Worth the Weight

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Four years ago today I ran a half marathon. It was a huge goal of mine and so amazing to accomplish. I had started running maybe 4 years before that because I knew I needed to do something and be a better steward of all God had given me, my body included. Running made me feel good and I was continually amazed at the ability of my body and the awesome way the Lord created it. I lost weight (probably 40 lbs from my heaviest), found my “style” in cute A line dresses, and was happy with where it had brought me.

Since then, so much has changed and so much life has been lived. I got engaged, moved, got married, bought a house, moved again, and left a job. We went through a season of infertility that was hard and stressful, and if it wasn’t enough that I had already gained 15 or so pounds after marriage (food is so a love language), I ended up right where I began all those years ago before we finally got pregnant.

During pregnancy I put on about 30 pounds, a normal amount in the grand scheme of things. But since giving birth, almost 9 months ago, I haven’t really lost much (besides the weight of the baby and all that fluid). It has been a crazy struggle; more of one in my mind and heart than anywhere else really. My lovely dresses are still packed in the attic with most of my “before” clothes; there just wasn’t room in the closet for them and the clothes that mostly do fit…plus just seeing them would set me longing for that body of four years ago. The one I worked so hard for. The one my husband first fell in love with. The one that just made me feel so good.

This morning I looked through my memories on Facebook, knowing full well what day it was and what would show up. As I saw the photos from 4 years ago I remembered the excitement of it all. The exhilaration of waiting with my group to even just go up the the starting line. The joy of spotting Steve in the cheering crowd. All the people. Pushing through the last mile, knowing I was almost at the end. I saw the photo of Steve & I, after having finished the race, and was saddened by the changes that have happened to my body over the years. CED6BBA2-11C2-48CE-A1B7-FFF2005EA53F_1_105_c.jpeg

But then I looked at my little girl, happily sitting in her highchair after eating breakfast, drinking and playing with her cup before tossing it on the floor. And that is when the realization hit. There is no way I would want that body back if it meant not having her. If that is the physical price to pay for this little one who is such a joy, who rarely stops smiling, who loves to cuddle and dance, who is an amazing miracle from the Good Lord Himself, so be it. This body of today has created life (with a little help from Steve, some doctors, and God). It has nourished life. What is more amazing than that?

Someday, those dresses will come down out of the attic (hopefully so I can wear them and not because it will be time to just give them away). But whatever the reason, that’s ok. That’s not to say that I’m ok with the health implications of this weight gain. I’m not and we are working on changing things to do better with all of this. But, finally, I think I am ok with knowing that this is just the season I’m in. And you know the thing about seasons is that they are always changing. Here’s to the next!

Love & Blessings,

KJ

Reflections

I’m sitting in the quiet house with a mug of tea. The only sounds are the furnace running and sporadic gusts of wind outside. The lights on the Christmas tree happily glow as they slowly become the only light about. The sun goes down too soon, but I do like having more time to appreciate the soft glow from the corner of the room.

So much has happened in a few short months. And yet it really doesn’t seem like much. Our baby is a whole half of a year old; teeth are starting to appear and other milestones reached. We’ve flown to San Diego and, with the road trip this summer to South Carolina, she’s dipped her toes in both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. (I want to say I hadn’t accomplished that until I moved here 10 years ago). She’s had her first Thanksgiving and is soon to experience Christmas.

With all of this and the seeming rush rush rush of it all (it all being life, mostly) I haven’t often taken much time to stop and just think about it all. This “it all” is mostly life since Evie arrived. As with every change, it’s now a little bit harder to think of a time before it happened. I had felt like I’d lived in Jersey forever once I’d been here for a bit. And then my life before dating slowly faded, and then life before marriage, life before buying a house, life before pregnancy, and now life before Evie. Not that I ever truly forget all that time. So much was learned in that time. So many changes; not just in my circumstances, but within myself. I hope I’m able to hold on to them always.

