Monday, April 8, 2013

Going Public (a Makeover Monday post)

Blog_AboutMeIn an effort to get back to consistency in my blog writing…I’m making some changes while also giving you a peak into the “Leah of today”. So much of what I’ve shared here in recent years has been related to my journey into widowhood and back out of it, as a result of my previous husband’s suicidal death. That season of my life is definitely a significant part of my story, but it’s not the whole story. You see…God has been so BIG in my life in so many ways. I share much more of my story typically when I share in person at public speaking events. However, there is a part of the story that’s currently being written, and I haven’t shared much about it with anyone…let alone this blog community.

The reason? Fear of ultimately failing.

God has been so gracious in bringing me “out of deep waters”…in restoring my life from the depths of extreme pain, bondage, and hopelessness. But, He isn’t finished and won’t be until He calls me home. However, I do believe there is one victory God desires for me to have on this side of Heaven.

The victory? A healthy body.

It all began on January 21, 1972. I weighed in at a nice average and healthy weight of 7 pounds, 14 ounces. I stayed nice and “average” until the mid to later part of my teen years. I then chalked it up to being “big-boned”, but in all honesty…I was coming to grips with the fact that I was going to have a battle ahead of me. I didn’t have the natural gift of high metabolism, and there was a history of obesity in my family. But, I thought I could avoid it…I just needed to lose about 15 pounds…then.

Those 15 pounds grew into many more…I’d lose and be at a healthy weight for awhile and then I would climb back up and typically top off higher than my last highest weight. So, I would diet again…get the pounds off…glow in the praise of those flattering comments only to find myself back in the same vicious cycle another couple years down the road. I’ve tried so many “diet programs” that I’ve lost count. I’ve been very successful at many but not for the long term, and I never actually reached my goal each time that I would lose weight. I would get “close enough” to be satisfied.

I got to a “breaking point”, so to speak, a few months ago and shared with my loving and supportive husband that “I was tired of the battle and needed help to permanently overcome my food addiction.” I knew food had become an idol. I learned that in recent years and succumbed to the fact that I was craving food more than God. I was ashamed. But…even so…I couldn’t seem to be successful.

I know how to eat healthy. I know exercise is paramount to permanent weight loss and a healthy body (especially the parts we can’t see). I know God has to be in this. I know I have to bathe this in prayer and scripture. So, the time came to put my “knower” into action! I needed to stop just knowing…I needed to start doing.

With the help and huge support of my sweet Joel…I began the journey I’m now on. I am under a doctor-supervised weight loss and counseling program. For me, long term success will involve figuring the “why” and “how” I got here to begin with…hence, the necessary counseling. I’m beginning to exercise slowly…even with a bum (and recovering) knee. I’m memorizing scripture to aid with my permanent success, and I’m calling out to God in prayer! After several weeks…I had lost 25 pounds!

Then life threw a curve ball. My husband had a major surgery in mid-March, and we moved (the day before the surgery) into our new home. And…life got chaotic (to the nth degree). I failed to stick with my program, and I allowed food to be my comfort during these stressful times…all over again. I knew I was heading into that vicious cycle again, but God kept whispering…

“Daughter…Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.” (Isaiah 43:18-19, NIV)

I sobbed. I know God loves me so much and wants to see me faithful in this to the finish line even more than me. He doesn’t care about the external. He loves me regardless of what the scale says, but He is concerned about my heart. And…my heart has not always had him first…too often, He’s been replaced by food. And so, I asked Him…I needed to know where to go from here. I truly don’t want to fail. How am I going to be able to maintain accountability and show that with Him…I can do this? His response?

“Go back to the doctor. Face the consequences of a couple weeks of sinning with food, but DO NOT give up regardless of the number on the scale. And then, I want you to go public about this journey.”

Go public? How Lord?

“Share it with your blog readers. You’re not the only one struggling with this, and Joel and I aren’t the only ones cheering you on. Bring the addiction to the light with those that I will send to read about this part of your story that I’m writing. And, when you reach the finish line…remember to give Me the Glory.”

