Body Image

I stood there looking into the mirror, the person staring back at me; I did not know. I have changed, I have changed in a good way. My body, no longer my own; the body from the past. There staring back at me I saw: confidence, self-worth, I saw a woman who no longer hides herself away. I never imagined such a body & such vision of myself existed beneath the insecurities & self-doubt. -…The Heart of Grace

I write today to express how I have been feeling lately about my own body. Though I had been in a rut, I look at my body in the mirror in amazement. Yes, amazement. I have not seen my body like this in years. I am happy. I am loving it. I am just content with how my progress is coming along. -Stephanie

Paint Your Own Image

Often times we determine ourselves to set goals that are based on someone else’s progress rather than what’s best for our own bodies. Every single body is different… I realized this a long time ago. Since my body has been changing, I am seeing that it’s not the “figure” I though I would have, so I have learned to love it anyway and stop “wishing” my body shape was like, “hers” or “hers.”

There’s there nothing wrong with the shape of my figure, just like there isn’t anything wrong with yours. The key is learning to accept it and love it as is.

Honestly

I have seen so many beautiful women online who flaunt their stuff with full confidence. It inspires me and challenges me to love my own body. I have been led to workout and take care of my body, which has helped me love my body a lot more than before. In no way does that mean that anybody has to do the same in order to love theirs. I think it’s amazing that there’s so many positive ways one can learn to love their own body. That is what we should accept.

Watching all these women show off their flaws, helps me to embrace my own. Yes, I still have the “pouch,” but I am not obsessed about it anymore. Little by little the problem areas are changing, I am happy with that.

When it came to my body, I was always self-conscious and insecure. I would look at other women with nice bodies and think to myself there was something wrong with me. I never imagined that the body I wanted was just underneath.-Stephanie 

It’s not the outer exterior that makes a woman beautiful, it’s the heart she has and the confidence she has in herself and how she sees herself. 

The Harshness of Your Words

To see change and to see yourself in new light, your opinion of yourself has to change. Our words paint a image and affect our reality. Though it can be a lie, you start to believe and live your life as if it were.

“I am ugly.” 

“I am fat.”

“I look like a fat pig.”

“You’re a fat whale.”

These are only a few of the many harsh things I have told myself… I began believing these lies to the point where my life began manifesting it. I hated myself so much that I no longer cared about what I did. I gained weight, it only added to my insecurities. I was trapped by the false image I painted through my words & thoughts.

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 That’s a promise. 

Start by embracing where you are, accepting it and determining yourself to make changes. In the process you will learn to love your body, and in doing so you will see it change in ways you never imagined. Your body is for you, and not against you, it just needs the correct attention and nurture. ❤

I look at myself, now, in the mirror and words like these flow from it, “I have a cute body.” -Stephanie

 

 

A Closed Heart

A closed heart, self defense; a lonely road it can be. In constant watch, on constant guard; tiring it can be.

We take up a burden of being our own defender, that great task; we cannot handle. Our minds wander, suspicious of everyone we are; driving one crazy is all it does.

A closed heart, self defense; a lonely road it can be. In constant watch, on constant guard; tiring it can be.

Isolation arises, alone all the time is where our enemy wants us to be. Burned out; being our own defender, trusting no one. A closed heart, dangerous it is, for we care about nothing and do anything.

A closed heart, self defense; a lonely road it can be. In constant watch, on constant guard; tiring it can be.

-…Heart Of Grace

Poem Written by: Stephanie Ann Pequeno
(Inspired by recent events.)

It’s always so easy to shut yourself off, especially when you have been hurt over and over again. It’s easier to trust no one, especially after that trust has been broken. We make the mistake of building up a wall, thinking we are keeping people out and that we are protecting ourselves. We forget to see that wall as a prison, keeping us locked in and all alone.

I have been known for my walls. I had always shut people out, because it was the easiest thing for me to do. All my life I had that burden of defending myself from everyone and everything that tried to hurt me. I was very isolated, which only led to depression and loneliness.

