Monday, September 19, 2016

I will yet praise Him.

I read this article today about What they don't tell you about weight loss.  It stirred up some thoughts in me that I wanted  to share. 

Be prepared I use the word FAT... A lot.  

Someone told me that even though I may lose weight and get skinny I might still see myself as fat.  Aka FAT GIRL BRAIN.  

confession.  I've really never had fat girl brain.  Even at my top weight (438), I didn't see myself as big and fat as really was.   I was just me.   People loved me as I was.  No matter my size.   No matter the number.....I was confident.   Sassy. Loving.  Outgoing.  Fun.   

The people that knew me accepted me.   The people that didn't.....well didn't matter.    I would win them over.  

I never saw myself as a fat girl.  Don't get me wrong I knew I was big. The scales didn't lie. But I carried on having no thoughts of limitations.   

What would I, Laura Lea tell you about weight loss....
Lord it's hard to be humble.  

It's hard for me to remain humble and not be vain.

This is not my first rodeo ride in the weight loss arena.  Several years ago I lost a significant amount of weight.   I was not the same person in the way I looked or on the inside.   I WAS ARROGANT AND VAIN.  It was all about what I had done and how hard I had worked.  

God got no credit.  

When the new journey started in January, I knew that it ALL had to be about it.  Everything.   He receives the glory.  It's not about me. It's about him.  It's about Him writing my story.   

I read this on a blog and refer to it often....
God is the author of your story, not you.   He has a plan and a purpose for you that is greater than you could dream up or imagine. If you think your dreams are big, imagine how big His dreams must be for you! If He is the author, He knows the beginning, the middle and the end. Nothing is too complex for Him, no detail is left unnoticed, and His timing is perfect. Sometimes life can be complicated, hard and confusing, but that’s why we have to remember that we have the God of the universe in charge of our story.

His plan and purpose for this journey is bigger and greater than I can begin to imagine.  If I took the pen and write it and took credit for it, it would be plain, simple, and ordinary.  

When He writes, it's big, amazing, and extraordinary.  

So what will I do? 
I will yet praise Him, my great Redeemer. 
I will yet stand up and give Him glory with my life
He takes my darkness and He turns it into light
I will yet praise Him, my Lord my God!  

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Meeting Singles at the grocery Store

I'm a hopeless romantic.  Romantic movies.  Love stories.  Hearing how people met. Some of my favorite movies are A Knight's Tail, Toy Story, and Steel Magnolias...all include a love story of some kind.  My favorite movie is YOU'VE GOT MAIL!  The encounter at the book store with Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks is enchanting. 

There is a little homeless romantic in every girl. Getting flowers for no reason from your secret admirer.  Bumping into him at the local coffee shop.  Or that chance encounter at the grocery store meeting forever love....❤️❤️❤️❤️
Ohh where was I?  The grocery store. 

Today I ran into Brookshires.    I was in hurry to get my stuff and get back to work.  I had to get fruit, breakfast, lunch, water......  I was headed for salad dressing when I saw him. 

I smiled at him. 

He smiled back. 

I took the left and he keep going.  Until I head him speak to me. I stopped.  I was no longer in a hurry.

The exchange:

Excuse me honey you have a sweet smile. 

Awe thank you so much. 

Sweetheart you have a beautiful smile never quit smiling.  What's your name?

Thank you so much.  My name is Laura.  What's your is name and how are you today?

Laura that is a perfect name just for you.  My name is Leonard and I'm doing well.  Especially now that I've seen that smile. 

Can I give you a hug? 

You certainly can! 

It was so nice to meet you Leonard.  I hope I run into you again very soon my friend.  Please be safe in this rain.

Awe Laura it was nice to meet you and I hope to see you again real soon with that nice smile.  No worries about this rain, we should don't get rained on much

This brief encounter made me heart swell and tears well up in my eyes. 

Leonard was a young 80 plus year old tiny man with a sweet smile, a kind heart, and a sparkle in his eyes. My romantic side believes he was probably married to the same sweet lady for 60 plus years.  Now he lives alone because his children and grand children and great grands have all moved away.  He has his church family and neighbors that check on him.  He has his regular routines.  One being that he goes to Brookshires every Friday morning to pick up a few things. But today was different. 

