As a couple, Neil and I started our marriage off with a lot of good habits. Pre-kids, we exercised together. I ran several marathons. We ate healthy, even completed P90X with the diet and all of the training. And then we decided to have kids. (cue the DUH-DUM from LAW & ORDER) I have endometriosis, undiagnosed prior to our difficulties having children, but when I went off of my oral birth control, something changed for me. I now know it was hormone regulation and my body having withdrawals from the removal of a hormone I had depended on for many years, and thryoid or adrenal fatigue.
I began BC very early in an attempt to regulate severe bleeding, cramping, and migraines that surrounded my cycle. The headaches were almost constant only varying throughout the month in severity beginning in about 8th grade. I only finally found relief through the birth control/hormone regulation and prescription beta blocker in a low dose. However, when the hormone regulation of birth control ended, two things happened: my headaches returned with a vengeance and (unknown to me) my endometriosis began to flourish, creating fibroids throughout my abdomen. As we tried to have a baby, I began to feel guilt over my use of birth control for years as if it was my fault because of that, I felt frustrated, inadequate and desperate. But all of those were feelings that had not been a reality for me prior to this struggle. I was depressed. My body rebelled through fatigue and weight gain, the return of cramping, which was like a stabbing reminder each month that “THE TEST” was negative again. I didn’t feel like exercise or eating right, I felt depressed and foggy and I wanted a baby!!
I won’t go into more detail here except to say that the babies eventually came….God blessed us three times over. SO SO SO BLESSED! During pregnancy and after pregnancy I allowed myself to eat mostly whatever I wanted. I enjoyed pregnancy and felt amazing due to all of the hormones that surged through my body! My energy was back! I even painted all of the cabinets and rooms in my house at that time. I was almost addicted to how good I felt. I would have another child in a heartbeat just to be pregnant again. I loved it, there’s nothing better for me. But I totally let myself go, no diet rules or exercise. I just fed the baby (right!?!?).
Fortunately for me, I really didn’t have much trouble losing my pregnancy weight, but the 10lbs I gained while we were trying to get pregnant just would not come off. I didn’t want to pick back up exercise and eating right because I was busy with all the babies and working! In the last couple months, through my husband’s gentle prodding, I have decided to begin the health journey again. Sparked by the use of Plexus products, I am exercising and running again. I feel motivated to work hard and my energy has returned. We have returned to healthy eating as well. We started a KeTO friendly lifestyle, severely reducing our carbohydrates and our sugar and eating whole, healthy foods and less processed foods. We are finally really making consistently good choices again. My headaches are gone, along with the endometriosis, and I’m truly enjoying my life and my family, finally.
Food and diet can be tricky, your body tells you that you want one thing, your mind/conscience says another. The more you think about what you can’t have, the more you want it! However, if you’ve ever eaten whole foods for over a month, meaning…no sugar, no complex carbs, and NO SODA, you will recall that your taste buds actually change. It’s hard to say exactly what changes, are they more or less sensitive? I don’t know, but I know after repeating the habit for the choice of healthy whole foods over and over again…your body begins to quit craving the sugary or salty complex carbohydrates. And your tongue begins to really enjoy the taste of whole foods; fruits are sweeter, vegetables are more flavorful, and even meats are more rich in taste.
This can be true of our spiritual life as well. I have always been inconsistent at best with individual Bible Study. I would start with a great study or plan, I would make time to read for 2-3 days and then when the newness of the study washed away, so did I. I would complete Bible classes out of duty, even working through Beth Moore and Priscilla Shirer studies with church groups but the reading of the Bible was painful for me. This was not because I didn’t love God, but because I didn’t have a desire for the really good stuff. I wanted or needed to be spoon-fed some feel-good messages that would convict or educate me and then move on to my regular life. I had a desire, but not a plan I could stick with. I’m so thankful that his year I was challenged by a friend to begin a Read through the Bible study. I determined and committed to use this study to motivate me to really getting my daily routine to spend time in God’s actual word, instead of listening to a podcast about God, or a sermon about God’s word.
I remember a pastor I really respect admitting once that he had a really hard time reading the Bible when he was younger and that he had prayed over it, that he had asked God to give him the desire to read the word and understand it, so that he would be able to KNOW GOD more. He admitted over time that his love for the word of God had grown to the point of actually WANTING to read the Bible, even missing it if he skipped it one day. He found that with the building of the habit of daily reading his Bible that his desire to read it increased with the increased understanding of the word. The more he read, the more he knew; the more he knew, the more he wanted to know; the more he wanted to know, the more he understood and came to love God. I want that for myself.
So this year along with determining to physically get more healthy, I decided that I would commit myself to become more spiritually healthy. New Year resolutions are the kiss of death for me, so I did not make a “resolution,” I just decided, committed and got accountable. When my friend asked me to do the study, I said “YES” and when I say “YES” – I mean it. So while I have missed a day or two in the study. I have finished out each week. If I have missed a day, I have completed two the next day…making sure that as I am reading the Bible through I am using my guide to help me to not only read, but understand and stick with what I am reading.
I’m using the book, “FOUNDATIONS” by Robby and Kandi Gallaty. It does not hit every chapter of the Bible. It highlights the major chapters, pulls out details and emphasizes important events and figures. I have read old stories with a renewed insight, understanding, and in some cases with facts I have never uncovered before. I plan to share my next post on some insights I found in 1 Samuel on David and Goliath, which I may have read to my children 979,000 times, yet, God’s word is living and breathing and eternally relevant and applicable. I’m discovering that with the consistent taking-in of God’s HOLY, TRUE word, my tastes have changed! I no longer want to listen to someone’s thoughts on God’s word…I want to see what God has to say. I want to hear God’s words in my head. I want to understand HIS thoughts, and his expectations. The character of God is revealed in his word, through his actions, his interactions with his people, his words to his people, and even through his patience and then anger with his people. I’ve found that as I read more of God’s word, I no longer want the sugar-coated gospel, I want the MEAT and POTATO Gospel of Jesus Christ. And I want to give Him every single breath, penny, moment, and ounce of effort I have to get it. If the book I’m holding is powerful enough to still be speaking his real words to me and bringing me to my knees because it is so powerfully relevant to the struggle I’m in on the very day I’m reading it, thousands of years after it was written, then the God who wrote it, spoke it, inspired it, is so powerful and timeless that I can never be able to fully know Him, but I don’t want to miss a chance to keep knowing more.
Hebrews 5:12-14 In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need mild, not solid food! Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.