You know those issues we don't often hear about in church topics like suicide, depression, eating disorders, low self-esteem, domestic violence, generational curses, and toxic relationships? I recently interviewed the amazing Courtney Dawn Shaw, and she has dealt with all of these issues, sisters. She is married to her best friend Jeffrey, and she is the mom of Kingston and Carrington. (Don't you love those names?!) She is an author, speaker, health advocate, spokesperson, and TV and radio host of the Authentic Living Show and the 2014 and 2015, Mrs. Florida America. She is a longtime health advocate and member of the President's Council on sports, fitness, and nutrition.
Prepare to be blessed, sister!! Let’s dive in!
“I get asked that a lot. I began my Christian walk as a young teen and really surrendered, and those were some of the darkest years of my struggle. But you know, for me, I started to really search out in the Word what it means to reign and God's kingdom to reign in and through us. It was long before it became the reigning Mrs. Florida or anything like that as life went on.
My husband and I were actually walking on the beach in Puerto Rico, and we were five years into marriage, and we were talking about the desire to start a family and how God really put our hearts that we just desired a son and we're you know, kicking back and forth names, and I'm like, I really love the name Kingston. And my husband's like, you know, I really liked the name reign for the middle name. I'm like you, like rain coming from the sky. He's like, No, I mean, like our reign. And I'm like, Wow, that's powerful. And he said, exactly, because I truly believe God wants this next generation to walk in His power. And that resonated so much with me, Kim, and that season of my life, because I got married young, my husband I met when I was 18, in the gym of all places.
So if you're single or listening, and you're looking for a good man, my single advice is to go to church because they're trying to get right with Jesus. But so much of my early Christian walk, I felt powerless. I battled with eating disorders, and I battled low self-esteem. You know, I was focused on the health and fitness industry. But I just was going from one high to the next low, and everything that I would read in the Scriptures, I just had this drawing to freedom. But like, wow, in order to really, truly, truly be free in Christ, we need to be empowered to have authority over the tactics of the enemy. And you and I both know in the word that the enemy's mission is pretty simple. And it was, you know, the same back then, back in the Garden of Eden. And it's the same today. And that is to steal, kill and destroy. And so the sooner he can get a hold of us, the better, obviously, so I just wanted to go on this quest personally and bring others with me to really awaken the kingdom within and to activate and access that power that we have through Jesus Christ and the completed work that he did on the cross. So that is where reign came from. And it understands the authority that we have as sons and daughters of God, that life is not meant to happen to us, but it's meant to flow through us.”
“ Oh, man, I mean, I think the reality is that we're all going through something, right? And I think there's just a journey from getting to the point where you feel paralyzed and trapped to where you feel empowered and free. And it is a process, and that's what I want your listeners and viewers to take anything away today is to let go of instant gratification, let go of the mentality of the quick fix and embrace the process because it is a process to possess the promises of God in our life.
We don't show up, you know, with all of our acts together, we're all a hot mess like I said, but I think one of the things that we have to realize when we talk about the Kingdom of God and accessing this power and authority over low self-esteem overeating disorders, I mean, I've been in the stage where, you know, even in my early teens and early 20s, where now I was training clients, and I was encouraging them in the Lord and praying with them and walking them through their deliverance, but I was going home, and you know, binge eating and obsessing over everything I ate and measuring, you know, weighing myself and measuring, and I was in this obsessive cycle until I really realized like, I can't do this on my own.
When they're like, how do you do it? I'm like, I don't. They're like, huh, but you look like you do. I'm like looks to me just deceiving. It's not by your mind nor not by your power, but it is by My Spirit. And I think that's the difference is we all in our Christian walk, the number one step is to accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior. Understanding that we are sinful, we can do nothing without him. But it's in Him that we live, move, and have our very big right, that salvation, there's hope for eternity for our souls.
