Why I Choose To Forgive Myself



Forgiveness. Does the very word weigh you down? I understand. And that is why I am so excited about Ted Dekker’s new book Water Walker. And you will be, too.

Amazon reports that Water Walker “reminds us that it’s possible to live free of the hurt that keeps our souls in chains.” Doesn’t that sound great? Living free from a chained soul? I can attest to that freedom. For a huge portion of my life, I suffered from clinical depression and anorexia nervosa. I didn’t know a day that didn’t involve a certain amount of pain. I felt like a prisoner in my own body. And I wanted out. I hated myself and wondered daily what I was doing on earth. I felt like I was taking up space. But the Lord led me to an amazing Christian counselor who worked with me for many years to tackle my demons. It wasn’t easy. I had to unearth years of depression, abusive relationships, an out-of-control eating disorder and give all that pain to God. There were times where I walked out of her office absolutely spent, scared to deal with any more pain. But guess what The Lord helped me to do? Forgive myself. Forgive myself for not getting off of my own back. Forgive myself for my self-hatred. Forgive myself for not trusting Jesus Christ with all of my pain.

Forgiveness is not easy, but it is so worth it. We cannot live our lives effectively for Christ until we tackle forgiveness. And our situations are vastly different, but Christ can set us free. All we have to do is ask Him. God Bless each one of you! <><

Thank you in advance to Ted Dekker for writing such a relevant book. Be sure to check it out!


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Five Minute Friday: Ordinary

Happy Friday! I am linking up with Lisa-Jo Baker for Five Minute Friday. Each Friday, Lisa-Jo give us one word to write about, and we write for no more than five minutes. Whatever is in our heart jumps onto our posts. Ready. Set. Let’s write!


This is the word that I used to say to myself when I looked in the mirror. I am not pretty. I am not smart. I am nothing. I am ordinary.

I battled anorexia for a huge chunk of my life, and, thankfully, I have been in recovery for over two decades. However, I began to look at myself in such a cruel way, and I thought starving myself would make me look glamorous. Intelligent. Popular. And, I prayed, no more ordinary Lara. The more I starved myself, the weaker I became, and the more ordinary I felt. “Why don’t I feel better? Why don’t I look incredible?” Oh, I played those questions in my head everyday for over a decade of my life. Little did I know, I really needed Jesus.

Jesus. My Jesus. He was and is all that I need. He lifted me up, told me how much He adored me, and affirmed that I was His. Today, I am whole and healed in His name. And I am here to yell from the rooftops that Jesus is Everything. And He is definitely NOT ordinary.

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Day 1: Pay It Forward


I have realized many things on my walk with Christ, and one of those is my favorite quote from Mother Teresa:  “Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.” As Christians, we all want to be more like Christ in everything we do and say, right? Do any of you get overwhelmed thinking that you have to do something ginormous for someone to make you more Christ-like? If I were not typing, I would be raising my hand high! :-) It’s the little things that mean the most.  I am a huge fan of PAYING IT FORWARD. And, apparently, so is Snoopy!

 Photo courtesy of http://peanuts.wikia.com

Sometimes all a person needs is a hug. Right Snoopy? :-) A good hug always puts a huge smile on my face.  How about you? This is just one example of how we can live more like Christ.

Over these next 31 days, you all will discover that I am a huge fan of Chick-fil-A. Not only is their food yummy, but their employees always shine like the sun.  One day at “The Chick,” I witnessed a lady pick up the tab for another customer’s lunch. She did not know this person, and I do not know if the recipient of that lovely gesture was having the best day ever or the worst day on earth, but I saw her eyes light up like a Christmas tree on Christmas morning, Her day was transformed. All through a chicken sandwich. Isn’t that how our Jesus works? He blesses us with big things like our salvation, but He also works through other people in the littlest ways to lift our spirits and our hearts towards Him. Christ at work through us.  I just love Him.

So I encourage you today – how can you pay Jesus’ love forward to someone else? Not in any expensive ways – just the little things. Because Christ is in every detail.

Here is to living a Christ-Centered Life … one day at a time! I pray that He shines His light on you so you can shine His light on others.