Someone smiled at him.  For no reason but that she could.

Smile people.  Even if people don't smile back.  You never know what they one smile might change someone's day.  He changed mine. 

One Hopeless Romantic

Saturday, October 17, 2015

The weight of the WORLD

Last week something happened to me that hurt me.  Deeply. A friend would correct me by saying "you allowed" it to hurt you.  Whatever way you say it.... words hurt.

What words?

You are fat.

I was told I was fat.  I didn't need to be told that because I wear the weight every day.  I see myself in the mirror everyday.  I know what the scales say every day. Someone stepped in and said hey we are big women we know that we are what we are.

"After those words, I started eating healthy and exercising and getting healthy." NO I CAN NOT SAY THAT I DID.   I didn't.

Tag: Planet Earth Wallpapers, Images, Photos, Pictures and Backgrounds ...I did go to the doctor for other reasons. Besides weight.    Where yet another discussion about it was had.   It was one of kindness, concern, and love.  The conversation that I've had is the same as the one I've had with every one of doctors, nurse practitioners, friends, family.  You have to do this.  You have to get healthy.

I know what healthy feels like. I've been there. I know what heavy feels like.  Been there. Done that.  I know what the weight of the world feels like too.  I'm there.  It is heavier now because I know what healthy feels like.

I have joined a weight loss challenge group.
I love honesty.

I want to be ready.  I'm not.  My doctor wants me to see a dietitian.  I'm not all in.  People from everywhere want me to eat right and exercise. I know.  Its not that I don't want to be healthy or skinny.  I'm scared. 

I'm scared.  Scared of what?

Working really hard to lose a significant about of weight and gaining it back.  Fighting everyday to lose and then BAM! something happens and it creeps back up.  I really thought I had it together 2X.  2X  2X
 Nope.  Gained it back.  Not all but most.  I'm not afraid that I can't do it.  I'm afraid that I will work very hard and see success and then "re-collapse". Yeah that's not a word.

Relapse.  Like a drug addict or an alcoholic.  Back to the old ways.

 Re-collapsing scares me.

I have to think what will be different about this time. Prior-knowledge of previous attempts?

Even though all the fretting, anxiety, fears, tears....I know what has to be done.

What you ask?

I have to put on my big girl panties and just do it.
 Forget all the negative.  That's Satan.  He will do his best to take hold of our minds and fill it with nonsense.   I need to fill my mind up on good things. The Bible speaks of that...
“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” Philippians‬ ‭4:8‬ ‭NIV‬‬

I will set my mind on these things as I start my journey to get right. Hold on tight to His promises.


To be continued.....

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

I really do love mustard

 I recently had the opportunity to go with my home church to Lake Charles on a mission trip. Going in I thought it just our little group.  I was wrong!  It was a kickoff weekend for an event called FAMILY SERVE.  People from all over Louisiana, Texas, and a few other southern states came to minister to and tell people about Jesus.

I met some really fabulous people. Ashley and Blake...the sweetest couple!  Precious Ashley is a kindred spirit. They are church planters in Lafayette.   Just hearing part of their story from Blake made me love them even more. They moved from their comfortable big nice house to a fixer upper in the neighborhood they minister in.  Wow.  

Our church helped Sulphur Community Church with their Community Block party. It was a beautiful day to be outside.  Jumpies.  Food.  Snow cones.  Face painting.  And Jesus.  It doesn't get much better than that!!!  I was in charge of the face painting station. I love face painting. I really do.  It gives me the opportunity to talk to children and some adults one on one and build a quick relationship with them as each one sat in my chair.  As I painted superman symbols around eyes and crosses on cheeks, I was able to ask questions about if they went to church and what they knew about Jesus.  Seeds were planted through a simple activity that children love.



Then there was this one face.

