Wanting // Waiting // Worrying // Withdrawing: Part III

part III

I convinced myself that if I didn’t let myself want kids with my whole heart, I wouldn’t be COMPLETELY shattered if/when it didn’t happen. Just a little bit shattered is better than completely shattered…right? I set up emotional buffers for every worst case scenario. I wanted kids desperately, but I was afraid to want them. I was afraid to get too attached to the idea, because….what if it never happened?
Wanting // Waiting // Worrying // Withdrawing: Part II


Besides getting married, having kids is the only thing I’ve known for sure that I want to do with my life. It feels like it’s been carved on my heart forever. It’s kind of incredible to think how many decisions I’ve made based purely on that desire. (1) I went to a Baptist university hoping to find a good Christian boy to marry who would would be the perfect godly husband and father. (2) I wanted to be an actor on the stage and in film, so I began school as a theatre major. During my first year, however, I discovered that I didn’t ‘want it’ as much as you have to ‘want it’ in that field. If I really wanted to act, I would have to give up a lot of other things, and I wasn’t willing to compromise having a family for a fleeting possibility that I might get my big break somewhere. (3) Even though we don’t have kids yet, Daniel and I have already adjusted a lot of our choices  around a future that includes them, like where we live and what we do with our money. I can’t separate the desire from my person: it’s part of who I am. I’ve tailored my entire life around it. In my moments of career uncertainty, I’ve always subconsciously fallen back on having kids, reminding myself that even though I have no clue what I want to do with my life, having kids is the one thing I do know. It’s comfortable. It’s familiar.

So…how do I deal with the fact that wanting kids doesn’t necessarily guarantee that I’ll have them? It’s a scary reality to embrace.

I’ve dreamed about it forever: the moment when I find out I’m pregnant, sharing the news with our families and friends, feeling those tiny kicks, finding out if it’s a boy or a girl, watching my belly grow, giving birth, and holding that baby in my arms for the first time. I never imagined it any other way. I should mention at this point that I know getting pregnant isn’t the only way to have kids. But regardless, brace yourself, because I’m about to say something really un-churchy and weird: adoption was never really on my radar. I was aware of it, of course; it’s not like I grew up living under a rock. I heard all about different adoption agencies and organizations through my church, and I even knew a few kids who had been adopted into their families, and, as I got older, couples who decided to adopt. I thought it was a terrific idea. But for some reason, I hadn’t ever considered it for my own family. I don’t know why, exactly. I think I just assumed that my future family would look just like the family I was born into: a dad, a mom, and the kids they created together.

But then I met Baily.


Baily is my future sister-in-law (come on, February!) and a complete darling. Her story is incredible, and I’d love to have her share it here, but for the sake of time today, I’ll abbreviate. Basically, she was adopted into a family…in her twenties. She was already considered a grown woman, in college and on her own, and yet a couple with two other teenage children learned about her situation and could think of nothing better than for Baily to join their family. I had never heard of anything like it before. Baily brought the concept of adoption to life because she related it to the Gospel:

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.” — Ephesians 1:3-10 (ESV)

How could I have forgotten this? God adopted me into His family. I wasn’t supposed to be part of the family, but He handpicked me and made me feel at home in His arms. I did absolutely nothing to deserve Him choosing me, and yet He chose me all the same. What a beautiful picture of His great love toward us, and a unique way to show that kind of love to others.

Without meaning to, sweet Baily convinced me of both the beauty and the possibility of adoption as a way to make children part of our family. I still long for the chance to physically have children, but for the first time in my life (which yes, is incredibly embarrassing to admit), I’m open to other options. My unintentional narrow-mindedness is shifting, by the grace of God.

Even after all of this, though, I still couldn’t shake a lingering, sinking feeling in my stomach brought on by one tiny little question. I’ve spent my whole life wanting to have kids, my whole life looking forward to those feelings of fulfillment that are sure to only come from those experiences.

But……………………………what if I don’t feel fulfilled?

What if I’ve spent all this time waiting for it and it’s not everything I hoped for?

What if that first baby, that prayed-for, hoped-for, begged-for baby, is snuggled up against my chest one night and I’m looking down at him or her with tears in my eyes because I DON’T have that “Ahh, this is what I’m meant to be doing!” feeling?

What if?
What if?
What if?

There it was. Finally, after all this time, there it was. The monster I was afraid to look in the eye. At last, I was forced to come face-to-face with this terrifying question. All of my worrying, all of my questions, EVERYTHING, had finally come to a head in one overwhelming, defining moment.

