Thursday, April 6, 2017

Thoughts on the 32nd day of Lent...

I don't usually practice Lent. I haven't participated in giving up anything during that time in the past, but instead just focused on reading scriptures about Jesus' life during the time leading up to his crucifixion. But this year, I felt compelled to do more. I began to pray about what I would give up, knowing that I was being called to do so. I considered a social media break, but knew that wasn't it. And then one afternoon while sipping my favorite cup of coffee (Shout out to Purdy's Coffee!!), I felt the Holy Spirit say "this is what I want from you. Give up your coffee".

To be honest, it seemed odd to me. I'm not the girl who wakes up and has to have coffee to get going for the caffeine. In fact, I rarely drink it right out of bed. However, I AM a coffee snob, and I love a great cup of coffee at the office while I'm doing my morning work. I relish in a nice warm sugar free vanilla latte in the coffeeshop after work, while doing my bible study or meeting with people. I really love a piping hot cup of coffee in the evenings after dinner, while watching the sun go down. I'm the girl that can drink the caffeine at pretty much any time and not have my sleep affected at all. I love the smell of coffee brewing and my brown butter chocolate chip  cookies in the oven because I know that means some college students are likely on their way over for Catan and fellowship.

Coffee to me means fellowship, conversation, relationships. It means Friday morning coffee dates with my husband, 1:1 time with ladies I get to meet with in a discipleship relationship, time with friends, laughter, chatting, deep discussions. Rarely do I associate coffee with quiet.

The first day of no coffee wasn't a big deal really. But then I found myself headed to the coffee shop to meet with someone and realized 'I can't get coffee!'. It felt awkward. I ordered tea I think. It wasn't the same. I found myself distracted. My first coffee date with Jeff didn't hold quite the same excitement as usual. I mean really... it's not really a coffee date without coffee, right? I sat sipping my tea or steamed milk and smelled his coffee and was a little sad.

It was about 10 days in when I realized why I was asked to give up coffee at all. It's two reasons really. One is this: I've been allowing the noise (and a lot of that is good stuff!) to take the place of quiet time alone with the Lord in my life. Giving up the coffee allowed me to see it in a way I'm not sure I would have before.  And the other is that I've made the mistake of placing more emphasis on what I'm doing and where rather than WHO I'm with. It's strange how a simple cup of coffee could remind me of my frailty and need for the Lord's Grace continually. But it has.

That's not the person I want to be. I'll be honest with you: I believe heaven will have coffee with the sweetest cream you ever imagined possible flowing freely. I believe I'll sip a cup and chat face to face with Jesus one day. But I don't think it will be the coffee that I'm enamored with. Heck, I don't even think it will be heaven itself that I'm so taken by. It will be Jesus. And if that's what eternity is going to look like, then why not start now?? Why not make Jesus more of my central focus here on earth, in every day, every conversation, every activity, every thought, every moment?

I want to be known as someone who is all in with others. I want my friends to know I'm available and interested and invested in them. I want my family to know I'm happy to sacrifice for them. I want my husband to know I'm daily trying to out-serve him. I want people to know that I'm really trying to be like Jesus- love like him, walk like him, serve like him. I'm spending my afternoons these days at home instead of in the coffee shop, so that I'm alone with the Lord. I'm sitting at my dining room table, talking with Him and hearing his voice in return. He is alive, I know for sure. I hear him so much more these days- not because he wasn't speaking before, but because I'd stopped listening as well.

This has been a good lesson for me so far. I'm leaning in close and listening to the Lord speak. I'm learning to truly relish the people I'm with more than the mug of joe in my hands. But on Easter, I'm looking forward to celebrating the Risen Lord while I savor every drop of a great cup of coffee. And I promise to not make that cup of java my focus. :)

Monday, April 25, 2016

A Mountain Top Experience... for real!

I really wanted to do it, but in all honestly I was scared that I couldn't. I've learned in the past few years that I don't handle failure well. Do any of us? But I didn't want to allow the fear of failure to keep me from experiencing something really magnificent.

