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Saturday Confession: Walking with Whoppers

Posted by Julie on April 18, 2015 in About Me, encouragement, God's Word, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender |

91LVPrvc+FLApril is Infertility Awareness Month and the release date for A Walk in the Valley: Christian Encouragement for Your Journey through Infertility. I am one of the authors and I thought today I’d give a snippet of my life as an infertility patient. The book takes each author’s story from diagnosis to where things are today. None of our stories are the same, especially the endings. I believe any woman who has experienced infertility and/or miscarriage at any time, even years ago, would be encouraged by this book. It’s real, but infused with hope from God’s Word.

I was diagnosed with polycystic ovaries in 1995 but looking back, I had symptoms not long after puberty started. I had pelvic pain. Acne. Depression. As I grew into my twenties, each symptom became much worse.

I was engaged when the diagnosis came and the book goes into detail what life was like. But a typical wedding planning and newlywed experience wasn’t mine. Imagine monthly shots in the backside administered by someone scared to death to give them. The wide mood swings that took me very dark places. Pelvic pain so bad I had trouble walking.

My answer to prayer came in a surgery that is rarely performed anymore. I had a wedge resection where half of each ovary was taken out. At the time I thought that would end my chances to conceive. My surgeon explained it would enhance them. I was so desperate for relief from pain I surrendered it all. I just wanted to live.

After the surgery my doctor let me know why I was in so much pain. My ovaries were each 5x the size of normal. His words? “You were walking around with whoppers.”

I was pain free for years.

To pre order A Walk in the Valley, click here.

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When You Say Nothing at All: Infertility Memories

Posted by Julie on April 3, 2015 in About Me, encouragement, God's Word, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender |

91LVPrvc+FL April is a month set aside to make people a little more informed when it comes to infertility. On April 28th our book, A Walk in the Valley: Christian Encouragement for your Journey Through Infertility releases. Our heart is make sure everyone who is walking or has walked in these shoes will have a copy so they can read our transparent stories and find hope and healing.

I thought I’d take some time to share aspects that are fresh in my mind as if they were yesterday. The book contains my full story but here is a topic that hurts to this day:

When people tried to say something about my infertility or miscarriage.

Our wedding song is Allison Krauss’ When You Say Nothing at All. As a title, it’s what I wish 99% of the people would have done. I know they meant well but the pain was excruciating. The Bible says in Proverbs 18:21, “The tongue has the power of life and death.” Oh, how true.

Again, you need to read the book to learn specifics but the Bible verses, pat answers and the replies I call the “Job’s friends comments” cut through me like a knife. People with no loss of their own suddenly had a ministry degree to measure my sins and level of faith against my menstrual cycle. Some gave advice for the next time. Others tried to make me understand in my pain it was the same as their one bad hair day or something that was definitely apples and oranges.

Then there was timing. When the first round of people did a great job spreading the happy news, but failed to mention the subsequent loss. So when an acquaintance  asked about the baby, I had to give the update. It was awful. Or the glowing new mom sharing details regarding life post delivery. I wanted to sink in a hole.

And die.

The grief is that deep and that’s why most answers hurt so much. Years have passed but infertility hasn’t changed. It is a deep ache and sense of loss. If that’s not your story not even my own favorite Bible verse is going to help at that moment. Trust that in time, it will. But spouting it out as a “this covers all” statement makes things worse.

Trust me.

So what do you say to someone who is hurting from infertility and/or miscarriage?

Honestly?

If you haven’t walked that out, say nothing. Okay, nearly nothing. Admit you have no idea what to say but that you care, deeply. Open your arms and allow her the freedom to enter that hug and literally snot all over you. Give the opportunity for her to speak with transparency, which will include raw hurt. Don’t judge her. It is healthy to get those toxic thoughts out. When she is done, ask if you could pray.  If she doesn’t want to at that time, promise you will, and do it. If you pray at that moment, be simple. Don’t wax eloquent, this isn’t about you. Be that gap that takes her hurt to the Lord.

If you have walked this out, I believe you can, with discernment, be bolder. I fell in a deep pit and my dear friend had the experience to call me out because she’d been there. She showed up when I said I wasn’t ready for company. She gave a deadline (after prayer) where I was able to share everything for one hour, no matter how vile. After that hour, she led me in a healing prayer. That. Changed. Everything.

