When I moved to Oregon, I decided it was once again time to lose that nagging 30 pounds. The gym shopping began. What I didn’t realize was that I wasn’t searching for a gym, I was searching for a place to belong. I was searching for community. I visited the YMCA in Sherwood, OR and it seemed fun. People there were kind to me and my children. I joined. My life began to change. I snuck into the back row of a Barre class I liked, and made friends with that instructor. She became my invitation to a whole new view of myself. About six months into our friendship, she took over a cardio dance fitness class—she was nervous about this and asked me to go to the class. I went because no friend of mine does scary things alone. She also asked me to go to a REFIT training event, no experience required. I figured, if anything, they’d teach me to dance a little better. Then, the week before the event, my instructor friend couldn’t go. I’d paid, I prayed. I waffled between going and not going. The Holy Spirit did His thing and reminded me of a promise I’d made to God, “Give me a class, and I will teach.” I went and I LOVED it. I still love it. I love it so much I teach it at River West every week. So what is REFIT?

REFIT is a life changing fitness program that views the heart as a muscle AND a soul. The first thing these people said to me was: “Welcome Home.” They invited me into their community of fitness instructors and were the sweetest people I’d ever met! But they didn’t know what a weirdo I am! Didn’t they SEE me trip 8 thousand times on the fitness floor? Didn’t they see my 15 pounds that won’t go away? They liked me anyway. They pulled a chair out from the proverbial table and asked me to sit down. They sat me down before a new kind of mirror, calibrated to bring out the real me, and to show me what I needed to learn. It was the best message I’d ever sat through. (Sorry to all my excellent pastors, BIlly Graham, Beth Moore, but it’s true.)

What did I learn? Well, it was not how to dance. It was how to change fitness for myself and others. It was how to create a safe space for others with challenges to dance and become friends with their bodies again. The Holy Spirit pointed out to me that my body and I had become enemies. You see, my body had failed me. It had not produced biological children like I had expected it to. My beautiful boys are mine via the miracle of adoption. In short, I lost trust in my own body. I knew what it couldn’t do and I was not really concerned about what it could do because—if I tried to do something I longed to do again—it might let me down again.

Compassion, Empathy, Acceptance. That is what I learned that day, for myself and for others. We also danced, and exercised, we filmed a video for YouTube. And at the end of all of these amazing things they told me I was Loved, Enough, a Revolutionary, an Overcomer, a valuable person. They said, “Congratulations Kelley Cathcart, you are a fitness instructor.” I looked at them and was baffled. Me? A fitness Instructor? I’m all of those things? Catherine looked at me and said, “Believe it.”

It took a while, but the Holy Spirit convinced me to start a class here at River West. “Ask Adam and Mary Ann.” He said. It took me a while longer. I asked, and they said YES! Now we have a REVOLUTIONARY Fitness Experience every Saturday at 8:30 am in Room 106 at River West Church.

The Revolutionaries and I are ready to welcome you to the space we’ve been saving for you. This is a fitness community for the willing, not simply for those who are already in shape. If you are willing you belong here. You. Belong. Here. A bunch of regular people making a difference in each other’s lives one week at a time. Fitness is the byproduct. Community, friendship, and connection is our goal. We laugh, we have fun, and we move.

I’m Kelley Cathcart and I’m your REFIT instructor.

Welcome Home.