Written by: Cara Shirley
In July of 2013 I was morbidly obese at just under 300lbs. I had an addiction to food that I knew was going to be my undoing. I battled depression and self hatred, covering it with humor, a smile on my face & lots and lots of food. I was a Christian without hope. My life was without purpose. For me, thinness was always the holy grail. If I could just get thin then all my issues would go away. I would be a better wife, a better mother…a better Christian. And because I couldn’t lose the weight I was a failure at everything.
In July of 2013 I felt like God really started dealing with me on the issue of my weight. I felt Him saying to me “You know, if you will just give this to me I can help you.” I said “no God you don’t understand! You created me this way & if you intended me to be thin you would have given me a higher metabolism”. Again He said “If you will just give this to me I can help you.” I told God, “No God, you don’t understand. It doesn’t work for me! I’ve taken all the pills, eaten the meals, I’ve drank the shakes & ordered the infomercials. Weight loss doesn’t work for me God!!” Still He whispered “If you will just give this to me I can help you with this!!!” I yelled back to Him “NO GOD!!! You do not understand!! I AM A FAILURE!!! I have tried this over and over again in my life and have failed at it every time! God, I cannot handle another failure in my life. I would rather lay down & die than fail again”.
Then, July 14th 2013, after his sermon, my pastor pointed his finger to the congregation and said “There is someone here God has been dealing with you to give Him something & you’ve been resisting Him. He says to you today is the day, the time is now! Come down, get prayer, give it to God & let it GO!” I felt like my name was in flashing lights when he said that! I went down and received prayer. I cried out to God and told Him “I can’t do this on my own God. I’ve tried and failed too many times. But, I swear to you if you help me with this I will make sure You get all the glory for every pound I lose and every victory I gain.”
Since that day I’ve lost over 100 pounds. God placed a hugely valuable tool in my life with the book Made To Crave by Lysa TerKeurst. This book completely changed my life. With this book I learned my body was not meant to be in submission to anything but Jesus Christ! I realized I had searched my whole life for acceptance when it was right there with God the whole time. I had created so many idols in my life and God needed me to tear them down one by one, pound by pound, so that I could make Him #1 in my life. Because no matter how much my husband loves me, he will never satisfy my desire for love. No matter how happy my children make me, they will never satisfy my desire for joy. No matter how much food fills my stomach it will never fill my soul. And no matter how nice people are to me, they will never satisfy my desire for acceptance. The only thing that will ever satisfy my soul is the Creator of it.
July 2013 my rebirth. It was during that time I started to realize who I am in Christ. It was then I started making the choice to walk in the victory that was given to us when Jesus died on the cross! More than the weight I lost is the spiritual growth I’ve gained. This whole journey was a spiritual journey with physical results!
This is not an easy path, but with Christ it is possible. If you find yourself in this same place in life please know… there is REAL HOPE in a REAL GOD! Seek Him and you will find Him. And if I can help you or encourage you, please let me know! My desire is that others will find freedom and their purpose in Christ through my story.
Cara Shirley is a wife and stay-at-home mom to three girls. Although she accepted Christ and was filled with the Holy Spirit at 13, she spent many of her teen & adult years running from the Lord. When she was 29, she and her husband, Eric, heard the still small voice of God as He called them into His fold. Together they started faithfully attending church and fell madly in love with Jesus! After over a year of living faithfully for the Lord, He started an intense healing work in her mind, body, and soul.
For most of her life, Cara struggled with suicidal thoughts, depression, food addiction, obesity, and constant feelings of hopelessness. At just under 300 pounds, she finally reached the end of herself. Tired of feeling like a failure, she listened when God told her “If you give this to me, I can help.” Over the next 18 months Cara would go on to lose over 100 pounds. But so much more than the weight she lost is the victory she found in Jesus! God weaved Himself through every area of her life to not only set her free, but set her heart on fire for others who, like her, sit in the pews every Sunday feeling like there is no hope for their struggles. Cara has been called to share that same grace, love, and power of God with others as a speaker.