Easy Gluten Free Pancakes

Hi friends, happy Friday! I’m excited for the weekend but my lovely husband is snoozing away on the couch.  He had rifle training this week for work out in the hot Texas sun and he is exhausted, poor thing.  So while he’s resting, I thought I’d share a new favorite recipe (if you can even call it a recipe!) for gluten free pancakes.

In my pre-Celiac disease and gluten free days, I enjoyed making these buttermilk pancakes and another recipe that I never ended up posting on the blog that is just a simple old fashioned pancake recipe.

Since going gluten free, I have really struggled to find a good pancake recipe that compares to my old favorites.  But the other week at the store, I found a box of King Arthur’s gluten free all-purpose baking mix that I was going to use for a stew and dumpling recipe I was trying.  When I got home,  I found a simple recipe for pancakes on the back of the box and decided we were going to give it a try one morning.

The result was a very happy, gluten-free Amber!

Without further ado, here is the recipe

You will need the following ingredients:

  • 1 cup King Arthur Flour, Gluten free all-purpose baking mix (VERY IMPORANT that you use the baking mix and not the multi-purpose mix)
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon melted butter or oil
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, optional (I don’t use this)

1.) In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the baking mix and sugar.

2.) In a measuring cup, combine the milk, egg, melted butter or oil, and vanilla (if using vanilla).  Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and whisk until blended.

3.) Allow the batter to sit for 10 minutes, to thicken (this goes for all pancake recipes FYI – it’s an important step that a lot of people skip)

4.) Preheat your griddle or pan to medium heat (350 degrees F)

5.)Pour batter onto the hot, lightly greased griddle or pan.  Cook until the pancakes edges are dry, bubbles form, and the top is no longer glossy.  Turn over to finish cooking.

**You can make the recipe dairy free by using oil instead of melted butter and rice, soy, or nut milk instead. **

The recipes yields about eight 4 inch pancakes

I forgot to take a picture of my pancakes, but they pretty much look just like my old favorites:

Buttermilk Pancakes

If you are gluten free and give this a try, let me know how you like it.  I enjoyed my pancakes with real maple syrup! Other toppings could include fresh fruit and homemade cool whip.

Happy gluten-free baking,

Amber

Recurrent Miscarriage & Infertility Linked to Celiac Disease

Hi friends, I was just playing around on Pinterest while eating dinner and found this good explanation of what Celiac Disease is and what the symptoms are.

I have Celiac disease and I discovered that I had Celiac disease in 2012 after having 3 miscarriages.  One day, I just happened to stumble upon an article about the link between Celiac disease and recurrent miscarriage and thought I would have my doctor test me for the disease.  I also had a lot of intestinal symptoms related to Celiac disease and thought it wouldn’t hurt to get tested.

Diagnosis for Celiac disease involves a blood test followed by a biopsy if the results are positive.  Some people actually have negative blood test results but still have a biopsy anyways and actually find a diagnosis through that.  I had positive results with the blood test and then had to wait months to see a gastroenterologist for a biopsy (which was completely frustrating!)

After my diagnosis of Celiac disease it was also discovered that I had low vitamin D and low iron, both also from the Celiac disease.

The most important thing about testing for Celiac disease is remaining on your normal gluten diet.  If you start eating gluten free and then get blood testing or a biopsy, you could heal your body and have false results.  Just remember: while testing, keep eating your bread! NO gluten free until you have all of your results back.

Check out the below fact sheet about Celiac disease and read through the symptoms.  If you suffer from recurrent miscarriages and/or infertility, I think you should get tested for the disease.  A simple blood test won’t hurt.  If you do have Celiac disease and it goes undiscovered, it can lead to horrible health problems, even cancer.

And please, don’t be like some of my family members who have refused to get tested because “they could never stick to a gluten free diet.”  It’s not that bad and it’s not the end of the world.  Yes, it is difficult at times, but you get more creative and learn to enjoy life gluten free.

I like to think that my 3 precious babies in Heaven have played a role in saving my life by helping me discover this disease.

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Be healthy my friends, life is more enjoyable when you feel better!

-Amber

How is it already August?

