The Final Process of the Challenge….Easter Sunday and the week following…
Going into the weekend, I was overwhelmed with the thought of finalizing a 400 word essay which would be used to narrow me down in the challenge. How could I possibly give all the people deciding who should be narrowed down, just a glimpse of this incredible journey and all of the stories and “God-incidences”?
I wrote and rewrote, sent it out and handed it out to a few friends to get their opinions. Then one wonderful friend, actually stayed up until after midnight on the eve of
Easter, rewriting and putting more personal things of my story in the essay, and upon waking up on Easter morning, I read his version. It was wonderful. I couldn’t believe he stayed up until almost midnight working on making my essay wonderful, with a more personal feel to it. It is so hard to share this journey in just 400 words, but I used the suggestions of close friends, and did the best I could.
Going into Easter, I could barely focus on anything except finishing the strongest that I could. My amazing husband shopped, planned, cooked and took care of EVERYTHING this Easter. I think that I just about found the time to set the table the night before, but I knew that he had everything under control, and just kept supporting me, encouraging me and loving me right up to the last weigh in, helping with so much around the house and with the kids. He’s extraordinary….I am blessed beyond words!
Easter morning, we all went to church. Waking up that morning, I was really excited to put on some new clothes picked out this past week. Elyse always says in the ww meetings, “the world gets brighter as we get lighter”, and this was a brighter Easter morning for me this year.
As I posted earlier in the blog, last Easter I was watching the service on a computer from California, so excited to see Olivia and a few of the biggest loser contestants…I listened to their incredible inspiring stories, but was so sad for myself. I remember just crying in bed, watching and praying and asking God to help me get the motivation and knowledge and strength to do what they all accomplished. I was in California for Easter, where the weather was hot and beautiful, and I was getting up to get dressed in a dark suit, which hid the body that I was ashamed of….heading to a church service where all of the “California girls” were going to be in little fabulous, cute dresses, sleeveless of course! Very very depressing.
So, here we are, a year later, and although I am not in a cute sleeveless dress, YET, I am halfway there. I still have a ways to go, but I am heading into church this year over 57 pounds lighter, much more fit and stronger, feeling much lighter, with a new hope that didn’t exist at all one year ago.
It was wonderful to see everyone at church, and really nice to receive so many beautiful, heart felt comments from so many people. It was nice to take a “break” from the challenge for the day, and just enjoy being with family. The only hard part of the day was that my mom didn’t feel well, and couldn’t join us for dinner. I’m just praying so hard that she can be healed and feeling better after all that she has been through.
We had so much to be thankful for, though, as we prayed at the table, not only for my journey, but also… my son’s band,“The Walking Tree”, was picked up by a Christian record company..they will be touring this summer, and their first CD was released on the internet to be bought. My nephew, who lives with us, found a college that has the exact program that he was looking for, and he and his brother will be attending there together next fall. My daughter is ending a wonderful first year of high school, and continues to get ready for all of her recitals for dance, singing, piano. It’s been exciting to continue to support one another in each of the amazing journeys we are walking through. Continuing to just pray for the Lord to lead each one of us, according to His will and His best plans for each of us.
Monday morning, April 9th, was the date that has been on my mind since the day I signed up for the challenge. On my calendar, I put a huge star on the box for April 9th, with the words, “Last Weigh in, Dr. Oz, You did it…” I wrote this when I signed up in October, and couldn’t believe I was waking up to the actual day. It was almost surreal.
I spent the day working on the final changes to my essay, making sure that all of the sections were checked off for the Dr. Oz challenge, choosing the before and after pictures that had to be sent, and stressing over sending the final choices to the Dr. Oz people. One last time for a few friends to look over the final essay and pictures, and then my husband and I just prayed and hit “send”. Leaving it in God’s hands, again.
Tuesday, April 10, Got up, went to zumba class at the gym, and when I got home and checked my email, the first amazing email came through…” Congratulations, You are one of the 200 Dr. Oz Transformation Nation Finalists”. I screamed with excitement!! I couldn’t even breathe! Clicking on it, it took me to another page where, right away, they wanted the essay (which, thank God, I already sent), along with the pictures, and then a 12 page packet that had to be filled out and faxed and soon as possible.
I filled it all out, my husband helped me with all of the info, and then we took it to be faxed. Everything was sent in….and we left it in God’s hands, again.
I spent the next hour or so, telling friends and family, putting it on the blog and on facebook, and the emails of support coming in were just the best gifts ever! Thanks to all of you!
We had tickets to Godspell Tuesday night, a great way for my husband, the kids and I to celebrate this amazing first step. We realized on the train that the chance of being chosen as part of the 200 finalists, when 1.2 Million people signed up for the challenge, is a .00016 chance. AMAZING!! We were on the train just in awe of getting through this first cut. Again….only God!