I'm truly thankful that I didn't let it keep me from trying.

The Incline at Manitou Springs is only a mile hike, but it climbs 2,000 vertical feet, reaching an altitude of 8,590 feet at it's top. I don't consider myself any kind of athlete and certainly not an extreme athlete, but this was intriguing. And here's why.

This month is April, and tomorrow, April 26th marks 26 years since the day that I was raped.

26 years.

That's a long time, and a lot of life. In years past, I've come to April with a sense of regret and fear, with haunting memories and triggers of some really awful moments. But in the past few years, I've tried to rewrite my memories for April by doing something fun and maybe a little crazy. I've done simple things like declare April 26th "Celebrate my Kids Day" and made a cake and had a fun day. I've run a mini-marathon (Don't ever want to do that again!). I've taken a day off of work and just allowed myself to grieve loss. I've gone outside and flown a kite. I've spent days with my husband and even with friends, just trying to be intentional about enjoying the moments and not allowing memories to overtake me.

This year I wanted to declare that I'm healed and I'm whole and I'm strong. And climbing the Incline seemed like the perfect place to do just that.

As I began my climb, I realized this was not going to be an easy feat. (duh!) I was seriously huffing at just 1/4 of the way up. About halfway, I was approached by a couple of military guys coming down the incline with their snow spikes in hand. They strongly suggested that no one go all the way to the top without them as snow was still covering the trail and it was "quite treacherous". I was bummed for a moment, but realistically, I wasn't sure I could have made it anyway. I decided that I'd get to the 2/3 mark and take the "bailout" trail. But then I heard that the trail was also snow covered (10 inches or so when I got to it!!), so I had to climb back down the steps to get back!

All of that is fun and great, but what happened along the way is what will stick with me forever. You see, I started this hike talking to the Lord about life and about the feelings I've wrestled with lately that "there's just nothing out there for me specifically". I've struggled greatly in the past year with feeling that I have no calling, no real purpose. I've lost passion in my life, feeling it drain out of me little by little as I sit at my office desk day after day. I've searched for meaning, searched for a new job, searched for answers in the Word, asked questions, even looked at going back to school as a possibility for me. And yet, there it was still... that nagging feeling that I was just lost and without purpose or direction.

As I made my way up that mountain, I was listening to music and talking to God about all of these things. I was thanking Him for healing me and bringing me restoration from the pit of depression and shame from the rape. I was praising Him for being the only one worthy of praise, and yes, I was questioning Him about why I was still feeling this sadness and emptiness despite such blessings in my life.

That's when I heard the branches near me snap. I was alone for a moment, sitting on a cable car tie trying to catch my breath. I assumed it was an animal nearby. The terrain around the hiking path was steep, straight down actually, and I peeked over to see if there was a deer or something nearby. But I saw nothing. I sat for a while longer, listening, and I heard it again, branches snapping as if something or someone was walking nearby. Otherwise there was just silence around me except for the song playing in my headphones now hanging around my neck.

  Savior and Friend, Breathing your life into my heart. Your word is a lamp unto my path. Forever I'm humbled by your Love.
Take my life, Take all that I am, With all that I am I will love You. Take my heart, Take all that I have. Jesus, how I adore You.
And I find myself here on  my knees again, Caught up in grace like an avalanche. Nothing compares to this love"
(Exerpt from Like an Avalanche, Hillsong United)
And in that moment, I heard the Lord speak clearly to me, saying "What you hear is me, Holly. I'm walking this path right beside you. I have walked EVERY path beside you, from the wonderful things in life to the worst days. I've always been there, and I always will be. I do have purpose for you. My purpose is for you to walk with me. Just walk with me. And then I'll show you the rest".
Y'all, I can't even hardly write these words for the tears brimming in my eyes. I'm not writing everything He spoke to me because it's too personal to share here, too beautiful to taint it with written words. But it's mine, forever etched into my heart.
I came down that mountain still wondering what is out there for me. But I'm not questioning my purpose anymore. For that I'm finding in walking daily with my Lord. I'm finding that I haven't really just been with Him for a long time because I was too busy trying to hear a direction. He desires my presence, and I'm giving it to Him.
And it's beautiful.
I took a picture from the point of my hike where I heard the Lord speak so clearly. I was so excited and so overwhelmed with His personal attention to me that I didn't even think to take a picture at the very highest point of my hike. It wasn't important anymore to me; my purpose in climbing had changed. I've never experienced beauty like I did that day, on that mountain path, listening to the Creator of All talk personally and intentionally to me.