Along with marriage, having children is one of those changes where you realize life will never be the same. I’m still figuring it out; how this whole Mom thing works. How I can be a mom and a wife and just me all rolled into one. It’s not an easy task, but I wouldn’t trade it. Balance is tricky, especially for someone like me who’s never been particularly graceful, but I find myself teetering along. I might get there one day, but I don’t expect it to be any day too soon. More time to spend doing what I need, for myself, is slowly making its way on to the daily “to do” list, though. Hence this post. Just a rambling around of thoughts. More, hopefully, to come soon.

Merry Christmas, dear friends! I pray you’re able to take hold of where you are right now and see that God is using it for your good and His glory.

Love & Blessings,

KJ

Book Review: Unbound

Not so sure why I haven’t before done any book reviews, considering I both love books and am also a former librarian. I’m going to make an attempt to do them more often, but I make no promises on regularity 🙂

Book Title: Unbound: Finding Freedom from Unrealistic Expectations of Motherhood

Author: Jamie Sumner

What Caught My Eye: I spied this on the “New Book” shelf at my local library. Reading the subtitle I didn’t really think it was a book for me, as I’m not yet a mother, but I read the back anyway. And this is the sentence that caught me; “With honesty and vulnerability, Jamie Sumner walks readers through each stage of her own journey to motherhood through infertility and special needs parenting.” So, maybe, at least a part of this book would be relevant to me now…I added it to my armload to check out and headed home.

The Reading: I’d like to say I picked it right up when I got home from the library, but that was not the case. I actually had to renew it once before I started reading it. When I did dive in, though, it took me less than a week to finish it. The style of Jamie’s writing is like she’s chatting with a friend and it flowed fairly well. There are questions at the end of each chapter for reflection and Scripture readings that she references, but, to be honest, I’m going to have to read it again and do all of those. The first time through I just wanted to know her story and where it was going. As much as I do appreciate those added details, I just didn’t want to be interrupted by them.

My Thoughts: I was pleasantly surprised by this book. Going into it I imagined maybe just the first bit would deal with her journey through infertility, but there was so much more than I bargained for. I imagined that the “unrealistic expectations of motherhood” were how some people think it’s all going to be rainbows and sunshine. Or how some people think “I’d never do that as a mom.” That’s not what she was addressing at all. What she spoke of was how the road to motherhood often does not go as expected. It often doesn’t go as we plan. It sometimes doesn’t even go as we hope.

There were times when it felt like Jamie wasn’t telling her story, she was telling mine. I cried numerous times as she wrote of experiences I have also had, thoughts that have also crossed my mind (or just plain have gotten stuck in there), and prayers I, too, have prayed. The beginning of her story is so like mine: I read about how she found out her sister-in-law was pregnant, the joy and sadness felt, only a couple days before finding out that my sweet sister-in-law, whose road to pregnancy was also more difficult than expected, is expecting her first child. The comfort in knowing reading someone’s story that feels so similar to mine is really indescribable. I’m touched every time someone shares their story with me to let me know that I’m not alone and I’m thankful to Jamie for putting her story out there where so many women who may be facing similar circumstances can read it an know that they, too, are not alone.

I would be remiss not to mention more of the set-up of the book. Jamie writes each chapter in such a way so that it brings in a story of a different woman from the Bible. There are the expected ones about Hannah and Sarah, but the one that stood out to me the most was the one about the woman with the issue of blood. We never know her name, only that she has been bleeding for 12 years. Twelve years! She hears that Jesus is coming through town and knows she must see Him. Her faith is strong and she knows that if she just so much as touches His robes she’ll be healed. And that’s exactly what happens.

What I love about Jamie’s writing is her honesty throughout. She speaks of the woman with the issue of blood during the time she finds out her sister-in-law is pregnant. She doesn’t identify with this woman, but she does identify with someone else in the story; Jairus. Jairus was leading Jesus to his daughter who was ill when the woman stopped Him. In the delay a messenger comes to tell Jairus that his daughter has died. He feels like his opportunity for a miracle has passed. Who ever wants to admit that they doubt the might and power of our Lord? It’s not something anyone does with pride (and if they do, they have even more issues). I have great respect for Jamie and her honesty throughout this book. She reminds us what I try to remind myself of often; that God uses unexpected means to accomplish His will. Some of her final thoughts wrap it all up rather nicely:

Life is a continual etching and erasing. We form expectations, and God forms reality. Sometimes they line up nicely, like tracings at right angles. And sometimes God plays Jackson Pollock and we’re all over the place. But the point of it all is that a masterpiece is being made.

