The Road We Travel – Part II “In the Eye of the Beholder”

in the eye of the beholderFor ladies young and old our appearance plays a huge part of who we are.  In a world so caught up in how the physical body looks the road to feeling comfortable in your skin is difficult.  Every form of media tells us we have to look like a A&F models.  In fact some of you may not know but when A&F launched one of their first catalogs the young men were shirtless.  Their catalog looked more like a glamour magazine than advertising clothing.  In their stores they put large screen TVs with videos running of young people scantily clad with clothing that looked two sizes to small.  This has been going on for decades.  During my time braless halter tops and mid-drift blouses with one inch zippers on jeans were the rage.  Bathing suits had less fabric than underwear.  Today, plastic surgery to increase or decease your body is common.  Products that will help you lose weight, grow your eye lashes, hide wrinkles are billon dollar industries.  Satan wins this battle everyday.  All of this creates insecurity, low self-image and unworthiness.  To further complicate things the devil has us believing we need to look like a princess to catch and keep the prince.  Unfortunately, how we look often determines whether doors will open or close in life as well.  So in all of this how do we as Christian Women find our truth, our identity and value.  How do we balance obsession with a healthy view of self?  

“Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.”  1 Corinthians 6:19-20 NASB

First, I want to address your appearance.  I believe it is important to take care of yourself.  Eat healthy, moderate exercise and take care of your physical body.  I truly believe everyone has an optimum weight that is not so much a number or size but how we feel and how our body functions.  We need to find a balance, a comfortable place one that can be maintained without obsessing.  I guarantee this will be a life long challenge, maybe as a woman your greatest…to keep how you see yourself from becoming an obsession.  I can prove this with one example.  Have you ever been shopping for clothing and nothing you try on looks good or fits? Be honest for me that’s most of the time! If you are young finding your unique comfort zone now will help you as your life unfolds.  Learning how to love and feel good about yourself is not the true solution to overcoming how you see yourself. Your identity MUST be found in Jesus Christ, only when you find it in Him will you be able to discern and fight the devils traps.  It is vital for you to understand how precious you are in God’s sight…so valuable. Loved and valued so much that Jesus went to the cross for you.  You also should value your life because you were made in His image; you are His most precious creation. His love for us is truly unmeasurable. And as a Christian woman, you are the daughter of the King; redeemed and made into royalty through the work of the Cross. But when you make “feeling good about yourself” a focal point, you quickly take your eyes off Christ and become wrapped up in self. Unhealthy behavior will feed a continuing cycle of obsession and balance.  Sometimes in an effort to find yourself the devil will speak lies to you causing destructive behavior.  Getting help is essential, please don’t let Satan use self-inflicted physical abuse to destroy you. 

Scripture tells us that you are not to have confidence in yourself but in Christ only.  It’s important for you to focus on how our Lord sees you, how what’s in your heart is the measure of who you are in Jesus. Your confidence and strength must come from the heavenly Father.  Any other source is fueled in pride.  You will walk a fine line in this as well.  You need to continually be asking Jesus to refine away your prideful thoughts and realize that you are who you are inside and out because of who created you.  You must believe that God created you in love and that He loved you first. 

 “For we [who are born-again have been reborn from above—spiritually transformed, renewed, set apart for His purpose and] are the true circumcision, who worship in the Spirit of God and glory and take pride and exult in Christ Jesus and place no confidence [in what we have or who we are] in the flesh.”  Philippians 3:3 AMP

Paul tells us that he counts all his personal accomplishments “as rubbish” compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ.  This must be your priority as well. When you understand that it’s not about you but about how you can serve a God who loves you.  When you make your life pursuit in knowing God and loving Him as He loves you freedom is found. 

“But more than that, I count everything as loss compared to the priceless privilege and supreme advantage of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord [and of growing more deeply and thoroughly acquainted with Him—a joy unequaled]. For His sake I have lost everything, and I consider it all garbage, so that I may gain Christ.”  Philippians 3:8 AMP

Jesus could not be more clear when He says, “If anyone desires to come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me” 

 And Jesus was saying to them all, “If anyone wishes to follow Me [as My disciple], he must deny himself [set aside selfish interests], and take up his cross daily [expressing a willingness to endure whatever may come] and follow Me [believing in Me, conforming to My example in living and, if need be, suffering or perhaps dying because of faith in Me].”  Luke 9:23 AMP

It may seem hard to believe that self-denial, rather than self-esteem, could actually be the solution to female insecurity. But when you let self fade into the background and become consumed with Jesus Christ, your personal insecurities will melt away. You no longer look to yourself…your talent, beauty, or uniqueness to find confidence. You must not depend on others for accolades because gratification through objects and people don’t last but are just a momentarily.  Instead, you learn to find your confidence in who He is, rather than in who the world says you are.

Charles Spurgeon said, “If a soul has any beauty, it is because Christ has endowed that soul with His own, for in ourselves we are deformed and defiled! There is no beauty in any of us but what our Lord has worked in us.”

The world would lead you to believe that you have “beauty within you” and that if you could only learn to love yourself “just the way you are” you would be confident and happy. The TRUTH, as Spurgeon so plainly put it, “We do not actually possess any beauty or goodness of our own accord.” 