And now I wait. I still am curious about what's next for me. But I'm not overcome or worried or fretting or losing sleep anymore. Because I know it's there, and at the right time, I'll walk right into it. I realize that this sounds a bit kooky to some of you, particularly if you've never heard the Lord speak before. But for this girl, who walked up a mountain side by side with my Savior, it was incredible. And I'm writing it so that I don't forget a bit of it. And I'm writing it so that you can know He desires to walk with you and talk with you too.
If you'd like to talk more about how you can have a personal relationship with Jesus, I'd love to chat with you. Email me at, and let's talk more.
And for those of you who are walking the road of healing after sexual assault or abuse, know that there is TOTAL REDEMPTION and healing from that pain. I'm living proof.
To God be the Glory,

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Freaked out and grateful

I admit that I don't like to spend my life asking "what if?", but sometimes it just happens that way. I had one of those days this week.

Earlier this week, on my drive in to work, I was pulled over by an unmarked car. He had a light on the dashboard and it seemed legit, so I pulled over to the side of the interstate like the rule-follower I am. I rolled my window down just a little as he approached my driver's window. He didn't ask for identification or anything. He simply said, "You have a tail light that is busted out, and it's hard to see when you're switching lanes". Seemed reasonable, and I told him I would get it fixed.

For some reason, I asked him for some identification. He immediately looked at me and said, "You know, I think I will let you go this time"' walked back to his car and pulled off, exiting the highway on the exit ramp immediately. I thought it was odd, but I had to get to work, so I pulled away and started on my way again.

When I got to work, I walked around my car to see the busted light. Only it wasn't busted.

There is nothing wrong with my light at all.

And then it hit me....he was a fake. Yes, I realize I should have seen that sooner, but honestly, how many times do we see that? That's Criminal Minds material, not Richmond KY stuff. But standing in my work parking lot, I knew the truth. He was trying to lure me, and I am sickened to think of what could have happened.

He turned his lights on just before an exit ramp. What if I had taken the exit to get away from traffic? What if he had pulled a gun on me and forced me out of my car? What if....the thoughts that have gone through my mind are way too evil to write here. I'm refusing to give in to all of the "what-if's". It's too much for me to handle.

As a survivor of violent crime, I know full well what could have happened. Yet I find myself thankful for what did NOT happen. We just truly never know when we are being protected by the Lord. I believe that I was protected from awful things by a God who cares deeply for me. Today, I'm grateful to be with my family rather than a story on a news show.

The Bible tells us that life is a vapor. It's not gauranteed that we will have tomorrow. Let's make the most of today. Tell the people around you that you love them. Share Jesus with someone today. Call someone and make amends. Forgive. Move past that hurt. Get help for dealing with your past. Take the next step. Smile more. Laugh out loud. Cry freely. Love passionately. Live life fully. You aren't guaranteed tomorrow, so celebrate today.

I see the events of this week as a reminder to make the most of each day. Who's in with me? As It was quoted in "Shawshank Redemption"... "Get busy living, or get busy dying". I intend to get busy living. How about you?

NOTE: I have contacted all the proper authorities about this already. I don't wish for this post to spark a debate about how I should have handled things differently. I am just sharing some thoughts here.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Confessions and war...