“You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you.” ~Isaiah 26:3

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31 Days to a Christ-Centered Life

Greetings! And welcome to 31 Days of Christ-Centered Living!

I am linking up with The Nester for the month of October. Each day (31 days to be exact), I will highlight different ways that we can keep Christ in our everyday lives. Personally, I am really excited to be tackling this subject because I need good reminders. :-)

I will keep a directory of each day’s topic here in this post, so this is where you will land each day. I will have links on each day’s topic so you can connect to each one easily.

Now do I have the market cornered on living a Christ-centered life? ABSOLUTELY NOT! But I know the Creator, and He desires for me and for all of us to be more like Him each day. All we have to do is ask Him. What an awesome God we serve!

I am really excited to share with you all. So come on back with your cup of coffee (or tea!) tomorrow, and we will walk this journey together…. <><

Day 1:  Pay It Forward


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This is the first day that I have linked up to Lisa Jo Baker’s Five-Minute Friday blog party, and I am glad to begin today. This word TRUE really resonated with me. Sometimes I can put my best foot forward but not let all of my feet out. Make sense? Let me try again. Sometimes I hide a bunch of the bad stuff because I think people will think badly of me. There. I said it. Let me tell you more.

I was diagnosed with clinical depression when I was in my late 20′s – early 30′s. In a way, it was a blessing because I finally got an answer to why I felt so sad and useless so much of my life. But on the other hand, I thought I would always have the Scarlet “D” on my forehead. I hid it well for quite a long time. Learning to have a smile on my face no matter what, I was always everyone’s best friend and cheerleader. I was involved with everything under the sun in high school and college. I had tons of friends. I figured that if I always let people lean on my shoulders that I did not have to face my demons. It worked. For a while. But then the acting had to end. No more Academy Award-winning performances for me.

The Lord brought me to my knees and showed me that I desperately needed Him. I believed in Him, but I don’t think I really BELIEVED HIM to heal me. He led me to an amazing Christian counselor and psychiatrist. I spent quite a number of years in counseling, unpacking all of the pain I tried so desperately to bury. My doctor then prescribed medication for me, and I take it to this day. I am not ashamed of it, but for a while, I was. “What would people think?” I asked myself. Would others think that I am not a real Christian for taking medication? My counselor and I wrestled with that fear, and she showed me that God created doctors and pharmacists to help people. I needed the help. Therefore, I needed to let that go. Easy to do? Not really, but I am at total peace about everything. And I have so much support, so it really is all good.

I began to speak about my diagnosis to friends, family and others, and I found that God was leading me to not only tell people about what He did for me, but to also tell people of His GREATNESS, LOVE AND MERCY. That hope led me to pick up my writing that I have loved to do my whole life. The writing led to blogging which led me to this site I love so much. It is a place God carved out to me to encourage others to be courageous in all things. He is also leading me to speak to others. That one is hard! Even though my husband always says that I have at least 50,000 words to get out a day before bed, I am not a natural public speaker. In my own strength, I cannot. In His strength, I can.

Every day, the sun rises. The Lord is on His throne. And all is truly good.

Photo courtesy of www.sunriseproperties.net

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Hello there!!

Yes, it has been a loooooong time since I have blogged, and, boy, I have missed it! And I have missed all of you, too! Today, I just wanted to let you know that I am in the process of getting a regular blogging schedule going, so stay tuned. I have so much to learn, but the best thing for me to do is to just WRITE!! The plan will happen as God leads me. Isn’t He wonderful???? Love our AWESOME God!

I also wanted to let you know that I am being featured on Encouragement Cafe today talking about my ONE WORD for 2013: JOY! Go on over, kick off your shoes, get a fresh cup of coffee and relax. Know that the joy of the Lord is your strength!

OK – TTFN (that is “Tigger-Speak” for “Ta-Ta For Now!)! Y’all have a blessed day. See you all soon!


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No Doubt About It!

Hi everyone:

Welcome to a wonderful Tuesday! My prayers are continuing to go out to those of you who have been affected by Hurricane Sandy. You will not go through the devastation alone – guaranteed.

Today, I am blogging over at Encouragement Cafe where I am discussing stress-free living. I would love for you to join me there.

Everyone take care today and know that the Lord LOVES you!

