Whole Spotlight: Mindy Lawhorne (Hope In Struggle)

Meet our current Whole Spotlight, Mindy Lawhorne. This beautiful Texas firecracker not only a veteran fitness coach but she is on fire for Jesus. Starting her ministry, “Hope in Struggle” has been a way to share her journey and struggles with everything from struggling with her weight to overcoming debt and her husband’s cancer. Her mix of humor, encouragement, motivation, compassion and love of Jesus is why she is our Whole Spotlight.

WM: Can you tell us a little about your life growing up?

ML: I grew up the last of 5 kinds in a small North Texas town.  My family was pretty awesome and I don’t remember many quiet moments.  Someone always had a friend at the house or we were at someone’s game, school function or at something for church.  My parents loved each other and loved all of us greatly.  My home life was pretty good and we laughed often and may times at each other’s expense, but that was all part of the family dynamics.

Now, my Dad actually married my Mom when she was a single mom of four.  She came back to Texas to start again and when he met her, he said, he loved her immediately.  He was only 27 when they met, but he married her and my brother and three sisters soon after they met.  I came along about a year later and made a house of seven.  Those other 6 all raised me in one way or another and I would have had it no other way. 

WM: Would you share your testimony and how you came to know Jesus?

ML: I remember always knowing He was real and I really never questioned Him.  We went to church most weeks and while my parents were Christians I do remember having lots of “Jesus-Talk” with a few Sunday-School teachers, my Dad, sister Kimmie and Grandmother.  When I was 12 my Grandmother gave me a small book on the beatitudes (I had no idea what that was at the time) so, I got out my Bible and read about them.  I prayed on my bed to Him, told him I loved him, wanted him to never leave me and asked him to forgive me (and that I knew he was real and rose again after he was crucified). That was pretty much my official memory of accepting him.  I then knew something most 12-year-olds didn’t know and that was HE was going to me my main go-to, my Father, my guide and I held him above everyone else in my heart.

WM: Can you tell us a little about your ministry, “Hope in Struggle” and how it came about?

ML: Hope in Struggle came about after attending a seminar and realizing I needed to share my struggles and help people through more than just fitness, nutrition and business….I wanted to share my stories and encourage them during their struggles, like I was during mine.  It’s a way I can speak from my heart, in my personality, in a non-threatening way and to why we struggle, what we can do during those times and WHO is allowing these struggles to happen that shape us.  So began H.I.S. (Hope in Struggle)

WM: What are a couple things you would tell someone who may be struggling with their weight?

ML: I usually begin with what else is bothering them.  Since I have struggled with my weight I understand how that feels and it never seems to be because we eat too much……we seem to eat too much for other reasons and it all begins somewhere.  If they’re willing, we start there or if they are not willing, then I give them my recommendations on nutrition, exercise, good programs that have helped me and my Team and I become their accountability partner.  Asking questions is a big part of this process and we start there.

WM: How did you get motivated to change and keep going in a healthy direction?

ML: My motivation began honestly, after getting fed up with not feeling like I wanted to feel and not feeling like the person I wanted to be.   That’s what started my research; my desire to change and this is where I began to take steps in a different direction.

WM: You have been through some major hardships; divorce, single parenthood, remarrying, debt and your husband’s cancer. What have these hardships taught you? How do you stay joyful in the midst of trials?

ML: The answer to these questions are at the heart of Hope in Struggle.  They have taught me so much, but putting it in a short description, they have taught me that no matter my circumstance, I can not only be content with Christ as my father and friend, but that all these hardships were opportunities to grow, to rely on Him more and see a bigger picture for this life and my struggle.  These times drew me closer to Him, because I had nowhere else to go. My relationship with him helped to mature me through each step and that no matter what; He would never let me go.  The joy comes in the knowledge that no matter what, He’s got me and I’m going to come out better on the other side.

WM: What has been your biggest hurdle and how have you overcome it?

ML: I’m still overcoming things and I still struggle, don’t get me wrong, but my biggest hurdle simply is finding is the ability to rest in the shadow of His wings, trust without action (without freaking out), to be more patient and to pray FIRST rather than do then pray later.

WM: What is your biggest motivation?

ML: My biggest motivation comes from Matthew 28 – If Jesus left us with one solid “TO DO” – “Go and make Disciples of all nations”……then I must try and reach everyone I can somehow, someway through fitness, encouragement, humor, Hope IN Struggle and even Facebook for Him. 

WM: Do you still struggle with body image issues?

ML: I did a podcast with Chalene Johnson on this very topic.  I did have body image issues and growing up chubby was a huge part.  Now, I do still struggle some with my weight but, I know who I am and who’s I am.  This knowledge has helped me with the understanding that I am made in His image and He is perfect, so he too can see me with different eyes, but I am obligated to continually work on myself, my fitness and my nutrition because I am made in his image. I desire to be a good representative of Him and I want to attract everyone I can to me and my family so that one day we can share Jesus with them.

WM: What advice would you give to parents in raising girls with healthy body images?