But there's also a next step in our maturity in our walking with Christ that he really desires for us to walk in while we're still here on this earth. And that is in a place of surrender, where he's not just Savior anymore, but he's Lord over your life. And when he becomes lord over your life, you're under His Lordship, which means that you are surrendering control. He is in control. And that means that may mean wherever you're at right now, maybe you're listening, and you are so deep, dark down in the pit of despair and depression. You cannot physically get out of bed, and you can't brush your teeth, you can't comb your hair, and you can't get out the door. I mean, I have been there where days and weeks go by, and I can remember the same outfit I wore months ago because I had never walked out the door. I would be either on totally, or I'd be hiding out. So, where you are right now, just know that Jesus wants to meet you in the middle of your mess. And it's not until you truly surrender and break. At the break of dawn, his kingdom will begin to reign in your heart and mind in Christ Jesus. That is your superpower.
Ladies, if you're listening, it's not by my power, and it's not by your power. It has to be by His Spirit. And it's not an instant ‘ wham bam, thank you, ma'am’ gratification kind of thing with Jesus. It's a process of detoxing, the toxic thinking, the toxic behavior that the enemy is so indoctrinated with, to think that's a way of life. But it's not like it's bondage. And Jesus came to set the captives free. So truly, my encouragement to you today is to surrender one thought at a time, surrender one moment at a time. If you're battling with an eating disorder or battling with your food right now, surrender one meal at a time.
Real tough, just seg-waying from what you said about religiosity. When I married my husband, I was 21 years old. You know, I was so young. I had just given my life to the Lord after trying to kill myself when I was 17. And I mean, that's real talk. I was suicidal. I was coming out of depression, and I was coming out of an eating disorder. And God brought this incredible man in my life who happened to have his stuff together. You know, he was the quarterback. He was, you know, pre-med in college. He was a youth pastor. He was a drummer, and his family was a ministry family. I mean, from the outside looking in, it was like, Wow, what a perfect family. And I seriously felt like, oh, my God, how am I going to measure up, you know, to this family standards when I am such a mess, like I'm a hot mess, right, like you said, and you know, entering into this family I'm so young, freshly, you know, walking in the Lord had such a desire to be a people pleaser. And you know, there were some situations, and I talked about it very transparently in my book where, you know, God will use people, and the enemy will use people close to us that we look at, and we put on these pedestals, and one of them was, you know, my mother and father in law, and I had great respect for them. And they raised me, and my father-in-law was a black man, my mother-in-law was a Caucasian woman, and they came together. And in the 70s, it was very controversial for them to come together.
So my husband's biracial grew up in a predominantly white community, but they were top athletes, top leaders, the best of the best students, you name it. And so, they did a phenomenal job raising these boys. But after we got married, a lot of things began to just kind of rip open, and we were exposed to a lot of abusive and toxic relationships, a lot of domestic violence, a lot of things that went on, but yet they were called into the ministry. And so because those things weren't dealt with, and weren't really healed, a lot of them went on behind closed doors. And so here, my husband and I were newlyweds. And about three months into our marriage. My mother and father-in-law lost their home of like, 30 years. And of course, we're like, Hey, we're here, we're going to fix it. We've got a new home, we've got space, and we invited them and my 13-year-old brother-in-law to move in with us. And when I tell you that situation ripped, just open the wounds of so much trauma from the unresolved past. It was shocking as a 21-year-old young girl newly on fire for God and going oh my god, what have I got myself into?
I'll never forget, there was a time where I was sitting across to my father in law, and you know, I just asked him flat out, I'm like, you guys are blaming each other's stuff. You know, you preach the pure, imperfect love of God, I'm like, but do you guys even love each other? And, you know, my mother immediately answered, Yes, with all my heart. And my father law was just like, stone-cold, quiet, and it was crushing for me, because I'm like, wow, like, how can you preach the love of God yet, you don't, you can't verbally express the love of your wife for 30 plus years at that time. And so, it just exposed a lot of toxic behavior. And we had to learn, you know, my husband, I draw on healthy boundaries, and that we can't fix every situation. But my father-in-law came at me hard and heavy. And I'll never forget a day when we were sitting across the table from him. And I was just, you know, really concerned about him. And he had just had a quadruple bypass. And so our whole fit to be free message really came about seeing the unhealthy and toxic behavior in the church of just trying to be all things to all people and unhealthy eating habits, and just taking on too much pressure to, you know, put on the show, and, you know put yourself out there, like you had it all together. I told him I was praying for him, and I was concerned about him. And he stood up from the table and looked at me in the face and said, Shut up, woman, you don't have a voice like that. I remember everything within me was just shaking and trembling, and my husband's jaw was dropped.”
