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A Total Transformation

~~ Romans 12:2 (ESV) ~~  Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.



by Carley Cooper

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They say that hindsight is 20 / 20.  Looking back on the timeline of my life I can see so many places where God was obviously intervening on my behalf to guide my path.  This is something that I am overwhelmingly grateful for.  One of the bible studies that I took part in a couple years ago taught us how to create a timeline of our own lives.  On this timeline we learned to plot the important events in our lives; then we marked the points where we could see that God had obviously stepped in to have some input, even during times before we were Christians.  It was a fascinating exercise that taught me a lot.  I was amazed at how many times God took care of me when I didn’t know it at the time.  I was also stunned that as I looked at each event, and considered the options had I not taken on the path I did, that there wasn’t one event that I wished would have been different.  Even the painful ones, eventually ended up leading me to a place that I wouldn’t want to go back and undo.  God’s ways, timing, methods are all perfect. 

One of these events where God inserted Himself into my life started in 2006 when I began a quest to ‘fix’ my head (that is, to improve my mental health)!  Romans 12:2 (ESV) tells us to renew our minds so that we can get to know God’s perfect will.  I didn’t have a real relationship with God at the time, so I didn’t approach this goal with a biblical reference in mind.  My decision to make this goal and pursue it came strictly out of fear.  It was fear that I would end up in the hospital if I continued on the path I was on.  My health and my life were very rapidly declining.  I was at a point where I felt I had no other option but to make some big changes now!  Pastor Henry at church has told me many times that “God does not waste anything.”   Romans 8:28 (NIV84) says that "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose."  As I look back I can see this was certainly the case with my fear.  2 Timothy 1:7 (KJV) tells us “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”  God used the fear that the enemy had been controlling me with to help me make the first steps toward having real relationship with Him.  It was my fear that pushed me, but God used it to show me that I do indeed have a sound mind that is filled with His power and love.

Even if I would have thought more deeply about my goals, I  still would never have considered the idea that to renew my mind (to improve my mental state) would also require changes in my physical body, emotions, and spiritual health.  Each area is important to  creating a renewed, sound mind.  God led me into this realization step by step.  My own personal goal was simply to rid myself of Chronic Depression so that I could get my life back and become a fully functioning human being again.  It never occurred to me to even think beyond that.

After reading a book about improving health issues, I decided that my first order of business was to lose weight.  I felt that I couldn’t possibly have a healthy mind without a healthy body.  I had become very much overweight over the previous decade due, mainly, to medications.  I found a wonderful program, called Spark People, that taught me to change my lifestyle to one of healthy living; not a dieting approach.  Slowly, I not only learned to change my eating and exercise habits, but how to do it in a healthy way and to make them stick!  I lost a lot of weight.  In addition I learned how to incorporate new healthy habits and to set goals in other areas of my life.  I also learned that food can affect one’s mental health much more than I could have ever imagined.  Through much reading and research I found that there were foods I needed to completely eliminate from my diet; and others that help with depression and should be included on a regular basis.  It worked!  I can’t begin to tell you how drastically my mind changed as well as my body just by changing my diet.  I went from not being able to care for myself at times, to a living an independent life. 

Once, I reached my goal weight I realized that the real work was about to begin.  I knew that the basic ‘operating system’ in my brain  contained mostly negative programming.  This came from a lifetime of experiences.  The bottom line here is that from very early in my life, my mind was programmed with depressing and harmful information.  I don’t blame anyone.  I see it as “that’s just the way it was.”  Whatever the case, I knew I needed to change my natural thinking patterns.  But how to do that?  It seemed like an impossible task; especially for someone who was single and alone, didn’t have much support or knowledge on how to do this.  So, I started reading everything I could get my hands on.  I spent my days eating healthy, working out, and educating myself on how to change my mind. 

As I began to research this subject one of the first things to cross my desktop was the concept of ‘Positive Affirmations’.  I had never heard of it before, but the more I read about it the more fascinated I became.  I read that this idea first began with Norman Vincent Peale, and his book The Power of Positive Thinking.  I also read about some controversy, but I didn’t let that hinder me.  I was on a quest for health and life and nothing was going to stop me.  I started very simply by writing positive statements on index cards.  I would begin my days by reading through my stack of cards.  Later I was given a book of positive quotations as a gift; and I made it a point to read a few pages from that book daily as well.  Then I added a meditation program, which is a daily 30 minute audio program that claims to help change brainwaves in a healthy way.  There are no voices, just sounds, but it helped me.  More and more my mind was changing.  I found myself starting to naturally think in a positive way.  I still have to work at it obviously.  I have been diagnosed as Bipolar since then which adds to the compilations.  I have to be aware that if I don’t make it a continuous quest that negative thinking could slowly creep in and completely take over again.      

Later, I had help from a medical standpoint by participating in a mental health outpatient program at my local hospital.  This program helped me learn how my relationships were faulty, how to cope with my past, and how to deal with my emotions.  Granted learning these lessons to the full is also an ongoing process and likely always will be, but it helped me grow even more by helping me to understand what had happened to me and why.