I hope this helps and I hope you can read my heart here. I’m not about pushing a product. I am about women finding freedom through surrender in Christ. The toughest surrender for me was giving the Lord my infertility and then again the anger I had when I miscarried. I searched for a book that would help me feel less alone and I couldn’t find any. I believe A Walk in the Valley is a source of hope and a feeling of “they get it. They get ME.”

God bless you all.

To pre order A Walk in the Valley, click here.

 

 

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This Mom’s Story

Posted by Julie on March 20, 2015 in About Me, encouragement, God's Word, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender |

Believe it or not, my schedule is already opening to May. June. July. Even August is filling up. Although as I type snow is falling, I’m planning ahead to days where tulips will be out, lilacs will be blooming and grass will need to be cut.

I’m a planner by nature and some of my events revolve around Mother’s Day. That used to bring about a dread and anger because I wasn’t a mom.

And I was told to plan for the fact I may never be one.

My infertility story centers about my PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome) diagnosis. I miscarried. I truly thank God that I have two children but I will never forget those feelings. And I wanted God to use that story to encourage someone else.

91LVPrvc+FLA Walk in the Valley: Christian Encouragement for Your Journey Through Infertility is a transparent look at not just my story but Heidi Glick’s, Elizabeth Maddrey, Kym McNabney, Paula Mowery and Donna Winters. All of our stories are different but center around our infertility experiences. They are not happy-hold hands- cliche filled-pat answers stories. We were angry. Scared. Faced with expensive treatments. Given terrible news. And yet there is hope. We take each facet of the story and share how we made it through. We have Scripture because honestly, we’d still be in the pit of emotions had it not been for God’s love and Word. There are places for the reader to journal her feelings.

The book will be available April 28th but you can pre order now. If you are or have walked this road of infertility and miscarriage, I strongly suggest you consider ordering. If you love someone who is struggling or has, this book will help. I tell people it is the book I wish had been available for me.

Many have asked for my full story and A Walk in the Valley has it. May God take what I consider my broken place and create something beautiful for someone else.

To Pre Order A Walk in the Valley, click here.

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A Walk in the Valley, Christian Encouragement for your Journey through Infertility, Now Available for Pre-Order

Posted by Julie on January 28, 2015 in About Me, encouragement, God's Word, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender |

I interrupt the winter weather buzz to share something very close to my heart—A Walk in the Valley, Christian Encouragement for your Journey through Infertility, is now available for pre-order through Amazon.

91LVPrvc+FLFrom Amazon:

Everyone’s journey through infertility is different. Even women who have the same physical problems will have different courses of treatment, different responses, and different emotional ups and downs as they walk this path. But we also have so much in common: the hurt, anger, frustration, pain, sorrow, hope and joy that we have experienced along the way.

We are women who have experienced infertility. Some of us have gone on to conceive, others have adopted, and others remain childless. All of us have found peace in the loving arms of our Father God at the end of our journey. We want to share our experiences and thoughts with you. It is our hope and prayer that you’ll be encouraged.

This devotional workbook starts with how each woman discovered her infertility, then explores the diagnostic testing pursued, how they processed the official diagnosis, what decisions had to be explored regarding treatment, their experiences during infertility treatment (including pregnancy, miscarriage, and childbirth), and finishes with their experiences in remaining childless, adoption, foster care, child sponsorship, and the emotional healing regardless of the outcome of their infertility journey.

Each devotional has a Scripture focus and questions for thought and discussion.

This book started as a question on the ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) loop and quickly evolved. What I love is none of our stories are the same. Our endings are all different. We are all transparent in our experiences. The one thing I detested in trying to find something, anything that would help me in my pain was patronizing books or authors who were painting a picture that life was rosy, even in this hard time.

It. was. not.

And thank God, our stories reflect that so readers won’t feel alone.

Yet, we also give hope through Scripture and what we learned along the way.

I can’t wait for everyone to read this.

If you or someone you love is walking or has walked through infertility and miscarriage, please pre order this book.  When you aren’t sure what to say, I believe this book will do the talking.

Pre order by clicking here.

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Saturday Confession: If Only I Could Whistle

Last week I was talking with my mom and she made a comment that it’s obvious watching my husband that he loves what he does. His work requires long and unpredictable hours, consistent deadlines, and this year, international travel. Yet, the man whistles when he gets up.

No lie.

He whistles getting ready.

He whistles coming home.

And that’s a rare thing.

I wish I could whistle like him, but my tune sounds like I’m choking on a bug.

But if I could, I’d create a little song, too.

