My Triple-Braided Cord
Karen Ehman

"A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken." Ecclesiastes 4:12 (NLT)

I've been embattled in a knock-down, drag-out fight for over a quarter-century now. Sometimes, I feel the little daily battles that are part of this clash completely defeat me, leaving me helpless and hopeless. And I feel alone in my battle.

What is this battle that consumes me? It is one that many women face. My constant, decades-long skirmish is with food. Or rather, with my desire for food. Bad foods. Wrong foods. Or just vast quantities of food.

A few years back, I felt I'd come to the end of my rope. Severely overweight and reeling from seven different medical conditions, I finally determined to do something decisive for fear I might wind up like my aunt. She died unexpectedly of a heart attack when she was only in her early forties. I had just celebrated my 40th birthday, was the same size my aunt had been, and shared many of her medical issues.

So one day with desperate determination, a pair of hand-me-down walking shoes, and my trusty calorie counter in hand, I set off to religiously follow a weight-loss and exercise regimen. And follow it I did—to the T! Eleven months later, I'd dropped over 100 pounds. All my health conditions disappeared without any medication and I felt better than I had in my twenties. I boldly determined that never, EVER again would I let that weight creep back on.

Fast forward three years. One snowy Christmas eve, my husband's company gave him notice of a layoff. It lasted for nearly 9 months. Money was tight. The future looked bleak. I was worried and teetering on the brink of depression. I hate to admit that, sadly, I again turned to food instead of to God. I made it my comfort; my distraction; my friend.

However, this familiar "friend" quickly became my archenemy. Over the course of those 9 months, I gained back over a third of the weight I'd lost! Now entrenched in the thick of the battle again, I was weary and weak; embarrassed and embittered. However, one day God sent me today's key verse. He whispered in my soul's ear that I needed to stop fighting the battle alone. Time to call in the troops!

I phoned my friend Lysa and asked her if she would pray for me, and allow me to "weigh-in" with her once a month to let her know if I'd lost or gained. She too has fought the battle-of-the-bulge and was gracious and willing to be my second strand, watching my back and enabling me to conquer.

Another friend, who also has fought weight issues, sensed how much my regain was bothering me. On one of my darkest days, she took my chin in her hand, looked me squarely in the eye, and told me I was beautiful and that I needed to stop allowing Satan to beat me up. Shari became my third strand. She also prays for me and I email her each month giving her a report from the front lines of the battlefield.

Knowing these "I've-been-there" sisters were both rooting, as well as praying, for me has made an immense difference. It also inspired me to initiate a Weight Loss Wednesday weekly feature on my blog where nearly 80 women encourage, cheer and comfort each other. Together, we form one thick rope of sisters, intertwining our very souls. And yes, newcomers are always welcome!

Whether it is extra weight on our thighs or excess baggage in our souls, we women all face heated, hard battles. Our key verse today teaches us to decide not to wage war all alone. Enlist another strand or two to strengthen one another in the fight to overcome strongholds and worship God alone. Satan shudders when God's gals band together, with Jesus at the forefront, to courageously face the battle before us.

Dear Lord, forgive me for the times I try to wage war alone. Guide me to someone who will come alongside of me and encourage me not to give up in my quest to glorify You. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
To take a peek at the Weight Loss Wednesday cyber group and enter to win a weight-loss jump-start giveaway, visit Karen’s blog today.

The Complete Guide to Getting and Staying Organized by Karen Ehman

Becoming the Woman God Wants Me to Be: A 90-day Guide to Living the Proverbs 31 Life by Donna Partow

When a Woman Meets Jesus: Finding the Love Every Woman Longs For by Dorothy Valcarcel

Share a good laugh and find solid truth with Dear Bathroom Scale

Application Steps:
What areas of battle can you identify where you might need to "call in the troops" for back-up support?

Reflections:
Have there been times in your life when your connection with other women allowed you or a friend to do something that could never have been accomplished alone?

Power Verses:
Matthew 18:19-20, "Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them." (ESV)

© 2010 by Karen Ehman. All rights reserved.