Hi sweet friends! Thank you all for your support and love on my post the other day.  I just need to say that no one did anything to hurt me, I was just feeling, I don’t know, left out or left behind because I don’t travel on the path of seeking medical treatment.  I just get worried sometimes that people will think I have no reason to be sad or express my feelings because I’m not doing anything to change my outcome.  I’m not sure if I was able to express that in writing, but I just want you all to know that I care about you all very much and this blog has been therapeutic to me as well as inspiring.

Although I never would have chosen this road to walk on, I’m thankful to have met some of the most incredible, kind women through this community.  After writing again the other day after a mini-break from blogging and reading all of your thoughtful comments, it brought so much needed healing to my heart and reminded me that yes, this is a safe place to share my heart, and you all care about me too.  So thank you for that!

I would also like to add a little disclaimer: I never, ever want to come off as judgmental about beliefs or decisions that we make in our trying to conceive journey.  In the same way that I hope everyone will support me and not judge my decisions to not use medical resources, I don’t ever want to judge anyone for getting help from a doctor.

I was thinking that for a Christian that seeks medical treatment, they would probably struggle with feeling judged over their decisions to get medical help from doctors.  And there is probably a lot of that coming from outside of the infertility community, which means that it is all the more important for those of us in this community to support one another, even if we travel different paths.

My decisions not to use fertility medications at this point in my life have very little to do with my faith and more to do with what I’m comfortable with.  Although we have been on this TTC journey for over three years, we are still very young.  We were married when we were 23 and we are just now 27.  When we are older, we might sit down and talk about our options if we still don’t have a child and pray about what the Lord would have us do in regards to getting help from a doctor.  But in the mean time, I feel very comfortable trusting God to protect me during this time and believing that in His perfect time, He can heal me.

In the bible, the apostle Paul discusses the freedom that we have in Christ and I’d like to share a verse that I think goes along with the different decisions we all make in our infertility journey:

“Accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgment on disputable matters.  One man’s faith allows him to eat everything, but another man, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables.  The man who eats everything must not look down on him who does not, and the man who does not eat everything must not condemn the man who does, for God has accepted him.  Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls.  And he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand.

One man considers one day more sacred than another; another man considers every day alike.  Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind.  He who regards one day as special, does so to the Lord.  He who eats meat, eats to the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; and he who abstains, does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God.  For none of us lives to himself alone and none of us dies to himself alone.  If we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord.  So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.

For this very reason, Christ died and returned to life so that he might be the Lord of both the dead and the living.  You, then, why do you judge your brother? Or why do you look down on your brother? For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat.  It is written, “As surely as I live, says the Lord, every knee will bow before me; every tongue will confess to God.” So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God. Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother’s way.” Romans 14:1-13

Do you see in the above how it actually calls the person who restricts themselves from doing certain things, as the one with weaker faith?  Of course my pride takes a blow when I read things like that, but I will admit that I often place a lot of restrictions on myself.  Now, I will add that the bible shows us how to live our lives.  There are certain things that we should not do, plain and simple.  But sometimes, humans have a way of adding TO the bible, putting restrictions on others, where God has not given such instruction.

In the case of seeking fertility treatment and help from a doctor, this is something that a Christian will have to pray for God’s guidance, seek biblical counsel from wise Christian family and mentors, and pastors.  The bible just doesn’t talk about IVF, embryos, and frozen sperm LOL! It’s kind of one of those things that is a decision that you, your husband, and the Lord can all work through and see where he leads you.

So my husband and I have prayed and talked about this many, many times, and as it stands, God is not leading us in that direction.

But He might lead you in that direction.  My brother and his wife used fertility medication to bring my beautiful niece, who is a miracle, into the world! She is a blessing from God!

We all will travel different paths, and our faith is not going to look the same – praise the Lord for that or we would be boring!  The most important thing is that you are praying and talking to God about what He would have you do with your life and being willing to follow His lead, even if it scares you.

I know I kind of rambled on for a bit about that, but I just had to get that off my chest.  If I’m ever talking about my decision not to use medical treatment, just know, from the above verses, that I do not look down on you for your own course of treatment and I support you and pray that God will give you peace in the journey.