It doesn’t matter if I give birth or adopt. If I look for fulfillment in my children, for that feeling of total satisfaction, peace, and security, it will never come. From what I’ve observed, kids are not exactly manufacturers of satisfaction, peace, and security. Kids are wonderful and God uses them in unique ways to reveal pieces of the Gospel to us, but they can’t help but be like tiny convicting mirrors, reflecting your flaws back to you. If I look to my kids for contentment, I will never fully be at peace. I will never feel completely safe and established on steady ground. I am grossly imperfect, and my miniatures will be sinners too. There is only one Person in my life who doesn’t reflect my sin back to me when I look at Him.

Here’s the raw, unfiltered truth:

Christ. is. enough.

If I’m not able to physically have children, He is enough. If I have a difficult pregnancy, He is enough. If I am completely healthy and have lots of healthy babies, He is still enough.

No matter what, He is enough.

He is enough.
He is enough.
He is enough.

“But what if – “

No. No more.

I have spent my entire life “What if”-ing. I can’t do it anymore. I can’t get caught up in stressing about things that haven’t even happened yet. God’s purpose for my life is not for me to be trapped in a constant web of panic, fear, and doubt. He has never been unfaithful to me at any point in our relationship, and He won’t fail me now. His plans for me are always good; I know I can bank on that.

This series doesn’t exactly have a ‘happy ending’. It doesn’t end with me being like “And now I’m pregnant and everything’s JUST SO PERFECT!”, though that would have been a neat way to announce it. :) I’m still scared. I’m scared of things that are out of my control. I’m scared of having a perfectly healthy baby and then ruining it with terrible parenting. I am the world’s worst at creating unnecessary things to worry about, but the best truth in the world is Christ is enough for me. Jesus is and always will be better than anything else I’ll ever want. Lord, make my heart believe it.

“Surely the righteous will never be shaken;
    they will be remembered forever.
They will have no fear of bad news;
    their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the Lord.
Their hearts are secure, they will have no fear;
    in the end they will look in triumph on their foes.”
— Psalm 112:6-8 (NIV)

“The Lord is good,
    a stronghold in the day of trouble;
he knows those who take refuge in him.”
— Nahum 1:7 (ESV)

And now, O Lord, for what do I wait?
    My hope is in you.”
— Psalm 39:7 (ESV)

Wanting // Waiting // Worrying // Withdrawing: Part II

Capture

Being around the Burkes while Trinity was growing that first year was one of the best things that’s ever happened to me. I had such great conversations with Brittany about being a mom, and about being a wife while being a mom, but I learned just as much just by watching the three of them together. The more time we spent with them, the more the guilty coldness surrounding my heart began, ever so slowly, to thaw. Little piece by little piece quietly dripped away until one day, I startled myself by thinking, You know what? I think maybe we could do this after all.
Wanting // Waiting // Worrying // Withdrawing: Part I


Since we got married, Daniel and I have consistently had the same timing mindset as far as kids go. We made a pact early on that if one of us started wanting a baby and the other person hadn’t said anything yet, the one wanting a baby would speak up. We had ‘check-in’ conversations every so often just to make sure we were still on the same page, and each time, our mutual agreement was “Not yet.”

Until one sweet day, when our mutual “Not yet” turned into a mutually nervous but excited “…………..Yes….!!!!” I was convinced I would get pregnant immediately. I just knew I was the most fertile person walking the planet.

The first month went by.

Then the second.

Then the third.

Friends around me began to get pregnant right and left, some with their next child. I celebrated with each of them sincerely, rejoicing that God was blessing them for the first or second or even third time. But even though next to no time had gone by since our decision, I couldn’t seem to quiet the steadily-growing panic inside me, fueled by a nagging voice that kept whispering things like….

Why aren’t you pregnant yet?
Why is it taking so long?
It didn’t take ____ long at all.

What’s wrong with you?
Something must be wrong.

What if you’re infertile?
What if you can’t ever have children?
What if you get pregnant and miscarry?

You’re never going to have kids.
Your parents will resent you for not giving them grandchildren.
Your life-long hope and dream will never come true.

