I Discovered My Gift                           by Kylie Machacek
When the doctor asked me to step on the scale, I didn't want to know so I got on backwards. I heard him say, "285 pounds." I felt the blood leave my face. Morbid obesity was a shocking term.

I began the journey with prayer so everything was in relationship with the Lord. Looking back, it all unfolded in His perfect way. 

Tae Bo exercise videos at home came first, but with all the blinds closed because there was so much shame about my body image. After several months God nudged me toward something new and at 5 a.m., in the dark, when nobody was likely to be there, I used the machines at the Lee University Recreation Center. My limit was two minutes jogging on the treadmill, so I went back and forth between the elliptical and the treadmill. 

Exercising with other people was the next big step. A friend invited me to an aerobics class at Lee, and the instructor prayed with us. I fell in love with the energy and excitement of group fitness. Then God brought me home to the Cleveland Family YMCA when several church friends invited me to join group exercise class, Turbo Kick. Everybody was whooping and hollering and the upbeat music gave the class a party atmosphere.

The pivotal moment came during a daily devotional at home. The message was about God taking an area of our weakness and leading us to victory by making it our ministry. So I wrote in my journal: "My version of that would be to become a fitness instructor. Ha-ha-ha."

Believe it or not, the very next day at Turbo Kick class the instructor asked me if I had ever thought about becoming an instructor. She said my form was good and obviously I enjoyed it because I smiled through the whole class.  That night I left with an identification card as a YMCA fitness instructor!

With God at my side I stepped away from my insecurities and shame to become who I really am, a bubbly extrovert with confidence and the ability to lead other people. I discovered my gift at the Cleveland Family YMCA. I found myself, and I lost 149 pounds! A changed life.

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