ML: My best advice to parents is to be the best representative you can be for your children.  Avoid negative body talk about yourself or them, remind them their character is the most important thing and beauty is seen in a person as a whole not just in the size of their pants.  Also, speaking truth into their sweet lives is key.  God loves them and He will never leave the or forsake them and while He wants us to be the best version of the creation He’s made, he wants us to lean on Him and seek Him rather than the approval of any person, coach, etc.  Also, as parents we must workout, eat healthy and show them how to make good choices as a lifestyle, not just a diet or for reasons other than being healthy, feeling better and being the best versions of ourselves.  This is where we grow and flourish…

WM: Is there a particular story in the Bible that has helped you?

ML: I have so many stories that have helped me from the Bible. If you look at Moses, Gideon, Jonah, Samuel, Ruth, David and the Disciples, God loves the Underdog.  I’ve always totally identified the Underdog in any story because I think we tend to feel like everyone else has it easy.  Everyone else is a bit smarter, or faster, or has less trouble, or is more beautiful, more fit….etc. and the bottom line is I praise God for my struggle with weight and the other hardships because I feel He has used them to help others or will through the eBook and video series.  It’s kind of exciting to think about how God used those men and women….I believe he wants to use us, even in a small way, to help others through things and to help others see Him and provide hope.  

WM: What is one small change a person can make to get started going in a healthy and happy direction in their life?

ML: One small change a person can make is to simply start each day with a few minutes hidden away from everyone else, a time to honestly pray, thanking him, asking for Him to clear their head, show them a bigger vision for themselves and His plan, give us the tools and direction for the day as well as the discipline to carry them out and the discipline to seek Him, His word and make choices that day not only for God’s glory but for our good.  I know you asked for “ONE” thing…but, it is one thing…..a prayer…..seeking Him. 

(I’d love to talk about other basic things that can help, but we will save that for another interview.)

WM: What do you think is one of the biggest misconceptions when it comes to weight and beauty? And how do you think we can help overcome it?

ML: That it needs to look like what we see on the internet, T.V. and in magazines.  Beauty is something that comes from a deep place inside, and has little to do with the outside.  We see this when we spend time with people, some become more beautiful to us the more time we spend and others decrease in beauty.  I believe we can help overcome it by doing our best to insist that beauty is individual and when we refine the inside the outside seems to catch up.  I believe it is part of our job to be the best version of ourselves and that includes taking care of our bodies, our mind and doing our best to live in a way that glorifies God - inside and out.   This is real beauty. 

WM: What do you hope to accomplish with your ministry?

ML: To reach non-Christians and share with them that being a follower of Jesus doesn’t have to look like they have seen on TV, have stereotyped it to be or really any other way than what He says it should be.  I’ve had quite a few Christians scold me for wearing makeup, shorts, having long nails, big hair and for dancing/working out and posting videos……..these people obviously don’t understand what Christ said in Matthew 28.  I mean really?  My job is to reach everyone I can and our job as Christians is not find everything wrong with others, it’s to share our hope and be the best representative we can be, and there is nothing biblically wrong with who I am and what I put out there…..I just simply told these people that “I’ll use my tactics to reach others, you use yours’ and please don’t message me again;)”  heeeheehee

Now for some fun questions!

WM: What is your favorite healthy and not so healthy snack?

ML: Where do I begin!?!?  I like lots of things, but my favorite not-so-healthy snack is probably anything you can dip.  Chips and salsa, wafers and hummus, French onion dip, queso…..should I go on? 

WM: Favorite book?

ML: With our business we read so many books and are constantly trying to grow our minds to think with a long term vision and grew from the inside out, while this is so hard to narrow down…….I’m pretty sure my favorite book is The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy.  It proved to me that being successful isn’t about talent; it’s about drive, willpower, never quitting and riding out the storms.  It’s exactly what God wanted me to read. I love it and highly recommend anything by Darren Hardy.

WM: One thing you never leave home without?

ML: Besides my phone……my lipstick. Never leave without it!!

WM: Favorite song to pump you up?

ML: Oh!!  Music is everything and my iTunes library is the most eclectic thing in the world, but one song that gets me pumped every time is probably Tootsie Roll or Brick house.  (I have plenty of current favorites….but these two are timeless to me.)

WM: What is one thing on your bucket list that you have not yet done?

ML: I want to go to Rome and the Holy Land.  This must happen someday.

WM: Who would cast to play you in a movie?

ML: Haahaaa well, I would love to have Sofia’ Vergara, but let me be realistic!  She is hysterical and so beautiful and I look nothing like her…but can I just pretend?  ;)  

WM: What is your favorite smell?

ML: I don’t really know, I’ve never thought of it.  I do like freshly cut grass, a new book, a clean husband…….

WM: Favorite quote?

ML: “Don’t worry about other people’s opinion about you.  God told you to love them, not impress them’ this quote is freedom to me.  

 

You can learn more about Mindy through her website at MindyLawhorne.com and
visit Hope in Struggle.