Endometriosis

A Hot Mess

800px-Airman_executing_a_push-up_as_part_of_the_United_States_Air_Force_Fitness_Test copyI broke in my workout a couple days ago.

I was holding a high plank, staring at the black, cork floor as my sweat made a shiny puddle under my nose. My arms were shaking.

“C’mon, Katie,” the instructor knelt in front of me. “You’ve got this.”

I had just fatigued my shoulders doing renegade rows and double kettle bell push presses, and now, after completing a pushup, I was supposed to walk my hands backwards until I stood bent over my own feet, then walk my hands back out into a high plank and do another pushup. Over and over again. This was only the fifth one in the first set, and I was already about to fall flat on my face. There was no way I could do three sets.

“You can do this.”

I felt a familiar panic overcome me, a desperation of spirit that comes with the Law, with the knowledge of the limits of my own, fallen, diseased flesh. I had felt it before. I had felt it as my doctor filled out a request for diagnostic mammograms four years ago; as my menses started a week late when I was sure I was pregnant; as I rocked back and forth on the floor during a pain episode related to endometriosis; as I put on the hospital gown before my surgery; as I leaned dizzily against the gym wall while I was on Lupron.

My flesh always fails.

The puddle under my nose went blurry as hot tears mixed with my sweat. I gave in to my panic and leaned back on my heels, too embarrassed to look the instructor in the eye. My face was already red and shiny from my workout, so it took a second for her to see the tears.

She leaned back on her own heels. “What’s going on?”

“I just feel so weak.”

I don’t remember what she said in response. I know she was encouraging, and I am sure whatever she said was true. It’s just that there was so much I wasn’t telling her. The pain of endometriosis. The fear of it coming back. Every day of my childless life being a reminder of my failing flesh.

My tears weren’t really about a few measly pushups. My tears were about the grief of this creation groaning in response to sin. My sin. And it overwhelms me sometimes.

In those moments, there is only one thing to do: turn in faith to Him who has mercy on sinners.

“Christ, save me. Christ, forgive me. Christ, come quickly.”

Then, wait in hope for the LORD to deliver me from my failing flesh on the Last Day.

And, while I’m waiting, I might as well try to do another pushup.

Certainty

I am certain that doctors who recommend women with endometriosis abstain from beef are not actually referring to burgers.

I am also certain that naturopaths who recommend women with endometriosis abstain from dairy are not actually referring to feta cheese.

And I am most certain that nutritionists who recommend women with endometriosis abstain from sugar are not actually referring to the sugar in dark chocolate.

This I do swear to be the the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help me to a bag of chocolate chips.

chocolate chips

 

The Control Factor

MP900321091There is comfort in control.

It is common for victims of assault to comfort themselves with illusions of control. For example, women who have been beaten or raped often find blame in themselves for the crime that was committed against them, because, as long as they are somehow at fault – as long as they are not truly victims of some terrible atrocity outside of their own control – then there is something they can do to keep it from happening again.

We comfort ourselves with illusions of control, as well. As long as there is something we can do to get pregnant – some dietary change or surgical procedure or herbal cocktail or adoption agency we can utilize to give ourselves the gift of a child – then we are not really barren. Don’t get me wrong. I am thankful for all of the healthy foods, vitamin supplements, doctors, procedures, and foster care training I have utilized over the years, for they have offered me physical relief and instructed me in how to better care for my neighbor; however, none of these things have given me control over my parental status.

If we could really control our barrenness, don’t you think all of us would be parents, already?

Seeking control of our fertility is a chasing after the wind. Children, birthed or adopted, are a heritage from the LORD, a gift from Him to receive. Turn back to your Father in heaven and ask Him to give you all good things according to His will. Then, rejoice, for He is wise in His giving.

 

Is procreation an intrinsic quality of marriage?

Portrait of a young boy crossing guard standing on the road holding a stop signQuestion Submitted: At a recent theological symposium, I posited that we in the Church need “to return to teaching properly about the positive locus of marriage – teaching about its procreative purpose and nature.” Another attendee replied in part that “procreation is NOT an intrinsic quality of marriage, as we do not say the infertile are not married.” If I had had a chance for rebuttal, I would have pointed out the error of his logic. Bipedalism is an intrinsic quality of humans, despite the sad reality of paraplegia. It would be very helpful to hear how you would counter the idea that infertility invalidates the argument that procreation is an intrinsic quality of marriage. I have my own answers to this false argument, but I would like to make sure I have an answer that is sensitive to the minds of those who suffer from infertility.

My pastors taught me that God institutes and defines marriage in Genesis Chapters 1 and 2. We learn in verses 1:27-28 that God created man in His own image; male and female He created them, and He blessed them. He told them to be fruitful and multiply, and God saw that “it was very good” (Gen 1:31).

The gift of procreation is not only a blessing God speaks over marriage, but God sees the blessing of children as good.

Barrenness is not good. Barrenness is a brokenness of God’s good creation. Endometriosis, PCOS, fibroids, hashimoto’s thyroiditis, low sperm motility, ovarian and cervical cancers, miscarriages, childlessness, and the groaning of all creation came about as a result of man’s fall into Sin; and we don’t use the effects of Sin to redefine that which God institutes and calls “good” in His Word, nor do we use the effects of Sin to defend the notion that procreation is somehow not a part of God’s intrinsic design of marriage. That is my biggest qualm with the other attendee’s rhetoric. His thesis does not fully confess barrenness as a post-Fall reality. Barrenness proves nothing about God’s procreative intent for marriage other than that God, post-Fall, allows the cross of barrenness to burden the shoulders of some married couples.

In regards to being sensitive to the barren, we should be careful not to turn God’s good, fruitful blessing for marriage into man’s good work. Scripture tells us that having children is not a law of God for us to keep but a heritage from Him for us to receive (Psalm 127:3). None of us would have children apart from God’s merciful blessing and giving. Only God in His wisdom knows why He does not open the wombs of the barren, and we should not burden the consciences of those who are unable to have children by suggesting they should be able to outwit the very Author of Life.

And as for using the existence of barrenness as an excuse to avoid the gift of children in marriage, I can think of no place in Scripture where God calls that good.

Top Ten

Top Ten Reasons for Training for a Triathlon:

10. Exercise is a heartening (pun intended) alternative to grieving.

9. Endurance sports are good training for enduring chronic physical pain.

8. Running helps you go all jedi on the havoc wreaked by Darth Lupron.

7. Swimming laps is a great time for running hymn lyrics.

6. Riding a bike through the country affords you views such as this one.

IMG_1556

5. Endorphins and dopamine, the natural kind.

4. You won’t be the only one wearing a wetsuit to the party.

3. You can train with your siblings and cousins and make race day a family reunion.

2. You get a really cool swim cap (and a really ugly T-shirt).

1. There is bacon at the finish line.