To be honest, I find myself in that same place. I have been hurt, for my guard was down. I opened up and hurt I became. I am struggling to keep it open, for it’s not fair to those who truly care about me.

A closed heart keeps us at a distance from the people who truly care about us. We see every person as a threat, because of that ONE person who did us wrong. Not everyone is the same. I have learned that. Though it is hard for me, I still desire to keep my heart open. For when I do, I know I am given help to overcome.

I know it’s not easy, but with time all the pain, all the hurt turns into strength. You become stronger, you become wiser. 

Yesterday I read a verse that really spoke to me. It was Joseph speaking. His story; his brothers sold him, he endured so much suffering, so much pain and so much betrayal, but at the end he didn’t close his heart to those who did him wrong. After time, he was placed in a place of power.

20 You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.- Genesis 50:20

His attitude through all he had gone through was, humble. Joseph allowed nothing to change who he was or what he was meant to do. He guarded his heart, but not in his own strength, but in God’s. It is proof that nothing we go through is in vain, and that God always uses it for good, even the offenses, the betrayal, the pain, the hurt. It’s all about the attitude of the heart.

“You intended to harm me..” we say to our enemy, the spirit behind the offender, “But God intended it for good.”

God has promised that vengeance belongs to him, that He would take care of all who do us wrong, but not in the way we think, or in how we would do things. The battle is His and not ours.

We find endless peace, endless rest when we allow Him to be our defender. Like a child we are to rest in him, knowing that He will protect us. I can’t get over these examples; think of a child, one who is scared, who is being bullied… they run to their parents because they know they will defend them. That is how we are to be with God. We defend ourselves by running to Him. We defend ourselves by trusting in Him, because it’s there that our enemy cannot touch us. I still have a hard time surrendering. I, at times feel the need to help God defend me. I only get in the way and make things worse for myself. I become overwhelmed, I become angry, I become frustrated, I become depressed, I become closed off from Him and everyone else, and so on… the exact things the enemy wanted in the first place. -Stephanie

 

Standing behind our One True Defender, we are protected by things like that. God is mighty, God is powerful, He is never shaken. 

 

From My Heart

I am far from perfect, I constantly make mistakes. I fail to be the person I am meant to be, daily. One thing I know for sure is, I need Him. I have been hurt so many times, I have put my trust in and opened my heart to the wrong people. I am learning. I am growing. It’s becoming easier to walk away from things and people that are not meant for me. These experiences, are just that, experience. I am learning.

I want to be who I am supposed to be. I want to let go of everything that is hindering me. First, I must let go of trying to be my own defender; trusting God in every season of my life. Even more so now, because I just want to walk away from things.

“A closed heart, dangerous it is, for we care about nothing & do anything.”-Stephanie

 

Confession

I have been afraid. I have been afraid of letting people in. Afraid that if they saw these struggles, if they saw these things they would turn away. I have been afraid of speaking about what goes on. I have been afraid of opening up.

I know what it’s like to live in constant fear of being vulnerable and exposing the darkest parts of my heart. It hurts, it’s a scary thing. I also know what it’s like to be set free, to be able to walk around without those burdens weighing me down. I have learned to accept what has happened, and that I am no defined by what I have done or what has been done to me.

I have been given a gift. The gift of being His Daughter. For in that revelation, that new life, I can walk with my head high, because I am now defined by who He is and what He has done.-Stephanie 

 

Baby, You’re Worth It

When I first embarked on this journey I am on, I couldn’t imagine where it would take me. This road before me, not always has it been so easy. Many times, I wanted to surrender, I wanted to quit. A fire burning deep within, pushed me further than I thought I could ever go. I am still here, I am still going. My mind I have conquered, the thoughts I have extinguished. No longer am I fighting to move forward, I am now fighting to no longer stay behind. I have learned many things; about myself, about my body. I realized that this temperamental vessel will not always do what it should, but in loving it anyway you will see it move. My body is my own, I know that full well. I love it just the same. This journey has been rewarding, for I can see the progress being made. At times, with my own eyes, I cannot see what’s being done; deep down inside I know I am no longer the same. I am a new person. In a new body, learning to love this one is taking time. Things are new to me, the different clothes I am now able to wear… overwhelming at times, but nonetheless it’s an amazing feeling.  I am not where I want to be, but I am thankful that I am not where I used to be.-…Heart Of Grace

Where to begin?! It’s been almost 7 months since I began my weight loss journey. *Phew* Though I am not where I wish I was at this point, I am beyond thankful that I am not where I used to be, (7 months ago.) I was in bad shape, I was tired all the time, I had no energy to do anything… my body ached all the time. I know, I know… I have mentioned that before.

