“I almost gave up. I was right on the edge of a breakthrough but couldn’t see it.” As the soloist belted these words in Church this Sunday morning, I was reminded of a conversation I had with my father soon after this weight loss journey began. I had been cutting back and exercising for several weeks and nothing was happening, nothing but sore muscles and an increasingly bad attitude. I was complaining to my father about how no progress was being made and how I was ready to give up. Daddy said this, “you can stop right now but you might stop before something good happens”.

As much as I hated to hear it, he was probably right. Most of his little nuggets of wisdom over the years had been. Like the time he squared my shoulders, looked me dead in the eyes and told me, “I don’t care if I’m your friend, I’m your Daddy. Jesus didn’t put me here to be your friend. One day, you’ll thank me.” While the rebellious teen in me thought he was dumber than a door knob, his tough love was just what I needed. He was right the time he told me a certain boyfriend was no good. I eventually came to that conclusion myself and dodged one heck of a bullet. He has been right more times than I cared to admit so I reluctantly decided to try this getting healthy thing a little longer.

Nothing about this new healthier lifestyle was natural. I felt like I was having to relearn how to do everything, especially cook. No butter, no Crisco, no bacon grease. It seemed an abomination not to put two cups of Dixie Crystal sugar into a gallon of tea or a spoonful of bacon grease saved in that old Folger’s Coffee can to flavor just about any dish. It went against my Southern heritage not to have cornbread, biscuits or light bread with every meal. Light bread, as my great-grandmother called it, was your basic run of the mill grocery store quality bleached flour sandwich bread and it was off-limits.

I was having to make time for things that I didn’t really want to be doing in the first place. Preparing meals ahead of time instead of conveniently pulling up to a drive thru and ordering some biggie sized deep-fried goodness. Exercising which I loathed. Nothing about doing an activity that involves sweating was enjoyable to me. My legs hurt. My joints ached. My mascera ran. It was overwhelming at times, especially when I wasn’t seeing results like those silver-tongued devils on late night infomercials dropping twenty pounds in a week.

Nothing was happening. Nothing tangible, anyway. What I didn’t realize was that all the small changes I was making were about to amount to something. All the times I gritted my teeth and said “no thank you” passing up a slice of cake at a bridal shower was about to pay off. All the times, I squeezed lemon on steamed broccoli when I just wanted to pour melted cheese whiz over the top was about to have an effect. All the times, I squashed myself into a sports bra even though it felt like my circulation was being cut off while attempting to run was just about to make a difference.

Eventually, my breakthrough came. I fell into a routine, weight started to slowly fall off and decisions I agonized over early on began to become second nature.

Daddy was right. AGAIN.

Isaiah 43:19 Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.