They say that confession is good for the soul. If so, I have a confession to make. I have an addiction. No, it's not alcohol or drugs or even food. I am utterly and hopelessly addicted to
Seriously, if you don't know what this is, you are missing out on something incredible.  I find myself at 1 AM, 2AM and sometimes at 4AM laying in bed with my phone screen lit up, watching live feed of animals at several South African bush locations. It's amazing. Throughout the day, my phone buzzes with notices of crocs, zebras, giraffes, hippos, eagles, impala, kudu, warthogs, wild dogs and elephants. But I freely admit that my favorite is the "Big Cat Alert".

When that notice pops up, I stop what I am doing and open the notice. I have even gone so far as to stream the live feed on my desktop computer at work (while I'm getting my work done, of course) so that I can see the Big Cats. I've watched lions and leopards come to the watering hole for a drink. I've watched them prowl around, sneaking up on unaware Impala.

                                           I Cannot. Get. Enough. Of. This.

Jeff has awakened in the middle of the night to find me completely enthralled at these animals, relishing being able to watch this happen live. I love it. I love being able to watch an Africa sunrise or sunset. I'm telling you, it's incredible to watch.

But recently, I watched something happen on that feed that struck a little close to home. And because I'm addicted I took a picture of it.

Do you see it? Look closely and you'll see that those poor Impala (or whatever they are) are in grave danger. Check it out.

Little did they know that lurking right beside them was this lioness, just waiting for the perfect moment to lunge and attack. And attack she did. And delivered the goods for her man, who seemed to enjoy it immensely.

This hits home for me. You see, I've been in a season of spiritual warfare. I feel like my senses are heightened tremendously because I feel the enemy prowling around me. It's been a long few months of warfare, and I sometimes feel like these unknowing Impala.

I feel it start on Saturday nights. Every. Single. Saturday. Night.

 I feel the dread of the upcoming Sunday. I literally feel sick to my stomach as I think about going to church. Now, if you know anything about me, you know that I love my church family. ESPECIALLY my Sunday morning bible study group. Those people are my FAMILY, and I love them fiercely. So, for me to dread seeing them is not normal. Not even a little bit.

I have cried more Saturday nights than I care to think about. And when Sunday morning comes, I'd love to tell you that I happily get up and do what I do without too much struggle. But that would be a lie. Instead, I'm angry. I shower while I'm angry. I put my makeup on and hate it every Sunday morning, despite the fact that I wear it exactly the same way every other day of the week. I get dressed and swear I have "nothing to wear" despite the fact that I have plenty. And I angrily throw clothes around while I change for the seventh time, grumbling under my breath about how stupid it is to  have to get dressed at all.

By the time I get in the car, I feel defeated. Completely defeated. I am tearful and grouchy and just want everyone to leave me alone. Our weekly stop at Starbucks does nothing for me except delay my having to face everyone else there.

My husband is gracious and loving and honorable and all good things. Truly. He prays for me. I know it because he tells me that he does, and I've heard it. He and I both know this is spiritual warfare, Satan trying to steal my love for the Church away.  But despite his prayers (and my own), the struggle remains.

I've cried out in my prayer time for the Lord to stop this, to give me back my love for community, for being with my church family, for the desire to fellowship. I've confessed everything I can think to confess, in case that's the problem. I've asked God to change me. I've even said I will go to another church if that's what He is trying to tell me to do. I stopped saying "no" to Him about a new thing I knew He wanted me to do, and I started actually doing it (another post for another time). And I confessed my sin in waiting so long to be obedient.

And yet.... here I am still feeling defeated and hunted.

And really, it shouldn't surprise me, should it? Here is what scripture tells me.

"Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that thesame kinds of suffering are being experiences by your brotherhood throughout the world. And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all Grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen and establish you. To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen." (1 Peter 5:8-11)

There is a certain peace that comes in knowing you are not alone. And I'm not. Heck, I'm not even hurting that much. Yes, it feels awful to me. But when I think of the scope of suffering many of my brothers and sisters in Christ are walking through, this warfare I face is really nothing. But I also won't downplay it too much. Because when we downplay the fact that we have an actual enemy out to destroy us, we end up like those Impala. We end up as dinner. And I'm not ok with that plan.