BUT, I did something about it. I had gotten so tired of literally being tired. So, I stopped making excuses and became determined to change my life. Man, has it changed!!

Sunday, I had just gotten home from visiting family down south. The entire time out there I didn’t exercise, nor did I eat as healthy as I should have. I thought I had gained weight! I was afraid I would come back home; bloated, swollen, a bit rounder… either way I was determined to get my workout in. (Even though we were on the road for 10 hours and I was tired.)

A determined mind, nothing or no one can stop. -Stephanie

Before my workout that night, I decided to take a photo of myself in my workout clothes, just to see where I was at. I was so surprised, in a good way! I was amazed at how much my body has changed since March. I could have literally jumped up and down with joy, but I didn’t want to seem dorky. LOL So what I did instead was do a side by side comparison.

progress2

I almost feel embarrassed looking at the photo from March, but then I think to myself, “Don’t you dare, you have come a long way. You should be proud.” I guess I feel embarrassed for allowing myself to get to that point. I was going through so many things at the time, I didn’t feel like doing anything, I just stopped taking care of myself. I just kept eating & had no self control.-Stephanie

In the beginning it was hard, it took a lot of effort and determination. I was never used to pushing myself past what I thought was comfortable. Seriously, at the first sign of over exertion I would quit and stop. So many times I tried working and sticking to a diet, but nothing worked because I hated my body and wanted to punish it. I would try to do so much in one day that it would leave me sore and not wanting to do more the next day.

Nothing, absolutely nothing changes over night. That’s something I have been learning these past few months.

When it came to dieting, I would do those harsh diets, I would starve myself… why? Again, because I saw myself through eyes of disgust, rather than through love. I punished my body and demanded that it do what I wanted. It doesn’t work like that.

Something you have no love or respect for will never do what you want it to, especially when it’s being disrespected. It will shut off, burn out, or just breakdown.-Stephanie

sweaty(Photo Taken: September 3, 2017-after my workout.)

 

Raw Truth

I now cherish my body. My body is finally doing things I wished it would have done years ago! Being completely out of shape has caused my hormones to be out of order for far too long. If I wanted them to get back on track, I knew I had to make changes. I had to lose weight and start living a healthier lifestyle.

Last week, I wasn’t able to workout. My body was going through something I have not experienced in years. I was on my period. Yes! A full six day cycle… (that hasn’t happened in years.) I was always irregular, it would come every few months. When it came it was lite and only lasted three days. This time was different.

I was excited. I was really overjoyed. I was happy that I was finally able to use pads and tampons after 2 years without a period… like how many women get EXCITED over their menstrual cycle and things like that? I thanked God over and over for allowing it. I was in so much pain though, the cramps were a little overwhelming, I cried a few times. If it meant that I’m about to become regular again, it was worth it.

For the first time in a really long time, I felt more like a woman than I ever have before. I  felt truly feminine.  -Stephanie

I started my journey for this reason. To get my health back in order and for my body to start functioning the way it should. The way it was designed to. The way God created it to be.

 

We blame others for how our life turns out, but we fail to see that it’s our own actions/ choices that lead us down a path that we weren’t supposed to be on. I am talking about health wise. I ate and ate and did nothing about it. I didn’t think about how it would affect my life, until it was affecting my life. -Stephanie

I see so many people battling with health issues and still do nothing about it. That’s not life. What I desire is for my journey to inspire and motivate others. That if I was able to get up and start, anybody can. I am no longer ashamed, or embarrassed to share what I share, or of taking pictures of my body. I want to be real. I want to be transparent and not pretend…being like that, I know it’s not helping and will not help anybody.