Now, onto a different topic! What have I been up to lately?

The new job is awesome – I’m just loving pet sitting.  I’ve also been trying out a lot of new recipes lately and I can’t wait to share them with you all. I have a mix of healthy dishes and “yum in the tum” cheat night dishes.  Today is weigh in Wednesday but this week was a total bust, so I’ll be back next week with a video.

On Saturday, I shared my testimony at the homeless ministry.  It went well, but everyone could tell I was nervous.  Even when I’m feeling confident, my body still shakes from the adrenaline.  It gets easier the more and more teaching and presenting I do at church and different ministries.  Even though I was nervous, I really enjoyed sharing my testimony and I hope I’ll have more opportunities to share other testimonies from my journey since becoming a Christian.

After the ministry was over, we head over to my nephew’s birthday party.  I didn’t want to go, but somehow I managed to pull myself together and participate.  I’m not sure how I’ve done this now for 4 years.  I remember his first birthday party was about two months after my first miscarriage.  I don’t really remember it all that much.  But the next year for his 2nd birthday, we had then had 3 miscarriages and were on a TTC break because I was a depressed disaster.  For some reason, I thought it would be a good idea to not only attend the party, but to make the cake and cupcakes.  See the awesome Elmo cupcakes and smash cake below:

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I was pretty excited about showing off the cupcakes that year, but then when it came time to sing happy birthday and my sister-in-law held my nephew and smiled at him while singing happy birthday, it hit me that I would not get to do that with my own babies.  I went home after the party and cried my eyes out for hours.  The next year for his 3rd birthday (last year) I wasn’t planning to attend at all, but then my mother-in-law insisted we all go and she planned a day trip to Sea World.  I pretty much had a bad attitude the entire day and we ended up having to leave early because Jon’s Aunt Shirley got sick.  Me and Jonathan ended up fighting over the entire party last year, and I’m not even sure why.

Well this year, we have had a LOT of family drama.  I can’t give all the juicy details because it’s not my business to discuss, but it has been really difficult participating in family events.  Jonathan’s sister is getting a divorce and now has a new guy in her life. She is also much younger than us and had her son when she was 19, so I’ve often struggled with being upset that she was a teen mom, while we have struggled to have children.  It’s the ugly part of me that God is working on.  Anyways, we met him a few weeks ago and she introduced him as, “Matthew.”  I thought his name was Matt and I didn’t think anything about it.  But then when she said Matthew, my heart started pumping and I thought I was going to get sick.

That’s the name of our second baby.

Matthew

Last week when I started to think about the upcoming birthday party and another year passing without a baby, I felt angry.  And then I thought of this new guy named Matthew being there and I started crying and begging God to deal with this situation.

I’m not sure how or why, but the day of the party I decided to just go for it and try to be as positive as possible.  The party ended up being nice and I spent most of the time taking with Jonathan’s Uncle John and Uncle Robert.  They live in Dallas so we don’t often get to see them, but I always enjoy when they come to visit! I was really thankful they were there for the party – it was definitely much easier with them to talk to.

During the party though, we pretty much avoided Matthew and didn’t go out of our way to be polite (for reasons beyond just him sharing our child’s name that I can’t talk about on this blog).  Later that night, Jonathan’s sister called him on the phone asking why we didn’t talk to Matt.  Jonathan made a few excuses but she kept on going at it, making him mad, and asked another time, “Why didn’t you talk to Matthew?” That’s when Jonathan snapped and said, “When you stop calling him Matthew, then I’ll talk to him!” She said, “Why can’t I call him Matthew?” And Jonathan said, “That’s our dead baby’s name!” Of course she started crying and felt terrible for not remembering and then I felt bad that she was crying.  Afterwards Jonathan texted her and apologized for both of us for not being polite.  He said that most of the time, our family doesn’t think about us and what we are going through and it makes it more difficult, but that we would try to not take that out on Matt.  He also reminded her that we aren’t perfect and we struggle to be Christ-like, but that we would like to spend more time together and get to know Matt.

