A year ago...
A year ago you wouldn't recognize me - not physically, spiritually or emotionally. I was 232.6 pounds with high cholesterol and diabetes, awful knees, a broken heart and a destroyed spirit. I was an empty shell simply existing and doing. I was surviving life rather than living it.
I am not even sure how I ended up there. There is such a delicate balance between being a wife and a mom and working and ministering and still maintaining a sense of self. Add family issues to the mix, throw in an aging, frail grandmother and two special need kids and for me that was all it took.
I don't regret helping taking care of my grandmother. She was an amazing influence in my life. And I do not regret my girls. I love them. But I was consumed with doing. I didn't live in the moment. I lived by doing, by my to do list. Thus I do regret how I lost myself along the way. I became so focused on doing and taking care of others that I lost sight of myself. I never learned to be and live in the moment. I almost ceased to exist in many ways.
I seldom nurtured my body or my spirit. I hit rock bottom. I wasn't sure what to do different but I knew that my life needed to change. I started looking into weight loss surgery as well as Christian therapy. God led me to Ty and I had my first therapy session the Tuesday before Thanksgiving.
It's been a hard year at times. But it's been precious as well - even those hard moments are precious. I've looked at myself for the first time ever. It was terrifying at first. But I am continually learning to love and accept myself. Therapy and self-reflection is intensive emotional work. You don't just learn the good things - you have to face the wickedness and sad and hurtful things in your life as well. There were days I cried driving to therapy. There were days I didn't want to work out. There were days I wanted to drown my sorrows in food. But God kept propelling me forward.
In a year I've realized a few things about myself:
1. I am a unique and glorious creation of infinite worth and potential. God loves me beyond my comprehension. I repeat this to myself often and I usually believe it.
2. Garbage in/garbage out. I didn't tune in to God thus my spirit had nothing to sustain me. In relation to food - the crap I ate simply destroyed my body and gave fuel to my mental fatigue.
3. I am a great wife and mom but I have learned that I cannot be all things to all people. I am Leah. I am strong but I am human and I make mistakes. I don't let shame overtake me. I am learning how to be what God created me to be. I am learning to say no. I am learning to keep firm boundaries in place yet not build walls.
4. I have a life outside my family. That's a hard one for me. Especially with my little girls. I am just not lost in them as I was last year. I am called to be their mom and to nurture them and help them grow spiritually and into maturity. I want to raise powerful women of God. I pray for their salvation daily. I pray for their future and I see God already at work in their life. But I can do all this without being lost in them.
5. My physical body and the shape I was in was hugely a part of how sad and depressed I became. I am not a health nut. I don't want health and fitness to become a God in my life. But I feel SO good about myself. My almost 42 year old body looks better but more importantly I feel better. I have energy. I can do things. I understand the importance of staying active and being careful of what I put in my body. I had weight loss surgery - a vertical sleeve gastrectomy. It's a tool that employs restriction only. I still have to eat well. If not I could still eat 3000-5000 calories a day and regain the 90 pounds I lost. My food issues were a symptom of my heart issues. As I get closer to God and work on the issues down deep inside - the desire to self medicate with food leaves me. And as I work out and eat better - I feel better physically and emotionally.
Its been quite a journey. A holistic journey. I have lost 90 pounds. I have normal cholesterol and triglycerides. My diabetes is gone. I have more patience and am less angry and frustrated. I am sinking into God's presence rather than turning away in shame. I am finding Leah - for the first time in 40+ years. I am becoming the Leah that God meant for me to be the entire time.
It's never too late. If you're like I was - find hope. Remember there is a difference between being hopeless and helpless. I needed help and finally turned out of my stubborn will and found it. It's NEVER too late unless your dead. Live a life of no regrets.
I would love to hear your comments and your own thoughts and struggles. Sometimes I blog and wonder does what I have to say, but then I remember that God told me to do this. While I would love the feedback ultimately this is an act of worship. An act of obedience. Perhaps it's just a way for me to learn to be authentic and even transparent in a safe environment before I am turned loose on the world. It simply might be for my own benefit. But I hope this blog is helping someone, somewhere.
Today's Reflection: God Your grace astounds me. Thank You for loving me at my worst. I want to be who You have created me to be. I long to serve You. Thank You for delivering me. I am excited to see what You have in store for me this next year.
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
A year ago...