“Every one of them has turned aside; together they have become corrupt; There is no one who does good, not even one.”  Psalms 53:3 NASB

The only beauty, confidence or worth you can ever have is in Jesus Christ. And His loveliness will only come shining through in your life when self has gotten out of the way. 

As John the Baptist declared, “I must decrease, but He must increase.”  John 3:30 NASB

Rather than trying to build up your self-esteem and “feel good about yourself” (which doesn’t produce lasting confidence anyway) you are to let thoughts of self fade completely into the background. Remember that to “deny yourself” according to the Bible literally means to lose sight of yourself and your own interests. You will only gain lasting security when you look away from yourself and toward Jesus Christ. 

God’s Word is full of information about your identity and position as a believer in Jesus Christ. Let the wonder of God’s perspective on you soak in. Do you fully realize what it means to be:

The question “who am I?” is not nearly as important as the question, “who is He?”  Learning to see yourself through God’s eyes is key for He is the Beholder.

Be Blessed,  Laurie

You Are What You Eat!  My Journey Back to a Comfortable Weight

Several people have asked me to share the diet I’ve used to lose weight after my thyroid cancer surgery and treatment.  I have struggled with my weight off and on since my first pregnancy over forty years ago.  Obesity runs in my family and my mother actually died from a blood clot after attempting stomach stapling surgery.  I understand how difficult weight loss can be, especially if you suffer with depression and nagging emotional issues.  I will try to address those as well in a future blog.

Before I address my weight loss I want to thank Dr. Josh Umbehr at Atlas MD.  His encouragement helped me face my weight gain head on. I highly recommend checking his services out as a physician.  He has a unique “practice direct care” that offers cutting edge medical care without the insurance hassles. Find him at

Here’s what worked for me:

1.   I recommend downloading a calorie counter.  I personally use the free version of “My Plate” by

2.  Find out how many calories you burn in a day.  Be honest, I used one that is based on a sedentary lifestyle.  It is in kilograms and centimeters but it’s extremely accurate and it works!  So I’m not going to question the math.

Your weight in kg x 10 + your height in centimeters x 6.25 – your age x 5 – 161 = ?

Example:  90kg x 10 (900) + 158cm X 6.25 (987.5) – 59years x 5 (295) – 161 = 1431.5 calories per day

3.  I used the formula on “My Plate” to tell me how many calories I could consume and still lose weight. Remember you need fewer calories than you expend to lose weight.  Try different goals to come up with one that appeals to you.  In my case it said I needed to cut back to 1200 calories per day to lose approximately a pound per week.  I tried to stay closer to 1000 per day and I seemed to be successful.

4. Everyone is into exercise, exercise, exercise!  Well,  who wants to exercise when you have a good amount of weight to lose.  Starting an exercise regimen when you are closer to your goal will encourage you to stick with it.  I recommend that get within 10-15 lbs of your goal and then start walking.  You will feel better and have more energy if you drop some weight first.  The gym can be intimidating but walking can be done anywhere.

Now down to the tough stuff.

You are what you eat!  I could eat a 1000 calories a day in Twinkies or cookies and lose weight but I wouldn’t feel very good.  So you need to find some healthy choices.  I personally decided to cut out flour in any form.   Not gluten necessarily but flour.  I used this method years ago after my third baby and it really works.  For me bread, cookies, pasta and other foods with flour are like crack cocaine.   I can’t stop, if one cookie is good ten are better. It’s tough at first but I committed to it and now I’m into the diet six months and it gets easier every day.  The other day I was thinking what would be worth breaking my diet? A Krispy Kreme? My favorite pasta? Nope! Not worth it!

I also decided to stay away from deep-fried foods.  I have cheated on this and had some fries from Freddie’s.  I checked “My Plate” and they were listed so I plugged them in and had to adjust everything else that day.

I never drink soda.  It’s not good for you and it’s wasted calories.  I don’t like diet anything because the sweeteners are nasty and chemical based.  However you could drink soda if it fits in the calorie count for that day.  But I strongly suggest dropping the soda, carbonation isn’t good for your body either.

You will find that portion control is key.  You can eat most anything but you need to stay under your calorie intake number.  I use popcorn as a filler it’s a low-calorie treat.  Not the microwave kind because once again it’s full of chemicals and preservatives.  Make some on the stove the good old fashion way.  I use real butter and salt to taste.  Remember to use your tracker to decide how much you can eat.  Another low-calorie treat is Hot Chocolate.  Popcorn helps you feel full and hot chocolate is sweet like dessert.  If your eating something that you can’t find on your tracker break up the ingredients.

That’s it in a nutshell.  You don’t need fancy pills, wraps, hours in the gym, or prepared meals, or some point system (that’s based on calories at its core) you can do it!  Get someone who cares to support you. I want to thank my wonderful husband Doug for all his encouragement.

It’s embarrassing to even talk in pounds or sizes because it’s hard to believe how out of control my weight had become…but here are the facts in April 2015 I weighed 198lbs and wore size 2x or 18-20 size pants.  Today I weigh 158lbs and wear a medium/large and size 10-12 american eagle jeans! And I’m still losing!  See my next blog to hear how I deal with depression and other emotional issues that can cause us to over eat.  All the best to you!  You can do it!