So, now you know…I’m a recovering food addict. I’m walking hand-in-hand with God to the finish line…to finally reach that goal. I recognize this will be a lifelong struggle, but I’ve got the best Battle Leader walking alongside me. I’m not allowing fear of failure of not reaching that goal hold me back (but, if truth be told…the fear still exists).

This will now be a weekly post I’m alliteratively dubbing…Makeover Monday. God is making me over…mind, body, and spirit, and I’m going to share much of that with you. I’ll share the victories and struggles. I’d love to hear from those of you on the same battle. I’m willing to lift up your name to Him in my prayer time. I. Will. Get. The. Victory. This. Time.

For accountability purposes…I gained back 7.5 of those 25 pounds – just in two weeks. I weigh-in each Thursday, so I will come back here the following Monday and give you an update on how the week went. I covet your prayers and support. My love language is words of affirmation, so if God lays one on your heart…don’t hesitate to share. You never know the impact it will have.

Be blessed sweet bloggy friends!

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  1. Proud of you! GOD has walked you through so much, and you’ve seen his plans prevails. He will walk right next to you on this journey as well!

    • Leah Stirewalt says:

      Thanks for your kind words Jen! I’m fully confident He’ll carry me through this as well. So, I had to trust Him with the “going public” concept. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Leah: I admire you for sharing another personal part of your story and am proud of you! I know first hand how hard it is to lose weight for I myself used to be overweight too! I will continue to uplift you in prayer as you work to fend off those stubborn pounds. You look wonderful and I love the new photo! God has certainly blessed you with a wonderful partner in Joel to help in the journey to help conquer this “addiction enemy.” Love you!

      • Leah Stirewalt says:

        Denise – I do feel blessed indeed by the support system God has put into place for me! He knows what I need…I trust Him to be there for me every step of the way. My greatest battle in this is ME. I have to learn to overcome ME. But, I know it can and WILL happen! I’ve got too much desire…too much support…and too much love and prayers to fail again. Thank you for your kind words!

  2. I started today in giving up sugar, except for in natural forms (fruit). I too feel that it’s become an addiction and my weight and the way I feel has been a reflection if this. With sugar, it also means coffee – bc I don’t drink coffee without something sweet in it. I dreamt about it all last night – maybe preparing? But, I do feel strong and know I can do it and look forward to feeling like I should. Will be praying for you, friend. Thank you so much for your transparency and obedience.

    • Leah Stirewalt says:

      Margie – Thanks for your prayers Margie! I, too, will be praying for your victory as well.

  3. Carrie Adams says:

    Cheering you on, Sister!! I’ve been streamlining our family food choices for a few years, but more intensely over the last few months. And, just last week I got back on the treadmill after over a year of laziness (MY physical sin). :~/ I HAVE to get my body healthy!! I’m already encouraged by this blog & will be praying for YOU!! You/we can do it!!! Thank YOU, Lord!! :~)

    • Leah Stirewalt says:

      Thank you sweet Carrie! You are always such an encourager! I will pray that you take that treadmill “captive” and show it who’s boss! ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Your words were an encouragement to me! Look forward to reading your Monday posts (:

  5. Leah you are such a strong person and I know you can achieve your goal this time, we know we can do ALL things in Christ and if God is for us who or what can be against us! We have a ladies fitness class at my church and it is called From the inside out and our leader reads from the book by Gregory Dickow. One week the devotional said replace I can’t with I can and all during the weight training when one person said I can’t do that, we all would say You Can!!! So I will be praying for you and I know that YOU CAN do this because you have the Great Motivator on your side! God bless you! Love, Sue

    • Leah Stirewalt says:

      I LOVE that Sue…”YOU CAN”! I’ll hear your “you can” resonating in my ear when the “I can’t” wants to take over. Thanks for praying!