Although I hate dealing with that much confrontation, I’m glad that ultimately God’s hand was involved and He’s working to heal our family.  I think it’s absolutely still going to be a struggle for me, but I’m going to try with everything in me to be mature, kind, and loving regardless of how I feel.

On Sunday, I woke up excited to go to church and was really looking forward to lifegroup.  But then like 5 different people had newborns with them and one of the girls in the class was talking about an upcoming social event and going on and on about childcare.  It felt like she would never shut up! And she is pregnant and was standing directly in front of me which annoyed me even worse.  And then she tried to hand the sign up page to Jonathan and said, “I’ll start with you guys first” and I kind of said with a bit of an attitude, “We don’t have children.”  Oops! I’m not really sure why I would react coldly – hopefully she couldn’t tell, but Jonathan did say I sounded a bit mean.  I was just so irritated with this girl.  She struggled with infertility and then had one child and then I remember reading last year in the prayer and praise email that she was struggling with secondary infertility and was having a hard time.  And here she was, standing in front of me, pregnant and just a few weeks from delivery, going on and on about childcare, and I wanted to scream, “Don’t you even remember what infertility is like?!?” How can you be talking like this as if there is not anyone in this class that might be in a lot of pain because of the same struggle you used to have? I’m pretty sure all of my feelings were completely not logical, but whatever.  Hopefully the next time I see her I can apologize and explain that I was just having a bad day.

I was totally happy with life until I walked into lifegroup that morning and saw all the newborns and parents and pregnant bellies.  Comparison is definitely the thief of joy!

I ended up trying not to cry all during worship service that morning and spent the rest of the day dealing with my ugly feelings.  And God’s grace comforts me the most in my weakness and gives me strength to move beyond my feelings.  Thankfully I felt better by Monday morning.

Well, yesterday, my period still had not started, 6 days late – the longest I’ve ever not had a period (unless I was pregnant of course) so I thought, “I think I’ll go buy some more pregnancy tests.  I’m thinking I might be pregnant!”  I was getting kind of excited and hopeful.

I got the First Response kind that has one test with the one or two lines and a second digital test that displays yes or no.

I don’t like digitals very much, so I took the line test.  Nothing! I tried to imagine the second line being there and twisted it every which way, but I had to face reality.  I took the digital test just to reassure myself and it of course said, “No.”  Ugh! For a post that will make you laugh and feel a lot better after taking a digital test, go check out Elisha’s post from Waiting for Baby Bird, “Did you just tell me no?”

I had been feeling really bummed out about getting negative tests all week long, but yesterday God was loving me and giving me confirmations and messages of hope that He is working in my life and this journey will not be wasted.  The first thing was actually another post from Elisha at Waiting for Baby Bird.  It was the first thing that popped up on my Facebook newsfeed yesterday morning and it was a video testimony.  Tears just filled my eyes watching that testimony and I thought, “What God has done for them, He will do for me too!” Go check out that video here.

A little while later, I took the tests and received the negative results.  Instead of being upset about the negatives, I thanked God and believed that in His perfect time, this will happen for me.  And I was thankful that he answered one prayer this month: my husband and I prayed that if it’s not our time to have a child, He would protect me and keep me from getting pregnant and miscarrying again. Even though it’s still painful to deal with negative cycles when you get so hopeful, it’s a lot better than getting pregnant and losing a baby.

Although it’s still not easy waiting and wishing this journey would end soon, I’m thankful that we can put our trust in God and try to conceive without fear.  For a long time, we were on a TTC break because of our fear that we would get pregnant only to miscarry.  But now, I feel like I can trust God and believe that He is able to protect me from ever experiencing that pain again.  I’m just going to go ahead and declare here, in Jesus name’, I will not miscarry again. I believe that with all of my heart.

