Rhoades to Fitness
It's YOU vs. YOU

Thank God for my serendipitous life :)

ser-en-dip-i-ty: the faculty or phenomenon of finding valuable or agreeable things not sought for. (thank you webster)

I had a short interesting conversation with a friend this morning. She used the word serendipitous and i replied that it’s one of my favorite words because it very much describes my life, though i feel it is no accident. My definition of serendipity at the time was “a fortunate accident.” My friend, replied to me with websters definition and simply stated…”I think God is the faculty and phenomenon.” YES! I couldn’t agree more! 

As I look back over the last 5 years of my life, I’ve had ups and downs, moments of pure happiness and moments of heart ache. Every moment has made me who I am today. What you do in the moments of heart ache or lets call them trials, forms who you become and forms your future. Do you let the hard times destroy you or do you put on your armor and fight? I like to think I fight. 

I lost my job back in the summer of 2008 when my place of business closed its doors, I had the best friends (coworkers), I had just paid off my truck 2 years early, I was making good money and one day it was gone. Yes, it sucked! I was drawing unemployment, I no longer could see my favorite people everyday. I was at a very low place…what do i do????  

I needed a goal…At this point in my life I weighed 180 pounds, down 35 from my highest of 215. I kept an oxygen magazine on my computer desk so I would look at it every day for inspiration. I bought the newest edition every month but the same one had sat there for a year, for me to look at everyday to inspire me to eat better and exercise. If you’re wondering, it was the summer 2007 ABS edition with Julie Lohre as the cover model. I had attended the 2007 Northern and one of the competitors I went to watch used Julie for her prep (yes i was over 200 lbs that day) and that weekend I thought to myself “those women are gorgeous. I wish I looked like that, but I never will…BUT I CAN look better!” That started my third journey at weightloss. Sorry I got side tracked. Fast forward back to that day in 2008 again, I looked at the cover of that magazine and I decided to contact Julie. I wanted to know if i could come anywhere close to looking like a competitor. So nervously (I may have had a small girl crush on Julie at the time. I admit it. But I thought she was/is awesome.), I took pics and sent them to her, and she replied she could get me there but it was gonna take hard work…thus started my journey and yall know the rest of the story…Julie (God and myself) got me there, did my first show, wrote an article for beverly international, had the privilege of being on the 2010 collectors edition with my now pal Joe Daniels, my story was picked up by oxygen (<love that one and now i can’t even find my issue i was in), became the face of www.buffchicks.com, did two more shows that fall of 2009 and another in 2011…yeah yeah, its all great, Awesome accomplishments, but I did not start that journey for all that, in fact I started it because I simply needed a goal to get my mind off my current conditions and to prove something to myself. I had always battled my weight, I can eat the same amount of food as my thin friend, yet I will gain fat, thats my life, thats my metabolism…to achieve the goal I sat out for I had to work harder and eat less food than others. I prayed daily for the strength I needed to exercise and make the right food decisions, I had my armor on full time! Little did I know, when I started this process, I was gonna become closer to God…i had no idea at the time, but God used my issue of battling my body to draw me closer to Him, to make me a fighter, to reach out and touch others. My relationship with Him grew stronger and stronger over the last 4 years, my faith in Him became more real than ever before, and today I love Him more than I ever have in my life. Thank you God, for allowing me to meet the people I met at the job i lost in 2008, and thank you Lord for taking the job away from me. Thank you for allowing Julie’s smile to grace the cover of oxygen back in 2007 and for laying it on her heart to make a team for us women with goals like i had. Thank you for letting me share my story in two published magazines so maybe my story could inspire others…had God not blessed me with all these opportunities, I would not be who I am today….but what I want to thank Him for most of all, are the hearts I encountered on this journey, they also have helped form me…many I met through Julie’s programs (you know who you are), many I met because they contacted me after reading my story in a magazine (you know who you are), many i’ve met through the people who contacted me after reading my story ( you know who you are), one I met because I was asked to do the beverly photo shoot (Joe Daniels), and many I know because i know Joe and he opened a great kettlebell studio where i met really awesome people (you know!)…here’s the deal, I shouldn’t know ANY of you! I shouldn’t think of y’all daily, and y’all shouldn’t make me smile every day, and y’all shouldn’t open your doors to me and let me sleep in my “erin rooms”….i live in Paducah, Ky, 5-9 hours away from each of you, yet God blessed me with the most amazing hearts on earth through battles that God let me endure and overcome. Nothing in my life is an accident. I met these people serendipitously because GOD is in control of my life and I’m so glad He is. With Him in control, I don’t question when hard times come, I don’t question when things are taken from me, I don’t question when I don’t get the job, I don’t question when the doctor tells me my body isn’t working properly (we’ll discuss this another time)…I know it’s all about the journey, it’s about meeting people and loving them and letting them love ME,  its about leaning on Jesus, it’s about the battle and becoming stronger through them…becoming who God intends me to be. I’ll leave you with this…James 1:Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,[a] whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

PS. Andy, I don’t know if this is what you wanted to read when you asked me to blog again, but I have been so overwhelmed with love in my life the last 4 years that I wanted others to know why I was blessed with it. 😉


2 Responses to “Thank God for my serendipitous life :)”

  1. Erin, I was “one of those people” who read your story and contacted you through FB. I’m still not where I want to be, but I’m not giving up. You inspire me to want to be better and know it is possible (even at my age)! God bless you sister!

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