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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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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!  ❤

HAVE a Life so You Can SHARE Your Life

I haven’t quite gotten back into the groove of blogging, as you can see – Most of my updates are in short bursts via Twitter, because it’s much like “bullet pointing” and I like the challenge of forcing my thoughts into a SUCCINCT format – being an otherwise naturally VERBOSE person … *coughcough*

So I will share a couple of my latest tweets, again, here, but with a LITTLE bit of commentary attached:

  • Ur spouse is not ur be all & end all; u SHARE life, u BUILD life together. Nurture ur own gifts/interests so u HAVE something 2share!
  • Better the couple who MISS each other from time2time than the couple who is bored with – or worse, loathe each other. Hv strong friendships.
  • Each spouse shd hv their own friends, but they must “keep the foxes out of the vineyard.” Agree on boundaries w/others “outside” &KEEP them.

It is so tempting to view your “significant other” as the WHOLE of your existence – we want to get lost in the other person, we want to set our lives in orbit around them, and love songs since forever have praised these passions as though they are the hallmark of true love.  I do actually beg to differ – in fact, I suspect the ferocity of my emotion might just mean I’m making you the object of my obsession, of my “worship,” putting you in the place of expecting you to meet all my emotional needs, etc.  These expectations unchecked will DESTROY the very person meant to be Beloved!

In the blaze of any given moment, these depths of emotion can be INTOXICATING, oh I know!  When you love the other person SO intensely that you want to feel every fiber of their being wrapped up in your own; like there is no way you can physically be close enough, so you press into each other, you want to spend every waking minute with each other – to the falling away of all other life responsibilities and interests and tasks, etc.  May I humbly suggest – there is a point at which you can make the other person almost like your drug-of-choice; you want to feel those emotions all the time .. to the despising of all other kinds of “emotions” or life pursuits.

Sometimes distance will separate, sometimes life responsibilities will require your focus, sometimes your Beloved WILL “fail” to “meet your needs” and you will fail to meet his/hers.  None of these things need derail the confidence of love’s genuineness.  Recent circumstances in my world have caused me to revisit this truth – If we are each about our own “business” – if we are each being faithful with God’s calling on our lives, in any given moment, it is not inconceivable that we will have seasons where we are kept from being with each other as we would like.  This need not be a death knell to the relationship – MISSING one another, LONGING for one another – it’s an opportunity to reevaluate whether our affections and expectations have gotten jostled out of balance, and to ask myself “Am I seeking more to be ‘served’ than to ‘serve’? to BE ‘loved’ more than to ‘love’?”

“But he’s not meeting my emotional needs! He doesn’t love me anymore! He doesn’t love me enough! IF he loved me, he’d … [fill in the blank] …”

Oh, sweetheart, if you feel greater NEED to be loved, that’s often when you most need to reach out and SHOW love.  Call a friend you haven’t seen in a while.  Sign up to sing with the church worship team this month.  Work in the nursery.  Pick up a project you’ve been neglecting for the past few months.  Ask your Beloved how you can encourage and help him/her, see if there is something you can do to meet HIS/HER “emotional need” and do so without the expectation of reciprocation.

And when you feel heartsick over missing him, remind yourself – It truly IS better to be missing one another, because you haven’t been able to spend the time with one another that you wish, than to otherwise resent one another for being too [emotionally] demanding, or to be bored with one another because you don’t each have your own life tasks and friendships to SHARE with one another when you come together once again.

.. and I’ll be a fly on my own wall.  ❤

~Leah

 

That Moment When Innocence is Lost

one significant memory of talking with Grandma during my recent visit to California:
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Grandma (born in Berlin Germany in 1924) was about 9 years old when Hitler was first elected (1933); she had been largely protected from the big bad world through her childhood, and so had an idyllic understanding of life.  She recalled that their family had a maid – to whom she, as a young girl, was often quite mean.  After Hitler came to power, Grandma’s Aryan-German father and Jewish-German mother didn’t really share much with her, but she recalled one instance where she was mouthing off at the maid, and the maid turned on her and angrily said, “You think you’re so high and mighty, now, but just you wait; when they come, you’ll be the first they take away!”  Grandma recalls that the maid went on to mock her for being Jewish (a half-blood); she didn’t say anything to her parents about the exchange at first.
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She remembers sitting at the dinner table and staring at her mother, trying to understand how her mother could be like the “Jews” in the propaganda cartoons of that day – portrayed with such huge noses and with such stupidity or wickedness – and she felt certain her mother couldn’t be one of THEM.  Eventually she told her parents about the maid’s outburst, and the maid was dismissed from the home, but her parents were in some ways forced to explain the ugliness of the world to her – she recalls this as the first experience that really “shattered” the innocence of her childhood.
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…the more things change, the more they stay the same.  🙂
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~Grace2Grow