After taking the tests, I went to go get some food because I was starving and had missed breakfast.  Ooops! On the way to the store, the song, “Healing Begins” by Tenth Avenue North came on.  Here’s the lyrics from the song:

“So you thought you had to keep this up
All the work that you do
So we think that you’re good
And you can’t believe it’s not enough
All the walls you built up
Are just glass on the outside

So let ‘em fall down
There’s freedom waiting in the sound
When you let your walls fall to the ground
We’re here now

This is where the healing begins, oh
This is where the healing starts
When you come to where you’re broken within
The light meets the dark
The light meets the dark

Afraid to let your secrets out
Everything that you hide
Can come crashing through the door now
But too scared to face all your fear
So you hide but you find
That the shame won’t disappear

So let it fall down
There’s freedom waiting in the sound
When you let your walls fall to the ground
We’re here now
We’re here now, oh

This is where the healing begins, oh
This is where the healing starts
When you come to where you’re broken within
The light meets the dark
The light meets the dark

Sparks will fly as grace collides
With the dark inside of us
So please don’t fight
This coming light
Let this blood come cover us
His blood can cover us

This is where the healing begins, oh
This is where the healing starts
When you come to where you’re broken within
The light meets the dark
The light meets the dark”

In my post from the other day, I was talking about how in my ugliest moments, in the darkest hours of my life when I am completely unworthy and unlovable, Jesus’ grace abounds the most and He meets me to fix what has been broken.

Infertility can bring out the ugly side of us – a side that we never knew existed.  The pain that my infertility has caused, the feelings that it has brought out, the thoughts I’ve had, the jealousy, the hatred, the dark feelings, have only made me realize that much more how much I need the cross and how thankful I am that Jesus paid the price for me so that I can live.

This has been a brutal journey.  There have been moments when I did not know if I could survive.  But God has been faithful through it all.  He has healed and redeemed parts of me that I didn’t believe were possible to fix.  There was even a time when I was so depressed and so unhappy that I wrote in my private journal, “Even if I have a rainbow baby, I don’t think I’ll ever feel happy again.”  But God has restored what has been taken from me.  My circumstances remain the same, and yet, I have so much joy.  There are still days when I cry and get upset.  Like on Sunday, when I felt really bad for myself and angry.  But I didn’t remain in that pain like I used to.  God has brought me to a place of healing where I’ve been able to understand that while I am sad and grieve, it is not without hope or joy, and it is not without His love and mercy flooding me with strength to endure this trial and to come out of the other side better than I went in.  I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me!

There is still a long road ahead of me and I still have much maturing and growing to do in Christ, but I’m thankful that in 3 years of this infertility journey, I can see His hand changing my heart and my faith, slowly but surely.  I’m not the same girl I was when I started this journey, I’m not even the same girl I was a year ago.  I’m Amber, under construction – my blog name in case you didn’t catch that ;-)

And I’m thankful that now I can look back at the worst moments of this journey and be amazed at what God has done in my heart and what He is still doing.  This song has become my anthem for my infertility journey:

He has been faithful through it all.  If you are new to your own infertility battle or are struggling in the midst of miscarriage, my heart pours out to you.  It will not be without pain and it will not be easy, but Jesus can give you strength when you think you have nothing left.  I promise that you will not always feel broken, you will not always hurt.  There will come a day when you will be healed again and will smile at all that God did.

Well, I think I rambled for too long and I’m terribly sorry for another life story in what should have been a short update.  This is why I need to blog more :-)

Love and prayers to you all,

Amber

 

Prayer Warriors Needed

Hi sweet friends, I’ll have a post up later today about some recent happenings, but I wanted to quickly get a post up about a precious blogger family that just received devastating news about their baby.

Lisa from How Babies Are Really Made is expecting her second child after infertility, secondary infertility and recurrent pregnancy loss.  She’s in her third trimester and was preparing for delivery when they went in for an ultrasound yesterday only to discover that the baby has suffered a brain bleed since sometime around 20 weeks.  They won’t know specific details until after the delivery of the baby but there could be significant damage and the possibility that the baby might not survive. They are preparing to deliver the baby via C-section on August 18.

Please send some love and prayers to Lisa and her family.  I’m standing in belief in Jesus’ name that this baby will live, will be healthy, and that whatever is wrong will be healed by the gracious hands of God.

Stand with me in faith precious prayer warriors – this family needs a miracle,

Amber

A Safe Place to Share

Hi friends, long time no talk! I’m so sorry about the lack of writing on my end here lately.  I just really have not been in the mood to sit down and blog about my life.  I’m doing okay, but there’s some not so pretty stuff that I’ve wanted to blog about, but wasn’t sure if I should.

