Debbie Wilkins Baisden, www.fitwithdeb.com
My husband died 3 years ago. I was 35 years old. There was no warning, no sickness, just gone. Our 4 sons were 8 years old, 7 years old, and our twins were 4. I was (and still am) in shock. Surreal. Frozen. Nearly undone. My biggest fear became an unchangeable reality as I went from “wife” to “widow.”
Life became so different as we adjusted to being without a husband and without a father. As a young widow with children, I had to put one foot in front of the other, taking care of their needs as we all faced our grief every minute of every day. How do I become 2 parents? How do I start camping and mowing the grass? And how will I become a bread-winner when I’ve been the bread-buyer as stay at home mom for 8 years?
It didn’t take long for our oldest son to ask, “Mom, how will we have money now?” Days after this beloved man’s funeral, I knew I had to become provider for our now smaller family. As a former elementary school teacher, the thought of going back to the classroom filled me with dread. As a mom, I knew I couldn’t be with kids all day every day without losing my mind. So what should I do?
I was in Chapter 2 of life with a new normal to figure out. With much prayer and sweet friends’ wisdom, I decided I didn’t have to return to teaching. I could do anything I wanted! What a rare gift that most adults don’t have the opportunity to consider! I wasn’t locked into anything that I didn’t want to do! There was much freedom in knowing I could make money doing something I actually enjoyed!
With an unpredictable future I took a chance. I wanted to pursue my passion. I had no clue how to actually go about doing that but I was willing. I had a passion for fitness. I wanted to share my love of smarter workouts with anyone that I could reach!
Back story, my late husband was a P.E. teacher which was ironic because I was a sweat HATER. I didn’t exercise because exercise was awful and crazy. Why exercise when you can NOT?! But over time this baby-maker had a body that suddenly wouldn’t allow endless Oreos or countless cookies. Thanks to my friend (and now partner-in-crime) Emily, I learned how to eat for fat loss and how to exercise smarter so that my pants would fit! I hated it at first, like a form of cruel torture. I cried over ground turkey and fought through painful squat jumps. But I changed; I never knew change was possible, to be honest. I suddenly started craving salads and squats! What?!? It became more than size x pants. It became something bigger, something more important. Body care was my goal. Four kids are exhausting! Becoming “2 parents” (which is, by the way, impossible) was even more exhausting. Better nutrition and efficient workouts helped me become a more equipped mom and semi-dad.
So at this crossroad in my life, I chased my joy: helping others look and feel their best! It was awkward and clumsy, but it was this organic way to become an agent of change for others.
Fast-forward to today, 3 years after the devastating loss of Aaron. I am now married to a wonderful man and my children are now 11, 10, 7, and 7. I most happily enjoy leading local group workouts for busy moms! We crank the music and lift weights for 20 minutes and it’s a blast! I also have online fitness and nutrition clients who prioritize their health; it’s a virtual way to hold their hand through a sustainable way of moving and eating.
When I take time to reflect over the past 41 months of my life, I can’t help but shake my head with a bittersweet smile. God has provided. I am daily in awe.
Life is short. Really short. Are you pursuing your passion? Are you chasing joy?