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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!  ❤

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

“Why So Serious?”

I have been accused much in recent days of being “too serious.”  I find this a bit amusing cuz I can tend to think of myself as pretty ridiculous, pretty frequently!  But I do know I am apt to dwell on “serious” things – especially as I feel the scales being removed from my eyes concerning the nature of this world in which we live…..
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And I think, it is not as much a concern over whether we be too serious, and lack levity and laughter; it IS far more a matter of recognizing that these are sobering, transformative times, and we must be about our heavenly Father’s business.
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So, do we know what that is?
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From raising our children to know and love Christ, to declaring him to our neighbors, to giving excellence in our jobs, to searching the Scriptures that we might know and better recognize the voice of our Good Shepherd, to discovering how to forgive one another and encourage one another and give a cup of cold water in Jesus’ name, to growing in humility and speaking truth in love, to carrying in us and with us the supernatural presence of the Holy Spirit so not only are WE changed but also we AFFECT change for his glory, walking by faith not by sight, led by peace not by fear, living life yielded to the One who purchased us with his own blood….
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There can be much laughter and joy and even silliness! But there must 1st be a turning of our eyes and hearts and lives to Jesus. Behold, HE makes all things NEW!
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THIS is the only thing that means anything.
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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

Like David

I LOVE HOW SCRIPTURE is so honest with its “heroes” ~ we see their flaws as well as their faith, as in the case of King David. David wasn’t perfect, but he was quick to repent. David didn’t run from God in his sin, he would receive and yield to the rebuke of God’s Word and turn and run TO God for grace and forgiveness. A man guilty of adultery and murder, he was also a man who loved God and knew God’s covenantal lovingkindness, who poured out his soul to God in worship, who longed to build God’s temple…and instead God told him HE would build DAVID’S “house,” promising an everlasting throne for one of his descendants (Jesus), the Anointed One of God. David was “a man after God’s own heart,” flawed yet faithful, zealous for God’s glory. THIS is a godly man.

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(We meet David in 1 Samuel 16 when he is first anointed to be king, and follow his story through the rest of this book and 2nd Samuel, and the first part of 1 Kings. David also authored the majority of the Psalms and was known as a musician before the Lord. A few key chapters to read:  1 Samuel 17 David and Goliath, 2nd Samuel 7 God’s covenant with David, 2 Sam. 9 David’s grace toward Mephibosheth, a picture of God’s grace towards us, 2 Sam. 11-12 his sin with Bathsheba, Ps. 51 David’s repentance over that sin, Acts 13:20-25 God says David is “a man after my own heart.”)

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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Even So, Come Quickly, Lord Jesus!

Listening to the radio on the way back from Dr. appt ~ talk show reflecting on nature of Heaven according to Scripture, and the very “physical” (in contrast to misconception of “ghostly”) experience we will have there. I was SO blessed to be reminded of the truths laid out in Revelation 21 and 22, and where we will be together forever with our Lord! … 

“Then he who is seated upon the throne said, ‘See, I am making all things new!’ … Then he said to me, ‘It is done! I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give to the thirsty water without price from the fountain of life. The victorious shall inherit these things, and I will be God to him and he will be son to me….‘ … Then he carried me away in spirit to the top of a vast mountain, and pointed out to me the city, the holy Jerusalem, descending from God out of Heaven, radiant with the glory of God. Her brilliance sparkled like a very precious jewel with the clear light of crystal.

“…I could see no Temple in the city, for the Lord, the Almighty God, and the Lamb are themselves its Temple. The city has no need for the light of sun or moon, for the splendour of God fills it with light and its radiance is the Lamb. The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it. The city’s gates shall stand open day after day—and there will be no night there. Into the city they will bring the splendours and honours of the nations. But nothing unclean, no one who deals in filthiness and lies, shall ever at any time enter it—only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.

Then he showed me the river of the water of life, sparkling like crystal as it flowed from the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the middle of the street of the city and on either bank of the river grew the tree of life, bearing twelve fruits, a different kind for each month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.

“Nothing that has cursed mankind shall exist any longer; the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be within the city. His servants shall worship him; they shall see his face, and his name will be upon their foreheads. Night shall be no more; they have no more need for either lamplight or sunlight, for the Lord God will shed his light upon them and they shall reign as kings for timeless ages.

“Then the angel said to me, ‘These words are true and to be trusted, for the Lord God, who inspired the prophets, has sent his angel to show his servants what must shortly happen.’

“‘See, I come quickly! Happy [Blessed!] is the man who pays heed to the words of the prophecy in this book.’ … ‘See, I come quickly! I carry my reward with me, and repay every man according to his deeds. I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last, the Beginning and the End. Happy [Blessed!] are those who wash their robes, for they have the right to the tree of life and the freedom of the gates of the city. Shut out from the city shall be the depraved, the sorcerers, the impure, the murderers and the idolaters, and everyone who loves and practises a lie!

“‘I, Jesus, have sent my angel to you with this testimony for the Churches. I am both the root and stock of David, and the bright star of the morning!’

“The Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come!’ Let everyone who hears this also say, ‘Come!’ Let the thirsty man come, and let everyone who wishes take the water of life as a gift….

“He, who is witness to all this, says, ‘Yes, I am coming very quickly!’

“Amen, come Lord Jesus! The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all his people.”

(from JBPhillips NT)

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)