I suppose, I haven’t felt like this is a safe place to share all of my feelings anymore – the good, the bad, and the ugly.  It probably has to do with the fact that I’ve allowed this blog to be a public space where I share very openly about who I am and the details of my life.  Anyone who knows me could easily find this page.

Now that I’ve started to make videos on YouTube as well, I’ve opened myself up to even more criticism and vulnerability.  I’ve already had two comments on my YouTube page that said, “Why don’t you just adopt?”

As much as I want to share my journey and be totally open with the world about this struggle, it is hard to feel like people are judging your every move.  Instead of this being a sanctuary where I feel comfortable sharing the worst moments of my life, I’m now starting to feel anxious about how some people will respond to my decisions.

And even within the infertility and miscarriage community, I’ve started to not feel safe sharing the details of our TTC journey.

Let me explain:

I am not comfortable with fertility treatments.  It’s a personal decision that I made a long time ago and have reevaluated time and time again, praying and talking with my husband.  I have many reasons for why I’m not comfortable with the treatments, but none of them I feel like explaining because it’s my own business between me, my husband, and the Lord.  Just as your decision to use or not use fertility treatments are between you, your husband, and the Lord.

But I sometimes can’t help but to feel that people are making assumptions about me.  I wonder if people assume that I’ve never done a shred of research on the topic of recurrent miscarriage.  I wonder if people think I could change my situation by just seeing a doctor.  I wonder if people judge me for not seeking treatment and not “taking control of my fertility.”

If I seem disinterested in changing my circumstances, it’s only because I did everything I could in the past and it was completely out of my control.  And now, I’m just tired.  I don’t know what God’s plans are for my life.  I don’t know when He will give us our children but I believe, even when I don’t feel Him moving, that He is working to redeem all that has been lost and that He will not let one single ounce of this painful journey go to waste.

Some of you are on top of your game and you have your RE on speed dial and you are taking control of your fertility and working hard to get a baby.  That is great and I 100% support you and pray that you will be successful.  But please, don’t judge me because I don’t have the energy or desire to do the same things.

I know my limitations – and that just happens to be one of them. I know my husband’s limitations – and I know that fertility treatments would hurt our marriage deeply.  I know that we have already had so much stacked up against our marriage, and even if having children takes longer, it is worth it to me to put my husband and the sanctity of our marriage first.

As much as I want to have children and as strong as I desire to help make that happen, I feel the most comfortable taking care of myself by eating healthier, working out, and trying to find happiness in my life apart from infertility.  I believe that God is faithful and if I continue to believe and put my hope in Him, He will grant me the desires of my heart.

I know that makes some of you cringe and you think I should go try “xyz”.  But you know what, what if I spend thousands of dollars and I invest all of myself into treatments only to end up with empty arms at the end of the journey and a heart that gets more and more weary by the day?

It’s not worth it to me to destroy myself with this journey.  It’s hard enough just living through this without all of the added stress of seeing a doctor all the time and getting bills in the mail left and right.  I believe that the very same God who healed the barren women in the bible and throughout history, can heal me today.  And I believe that God who healed me once of a painful disease, can heal me again.  He is faithful, and He will do it!

While I have faith in God’s plans for my life and believe that He is always for me and working in ways that are unseen that will someday make me leap with joy, I still struggle with living through this pain.  It’s been over three years now since our first miscarriage and the pain has definitely been easier to deal with the passing of time.  I don’t feel as impatient now as I once did.  I don’t feel consumed by my desire to have a baby day in and day out.  But there are times, usually about once a month when I’m getting hormonal and hopeful, that this journey weighs heavily on my heart.

It’s in those times that my feelings are ugly.  I feel bitter, jealous, sad, angry, and sometimes even hopeless.

It’s in those times when I beg God to end my suffering and I question Him “Why? Do you hear the breaking of my heart all over again, my Lord? Do you cry with me?”

And some of you might question my faith and wonder if I’m doubting God.