I knew that these thoughts were not from the Lord, but it was very hard to take such pervasive and haunting thoughts captive. I didn’t want to think about stuff like that, but just “trying not to think about it” did absolutely no good. (If you weren’t already aware, let my story be proof that Satan does not fight fair. He will jump at any chance to take your deepest fears and spread them out in front of you, paralyzing you and distracting you from your ultimate purpose of glorifying God with your life. I made the mistake of dwelling on my fears and giving him opportunity after opportunity.) I struggled with the knowledge that it was possible to want something good, something God created the desire for, but that God could still choose not to give it to me. I also felt silly for freaking out, considering the fact that it had only been a few months and we weren’t even necessarily trying to have a baby. The few people I had talked to about it had all but rolled their eyes at me, telling me what I already knew – that we hadn’t been trying that long and that worrying wouldn’t help anything. So I stopped talking about it. I was emotionally confused enough without someone telling me to stop worrying.

Just a few months shy of a year later, Daniel and I were laying in bed one night, almost asleep but still talking to each other drowsily. Sleepily and half-jokingly, Daniel said, “So…do you still want a baby?” I half-laughed in response, but suddenly my eyes started filling up with tears. Daniel had rolled back over by this point and from his even breathing, I could tell he was finally asleep. I stared up at the ceiling and thought, Do I? The last year had been draining and disappointing. Each month, I knew I was waiting for something, I just didn’t know which thing it would be. And each month that came and went without requiring a pregnancy test made me feel like my body was mocking me: “Well, you failed this month! Try again next time.” I didn’t know how much more of that I could take. To add insult to injury, that mocking voice kept reminding me that I was impatient and stupid because it had only been a YEAR. I knew people who had been really really trying to have kids for much longer, and people who had stopped trying because they had been told it would never happen. I felt like an idiot for being so frustrated and so distrustful of God after such a short period of time.

I realized something that night. Even though we had decided we were ready for kids, I hadn’t truly opened my heart to the idea. In that short year, I had my heart broken over and over by multiple stories of friends who joyfully announced their pregnancies, only to lose their sweet babies weeks later. Multiple friends. It wasn’t until the last few years that I realized how common miscarriages are, and I have since reached a place of debilitating worry. Something that used to seem so rare suddenly became a possible reality I might have to face. I couldn’t deal with it, and without knowing it, I started to withdraw and shut down. I convinced myself that if I didn’t let myself want kids with my whole heart, I wouldn’t be COMPLETELY shattered if/when it didn’t happen. Just a little bit shattered is better than completely shattered…right? I set up emotional buffers for every worst case scenario. I wanted kids desperately, but I was afraid to want them. I was afraid to get too attached to the idea, because….what if it never happened?

What if my fears were true?
What if this ‘thing’ that I wanted to do my entire life didn’t happen?
What then?


If you missed Part I, read here.
Read Part III here.

Actually Embracing the Chaos

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For those of you waiting for Part II of my series about having kids – don’t worry, it’s coming soon! I just have to take a moment to tell you how much of a hypocrite I am.

My vision for this space has grown so much over the last few years, and it’s been both exhilarating and terrifying. I’ve been frustrated for a long time with the lack of transparency and vulnerability within “Christian” friendships, and I knew I wanted to foster an environment for honest conversation about things that really matter. I also knew that God gifted me with the ability to write, and write well. The real struggle wasn’t knowing whether to start this project; it was deciding what to call it.

I must have come up with 47 different blog names, ranging everywhere from boring to trendy to cheesy to nonsensical to just plain weird. I finally came up with “The Most Beautiful Chaos,” which later changed to “The Most Glorious Chaos,” “Glorious Chaos,” and finally “Embracing the Chaos.” I sat on that new name for about a week, rolling it around in my brain and eventually deciding I liked it. It seemed to be the perfect fit. “Embracing the chaos” meant accepting the fact that life is messy while recognizing that our great God holds it all within His very capable hands. This name captured the essence of what I wanted this blog to be. But it wasn’t until yesterday afternoon that it dawned on me…..I’m not even embracing my own chaos.

Here’s what happening in my life right now.