The most important change was in growing spiritually; developing a relationship with Jesus.  God led me through a very winding road to the church that I now attend.  I started by going to counseling with the pastor, which led to me being able to truly forgive those that have hurt me most in my past.  It also led me to being able to truly open my heart to allow the Holy Spirit in to begin His work in changing my heart as well.  I started to learn how to socialize again.  I  learned how to develop a prayer life and how to put daily bible reading and devotional habits into my life.  I learned how to worship God; whether that meant volunteering in the church office, or listening to praise and worship music when I’m alone. 

This is obviously an extremely condensed version of my story, but it will show you how God led me through the process of renewing my mind, so I could learn His will for my life; and in the process grow closer to Him than I ever would have imagined possible.  God has good plans for each one of us who has invited Jesus into our hearts.  Like every one of God’s children, my journey and series of struggles will continue until the day I stand before Him.  However, I know that His will for my life is to be productive, happy, healthy, and to have a relationship with Him.

If you are in need of renewal, just know that He will guide you through every stage.  If you don’t currently have a relationship with Jesus, you can begin now by asking Him into your heart.  Confess that you are a sinner and that you want Him to be your Lord and Saviour; and that you are willing to let Him change your heart and life to follow Jesus.  Tell Him that you believe that He died on the cross and rose again from the dead to save you from your sins.  Tell Him that you believe Him; that you know you are forgiven, and that you have faith.  He will guide you through the next steps.  Just listen to His voice in your heart.  You will hear it. 

My expedition in this world was / is long and difficult; but I wouldn’t go back and change it for anything.  Though it all started with fear, this journey has led me to a relationship with Jesus; to eternal life with Him. 



~~ Dear God ~~  Thank You for every stage, struggle, and obstacle in my journey on this earth; because it brings me closer to You each and every day .  Continue to change my heart to become like that of Jesus; and continue to use me to bring others to Him as well.  May Your will be done, Lord, in every part of my life.  In Jesus name, AMEN.



33 comments :

  1. Thank you. Carley Such a great article you wrote! I wouldn't change anything, I'm still surviving from the cancer I found I had in my tongue one year ago, then into my lympnode in my neck. Everything is fine now, keeping up with my cat scans and Love Life, and so Thankful for the Lords Blessings I have in life.

    I emailed your article for my sister to read also! Great!

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    1. FLASUN - I'm so glad to hear that everything is fine with you now. I never heard of anyone having cancer in their tongue. That must be awkward and uncomfortable for sure. Blessings to God for bringing you through it. Thank you so very much for reading my article, for the feedback and support. I'm honored that you shared it with your sister too. Blessings to you. HUGS.

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  2. Thank you for sharing this information

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    1. CLWALDRO - Thank you for reading. I hope it brings you blessings. HUGS.

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  3. SIBLEYHONEYBEEApril 17, 2012

    I think we have to accept our circumstances and live in the moment. We cannot dwell on the past and decisions we wish we could change. We need to believe that all things are in God's plan for our life and pray in faith that we will continue to become the person he wishes us to be. Living in the past can paralyze the present. Regret can prevent us from being the best Christian we can be today.

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    1. Thank you for reading, for the feedback and support. You are so right. Being stuck in the past is a struggle sometimes. We need to pray that God helps us get un-stuck, and that He opens us to see and accept the truth and the future whatever it is. I only want to live with His peace inside me and to know that others can see it in me as well, so that they can be drawn closer to Him. Blessings to you. HUGS.

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  4. Great! I agree. Thanks for sharing. BLESSings, Darlene

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    1. Thank you Darlene. I appreciate you reading, and very much appreciate the feedback and support. Blessings to you. HUGS.

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  5. My feelings on a tragity is: even tho it made indeed be something terrible; if we can take that and turn it into a learning lesson, then I feel it is a star in our crown! Something we can use to help others passing that way.

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    1. Thank you SMIDGON for your feedback. It is so very much appreciated! The whole point behind why I write these articles and share my trials and the lesson's I've learned is my little ministry that I hope will help others passing that way. I try to apply a lesson to each trial; and then pray that it sticks! Blessings to you. HUGS.

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  6. MRSBECHTOLDApril 17, 2012

    It is tempting! We all make mistakes we wish we could undo. But I wouldn't change it. I see my mistakes as opportunities for ministry.

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    1. It has taken me many years to figure out that each trial needs to be a lesson learned. But that's the reasoning behind my ministry with the Worship Melodies website. I want to share my struggles and lessons hoping that someone some where will be helped and see a little bit more of God's glory and how much He loves them too. Blessings to you! HUGS.

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  7. Excellent Carley! This one hit home with me....

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    1. Thank you Ray. I'm glad you liked it! Thanks for reading and for the support. Blessings. HUGS!

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  8. As much junk as I've been through, I'm not sure I would change things. What I have now in spite of or maybe because of is not worth losing.

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    1. Thanks SANDIELD for the feedback and for sharing. I agree. As hard as it is, in the end it's all worth it if it brings me closer to God. Blessings to you. HUGS.

