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When Selflessness isn’t so Selfless

Inhale .. Exhale ..

Sometimes it takes me a while to “wake up” to the WHY behind my not “feeling” well.  I was never good at “listening” to my body (a big reason I got so .. well .. big).  This includes not paying attention to signals I’m exhausted or stressed or irritable.  Or feeling “trapped” and prone to blame others for making me feel that way….

I have recently woken up to the fact I got hoodwinked, again, by my own “Old Leah” thinking .. trying to bring a lot of factors together to “make” them work to please all involved.  And my “making” it work involved making a lot of “sacrifices” from my own world – time, money, energy, etc.

THANK GOD I recognized the pattern before it got TOTALLY out of control, but there are still some costs and losses as a result.  (“Natural consequences.”)  And as has become my trend (sheepish grin), I flooded my twitter account with a series of self-counseling, “preaching to myself” blips.  In short, I was walking by sight, not by faith.  I was being led by “emotion” (others’ AND my own) and ulterior motives rather unknown even to myself at first, instead of being led by the Spirit of God – our GOOD Father – who is NOT the “author of confusion” (even though I was kinda overrun by “confusion” at times, and tried to manage it and “force” the square peg into the round hole, instead of identifying that I was sent off course WAY back, and could easily have redirected back THEN and saved everyone a lot of grief, not least of all myself!).

In case you are at all wired like me, a recovering “people pleaser” at odds with her own over-inflated sense of justice (my “kind” word for my own self-righteousness), here are my tweets so YOU might be able to change course, too.  I’ll copy here, and retreat to my prayer closet so I can discern the appropriate “fix” .. which is probably going to include some “repentance” on my part for having let things get this far in the first place.

*sigh*

Thank God he is GRACIOUS and loves to direct us for our own good.  ❤

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  • Need 2listen better 2growing feeling of being overwhelmed..It’s OFTEN a “check in my spirit” that I’m walking by fear/obligation, not Faith!
  • When u bend over backwards 2make square pegs fit round holes so others aren’t hurt or offended, that might not be love as much as cowardice.
  • There’s a difference between sacrificially “giving the shirt off ur back” as Jesus commanded vs. MANIPULATING others by trying 2please them!
  • If ur frustratd bcuz ur manipulation disguisd as self-sacrifice fails 2achieve desired accolades, u WILL hv dis-ease from home-grown stress!

tearing-hair-out-2

  • Here’s the point: U might not B aware ur a manipulatng ppl pleaser. LISTEN 2ur stress levels &feeling hurt when others fail 2love ur effort!
  • CUT OFF ur stress &frustration UP FRONT! Be willing 2say NO sometimes, express urself &OWN ur decisions. Sometimes NO = most loving answer.
  • Be led by PEACE in ur decisions. God is not the author of confusion, & ur not being more “righteous” by ever yielding 2everyone elses whims.
  • There is a GRACIOUS diffrnc between loving by SERVING vs being a SLAVE – either 2others OR emotions. Dont be ur own emotional whipping post.
  • When u make self-deprecating decisions 2please others (not 2SERVE others), u really can’t blame THEM when u fail 2accomplish ur own dreams.
  • If ur a chronic “ppl pleaser” be prepard, it will take WORK 2examin ur motives faithfully. CHECK urself,SPEAK ur true desires,say NO if nec.
  • GOOD 2deny urself insofar as ur chasing selflessness. It IS Christ-like. But that is NOT= 2being jerkd by other ppl’s ever-changing desires!
  • Have u caught urself in a snowball of iffy decisions? R u bearing fruit of stress,frustration,exhaustion,anger,blameshifting? CHANGE COURSE.
  • We serve a GOOD Father &his commands R NOT burdensome! If u FEEL burdened, could it be ur walking in a SELF-imposed reality, not led by HIM.
  • Uve made some compromises,found ur iffy motivs,&need 2change course? PAUSE,immerse urself in PRAYER so nxt move =led by the SPIRIT,not self.