  • Daniel and I hardly see each other because I’m constantly traveling for work because I’m a college recruiter. (AKA, I’m up early and home late with little time for my husband or sleep or…well, I would say cleaning, but HA who are we kidding, I never clean until the five minutes before people come over.)
  • It’s budget season, so Daniel is busier with work as well.
  • Also, Daniel is basically never not studying for the CPA.
  • I wonder constantly when kids will enter the Hendrickson equation, going back and forth between wanting to be pregnant and being glad I’m not yet. I’m fearful of the unknown.
  • I’m in two weddings back-to-back in December, so my weekends are filled to the brim with trying on dresses and party-planning. Daniel’s the best man in one of them…I’m the maid of honor…we get to walk together. #wecute
  • We lead a neighborhood small group at our house every week.
  • We have multiple commitments at our church.
  • Daniel’s car decided to be broken, so we took it to the shop and have been down to one car. (Which made my traveling for work extremely difficult.)
  • The day Daniel’s car was supposed to be fixed, my passenger side window fell off the track and is permanently down. It’s 90 degrees.
  • After dumping 5 Tupperware containers of uneaten disintegrated leftovers down the sink, I discovered our garbage disposal stopped working.
  • We miss our dear friends who have moved away and long to see them but have too few free weekends.
  • On top of all of that…we just bought a new house in Durant and will be moving – in less than two months! (Ahh!! More about this new adventure coming soon!!)

Sigh. I need a breather. All of this has happened in less than two weeks.

The most recent thing I found out about was my car window. When Daniel texted me, I was driving back from a college fair and was already completely worn out mentally and physically. My initial reaction was angry and ugly. I turned the radio down, threw one hand in the air, and blurted out, “What’s next, God?? What is next?? What else are you going to do to us?? Why can’t we just have ONE DAY where nothing happens?” I sped down I-35, fuming and listing off every mess we were stuck in the middle of.

I texted Daniel, “What the hell is our life right now.”
He responded with, “Chaos.”

I paused.

Chaos.

Oh my gosh, I am such an idiot.

I turned the radio back up and “First” by Lauren Daigle started playing.

“Before I bring my need
I will bring my heart
Before I lift my cares
I will lift my arms
I wanna know You
I wanna find You
In every season
In every moment
Before I bring my need
I will bring my heart
And seek You”

My eyes filled with tears and I sang every word with my whole heart. When did I stop believing that God was holding every bit of our chaos in His very capable hands? He wasn’t doing any of this TO us. The truths about His goodness and His grace and His love toward us were still true. His gospel rescued us and continues to rescue us in the middle of our mess. The beauty of Him saving us outweighs any frustration I felt over our temporary situation.

This season is really difficult. I won’t pretend like I’ve trusted God completely without reservation since that sweet moment in my car, because I haven’t. I’ve gotten angry again, and I’ve gotten scared again. I’ve chosen to mistrust God instead of remembering all the times He’s been faithful to us in the past. But it’s so funny to me that He gave me the name “Embracing the Chaos” for this blog. I had no idea how relevant it would become.

Thank you so much to all of you who have followed “Embracing the Chaos” so far, whether you’ve read a few posts or every single one. I have no clue what God has planned for this space or for our lives, but I know one thing: His plans are always good.

Wanting // Waiting // Worrying // Withdrawing: Part I

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I’ve always wanted kids. Always. Schools and jobs have come and gone, but marrying and having kids have been my two strongest and most powerful lifelong wishes. There’s never been a specific career path or job that has made me think, “That’s what I’m meant to do,” and I used to think there was something wrong with me because I didn’t know what my ‘thing’ was, while everyone else around me already seemed to know. And yet, looking back, when I really sit and think about having kids – raising them, playing with them, watching them learn and grow and become useful tools in the hand of God – I feel a quiet but unrelenting stirring in the deepest part of my person. It’s as if my soul is earnestly longing for its purpose to be fulfilled, straining forward toward this elusive ‘thing’ that will finally satisfy my long-held dreams. It’s a glimmer of something both scary and wonderful.

It’s wonderful because it’s a desire that God planted long ago.

It’s wonderful because I’ve seen that beautiful purpose fulfilled in my friends’ lives through their own children.

It’s wonderful because it’s an unmerited gift.

It’s scary because it’s not a ‘sure thing’ like I assumed it was when I planned my life out as a 9-year-old.


When Daniel and I got married, I panicked about kids for a little while. I took about 9 pregnancy tests in our first year of marriage alone, completely convinced every time that I was pregnant. It wasn’t that my desire for kids had changed, I just didn’t feel ready. We were still getting to know each other and arguing about really stupid things like toothpaste and trash bags – so how on earth were we ready to be in charge of a tiny, needy human??

