“Strength of Spirit” by Guest Writer: Grace Gardiner

But the fruit produced by the Holy Spirit within you is divine love in all its varied expressions: joy that overflows, peace that subdues, patience that endures, kindness in action, a life full of virtue, faith that prevails, gentleness of heart, and strength of spirit. Never set the law above these qualities, for they are meant to be limitless. Galatians 5:22-23 The Passion Translation

Magnificent, extravagant and surprising.  Admittedly, inadequate words attempting to describe the love of God. Unconditional love illustrated in redemption, healing, protection, peace and hope.  I’ve experienced these, and more, but one of the most wonderful expressions of Jesus’ love I have received is His development of self-control in my life.

Let me be transparent. For decades I was morbidly obese leaving my physical, mental and spiritual health at risk. Chronic stress and health issues lured me into seeking comfort and pleasure in food, exacting a high price.

Partnering with my husband in ministry, I was fearful that the messages God birthed in me would be disregarded due to my size; that God could never use me since I couldn’t even control what I ate.

One day as once again I poured out my heart to God, I felt something fresh in my spirit and knew my breakthrough was at hand. I embarked on a plan and over the next four years my food intake, activity level and my spiritual life became more disciplined as I followed the loving guidance of Jesus. 

On stressful days, He showed me how He gives lasting comfort, where that cupcake is only a momentary reprieve. 

In hundreds of big and small ways He transformed me inside and out as I accepted and learned to love the guardrails of discipline that God had set as protection.


I lost over 160 pounds, maintaining that loss for over three years. I have health, confidence, energy, and a dependence on God that I would never have known if He had not shown me love through self-control.

Galatians 5:22-23 in the Passion Translation describes the fruit of self-control as strength of spirit. Such a fitting way to describe the gift of love I’ve received on this journey! I have strength of spirit as I lean on Him daily, not running to comfort foods for an escape. This led to a stronger physical body, self-assurance and a desire for more of God.

God does not always reveal His love in sparkling streams of retreat, but by changing a palate to crave healthy food, by encouraging a walk and by revealing His plan for me when I spend time with Him. 


He loves by providing a fresh start after a weekly weigh in shows the result of some poor choices. It has not been easy, however, it has been an amazing metamorphosis to all areas of my life.  This outpouring of love has enabled me to keep the vow I made to support my husband’s calling in ministry which continues to be an incredible blessing.

My friend, maybe you feel trapped in areas where you’ve lost self-control. Maybe it’s not food, yet your heart longs to have God shower out his love in building strength of spirit in your life. Jesus is ready and willing to love you to that strength. Take His Hand and embark on this amazing adventure in the life-changing love of God.

A speaker, author and licensed minister, Grace Gardiner partners with her husband pastoring a church planted during the COVID-19 pandemic.  She is also a clinical secretary in the ICU of a local hospital. Grace’s passion is encouraging women to deepen their relationship with God and each other. Connect with Grace at http://www.seasonswithgrace.ca.

We thank you, Grace, for contributing to this publication of Titus-two.com speaking about “The Love of the Father.”

You are loved to Heaven and Back ~~

LindaRJohnson, TitusTwo Visionary


  1. Thank you so much for sharing your journey that the Lord has you on. Love the version of the Bible….it has spoken and touch my heart greatly!


  2. Love The Passion Translation of Galatians 5:22-23. I’ve never read it that translation & it’s beautiful! Thank you for sharing your journey with us. I know how hard that must have been, although leaning into GOD had to make it a little easier, maybe? I’ve struggled with weight all my life — yo-yo’ing back & forth … never once thinking to lean into GOD for help, so thank you! I will continue to lean into Him to stay where I am now as part of my healing journey. Hugs & Blessings ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

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