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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

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Like Joseph

I LOVE HOW SCRIPTURE paints the portrait of Joseph, in the Old Testament. We meet him as a zealous young man, the apple of his father’s eye, who is, as a teen, abused, beaten and abandoned by his brothers, sold into grueling slavery, falsely accused of rape, wrongly convicted and sentenced to years in prison ~ yet at every downward turn, Joseph rises up to moral victory, to positions of authority even within the confines of his captivity, and ultimately is used by God to save nations because he yielded his life to walking as one LED by (listening to and being quick to obey!) the Spirit of God. Joseph sees GOD as the one to whom he answers, and GOD as the one who ultimately orchestrates all events so that even evil is used to bring about His good purposes. His faith is characterized by confident expectation, and his life by sexual purity and servant leadership; and Joseph uses his position of authority in a way that is “wise as a serpent and innocent as a dove,” even forgiving his own abusers (!) and laying foundation for genuine reconciliation when he sees his brothers have truly changed. THIS is a godly man.
(read Genesis chapters 37-50, especially 39:7-10, and 50:15-21)

God Still Gives Dreams

I had a powerful and instructive dream in the wee hours of the morning a few days ago, regarding how to teach the Word of God.  I am not sure I’ve ever had a dream quite like that…
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    I was “on mission” with several others, imaged by a small boat (which I take to be symbolic of my church), battered by storm winds and threatening, potentially capsizing waves, and out from which we were casting smaller boats for search & rescue.
     My “job” in the main boat was to help care for the boat and the return of our searchers; and also to reflect on God’s Word and teach it. But in the dream I didn’t know my job, and I felt useless (very apt). And my teaching “reflections” were primarily self-focused and speculative, rather than exegetical or interpretive.
    I recall that we were ALL able to walk on water, just like Jesus – though I didn’t know yet that I could also do so.  In the setting of the dream, I was fearful of the ocean creatures, sharks and the like, and this dominated my consciousness as we were being assaulted by the storm.
    Our main team was out, and the sending boat was filling to the point of capsizing, so I swam across the deck towards the front, where our skeleton crew was working hard to keep us aright. There, I asked the main post (not a captain, she was like “acting captain”?) what I could do? How to help? Instead of telling me, she showed me how to maneuver the ship – which was designed uniquely to get rid of water in just this kind of danger. She showed me how to “tip” the boat, and it required skill and strength, but the main maneuver required the boat itself to do the work.
    Soon we were arighted, and our scattered searchers returned – having found some Lost, and also bringing back supplies.
    As the lot of us formed our smaller circles at tables in the dining area, I found a corner area to sit back and observe; here, individuals would approach me one by one to ask me about a teaching I’d done on the Book of Ruth. Some had been encouraged, others were critical. I don’t recall specifically what was said – but I do remember catching word through the overhearing of various conversations that the circle of leaders across the way had some thoughts they wanted to express.
    I made my way over and sat with them – instead of a table, they were each sitting at desks, “eating” the Word they were studying. One by one, they began to question me, encourage me, challenge me, even rebuke me. I recall only two bits of instruction:
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  • “Your personal, ‘journal-like’ approach to teaching is not profitable to the whole Body! You may well be learning much, but you need to broaden your pithy one-liners and marginal reflections to find what the Text is really saying, for the benefit of ALL!”
                        and…
  • “You are speaking as though every word you’re saying is ‘thus sayeth the Lord’; you must let the Word be the Word – draw a distinction, or people will flock to YOU rather than GOD!” …
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    I have felt this uselessness where I am currently positioned.  It has been a season of “filling” and receiving, to be sure, but I am eager to “go out,” myself.  To meaningfully do my “job” in the Body.  I have felt this was in teaching and singing – neither of which seem to be needs in the church into which God has currently placed me.
    Upon waking, aside from the above explicitely stated revelations which were also very key, I knew that several of the things the Spirit of God was impressing on my heart included:
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  • “DO NOT BE AFRAID!  I have given you authority over the creatures of the sea, AND over the waves!”
  • “I have made you for this time and this place – you are here to be taught, to learn submission, to trust the spiritual authorities I have placed over you, and to be prepared.”
  • “You have everything you need – you can already walk on water! – but I will determine the time and place when you step out.”
  • “You DO have a place; you DO have a purpose in the Body, even in THIS Body!  Be watchful, be teachable, be patient, continue to serve, and I will make it clear what you are to do; I will open the way at the proper time, and you will know it when you see it.”
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Thank you, Lord!
Be blessed!
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~Leah

Daymares?

Daydream nightmares…..daymares?

If you are assaulted by violent and emotionally devastating mental pictures during the night ~ you wake up, rebuke the enemy, pray and take your thoughts captive to the Truth.

The Truth? …No, you weren’t really abducted by aliens and your spouse tortured and killed in front of you. No, your house didn’t turn into the witch’s candy house in which you’re in danger of being turned into stew for her supper…No, the Nazi’s haven’t regained power and begun systematically exterminating Christians. At least not yet. 🙂 😦

But during the day? Fully awake, with visions of a loved one engulfed in flames, horrible disfigurements, or an accident claiming limbs, or a drowning and you can’t do anything to save them….How do you respond to something like this?

I think the temptation is to let the image play out, as if to see the rest of a storyline, even if the emotions that accompany are powerfully negative. But it can tormentt ~ worse than a nightmare because you’re awake, and presumably “in control” of your thoughts. “What kind of monster am I?!”

Honestly, the battle is the same. Speak Truth to yourself, turn to God in prayer and fix your mind’s eye on Jesus’ face and your faith on his goodness. Anything else is…well, emotionally self-indulgent and destructive.

If you feel you can’t “turn it off” or “make it stop” ~ involve a loving, godly friend to pray with you, to find Scripture to strengthen your faith (pray through Ephesians 6, perhaps, or Colossians 3:1-4, or Philippians 4:4-9, or choose a praise Psalm, or a Gospel so you can refamiliarize yourself with Jesus’ voice).

Note! An imagination is a powerful gateway to spiritual realities … the entrance MUST be guarded by the HOLY Spirit.