevitable, and the relationship officially ended.

I do want to be absolutely clear on one thing. I do not blame him or anyone else for that time in my life, which resulted in addictions I allowed to control me.  It happened because of the compromises and choices I made, things that I knew at the time were going against God.  It happened because I didn’t allow God control over my life and those choices.

After the relationship ended, it took four months for God to knock some sense into my stubborn head and I found myself on my knees in repentance.  I begged God to forgive me for the sins I had committed and the way I had lived for the past several years.  I was the woman at the well who found the Living Water, the prodigal daughter that had returned home to her Father, who had been anxiously waiting and watching for her return and ran to meet her with joy, arms open wide in a loving embrace.

I wish I could say that even though my desire for alcohol was gone, the food addiction went along with it.  It didn’t.  I still ate unhealthily and I didn’t exercise, didn’t take care of the body God gave me.  It was not until that March morning I finally faced the mirror and was powerless to avoid it any more.  It also hit me like a ton of bricks that I was a hypocrite.  As a youth leader at my church, how could I tell my kids to take care of the earthly body God gives us and, since He resides in us, our bodies are also His temple, when I didn’t do the same?

Once again I was on my knees in repentance and submission.  I gave God control of my eating and exercise in that one moment and haven’t looked back since.  I lost 70 pounds, am at a healthy weight and exercise on a regular basis.  Some days it’s easy, and some days I’m constantly praying for His strength and His will to help me make healthy eating choices and get the lead out of my feet to exercise.  Regardless of whether it’s a good day or a bad day, I know that as long as I continue to allow Him control of my physical and spiritual self I will not fall back into old habits.  It’s amazing the freedom and joy God will fill you with when you allow Him to!

Since I gave every single aspect of my life over to God, my attitude, outlook and motivations have undergone a drastic change.  I have not forgotten where I came from and how, as a Christian woman, I fell so far from God.  Because of my experiences, I want to let others know that with God nothing is impossible.  Every person on this earth has emptiness inside.  You can try to fill it with wealth, relationships, food, alcohol, drugs, power, material possessions, you name it.  But I believe the emptiness comes from the lack of that personal, saving relationship with God and nothing on this earth can fill that empty and lonely void but Him.  It doesn’t matter if you’ve never given your life to God, if you’re a Christian and have turned away from God, no matter what you’ve done in your life or with your life.  He loves you no matter what and is just waiting to give you love and fulfillment on a scale you can’t possibly imagine.

As you may have read on the home page, it’s my hope that sharing my story will help someone out there who is struggling, to let them know there is someone who has been there, done that and it is possible to conquer a lifetime pattern of addictions. It is my prayer that on your journey, you will strengthen and renew your relationship with God or, for some, begin a personal, saving relationship with Him.   If you have never received Him as your personal Savior and want to know how, click here ABC’s to Salvation.

As for me, I’m a happy country girl with a constant, loyal buddy, Toby (aka Toby Dog, Noodle Head, Darlin’ Doggie) and two cats, Nicky and Ms. Thomas.  I have a close-knit, Christian family, attend a wonderful little country church filled with big-hearted, God-loving people and the best group of youth anyone could ask for.  I have a rich life filled with blessings from God that I haven’t earned and certainly don’t deserve!  

That’s my story.  Now begins His story!

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