 Face paint...check.  brushes....check. Napkins...check.  Water...check. I was set up ready to go.  Children...check. check. check!  It all started with one little boy wanting  a superman eye and it ended with a tear drop from an adult.  I started around 11:30. At 1:30 I realized that I had not had anything to eat since early morning.  I ask one of our students to please go fix me something. I would eat and paint.  I continued to paint while waiting on Jonathon to bring my much needed lunch back to my table. 
Suddenly I felt a tap on the shoulder.  It was my new friend who had been assisting me by adding what some of my paintings needed to make it just right. 

 He said "Hey do you like mustard?" Me "Not really." Him "Oh well I put mustard on it" Me "Well, I really don't mind mustard. I actually do love mustard."  Suddenly I loved mustard.  There he stood, plate in hand,  with a hamburger and a hot dog. The other hand had three bags of chips from which I could choose my favorite kind. 

How great the Father's love.  How vast beyond all measure. I saw the Father's love for me in this simple act of this child.  I was humbled at that moment.  I was there to serve him but yet a simple act of fixing my lunch was so much more.  I saw Jesus in the face of that child.  Oh to be like that child and humble do for others.  To meet people at their need.  What a great lesson to learn from a willing little boy. 

That was the best hamburger, hot-dog, and bag of Cheetos I've ever had. 

Monday, October 5, 2015

Overwhelmed by God's Faithfulness


Lately I have been simply overwhelmed by God. 
I am overwhelmed. 
Overwhelmed in a big way.
Overwhelmed by a big God. 

The move has been something that I have anticipated for a long time. I prayed for a long long time that God would change my situation.  OH I loved my job.  I loved my family.  I loved my church.  But I was sad. I was unhappy.  I was fighting a major battle.

There were days on end before I moved that I would go to work. Go home. Go to bed when I got home in the  early afternoons. Get up eat. Go back to bed. Stay there until it was time to go to sleep.   Repeat the next day.  It was a rough time.   At the time I was going through all this, I didn't even know what I was fighting.  I thought I was just fighting sickness and fatigue from the arthritis.  It was more.  Depression.

BUT God.....

When praying about leaving the old hometown, I would pray (actually beg) God to move me. But there was this fear that I would move and still be alone and fight the loneliness. I would go from my little lonely town to a bigger lonely city.  I know that some people may not believe this but I was scared of being alone.  One of my dearest friends put it best when she recently said you feed off of people.  You get our energy from others.  That is so true. I love people.  I am a people person and I was retreating to my house daily. (Thank God for weekends.)

BUT God remained......

Over the last two years, God has surrounded with people who have become not "like" family but family.  It all started with one friend who ask me to join his church on a mission trip to NOLA.  On this trip God used a group of 3 men and one lady to speak words of encouragement and pray over me.  He gave me a roommate that would one day let me sleep on her couch on my weekend visits.  :)  God began to build relationships that I would need as HE transitioned me from one place to another.  God was "fixing" it so that when He was ready for me to move...there would be no need for fear of loneliness. 

BUT God remained faithful....

He knew exactly when it would be time for me to move. He knew way better than me. He knew I needed time to heal from old relationships and build new ones.  He knew.  He remained faithful to fill my life.

But God remained faithful and I am overwhelmed.

I am overwhelmed by His faithfulness when I walk through the doors of my church every Sunday and I'm greeted a sweet faithful man standing at the door welcoming everyone in.

I am overwhelmed His faithfulness for friends that would come late one night to bandage my hurt toe and help clean up the mess after a very long busy weekend.

I overwhelmed by His faithfulness for friends that invite me over for a home cooked meal, laughs, and good conversation. 

I am overwhelmed by His faithfulness when I enter the gym to watch three sweet girls play basketball and they are excited to see me.

I am overwhelmed by His faithfulness at every "Gumbeaux" church birthday celebration and every Sunday family lunch.

I am overwhelmed by His faithfulness when someone who has never met me shows up at the hospital to see about me and pray over me...and witnesses to the nurse as she ministers to me.  (And I had second visitor that I missed)

I am overwhelmed by His faithfulness when a cherished friend told me that she had never seen anyone adjust to a new city like I had. 

