Inspiring Change

“I can’t feel my legs! I can’t feel my legs!”  It was Olaf’s sentiments after falling down a mountain on a pillow of snow, although we know they weren’t his legs.  It was also my sentiments after cracking down on these few extra winter pounds.  I’m not talking major body transformation.  I’m talking about a little more than the treadmill routine after those snow days that the kids and I ate cookie dough and then warm-right-out-of-the-oven cookies, or those brownie’s for Sunday night’s Once Upon a Time, and that little dish of ice cream before bed some evenings. Oh how quickly those habits make the jeans a little snug!

From my experiences of battling with the scale, I resorted to giving myself a weight range. It’s my healthy place. I set a four-pound fluctuation zone. This allows me some room to enjoy my little indulgences. And it keeps that dreaded basic bathroom piece out of the equation….the mirror. We can’t always trust the reflection we see there. I remember; those days when I was burying my insecurities and fears in a banana split and then hugging the toilet till I had purged all remaining content. Having this distorted perception that if I could be thin enough, I’d compensate for the ugliness of the scars.

How ever did I overcome that darkness? The most important component to my healing was my greater desperation for God. Every time I lay in the floor cramping from an overdose of laxatives or my throat burning from vomiting every nutritious item, or contending the voices of what I’d allow myself to eat after denying myself reasonable food; I would cry out to God. I asked so many questions. And in every moment I knew He was with me. Then I had some mentors, who I will share in a future post, speaking His Word, praying with me and helping me to redirect into a healthy lifestyle. Finally, I got professional help. Yes, I write that with a little humor, but in all seriousness, it was an imperative element to my road of healing.

For these reasons, it is important for me to be mindful not to go under, nor to go over that four-pound weight range. It can be my slippery slope, which takes me back to the challenge, “How thin can I get?” And this isn’t about a number; it’s about being healthy.

And this is why I want to introduce a woman dear to my heart. She is the face behind www.heathersblessedjourney.com. If it weren’t for her, I don’t know if I’d have ever had the courage to get off the ground in this endeavor of writing.

I met Rhonda Lawes in August 2010. I wasn’t sure we’d know each other very long. I was in her Pharmacology class at The University of Oklahoma. Each day I prayed God would provide for me to be successful. Her class was by far the most challenging I have ever taken.

When reviewing our results after our first exam, I didn’t anticipate the highest grade, but with the notes I had taken and the amount of time I had studied, I expected a decent grade. You can imagine my disbelief when I saw a “72.” Professor Lawes didn’t know me well, but she read me like a book. I was barely holding the tears back. She encouraged, “Remember, this is the first test you’ve ever taken in nursing school. It’s different. Don’t judge your success on this first test.” Because of my grade, I was required to have a one-on-one meeting with her. The result of that meeting was a broader view, a different approach and ultimately a Bachelor of Science in Nursing.

I took away far more than a nursing degree. I stepped away with a woman who would become my mentor and my friend.

Shortly before graduation, Rhonda spoke into me with one question, “Have you ever thought about starting a blog?” I brushed it off almost as quickly as she asked. She nudged, “Well, pray about it. Take a few months to write and see what you come up with.”

Nine months later she came to my house and introduced me to this new world of reaching people by setting up www.heathersblessedjourney.com.

Rhonda was instrumental in my transformation from student to nurse. But she didn’t stop there. She continues still, investing into my life, challenging and sharpening me in areas I thought were incidental, but she identified as God given gifts, speaking and writing.

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Rhonda and me January 2015 a blessing on my journey

To watch her is to be impressed. She’s one of the most brilliant people, a published writer, a passionate professor, and still a learner, continuing on in her own studies to attain her doctorate degree. She’s even more compassionate. To know her is to love her as she genuinely cares and connects with students, patients and the numerous audiences she presents to. Not to mention, her outgoing personality, which blows all other characteristics out of the water. People love to be around her!

There’s so much to Rhonda Lawes.

Her latest journey touches my heart and inspires me to be a better me. And it’s not only her success that’s so inspiring, but that it’s another avenue for her to help others.

Rhonda had a similar battle with the scale. Some people would put our experiences in different categories, but they’re not. Both come from a place of desperation. Both are crying for help. Rhonda gathered the courage and changed her life.

“I’ll give this one more try. If this doesn’t work I’m just going to buy a bigger coffin. I can’t take one more failure,” were the words she shared with me after she set out on her journey. The example of strength was given the day she walked into the gym and hired a trainer. She had a ruthless pursuit for change, not just in the physical form but beneath the surface, desiring mental training too.

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her journey started with a step of faith ~ a step of courage ~ a determination for change

Talk about brave! This woman faced every insecurity, every potential for failure, every ounce of doubt, every instance of comparison, and she did it again and again and again!

Less than a year down the road, my amazing friend has dropped over ten sizes. She’s broke through the walls, like the one she hit nine months in at 100 pounds lost. Her training is lifestyle now. Real change; down a total of 130 pounds since she started. In the process of transforming her look into a picture of health and strength, her spirit has grown even stronger!

Every chance I get to spend with Rhonda Lawes leaves me feeling sharpened spiritually and intellectually.

I am inspired by her discipline, courage, strength and compassion, and I pray you are too!

I Timothy 4:8 NIV 

For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.

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