Remembering once again

Once in a while, I find myself getting up in the wee hours of the morning while it's still dark, hoping to find some solitude, and time alone with my Lord.

 

It's in those times, sitting in the darkness with my blanket and coffee, that I let my mind go to those dark places, those places that I refuse to let my mind go to throughout my day, for fear of falling apart.

 

Almost always, without fail, my mind goes to my oldest girl.

 

I wonder where she is now, and if she's healthy, and if she's safe.

 

I wonder if she has people in her life who care for her, and who take her as she is, without any dark motive or deceptive way.

 

I wonder if she ever thinks of us, her family who she left in her heart, long before she left our home.

 

I can see her face very clearly in my mind, and there's not a detail that I've forgotten, at least not one that I know of.

 

It's been 14 months since I last saw her in person, since I last hugged her and kissed her soft tan face. That was the last time I looked into her beautiful brown eyes, and told her to her face how very much I love her.

 

I haven't been able to say those words to her since this past Februrary when she chose to shut us out for good, demanding that we not contact her anymore. Since that time, I've had no contact information for her, don't even know her address or her phone.

 

How does a mama deal with such loss?

 

Its been almost 3 years since she walked out that first time, and the hurt and the heartache are still fresh. And I remember her coming back home a few months later, scarred from the world's devastating affects, yet even more determined that the world could give her something that her father and I never could. Determined that her way was better and wiser than God's.

 

I've been in that place. I know what it's like to know in my heart that what I'm doing is wrong, yet determined in my mind that I'll be much happier doing things my way. If only I'd known then where that type of thinking and living would lead.

 

I was that girl who hugged her mama and daddy good bye, assuring them that taking their only granddaughter and moving away to live with a worldly man was really what's best for me at that time.

 

I saw the hurt in my daddy's eyes as he hugged me tight and told me that he'll always love me and will always be there, no matter what. And I listened as he promised to pray for me each and every day, and I know for a fact that he did.

 

If only I'd known then, where that life changing decision would lead.

 

And though I've made those choices and have reaped the bitter consequences, time and time again, I had no idea how painful it could be being the parent of the child who's walking away.

 

There are times when I feel as though my girl has died, because the grief over losing her runs deep and is almost paralizing at times.

 

Those two years after she walked out were filled with one trauma after another, each one leaving a deep deep scar.

 

There are so many landmarks that are permanently scarred for me now; places where, when I drive by, I remember an awful incident with my girl that occurred there.

 

And there are songs that come on the radio that take me back to that place and time, reminding me that God was there with me, all the way.

 

How does one make it through such awful experiences without God?

 

I can't even fathom where I'd be now had God not been there, had He not picked me up and carried me through.

 

Where would I be now, had he not picked me up on those darkest days, when depression rocked my soul, leaving me feeling helpless and without a hope in this world?

 

Thankfully, because of the amazing grace of our loving God, I don't have to know where I'd be without him.

 

And thankfully, because of what he's done for me, time and time again, I don't have to feel as though things with my girl are hopeless, because I know the One who is my Hope.

 

And so, I once again give her to Jesus. I lay my fears and my worries at his feet, and I trust him, that he knows what's best and that he'll care for her to the very end.

 

What My Whole30 Taught Me

 

This past week I finished my very first Whole30! To be honest, I didn't think I'd even make it to the end of week 1, but by the grace of God, I made it all the way! Woo-hoo!

 

A lot of people have asked what my Whole30 experience was like, so I thought I'd write up a post, sharing my journey.

 

It would only be right for me to share that even getting up the gumption to start the W30 was NOT easy for me. Not easy at all. I can't begin to tell you the inner battle I had even considering the program. I'm serious, I struggled so badly! I came up with umpteen reasons why I shouldn't do it, I thought of a million reasons (a.k.a. EXCUSES) why it wasn't necessary for me to follow the program the way it's intended to be followed, and I found it very easy to come up with my own “modifications” to make it easier. Sad, but true.

 

Seriously though, I had a major inner battle. I cried. I got angry. And this, mind you, was all over just considering it! Ugh.

 

And so, I started it. Three different times. And I gave up on day 3. Each and every time.

 

Seeing how hard of a battle this was for me, I realized that I needed to make this a matter of prayer. I asked friends and family to pray for me that God would lead me and show me exactly what I needed to do in order to bring healing to my inflammation and leaky gut.

 

And time and time again, God pointed me to the Whole30. Each and every time. People who didn't even know that I was considering(more like avoiding) the Whole30, would pray for me, and I'd hear them pray that God would lead me to the right plan to get me on the road to healing, and always, the Whole30 would come to mind.

 

Much to my surprise, on August 18, I woke up with this newfound determination that “this was the day”, and so I began my Whole30!

 

I won't lie and tell you that it was a walk in the park. Heck no! As a matter of fact, it's nothing short of a miracle that my family didn't disown me before the end of my first week.