Blessings!

~Leah

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… For Thou Art With Me

fear no evil

An old, school friend of mine and his wife needed prayer and encouragement, this morning, as they are in an ugly custody battle with her deceptive and abusive ex-husband regarding her kids ..

The word the Lord gave me is a word worth sharing, cuz I needed to “hear” it, too!

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Before the court appointment:

… I’ll be praying that the spiritual enemies at work will be thwarted, that the judge .. be bound by law and discern the truth as well as SEE what is best for the kids ..

And I’ll pray that you and your wife are able to rest in the knowledge that regardless of what YOU cannot control, nevertheless we have a God who can “turn the heart of the king wherever He wills.” [Proverbs 21:1] I am so sorry you guys are going through this struggle! I’ll be praying for good fruit for YOU two, for your like-mindedness and unity in your marriage as you wrestle “not with flesh and blood” and for all the kiddos as no doubt they are feeling the stress of everything, as well as being pawned and yanked and manipulated .. God WILL bring healing and good from all this [Romans 8:28] …. ❤

Even the unjust judge in Jesus’ parable about praying without ceasing [Luke 18:1-8] ultimately relented because the woman persisted in her requests for justice. I will pray that THIS judge will administer GOD’S wisdom, even if not his/her own. ❤

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After the court appointment, and SOME small victories in the situation as a result, she expressed weariness over the journey which caused the Spirit to prompt me to say:

I can tend to be an “all or nothing” person .. I have been really struggling lately with depression over my weight-loss journey cuz I’ve backtracked a little (lost 156 lbs, but have gained back 7 in the last couple months) .. I have had to remind myself A LOT lately that EVERY little thing is what adds up to a big difference when all is said and done. I can’t make myself go to the gym, lately .. I just don’t have the mental or physical fortitude, struggling with pain issues, etc. BUT I can walk 5 minutes every couple hours, I can cut back my intake to make up for less physical activity (and thus fewer calories to spend), etc.

I know my journey is NOTHING compared to winning a victory on behalf of your CHILDREN’S welfare .. My only word of encouragement intended is ..

EVERY little decision, EVERY little fight, EVERY little victory, EVERY little reprieve – a minute to catch your breath till the next battle .. EVERY one is worth giving thanks for. Every little thing will eventually add up .. and I’m afraid we little people don’t learn “patience” any other way than going THROUGH the valley of the shadow of death .. [Psalm 23, James 1:2-8]

It can be so tempting to just sit down and put our heads in our hands and give up, but if we don’t go through it, where do we find ourselves? In a crumpled heap, motionless IN the valley of the shadow of death? Why would we want to stay there!

We MUST get up, we MUST keep going, and thank GOD for his promise that he goes through it WITH us .. HE sees us through to the other side.

TAKE HEART, sister. You ARE fighting a good fight.

You’re imaging our Good Father by sacrificing for the sake of your beloved children. He gave all to rescue you [John 3:16, Romans 8:32], now you get to do the same for your little ones. Let this speak to your heart about how GREAT the love of OUR Good Father is for us. He will most definitely strengthen you through this! And in the end, bring both good for you, and glory for himself.

Cuz what’s on the other side of the valley?

LIFE. Real, vibrant, exhilarating LIFE in the fullness of God’s grace.

So trust our Good Shepherd to lead us beside the still waters, to restore our souls, and take us through to the other side. HE is with you, HE is FOR you, whom shall you fear?? ❤  [Romans 8:31-39]

~Leah

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The Lord Is My Shepherd, I Shall Not Want

the lord is my shepherd

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Romans 8:31-39 (Phillips)

31-32 In face of all this, what is there left to say? If God is for us, who can be against us? He that did not hesitate to spare his own Son but gave him up for us all—can we not trust such a God to give us, with him, everything else that we can need?

33-34 Who would dare to accuse us, whom God has chosen? The judge himself has declared us free from sin. Who is in a position to condemn? Only Christ, and Christ died for us, Christ rose for us, Christ reigns in power for us, Christ prays for us!