People want to see real posts of change, and see real bodies, and not ones that have been edited… they want to see that their progress & hard work, too, can lead to real results.

My weight loss journey has been solely; eating right and working out on a regular bases. I have not had the need for supplements or anything like that. I wanted to do this without any help. I am seeing fruit. I am seeing real results that come from my hard work and efforts. I couldn’t be anymore proud of myself.

 

Love yourself enough to say, “This is the day, and I am determined to do what it takes to take my health back,” and follow through with it. Do it for you.-Stephanie

Yes, you’re the perfect reason to start. Be your own ”why.”

 

~~~ ❤ ~~~ ❤ ~~~ ❤ ~~~ ❤ ~~~ ❤ ~~~ ❤ ~~~ ❤ ~~~ ❤ ~~~ ❤ ~~~

determined

De·ter·mi·na·tion

1. firmness of purpose; resoluteness.

Synonyms:

  • resolution, resolve, willpower, strength of character, single-mindedness, purposefulness,  perseverance, persistence,  strong-mindedness,  stubbornness, courage

His Faithfulness

Father, time after time I have seen your unfailing love in my life. Moment after moment, where everything inside me rebeled against your will for my life, your faithfulness remained. I kicked and screamed, demanding my own ways, but You, the one who knows all things  never gave into my fleshly tantrums. I can see clearly now. I can see how good you’ve been and continue to be with me. Though my heart still screams for what the flesh wants, I know it wasn’t for me. I need you, I can’t do this without you. Your faithfulness, you made real to me in more than one way. It was your love for me that kept me from falling into the pit. Your mercy that kept me from ending up alone. Thank you Father, for you know what I need. Your ways are not mine, and your thoughts are not my own. You are my Father, I am our daughter. I have wandered away, thinking that I alone could provide myself with what I needed. I looked in all the wrong places, needed all the wrong people. I kept my heart from needing you, but you made it a point to reach out to me through your servants. You have recaptured my heart, my attention is yours. Guide me, show me, lead me. Forgive my pride and my arrogance. Forgive me for thinking that I knew what was better for me, than you did. My heart is filled with gratitude for how much you love me. -…Heart Of Grace

“You’ve never failed me, yet.”-Elevation Worship

These past few weeks, all I can say have been a learning experience. I have wandered away from God, I have drawn closer, I have been discouraged, and I have been motivated. My emotions have taken a beating, but the one thing that has remained stable and so constant is, God’s faithfulness.

Time after time He has shown me how faithful He is. He’s been there for me when all I wanted to do was walk away from him, to do my own thing; to walk down a dark path where all my fleshly desires would have been fulfilled. For at that time, I didn’t stop to think about all the consequences that I would have faced at the end of that road.

He sees all things, He sees the future. He knows what is to come… because of that He stopped me. I was running into His mighty hand. While He was pushing me back, protecting me from the pit I was about to fall into, I, on the other side was pushing, fighting trying to move forward with my own plans.

“We will never over power God. Though He is a gentleman and allows us our freewill, He is also a parent who will not allow their children to fall.”-Stephanie

I have experienced this first hand, time and time again. These past few weeks, I have seen His faithfulness more clearly. It’s been a powerful revelation for my life. My eyes were opened, to see what I have. To see the good things; relationships, friendships, my husband… the one who’s been there for me through all of this. Though I made mistakes, he still remains by my side. I see God’s faithfulness through my husband’s love for me.

How can I not acknowledge God for all of this? I know He loves me. I know He has great things for me. I see it so clear, now.

“I am pleased because you have chosen to hear my voice. I am pleased because you have decided to obey me. A glorious door is about to be opened, one that you didn’t imagine would be so close to opening.”-God

I have chosen to listen to my Father’s voice, over my own desires. I have chosen to obey my Father, rather than seek out my own plans.

My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.-John 10:27

Yes, it’s still hard to let go of what the flesh wants, but I know it’s for the best that I do. I am doing my best to let go. Some days are easier than others, but like a plant that withers and dies without food, so will these temptations, these fleshly desires. I have not given into them, so soon they will just wither and die.

God is greater, His faithfulness is true.

