Several weeks ago I told a man I have worked with for over 19 years that I was giving notice on the two developmentally disabled women who live in our home. He said, “Are you retiring?” Up to that point, I had never used the word retiring to refer to myself.

I paused before answering, which is always awkward when you’re on the phone. I had to wrap my brain around the world’s perception of me being retired. “Am I?” I said. “I guess I am, at least from this job. I’ve just never thought of it that way.”

The Beginning

My husband and I began this journey for two reasons. It was mainly so I could stay home with our kids and have a source of income at the same time. The second was so that I could have more time to write a book, which has always been my passion.

Being the compassionate man he is, my husband was the one who loved the idea of giving a home and a family to a kid who didn’t have either, one that perhaps others didn’t want to or couldn’t take care of. The fact the teen might have some mental, emotional or physical problems didn’t bother him at all.

Our two kids, then 8 and 14, were on board. The combined consensus seemed to be, “We have a great family so why not share our lives with others?” We wanted to make a difference. I had some awesome, idealistic ideals of the teenager’s challenges being totally resolved after a few weeks, maybe months, but quickly.

Dysfunctional Family

After we met a few potential foster sons and daughters my son said, “Mom what do you call a functional family who adds a dysfunctional member?”

I just looked at him as he calmly said, “A dysfunctional family.”

Can I tell you, it’s really hard to write a book in the midst of not just chaos, but screaming, hollering, putting holes in the walls, cursing, pacing, violent threats, growling, hitting and talking-to-people-who-aren’t-there dysfunction. And that was just our first few months.

After living through that for over three years, we moved to just regular, behavioral teens. We had several young men and many young women through our home. It was always full and noisy, but even more challenging in many ways. Their past always haunted them and spilled over in behaviors they couldn’t control even though they wanted to.

Many times our children hid together in the upstairs area where we had our bedrooms while all hell was breaking loose downstairs. For the most part, though, we got everyone fed, sent to school on time, lies sorted from the truth, and enough hugs to make it all worth while at least for that day.

When one of our foster daughters was transitioning out of the children’s division and qualified for Department of Mental Health care we decided to step back into that arena. That was 12 years ago. Her behaviors escalated and nine years ago another took her place.

A DIfferent Journey

In the midst of this often crazy, but always good life, I took on the challenge from God to attack my extreme weight issue as if I didn’t have enough to do already. Did I mention I was also editing and publishing several Christian newspapers and other local magazines during much of this time?

I just knew in order to continue to live I was going to have to focus on my health. I also had two foster daughters whose doctors were telling them they needed to lose weight. I knew I was not a good role model to them.

I cleaned the cabinets of all the chips, cookies and cake mixes and began buying fruits and vegetables. Amazingly the kids took to the fruit in no time. I can’t say they lost weight, though. They just ate more fruit, but at least I felt they were eating more healthy at our house. I had no idea what they ate for school lunch.

Through those years, though, I did lose weight, over 260 pounds. In 2013 a dream came true for me. I wrote a book. Then another and another and a couple of study guides and now another!

And The Journey Continues

Today, I turned 64.To celebrate I uploaded my fourth book to Amazon, Sweet Hunger: Developing An Appetite for God. It’s a nine-session Bible study, which includes discussion questions and activities. Right now it’s on Amazon for pre-order, but by August 8, it will be available to order.

By that date, the nine video teachings which go with each session will be available to be purchased and downloaded from my website. I’ve also developed a downloadable Leader’s Guide which is free to those who purchase the videos or to those who get a book. That will be available then as well.

You may ask, since I’m writing books, why am I moving my clients? Don’t get me wrong, I love my client. They are part of our family, but the seasons are changing and I can no longer do what God has called me to and manage the load of responsibility I have for years. Two years ago He clearly showed me I would have the ladies for two years. He was very accurate. It’s will have been almost exactly two years.

It’s time for me to pursue my destiny. It is an unction from the Almighty to give this calling my full attention. He has also shown me that in addition to writing, leading Christian weight loss coaching groups and doing writing coaching, the next step is adding one-on-one coaching through VIP Freedom Coaching.

VIP Freedom Coaching

Freedom Coaching is really all about moving towards total transformation—body, soul and spirit. It can include weight loss, but since it will be primarily one-on-one coaching it will about the issues holding individuals back from living their best life now. There will also be a teaching element and a course completion certificate to help you feel good about helping others.

I had hoped that page would be available today as well. But my web designer got swamped and so it won’t be available until next week. When it gets up I will notify all that have sent me an email to

VIP Freedom Coaching is not for everyone. I am taking a limited number of clients. Once the page goes live, if you are really, really interested sign up on the email list. You’ll get a letter from me with a questionnaire to start the process. The actual buy button, though, doesn’t open until Aug. 15, one day after my clients move. I didn’t plan it that way. God did! Isn’t He amazing? It’s like He just stamped His approval on this process. It’s time to help you move forward!

Year of Restoration

It’s my 64th year on earth. It’s the six plus four year. It’s a 10 year, the year of restoration. The year of divine order. It’s the end of one era marked by difficulties and hard times spiced with seasons of joy. It is the beginning of a whole new way of life.

Despite what my co-worker said, I don’t think it’s the start of my retirement. I think it’s the beginning of when I pour everything into my purpose, the thing I have been put here on earth to do, my destiny assignment.

I couldn’t think of a better birthday present, except maybe getting a manicure with my favorite daughter, which will happen shortly.

“We are God’s poetry, a recreated people who will fulfill the destiny He has given each of us, for we were joined to Jesus, the Anointed One. Even before we were born He planned in advance our destiny and the good works we would do to fulfill it,” Ephesians 2:10 TPT.

Teresa Shields Parker
Teresa Shields Parker is a Christian weight loss author, coach and speaker, who has lost more than 260 pounds. Her book, "Sweet Grace: How I Lost 250 Pounds and Stopped Trying to Earn God's Favor", is the number 1 Christian Weight Loss Memoir on Amazon. She has three more books, "Sweet Journey to Transformation: Practical Steps to Lose Weight and Live Healthy", "Sweet Freedom: Losing Weight and Keeping It Off With God's Help", "Sweet Change: True Stories of Transformation" and "Sweet Hunger: Developing An Appetite for God." Sweet Grace and Sweet Freedom study guides are available as well. All books are on Amazon. Her Coaching Programs can be found under the Weight Loss tab at To book Teresa for your next event, check the Speaking Tab.