Rescued from Self-Loathing!

read this quote, today:  “Most of the teaching on love in the church centers on loving God or other people. Very little of it talks about loving ourselves. We have been taught how to subjugate ourselves, but not how to love ourselves without being selfish. Loving ourselves out of our soul is selfish; loving ourselves because of what God has done in our spirit is beautiful. Some of us have never learned that distinction.” ~Graham Cooke

I responded thusly:  “I see what you’re trying to get at, here, but I humbly beg to differ because of these things, biblically speaking:  a) Jesus did *not* command us to “love ourselves” as that was already presumed, and is more often talked about in Scripture as the root of our PROBLEM, namely that we love/seek-after ourselves too much, b) this idea of “loving” ourselves IS taught very MUCH in the modern church (it’s not a “neglected doctrine”!), though I’ll grant that no distinction is often made with regard to what you describe as “loving ourselves because of what God has done in our spirit,” BUT I daresay, c) this “distinction” – while attempting to hit on a real truth, is nevertheless a false distinction, because the truth is that when we LOVE GOD for who he is and what he has done in spite of the fact we are “unlovable” in our fallen state (while we were yet his enemies), the FRUIT of this loving God *does* produce a supernatural ability in us to NOT LOATHE ourselves, because of grace.  But “not loathing” (or let’s call this “accepting” ourselves BECAUSE of the work God has done to redeem, and HE has MADE us acceptable) is NOT the same thing as “loving” ourselves, but instead we are commanded to DIE to ourselves, and I think THIS is in fact the distinction that most of the modern church is missing…..”

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see the so-called “proof” text for the presumed command to “love” ourselves, but the command is NOT to love self, but to love OTHERS:

Matthew 22:34-40

Amplified Bible (AMP)

Now when the Pharisees heard that He had silenced (muzzled) the Sadducees, they gathered together. And one of their number, a lawyer, asked Him a question to test Him. Teacher, which kind of commandment is great and important (the principal kind) in the Law? [Some commandments are light—which are heavy?] And He replied to him, You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind (intellect). This is the great (most important, principal) and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as [you do] yourself. These two commandments sum up and upon them depend all the Law and the Prophets.

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another often used “proof” text is Ephesians 5:23-30 where the Apostle Paul talks about how a husband loves his wife “as his own body” ~ the “presumption” again is that we love/care for ourselves, but people take this to be further “command” to love ourselves, but in context, the command is to husbands to love their wives (someone OTHER than themselves).

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and below is the actual command from Jesus concerning dying to, or “denying” of our self ~ which is opposite of what is typically taught in most of today’s churches (and more in keeping with loving OTHERS over self):

Matthew 16:24-26

Amplified Bible (AMP)

Then Jesus said to His disciples, If anyone desires to be My disciple, let him deny himself [disregard, lose sight of, and forget himself and his own interests] and take up his cross and follow Me cleave steadfastly to Me, conform wholly to My example in living and, if need be, in dying, also]. For whoever is bent on saving his [temporal] life [his comfort and security here] shall lose it [eternal life]; and whoever loses his life [his comfort and security here] for My sake shall find it [life everlasting]. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his life [his blessed life in the kingdom of God]? Or what would a man give as an exchange for his [blessed] life [in the kingdom of God]?
see also:

Romans 12:3, 9-10

Amplified Bible (AMP)

For by the grace (unmerited favor of God) given to me I warn everyone among you not to estimate and think of himself more highly than he ought [not to have an exaggerated opinion of his own importance], but to rate his ability with sober judgment, each according to the degree of faith apportioned by God to him.   ….   [Let your] love be sincere (a real thing); hate what is evil [loathe all ungodliness, turn in horror from wickedness], but hold fast to that which is good. Love one another with brotherly affection [as members of one family], giving precedence and showing honor to one another.