35-36 Can anything separate us from the love of Christ? Can trouble, pain or persecution? Can lack of clothes and food, danger to life and limb, the threat of force of arms? Indeed some of us know the truth of the ancient text: ‘For your sake we are killed all day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter’.

37 No, in all these things we win an overwhelming victory through him who has proved his love for us.

38-39 I have become absolutely convinced that neither death nor life, neither messenger of Heaven nor monarch of earth, neither what happens today nor what may happen tomorrow, neither a power from on high nor a power from below, nor anything else in God’s whole world has any power to separate us from the love of God in Jesus Christ our Lord!

We are so blessed. ❤

Transformation Tuesday

20150410_185557-1before circa 2012

My best “before and after” pics so far.

In the past two years, I have gone from 324 lbs and a size 26, down 155 lbs (100 lbs of this in a 120 day INTENSIVE window of time) to a BMI healthy weight of 169 lbs (so far) and a size 8.

I was at one point on 16 different prescriptions, including multiple inhalers, had chronic fatigue and pain issues, recurring pneumonia, sometimes serious digestive issues (I thought this was normal for everyone!), breathing and heart-racing issues, cyclical migraines, hormonal imbalances, systemic yeast infection, and bad skin issues, to say nothing of my depression and purposelessness –

I didn’t even know that my core belief was that I was not “worth” saving.

In spite of a 4 month window where I had to have spinal surgery, I have not gained back any of the 155 lbs I have so far lost, and I am HEALED of almost all my issues.

Now – NO pneumonia, NO remaining prescriptions, NO fatigue pain issues, my menstrual cycle has been 4 weeks regular for over a year (first time in my whole LIFE!) and only “normal” cramping (instead of the excessive, debilitating pain to which I had grown accustomed), and more than one medical professional has told me I have a heart “conditioned like a runner’s” .. and I have energy like never before, and clarity of thinking.

ALL because of GRACE.  ALL because we have a GOOD FATHER in God who gives generously to all who ask for wisdom, without finding fault. 

ALL because God gave me a vision of what he had MADE me to be.  ALL because He introduced me to my best friend who “just so happened” to be a fitness/nutritionist who faithfully encouraged me for YEARS beforehand to do the HARD thing, to be prepared to “pay in pain” because I didn’t get to my state overnight, a friend who would ultimately give me the tool I needed to succeed, and teach me to use it!  ALL because He led me to the godly woman who would also be my wellness coach to deal with all the mental/spiritual mess I was in that led to my morbid obesity in the first place.  ALL because He wanted to SET ME FREE from my mental and physical food addictions.  ALL because he wanted to strip away the WASTE I had made of my life, and make me NEW.  Again.  🙂

He is GOOD.

~Leah

My bio ~ a work in progress <3

Leah Page graduated from Grand Valley State University with a Bachelor’s degree in Philosophy, and considers herself a forever-student at heart, especially of the Word of God. She has worked in various forms of professional Customer Service for over 16 years, from Mortgages and Banking to Automotive Plastics, and values most the opportunity to mediate and problem-solve. Leah is actively involved with the Assemblies of God Church in Baldwin, MI, and has served over the years, in varying roles, from Women’s Bible Study Leader to Choir Director to Worship Leading to teaching Sunday School to working faithfully in the Nursery. She loves being an Aunt and Sister and Daughter and Friend and Coworker, and loves to read just about anything she can put her hands on.
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Over the past two years, Leah has been on a transformative journey.  Having spent her entire adult life morbidly obese, Leah found herself chronically ill with recurring pneumonia, complications from PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome), chronic pain and fatigue, and eventually dependence on a cane just to walk up to her 2nd floor bedroom.  At one point, she was on 16 different prescriptions to try to manage her symptoms, and struggled with sometimes debilitating depression.  But God intervened, and caused her to see this was not HIS plan for her.  Through the constant encouragement of a dear friend who would later also take on the role of a personal trainer, Leah embraced a radical, rigorous plan that would enable her to finally lay hold of the vision of the woman GOD had made her to be.  Leah has, to date, lost 150 lbs since her starting point of 324 lbs, and has dropped from a size 26 to a size 8.  She is still a work in progress, but she has been able to wean off of ALL of her prescriptions, eats healthfully and has built regular visits to the gym into her lifestyle.  As she shed her excess weight, she found that she had to shed much more.  Her weight was not the root problem, but in fact a symptom of a greater issue, something she says only the LORD could heal.  Her testimony is ultimately one of discovering that God’s GRACE is enough.
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~ I have provided the above for a couple of upcoming speaking events to talk about my recent transformation.  I will post again once I have had opportunity to synthesize my thoughts for these meetings, and offer a summary of what I mean by God’s GRACE is enough!  Your prayers are appreciated!  ❤

