Several years ago I learned about the Standard American Diet. I had no clue that the food I was putting in my body had a name, and I certainly didn’t know there was a thing called “real food” or “whole foods” or “organic foods.” I was clueless!
Then I got sick. I was experiencing migraines every other week. I needed a test run that would cost us thousands of dollars but our insurance wouldn’t cover it. My migraine medicine alone was going to cost us about $100 every four migraines. I was missing work too many times a month, and I was miserable.
That’s when we started our journey into natural living and better health (you can read more about it here). This was seven years ago, and I can say that we experienced dramatic changes in our health after taking the plunge into real food and natural living.
I stopped experiencing migraines, my digestive issues completely cleared up, my skin became vibrant and even radiant, and I had more energy than I ever remembered having! My knee issues that had plagued me since I was ten years old even disappeared. Not to mention, my husband dropped 65 pounds due to all the lifestyle changes we were making. We were feeling good!
We continued this way of living well into the first year of my oldest son’s life. I nursed him until he was 13 months old, cloth diapered him faithfully, and didn’t let an ounce of grain hit his tummy until his first birthday (his smash cake was his first taste of goodness!).
Together as a family, we continued to learn more about real food, healthy living, and better stewardship of the earth. Our friends thought we were odd, and our family thought we had lost all of our marbles, but we didn’t care. We felt amazing!
Then, life took over.
We moved across the country to take a new job and live in a 90% unchurched area. We struggled through life without a soul to call friend, we questioned whether we heard God right, and we fell into life in one of the healthiest states in the continental U.S.
It became easier to run to the health food store to grab items I would normally make from scratch, and we began to make one compromise after the other.
Of course, we’d never stray too far before coming back to center, but then we had a second baby, my husband quit his job, and we struggled to reconcile our faith with what “the church” offered. We walked through miscarriage and muddled through authentic community, and slowly, slowly found our way through it all. Together as a family, God wrecked us and food was the last thing on our mind.
I wouldn’t change one single second of living in Colorado. I learned more about God and who He is and what He has done in that three years than in all my life before then.
God stripped me of my identity. My identity in conservative Christian evangelicalism; my identity as a crunchy mama; my identity as a business owner; my identity as a writer; my identity as … well anything. I was stripped naked.
There is something about living and being and breathing when you have nothing but God to pull you through (and a family that He’s entrusted to your care) that will humble you to the core (as it should). Together as a family, we leaned in to one another and grew in ways we wouldn’t have had we never set foot on the rocky soil of that little resort town.
So don’t hear me and think I’m complaining.
I’m not. I’m simply sharing a journey that has led us right back to where we started.
I’m sick. Again. I’m experiencing migraines every other week. I need to potentially seek professional help for various reasons and well, that’s going to cost us some money.
My migraine medicine alone is going to cost us about $100 every four migraines. My husband is missing work, and we’re calling in favors from Grammy far too often. I’m miserable 75% of the month, but I keep plowing forward because … well, I have two children to care for and a husband who needs a wife. Plus I know grace through trials like I never have before, and the joy of the Lord is my strength. I know this is all for His glory, and I know that in the trials He draws near.
Yet as I evaluate how we got back here health-wise, I’ve realized that we have been giving ourselves way too much grace. We’ve towed the line of grace so far that’s it’s not even grace anymore. It’s tolerance. It’s acceptance of sin and lack of discipline.
Yes, life happened to us. And no, I’m not saying that real food is a holy way of living. Because I realize now that all those years of healthy eating and living a more natural lifestyle wasn’t being done in the name of Jesus, but it was being done in my own strength with my own ideas and by my own agenda. I didn’t seek wisdom from God when we hit trials. I didn’t ask Him to help me when the going got tough. I just quit.
And He let me. He does that, you know? He lets you do things that aren’t good for you sometimes because you have a choice. God gives us a choice to choose Him. And, the minute you say, “Jesus save me!” He will bring you back into the boat and calm the waters (not necessarily in your circumstances but most definitely in your heart and soul). And anyone who asks Him for wisdom, He will give it.
I’ve been doing a lot of praying, repenting, and seeking these last several weeks.
It was part of the reason I took a sabbatical. I needed to clear my mind and settle into our new home. I needed to get our home functioning so we could, again, focus on our spiritual health as a family.
There is more to our spiritual health than just whether or not we’re reading God’s word during the proverbial “quiet time” and showing up for church on Sunday morning.
Our spiritual health is in our hearts, minds and souls and evaluation is essential to ensuring sound living by the grace of God. We must evaluate our entire lives before God on a regular basis, seeking Him and asking Him to reveal anywhere we have strayed from His will. God’s Word says to do everything to the glory of God! Everything!
And among other areas in my life where God has revealed my straying heart and lack of discipline, health is the first one I feel led to tackle.
For my body is His temple. My body is what He uses to share of Himself with others. My witness is who I am and what He has done in my life. I can’t share that witness, that love with anyone when I’m laid up in bed because I lack the discipline to choose foods that will nourish my body.
Our family’s food choices haven’t been a matter of finances. Our family’s food choices haven’t been a matter of availability to good sources of food.
Our family’s food choices have been a matter of hearts that have grown lazy, and now our children reap the consequences of our wayward hearts just as we (the parents) do.
Food is not the issue. My heart is.
My husband and I have been working together to formulate a plan to get our family back on track health-wise.
We’re committed to making better choices and regaining what we lost by the grace of God. But this time, it’s layered in prayer and dependence upon Him.
This will not be easy on our kids because they’ve become so addicted to sugar and treats (can you even call it a treat when you get it every other second?) and cruddy snacks. My four year old is a little louder now about what we eat, and I keep reading and re-reading this post to remind myself that we’ve been here before with him and God’s grace is sufficient. I know it will be worth it, but it’s going to take a lot of work, faith, and grace.
Perhaps you’re resonating with some of this that I’ve been sharing. Perhaps you’re looking to make changes in your family’s diet and perhaps you’re wanting to be a little gentler on the earth. If so, then maybe the baby steps we plan to take back into better health will inspire you too!
I will start sharing more about our journey in the coming weeks and months. I’ll share with you my list of baby steps to real food, some ways we’re choosing to be gentler on the earth, our vitamins and tinctures we’re making, and more.
I know that sickness is a part of this fallen world, but where there is a way to choose better health, we will do the best we can, seeking His wisdom and relying on His grace. So stay tuned! I look forward to sharing this journey with you!