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When I was a Gatorade Poster Child

By Laura Bagby Producer There is nothing like being in electrolyte heaven. Every day as I trudge downstairs to my daily breakfast of four -- note 4 -- slices of the whitest bread you can buy, I glance over at the brightly-colored row of athlete-endorsed beverages beckoning me.

Ah, Gatorade, part of this nutritious breakfast.

I honestly can't tell you just how many bottles of the "thirst quencher" I have obtained in the four weeks while battling an intestinal resistance to most foods, especially the tasty, nutritious kind. If I had to make a guess, I would say the tally is well beyond 30 bottles.

And along with my rejuvenating beverage, I have had the privilege of an easy meal plan. I simply remember the acronym B.R.A.T -- that is, bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast. If I want to cheat a little on what I call my anti-Atkin's diet (the no-protein, simple carbohydrate diet), I just substitute rice cakes for rice, or maybe throw in some Cheerios for added nutrition, or perhaps indulge in a butter-less baked potato without the skin.

I know, exciting, right?

All joking aside, it is good that I can laugh about this now. Maybe even two weeks ago, I would still have been reveling in self-pity. After all, being unable to eat can really cramp your lifestyle, if not give you stomach cramps. And lack of food can really do a number on your psychological well-being, too.

It all started about a month ago when I returned to the United States after experiencing a thrilling two-week mission trip to Spain, Gibraltar, and Morocco. While there, God convicted me that I just couldn't live my life the same way I did before the trip. Previously I was a too-busy, over-extended, impatient and fiercely independent woman. I just knew God wanted me to slow down and understand what was really important in my life.

Talk about eating my words. Two days after arriving home, I lay shivering in a hospital bed, severely dehydrated, an intravenous drip attached to my arm and a flurry of busy nurses attending to my needs. Five hours later, the hospital staff sent me home with a prescription, and I just knew that this terrible sickness would leave me soon.

Only it didn't. In fact, it was sneaky. Time and time again, the sickness would come back, without warning, and I would have to go back to starving myself.

After missing a week or so of work and feeling terribly helpless, I came back to the office just as listless as ever. In a moment of inspiration, I told one of my co-workers smiling, "Look, I'm the Biotic Woman!" and I demonstrated my non-superhero powers by moving in slow motion. But the humor didn't take away the fact that I wasn't getting any better. I went home early.

Those days spent at home were hard. I was extremely lonely, bored, and jealous of everyone who got to do anything I couldn't. I hated the fact that my roommates could eat grilled burgers and I couldn't. I hated the fact that I was missing out on all the fun that other singles were enjoying. I hated the fact that there were days that I had to ask my roommates to get me things from the store because I was too sick to drive myself. I hated the fact that some of my friends didn't seem to care about what happened to me. And above all, I was scared. Scared of losing my edge. Scared of losing my beauty. At my lowest, even scared of dying.

In between these wretched moments, I did what Christians are supposed to do when they are sick: I sang songs of victory over my life; I bound all the devils I could think of; I repented of sins that I suddenly realized I had been guilty of for years; I read passages of Scripture looking for answers; I even had people praying for my recovery.

I made a list of all the fun things I would like to do again, like beach volleyball or in-line skating, and I would visualize the day when I could do those things again. I would say to others, "When I get well, I will…" or "Once I am better, I will…" and try to hang in another day.

The irony of this whole situation dawned on me one day while at work. I was scanning through Christian literature about fasting on the Internet, figuring it would be a good resource for helping me expand my dietary plan when I could eat again. Then it hit me. Laura, you have been fasting -- maybe not willingly -- but still you have been fasting.

And then I recalled that day in Gibraltar when everyone on my mission team decided to fast lunch. I told the mission leader that I simply couldn't fast because I had low blood sugar. Not eating was out of the question, even though two others who were also hypoglycemic readily gave up their lunches. Sheepishly and guiltily, I changed my mind and decided to fast lunch, too. But the whole time I wondered, Is God going to sustain me? Am I going to faint?

Well, I now know that God does sustain me. I know Him truly and literally as my Bread of Life. And I can tell you that despite the fact that I have had a low to non-caloric diet, that God alone has equipped me with incredible energy. Yes, there have been days when I have felt faint, but as I have waited upon Him, He has renewed my strength like the eagle. I walk and don't grow weary.

And though I am not completely healed yet, I am speaking it out every day, "I am healed in the name of Jesus Christ" and "This is the day of the favor of the Lord" (taken from Isaiah 60) in faith. And guess what? Over the past several days, since I recognized the power of the promises of God and the power of prayer, God is doing a little miracle in me each day. I am learning, like it says in Matthew 15, that it is not what goes into the body that is unclean but what comes out of the lips and is from the heart that makes someone unclean. Therefore, I am choosing to speak words of life.

Soon, those Gatorade bottles will be but a memory and I will switch from eating white bread to enjoying buttery croissants. I will be able to tackle that pizza and chocolate chip mint ice cream I have been craving for so long.

In time, I will forget my sickness. But I won't forget what the Lord has done for me, making me totally dependent upon Him and His Word, making me dependent on the saints of Christ for my needs, making me realize that I truly live and breathe and move in Jesus Christ alone.

And I will always be sure to praise the Lord for whatever graces my dinner table.

Are you seeking answers in life? Are you hurting?
Are you facing a difficult situation?

A caring friend will be there to pray with you in your time of need.