Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Ending the Story

Thank you Jesus for the healing!

I have made a decision to end this story once and for all!  My new blog called Nurture and Nourish will record the journey into nurturing and nourishing my family with real food, holistic health, and God's love!


A Whole New Book
October 2, 2012
The last few days have been surreal.  I cannot really explain what it is like to start feeding the children who have never been free to just eat.   Feeding them has always been a lot of work.  At this point I can clearly see that we have traveled through three distinct seasons of feeding the twins.  In each of these seasons I can clearly see how God has walked before us – leading us into his grace, truth, and healing. Keep Reading...

One Thing Ended 
January 2, 2013
It is hard to believe that M and R have been healed for 3 months now.  In some ways it actually feels a lot longer than that.  To be honest, it feels like an entire lifetime separates our life “sick” from our life healed.  It is difficult to experience these realities on a continuum and somehow makes more sense to me to see them as entirely separate.  As though one thing has ended and another thing has begun.  It is funny because this is how my husband and I used to describe our life together.  Keep Reading...
 

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Healed.



I am not sure how to tell you this – how to explain it fully and in a way that both makes sense and impacts you.  I don’t even know where to begin.  There are so many layers to peel back and explain.  And how does one explain the things of God anyway?  How do you lay out a story so extravagant that you yourself cannot fully grasp it – when further revelation seems to be ongoing and somehow never complete?

I have to start somewhere so I will start with the end of the story.  

LittleM and LittleR are healed. 

That’s right – healed.  Not healing.  Not on a healing diet.

Healed.

GAPS angel food cake muffins
Strawberries
Scrambled eggs WITH whites
Corn
Green beans
Cranberry tea
Orange Juice
Pizza
Grilled Cheese Sandwich
Mandarin Oranges
Pineapple
French Fries
Ketchup
BBQ Baby Back Ribs
Guacamole
Corn Chips and Salsa
Sesame/Carrot Cookies
Applegate hotdogs
Spelt French toast
Maple Syrup
Raw cow’s milk
Grapes
Bananas
Raw vanilla yogurt

In the last 48 hours LittleM and LittleR have eaten ALL of these new foods.  Are you ready for this?  All of the foods in italics were from Chili’s Restaurant!!!

What!!!??? Yes you read that correctly…all of it.

So that is the end of this story but the road to get here is so complex and yet so simple.  God has been taking us on this journey for 3.5 years now.  The thing that amazes me the most is that He always meets us where we are.  In hindsight I see this is just grace – so much grace.  About 1.5 years ago God led us to the GAPS Diet and the healing protocol that we have been doing.  There is no doubt that it was God.  And there is no doubt that had the diet come to us in the beginning of this journey (when the kids were born) we never would have done it.  We wouldn’t have been ready to take the leap – and so God met us where we were then.  Instead of saying, “Feed your kids bone broth and meat (the main thing the medical community says to avoid).”  He said, “Here feed your kids this medical formula.”  I am certain this was God meeting us where we were since today I KNOW that formula is junk and unhealthy.  But at the time it was the best thing for them – in the space that we were in.  It was God meeting us where we were.   As we traveled along on the journey we were ready to take a leap of faith.  Looking back I can see that more than anything this is what made the difference.  On the GAPS Diet the kids began to thrive and we actually saw healing taking place.  This was true as long as we stayed on the diet.    I would always be praying that God heal the kids though – if that was his will.  Each time I earnestly asked this of Him, He answered me the same way.  He told us to follow the protocol and He would go one step ahead of us preparing their bodies for each new step.   In this I knew He would heal them – but I didn’t know when or really how.  Would it be through the diet or would he one day say it was finished.  Wow.  In hindsight the grace of this amazes me.  He came to where we were and gave us an alternative to his divine healing that we were able to comprehend and in faith – act upon.  Then He was faithful and the children thrived.

It was quite a struggle though.  It was not easy preparing the right foods and at times it was so monotonous.  Then there were the treasures in dark places.  Oh those treasures.  I learned to be content with where we were.  I learned to be thankful for how healthy the children were instead of angry or depressed with where they were not.  I learned to enjoy the motions of preparing their foods over and over again.  I learned that it was a joy and a servant act to wash the broth pot.  I learned most of all that I didn’t have to worry about any of it.  LittleM and LittleR were in the hands of the Great I Am.  They were loved and cherished by Abba Father.  They were bought for a price by the Lord Jesus Christ.  AND HIS PLANS FOR THEM AND CARE FOR THERE NEEDS WERE SO MUCH BETTER THAN MINE.    I really truly learned this and was able to be truly ok with their condition.

