“For the first time in my life, this was my journey to believing that I was fearfully and wonderfully made.”
Tonight we had the pleasure of seeing and meeting Sonya Jones from The Biggest Loser! She spoke and shared her testimony at Hope Church in Springfield, IL. Hope Church is currently in a series on the Seven Deadly Sins running up to Easter. The topic of the evening was gluttony.
Sonya is a physical education teacher in Sherman, IL, which is just on the northern edge of Springfield. She attended Greenville College, where she was a 2-time All-American pitcher. She graduated with a physical education degree. She then went on to play two years in semi-professional softball and was invited to try-out for professional softball.
Sonya spoke of growing up where it was the norm for her family to not eat together at night. Routinely she would eat dinner alone in front of the TV, while her parents took their dinners to their chairs. Her first memory of being called fat came when she was in late elementary or early junior high, and that became a burden she carried with her all her life.
For Sonya, eating was a very emotional thing. Often she would feel badly about herself, and turning to food would help comfort her, temporarily. But then it made her feel worse, which would make her eat more and more in a vicious cycle. And she would hide it. She told us of a couple stories where she would eat dinner at home, and then have to leave to go to work or somewhere. After having already eaten dinner, she would stop and get a value meal somewhere. Then she would have to get gas for her car and would go inside and grab a fountain drink. This was all hidden. Her worst story of hiding occurred one night at Walmart, where she bought a piece of cake and ate it in the bathroom to hide it from her friend.
Sonya started her Biggest Loser journey by simply responding to a Facebook post seeking out applicants for the upcoming season in March 2014. She flew out to California for casting and was chosen partly because of her background story, but ultimately because it was God’s will for her to make it onto the show. On the flight out to California for casting calls, before she even stepped foot at the ranch, she felt God telling her that she was fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139). She knew this was God speaking, because she had never felt this way about herself before.
“God spoke those words to me not after I had lost the weight, but before.”
Sonya felt that when she was at her lowest, she felt that she was fearfully and wonderfully made. Because she was able to accept that, she was able to accept God’s grace when she was at her worst, and allow God to put her broken pieces back together.
Her story at the Ranch is well documented. You can go to NBC.com and watch it for yourself. Now that Sonya is back home, the real journey begins. Sonya went from living at home in a completely uncontrolled environment, to living at the ranch in a completely controlled environment, and now she is back. She is learning to live in the middle now: in the middle of an uncontrolled environment that she is responsible for controlling.
We were so inspired by Sonya’s story. We hope that it inspires you as well. To listen to it yourself, you can download the mp3 here.