We all enjoyed dinner and the show, it was such a wonderful gift to share the night with my husband and the kids. A beautiful night in NYC. When we got home around midnight, there were 2 messages from a producer at the Dr. Oz show, asking for me to call. I went to bed so excited/nervous!
Wednesday, April 10th
Woke up in the morning, called the number and left a message that I would be back after my work out at the gym.
I prayed before calling the number, and then dialed. The woman answered, congratulated me for making it to the 200, and then she asked if I had time to do the interview… now. I said, yes, and lots of questions began…. I thought it was a great interview, and after I hung up the phone, I was thanking God for guiding me with all of the answers to all of the questions, along with that amount of time to be able to share so much of this journey with the woman calling. She listened and typed the entire time while I answered. I thought I would be a nervous wreck, but it was actually really exhilarating and exciting to share with her how this Transformation Nation Challenge has changed my life. It was wonderful to be able to share so much of the journey with her. She was so kind, and I really felt blessed to be able to have the interview with her. I really hope that I get to meet her one day.
The essay is sent, the pictures are sent, all of my numbers are sent, and the interview is over…..again I place it all in God’s hands and pray that I will be narrowed down to the next 50. Another exciting day comes to a close.
April 15, Sunday-Still no word yet, but holding onto faith….
As I sit here on Sunday afternoon, I am holding onto faith that the Lord, who is the author and finisher, has told me to trust him, and that it’s not over yet.
Friday was the toughest day of the entire journey so far, emotionally and spiritually, as I tried to hold onto my belief that I will make it to the end.
I kept wanting to look at the “rules” on the website, but the Lord kept saying in my spirit, “don’t look it up, trust me.” I was doing ok for most of the day, but as the time went to around 5, I started to think and worry….what if everyone got the next email notice of being a finalist in the 50 group and I didn’t? I forgot to ask the producer interviewing me, if I would hear either way. I should have asked. Then again, I also had her phone number and could call and see what was going on….but my husband told me to leave it and trust God. Don’t manipulate the situation at all. Trust Him!
That afternoon, we went to lunch at Harbor Deli, and while we were on line, I noticed a young man from my church was working there. I told him to keep praying for me, and told him where I was in the challenge. As I shared, others on line heard me sharing, and 2 young children said, “you met Dr. Oz? We love him, my mom watches all the time…” I proceeded to tell them about the challenge and some of the amazing things that has happened on this journey, including having my poster on the walls of the gym. I told them about my blog, and they grabbed a pen and wrote it on their hand, and I also told them to set their dvr, because I would be the one standing next to Dr. Oz on May 23rd. The young girl was very cute, and wrote that on her hand also. The owner of the deli, asked about the challenge a bit more, he was really excited for me, and encouraged me when I left.
When I got home, so many friends were calling and emailing and asking when I should be hearing. A close friend called from Pa., and when she asked, I did what I shouldn’t have done….I went to the computer to look up the rules. (Remember….I felt the Lord tell me earlier, DON’T look it up…trust me”.
According to the “rules” section on the Dr. Oz website, the next phase of narrowing down to the 50 should be done “on or around April 13th”. My face instantly got sooo hot with nerves, and my stomach began to churn…and I felt myself go into panic mode. I started to think I didn’t make it, I started to question all that I had been through on this journey. I started to think, what if it’s over?…could that really be it? I couldn’t imagine that the Lord would bring me this far, and place such a belief in my heart, and show me over and over again that this journey is so much bigger that me….for it to be over today. The narrowing down from 1.2 million to 200 people happened so fast….over night, and now it was Friday, late afternoon, and no email or notification.
We were all trying to figure it out, and I was getting more and more nervous and sick to my stomach…worrying with all of my, “what if’s?” Then, we started to think, 200 people sent in their 400 word essays and pictures, which were due on Wed. night by 6pm. I sent mine in early, which is probably why my interview happened on Wednesday. On Thursday and Friday, 199 other people had to be interviewed, and there were a group of people who now had to take 200 essays, pictures, weight loss numbers and accomplishments, and compare 200 interviews in order to narrow us down to 50 people, and ultimately 10. I’m guessing and hoping that that became a huge job, and they are taking more time to really decide. Which will bring us into next week.
My husband and I went to grab a bite to eat, and then got a movie to get our minds off of the worrying. I still had a stomach ache watching the movie, and kept praying and asking the Lord to show me that I was still in it, and to give me faith and take away the worry and anxiety. Before I went to bed, I checked the computer, and there was a message on my blog…..It was from the owner of the deli we went to for lunch. I read it and was absolutely amazed. It said….
“Hey Wendy would like to help u out with your quest how bout one of those nice posters for the deli”
I yelled to my husband, and told him what I just read, and just said, “can you believe that he went home after a long day at work and read my blog and then wrote to me and made this amazing offer?