Depression POINTS To Something More

@Grace2Grow: ‪#‎Depression‬ comes in MANY forms & 4varieties of reasons. For me one big issue: I perceive on an “intuitive” level &struggle 2identify ROOT.

* In fight against #Depression I PREACH 2myself: ‪#‎faith‬ = often NOT understanding. Still, God is pleasd I believ him when I dont FEEL like it.

* #Depression is very real for ALL, tho we like 2deny it. Perhaps bcuz #faith is supposed 2cureall. ‪#‎Jesus‬ IS our hope ESPEC in midst of fire.

* #Depression usually manifests when I’v tried 2TAKE OVR some aspect of my life – 2MAKE sumthin happen. ‪#‎EvidenceImNotYielding2SpiritsLeading‬.

* #Depression is not ALWAYS an indication of a lack of surrender. Sumtimes there’s grief that invades &drowns the voice of Hope. ‪#‎TheGoodFight‬

* More than ever Im persuaded that HOPE gives birth 2FAITH. So when Im battling #Depression I must actively HUNT 4voice of HOPE 2find LIFE.

* My experience = I can “feel” when weight of a #Depression (oppression) lifts. &Always this comes after I express my longing heart in prayer.

* I can KNOW I must pray & give my “groanings” 2God as an offering, BUT in midst of pain it feels like THE most impossible thing! #Depression

* It helps 2make a literal ‪#‎notetoself‬, even a tweet: God is faithful, our feelings lie, #Depression does NOT last forever, our ‪#‎HOPE‬ is sure!

Be BLESSED, Beloved ❤

~Leah

A Broken Windshield to Heal

I won’t go into too much detail here, because I don’t want to give cause for a misinterpretation of events; but this little incident was too good not to share.  Stay tuned for one tiny peek at an unplanned and unexpected but very welcome Redemptive Moment.  🙂

I WAS FIRED.

I was fired.  Yep – not from my present job, but the job I had before.  It’s been nearly 8 years since I went through very rough waters with a former employer, both sides feeling justified in a growing distrust and mutual dissatisfaction, and a painful ordeal that was only survived with some grace because of a gracious mediator who walked us through the transition that would ultimately lead to me training my own replacement.

This was a life-altering experience for me – not just because it was so devastating to not be believed, not be trusted, and feel I had NO earthly way to rectify the opinions of others, but mainly because this was a small family owned business, and these were people I had known for YEARS before working there, had gone to CHURCH with them, had what I thought was a loving relationship with them and their kids outside any workplace association.  Yet in the months when everything unraveled and in the subsequent mutual parting of ways, everything in our friendship and association also vanished.

MEMORY IS A TRICKY THING.

From what I understand – and please, I’m not a scientist, so let’s just chalk this up to being a bit of an internet and news junkie – our brains RE-remember every time we visit a “memory,” and HOW we perceive is fluid, always changing – almost as if the memories themselves are living things – and yet our CONVICTIONS about what we remember are equally as strong in the 10th telling (which for some people will be much more varied from the first telling than others) even if the content (unbeknownst to us) may differ in significant ways.