I remember one of the worst lunch breaks of my entire life with painful clarity. It was, as I mentioned, one of those months that I was certain I was pregnant (about six months into marriage, I think). I wanted to wait until I knew for sure, so I hadn’t told Daniel about my symptoms. I went to the store to pick up a test, just knowing I would run into someone I knew and be found out. When I got home, I took the test, put it on the bathroom counter, and sat on the floor against the bathtub with my knees pulled up to my chest. I don’t want to be pregnant, I thought. My heart pounded and my head spun with worry. How could I think that? I was married, for goodness’ sake! It was ACCEPTABLE now. And this was what I wanted my entire life. How could I be so afraid? For my mom friends who are thinking, “Oh honey, I was scared too, everyone is at first” – I’m telling you, there was no excitement. There was no joy. It was straight-up fear, anxiety, and panic. No part of me wanted to see a plus sign on that little plastic stick. I felt like the worst future mom in the entire world. How could I tell everyone I didn’t want a baby when I found out I was having one? I remember thinking, This is not how I want to feel when I find out I’m pregnant. This can’t be my story.

The longest two minutes of my life were finally up. With shaking legs, I dragged myself off the floor and picked up the test, closing my eyes for a brief moment and taking a ragged breath.

It was negative.

OH THANK GOD. OH MY GOD THANK YOU GOD.

Instantly, my heart flooded with guilt over my feelings of relief. I can think of few times in my life when I’ve felt more guilty than I did in that moment. I felt so sinful and terrible and hypocritical. How could I beg God for children my entire life, and then panic when it looked like those prayers were actually answered?

Another fear loomed even larger: would I always feel this way?

During the next year and half, I continued to struggle with guilt and worry. People asked us constantly when we would be having kids – because that’s just the next question you get asked after you get married – and every time, without fail, I would smile disarmingly and say something noncommittal like “Oh, we’ll see…!”, all while falling apart mentally and trying really hard not to fall apart in front of them. I had reached a point where I resigned myself to the fact that I just would not be excited when I found out I was pregnant. I knew (hoped, more accurately) that I would get excited eventually, but my expectations were low. I was constantly scared of getting pregnant, plagued by fears that sounded ridiculous if I said them out loud, like (1) that I would never be excited and be the only mom in the world who didn’t love her baby, or (2) that having a baby was going to completely ruin my relationship with Daniel, or (3) that Daniel wouldn’t love our baby as much as me.

And then…our dear friends, Wes and Brittany Burke, had their first daughter. Beautiful, funny, charming Trinity Beth. And everything changed.


The day after Trinity was born, I went to the hospital on my lunch break to see Brittany. We ended up in the room by ourselves because her family had just left to get lunch, and a nurse had taken Trinity back to the nursery for a little while. I had just seen Brittany the night before, when Daniel and I went up to say congratulations and hold baby girl for the first time, but I couldn’t get over how much different Brittany looked. It had barely been 24 hours, and yet she looked so…wise. Like it made perfect sense for her to be a mom and she was already the best one in the world. She looked exhausted, of course, but she had this glow around her, like absolutely nothing could have stolen her joy away.

As we visited, the funniest thing began to happen: Brittany starting addressing my exact fears about parenthood without even knowing it. I’ll never forget when she said, “You know, Trinity’s only a day old, but I’ve already fallen in love with Wesley so much more than I ever thought was possible. Just watching him take care of her and be so protective over her already…it’s amazing to watch him be a dad.”

It was all I could do not to melt into a giant puddle of tears. I felt God’s presence so powerfully in that hospital room. How could she have known that those words were exactly what I needed to hear?

Wes and Brittany were the first of our close friends that we got to watch transition from dating, to engagement, to marriage, to new parenthood, and we spent a lot of time together in all of those seasons. During the first year of Trinity’s life, Daniel and I had the supreme honor of seeing and hearing the unedited version of married parenthood – and it was the messiest, most chaotic, most BEAUTIFUL thing I have ever witnessed. We got to watch them disagree, problem-solve, reconcile, and flourish in every area in between. We got a front-row seat to some of their sweetest moments as new parents, watching Trinity try new food and learn how to do new things. The older she got, the more she could interact with us. I had never seen Daniel around a baby before, and it was fascinating and heartwarming.