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Dear friends, let us love ONE ANOTHER as Christ commands and as HE enables by the power of his Holy Spirit.  Let us love in the way HE has loved us, and as the FRUIT of our loving HIM first with all our hearts, souls, minds and strength!

God help us be discerning, and help us truly “die” to ourselves in keeping with the Gospel of your grace, NOT that we loathe ourselves for sin, because that also denies your GRACE, and the fact you have RESCUED us from ourselves!, but rather that we simply have our gaze so fixed on YOU! (Heb. 12:1-3) that our ability to look our ourselves too long – whether for love or hate or anything in between – would grow strangely dim in the light of your glory and grace!

~Leah

For Further Study….

Two Unrelated Topics??

Well, a conversation with a friend about “speaking in tongues” has naturally progressed into a discussion on biblical masculinity and femininity because of “headship” and “submission” ~ I did not predict this course! haha! (if you’re interested, check out 1 corinthians 11-14, romans 12, jude 1, 1 timothy 2-3, 1 peter 3, genesis 2-3, ephesians 4-5 ~ all of which are making appearance in this discussion. see if you can spot the connections in these two topics?)

aka #ilovethedeependofthepool ♥

Here’s a link to ALL of the above texts in one spot for your convenience 😉

Blessings!

~Leah

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.)

Like Ruth

I LOVE HOW SCRIPTURE tells Ruth’s story ~ an “outsider” to the people of God, exiled from her own “unclean” land & people by HER decision to live among the people of God & remain devoted to her widowed mother-in-law. Ruth showed FAITHFULNESS in the face of isolation & poverty because she believed the God of Israel was the one true God, & she was willing to work hard, w/o any recognition, w/o any reward, to serve where HE had placed her. God directed her every step! She ended up working for (“gleaning” in the field of) the very man (Boaz) God had chosen for her “kinsman redeemer,” & God made her beautiful to him & gave him the desire to “fight” for her, protect her, advocate for her, & “raise her up” as a jewel of God’s favor.
Not only is Boaz a picture of Christ, but Ruth in marrying him ultimately becomes part of the lineage of Jesus, the very Messiah to the people of God for whom Ruth was at first an outsider! And she is a forerunner to the Gospel being made available to ALL the nations of the world through Jesus! I *aspire* to be more like Ruth ~ a woman of character, doing whatever she could & whatever she MUST for the sake of loving God & serving those whom he had given her, ultimately trusting HIM with the outcomes of her life, w/o nursing her own “expectations” for how she might think her life should go, but fully yielding to the Lord’s hand, one step at a time. ♥ ♥ ♥
(see the book of Ruth, Leviticus 23:22, and ch. 25, Deuteronomy 25:5-10, and Matthew 1 geneology of Jesus)

Like Sarah

I LOVE HOW SCRIPTURE calls out Sarah (wife of Abraham, mother of Isaac) as a “holy” woman who *adorned* (dressed/clothed) herself with submission (grace/humility/yieldedness). She is held up as the example of a woman with a quiet and gentle spirit, trusting GOD more than her husband time after time, a woman who “by faith, received strength” for the miraculous to be made manifest in her life precisely because “she judged Him faithful who had promised.” Neither “walking by faith” nor “submission” have been great hallmarks of my own life ~ I feel I am just now walking (toddling!) where I have only till now “crawled.” But I truly *aspire* to be more like Sarah in the above, and in that God gave her a NEW name, and blessed her because of HIS good pleasure. ♥ ♥ ♥

(see 1 Peter 3, Hebrews 11, and Genesis 17)

Like Mary

I LOVE HOW SCRIPTURE says of Mary (mother of Jesus), and the miraculous that had entered her life, that “she treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.” I have far more often been the “wear your heart on your sleeve” type gal. But I truly *aspire* to be more like Mary both in the above, and in her prayer concerning the Word of God, “I am the Lord’s servant; may it be to me as you have said.” ♥ ♥ ♥

(see the Gospel of Luke, chapters 1-2)