What He’s done before, He will do again, again and again.

 

Encouragement:

Understand, therefore, that the LORD your God is indeed God. He is the faithful God who keeps his covenant for a thousand generations and lavishes his unfailing love on those who love him and obey his commands.- Deuteronomy 7:9

 

 

Do It Again-Elevation Worship

Walking around these walls
I thought by now they’d fall
But You have never failed me yet
Waiting for change to come
Knowing the battle’s won
For You have never failed me yet

Your promise still stands
Great is Your faithfulness, faithfulness
I’m still in Your hands
This is my confidence, You’ve never failed me yet

I know the night won’t last
Your Word will come to pass
My heart will sing Your praise again
Jesus, You’re still enough
Keep me within Your love
My heart will sing Your praise again

Your promise still stands
Great is Your faithfulness, faithfulness
I’m still in Your hands
This is my confidence, You never failed

Your promise still stands
Great is Your faithfulness, faithfulness
I’m still in Your hands
This is my confidence, You never failed me yet

I’ve seen You move, come move the mountains
And I believe, I’ll see You do it again
You made a way, where there was no way
And I believe, I’ll see You do it again

I’ve seen You move, come move the mountains
And I believe, I’ll see You do it again
You made a way, where there was no way
And I believe, I’ll see You do it again

I’ve seen You move, come move the mountains
And I believe, I’ll see You do it again
You made a way, where there was no way
And I believe, I’ll see You do it again

I’ll see You do it again
Oh-oh

Your promise still stands
Great is Your faithfulness, faithfulness
I’m still in Your hands
This is my confidence, You never failed

Your promise still stands
Great is Your faithfulness, faithfulness
I’m still in Your hands
This is my confidence, You never failed me yet

And You never failed me yet
I never will forget
You never failed me yet
And I never will forget

The Fight

I look at myself, I don’t recognize the  person I’m seeing.  My heart I have closed  off,  I’ve isolated myself from you.  How is it that I’ve grown cold,  distracted by my own wants,  my own needs?  Falling apart are things around  me, all I can do is sit and watch it unfold.  I’m  tired,  it feels like I have no more fight left within me.  Time after time, wasting my breath trying to make things clear; what I feel,  what I need… only to fade away, getting me nowhere. I’ve cried,  deep down that’s all I want to do,  but nothing comes out.  Numb,  I feel numb.  Paralyzed by hurt,  by the pain,  by the disappointment.  I’ve rebuilt the wall, the one I fought so hard to tear down.
How did I get here? How did I get so far off track that I didn’t notice?

I’ve just stopped caring…

Written by : Stephanie Ann Pequeno

Lesson Learned

For the past few months I have been on a journey to better my life, my health. Last night I shared the lesson I received from an unexpected place. Lately I have been struggling with the fact that I have been stuck at only 20lbs lost. I realized I was depending more on my scale, and I wasn’t celebrating the accomplishment as I should have been. A day ago I went to grab ice for my ((beloved)) iced coffee.. lol I grabbed the bag of ice from the freezer. I realized it was super heavy and without hesitation I went to look to see what size the bag was. Sure enough it was 20lbs!

It was in that moment it dawned on me, I had that weight on me! It changed my mentality completely and how I see weight loss. To think that I have already lost that much weight is enough for me to begin being grateful, rather than getting discouraged because the scale doesn’t say what I would like it to.

I shared the video (At the bottom) as a form of motivation for women, but I believe it can bless men as well. You know, sometimes we fail to see the small achievements as something to be celebrated. It’s a small step towards your goals, your dreams. Think of it like this, you’re no longer in the same place… you’re progressing. That’s always something to celebrate. (Whether it’s losing weight, career goals, or whatever it is.) 

I have come a long way since I first began. (Photo: When I first began, and yesterday)

progressLooking at these two side by side, I now see how 20lbs is a HUGE deal!

loss.jpg

 

EMPOWERMENT

Last night I was not feeling like working out. I was feeling so lazy. I was feeling discouraged. I was feeling emotional. I also had thoughts saying, “go ahead a skip the day, you need it.” I was tempted to just stay in bed. Instead I got up and got my workout done. I pushed through the funk I was in and got it done. It was much needed, my mind was refreshed and I just felt so much better.

I have realized that exercise isn’t a form of punishment, but a form of love for my body. It helps me keep a clear mind, it strengthens me and it helps me remain healthier. I like a quote that says;

