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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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Saturday Confession: Scar Tissue

Posted by Julie on January 3, 2015 in About Me, encouragement, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, Saturday Confession, surrender |

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It’s been awhile since I’ve confessed, and Saturday is the day I do it. For new readers it’s not to air my laundry, it’s to encourage. Because there is one thing I know—the true defeated one likes us to think we’re the defeated ones. And if I can shed light on my struggles and surrender process, chances are you can relate. Together we can surrender together and find that freedom that I KNOW exists for us.

Yesterday I shared that my word for 2015 is revive. For whatever reason, God created me as a word picture girl. I learn best that way and remember better when I have a visual. This is the scenario He gave me.

Scar tissue.

I can hear Jimmy Fallon now.

“Ew.”

But it works.

I had severe PCOS and in my reproductive years had multiple surgeries. Some were related to PCOS, some were C sections, one was a hysterectomy at age 38 to be functional because the pain was that bad. All good, legit reasons for surgery. They helped me.

But those good things gave me scar tissue.

And it took a surgeon to go in and clean me out. When he did, I was able to live at optimum health again.

Nothing horrific has come my way yet the scar tissue built. Some from grief or wounds I haven’t dealt with from years past. Some from stress. Some from awesome things that happened but I let life overwhelm and I didn’t deal with it as wisely as I could have.

So, scar tissue.

I believe 2015 for me is surrendering those areas, yes, the good, the bad, and—maybe one day—the chocolate. I want to live at the best place I can in body, mind and spirit.

And getting rid of the scar tissue for personal revival is just the thing.

Can you relate?

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Character Confession: What I Wish the World Knew About Depression

I was stunned to open my Facebook feed and find it full of tributes to Robin Williams. I knew he wasn’t even 65, so I wondered if it was his heart. I was devastated to read and now know it was a suicide.

His family shared that he had been struggling with deep depression. His own confessions regarded his addictions. I love to read biographies and such and most of the great comedians had ravaging inner pain. Many medicate with alcohol or drugs. All in that category used humor, and we found it entertaining.

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I suspect his death is especially hard because his talents knew no bounds. Hysterical stand-up. Oscar winning drama. Laugh out loud interviews he hijacked. Touching tributes to causes and people like St. Jude’s. TV. Movies. I can’t think of another person like him, not before, not up-and-coming.

Now my Facebook feed is full of posts, articles, updates and comments regarding depression, suicide, God’s word, eternity. I don’t think any of these help his family. I pray something does. I can’t imagine the torment of anyone left behind after a suicide.

My hope is that through my small experience with depression someone might get a glimpse of what it is like. It took decades for me to realize I had hormonal imbalance. I suffered with severe PCOS, so I’m not sure if the two were related. But when I was in a certain time of the month I could feel a change and it was as ominous as a dark cloud and still night in the midwest. Nothing would be wrong otherwise and a thick veil of darkness consumed me. I was rocked with shame, for what, I don’t know. But it perpetuated knowing people needed me. The physical drain, almost like a vaccuum suck somehow took all energy and joy out of me left it impossible to manage the easiest of tasks. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to. I simply could not. Like I said, it was absolutely consuming.

This would hit hard for twenty minutes straight. That doesn’t seem like a lot, but I’ll be real here. It was such an intense darkness that I can think of many times I got a suitcase out and started to pack. I thought if I ran somewhere, anywhere, my family would be free of what my torment delayed them in having.

Three times I can recall walking to the medicine cabinet. I picked up pills and stared. I knew what I was contemplating but I was that void of hope and that full of desperation. And yes, this was as a Christian, and a strong one at that.

I longed for someone to bust in the door when I’d hide and tell me I was worth it. Who would hold me and let me cry or ooze the darkness out in whatever way. No one did. For those closest to me, they admitted they didn’t know what to do. They thought I wanted to be alone. I felt like I had no choice.

My story has a happy ending, and it is only by the grace of God. I finally broke down and confessed everything to my doctor. I now take a prescription medication that balances my moods and curbs menopause effects. Even with a hysterectomy, I still struggle. I’m upfront when I’m having a hard time. It’s not as dark or isolating but I get frustrated. My memory isn’t what it used to be. I have trouble sleeping. I tire easily than I used to. But it’s no where near where it was.

What do I wish the world knew?

1. It’s the darkest, most isolating and oppressive experience in the world. If you haven’t experienced it, you shouldn’t give answers as an expert.

2. It’s a vicious cycle, always looming. Just when you start to crawl out of the pit, there is a tug on your ankle threatening to pull you down and keep you there. It is frightening.

3. Isolation is the game plan of oppression. Love the person, no matter how much they protest, that they are going out with you for coffee. Show up with bagels. They will say they are busy and fine. Show up anyway.

4. If you’re not sure what to say, admit that. Transparency is an oasis. Patronizing, packaged answers are a wasteland. I didn’t feel better when I heard “I don’t know what your problem is.” Or, “You just need to snap out of it.” If I could have, I promise you, I would have led the way.