As I was listening to Courtney, I was thinking about how many people are probably thinking about their relationships in their family and past things that have happened. This thought led me to ask this next question…
“I think the Bible talks so clearly that there are hidden treasures within our earthen vessel. And it's through trials and tribulations and the pressures in the cares of this life. They're not meant to crush us or destroy us. God uses those as tools as we yield to Him, to purify us and to actually polish us and present us. So those promises can be manifested. It starts with reining in your identity, and when we realize when we truly grab hold of who we are and who’s we are, there is a whole mindset shift.
God calls us to have authority and to have dominion over circumstances or situations over stuff and things but not people. People are God's property, period. So when we get that established, we can travel light with our relationships, we can develop those healthy boundaries, and we can continue to guard our heart for out of it flows a wellspring of life and know our identity and worth. It can. Here's the deal, you and I both do this.
Everybody has a past. If you've lived on this planet for more than five minutes, guess what you've been through something traumatic, it's called birth. And the fact that you've even survived that, and if you're listening now, the fact that you're able to hear this, you've survived a pandemic, which took so many people out, you're here on purpose and for purpose.
This journey of life is a faith journey. I don't care how much we like to plan and prepare and listen to great podcasts even like this, or you know, you know, look at Pinterest. You know what? God has an ultimate plan for our life. And we've got to learn to yield to that, and not allow fear to grip us and hold us back from taking that leap of faith and trusting that you know what the best insurance is, knowing that God is going to for us, he's with us, and he's beside us. But we've got to trust Him by taking that first step, and he really wants us to reign in faith.”
I asked Courtney to say a prayer before closing, and it was absolutely beautiful.
Father, we just thank you so much. This is truly the day that you have made, and we are going to rejoice and be exceedingly glad in it. Father, I thank you for my sister in Christ; I thank you for the tremendous calling that you've placed on her but more importantly, Lord, for her obedience to make this resource available for women, for listeners out there that are hungry for the truth. And I thank You that is spoken in love with grace and wisdom and that her words are the seasoning salt.
So Father, we just lift up all the listeners today. We pray the blood of Jesus over them right now, from the crown of their head to the soles of their feet. We thank you that no weapon formed against them will prosper. Father, we thank you for a hedge of protection around their families. We thank You, Lord, that you are doing a deep work in their hearts right now even as we are praying. Father, You are the master surgeon and you are opening them up and doing such a fine surgery within their hearts. Go in those deep spaces in places and get to the seed of the situation of the bondage of the toxicity of the lies in their life, extract that and replace that with your healing balm. Father, which is your truth that came to set the captives free.
So Father, seal them for your glory. And Father, we thank you for doing incredible work in their lives. And we thank You, Lord, that it is a new dawn. It is a new day, and it is a new reign and their lives in Jesus' name. Amen.
Maybe you're reading this right now, and you aren't really familiar with the Bible and or maybe you are so familiar with it, but you need some scriptures. If you want that next step, I want to give you some direction!
“For if because of one man's trespass, death rained through that one man Adam, much more will those receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness, reign, and life through the one man Jesus Christ, honey; it is not about what you've done. It is about what he did once and for all, and you can rein in Jesus. You can reign over your day” Romans 517
“Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you.” Luke 1019
“For freedom, Christ has set us free stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of bondage or slavery.” Galatians 5:1
There's literally no paycheck in the world that means more to me than this. It's like that is what life is about. That's life in Christ. It's being a vessel for every good work. And God has so much to flow through us in our lives that He wants us to live richly off the residue. He's God and more than enough, and it's not just for Kim or Courtney. It’s for everyone. He's that faithful girl, and His Word works.
We could give you our opinion, we could give you tips, tricks, all of that, but at the end of the day, if we're giving you His word and encouraging you to dive into his truth that is alive, it's sharper than any two-edged sword. We're giving you the best tool of your life because it's the anchor for your soul.
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