“I workout because I love my body, not because I hate it.”

I have said this before, when you love something you do anything you can to take care of it, the body is no different. Since I have learned to love my body, in whatever shape it may be in, I realized that it’s working with me and the workouts to get it into the shape its needs to be in. I am far happier now, than the person in the photo taken on, “March 12th.”

 

empowerment“Nothing can rob me of this drive I now have. There’s nothing that can come between me and this love I now have for myself, for my body. I am much stronger now; physically, mentally and emotionally than I have been in a really long time. I am determined. No one can take that away from me.”- Stephanie Ann

 

A MESSAGE FOR YOU ❤

((I made this video to share with my friends on Instagram, but I wanted to share it with everyone, not just women, but men as well!))

 

 

Torn Between Two

Torn between two roads, one good and the other a reality. I stand before both paths and one calls out more to me than the other. Time after time I have tried to accept what is, but still, I fail to do so. My heart yearns for more. Emotions raging inside, an excitement I never had before. Something is different I tell myself, but I do not know what it is. I have encountered a part of me from the past. A part I realized was special.  The memories, the experiences… maybe it’s just too good to be true. Deep down inside, I hope it’s true. Am I afraid? Yes, I am. Fear of the unknown, fear of change, fear that it’s only a manifestation of what I have truly desired and nothing more. They say, “Only time will tell,” we will see. -…Heart Of Grace

Inspired by true events.

((A venting post))

I know so many struggle with these kinds of things. Finding yourself at a crossroad can be scary and very overwhelming, especially when you’re not really sure which road to take. So many times the answer is simple, but it’s our mind that begins to confuse and twists things around, causing us to over analyze and overthink things. That’s when we lose sight of the correct path to take.

What I have learned is, the choice you have most peace about is the correct one.

Emotions rage, fear kicks in because we aren’t able to see the full picture until we actually take that first step. The unknown scares me, to be honest. That’s where my faith has to grow.

No matter the situation, God turns the things around for good, placing you back on the path you’re meant to be on. I must learn to walk. I must learn to make my own decisions, not worrying about what others may thing or what they will say.

The day we begin to worry about what other’s opinions are is the day we remain stuck and miserable. -Stephanie Ann

Trust that He is guiding you and leading you. Trust that the road placed before you, will only lead to greater things. Leave the fear behind, leave the worry behind, leave the cares of what people will say or think behind and simply take that step forward.

Change is inevitable, in learning to embrace it, you will experience freedom.

It’s Monday

I sit here with my iced coffee near. Oh how I love Mondays. I mean, usually. Today I woke up feeling, not. so. myself… The past few days have been a struggle. I honestly struggled during Sunday’s services. Something was wrong with my body, with my mind. I felt so tired, I felt so distracted, I just felt different. I did my best to fight through it.

“It’s Monday, but…IT’S OK!”

Though I feel a little under the weather; physically & spiritually, I know I am not alone. I woke up today. I am here another day. That is reason within itself to be grateful, regardless of how I feel. He watched over me throughout the night.

I have a lot of things to take care of today, but that’s ok. I know they will get done.

I started Round 4 of my Fit Girl weight loss challenge. I did not meal prep, I did not stay updated with my posts on IG, nor did I take my before photos. I realized something about that… I have learned that going at my own pace helps with my over all progress. I stress less, I worry less and I don’t feel the need to compare myself to others. I am actually at peace about it. Something didn’t get done… not a big deal. Start again tomorrow… (today is my “tomorrow.”)

So many people look at Monday and sigh with despair. Already dreading a week they believe they will have. I have learned to be excited about a new week ahead, and not determine the kind of week I will have based on what kind of weekend I had. For me, I look at Monday as a fresh start. A day given to start again, a break from the busy weekend that has been left behind. (Though I have so much to do today.)

“A new day is a gift. That is why it’s called the present.”-Unknown

