Nicki Schrader

Our author is Nichole Schrader. Nicki is the wife of Ryan Schrader and has 3 wonderful children, a daughter-in-law and a brand new grand baby! Nicki and Ryan serve as elders at our church and they are both employed by the Troy Area School District. Nicki is an incredibly talented woman and has a beautiful heart for God. She is the writer of the Crazy Stupid Life Blog which can be find at https://crazystupidlife.org. Thank you Nicki for your great words of encouragement. 

Our Journey Back To Health: Don't ISolate Yourself

One of the things I’ve learned on this journey to health is that trying to do this alone is not very effective. To be honest I don’t like to rely on people. I don’t like vulnerability or sharing my insecurities and I don’t think I’m alone in those feelings. When I began writing this blog I argued with God over every single post. I worried about being judged and critiqued by those I care about because believe me, no one wants to take the skeletons out of that neatly packaged closet.

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Oh but when we do.

When we admit the truth to the journey; when we admit more than the outcome and we share the struggles and the bruises along the way we find healing for more than ourselves. Instead we share our healing with the world around us. 

One of the things I love most about reading the bible is that when I do I find a group of people who the world would most certainly consider failures. Yet in the very midst of their mess they become world changers under the guidance, love, and forgiveness of our God. Imperfect people putting their lives out there for Christ, that’s exactly who I want us to be. Those who are scared, worried, stressed and even vulnerable- we all become powerful in the hands of Christ. What I also noticed is that none of those people did it alone. They needed Jesus and they most definitely needed each other and whether we want to admit it or not we do too.

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It’s not easy allowing others to see those damaged areas of our lives or asking for help when we feel down or are struggling, but if we just let people glimpse the pain then maybe we can all prevail together. Let’s all be honest for a minute. If Jesus did not walk this world alone then how do we expect to? He relied on God and spent time opening his heart to man. He talked with people about their struggles, he prayed, he was let down, he forgave, and he moved forward. Shouldn’t that be the blueprint of our life too? We spend so much time protecting ourselves from the possible pain that opening up might bring that we miss the joy that comes when we decide to finally come out of hiding.

Open up today. Talk to those around you, begin to trust again. Let your life be a beacon of hope instead of a perfectly wrapped package that feels empty inside. When we open up and let others into our situations we fill that gift with all the best things. Hope, endurance, trust, overcoming, friendship and so much more. Will we be let down at times?  Sure, but is that a reason to isolate ourselves? An excuse maybe but not a reason.

Never a reason.

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There is power in our time spent with others. Matthew 18:19 says 19 “Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. Deuteronomy 32:30 says 30 How could one chase a thousand, And two put ten thousand to flight,” … Isn’t it amazing how much stronger and more effective we are when we join together?  Listen, life is hard enough, why not help each other carry the burdens rather than watch each other struggle through the heavy stuff. I think this verse in Ecclesiastes sums it all up perfectly.

4:9-12 (ESV)’Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken.”

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How many times have you needed lifting up? How many times have you been desperate for someone to stand with you, but you haven’t reached out? What I’m finding is this- When I try to be strong on my own I tend to fall short, but when I rely on others and have people relying on me, I become stronger than I ever imagined I could be on my own.

Find someone to stand with you today. Follow Jesus’s example and surround yourself with people who will help you carry the burden and not heap added weight onto your shoulders. It just may make all the difference.

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It’s time for a little update on our Journey- at this point we are almost 3 months in and I have more energy than I have had in a long time and so does my husband. In fact, Ryan has had a lot less pain in his legs and feet as well. We are still eating as clean as we can and are honestly not craving sugar and processed carbs like we used to. I’m finding new foods that we both love and right before my son left for boot camp he told me that he was loving our new meals. That’s a compliment in itself. Who said eating healthy had to be boring? As for the scale, it’s still coming down. Ryan has lost a total of 18 pounds and I have lost 16. Our clothes are fitting so much better, Ryan has had to move some holes on his belt and I am starting to look for some smaller sizes. And this morning while we were getting around Ryan looked at me and he said the best part is that we CAN keep this up. It’s something we can easily live and not just do for a time. I think finding something that is manageable long term has been one of the most important lessons for us. If you are on this journey today or even thinking about starting a journey for your health too then this is something to consider. Don’t look for a quick fix, don’t find a short term solution to a long term problem. The easy road never leads to lasting change. Instead, be realistic and start with some small changes that can be maintained over time. And don’t try to do everything alone because the truth is we need each other and the best results happen when we have someone beside us along the way.

(As a side note before you begin any plan consult your doctor and be sure that it is the best fit for you.)