I am overwhelmed by His faithfulness when He uses someone's words to encourage each time we speak in person or text. 

I am overwhelmed by His faithfulness when I need family time and binge watch TV.

I am overwhelmed by His faithfulness as He continues to bring more people into my life.  

I am overwhelmed by His faithfulness everyday.  Lord may I never forget Your overwhelming faithfulness to work Your plan in Your time for Your purpose.  

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Over the last few months I have been disheartened by the church.  It began to feel like a social club.  Cliqueish. I started asking myself why do I or we go to church.  To see our friends? To catch up? To study God's word? To worship? Because he or she is there? Because it's what's expected? Why?  Why is it important to be "in" church.   I've learned the  answer....

Last week I made a choice while in Guatemala on mission.  I decided on Saturday the first day that I would learn everyone's name and something about them on our team.  By Sunday night I knew everyone and a little something about everyone.   I love people. I love getting to know people.  It was amazing learning about each person.

I learned that someone loved lipstick and flip flops.
I learned that someone had a major lost a week before they came.
I learned that someone was starting a new career.
I learned that someone was struggling with a loss.
I learned that someone was really funny!
I learned that someone  was caring.
I learned that someone had been married a month and a day.
I learned that someone was loving.

Learning and loving.   On a bus singing, praying, and riding through the mountains.  In a center loving on babies.  At a day care center for adults tossing a ball. .  Getting to know each other.  Loving those that need the most love together. Letting down walls.  Serving beside one other.  Changing diapers.  Listening.   Thinking of others before yourself.  Laying your heart out before new friends.

The church is not the building. It's the people.  It's being outside the four walls.  It's doing and being the church.  It's loving and listening.  It's service and serving.

So what about Sunday's?  Sunday's are for bringing the church together to renew, refresh, and recived to go back into the world and be the Church.

Go be the church!!!

Thursday, May 14, 2015

I am enough...I not meaning me!

"We don't want to fall. We want to see great testimonies of Gods grace but we don't want to be the testimonies."

I don't cry much.  I usually save it for one big episode and let it all go at one time.  I usually make up some excuse that I am tired.

Yesterday I was very tired. So I had a big ugly cry. 

So many things racing through my mind and my heart.

I had a long overdue conversation that was emotional.
People all around me mourning a great lost.
In a quiet season of my life.
Harsh words from a friend that still linger and hurt.
Feeling physically sick.  
Facing changes. 
There is a strained friendship.
All of this overwhelmed me.

All this I try to hide well.

But I was really stressing over a lot and felt like I would burst.  I could no longer hold it in and tears began to flow. I said out loud.
"Hey I'm having a moment. A cry moment."  I think they were both surprised. They listened to my woes and gave me advice, took my side, and said things to make me feel better.  But that is not what made the difference. What happened next did. 

As we getting ready to walk out the door, one of the ladies picked up her two new devotional books and told us about how good they were.  I cannot even tell you the name of  either one of them.  She picked up one of the books and began to read.
God has a way of showing up.
  I am is what she read....
I had a long overdue conversation that was emotional....The coming season will be extraordinary and filled with delight.

People all around me mourning a great lost and there are no words.....When darkness comes, I am enough to see you through the night.

In a quiet season of my life....When you are lonely and seek companionship, I am enough.

Harsh words from a friend that still linger and hurt...When the lies men have spoken bring disturbance into your mind, I will wash them away, for My Word is enough. 

Feeling physically sick....I am enough, I will be your wrap around shield in the midst of your difficulty. 

Questions about timing...What looks like delay after delay will make sense to you as the clouds part and the light of glory shines through.

Facing changes...I am about to bring you into a place where you have never been before.

There is a strained friendship....When your heart is troubled over many things, you must bring your soul before Me, for I am enough. 

Overwhelmed...You must know, My Child, that I am enough.  

I am thankful that HE is enough and he shows up at the exact moment to remind me that HE is enough.  

Whatever you are facing ....He is saying to you....I am enough!
How great you are, Sovereign Lord! There is no one like you, and there is no God but you, as we have heard with our own ears. 
1 Samuel 7:22