But look at Jesus as He agonized in the garden before His death:

“Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.”  He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled.  Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death, Stay here and keep watch with me.”  Going a little father, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me.  Yet not as I will, but as you will.”

Jesus prayed that prayer three times.  Jesus never denied the reality of His feelings.  He described the agony of the suffering that was going to come upon Him by saying, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death.”

Again, as Jesus was on the cross, dying for our sins so that we may live, He cried out, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani? – which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

Jesus is the perfect example of what I like to call, “Faith not Feelings”.  My feelings might be terrified, I might be afraid for what is to come, but my faith pushes me forward and gives me strength to endure and move beyond my feelings.

When the negative pregnancy test comes and it aches just to get up for church in the morning and my heart breaks for the children I long to hold throughout worship, I praise my Father in Heaven who is worthy to be praised because of my faith, not my feelings.  When every couple in our lifegroup has children but us, I continue to go and fellowship because of my faith, not my feelings.

Faith is not the absence of feelings, but rather, the action to move regardless of how you feel.

Jonathan gave me the perfect example the other day when we were talking about Christians who are persecuted throughout the world for their faith.  I asked him how he thought I would respond if I were ever facing death or intense persecution for my faith.  He said that he doesn’t think that I would deny Jesus, but that I would probably be very scared.

But then he said, “I get scared in my job sometimes when I’m going to a dangerous call, but I do the right thing anyways.”

And that’s how faith is.  Whether you are going through the trials of infertility and miscarriage, or facing intense persecution for believing in Jesus, you act and you move regardless of how you feel.  You do what is right, even when all you want to do is run and hide.

You believe and you put your hope in God, even when circumstances scream at you to give up.  You believe in the impossible and you trust in God’s plans for the world, because of faith.  And even if that faith is little and not very strong, Jesus says, “If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’ and it will move.  Nothing will be impossible for you.”

In the moments when I’ve felt at my worst and the weakest, I’ve connected with God and felt His presence there with me like never before. It’s in those moments when my feelings are ugly and dark, where His grace resides the most. When I am weak, He is strong.  When I am faithless, He is faithful.  When I am broken, He is the Healer!

It’s in those moments that other people would look at me and despise me, that God looks at me and loves the unlovable.  In the worst moments of my life, I see just how much God really does love me, enough to die for me “while I was yet a sinner.”  And when I forget that I have been made new, when I forget that my life has been bought with the precious blood of Christ, when I forget that I am righteous because of who Jesus is and not for what I do, that is when His grace abounds and He reminds me, “You are my daughter, I love you.”

And so my hope is that, this will feel like a safe place to share my struggles again.  My hope is that you won’t judge me for what I do or what I believe, but that you will journey with me through this battlefield and that we will all be a little more supportive and loving, even if we don’t all agree on certain things.

For there are people outside of this community that can never truly understand just how painful it is to live through infertility and recurrent miscarriage.  But in this community, we can give each other what the outside world often tries to deny us, a safe place to share our voices and our hearts as we long for children to fill our homes and our hearts.

Oh yeah, and because I got a little side tracked, I forgot to share what I’ve been up to lately! Oops! A little quick update: We did decide to try to conceive this month, ending our TTC break and taking a leap of faith.  I’m 5 days late, but have had BFN’s every single day.  I’m pretty sure I ovulated a week later than I was supposed to so I’m thinking that’s why my period is late.  But this sure is frustrating.  My diet is also not going so well this week because I’ve been enjoying some “comfort foods”.  I’ll get back on the horse when I’m feeling better! What else? I started a new job – it’s just a part time gig, about an hour a day.  I’m working with my friend who started her own pet sitting business last year.  My clients are very loving and sweet :-) The only problem, when I come home, my two fur babies, Elmo and Maxi are not pleased with the smell of other animals.  They are needing extra attention and playtime now to make up for me “seeing other animals”. Thank God for animals – they are just the best!

I have more to share, but I’ll talk about that all tomorrow.  I appreciate all of your love, prayers, and support and I thank you in advance for understanding where I’m coming from with my “vent” today.

