What Did Jennifer Gain?
Jennifer overcame a dark time through the strength of God. He shined his light to let her know that he was there. She gained the life that He had planned for her and finally filled the missing piece in her life and heart.
My name is Jennifer Wilshaw, and I have been a health and fitness professional for the last 22 years. I have several industry certifications and extensive theoretical and practical experience in all facets of health and fitness. My specialties include group fitness and facility management and marketing; group exercise instruction, personal fitness training, rehabilitative training, kinesiology, wellness coaching, lifestyle consulting, and fitness and wellness speaking engagements at schools, colleges, churches, and retirement communities.
While this may sound impressive, I gained none of this "glory" through my own strength or power. These gifts and accomplishments belong to my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. I am something because of Him, for I was nothing until I completely handed my life over to Him!!
Years prior to my endeavors as a wellness professional, I struggled with anorexia and bulimia to the point of chronic contemplative suicide. No matter how hard I tried or how many promises I made to myself, to concerned family and friends, or to therapists to end my dangerous and devastating battles with food, I could not stay on "the straight and narrow." I simply could not gain victory over my eating disorders.
After substantial therapy and nutritional counseling, I gained some control over my behavior. However, I would eventually begin struggling with other addictive patterns, such as smoking, drinking, and overspending, and these patterns surfaced once I began my career! Yes, I was a "wellness professional" who was living a huge lie. I was a "health professional" who was not "walking her walk." I felt like a shameful fraud....
Desperate and exhausted from my journey, I dropped to my knees one night and promised God that if He could change my heart's desires and lead me to victory over my addictive and obsessive ways, I would tell anyone who would listen. I promised Him that I would help others with their health struggles and direct them to His power, not to mine. I promised that I would never take an ounce of credit for the success of any student or client. Those successes would always belong to God... I would do all of this if He could just save me from myself.
While on this long and arduous recovery, I began engaging in 1 hour daily Bible readings to better know God and His plan for me. I also sought out Christian fitness professionals on the internet. Frankly, I wondered whether any existed, but I pursued Christian fitness because I determined that EVERYTHING in my life would now revolve around Jesus, including my fitness.
This is when I stumbled across Michelle Spadafora and Faithful Workouts. What a gift!
I began working out with Michelle every morning after my 1 hour appointments with God and felt an immediate change in my life. Not only did the sound, varied fitness instruction make me feel wonderful, but the Word of God to which Michelle references in her DVDs nurtured my spirit. I could feel God changing my heart.
Of course, Faithful Workouts has helped me to develop and honor a strong, clean, and fit temple, but there is so much more.... I now desire obedience, purity, discipline, humility, and faith in every part of my life. I want to be a good steward of my body, my spirit, my finances, my marriage, and my work. I want God's ways, not my ways.
One of the greatest lessons that Michelle has taught me is that there is a God-shaped hole in everyone's heart. It is a hole that God deliberately put there so that we would long to know Him, to pursue Him, and to love Him first and foremost. It is a hole that only God can fill and satisfy.
I now realize that I traveled so many painful roads of addictions and lies because I tried to fill my hole with idols. I tried to jam all the wrong things into a hole that is meant only for God. He is the only piece that will ever fit.
I thank Michelle and Faithful Workouts for guiding me to a complete transformation in my faith and fitness. I thank God that He is a God of not just second chances, but also third and fourth chances. I messed up so many times, but now my messes can, perhaps, be God-saving messages to others.
With Love and Gratitude,