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17 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice start for my day. My own case has been a habit I have been trying to stop over 6 months now. I knw its bad and want to stop but, each time I think it's over, it resurfaces after about 2 weeks. You are blessed to have sisters to turn to but a case where you can't even trust the sisters around you not to leak your dirty secret, it becomes more difficult and you are left fighting the battle with God.

Blogger KARUNIA said...

Well.. I remember few years ago (maybe 14 years ago) I (my family) got prob. Father bankrupt. We are new in big city than last.. no home (stay in rent). That time is a half way I take a part in cell group. I felt so down,depress,misery and far away from the status of my friends at college. Even my cell group leader said that she took care of our (her members) but I didn't think that my family prob. will involve in our discuss as Bible lesson. I fight alone in my faith (learning to step by faith) up to one day a "sister" (in up level group) of my leader share with me in Christmas eve. That time I asked her that "can we trust all our serious prob. with the leader of cell group?".. Hmmm I open my prob. first with her and she suggested me to share with my leader because she took care of me in accountability. Praise God... All the Biggest we have... from that moment I know that I need a best friends to fight and I can trust to grow in my cell group together with friends too.

:-) Thank you

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, isn't this the truth. i have found such comfort and strength in my prayer and Bible study groups. I do truly feel a bond that cannot be broken. Praising God for this.

Blogger Familyof6inTX said...

Thank you for reminding me of God's help when we battle these things. I have struggled with weight and my overall body image for years. My problem is finding someone that I can turn to for support for this or other challenges. I would so love to have a friend that I could turn to for support and in turn support her, but at the place I am in my life I do not currently have that person. Please pray that I will find someone that I can trust to help me continue through some of the hardest struggles I have ever faced.

Blogger Familyof6inTX said...

Thank you for reminding me of God's help when we battle these things. I have struggled with weight and my overall body image for years. My problem is finding someone that I can turn to for support for this or other challenges. I would so love to have a friend that I could turn to for support and in turn support her, but at the place I am in my life I do not currently have that person. Please pray that I will find someone that I can trust to help me continue through some of the hardest struggles I have ever faced.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a difference from yesterday! My prayers are with you. I am barely out of my battle with breast cancer. I definitely agree with you: faith and support from family and/or friends is crucial for anyone who is struggling with difficult times. I thank God for the support I received and I sincerely wish you the best. My prayers are also with the wonderful friends you have. I hope you are able to achieve optimal health of mind and body soon.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a blessing this devotional was today! While I have always struggled with my weight - it's only now, since I turned 40, that I feel so emotionally drained fighting this battle. I'm weird, I get ready, organize, plan have charts and notebooks ready for food journals,etc., but I never get going - I never get started, therefore loose anything. I have diebetes now and I desperately need to loose this bulge because I need/want to be here for my kids. I don't want them to grow up without a mama. It's so nice to know now I can have some support to tune into! God Bless you!

Blogger Nancy M. said...

I'm "having an Ecclesiastes kind of day," I just, moments ago, wrote as my facebook status. Meaningless, meaningless, it's all so very meaningless. Surely there must be some GOOD news in Ecclesiastes, I thought as I typed those words in that little box. THANK YOU for sharing some this morning.

I have been on the weight loss & healthy lifestyle wagon for 3+ yrs now, involuntarily "maintaining" my current weight, around 20 lbs from my goal, for the last 2 yrs. I am a member of a fabulous on-line weight-loss community, but feel like a whiner & a downer when I go there feeling discouraged, like I do today. I am a "motivator," after all (it says it right there on my homepage). But after a not-so-great job interview yesterday (after being fired last May), I found myself again, knifing out scoops of (low-fat) peanut butter in quest of some sort of emotional eating "therapy." I *knew* I should have gone to my knees, but I went to the cupboard, instead. I *knew* I should have headed out for a mind-clearing walk, but I went to the couch & the remote control, instead.

Thank you for your words of encouragement today. I will dive back into the Word (I've been neglecting that for a couple of days...) & head over to your blog. I have declared 2010 to be the "Year of COMPLETION," & w/ a little help from God & my friends, it just might be!

Thank you!
♥ ♥ ♥

Anonymous Anonymous said...

