Growing up, I had one primary prayer request: My mother’s healing from her emotional illness.

As early as I can remember this request topped every prayer list I ever made, the subject of every spoken and unspoken prayer request in church and Sunday School, the thing Grandma and I prayed for each time I spent the weekend with her and what Dad prayed for every night.

This is about the only picture of my mother and me I could find. This includes my dad and my daughter, Jenny. I had lost weight before Jenny was born, but I was quickly gaining the weight back. Mom was doing great after learning to hang on tightly to Jesus. It’s not the best picture but it shows where I was on my journey and this was not the highest weight I would get to.

With this much prayer going up on her behalf, I knew one day God might just get fed up with hearing her name and answer our prayers, so we’d all move on to something else.

Only God

Dad said doctors were trying to help Mom, but only God could heal her. He told me I needed to pray for her. I kept praying, but it seemed her issues got worse instead of better.

When I left for college, I told myself I was done praying for Mom, but somehow she still found her way to the top of my prayer list.

During the first few months I was away from home, Dad told me that Mom had gotten so bad she would not go out of the house. Yvonne, a woman from a church in another city where Mom and Dad attended more than 15 years before, called Mom out of the blue.

Jesus Heals

“There is a Full Gospel Businessmen’s Fellowship Meeting tonight,” she said. “I’ll be at your house by 6:30 p.m. to pick you up.”

Miraculously Mom agreed to go even though it had been months since she had been anywhere. At the meeting, the evangelist spoke about emotional illness. After the message, he said, “There are three people here tonight whom God is going to touch.  I want you to stand.”

Mom and two other people stood. The preacher spoke to each one individually. To Mom, he said, “God touched you tonight and started your healing process. But for it to continue, you must fit your life into God’s word rather than fitting God’s word into your life. Read God’s Word for what it really says and do that.”

Hanging on To Jesus

When Mom told me about this, I knew it was going to be hard for her, I asked, “So what are you going to do?” She said, “I’m going to hang on to Jesus as tight as I can.”

I was privileged to watch Mom begin her transformation. I watched her hang on tight to Jesus. I watched her walk out her healing. She walked out her journey allowing God to revitalize her.

“Now you must continue to make this new life fully manifested as you live in the holy awe of God—which brings you trembling into His presence. God will continually revitalize you, implanting within you the passion to do what pleases Him,” (Phil 2:12-13 TPT).

Following Mom’s Example

As Mom was living her life, I was struggling with my weight and how impossible it felt for me to give up sugar. I began thinking about how Mom had faced an impossible circumstance of overcoming a mental and emotional illness.

I figured if she could walk out her journey with God’s help, I could, too. So that’s what I did. There’s more to it but in reality, holding tight to Jesus is the only thing to get us through something which has become a stronghold in our lives.

I saw how much like Mom I had become. I wanted to do things my way. I wanted to try to think, worry and plan my way to lose weight and still eat what I wanted. Mom had tried to think, worry and plan her way to avoid life, which is what she thought she wanted.

However, Mom really didn’t want to avoid life. She just couldn’t figure out how to navigate her way back into life. In the same way, I didn’t want to eat everything in sight, I just couldn’t figure out how to control my emotions without trying to eat them away.

Letting Go of Lies

I finally saw what I needed to do. I had to let go of the lies I believed about God. The big one was God wouldn’t answer my prayers. God had dispelled this lie, though, hadn’t He? He had answered our combined prayers for Mom, but had He healed me of my obesity?

Then, I heard God say to me, “I can’t heal you of obesity because you are holding tightly to what you want. I have given you freedom and you have chosen to spend it on your own pleasures. You have chosen to eat what you want when you want. It has always been your choice and, My Daughter, it still is.”

I had to do what Romans 13:14 TPT says. “Fully immerse yourselves into the Lord Jesus, the Anointed One, and don’t waste even a moment’s thought on your former identity to awaken its selfish desires.” When I stopped focusing on my selfish desires and started focusing on Jesus, I lost over 250 pounds!

Choosing Change

To say God doesn’t answer our prayers may seem like truth because He rarely answers them in the way we want Him to. He won’t force change on us. He asks us to choose change.

He will lead us to complete freedom, but we have to listen to His direction and follow His guidance. Otherwise, we will find ourselves in bondage to things we wish we could break free from. These things creep in slowly and before we know it, we have allowed a stronghold to take over.

Jesus will show us how to break our strongholds and when we hang on to Him, the impossible can happen. That, my friends, is the definition of a miracle—something impossible happening when we follow Jesus.

For more on this topic, listen to episode 130 of Sweet Grace for Your Journey podcast, Jesus, Heal Me at Https://

Teresa Shields Parker
Teresa Shields Parker is a Christian weight loss author, coach, podcaster and speaker, who has lost more than 250 pounds and kept it off since 2013.

Her books include: "Sweet Grace: How I Lost 250 Pounds and Stopped Trying to Earn God's Favor"; "Sweet Surrender: Breaking Strongholds"; "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, more information on both is available under the weight loss tab. Don't miss her weekly podcast, Sweet Grace for Your Journey, where she shares tips from her personal journey of losing weight and discovering healthy living. Find that under the podcast tab and anywhere you find podcasts.