 

Days 1-3 weren't as awful as I had anticipated; I had a headache that wouldn't go away, but it wasn't to bad. But day 4, holy crap was it awful! Seriously! I woke up on that morning feeling as though I'd been run over by a truck. Every limb of my body felt like dead weight, and I was extremely weak! I felt like I was fighting off a major virus, and I had to take two naps to make it through the day. This, my friends, is known as “carb flu”, a.k.a, sugar withdrawal. Not pretty.

 

Day five was similiar to day 4, but I wasn't quite as exhausted, thankfully. But I would've killed for sugar. No joke. I can't even tell you how many times I found myself making my way into the kitchen, and stopping in front of the pantry or the fridge, just out of habit! It was clear to me that snacking throughout the afternoon was a huge part of my everyday life. Sweet carb-filled foods called out to me, and I literally wanted to scream because I wanted them so bad! I am so thankful for my faithful friends who texted me throughout my day, reminding me that I CAN do this, and that they're praying for me. Seriously, they saved my life.

 

By the end of the first week, the cravings were more under control and I wasn't as tired, thankfully. But boy, was I crabby! I remember having a movie night with my family on day 5, and while they munched on popcorn–yummy, buttery salted popcorn–I was seething inside because I had NOTHING to snack on, and carrots weren't cutting it. I tried not to let my frustration show, but I guess I didn't hide it very well, because one of my kids asked me what I was so mad about. Apparently, my family didn't get the memo that one must have snacks while watching Lord of the Rings. Moving on…..

 

I'm happy to report that week 2 was much easier, though it still wasn't a walk in the park. I became better about planning out my meals (and snacks, thank you very much) and I was sleeping much better, which I'm sure helped my mood.

 

About half-way through the third week, I realized I wasn't needing an afternoon nap anymore, and I had loads of energy! You see, my friends, this is not usual for me at all! Pre-Whole30, I hit that mid-afternoon slump every.single.day, and almost always needed a nap. And to have energy was just foreign to me. But by golly, here I was working out in the afternoons and not sitting down until after dinner every night! And I still wasn't exhausted by then!

 

I was thrilled to find that it was around this time that my bloating was gone. I wasn't feeling gross or groggy after my meals, and my clothes fit the same all day long! My tummy wasn't flat, by any means, but that's a story for another day. Ahem.

 

One thing that really blew my mind, was when we were out of town visiting my mom around the beginning of my third week, and I found myself drinking BLACK coffee! Black coffee, people! Did you hear me? That may not sound crazy to you, but for this girl, that's earth shattering news! I'm the girl who only buys sweet, fattening frappuccinos, and loads her coffee with sugar, sugar, and a bit of cream. I don't know what possessed me to try a sip of my hubby's black coffee, but I did, and though I expected to gag like I used to, I found myself going back for more! This my friends, is progress! And I'm happy to say, I haven't gone back. I now start every morning with my cup of joe, black!

 

I began noticing how delicious a strawberry or grape tasted, the sweetness almost making me moan, and I began to enjoy trying new foods (eggplant Parmesan would've never made it on my menu pre-W30, trust me!) and the flavors tasted so rich on my newly acquired tastebuds.

 

As the end of my Whole30 approached, I realized just how fast it had gone by. Ok, so the first week sucked and felt like it lasted 10 years, but the rest flew by, really it did! And I loved the way I was feeling. This is going to sound crazy, but I was almost sad that the end was approaching, because I didn't want this good feeling to end.

 

When I first started the W30, I had planned on gorging on all my favorite foods once this baby was over, but boy, how that changed as time went by.

 

This past Tuesday was my last day of the Whole30, and I didn't gorge on all my favorite foods. But I did decide to reward myself with a few. And you know what? They aren't as enjoyable as they were before.

 

Two days after my ending date, I decided to treat myself to a Pepsi, which is something I've always loved and thoroughly enjoyed. Being the highly intelligent person that I am(*note sarcasm), I decided to go big, and bought myself a Big Gulp at 711. Ok, so I don't believe in doing anything small, ok? Bear with me, because you'll see that I learned my lesson well. Within a half-hour of drinking my precious Pepsi, I found myself feeling gross. My stomach was bloated, and it wasn't feeling good at all. And to spare you the gory details, let's just say that I visited the bathroom quite a few times in the hour that followed. Not pretty. Not. at. all. On top of that, my head felt all foggy, and I was exhausted. Pretty good sign that Pepsi is not my friend.

 

I also enjoyed some gluten free pizza, as well as gluten free brownies. And you know what? Although I didn't react to those foods like I did to the Pepsi, I don't like the way I feel. I don't feel clean. Weird, right? But seriously, I miss the way I felt when I was eating on the Whole30. Who would've thought?

 

As I wind this up, I wanted to share a few valuable things I learned on my Whole30…..

  • I learned that I don't have to be a slave to food!
  • I can eat to live, and not live to eat!
  • The discipline I developed while doing the Whole30 has shown me that I can have discipline in other areas of my life as well!

All that to say, that I am so thankful for my Whole30 experience, and I would highly recommend it to anyone wanting to kick a sugar habit, or even just wanting to get a fresh start on healthy eating. I wouldn't trade what I've learned for anything, and am so thankful that the Whole30 has changed my life!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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