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  9. God has had lots opportunities to work in my life. He has allowed Himself to be shown in all of His glory. I praise His name!

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    1. Thanks Sandy for the feedback and for sharing. God's ways are often mysterious to us, but they are always better for certain! Praise Him. Blessings to you. HUGS.

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  10. If I could go back and change just one thing, I would definitely change one. I would have the girl's SUV put in park before she jumped out. That one thing would have stopped the SUV from crushing my leg. Without my leg being crushed, I would have continued to be active. If I would have continued to be active I wouldn't have gained so much weight. If I wouldn't have gained so much weight, I wouldn't be on Sparkpeople. Would my life have been better, maybe in someways, but maybe not. I might still be eating unhealthy choices.

    Still, yes, if I could change just one thing I would have the SUV in park.

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    1. Sorry to hear about your accident. Thank you for sharing your story though. May God's peace always be with you. Blessings. HUGS.

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  11. What I know now and my journey has brought me to trust in God and learn and grow.

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    1. Thanks LOVE. I keep thinking the same thing. I look back on my life and think "well, if I would have married that first boyfriend than I wouldn't have had a life that led to suffering of this or that". Then I think, but if I would have married that first boyfriend than I may not know Christ now. Same with a career. I could have been a very successful Interior Designer; but I didn't continue on that path when I started it. I look back and think "Well, I would have had a great career as a business woman... that is not involved in Christ". So as much as I've gone through, this is the path that has led me to Jesus and I don't want to be anywhere else right now.

      Blessings to you. Keep going and keep growing! HUGS.

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  12. I don't think I would change things, those trials are what have made be who I am today - a better person with the help of the Almighty God, who has sent friends like you along my way. Thanks for the blog, it is an inspiration. God bless you.

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    1. Thank you for reading, the feedback and for sharing. I agree. I often look back and think "what if I had taken that other path... ?" Then I realize that it may not have led me to Christ, so why would I change my current path even though it's harder. I have a upcoming article that will be posted next week called "The Path of Least Resistance". It kinda sums up that whole thought. Blessings to you. Keep on going. HUGS.

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  13. You are all so encouraging to me! It's nice to hear other sisters saying that what you've been through on your journey is worthwhile. I have a sister, Kathy, who hasn't yet accepted Jesus and she is going through a very difficult place right now. The end of a five year committed relationship, a job she loves that she has to leave by June 30th and shoulder surgery today. The worst of it of course is the loss of the relationship, but I am believing that the Lord will use all of this to draw her to Himself. It's just hard watching her walk through so much pain...AGAIN!
    So thanks for being an encouraging force in this world! And keep on giving testimony to His Love because there are SO many people who need to hear it! Bless you!

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    1. Thank you so much for sharing your story. I am so glad that we all encouraged you. I will say a prayer for your friend. Don't ever give up faith. Blessings to you. HUGS.

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  14. LETTINGITALLGO1April 18, 2012

    Thank you, Thank you, Thank you. I look forward to reading your blogs!!!

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    1. LETTINGITALLGO1 - Thank you for your awesome support! I am so happy that you are touched by my writings. I look forward to your comments. Blessings to you. HUGS.

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  15. I think about this very topic sometimes. My dad died when I was young (8 years old), and of course that had a huge impact on me and my family life. Some good stuff, some bad stuff, but it would have most certainly been very different if I had both parents raising me (my mom was bipolar, and we had no relatives nearby, so my sis and I were on our own a lot while she worked or managed her illness).

    There are times I toyed with the idea of how different I might be, but when I take the WHOLE picture together and put it in perspective, I don't think I'd change anything. I like where I am now. I love my husband, I love my kids. I love my job. I don't think I'd have any of those things if my childhood had been different, as I'd have likely made different choices that would not bring me to this same place. Yes, I'm overweight and have been battling that most of my adult life, and some of that struggle is a result of a difficult childhood, but I think it was all worth it to be who and where I am now.

    Good question, though, and worth pondering!

    ~Katie

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    1. Thank you Katie for reading, and for sharing your story! I'm glad my article is getting people pondering! :-) Blessings to you. HUGS.

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  16. Great blog!
    You remind me of my nephew.
    He has Asperger Syndrome,but he is working really,really hard to overcome his disability.
    He is fascinating and inspires me!
    You do to.
    You've come a long way and it's your relentless pursuit of wanting a better life that made it happen.
    A lot of people give up before they see positive changes,or drown in bitterness,but not you!
    You are really awesome.
    Keep up the good work and keep on blogging!
    Have a nice day! Hugs Hugs

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    1. Thank you soooo much. When I have people saying things like that, it is my fuel to keep going. It is very humbling and I feel everything has been worth it. Ha.... just wait 'till my book comes out! That's when all my struggles will be revealed. I'm almost done with the first draft. Pray for me... I need an agent and a publisher, and I don't want to go with a self publishing company. I want a 'real' publisher. Blessings to you. HUGS.

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    2. I will pray. Hugs

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