P.S. And speaking of stress-free living, I have been so swamped with work the last couple of months that I have not gotten a chance to respond to comments left on my blog! :-> I promise that I am going to get to those this week. Please know that I appreciate you all so much!!! Blessings on each one of you today.

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It’s an “Encouragement Cafe” Kind of Day


I am guest blogging on Encouragement Cafe today, discussing how our Lord does not make mistakes in His creation.

I would love to hear from you! Remember that Jesus loves you – never forget that! What a wonderful promise … He will never leave us nor forsake us. Praise Him!


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Hi everyone!

I am so excited about my new online home for Journey of a Southern Gal! I hope you all love it as much as I do.

Jami Leigh from Fount of Inspiration designed everything, and I have to say that she is AMAZING! If your site needs a “spruce-up,” or if you are on the starting line wondering how to start a blog/website, give Jami a call or shoot her an email. Check out her site – that girl knows her stuff!

Please spread the word and let people know about my new place. Feel free to grab the button on the right hand side and display it on your site. The ice tea is cold and sweet, the Peach Cobbler is warm and the conversation is always hopeful and encouraging.

Happy Wednesday to you all!

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Dear “Little La”

Dear La (just so you know, you will still be called that when you are an adult!),

It’s “Adult La” checking in with you. Now stop rolling your eyes and clicking your tongue at me! Another thing to know – Dad STILL detests that! :-)

I know your life so far has not been easy. Hiding your sadness and your eating disorder has been a lifelong practice, hasn’t it? Oh, my friend, I know it hurts. A lot. But I have some good news for you. You will survive and, not only that, you will have an AMAZING life.

Guys you have met have not been be kind to you. You have suffered a great deal of abuse at their hands. You are choosing to settle for so much less. You are wondering why you are on earth and whether or not God made a mistake when you are born. I am here to tell you – THE LORD HAS A PLAN FOR YOU! Hold on to that.

Let me love on you a little bit, girlfriend! You know that writing you love so much? Don’t stop doing it because it will bring other people joy and encouragement as well as be a healing balm to you. You have such a talent and a love for the written and spoken word; you just have to believe it and believe in the One who created you the way He did.

All of this pain you have and will continue to experience will come to an end. You will meet an amazing Christian counselor who God will put in your life to bring you healing and resolution. You will realize that the debilitating sadness you have experienced since childhood has a name: Clinical Depression. And you know what? You can live with it AND be happy. You will learn to not bury your pain but to share it with others.

It will take you a long time to get through college because of money (or lack of it), but you will get through and will get that Bachelors degree. It will be that much sweeter because of the struggle.

You won’t believe this either, but God has a special man named David out there waiting for you. Neither one of you are perfect, but you are perfect for each other. The waiting to meet him will be long and arduous at times since you are not going to meet him until you are 41 (don’t worry – your forties will be FAAAAABULOUS!), but he is SO worth it. Get this – you will also be a stepmom to an amazing young teenage son. Cool!!

You know that wacky sense of humor you have? Embrace it! You know that special gift of listening to others you have? Keep it up. People are and will continue to be attracted to your compassion because it is genuine.

We have the best parents and sister in the whole world, and guess what? You all will continue to be even closer!! Y’all are like the Four Musketeers – thick as thieves. God gave them all to you as gifts. They love you and long to take away your pain, but what they can and will continue to do is to love you, affirm you and pray for you. Cherish each moment you have with them – THEY ROCK!!

I know you cannot see it or feel it now, Little La, but the Lord will strengthen you. Guaranteed. He loves you so much.

Let me leave you with a few nuggets of wisdom before I have to go:

1. Dark chocolate can solve almost anything.
2. You know that curly hair you hate and you are constantly trying to straighten out to no avail? You will actually embrace it!!
2. Read the Bible all the way through. God has a lot of great stuff to say!
3. Get back to your oil painting. You love it, and it brings you joy.
4. Tell David and all the people you love how much you love them. EVERYDAY.
5. Did I mention that dark chocolate can solve almost anything?

Okay – time for Adult La to scram for now. Keep that chin up, Little La. You have a story to tell, so let God tell it through you.

Adult La

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