What about you? Where is Satan trying to sneak in on you? Where is he prowling, just waiting for the right moment to lunge at you and destroy you? Maybe it's  relationship with someone of the opposite sex that isn't your spouse and is becoming less and less appropriate. Maybe it's what comes scrolling aross your computer screen and you think "Just one look won't hurt". Maybe it's a temptation to cheat on a test, take that which doesn't belong to you, make up one more lie to cover the last one you told. Maybe it's something altogether different. But I promise you this: If you are a follower of Jesus, Satan is there, waiting for the moment he can trip you up and defeat you.

Be ready. Be sober-minded and alert. Put on your armor daily, stand firm and let the Lord fight for you. Satan is already defeated.

So, Saturday night when that all-too-familiar dread rolls in on me, I'll recognize it for what it is and stand firm. And although it may not feel good, I'll rest in knowing that the Lord has me in his hands and will prevail in the end.

To Him be the glory.....

Friday, August 21, 2015

What I'm learning

I'm sitting at my favorite coffee shop for the 3rd time in a week. I have my bible, a book, my journal and my iPad. My heart is content as I sit and read and pray and write and hear the laughter around. I watch cars drive by, people walk by on the sidewalk outside the window beside my favorite table. I sip my sugar free vanilla latte. Life is good.

I'm learning to care for my soul. It's the only one I have, and truth be told it's not even mine. It's just on loan from God. When I borrow things from others, I try to take extra care to protect whatever I've borrowed, so why don't we do the same with our souls? Why do we get so burdened down in life that we neglect that which is central to life?

I'm reading John Ortberg's Soul Keeping right now. It's rich, let me tell ya. It's full of truths. It's full of conviction for someone like me who has neglected her soul in lieu of taking care of less important things. But today, I'm reminded of the importance of really taking care of ourselves.

This quote resonates within me: "The stream is your soul. You are the keeper. You are not the captain. You didn't make it, and you cannot save it from death".

All I can do is care for my soul. I cannot raise it from death to life; only the Creator can do that. I cannot take credit for making it at all. But I CAN nurture it, cultivate it, feed it...

How do we take care of our souls?

I personally think that looks differently for all of us. What is nurturing for me may not be what works for your. For me, it's time like this right here, reading the Word, soaking in His truth, sipping a great cup of coffee, breathing freely and resting in the knowledge that this is the day He has made for us to rejoice in. For you, it might look a lot different. For my husband, it's sitting on the swing at sunset, watching the sky morph into an array of colors that you can't believe possible.

But this quote, I believe, is for us all: "Arrange your days so that you experience total contentment, joy, and confidence in your 
everyday life with God".

What will that look like for you? How will you arrange today, this hour, this minute even to experience total contentment? How will you find joy? How will you experience confidence in your life with God?

I'd love to hear how you are doing this! Let's encourage one another to really take care of our souls today and everyday.

I'd love to pray for you in any way as you embark on this journey. Feel free to facebook message me or email me at


Wednesday, April 15, 2015

the art of being...

Sometimes I'm awesome and get it right. Sometimes I actually get up before the rest of the family and prepare a nice breakfast, spend time in the Word before I get my day going full speed ahead, and do the sit ups that I know I need. Sometimes I speak kindly and lovingly to my husband right from the start of the day all the way up to the end. Sometimes there aren't piles of laundry in the floor of the laundry room, and clothes are folded and put away neatly. Sometimes my floors are actually clean and sparkly, and my bathrooms are too. Sometimes I prepare elaborate meals for my family with joy, smiling and humming a favorite song as I chop, dice, and cook away. Sometimes I get to work early, a smile on my face, and greet every client with joy because I'm really honored to be able to serve them. Sometimes I relish the quiet of my drive home without any phones ringing or people calling my name. Sometimes I love the hussle of getting my daughter from one place to the next and actually enjoy the extra car time with her so we can talk. Sometimes I love checking homework because I get to see firsthand just how far she has come and I get to brag on her to her face.

But then sometimes I don't.