One of the most heart-stopping moments was a game night at Wes and Brittany’s house. I don’t know how this happened, but all of the girls were all sitting at the dining room table playing a game, and all of the guys, minus Wes, were gathered around Trinity on the floor. I glanced over at one point and by sheer luck managed to sneak this ADORABLE (albeit horribly captured) picture:

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HE. WAS. BRUSHING. HER. HAIR. *heart exploding*

Being around the Burkes while Trinity was growing that first year was one of the best things that’s ever happened to me. I had such great conversations with Brittany about being a mom, and about being a wife while being a mom, but I learned just as much just by watching the three of them together. The more time we spent with them, the more the guilty coldness surrounding my heart began, ever so slowly, to thaw. Little piece by little piece quietly dripped away until one day, I startled myself by thinking, You know what? I think maybe we could do this after all.


Read Part II here.
Read Part III here.

The Little Shop

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In October of 2015, I did something a little nuts: I launched my own small business and became a MONAT Market Partner! Read this post to find out more about the products and the business. Click here to check out my products.

In addition to MONAT, in an effort to simplify my life and make a little extra cash for new threads, I invite my interested readers every so often to gather ’round and shop my closet! Come back often for new additions! To purchase something, just comment below or email me. (P.S. If you want multiple items, I’ll discount prices! $5 flat shipping rate to anywhere outside my area.)

DietBet: My Weekly Meal Plans + New Challenge

Holy. crap. It’s been a whole month. The two DietBets I participated in are officially done, and I’ve lost 7 pounds. SEVEN. POUNDS. I didn’t even exercise! (Well okay, I did P90X with Daniel like twice, but it was with about as much enthusiasm as a lion getting its teeth pulled.) I had hoped at the beginning of this DietBet that I would meet my goal, but I didn’t expect to surpass it! I’m in shock, honestly.

I won’t lie, last week was rough. I traveled for work every day and had little control over my lunch options – but I still made it work! The tips I mentioned in my last DietBet post – especially not snacking at work, MyFitnessPal, and meal planning – have made a HUGE difference in my day-to-day choices.

I had several people ask me, so I decided to share my meal plans for the last four weeks! I stuck to these pretty strictly, minus three or four days when our plans changed or I forgot to wake up early to make breakfast.

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I tried two Pinterest meals during the month: Chicken Lazone and the Chicken/Potato/Green Bean bake. (These links take you to my “successful recipes” board with my own notes about how the recipes turned out.) They were both major wins, minus the green bean fiasco. A little on the unhealthier side because of the butter in the chicken bake and the cream sauce for the Chicken Lazone, but soooooo delish.

As I mentioned before, I didn’t intentionally cut anything out of my diet because I knew that would make it easier to cheat, get discouraged, and give up, especially in the very beginning. That’s why I allowed myself to see have some breads and pastas, as well as the occasional spoon of Nutella. :) My biggest changes were (1) eating less of the unhealthy things, (2) adding more fruits and veggies, and (3) hardly ever going out to eat. Some of you who are ultra health-conscious might be cringing and/or laughing and shaking your head in pity at my cute little attempt, but for my very first try at planning healthier meals for an entire month? This is nothing short of miraculous.

Let me do something maybe-conceited-but-mostly-lazy and quote myself:

“I don’t think you guys understand how big of a deal this is for me. I am the most unhealthy person ever. I love fried food and I hate working out, and I will come up with every excuse in the world to eat terribly and never exercise. I am that person that’s like, “Aww…I forgot my headphones…I can’t work out today, I’ll just have to do it tomorrow.” So for ME, of all people, to have made this change, is something truly supernatural. I’m doing things that I would never have chosen to do on my own without God changing my heart.”     –DietBet: The First Half

If you’ve been putting off getting healthy but my posts have been stirring up interest or conviction from the Lord, there’s something you need to know. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how much advice I give you. I could post a play-by-play of every single day, chronicling all of my food and water intake and recording exactly how many calories I’m burning. I could give you my workout routines and my weekly shopping lists. I could even get down on my knees and beg you to at least start thinking about taking care of yourself. But unless you have a serious heart-to-heart with God and let Him show you the truth about you, nothing will change. You will continue to maintain bad habits, and they will catch up to you. I say this with all the love in the world and absolutely NO judgment, because I have been you. I still am you. I’m still an incredibly unhealthy person inside a starting-to-slowly-get-healthy person’s body. I know very well how impossible it seems to break such well-established habits. But you can do it. You can.