5. Jesus Christ CAN set you free. I admitted above that even as a Christian I struggled, so I get that you might argue why bother? Because without Him, I promise you, I’d be a dead statistic. Knowing HIm gave me enough hope to speak out, to call and seek help. I could picture Him next to me, weeping with me. That helped me so much. He is real, He is for you. Don’t go another step without Him.

To learn more, please visit the following: peacewithGod.net

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First appeared at Christians Read

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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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Character Confession: I Don’t Know if Fat Floats

This started out as a reply to The Common Queen, a dear, dear friend who is cleaning it up on the Internet. Her little blog is going places, and once you read her posts, you’ll see why. In writing you need a voice, and Holly’s got it.

Besides this great post, which got two THOUSAND views in a day, she wrote this one. And it stuck a chord with me.

You need to read it. Go ahead. I’ll wait.

Okay, so I had to respond. I wrote it on Facebook where she linked. It was a run-on mess because that’s just how it is on FB. So I thought I’d respond here, too. Because you need to read Holly’s stuff, and, perhaps my answer will encourage you.

I know what it’s like to be the fat one. My mom said each winter I gained weight but ran it off every summer, until I didn’t.  What no one knew was as I moved into puberty, I had PCOS, and quite a severe case. I’ve always struggled with hormonal imbalance and endocrine stuff. Although there were thin years I remember 5th grade when the weight stayed.

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We were in gym class, of course, swimming, and a kid pointed at me and asked the teacher, “Does fat float?”

That 5th grade me stayed with me through the thick and thin. When I became a young adult I was so wounded I thought any attention from a boy would validate me. And honestly, shut that fat girl inside me up. Even when I asked Jesus into my life, I have to say—my eternal destination changed.

My fat girl mentality did not.

The shame and insecurity stayed with me through meeting my husband and marrying him. In addition to other issues, I was so insecure I waited every day for a decade for him to announce he’d seen the light and was on his way. My self loathing was that strong.

When I became pregnant with our second child, I knew deep down we were having a daughter. How I prayed she’d be spared. And while in the womb He whispered to me that this child would be an overcomer. I honestly thought it meant she wouldn’t have the tough PMS I endured. Maybe she’d miss the fat floats insanity.

She was born with endocrine issues that made things a challenge for her immediately. Her weight tripled from her two month check to the next one. Strangers stopped me and said the most horrific things. Things that make the fat float question sound genius.

I thank God because in that season, He was healing my heart and giving me confidence to see the bigger picture, pun intended.

I went through a Bible study by Stasi Eldredge called Captivating. God used that book to set me free. I don’t have the words to explain it, but to say I’m free. I don’t worry about what I look like anymore. I do my best to stay healthy, but that shame? Gone.

I also had a mentor encourage me by saying the chubby girls are listened to. When I give a speech or presentation women listen to me because I’m real. I’m one of them. They can relate to me. I’ve watched women with more skill than me try to speak and the women shot them down. Ignored them. Mocked them. Why? Because the speaker was thin and usually blonde. The audiences couldn’t relate.

When I watch my daughter walk down the hall at school there is such joy on her face. When she hears a comment most of the time she gives a look back that says “I feel sorry for you because you’re missing out on the awesome that is me.” But she’s human. It hurts her, too. I suspect as she matures she will hear more. And I hate it. As she’s grown she’s had additional diagnoses that unless God intervenes, she won’t be a size 2. And I pray she’s okay with that forever, as she is now.

My struggle continues. I went into forced menopause and that made losing weight even harder. I keep track on MyFitnessPal. I walk the dog. I do what I can. And I don’t care what others think or say. Truly.

So to the kid that asked if fat floats, I don’t know or care. But fat has a testimony if you allow it. My fat is a broken place I allowed God to use to encourage someone else. And that’s a plus-size bonus.

 

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A2Z Meme: Ultrasounds

Posted by Julie on May 29, 2012 in About Me, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons |

Boy, writing a post on the letter “U” is a toughie. I wanted to do something out of the box, so I’m going with ultrasounds.

I’ve had a few. For those that have enjoyed good health, maybe you don’t realize ultrasounds can highlight the best of times, the blandest of times, and the worst times.

For me, I’ve had an ultrasound reveal ovarian cysts.

I’ve had tears of joy when the doctor announced healthy pregnancies.

Wouldn’t tell me boy or girl.

Strong heartbeat.

Early labor, but all was well.

I once was the first ultrasound of the year, but for all the wrong reasons.

That ultrasound confirmed a miscarriage.

I’ve had to drink lots of water for some, none for others. Some inserted in one place, others started somewhere else.

I’ve felt everything from uggh, urgency, to underwhelmed.

And that’s my ultrasound summary.

How about you? What was your experience? Anyone not have one?

 



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