Many days I'm far from awesome, and feel as though I don't get much right at all. I rarely get up before our daughter, and truth be told, she's a master at preparing her own breakfast while I get myself ready. Many days my words are less than kind in the mornings as we rush to get out the door. More than I care to admit, the laundry is piled on the floor of the laundry room waiting to be washed or on the floor of the bedroom waiting to be folded because I just scraped it off the bed to the floor the night before because I was too tired to deal with it. Most days my floors are littered with cat hair and crumbs and shoes from everyone in this family. Although I do cook almost daily, sometimes it's something quick and prepared with grumbling about "why do I have to be the one to decide what to cook and cook it too?" Sometimes I get to work dreading the day ahead and what it will bring, not really feeling like being cheerful or kind to those around me. Some days I hate the drive home because of traffic, and I complain about sitting in the pick up line at school one. more. day. Many days I grumble that we are too busy as I drive from place to place yet again, a list going through my mind of what is left to do before I can go to bed that night. Many days I skip the workouts altogether. Some afternoons, I think that if I have to clean out the homework folder one more time, I might just scream because I'm over it all.

And you know what?? It's all ok.

We don't have to be perfect. That's a big deal for me to say. I like to have it all together. I like for people to think I have it all together. I'm the one who struggles with wondering what others must think of me if my house is unkept and I'm sending my kid to school in dirty jeans because I haven't done the laundry. Sometimes I get in my mind that God is keeping track of how well I'm doing in these things, and I forget to simply be. To be with Him. To be with my husband. To be with my kids. To be with me. In peace and quiet and stillness.

No agendas.
No schedules.
No clocks.
No expectations.

Psalm 46:10 says "Be still, and know that I am God".

I need to stop. Be still. Take him in. Notice his works around me. Stop doing and start being.

Exodus 14:14 says "The Lord Himself will fight for you. Just stay calm".

We don't have to work so hard. He has this.

So today, you have permission (as if you needed it from me!) to be still. Say No. Take a breather. Grab a cup of coffee and sit while you enjoy it. Actually taste your food. Have a meaningful conversation, not just a hello/goodbye in passing with a friend. Take a walk and look at the beauty around you. Skip the laundry. Eat PB&J sandwiches for dinner and laugh together instead of spending all of your time in the kitchen cooking and cleaning. Sit and read a book with your kid, snuggled on the couch with your favorite blanket.

Slow down. The world isn't going to stop if you don't check something off your list. That laundry will still be there tomorrow. Spend some time with the Lord today, soaking up his goodness and mercy. And for goodness sake, love the people around you. Love them well.


Wednesday, March 25, 2015


I've lost 60 pounds so far. I have many more to go, but I'm on my way. Some of you will disagree with the means by which I've accomplished this, but I don't care. That wasn't a decision for you to make; it was between me and God.  In November, I had weight loss surgery. Now, I know that some of you are now thinking "Well, of course you've lost 60 pounds then. You took the easy way out! I'm not impressed with someone who cheats their way to a healthier weight!". I know that because I've heard that (not from many, but a few). And frankly, I don't care how you feel about it. That's not what this post is about. 

You see, I've lost so much more than 60 pounds. I've lost fear of being seen. I've lost insecurity, the alarm, panic, dread, tiredness, apathy. I've also gained a few things in this journey so far....a sense of confidence, belief in myself, self-awareness, deeper joy. And this has much less to do with appearance than I ever expected. Yes, I admit that I like what I see in the mirror much better this way. But I love what I feel inside so much more than I could ever explain in words on a page. 

Most of you reading this know my story. You know I was sexually assaulted as a teenager. When that happened, I was thin... very thin.  And after that event, I carried a fear of being victimized again for years. It led me to some really unhealthy lifestyle choices like over-eating and bingeing on food. If I'm blatantly honest, I wanted to be fat because in my messed-up brain, I was telling myself that "no one will want to rape a fat girl". ( I know, I know... ridiculous. I didn't claim to be a genius; I told you it was a messed-up brain!)