I also learned something that was not really pretty about myself.  I learned that a significant part of my identity was becoming wrapped up in their condition.  I realized recently that I was also marking their identity as the “kids who can’t eat anything.”  This is an ugly subconscious reality that I believe would rather stay a dirty little secret.  Honestly I believe it was just another lie of Satan.  How many times do you hear people talking about their illness or condition as though it is a “badge of honor?”  I am not saying it is done intentionally.  I am not saying they believe it is a good thing.  I am simply saying that in some broken way we find value and worth in being sick – different – special – set apart from the “norm.”  What I am really speaking to here is a lie from Hell - a lie that twists the truth of your personal worth (which is in Christ – whether you know it or not) into a strange comfort zone.  When I was younger I was a very depressed teen.  I had reasons for being sad, but the lie that I owned was really summed up in one line of a poem I wrote back then: “I cling to my sadness, it is the only certainty I know.”  No this is not exactly the same thing, but it is similar.  That line of a pretty good poem was kind of beautiful in a sad sort of way, but what a lie from the pit of Hell.  The sad thing is that it was true.  I dove into my sadness and it became who I was.  This is true of LittleM, LittleR, and my conditions as well.  I unknowingly accepted our conditions as a part of our identity and to be quite honest…I am not sure that I would have known who to be if they had suddenly vanished a year ago.  That is a sobering thought.  Honestly it has me running to the foot of the cross (rebuking all the way).

Praise the Lord – he meets us where we are.

Two weeks ago an evangelist came to my church.  He preached a sermon on healing that changed EVERYTHING.  The beautiful thing about the Lord is that the journey of the past few years was all a part of preparing me to hear the sermon.  After the sermon on healing I waited until the speaker was free and I asked him about the children’s condition.  He spoke to me for probably 20 minutes.  The things he was saying were not really what I wanted to hear, but as he spoke his words resonated in my spirit.  I knew he was right.  Tiff Shuttlesworth told me that the children’s condition sounded spiritual to him.  He told me that while he thinks that a diet for a medical condition can be a good thing, Jesus never healed anyone with a diet in the Bible.  He was kind – not at all condescending.    He went on to say that we need to be careful not to get too much into a thought process of what WE can DO.  This one hit me pretty hard.  I have often talked with one of my fellow GAPS friends about this trap - the idea that I can sometimes forget that this is about what God is doing and not about all of my efforts.  Tiff told me that there were 2 books I really needed to read.  I left the church – books in hand – and tears in my eyes that night.  I knew that what he was saying was right.  As I made my way to my car though, I began to feel hopeful – if this was a spiritual thing there was something that could be done about that!

I began reading the first book.  It was a collection of all the healing scriptures in the Bible.  This was great, but it wasn’t CHANGING anything in me.  So I put it down and picked up the second book recommended by Tiff.  Since Tiff had introduced this book as the best book he has EVER read on Divine healing I was expecting a lot.  What I read in the first 14 pages changed me forever.  This was not some book with someone’s words telling me how they interpret the scriptures.  This book is better described as a teaching on the scriptures – looking at the original languages as well.  This book is the best book I have EVER read on Divine healing! 

I don’t know where to begin or how to explain the teaching in this book.  Since it looks at the Bible teachings on healing as a whole and not so much as separate scriptures – it is so far out of my league to really even discuss at this point.  In any event here are the main points that not only changed my perspective on healing BUT HAVE ACTUALLY LED TO THE DIVINE HEALING OF BOTH OF MY CHILDREN AS WELL AS ME.

  1.  “If God will heal anyone, he will heal you.”  (Acts 10:34, James 5:14-15)
  2.  Healing is always the will of God – always.  (Mark 1:41, James 5:14, Numbers 21:9, Matthew 12:15, Matthew 14:36, Matthew 12:15, Luke 6:19, Matthew 8:16-17, Luke 4:40, Psalm 107:20, Proverbs 4:22, Exodus 15:26, Mark 6:56, Isaiah 5:58, Psalm 103:2-3)
  3. Your sins were not the only thing that Jesus bore on the cross – he also bore your infirmities/diseases. (Isaiah 53:5 WITH Matthew 8:16-17 and Deuteronomy 28 WITH Galatians 3:13, 1 Peter 2:24)
  4. Just as salvation from sins is a gift – so is healing – YOU must believe and receive it. (John 3:16, Isaiah 53:5 WITH Matthew 8:16-17, Mark 2:5, Mark 2:9, Matthew 9:2, Jeremiah 17:14)
  5. Divine healing is received in Jesus’ name by faith. (Matthew 9:29, Hebrews 11:6, James 1:6-7, Mark 11:24, Philippians 2:9, 10, 1 John 5:14-15, John 15:7, James 5:14-15, Mark 16:18, Mark 9:23)
  6. You must act on your faith – and “walk in” the promise of God to heal you. (Hebrews 11:1)
  7. You cannot trust your feelings.  Just because you don’t “feel healed” doesn’t mean you aren’t healed.  (1 Kings 8:56, Ezekiel 12:25, 2 Corinthians 1:20)
  8. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God.  You cannot expect to develop this faith on your own.  The Lord is the author and finisher of your faith.  His word tells you that He will develop this faith through the hearing of His word.  THIS IS WHERE YOU GET THE FAITH YOU NEED TO RECEIVE THIS PROMISE OF HEALING. (Romans 10:17, Proverbs 4:20-22, John 8:32)
  9. God does not change.  Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and FOREVER.  (Hebrews 13:8)
  10. Healing is a promise to all who will believe – Jehovah Rapha (Exodus 15:26, Romans 10:9)

