Saturday, August 20, 2016

Facing Food Allergies with JOY

I choose joy.  That is my motto, my mantra, my decision.  I choose joy!  Every day, in good times and in bad times, I choose joy.
It is not always easy.  Some days it is downright hard.  But it is my choice.  I want to seek the gifts that are all around me: the gifts God gives me in each moment throughout the day.  It is the smile of a child, a dinner cooked by my husband, time to read a book, flowers blooming all around my lemon tree, a chance to catch up with a friend.  They are the moments that surround me every day.  When I look and find a gift and name it, it becomes mine.  It is now a gift for me.  But sometimes this is hard and I have to work with all my might to find the good.

Last night was a hard night for me.   I have been having many, many migraines lately.  I have suffered from these since I was a child so it is no new thing for me.  But my migraines are mostly triggered by food allergies (and lack of sleep and stress).  I thought it might be corn that I was reacting too, so I cut that out of my diet.  But then got a migraine after eating chicken, rice, tomatoes and nectarines.  I'm pretty sure that the chicken is what is causing these migraines.  Chicken?  Really?  We eat this all the time (which may be why I am getting so many of them).  Chicken is delicious and amazing and wonderful. This made me so sad.

Every since I was a child I have been sick.  No one knew why.  Migraines that started when I was in elementary school and continued on into adulthood.  After 10 years of daily migraines I was diagnosed with Celiac disease at 30 years old.  That was devastating at first since I LOVE BREAD!  But my 20 plus symptoms disappeared after eliminating wheat from my diet.   I discovered how to eat yummy food and work my life around being gluten free.  Then a year later, I found out I had an allergy to peanuts.  They cause migraine, brain fog and fatigue. 6 months later I discovered that garlic makes me very ill.  Garlic makes me so sick I can barely drive within 10 minutes-migraine, brain fog, fatigue and dizziness.  Then I was reacting to lactose, not too badly but enough to bother me.  This year I have had to stop eating eggs and tapioca flour since they were causing me to feel like I had the flu.  Almost all things gluten free are made with tapioca flour.  Again and again I have had to change all my recipes and figure out what to eat and how to prepare it.  Pretty much everything I eat I have to prepare myself or I run the risk of being sick in bed for the next 24 hours.

I have tried so hard to find joy through out this process.  There have been things that I have had to mourn the loss of: Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, Garlic bread, All bread, Cheese puffs, ect.  I am sad for a bit and then just have to let that go.  So many amazing and delicious foods that I can never eat again.  So many restaurants that I can't eat at.  All of this has changed my life and how I live.  Going on vacation is a bit harder when you have to bring all your own food.  

But I find joy in the fact that I can still go on vacation or hang out with friends.  I can still build relationships and make deep friendships.  It is worth the risk of going home sick or just bringing my own food to be able to fellowship with my friends and family.  I can still eat most ice creams and chocolate so that is a big thing for me.
But last night I was sitting there with a migraine and realized that every time I have eaten chicken for awhile I have ended up sick.  It was too much!  I sat there with tears pouring down my face.  I didn't ask for this.  I don't want to be sick every time I eat.  I don't want to eliminate one more thing from my diet.  I already can't buy any food in 2/3 of any store that I walk into.  For what ever reason, this really affected me. But again, I realize that I have a choice.  I can choose joy again or walk down the self pity road.  

I will not choose self pity and tears.  I will again CHOOSE JOY!  God has given me so much and has been my strength through this every step of the way.  I don't know why it is happening to me and I don't need to.  Go
d loves me and cares for me so much.  He is allowing me to find the joy He intended for each of us to have.  I will smile and laugh and find more recipes that I can make.  Food allergies will not define who I am and they will not hold me back.  

It doesn't matter what you are facing.  We all face trials and hard times.  Some much bigger than others.  But God will be with you with every trial.  He longs for you to find joy in Him and be able to trust in Him even when it feels like your life is falling apart.  Happiness is based upon how your life is going and if good things are happening.  Joy is different.  It comes from knowing that God is good and He is your salvation and mighty rock.  In all that you are encountering today, I challenge you to choose joy.  Cry and grieve and then find the gifts that God has given you.   Actively look for the gifts.  They are there.

Choose Joy!!!

1 comment:

Stephanie said...

Praying for you and for answers! I am also praying that God would continue to foster that joy in you! I love how he is working in your heart! Joy is the best choice! Love you, friend!