Every time, over the years, that I would lose some weight, I'd start to feel a little better about myself, and then WHAM! Someone would compliment me on how they noticed I was losing weight. Suddenly, I was that fearful girl again, sure that I was the next victim of some crazed rapist roaming the streets just waiting for the next not-so-fat girl to come along. I'd go home and eat myself into oblivion and jump off the wagon of healthy choices once more. It was a vicious cycle: hate myself for being fat, talk myself into doing something about it, be successful, get a compliment, hate myself for starting to look better, sabotage myself, etc etc. 

Let me tell you that this is no way to live a life. God tells us that He desires for us an Abundant life! Does that sound like abundance to you?? Not even close! I was miserable. And I was good at hiding it. I laughed and told myself (and others), "I may be fat, but I'm happy!". Liar, liar, plus-sized pants on fire! I was anything BUT happy. 

Last year, I published a book , and something remarkable started to happen within me. I was already healed, redeemed and set free from the assault I had endured. But as people read my book, ladies started coming to me and sharing their own story, and I began to realize more than ever before that I was created for a purpose, and that purpose had NOTHING TO DO WITH MY WEIGHT. And slowly, I started to stop obsessing about it so much. And before long, I began to realize that I was no longer a victim at all, but truly a survivor. And so I didn't have to worry about being victimized in the future because I'm not that weak 17 year old girl anymore. I'm a strong, courageous and active 42 year old woman with a purpose and gifts and joy. I wanted more, and I wanted it to start with health. You see, I fully believe that I cannot live up to my full potential if my body is not up to its full potential. And so, I began to desire change, from the inside out. 

The weight came off very quickly in the beginning, and people began to notice right away that I was changing. Most did not know I'd had surgery, and some are just finding out right now! I was elated to realize that when people commented on the change in my body that I wasn't scared. I was empowered and encouraged, and y'all, let me tell you that encouragement is a HUGE motivator! 

There have been days that this is very hard, very emotional for me. Weight has been my safety net for years. It has been the reason I've felt I wouldn't be hurt again, as strange as that may be, and so it was hard to let that go. But God is sovereign, and He spoke (and still speaks) love and encouragement to me daily, moment by moment even! I poured into His word to learn who I really was- way more than the sum of what has happened to me in life, but a creation of His perfect design, made to make Him known. There is power in knowing who you are and WHOSE you are, my friends.  So, on those days that I cried  whined a lot, and said stupid things like "I'd rather be fat than feel like crap!", my wonderful husband would hug me close and remind me that this too shall pass, and I was not walking alone, and I really could do this thing. 

And I am. I AM doing this thing. 

I'm running, sort of (I'm still fat, y'all! I'm trying to run!) I'm doing push-ups and sit-ups and crunches and leg lifts and weights. I'm eating mostly proteins and veggies. I'm drinking water like crazy. I'm taking enough vitamins to strengthen an army. I'm walking daily with The Lord as I live on this earth (Ps. 116:9) and I'm thrilled. I'm holding my head high, even when the scale has a number I don't like or it doesn't move at all for a few days. I'm walking with confidence because I was made in the image of my Savior, and he really doesn't make junk. I'm no longer hardly ever calling myself derogatory things (Old habits die hard!), and I'm smiling when I look in a mirror even on days that I don't feel like it because we all deserve to be smiled at by ourselves. 

The fact is that there is more in this life for me. I'm 42 years old, and I believe with all my heart that my best days are ahead of me, not behind me. There are adventures to fulfill, tears to shed, laughs to bellow out, jokes to tell, necks to hug, races to run, mountains to hike, songs to sing, books to write, and on and on. I intend to do those things and so much more in the best health I possibly can. And I intend to do them all for the One who gave me this blessed life I live. 

I hope you're living your life too. I mean REALLY  living it! If you're not, and you want to hear of this Jesus who gives me the Hope I have to be able to walk through this life I live, I'd love to share him with you. I promise, He's the best. 

Go live your life.... and live it well, my friends! The best is yet to come!