I know we have heard that saying a few times. It does have a lot of truth. We look to tomorrow as something to dread, but we fail to see how much a blessing it can be. If only we have learned to take a step back, breath and refocus on what’s truly important… we could then appreciate the fact that we are, indeed alive another day. But instead we are too focused on the things that were not done the night before, or the things that need to get done today.

“Life is not only about what needs to get done, but to be able to see The One who has given us life. To take the time to express to Him how grateful we are for… LIFE.” -Stephanie Ann

The way I have been feeling lately is helping me to not take the days or life for granted, but to be grateful that I still see new days. I have also learned that things are sometimes out of my control, I cannot do anything about it. So why should I waste time, worrying, stressing, angry, etc.?

So, it’s Monday… it really is ok.

 

You are the giver of life. Your light lets us enjoy life.- Psalm 36:9

 

The Time Is Now

“When change is involved, often times I feel the need to run and hide. A part of me tries to hold on to what I have known, simply rejecting what is unknown to me. Why is it that I become intimidated by the things unknown, when I know for a fact that it is bringing something new, something good? Faith. I say I have it, but when it is needed to embrace change, I push it to the side. Over and over again I have known change to be good to me, not to harm me. It brought me hope. What I have held on to for so long has already ran it’s course. There is a new season upon me, a new time to begin. Afraid I cannot be. I am not alone.” -…Heart Of Grace

There is a new season in my life. One that I know I should be embracing, for I have waited years for a time as this. A time where I must step out of my comfort zone. A time where my life is no longer my own, but a vessel.

Ever feel like you were meant to do something more than what you’re seeing or doing at this very moment? I feel that everyday. I become frustrated because I don’t know where to begin. All I can do is wait for God to lead, to guide while I do my part and prepare.

But what does that look like? I speak to the Father, I study, I write. For it may not seem like enough in my own eyes, but in His it does. I have been planning something, something that has been on my heart for a couple years now. Though I am excited, there’s also a part of me that is scared. From only a dream, it is now becoming reality. I have waited years for this moment, for the moment God would tell me; “You’re ready.” Over and over again I have heard, “It is time.”

I have lifted my hands and said, “Here I am.” All I have ever wanted was to share my story. To share what I have been through and how God helped me through.

Sometimes it still feels like a dream. There’s been moments where I feel as though I am looking around, but through a different set of eyes, like it’s not me. That’s when I become overwhelmed, but I shouldn’t be. For I am not alone.

“What God has called us to do, he will equip us and see it through. He is not a God who shares His heart’s desires with us and leaves us with no instructions. All we must be is, patient.”-Stephanie Ann

There are still so many other things I desire to do. Again, I at times become frustrated because I feel stuck. I want to create things, but don’t know what. I want to write, but I am not sure about what. I overwhelm myself with other things, keeping me distracted from what I am actually supposed to be doing…

“The moment you begin to feel stuck, frustrated or overwhelmed, it’s a sign that you’re doing everything on your own and it’s not the right time, or what you’re meant to be doing. For I have learned; what is of God will fall into place, with little or no work from you.”-Stephanie  

A lot has happened since my post: Changes I have grown, spiritually and emotionally. I have began to see myself as one who can help and lead, rather than one who needs help. (I will always need help, but I have walked into this state of new maturity.) I am learning to stand on my own two feet, rather than constantly leaning on someone else.

What has been difficult for me is the fact that certain people I was once close to are being removed from the path that God is leading me on. The more I try to stay where I want to be, the more things go wrong and I start feeling that tug on my heart.

“Where God is leading you, sometimes certain people cannot follow. Along the way, new people will be placed, to help you, to guide you. Do not try to hold on to what God is trying to remove. For it will always lead something better.”-Stephanie Ann

My calling is my own. Therefore, I must do what needs to be done. I cannot depend on someone else, nor can I wait for things to just, “happen.” There comes a time when God says, “I have done my part, now it’s time for you to do yours.”

