For the last 5 months, wellness has been my word. You know, every year you pick a word and then that is your theme for the year? The last few years they have built upon one another. Last year’s word was hard because I felt the Lord calling me to come alongside Nick and whatever word he was going to be using. Commit. What a year!
So, this year it is wellness. What did that even mean, what does it mean today? What will it mean by December 31?
At first, wellness meant mental, spiritual and some health. I know, I was pushing it all far away from my mind, the fact that my health needed attention. You know, mommas especially, can have a tendency to put themselves last. This isn’t a post about allowing yourself to let things go and be ok with it, but it isn’t about being so hard on yourself that you don’t live either. What it IS about, is a need to pay attention to ourselves, so that we can be an honest version of ourselves, healthy for our families, and at home in our own skin.
So, in March I got my eyes checked. It seemed like an easy way to start taking care of myself. It wasn’t the dentist, whom I hate. That is actually next week. The day before my 32nd birthday. Haha. Figures. Anyway, so I got my eyes checked and had to get some glasses for driving/seeing distance. They are fun and it wasn’t a huge deal, but it felt nice to know more about that part of my health. (I know some of you are reading this and appalled that I didn’t get my eyes checked since the age of 5) None the less, here we are. After the last 5 years of life, going through traumatic experiences and learning to live life after loss etc I am finally to a point where being completely honest with myself was my only way forward.
All the way forward to 30 days ago. Well, more like 40 days ago. I came across some information about Whole30. I know, the most strict and restrictive eating plan known. Haha. Anyway, I am not a researcher. I don’t have the attention span. So, I asked my personal researcher, Nick, to read up on it and get back to me. In the mean time, he had been dealing with wrist pain and had an appt with his primary care (which is another appointment that is on my list to make. I have already had my “yearly” if you know what I mean. TMI?!?) haha. He came home from that appointment with some discouraging news and he had just read about the Whole 30 and basically told me we were doing it and we were going to do it for a long while. Ok. Here we go. So, I did some actual research and pinned my little heart out on a secret Whole30 board of course, because I didn’t want anyone to know we were going to be another few people who failed at a whole30. I figured if I kept the board secret and failed at it, it wouldn’t be such a deal. Nick continued to get the plan in place and listened to the book. I was a bit of a crab about it even though it was my idea. Haha. So the journey began and all of a sudden the first week was over and I was feeling a bit empowered. When we first started our Whole30, we had our vacation in mind. The one we are on as I write this. We didn’t want to be on it while we took our big girl to DFW for a fun birthday weekend. I can tell you in all honesty that we did the Whole 30 days and it wasn’t the end of the world. It might have been the best thing we could have done for ourselves.
See, since I was fairly young, I’ve had a weird relationship with food. I never thought much of it until middle school, but I was taught to love myself even if I wasn’t the exact version I wanted to see, so I didn’t really change the things I didn’t like. I wished they would change, but was honestly too lazy to try to change them. So, through high school and college I didn’t really hate myself, but I didn’t better myself either. Marriage came and the newly wed lbs came on. Pregnancy 1, then 2 suddenly after that and then a few years of grieving and trying to figure out life came on me. I found myself years down the road with this need to actually give some attention to my body. 9 months ago I took on a new role at Family Life Church. When I stepped into the roll of Worship Pastor/Creative Arts I had no clue what I was actually walking into. God has stretched me far beyond what I thought I even needed to be. There have been very dark days and there have been many amazing days. I can’t explain the depth to which my faith has plunged, but I kinda love it. What a refreshing thing to be in over my head in the middle of God’s will. It has come with some major challenges, deep hurts, lots of confusion and many a night of crying out for wisdom, direction, just His closeness. I began to hear him talk to me about my health, specifically my weight, my disrespect to my body. My neglect of the body he gave me. I would see a live stream of a service and shudder because what I saw wasn’t how I felt I looked. It didn’t depict my inner self either. I didn’t look like my personality, in my mind. So, all of that to say, along with Nick’s Dr’s appointment, the rubber met the road. Here we were at a crossroads. I could continue down the comfortable road, the one I’ve known for half my life, or the hard road. Well, I was already proving to myself that taking the harder road in my place of service/work/ministry hasn’t caused me to fall over dead then maybe choosing the hard road to my health was going to be worth it too.
Whole30, you can research it yourself. You can cringe and deep sigh and roll your eyes at it too at first. Yet, I will tell you that I have never felt more control and true discipline in my life regarding food, in my life. I have a respect for myself enough to not destroy myself with emotional eating (as much, y’all it is still a struggle and probably always will be), mindless snacking, the need for a drink or a sonic run every day, etc. There are freedoms I now enjoy that I have not even imagined before. The massive detox of all things, grain, dairy, legumes, sugar, etc totally reset my system and has been an absolute blessing to me. Has it been hell at times? Why, yes. Yes it has. Have I enjoyed cooking EVERY. SINGLE. MEAL. Now and forever amen. No, I have not enjoyed it every time. Have I loved running the dishwasher every day and running out of clean forks every other day? Nope. But, have I enjoyed experimenting, challenging myself and then proving to myself that I can do hard things? YES. It really has been an adventure that I have enjoyed and embraced. I have learned that strawberries don’t need sugar on them. Haha. I realized that I can make a mean jar of Ranch Dressing. Fresh salsa makes a great dressing. Plantains are delightful. Scrambled eggs for breakfast every day isn’t all that bad, especially when cooked in coconut oil. :D
Why am I writing all of this? I know that it isn’t breaking news and I don’t have any wisdom I am going to drop on you, but I want to document this for myself. I want to continue to keep learning, keep challenging myself and in His grace be obedient. Obedience is hard. Is it worth it? Every time.