Perhaps that’s a good argument for keeping a journal – provided we can be trusted to recount events honestly to ourselves, which sometimes may be a big “if.”  🙂

As for me?  Here?  I remember more the emotions, the hurt, the suspicion, or the anger – even the fury – sometimes directed at me.  I remember returning some of the same.  Present emotions often register as shame, regret, sorrow, that wishful longing that things had been different, that I had DONE things differently.

A BROKEN WINDSHIELD TO HEAL.

By happenstance, my car recently suffered (another) windshield injury.  I looked up a repair shop online, not fully registering the location of the address, and mistakenly assessing it to be closer to my job for a quick lunch visit.  In fact, this shop was several miles away, in the neighborhood of my previous place of employment.  And I arrived to learn my windshield was non-repairable – I would have to reschedule for another visit to have the whole thing replaced.  So by happenstance *ahem* I found myself with some time to kill before going back to work, AND within just a couple blocks of this place which attaches to so many significant negative (but growth-inducing) emotions.

So I decided to drop in for a visit.

And I found that the son has since bought the business from his parents, the wife (daughter-in-law) now manages the main office and the books, and though the mom no longer works there, the dad still weaves in and around the office, cheerfully advertising, don’t you know, that the KFC founder didn’t really get his business feet under him till he was 80 years old, so there!

I found that the gal who had replaced me was years gone, and the gal I had replaced more years before was now working there again.  I found that the business had weathered the economic downturn seemingly well, and that the gracious mediator I had hoped to revisit had resigned just a few months before to pursue more missions-minded work in another city.  How fitting.  🙂

There was shock expressed over how much weight I’ve lost (they all knew me at my unhealthiest), there was curiosity about the house I’ve recently purchased, my now living near my sister so many miles away from my current job, and the nearly 8 years I’ve now been with the same employer.  We visited about changes in our church experiences, changes in our country, and in short how the years mature us .. if we let them.  🙂

There were smiles, even a few hugs, and they let me wander out back until I found the 80+ year old dad lifting his face to soak up a little sun behind the shop, enjoying a quiet smoke break, standing just exactly as I remember him .. I got to visit with him for a few minutes, and … was that “relief” spreading over his face?  To learn that I was now in such a good place, healthy and happy and well cared for …. I left well-wishes for everyone, and asked the dad to take a love greeting to his wife, my former boss, too.

Then another round of hugs and affirmations for the healing time can minister, and we all marveled once again at how .. Paths can cross and sever, but God is still God of us all, and – for those who will humbly yield to it – his grace is greater than what we allow to divide ….

I think I will never again feel as much GRATITUDE as I did that day for a badly timed rock bouncing on the freeway on my commute to work.  😉  Miracles can spring forth from the most unlikely of places, don’t you know.

And just for the record, I don’t believe in “happenstance.”  😉

Be blessed!

~Leah

Cold blooded Christian?

“I believe that many professing Christians are cold and uncomfortable because they are doing nothing for their Lord; but if they actively served him, their blood would begin to circulate spiritually, and it would be well with them.”

~CH Spurgeon

Reflecting on Fear vs. Faith

Reflecting on Fear vs. Faith ~ some more recent tweets.

 

  • There is no place in the kingdom of God for ANY fear other than the fear of the Lord. As that is the beginning of true wisdom, its fruit is “perfect love” which CASTS OUT ALL OTHER FEAR.

 

  • Fear of God, the beginning of wisdom, is the BIRTHPLACE of Faith. But any other fear is an ENEMY of Faith, exposing IDOLS in our hearts.

 

  • We knowingly &UNknowingly become SLAVES 2being thought well of by others & make costly sacrifices 2obtain their good opinions. #FEAROFMAN

 

  • Scripture tells us the Righteous walk by FAITH not sight. When we “fear” the unknown, we expose a heart idol: I wish I were “god” of my own life! That is the true “original sin.”

