It was such a blessing to speak at Community Fellowship’s Women’s Christmas Dinner. It was a beautiful night. Unfortunately, the video didn’t work—I’m so sad. But I’ll be sharing my Christmas message with you over the next couple of weeks as we enjoy Advent.
In the meantime….
David Yates and I went to high school together, and I recently reconnected with him on Facebook. I noticed that David updated his status with a request for prayer about his food addiction. I was super impressed that he was bold enough to put it out there for the virtual world to see, so I asked David to write his story. It is not clean cut, but it is powerful and real. I know you’ll be encouraged by his authenticity…and reminded to pray for him.  
David and his cousin
“I am not the best at writing about these things, but I will give it my best shot. I do hope this helps someone.
I am 36-years-old and have a beautiful daughter named Addyson. I work full time as a salesman in OKC.  I’m also part-owner in a company and have spent the last two years getting it started. I was born in California, but quickly moved to the southern Caribbean with my mother. She was a computer tech and software designer for NCR. She was always gone.
In 1982 we moved to the states to Oklahoma City, and I was mostly raised by nannies and college students until I was in my senior year of high school—I lived at my family home by myself most of the year. I have never met my father, but did talk to him a dozen times or so until he passed in 2008. 
We moved around a bit and then I finished my high school career at Christian Heritage Academy in Del City, OK. I have to say that my one and only year at that school was the most amazing time of my school career. I am still friends with people from that year and they mean the world to me. 
After high school I decided to go to a cooking school in Washington DC and I loved every second of it. The challenging part was getting a job that paid decently. I got a job offer from a security company to work as an officer for a Government site, which meant I would also have a clearance. It was a great opportunity because I would have my foot in the door with the government. I took it. I loved it. I was able to afford to live without asking for help.
I was also getting involved in an amazing church there. It was a family to me and I hadn’t felt that in a great while. I was enjoying life and excelling. What I wasn’t doing was being smart about money. I was getting deeper in debt. I moved up the ladder in my company and was a supervisor. I was also in charge of the evening services at my church as head usher. I greeted everyone who walked into church, and had a group of people who helped me. Everyone knew me and came to my parties all the time and I just enjoyed life. What more could you ask for? 
My debt started to catch up with me. I got in a sticky situation and I made the biggest mistake of my life. I took money from the offering at my church. Not just once. I did it for a little while. I eventually got caught and confessed. It was my fault and I had no excuse…This is where people usually start to hate me. 
I stole from a church. Do you know how that makes me feel? I beat myself up so much for what I did. I know the Lord forgives me, and I know many of my friends in DC forgave me, but the hard part is I don’t think I still have fully forgiven myself. It has now been almost ten years and I am just now getting my life somewhat back in order with God. 
I lost my family and I am so ashamed of what I did. I took from people who were doing good. I took from someone who needed it more than me, and for selfish reasons. I moved back to Oklahoma to start over.
One of the main things I am dealing with now is eating. I have always been a little overweight, but have been active. Now that I’m older, I am not as active. But, I still eat a great deal. I am on my feet part of the day and I sit the other part. I am an emotional eater, a depressed eater, and a bored eater. I know how to cook and I love to eat.
I am also not a person who likes to fail. I have tried one diet after another and exercised here and there, but not enough. I love to watch The Biggest Loser, but I am like they were in the past, and I sit there and eat while I am watching that show. I am at the heaviest I have ever been and I cannot believe I have let myself get this bad. I am now 350 lbs. It has taken me years to seek help.
I use to think that it was as simple as this: you need to stop eating as much and just stop drinking soda. What I am learning now is that there is more to it than that. I now have a counselor and a trainer for the gym. My counselor is helping me forgive myself… helping me let go of what I have been through in my life. My trainer is awesome and trying to push me into a regiment. I am now taking dance classes, and trying to do things that I should be able to do. Even though I hurt and am sore, I will continue.
It’s not a day-by-day thing for me anymore. It’s an hour-by-hour thing. Especially with the food, I have to keep seeking God’s help every hour. If I think about food for a little bit, then I want to eat, and then I go out for lunch, and spend money that I don’t have, and I hurt myself all over again. It stinks. I am trying. It is difficult and I have to make sacrifices and I don’t like doing that. There are days I mess up, but it is ok. I will do better the next day. 
God is good. He has forgiven me and I am learning to forgive myself.

I am going to do this thing called life and I am going to enjoy it.”

If you have any comments of encouragement for David, please leave them below. 
And as always, may you live shamelessly. 

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