Now, I will say, I could not have done this without Nick. The accountability, the person I can be most honest with, doing this alongside has made all the difference. We starting exercising too, because our energy had switched because of our detox of so many things that were causing us to crash at the end of the day. We are watching less TV, spending more time outside, going to the pool, working out 3x a week at least, etc. Our kids eat better because we are. The girls will throw down a bowl of grapes or strawberries like nothing else. Ava has been very aware of this journey with me. She knows I am focusing on being healthy. She is a cheerleader. I’m thankful that she is seeing me be mindful of my health, but for the right reasons, not for the sake of a size or I don’t think I’m pretty or something…
So we are enjoying our vacation, having some treats and celebrating our daughter and when we return home, we will be doing another Whole30. There is something that continues to better us through this routine that we are not done banking on. So, we will continue along and be thankful for the benefits of being disciplined. God is a God of order. He is not a God of chaos.
I am not sure where you are in your life or what your struggles are, but if you have any question about being obedient in the hard thing…. Do it. Just go ahead and do the hard thing. You can do hard things. You can say no to things. You can say yes to things. You can walk in obedience. NOT perfectly, but wholly. As we pursue Holiness. We obviously will never achieve perfect holiness, true righteousness, that is why grace is so beautiful. Yet, I know we can achieve obedience to the fullest, wild abandon in our faith, adventures and challenges can be accepted and experienced to levels never before known.
There are 6 more months to this year. I am thankful that God doesn’t operate in time like we do. He allows me to take on new adventures and challenges with him, at the pace I can, in the time I need, in the way that is best. Another thing, I’m so thankful for a friend who understands and supports whatever thing God is doing in my life. Surround yourself with support, with wisdom, with true blues. They are hard to find. If you have 1, you are blessed. Finding a rhythm to your life is so important as well. IT is ok to eat the same breakfast every day of your life. It is fine to have staple items that you know support your health. It is ok to not schedule something every day. It is amazing for your kids if you really listen and allow yourself to be aware and attentive.
***note to the grieving mom reading this, because that has been the whole intention of this blog since Noah’s death…Take. Care. Of. Yourself. Spend time tending to your heart for as long as you need, in whatever ways you need. Be honest and true. Exercise. Eat clean. Treat yourself too. Enjoy quiet. Enjoy alone time. Savor family. Extend grace. To those family members and friends who bail, give them grace and love, but don’t hide your needs to appease them. They don’t always understand. They need grace and forgiveness for the times they hurt us. To those people on the inter-webs who mean well, but just can’t seem to not comment, just keep scrolling. To the people who will forget your child’s birthday or death day or some special date, don’t hold it against them. Time doesn’t heal, but it gives us perspective. Just continue to allow grace to flow. Feel all the feels. Do all the traditions, special things and celebrations. Post the pictures, share their story, find a support group, keep a grief journal, give back, find ways to honor your child’s life/memory/legacy. Whatever it takes, be the best version of you for the kids you still have on earth, or for the kids who will grace your family someday. I’m telling you, take care of yourself. Don’t let the loss of your child kill your spirit for life. Take your time and then wipe your face and push forward. It’s worth it. We can do hard things because we have lived through the hardest most dark day of our life; the day we gave our baby back to Jesus. Hold on tight mommas and daddies of those gone before. Redemption will come. *****
So, ya. I’m thankful. I’m inspired. I'm refreshed. Thankful for this little weekend away to recharge and have quality time with my loves. Thankful that God allows space and ways to make us better versions of ourselves. I challenge you to do the small thing, today, that could possibly change your life. What a blessing it is to be a masterpiece that is ever changing, growing, getting more beautiful and increasing in value as time goes by. See yourself as worth the investment.
I know it has been so long since I have shared. I suppose the desire to write has just been suppressed by lots of different circumstances. Thankful for the place to share my heart though, and possibly encourage you. Be the best version of you. I used to think so little of those who thought nutrition and health were priority. I had this attitude and pride because I was in denial. I didn’t want to like those who cared about their health because I didn’t. I think that happens for people in many different ways. If you don’t want to care about your spiritual condition then you think those who do are snobby. If you don’t care about social justice then you think people are wasting their time. If you don’t care about a certain issue then you avoid it. Here’s the thing, when it becomes important to you, you will actually succeed at it. Again, thankful for grace.Thankful for patience and for growth.
Extending the invitation that if you need support or encouragement or any form of advice, I’m not certain that I can be the best help, but I can be a friend and an ear. I can point you to the One who can and will walk with you through any road.