Not only was it a special offer, but for me it was the Lord letting me know, “it’s not over.” When I went to bed, I grabbed my Bible and just asked the Lord to speak to me through His word, because I was still falling into being a wreck and didn’t know how I was going to go to sleep with all of this worry on my mind. I didn’t know where to begin to look, and just grabbed my Bible, trusting He would show me, as it has been so amazing, as I have grabbed my devotional and Bible and notes, or put on praise music during this time, the words and scriptures and lyrics have been EXACTLY what I have needed at that exact moment.
My Bible fell open to Psalm 91, which was perfect to read through, then I looked around Psalms, reading and found..
Psalm 138:8- The Lord will fulfill His purpose for me (I wrote this on a note with Amen written on it, and also put “standing by Dr. Oz”)
Then I looked around the Bible, and I can’t remember where it was, but I read…”sleep in peace, I have heard your prayers.” It was exactly what I needed to hold onto, Warren and I prayed, thanked Him. and I fell asleep right away!
Earlier that day, He gave me….
Mark 5:36- Don’t be afraid….Just believe! (on Sat. Morning I added to the note..”Faith pleases God–Lord, let me please you”)
On another note I wrote, Surrender, Trust and wait, do not fear, Live IN this moment, testify to Him. He is the author and finisher.
Saturday morning, I took these verses that I had put on small notes and placed next to the computer to hold onto every time I got anxious, and I taped them in the first page of my WW notebook, and went off to get weighed in. I got there very very early, and the doors weren’t even open yet. I remember standing there and just looking around at the trees all budding and the blue sky, and I just started talking to the Lord about my feelings and going over all that had been going on the past 24 hours. Then, I remembered something from a Bible study that I learned last year or so…it came to my mind so quickly…”faith pleases God.”
I stood there, and remembered the Bible study and how we all had such an “aha” moment back then, learning that faith pleases God. Wow, here is something that makes the Lord happy, and blesses HIM when we do this. I remembered in those few moments saying…”Lord, you have put a smile on my face, tears of joy and amazement in my eyes, provided me with soooo many moments of pure Awe in this journey….it is my turn to put a smile on your face.” I am choosing this moment to have faith at this time…faith in all that you are….you are all that you say you are and can do all that you say you can do….you are the author and finisher of this journey, and you have blessed me with so many incredible moments throughout, and I’m going to trust you, wait and believe.”
Just the thought, that our faith is what pleases God, made me stand there and smile at the thought of putting a smile on His face…being able to bless Him and make Him happy. So, since the doors opened to the building of ww that morning, I have chosen to walk in faith and believe, and all the fear, stomach aches, and anxiety has left.
It is Sunday night, and I have felt a few times this weekend that I was suppose to write all of this down. There’s a lot to be done in the house, and I will get to it next, but I know that I am suppose to keep writing this entire journey down for a reason. I don’t know what it is yet. I have written a lot in this journal, that has not gone up on the blog for various reasons. Maybe all of it will, eventually. I’m hoping and praying that it will be used to inspire others for His purposes, or maybe it is just for my children, family and close friends to read. Either way, I will keep sharing all of this journey through this journal, and see where it leads. Today, I felt as if this journal/blog might be published one day….we’ll see. Only God knows….
Tomorrow is Monday….Praying and having faith…that the next winner notification will come…
Monday, April 16-Another Email from the Dr. Oz show…Yay!!!!
On Monday, I woke up hoping and praying that I would hear something more from the show. When I went to my email, there was a wonderful email from a friend which said….
“Checking in here to see what’s going on. God is good and tonight I want to encourage you with Micah 7:7 – But me, I’m not giving up. I am sticking around to see what God will do…. (message) Sounds like your plan, right? Love you my friend. C”
It was the perfect scripture to start my day, before getting up, I went through the rest of my emails and noticed one from the Dr. Oz show. I opened it up, and it was a letter and list of lots of documents to print out, fill out and fax asap to the show. Show releases, medical releases, paperwork for my doctor, a form for a physical, etc. Wow!
I knew that no matter what, first I had to head to the gym to work out. Everyone was excited for me there, and the workout was brutal, but I kicked it in full gear, as I want to keep going strong no matter what happens, but would love to also lose even more weight for when I am on the show!
After the workout, I came home, Warren printed out all of the paperwork. I’m so thankful that all of this came again on a day where he was off, because he knows how to do all of the faxing, etc. I filled out all of the paperwork that I could, we went to fax it all, and then I took the medical forms to my doctor’s office to let her know that I had been narrowed down, and needed to have another physical and blood work taken, as we both agreed, it could only be better and better numbers, so why not? The earliest they could get me in is Wednesday. The email also said that someone would be calling to set up a 2-3 hour psychological evaluation. The next deadline for everything is April 24th.
So, I’m continuing to walk through this with such gratitude and awe….Also doing my best to keep up the exercising and eating right. So thankful that I spent over 2 hours yesterday prepping all of my good food for the week…something tells me it is going to be a crazy week ahead….Also praying that when I go to the doctor, all of my numbers are even more extraordinary than they were before!…as I continue to transform inside and out!