Who Should Read This Book: I highly recommend this book to anyone going through infertility, anyone who has suffered the loss of a child through miscarriage, anyone who has found out their baby will have difficulties because of a diagnosis while still in utero, and anyone who has a baby in the NICU for any length of time. I also think this would be a great read for women who have friends, sisters, or daughters in any of these situations. While not all experiences are the same, if someone you love is going through something like this and she seems somewhat unapproachable, this book might give a little insight.

Praying, that no matter where you are in life, you realize the masterpiece is in the making. The journey God has you on is not without purpose.

Love & Blessings,

KJ

Another Ride Around

I first want to thank you all for your prayers. There’s just something about knowing that brothers and sisters are praying for you that brings about such comfort and encouragement; so thank you! I also have been touched by many friends and family who have reached out to tell me they had experienced similar situations; that it can suck, but God still used it, in His perfect timing, to bring about the child(ren) they longed for. There were many grateful tears shed as I read your stories. Thank you for sharing them with me.

I have wondered through these months just how other women deal with this. Hearing that there are ones who have been through this and have come out the other side has meant more to me than you could possibly know. I praise God for you all and Him placing you in my life for such a time as this.

This past week I had an appointment to check and see if/how my body responded to Clomid. It did what it was supposed to do; providing more hormones so that there would be the potential of more than one egg released during ovulation. The hope is that at least one will be released on the right side where there is a tube that it can travel down. Unfortunately, this month, the ultrasound showed that all of the most likely viable follicles were on the left side.

I wanted to be upset when the doc told me that. All of this, and still nothing?! I thought. But really, I didn’t feel so bad. I laughed slightly to myself (is that strange?) as I praised God for the reminder that even with all of the doctors, medicine, & technology available, He is still in control.

Please don’t form an image of Him lording His power over the universe for “the good of the people” like Thanos or some equally horrible super villain (though I’m not sure if there’s anyone worse). Knowing that God is in control brings comfort and hope, because, indeed, “all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose.” I don’t see the God of the universe looking down on me from on high laughing to Himself thinking, I sure showed her Who’s in control. No, that is not my God. His is more of a still soft voice that speaks lovingly of His promise to see me through, to sustain me, and to be all I ever need.

Also, as strange as it may sound, this news brought with it a blessing. The blessing of knowing already that this time around getting pregnant is highly unlikely. There is still the rare possibility of transmigration (where an egg starts on one side and somehow moves over to the other side…I have no idea how. That just goes to show how amazingly created these bodies of ours are!), but it is just that, rare. In knowing this a couple weeks ahead of time I do not have to worry about thinking if some strange feeling could mean possible pregnancy and get my hopes up only to have them dashed when day 28 comes around. In knowing this I hope to stabilize my thoughts in the week to come so hormones won’t carry them away as is known to happen. All in all, I am thankful for this knowledge, though it is not what I had hoped to hear. I praise God for giving it to me so I may have peace of mind and the confidence that He’s got it in His ever-loving, ever-capable hands.

One thing I am not looking forward to is riding the Clomid carousel again in a few weeks. I know how it affected me this month, but I don’t know if it will be the same or different this next time around. Knowing what could happen, though, gives me somewhere to start from, I guess. I can only take it one day at a time, stay close to my God, His Word, and His people, and know that, this too, He will see me through.

In knowing what I know about it all, I will continue to delight in my Lord. I will continue to rejoice in His goodness and His grace. I will continue to pray to Him for peace and comfort and strength. I will continue to thank Him for these circumstances; though they are not ones I would choose for myself (or anyone else), I know He is using them for my good and His glory.

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. ~1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

I pray, my friends, you are able to see the great hope in these words, and that you, too, would know that whatever it is you’re traveling through, the God of all creation sees you. He does not waste experiences or circumstances, but uses them. To accomplish His will. To refine you as gold. I pray you might find comfort in that.

Love & Blessings,

KJ