  6. Karen Wales says:

    Leah…thank you for sharing your inner most heart to us…we all have struggles yet try and go them alone. With the Lords help nothing is too hard for us…He has shown you over the months that His strength is made strong in your weaknesses. May He continue to use and bless you. You are such an encouragement. Love and blessings to you.

  7. Oh honey bless your heart – such courage it has taken for you to share this – it is such a very difficult battle. In your sharing and honesty you will bless and encourage others. I’m in your corner cheering for you all the way girlfriend!

    • Leah Stirewalt says:

      Sweet Linda…I’m so thankful you’re in my cheering section! Very needed!!! I appreciate you!

  8. You’re doing great, Leah! Proud of you to share what so many struggle with, especially that question of whether we want Him more than food. Something we all deal with I would say! Hugs!

    • Leah Stirewalt says:

      Thank you Jill! It’s a very common struggle indeed! We all tend to have some sort of idol…mine just happens to be food. No more! ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. Leah thank you so much for your courage and honesty in sharing this struggle! I have been so encouraged by your posts since becoming a young widow six months ago, and I will continue to prayerfully follow you, and find gracious conviction, I know, as you share about this journey. I share the same heart struggle, though from the outside I doubt anyone can really notice the product of what is going on in my heart. I have experienced God so deeply and had so many revelations these past six months, and I know He has even more for me once I surrender this area as well. Thank you for this post and being the kick on the backside thr I need!

    • Leah Stirewalt says:

      Diana – Thank you for taking a few minutes to comment. I’m so glad that my journey has been able to provide some encouragement to you as well, as you navigate these new waters without your precious Joe! I, too, experienced God so deeply in those fresh days, weeks, and months of widowhood. There is no doubt in my mind that He carried me through those difficult days! I will pray that you’re able to surrender this area as well. You are a His treasure!

  10. Wendy H says:

    Hey Leah, you look GREAT!! I prayed for you a long time ago that your heart would be moved to search out a healthy new life in this new season you are in. So glad to hear your are taking it on. Must have support from the Scriptures too for it to be truly life changing. Keep it up up girl! And if you fall, just pick yourself up and start all over again. There are people all over the world praying for people they haven’t even met. I know somewhere out there, women are praying for me, and all I can say is, heartfelt thanks to whoever you may be.

    • Leah Stirewalt says:

      Wendy – WOW! All I can say is WOW! I love to see the fruit of answered prayer, and to know that someone out there was praying for me in this regard that I’ve never even met is HUGE! Amen about scripture! It’s a mighty weapon in this battlefield! Thank you for your encouraging comment! Continue to pray if the Lord prompts you!

  11. Hi there my sweet sister!

    I am so proud of you for your transparency; God so takes us to a greater level of healing when confession and prayer takes places among believers. Such a difficult task initially; but so freeing!

    I am a recovering codependent and love/relationship addict, married to a recovering alcoholic. How’s that for complicated ๐Ÿ™‚ We’ve been attending Celebrate Recovery (a Christian based 12-step recovery program) at our church for almost 4 years now and it has absolutely changed our lives. Would you prayerfully consider seeking one in your area? One of many CR groups is food addiction and from sisters I know in our CR that struggle with this, the program has been paramount in helping them deal with the source of their addiction and allow God to be the source of comfort instead.

    I am praying for you and know without a doubt that God will transform and renew your mind and spirit through this process. I love you!

    • Leah Stirewalt says:

      Ayla – Soooo great to hear from you! I’m actually very familiar with CR and was invited to share my testimony (not the food part…God’s still writing that one) a few weeks ago at one in our area. It was such a blessing to be there in that capacity but could see how I could benefit on the receiving end as well.

      Thank you for your prayers! You are a precious woman of God!

  12. Leah, Would you believe that God had the same message for me…go public with your battle…and I did, just 10 days ago, I’m with you. Thank you for your honesty.

    • Leah Stirewalt says:

      Deborah – I just read your post! You go girl!!! Awesome choices you are making! I, too, have read Made to Crave…it’s a life-changer. Can’t wait to see how God blesses our obedience to keep His temples clean!


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