“No one else can do what only you have been called to do…”-Stephanie Ann

The time is, now. The person is, you. Get up, leave your fears behind. Embrace the changes that are coming your way. Look ahead to  things anew, letting go of the old. For what is meant to be yours is yours. Nothing or no one can take that away. Walk in love. Walk in truth. Keep your heart humble and you will see greater things.         -…Heart Of Grace

Size Fourteens

“I sit here staring at this photo, I am in awe. Never did I think of how much my life would be transformed in almost four months.”-Stephanie

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Progress report.

Since my last post:  The Beauty of My Body  a lot has changed for me: emotionally, physically and even mentally. For awhile it seemed like I had reached a wall, things weren’t changing and my weight was staying the same. I was depending more on the scale than the way my clothes fit and the differences in my photos. This last weekend I took a few days off from working out. I felt like I just needed the break, I was just not all there emotionally. It had been a really rough weekend.

Last Thursday, we went to Costco and I happen to see some really cute jeans. When I went to choose the size I wanted, I thought to myself; “I am going to get a smaller size, since I am losing weight.” I ended grabbing a size 14. A size that I have not been able to wear in a few years. Honestly, I was not expecting to fit into them any time soon.

Sunday came around and it was time for me to get ready for service. I didn’t hesitate or struggle to find what to wear…I immediately went for the new pair of jeans, yes, the size 14s. I put them on, and thought to myself; “Yessss! They fit around my thighs and hips,” sure enough they buttoned and zipped up! You can only imagine my reaction. 😀 I was so excited and so happy that I was finally able to fit into a pair of jeans that were no longer a size 16…(it took me years to finally get rid of that size.)

It’s a big deal for me, because the last time I was able to fit into 14s was when I was 23! Yup, seven years go. Eeek! These past seven years I had been stuck at a size 16. I guess you can say we were BFFs. LOL

I cannot express how bad I was feeling before I began this journey. Another thing that has changed tremendously is how I now view myself, how I treat my body and how I speak about myself. Because my mind has been renewed, my life has changed for the better. I am no longer mean and rude to myself. I no longer abuse my body when I feel, “fat” or bloated. I have learned to listen to it, and I have learned to rest when my body screams, “break!” I have also learned to nourish it, as well as treat it, instead of forcing it to a diet or starving it. Because of that my body has learned to work with me as well.

I now love my body. I love the progress I have made in almost four months. I am proud with how far I have come, the sizes I have dropped and the weight I have lost. I have currently lost 20 pounds, which is only 10 away from my first goal. Who wouldn’t be proud of that?!

So, the photo above is of me before I started my weight loss program and on Sunday when I first put on the size 14 jeans. (I was laughing at my face in the pic on the left. Not in a bad way though. I am just in awe at the difference between the two photos.)

It’s been almost 4 months since I started my weight loss journey. I decided to do something about my health when I got tired of always being tired, literally. I was in the worst shape, my health was getting bad and all I wanted to do was be in bed because my body always ached. Before this last time, I tried to lose weight. I would start, go strong for a few days and then just give up because I thought it was, “too hard.” I did this a few times until I became determined. I knew I couldn’t do it alone, that’s when I prayed and asked God for help. I have heard and believe that God is concerned with EVERY area of our lives, the small, the big. When I humbled my heart and asked him for help I was led to the program I am currently on. To this day I have been going strong. I have learned to love my body, eat right and learned what workouts are good for my body. I have gained confidence through this journey. That’s something I have never been able to say, in a long time. Since March, 2017 I have dropped 20lbs and have gone down TWO pant sizes. From an size 16 I can now fit into a size 14. This journey is proof that God concerns himself with everything that concerns us. That nothing is too small where he will not take the time to help us. All it takes is a true and sincere heart. I give God the credit for this journey, because I couldn’t have been able to get this far without him. That’s the truth. Many times, on my own I failed. I gave up and got no where… Not this time.-Stephanie