It has been awhile since I’ve written a “Gratituesday” post. It’s not that I haven’t been thankful; I’ve just been mulling things over. I have hesitated to send this out into the ‘blogosphere’ for awhile. I’ve been processing the reality and implications of it all. But there is definitely an overwhelming sense of gratitude.
Earlier this summer, I discovered I have celiac.
I had been preparing for the arrival of guests (one of whom has gluten and dairy allergies). I was reading all the cookbooks I could find at the library, in order to plan for changes in our groceries/meals. I inadvertently requested the book Gluten-Free Girl, thinking it would be a lovely compilation of recipes to browse through. However, it turned out to be not only an assortment of recipes, but also an autobiography of sorts.
Although there were some delicious-sounding recipes in the book, I basically skimmed past them; drawn into the story. At first, I giggled at our similarities. Then an overwhelming sense of the proverbial “light bulb moment” as puzzle pieces of my life finally seemed to fit together.
The rashes when I pick strawberries (mulched with wheat straw), the burning sensation when using certain lotions/soaps (wheat germ oil), the odd assortment of normal-to-me “symptoms” no doctor had ever pieced together (yes, I had to check almost every box in that quiz!).
A moment of epiphany.
After a whirlwind blur of discoveries, meal changes, and hours spent reading labels in the grocery store, I regularly have new “epiphanies,” where I realize how different life is; how different I feel, and what I can accomplish. At one point, Calvin asked me gently, “So, do you feel ‘broken?'” “No,” I told him, in using an analogy he would be familiar with, “I feel like I had been putting the wrong fuel in a car for years, and now I’m finally using the right one! I’m on the mend; not broken!”
I’m sure some of you have noticed the increasing frequency of “gluten-free” recipes on my blog. But it is not my intention that this become a “gluten-free blog.” I love making whole wheat sourdough bread to feed my family, and serving up their favorite soaked oats for breakfast. I just don’t eat them. I also don’t stir my foods with my old favorite wooden spoon. Nor can I bake my food on my treasured bakeware. (New cookware is obviously not in our budget at the moment, so creativity abounds in our kitchen.)
I am so thankful for how God orchestrated events, and provided us with answers. I am grateful for the resources available to us. Early on, I spent an entire afternoon reading Amy’s series on celiac (see the column on the left of her blog). I shared a morning with Carrie, thankful for a “real live” person to mull this over with. I found an abundance of cookbooks at the library, and recipes on the internet. This article regarding healing was especially inspiring.
I’m still searching for cornmeal and buckwheat flour that is uncontaminated with gluten. But I am gradually finding what I need in local stores. I am learning more about flours like sorghum and teff. Our church offers an “allergen-free” communion table, which I visit in gratitude. I even found an incredibly accommodating (and delicious!) restaurant, for the rare instance that we go out to eat. I cannot kiss my husband after he has eaten a piece of wheat toast, but he is faithful in brushing his teeth often!
My fatigue and pains have significantly decreased over the past weeks. My need for naps has lessened, while my mental clarity has increased. I spent the entire weekend “decluttering.” I finally unpacked boxes we’ve stored since our move a year ago (and some boxes were much older than that!). I rearranged/organized Gen’s room in preparation for hosting a playgroup/Mom’s group in our home this fall. I sorted through all the baby clothes we accumulated, and prepared inventory for a consignment sale. I had enough energy to go to the zoo with my family, and host guests for a week. I’ve also done daily chores, and played with my little girl. God is good.
As we look to the future, it has taken awhile to grasp the concept of permanence. At some point, I suppose I must emerge from the hermitage of my kitchen, and seat myself as a guest at another’s table. But… Oh!– Such understanding that is needed on the part of anyone who would prepare food for me. Such trust and understanding that is required of me as well.
A dusting of flour can settle upon one’s mixing bowl, gluten may be ingrained in the vintage cast iron pan or treasured wooden cutting board. The wooden spoons can taint an otherwise gluten-free dish. A knife stuck in the peanut butter or jelly jar becomes the host for “cross contamination” after spreading a whole wheat pancake. Mystery ingredients in sauces or mixes can innocently add gluten to meals. It will always be this way.
There is also a fresh breeze of optimism as we once again place the future in God’s hands. Infertility/miscarriage are often a significant part of undiagnosed celiacs’ lives. We daily pray for God to grow our family, and place our fertility in His hands. However, could this be an answer? Only He knows if our quiver is yet full.
Thank you, God, that my life is in your hands.