Throughout our lives, God weaves a tapestry using people and circumstances that don’t make sense to us until we reflect on our lives. It is then we look back and say, “Thank you, Lord, for being my Master, Creator, Provider, Tapestry Weaver and Father.”
In the ‘70’s, I lived in a cul-de-sac, with LOTS of kids. This meant a perfect, almost traffic-free, place to get physical: playing sports in the street while diving for silver dollars in our cool, 68 degree pool in the backyard. The foundation of my tapestry was being stitched together through having fun staying active in childhood.
We moved to Washington, DC the summer of 1981 because my dad worked for the government. No one in our family was ever in the military, however, my mom was a nurse and the Lord blessed her with a position at Walter Reed Army Medical Center (WRAMC). God was beginning to connect the tapestry of the West coast and East coast through mom’s job at WRAMC to direct my life for His purpose.
In the ‘80’s, I volunteered at Walter Reed and was motivated by medical students who lived the Army core values of LDRSHIP: Loyalty, Duty, Respect, Selfless-Service, Honesty, Integrity, Personal Courage to consider joining the military. The other motivation for entering military service they gave me was telling me there was an army hospital in Hawaii! I started jogging, doing the “20-Minute Workout” (remember this ‘80’s exercise show?), and practicing the army physical fitness test. And I n 1989, I entered the military medical school in Bethesda, MD. God’s tapestry for me took on the colors of red, white, and blue and Army green!
In the summer of 1990, I elected to go to US Army Airborne school. Exercising in camouflage uniforms in the Georgia heat let me experience a bit of “the REAL army.” Cammo tapestry now.
Throughout the 90’s and 2000’s, although the physical fitness tests were not my favorites, this verse pushed me: “Whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men,” Colossians 3:23. This was also my mom’s life verse.
Before she passed away, her last sage advice to me was: “Spend more time with your kids.” With my husband deployed to Iraq and three kids at home, I took my mom’s advice and in 2006 I left active duty but continued part-time as a civilian physician at Walter Reed. Upon my husbands return, he told me about a program called Body & Soul that he had heard about on the radio in Iraq. At the same time, my pastor, Steve Reynolds, had lost 70 lbs. using the BIBLE (Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth) as a “health manual” and he wanted to start a health ministry. He invited two ladies, Mary Ward and Lynne Brents, to our church to do a demo of a Body & Soul Fitness class. Coincidence? I say “divine intervention.” After the demo I went to the Body & Soul website and hit the button “So you want to be an instructor?” God was beginning to weave royal blue, THE Body & Soul color, into the tapestry.
The training I’ve received as a Body & Soul instructor has given me tools I use to counsel my military and retired patients on how to start-up and step-up their health journeys. Body & Soul Boot Camp has taught me that when running or interval training gets hard, repeating scripture helps: “I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus,” Philippians 3:14. In my boot camp class, I weave in my army thread by having the students run with Army cadences for the Lord’s Army: “Saw a FIT lady walking down the street…”
Just a few days ago, as we celebrated Memorial Day, I honored the memories and sacrifice of our military and my loving, compassionate, altruistic, mother, Nerissa Berbano who influenced my service. Thank you, mom and the military, for allowing the Lord to use you to weave my tapestry—for His glory! Red, white, blue, green, camo, royal blue – what a beautiful tapestry!
Liz Berbano is a Boot Camp Trainer and Assistant Area Director with Body & Soul Fitness. She teaches Body & Soul classes at Capital Baptist Church in Annandale and is a part-time physician at Walter Reed. Liz is also a wife to Darren and mom to Josh, Nerissa, and David. In addition to B&S classes, Liz loves to run with Team Toby Mac in the Country Music Marathon each year to support New Hope Academy in Nashville, TN. She loves working with youth, Christian music, and serving God in all that she does.