This was an amazing devotion. Perfect timing. Thank you so much for your wonderful words of encouragement and hope.

What a blessing this was to me today! I lost 86 lbs in 2006/2007 and later gained it all back in a matter of three years. My heart was not accepting that I had a food addiction nor that this was an idol in my life, so when I was dealt a crushing personal emotion blow with a family member, I went back to the only comfort who never rejected me. I've recently started back to WW for accountability, but each day instead of being afraid and defeatist, I claim victory in Jesus. Today, I will be proud of what I weigh because it’s less than last week. I’ve made healthy food choices, not longer allowing my stomach to be my decision maker. God will be glorified and I am humbled by His acceptance and grace.

What a blessing this was to me today! I lost 86 lbs in 2006/2007 and later gained it all back in a matter of three years. My heart was not accepting that I had a food addiction nor that this was an idol in my life, so when I was dealt a crushing personal emotion blow with a family member, I went back to the only comfort who never rejected me. I've recently started back to WW for accountability, but each day instead of being afraid and defeatist, I claim victory in Jesus. Today, I will be proud of what I weigh because it’s less than last week. I’ve made healthy food choices, not longer allowing my stomach to be my decision maker. God will be glorified and I am humbled by His acceptance and grace.

Blogger Kelsie said...

Thank you, Karen, for your openness. I know my pride gets in the way of asking for help and accountability. How sad. Sometimes I even struggle sharing my failures or goals with my husband. I need to be humbled before the Lord and be willing to admit that apart from Christ, I can do nothing. AND - I can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens me!!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you!

Blogger Colleen said...

I recently came across this scripture, but you have helped me to understand how I can apply this to my life. I have had a situation in my life that needed God's help, and He has answered my prayers. Now I have two girlfriends, one who is praying for me and one for whom I must be accountable, so I have the triple-braided cord! I see God as a golden strand woven through the braiding, adding Light and touching all who are involved. Thanks for the encouragement!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Karen,
"I'm in"!!! I've found from the blogging we do with Wendy Pope's Bible Study that I am not alone, I have my girlfriends in God to stand with me in Christ. So, I know that I cannot do anything but gain from being a part of your Weigh in Wednesdays. I have a lot to read and understand, but I am excited to just know that I will be encouraged by other sisters in Christ. I love all of the Proverbs 31 Ministry gals and have been praying for the trials your team has been struggling with. When I read your blog about your birthday and that it is March 10...that is my birthday also, and my birthday was not a pleasant one either. I knew it was a reassurance for me to say "I'm in"!! as I just randomly chose a topic on your sidebar to check out. Thanks, Karen for the scripture and for your caring heart for those of us who battle whatever.
Jeanne

Blogger Yolanda B. said...

Wow - this is so true. I have applied this principle in building my business. I noticed most successful entrepreneurs did it with the help of others, not by themselves. So I got some friends together and we formed an accountability group for our businesses. We're just about to have our third meeting but it's been great listening to and supporting each other as we attempt to accomplish our goals.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Karen, This came to me in an amzaing way. I have been struggling with some thing in my personal life. And someone was sending April 7th blog for encouragement that she was standing by me being a prayer warrior not knowing another part of my life I had been struggling with. I had decide to lose weight at the new year and I decide that I would do it different then all the years past. In January I started walking, In February I cam completely off Caffine, in march I begin to change my eating habits. So many time I had started before and giving up everything at once was just overbearing. So a friend decide we would meet every morning during spring break. We were talking about how it is so much easier when you are accountable to someone else, so we talked about starting our own weight loss group. I have six kids and they are all very active and the only times we could come up with was on Wednesday which we said no that church night. Saturday morning at 7 which who want to give up saturday or Sunday afternoon which were family time. So we decide to hold off and pray about so we finally decide on Wednesdays at 5pm and we could still make it to church. So we all weighed in and Yesterday was week 2 and I was walking and just asking God to tell me what to tell the girl to keep them encouraged and then when I got home a friend who was thinking of me in another way sent me this devotional. In all amazed I was like God this is what I was asking for. Thank you so much for your word hope it inspires others as it has me. thank you Felicia Bentley

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