SO. In an effort to keep up my new habits for a much longer period of time, as well as encourage someone to get off the fence they’ve been sitting on for awhile, I’m trying something a little crazy. I’m done flirting with the diving board; I’m straight up jumping into the deep end of the pool. DietBet just created a new beta game called “Maintainer.” It starts September 8th and lasts for a full year (YIKES), but you can pay up at the beginning of the month and cash out at the end, just like in a regular game. Each month, if you “win” by meeting your weight goal, you earn at least your $25 bet back, plus more if others lose that round. Then, you pay up for the next month. Essentially, your investment is only $25 unless you lose a round. If you make it all the way until the last month, you compete with everyone who’s left for a bigger pot. Unlike the Kickstarter and Transformer games, you aren’t required to lose any weight to win, although you’re allowed to lose up to 10% during the year. You’re only allowed a 2% margin for weight gain per month to account for normal day-to-day weight fluctuations. The goal – obviously – is maintaining where you’re at and either staying healthy or keeping yourself accountable for being healthy.

I started to hit a slight weight loss plateau during the last game, which means I probably shouldn’t intentionally keep trying to lose lots more weight. This game will be perfect for me simply because it’s a great accountability booster. I will continuously be encouraged to eat well, and if I do end up losing a few more pounds when I kick up my exercise regimen, it’ll be just fine and dandy.

Am I terrified? Duh.
……….but am I also pumped? Duh! I’m in this for the long haul! (Unless I get pregnant, in which case I will undoubtedly gain at least 15 pounds because I’ll be carrying a Hendrickson.)

If you’re interested in joining the game and participating with me, click here! And – pretty please with cherries on top – connect with me and let me know you joined so we can hold each other accountable. Cheers to the next year of not only getting healthy but staying healthy!

If you have been following my posts on this topic so far, do you have any interest in occasional updates on the Maintainer game? Let me know in the comments.

Quick Ways to Lose a Pound Overnight

healthy-eating

Ha. Do I have your attention now? :)

Seriously though – I bet all of you have Googled that at some point. I did, just three days ago. My first DietBet was about to end, and I was 0.20 pounds away from my goal weight. What?? No. I was not going to lose my game because of 0.20 pounds. So I did what any normal human being would do and Googled “how to lose a pound overnight.”

27 articles and three hours later, I had taken a long walk with my husband, drank about a gallon of water (and consequently had to pee every 20 minutes, literally), and was halfway through smearing a bizarre concoction of Epsom salt, green tea, and coconut oil all over my abdomen when I had to pause for a moment.

What was I doing?

I looked at the coconut oil running down my leg and couldn’t help but laugh. I was so intent on not losing my $40 bet that I resorted to cramming in a bunch of tricks at the very last minute. The bulk of my results didn’t happen overnight. They came through weeks of concentrated effort and discipline.

I was suddenly struck by the parallel to my daily walk with Lord. How often do I want quick results, immediate answers? So often, I’m not willing to put in the day-to-day work in the relationship, but when something unexpected happens, I dive frantically back into the Word looking for “signs” and pray fervently that God would give me the answers I need in His timing, as long as His timing is in the next couple of hours.

My ridiculous attempt at ‘getting skinny quick’ revealed that little pieces of the old Laura were still stubbornly trying to grow back like weeds inside my heart. In the two seconds it took me to step onto the scale, I became 15-year-old Laura all over again, body issues and all. I subconsciously believed that if I could lose enough weight, I would finally be content with how I looked. But if my contentment isn’t held fast in Christ, I will NEVER be completely satisfied. Ultimately, my identity is not found in my ability to lose weight. It’s in the Lord, the One who created my body and heart and mind and spirit with the purpose of glorifying Himself through them.

God is so good to us, guys. He knows we have trust issues, patience issues, and diligence issues. Even when we treat Him like a pair of fat jeans that we only put on as a last resort when we reeeeeally need them, He is there all along. My prayer for myself – and for you! – is that we see Him as worthy of pursuing, that we view our relationships with Him as SO NECESSARY that we don’t wait until the last minute to come to Him.

The funniest thing? I lost that pound anyway. God definitely has sense of humor.

P.S. Since I lured you in with my obnoxious clickbait title, I’ll make it worth your while. Here’s the stuff I tried:

  • taking a walk to burn calories
  • constantly drinking water
  • watching my salt intake
  • that DIY salt/tea/oil body wrap from The Kitchen Prescription (I’m convinced this is what worked because I wore it while watching Finding Neverland, which made me cry about half a bucket {aka a pound} of tears)

What made you click on this post? Are you struggling just like me? Is your identity found in Christ, or in yourself? Don’t despair – God created you and loves you, right where you are, right now. Be encouraged!