 

  • “Faith” is not blind bravery. Faith comes by hearing the WORD OF GOD. Do u feel afraid? anxious/worried? My rule 4myself: “Flee 2the Word!”

 

  • [progression of YIELDING]  ….  I THINK I CAN! -> I thought I could -> I think I can’t -> I know I can’t! -> I think He would? -> I think He can! -> I KNOW HE WILL!

 

I think there is a future book in these reflections….

 

Be Blessed!

~Leah

 

Looking for Purpose?

“EVERYONE WHO IS OF THE TRUTH HEARS AND LISTENS TO MY VOICE.”   ~ Jesus
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I found this so beautiful, this morning! You want to find your “Life Purpose”?  ~  It’s in being a friend of the Truth.  Belonging to the Truth.  Hearing and listening to the voice of Jesus.  Bearing witness to the Truth!
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…Then they led Jesus from Caiaphas’ presence into the palace.  It was now early morning and the Jews themselves did not go into the palace, for fear that they would be contaminated and would not be able to eat the Passover.  So Pilate walked out to them and said, “What is the charge that you are bringing against this man?”    ~    “If he were not an evil-doer, we should not have handed him over to you,” they replied.   To which Pilate retorted, “Then take him yourselves and judge him according to your law.”   We are not allowed to put a man to death,” replied the Jews (thus fulfilling Christ’s prophecy of the method of his own death).    ~    So Pilate went back into the Palace and called Jesus to him. “Are you the king of the Jews?” he asked.    ~    “Are you asking this of your own accord,” replied Jesus, “or have other people spoken to you about me?”    ~    “Do you think I am a Jew?” replied Pilate. “It’s your people and your chief priests who handed you over to me. What have you done, anyway?”    ~    “My kingdom is not founded in this world—if it were, my servants would have fought to prevent my being handed over to the Jews. But in fact my kingdom is not founded on all this!”    ~    “So you are a king, are you?” returned Pilate.   “Indeed I am a king,” Jesus replied; “the reason for my birth and the reason for my coming into the world is to witness to the truth. Every man who loves truth recognizes my voice.”

[“…This is why I was born, and for this I have come into the world, to bear witness to the Truth. Everyone who is of the Truth (who is a friend of the Truth, who belongs to the Truth) hears and listens to My voice.”]

To which Pilate retorted, “What is ‘truth’?” and went straight out again to the Jews and said: “I find nothing criminal about him at all. But I have an arrangement with you to set one prisoner free at Passover time. Do you wish me then to set free for you the ‘king of the Jews’?”  At this, they shouted out again, “No, not this man, but Barabbas!”  Barabbas was a bandit….
~  John 18:28-40 (JBP)
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Like Paul

I LOVE HOW SCRIPTURE gives us background on the life of Paul, New Testament apostle of the Gospel which was to both Jews and Gentiles, making “one” of “two” and “many.” Radically transformed from murderer and religious zealot, chief of the order of Pharisees the likes of which Jesus scathingly rebuked during his earthly ministry, Paul was a highly educated man with at least a dual citizenship which God would use later in his life to spare his life more than once. Paul was knocked to the ground by a literally blinding, brilliant encounter with the Risen Jesus, a man with a scholar’s mind and, once converted, a pastor’s heart. He went from slaughtering the people of God to *shepherding* them, with boldness in confronting sin, and adamant reassurances of the promises of God. Clinging to the Word! Clothed in the righteousness of Christ! He was a man with his eyes FIXED on Jesus, and a heart and life DEVOTED to seeing people transformed by the grace of God. THIS is a godly man.
(see especially Acts ch. 9 and ch. 17 ~ if you have time, read the 2nd half of Acts as records most of Paul’s missionary journies. He also authored the majority of the books of the NT, so you could take time to read more of his instruction to the churches (called “epistles” which means “letters”) and concerning the Word of God in such books as Romans, 1st and 2nd Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Colossians, Philippians, 1st and 2nd Timothy, and more.)