This year I’ve had the pleasure and honor to sign three writing contracts.

  • The first was for FaithWriter anthologies. I had a few stories from their weekly challenges that met the criteria for the anthologies. Things are moving along, so I signed off on those. Yay!
  • The second was through Chalfont House, the infertility devotional tentatively titled, A Walk in the Valley. This is a collaborative effort with Heidi Glick, Elizabeth Maddrey, Kym McNabney, Paula Mowery and Donna Winters and my first time with my name on the cover. As exciting as that is, I’m most excited to give hope to women who feel dumped in the forest and forgotten by God. I call hard experiences like infertility the Hosea 2:14 experiences, and I would have given anything to have had a book like this back then. It’s transparent. Our stories are real and we don’t hold back. Our experiences are all different. But through it all, hope shines through. Encouragement is embedded. I’m so proud to be part of this.
  • The third was for my Adirondack based contemporary romances. Write Integrity Press offered a contract for Spectacular Falls, Untangled, and To Be Determined.

 

Here’s information on each of these:

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Spectacular Falls: A  city-girl plows into an Adirondack village and produces change for the grocer.

 

Untangled: A single mom and former Adirondack sheriff enters beauty school but creates split ends for the men in her life when she doesn’t feel worthy.

 

To Be Determined: Trish Maxwell returns to Speculator Falls with crushed dreams, egg on her face, and the chance to make a new start with the very people and places she used to make fun of.

 

It doesn’t mean the work ends, in fact, it’s just beginning. There’s a lot of marketing work. Untangled is nearly done, and To Be Determined is in first draft form. It’s daunting, scary, exciting, but whistle-worthy.

But there’s more.

We’ve been praying for what we believe will be our last home. We’ve been in the area for a decade and now we know people and places. We no longer have small children. We need room for a new driver. We miss entertaining, opening our home for laughter and encouragement. Last week our offer on a home was accepted and if the process continues, this will be a gift straight from God. Years ago we joked about wanting to take the house we used to have and plunking it down in the place we live now.

This house is as close to that answer as we could get without it being the original home we had in NY.

Even better, it’s newer with extras we didn’t even ask for.

I’ll have peace to write.

The puppy has room to run.

The drivers have places to park.

Friends have space to feel comfortable inside and out.

Like The Chipmunks and their Christmas song about their missing front teeth, I can’t whistle.

But I sure want to.

 

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Book Review: Faith Departed by Elizabeth Maddrey

Posted by Julie on June 10, 2014 in ACFW, Book Review, encouragement, God's Word, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender, Writing |

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Book Description:

Starting a family was supposed to be easy. 

Twin sisters June and July have never encountered an obstacle they couldn’t overcome. Married just after graduating college, the girls and their husbands remained a close-knit group. 

Now settled and successful, the next logical step is children. But as the couples struggle to conceive, each must reconcile the goodness of God with their present suffering. 

Faith Departed was one of the easiest books I’ve ever read. It was also the hardest.

Let me explain.

I found it an easy read because Elizabeth Maddrey is a natural storyteller. There was amazing conflict throughout the story, and it wasn’t just the pregnancy storyline. The tension mounted for both June and July, and that made it a great page turner and a quick read.

I found it hard to read because it was so well done that I felt transported back to my own season with infertility. I experienced both of what June and July go through and although fiction, this is realistic. Trying to conceive and not having results right away affects all aspects of a woman’s life, and Faith Departed is splendid because the realities are all explored here. I enjoyed the family dynamics, the husbands and their multi dimensional roles, the work stress that doesn’t have time to care about what’s going on at home.

On a side note, I also could relate because obviously, my name is Julie, but I was forever called July. Often people spelled it July. In Faith Departed, June and July are twins who were born June 30/July 1. So July is Julie, but spelled as the month. I thought that was a fun character set up.

Whether or not pregnancy and all the avenues are part of your story, I highly recommend Faith Departed. It’s a quality read and chances are you know someone going through the very things shared in this book. I believe beyond being entertaining, Faith Departed also gives hope.

To purchase Faith Departed, click here.

I received an e-copy of Faith Departed from the author in exchange for an honest review. In full disclosure I am also one of the authors Elizabeth mentioned in the upcoming infertility devotional. If you or someone you love is experiencing infertility, stay tuned. Besides Elizabeth and myself there are also amazing stories from Heidi Glick, Kym McNabney, Paula Mowery and Donna Winters.


Will their faith be strong enough to triumph in the midst of trial?



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