From adoration to weight loss: discovering the toolbox of Grace

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Grace is invisible.

We feel its power pushing us forward. It takes us many places both serene and chaotic. It molds and shapes us. Yet there’s nothing concrete to grasp onto. Or is there?

monstrance

Our Lady of Peace Geneva, St. Stephen’s, Adoration Chapel, Flickr Creative Commons

It is a mystery of our faith as demonstrated through the incarnation—God is spirit, grace invisible, and yet, God provides us with a toolbox to go along with that grace. As Jesus once came to Earth as man, and comes to us now through the bread and wine of the Holy Eucharist which we consume, so God’s grace comes to us through concrete and very human tools.

Recently I declared a personal victory.

After ten months of hard work, I had reached my weight loss goal. It wasn’t an enormous amount (just twenty-seven pounds) but that did not diminish the glow of achievement. I discovered that the rewards of those lost pounds were far greater than favorite clothes regained. I was reminded again of the toolbox God provided me when He first infused me with the grace to begin this journey.

before and after1

Getting the elephant to move!

It had been fifteen years since I had been successful losing weight. At sixty I found it far easier to gain! The very idea of trying seemed impossible—it was like an elephant was sitting on top of me. I had given it permission to stay even as I longed for it to leave.

elephant

David Blackwell, Flickr Creative Commons

An invitation

One day last August, after hearing the invitation over and over in my heart, I went to adoration. Bringing my tablet, I watched a video of a musical rosary and spent the hour meditating on the sorrowful mysteries. It was a powerful time of prayer, a rare time of undistracted quiet in front of the Blessed Sacrament.

An image as metaphor

A few days later I noticed a photograph of my sister-in-law on Facebook. She had been out picking blueberries with her one-year-old son strapped in a carrier on her chest. I had seen her and Nate a few days earlier and knew he weighted some twenty pounds. I was immediately struck with the idea of her carrying twenty pounds on her chest and thought of the back pain I would feel carrying that weight. And then, all of a sudden, I realized I was carrying that weight! As we older women know, most weight gain occurs in the stomach and abdomen areas.

Memories unfold . . .

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Unfolding by Will Montague, Flickr Creative Commons

I then recalled the last time I lost weight with the Atkins diet. It had been a great success. Old memories began to unfold, first of how I liked the food on that diet, and then, of all the strategies I had employed to make that diet work. Once-dormant thoughts began to awaken and reveal themselves to me.

… and the elephant leaves.

As I decided to proceed, a laser-like focus steeled my will and I was on my way. The elephant on me got up and left quickly.

Sweet discipline

Over the next ten months I employed a specific strategy that would keep my focus and shed those unwanted pounds. In the course of the diet, I was changed from a gluttonous to a disciplined and healthy eater.

Tools of grace

a tool filled weekend wicked little cake company-640

a tool filled weekend by wicked little cake company, Flickr Creative Commons

I knew God had provided me with that image of my sister-in-law as the concrete motivator. He then revealed his toolbox through the infusion of grace received from Him in adoration. Tools of memories, ideas, plans and specific actions continued unfolding week to week until today I can say that I have reached my goal. Dieting has been completed; the discipline is engrained in me forever. The elephant will not return.

Just be, and let it happen

All I had to do was answer a simple invitation to spend time alone with God without any other agenda than to just be. He knew my need long before I knew it and He provided generously and in many concrete forms.

We may not be able to touch grace. But grace most certainly touches us.

Copyright 2016 Susan W. Bailey

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About Author

Susan Bailey is an writer, speaker and musician. She is the author of River of Grace Creative Passages Through Difficult Times, published by Ave Maria Press, and Louisa May Alcott: Illuminated by The Message, part of the Literary Portals to Prayer series published by ACTA Publications. Along with her own blogs Be As One and Louisa May Alcott is My Passion), Susan frequently contributes to CatholicMom.com and the Association of Catholic Women Bloggers. She has also contributed to Catholic.net and Catholic Online. Susan writes articles and a monthly column known as Be as One for the Diocese of Worcester newspaper, The Catholic Free Press. Bailey, who works as a marketing/advertising assistant for a local real estate firm, is an associate member of the Commission for Women of the Diocese of Worcester, Massachusetts, where previously she served as chair and secretary, helping to organize the biennial “Gather Us In” women’s conference, one of the first major Catholic women’s conferences in the country. As part of her duties she wrote the monthly column for The Catholic Free Press known as “Concerning Women” and appeared on CatholicTV’s “This is the Day” to promote the conference. A professional musician and graphic artist, Bailey released four CDs, performed on EWTN, CatholicTV and World Youth Day 2002, and worked as a cantor in her parish of St. Luke the Evangelist for fifteen years. She earned a bachelor’s degree in elementary education (with concentrations in US History and Music) from Bridgewater State University. She and her husband, Rich, have two grown children and live in North Grafton, Massachusetts. Susan invites you to join her email list where you will receive updates on exciting professional developments and speaking engagements. Email subscribers also receive special giveaways and previews of new projects. Susan loves a good conversation and looks forward to corresponding with you! Join here.

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