Trainers and towel on a wooden floor

Second Chances

Sharon Newson is a motivational speaker, personal trainer and owner of Big Picture Living. She shared the story of her struggle with emotional eating and how she learned to trust God through difficult situations.

I was brought up in a Christian home and went to church regularly, making a personal decision for Christ at the age of 12 years old. There were a lot of issues going on in my life, mainly around food, weight, self-esteem and identity, which led to comfort/emotional eating. I was shy and didn’t talk to anybody about it; I didn’t think that God would be interested, so I tried to cope on my own rather than trusting God.

In 2010, when I was at my heaviest weight of 23.5 stone, I reached rock bottom. A friend told me about his journey with Alcoholics Anonymous, and eventually I plucked up courage to tell him that how he struggled with alcohol, I struggled with food. He told me about a group called Overeaters Anonymous, but at that time I thought I was beyond help. It was another three months before I plucked up courage and went to my first OA meeting.

Working with a sponsor, I started dealing with the underlying hidden reasons of why I was overeating. I identified emotions and triggers, but instead of turning to food, I prayed and then I phoned my sponsor and we talked it through. In that first year I lost five stone and started to see myself as God sees me – a precious loved daughter with a unique purpose in life.  I lost a further 5 stone the following year by increasing my activity levels.

In 2013 I was working as a part-time admin assistant when I was made redundant. The week before I got my redundancy letter, I was aware of God telling me repeatedly: ‘Be still. Be calm. Don’t panic. I’m in control.’  I went along to the Job Centre to sign on, and they said, ‘Through your redundancy, that opens up some funding. What would you like to train in?’ After some thought, I trained as a Level 2 gym instructor, achieved a foundational teaching qualification, and went on to become a specialist personal trainer with my own business!

I had the same reassuring ‘I’m in control’ words from God in the week before I had my totally unexpected heart attack, early on Wednesday 16th Aug 2017. The last thing I remember is teaching a Back Pain exercise class on the previous evening, going home and going to bed. The next thing I know, I’m waking up in Intensive Care on Saturday morning with tubes and wires everywhere.

Since then, God has continued to open doors. Having been given a second chance, I’m grabbing life and running with it. I’m passionate about sharing my story and encouraging others to see their true worth in Christ. If it prompts just one person to reach out for help, then it’s worth it. Shame and guilt compound everything, because when you keep a problem in the dark, it doesn’t get resolved. It’s painful and can be embarrassing to bring it out into the light, but the release you get when you do is incredibly liberating.

God can take that shame and guilt and replace it with His love and acceptance.  All He asks is that you come as you are - He wants you raw and real. God loves you unconditionally and He has great plans for you.

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