May the Lord Jesus be with each and every one of you,

Amber

Devotional for Homeless Ministry

Hi everyone, I know that I’ve been a bad blogger lately but life has been busy and honestly, I just have not wanted to blog about anything.  I’ll share all the details later, but for now, I wanted to share a devotional/testimony I’m sharing on Saturday morning at a local homeless ministry that my church is working with.  If you’ve read my testimony on when I came to Christ, you will be familiar with some of this, but I’m posting this because it’s a somewhat shorter version of that and I hope to hear what you all think.  Any advice on changes I should make before Saturday would be greatly appreciated – I’m feeling a little nervous about sharing this in public.

I didn’t grow up as a Christian – I didn’t go to church or anything like that.  In fact, I didn’t even know who Jesus was.  I had certainly heard His name, but I didn’t know much beyond that.

I had a pretty nice, boring childhood up until the point when my parents divorced when I was in Junior high.  I had to grow up pretty quickly and help my mom while she struggled to go to school, work, and be a single mom to me and my older brother.

Because my dad left, I struggled with feeling unloved and unworthy.  I believe that each of us has a void within our souls that can only truly be filled by one thing, but we often try all the wrong things in the hopes of finding this true fulfillment.  For me, that was in the form of relationships.  I wanted a boy to fill the void that no human can fill – only Jesus can fill.

Several years later, in 2004, my dad started to change.  He became a Christian and suddenly he was being made new before my very eyes.  I could see his heart changing. My once very proud dad, was suddenly very humbled.  I liked this change and I was curious about his new faith in Jesus.

For Christmas that year, my dad gave me my very first bible – with my name engraved on the front and everything.  Even though I didn’t know Jesus, I knew that this was a special gift and I was excited to start reading it.

A few months later, my world came crashing down when a lot of mistakes I had mad caused me to hit rock bottom.  I felt alone, unworthy, unloved, and without hope.

In the worst of my pain, I thought about ending my life.  And as I sat on my bed ready to give up, I looked to my left and saw my special gift sitting on my dresser – my bible.  In an instant, I felt God’s presence all around me and I knew that I was not alone.

I was not unloved.  I was not unworthy.  And I was not without hope.  On the night that I first believed in Jesus, He rescued me from both a physical and spiritual death.  On that night, Jesus wasn’t just a name anymore.  He became my Savior, who died for me, taking my place and my punishment on the cross, so that I may live.

It has been almost 10 years now and it has been an amazing journey getting to know my loving Savior, Jesus.

It hasn’t been an easy journey – there have been many, many trials along the way.

But when there is nothing left, when I have no one else, and my circumstances would say there is no hope, I rest in knowing the One who offers life and life more abundant.

The world will try to tell us that we can find fulfillment and fill the void that we each have with temporary things: relationships, family, friends, money, food, sex, drugs, alcohol, and the list goes on and on.

But Jesus Christ, who gave His life on the cross for us all, offers more than the world and these temporary pleasures ever could.  Through faith in Jesus, we have a relationship with God, His Holy presence living within us, and an eternal hope that never ends.

Are you looking to fill a void that only Christ Jesus can fill? Turn to Christ and put your faith in Him and believe.  He will fill you with all joy that will make Paul’s words in the bible come alive that says:

“But whatever was to my profit, I now consider loss for the sake of Christ.  What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus, my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things.  I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ – the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith.”

There is only one way to be saved – that is by believing in Jesus Christ.  Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through me.”

And all who place their faith in Jesus have this future hope that Jesus promised in His word: “In my Father’s house are many rooms.  I am going there to prepare a place for you.  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.”

Thanks for reading everyone! I’ll be back soon with updates and all that jazz.  My Weigh In Wednesday video is posted on my YouTube channel if you want to check that out – just look up The Frugalwed or Amber Mueller to find my channel.

-Amber

 

Weigh In Wednesday: Week 2

Hi everyone, I hope you are having a great week.  I’m not going to write about my weigh in for this week as my husband is home and I don’t want to spend a bunch of time on here, but I’ll leave the video below in case anyone is interested in hearing how my week two diet went.

I’ll be back soon with some more updates.

Love to you all,

Amber