Have you ever been headed down the wrong path and had someone believe in you completely without judging or trying to get you to do what they thought was best for you? If so, you have been touched by one of God’s grace-filled people.

This acceptance of people where they are with all their hurts, pains and hang-ups is God’s specialty. It’s called grace and I believe certain people have caught on to it more than others, people like my friends, Russ and Pat. More about them later.


Russ and Pat Hardesty

Grace is a gift God offers to everyone who will receive it.  Scripture says, “ for it is by free grace, God’s unmerited favor, that you are saved,, delivered from judgment and made partakers of Christ’s salvation through your faith. And this salvation is not of yourselves of your own doing, it came not through your own striving, but it is the gift of God.”1

Grace is a nonjudgmental gift from God. It’s available to anyone and everyone. He gives it without strings attached. He doesn’t say we have to do anything before or after we accept His gift.

Compassion and Mercy

He even goes a step further and allows His grace to wipe out our sins, past, present and future. We don’t have to wallow in guilt and shame. We are forgiven.

“The Lord is compassionate and merciful, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. He will not constantly accuse us, nor remain angry forever. He does not punish us for all our sins; He does not deal harshly with us, as we deserve. For His unfailing love toward those who fear Him is as great as the height of the heavens above the earth. He has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west.”2

This compassion, grace and mercy of God bends to where we are, picks us up and sets us on a high place where we can see clearly all that God has in store for us.

Scumbag Advice

It is a solemn, uplifting moment. Because we are human, we climb down back into the pits of our lives. We find ourselves being pulled towards things we don’t really want.

We begin listening to all of those who tell us we are scumbags, lower than dirt, and if we would just become a Sunday School teacher-missionary-pastor-prophet-apostle we would be perfect.

We wail because we know we are not that and never will be. Yet, it seems every person we meet has some plan for our life, some church to attend, some amount of money to give, some bad habit to stop, some good habit to start, someone to forgive, someone to stand up to.

While their advice may be good advice, it always seems to be judgmental. The person is pointing their long finger into the everyday workings of our lives and we don’t like it!


Yet, I ask you the same question I did to begin with, have you ever been headed down the wrong path and had someone believe in you completely without judging or trying to get you to do what they thought was best?

I have and that has made all the difference in the world. It made such an absolute difference that I want to be that kind of person for others.

The truth is, no one except God knows the best course of action for your life. Yes, there are principles in scripture that help us understand what God desires for our lives.

I cannot convict you. Only God does that.

What I can do is live my life in front of you and answer the questions you ask. To try to force Godly principles on any person only drives them further away.

My Issues

This was true in my life. I really cannot remember a time in my adult life when I didn’t feel I needed to lose weight. I did not need anyone telling me I needed to lose weight. I knew I did.

Every person who told me to go on this diet or that diet or this pill or that, only made me angry. I would try whatever they suggested, but I never stayed with it. I wasn’t doing it for me. I was doing it for them.

The truth that God desires me to be healthy—body, soul and spirit—had not hit my heart yet.

Freedom Seminar

In 1994, I went to Freedom Seminar led by a couple I knew from church. I don’t know what I expected. I guess I thought it would be something spiritual.

From the get-go the seminar intrigued me in that Russ, the trainer, and Pat, his wife, were not telling us what to do. They were more interested in leading each person to discover for themselves what they should do.

Here were people who believed God wanted me to know the truth, which then would set me free3 in whatever area I needed freedom.

Their trust in my God was profound. Their trust in me was even more amazing. They believed I knew at the core of my being who I was and what I should be doing,  They not only believed that, but they knew God would show me.

Prophetic Declaration

During the seminar, I made what has been for me a prophetic declaration: “I am a whole, healthy, happy woman.”

Let me set the stage for you. I weighed over 400 pounds. I had trouble getting up and down off the floor. I couldn’t stand for long periods of time. To make that kind of statement was ludicrous.

However, there was a seedling of it in my heart. It was planted then and would grow over the next 20 years.

Though I have been tempted to change this declaration, I know everything I am and will be continues to grow out of this statement.


I have changed one part to be more representative of where I am now: “I am a whole, healthy, happy daughter of the King.

Back in 1994, I knew I was not living in obedience to things God had showed me regarding the food I ate and exercise I didn’t do. I didn’t feel worthy to claim being a daughter of my King.

Now I know it doesn’t matter. I will never be worthy. The only worth I have is in the shed blood of Jesus Christ. It is because of Him that I am a daughter.

This is my identity through and through.

My aspiration today is to be God’s grace-filled person who believes completely God knows what is best for you. It’s in your connection to Him that the answer becomes clear.

I aspire to be that kind of person because I’ve had people, like Russ and Pat, who have demonstrated to me what that looks like.

Who are you and what do you want?

1 Ephesians 2:8 AMP

2 Psalm 103:8-12 NLT

3  John 8:32 NLT

Teresa Shields Parker is a wife, mother, business owner, life group leader, speaker and author of Sweet Grace: How I Lost 250 Pounds and Stopped Trying to Earn God’s Favor and Sweet Grace Study Guide: Practical Steps to Lose Weight and Overcome Sugar Addiction. Get a free chapter of her memoir on her blog at Teresa Shields Parker.com. Connect with her there or on her Facebook page.

Teresa Shields Parker
Teresa Shields Parker is a Christian weight loss author, coach and speaker, who has lost more than 250 pounds. Her book, "Sweet Grace: How I Lost 250 Pounds and Stopped Trying to Earn God's Favor", is the number 1 Christian Weight Loss Memoir on Amazon. Her other books include: "Sweet Journey to Transformation: Practical Steps to Lose Weight and Live Healthy", "Sweet Freedom: Losing Weight and Keeping It Off With God's Help", "Sweet Change: True Stories of Transformation" and "Sweet Hunger: Developing an Appetite for God".

She also offers Overcomers Christian Weight Loss Academy and VIP one-on-one coaching program, both available under the weight loss tab. To book Teresa for your next event, check the Speaking tab on her website. Also check out her blog and Sweet Grace for Your Journey podcast under the tabs by those names.