I've always had a very emotionally-charged relationship with food. I'd eat to celebrate or survive or numb or pass the time as a busy, sometimes lonely mom at home. By God's grace, I have always found a way to feel proud of my body. I have an autoimmune disease that makes certain seasons very physically debilitating for me and most of it is completely beyond my control. Because of that, I've always felt proud of what my body has endured, regardless of its shape or size. I think that's why it took me a few years postpartum after my second child to even notice that my body wasn't operating as well as it could be. And that my habits with food were something I did have the power to change and adjust. I signed up for MANNA Phase I in January of 2021, with a trail of failed attempts to find freedom with food lying hopelessly behind me. I cried the night before I signed up. Because I was scared of cashing all my chips in and being disappointed again, with another program that claimed to work or with myself not measuring up. I awoke the next day and opened the Bible app on my phone. The verse of the day was Matthew 6:11, "Give us this day our daily bread." I laughed and moved ahead with Phase 1.

I could write six more paragraphs about what happened from there, but I'll refrain. The short of it is, I was not disappointed. I am still not, seven months later. I even had to set a new goal halfway through Phase I because I reached my first one in half the time, which felt impossible to me. I have never experienced something so genuinely sustainable and freeing. So much so that I want to pass it on to anyone and everyone who asks. I feel strong and capable and still incredibly human and allowed to be. I think that's what true freedom feels like.