As I read the first 50 or so pages of this 300+ page book, I knew that what I was reading was true. I didn’t just read what the commentary in the book was saying and take the word of the author.  Each time they made a point I dug into my bible, my resources for the original languages, the cross references and I listened for the conviction of the Holy Spirit.  What I was reading – the word of God – began to develop my faith.  Actually it EXPLODED my faith.

And then I had read enough.  I had been convicted in my spirit enough.  It was all enough.  I had been discussing what I was reading and learning with Shawn and I was praying that the Holy Spirit would convict him too.  I was praying that if I let him, he would take the lead on what to do with this revelation. 

The night before last, September 28th, Shawn and I sat up talking until the wee hours of the morning.   We decided that we were ready to reach out and accept the promise of healing which by the way I had already been walking in for my own illness since September 9th.    I was prayed for at the women’s retreat by a great woman named Wendy Bellis.  Though the pain and other symptoms of my Lyme and Fibromyalgia did not want to stay gone I knew it was my job to “doubt my doubts” and focus on the word of God – the promise – and “walk in my healing.”  My ACT of faith was to stop taking a medication that had been helping my fatigue and cognitive difficulties quite a lot.  And today?   I am virtually pain free and my other symptoms are all but gone.  I would say at this point I FEEL about 80% healed – but I KNOW that I am in truth 100% healed!  So back to reaching out and accepting the gift of healing for LittleM and LittleR…

Saturday morning we called the kids up onto our bed.  We began telling them what we had read in the Bible – what we had learned – that they were healed.  We asked them if they believed that Jesus was their healer.  We explained to them that when He died on the cross for their sins he also died for their sicknesses.  When we asked them what this meant they knew – they could eat “allergic foods.”  Death and Life are in the power of the tongue – oh how I now wish we had spoken life over their bodies from the start and not taught them to claim their illness as their identity.   When we asked them what they wanted for breakfast they both said muffins.  When we said ok, let’s go the kitchen – I cannot forget the happy – top of the lungs – cries of joy; “Yaaaaaaayyyyyyyyyyy!”  LittleR was so excited that he was overwhelmed and instead of running to the kitchen he ran all the way to his room and buried his head in his pillow.  I believe that he was so happy that my little 3 year old boy wanted to cry.  I will never forget the strawberry red stains all over my little girl’s face – her favorite food of the day; “Just like strawberry Shortcake.”

After breakfast I had to go to work.  I felt great about the GAPS foods we had just fed them and the plan we had to go really slowly with new foods.  BUT there was this nagging feeling inside of me that we had to go “all in.”  It is true that feeding them new foods that were still part of the healing protocol we were doing with them was exciting and a huge step of faith, but it was also true that this still allowed me to be in control.  In this I knew God was telling me to give HIM the control.  We decided that we needed to take them to a restaurant and let them order WHATEVER they wanted.  Even though we will be eating healthy – traditional foods (think Weston A. Price rather than GAPS) we needed to “seal the covenant.”  Yesterday, September 29th, 2012, we took LittleM and LittleR to a restaurant where they ordered off the menu for the first time in their lives.  Though I was sick to my stomach about the food (ha!) the thought of this makes my eyes well up with happy tears.  I am in absolute bewilderment at God – Jehovah Rapha – I AM THE LORD WHO HEALS YOU.  This is one of the “Covenant Names of God.”  That’s right covenant – this is a promise.  



Bless the Lord oh my soul, all that is within me, bless His holy name.  Forget not all his benefits: who forgives all your iniquities; who heals all your diseases.  Psalm 103:1-3

Monday, August 13, 2012

Broken Men Break Their Children....I'm Bigger Than That


About two weeks ago LittleM began having a hysterical over-reaction to being buckled in the car if there was not a grown-up IN the car with her.  Even though we don’t leave the kid’s in the car alone she would FREAK out!  After buckling the twins in their seats I would close the door and walk around the car to the driver’s seat.  In that amount of time she would be literally in hysterics.  Overnight this little girl became completely terrified of being left in the car.  

One day she got into her seat, but refused to buckle herself until I was in the car.  Thinking we were simply dealing with the next chapter in the developing war of wills with your typical toddler, I verbally forced her to buckle herself.  I told her that she needed to obey and if she did not she would have a punishment.  She cried and cried, but as I firmly repeated myself she obeyed.  BUT by the time I got from the passenger seat (where I had been putting the lunch and diaper bag in) to the driver’s seat she was a mess.  What I learned that day though, was that if she was not buckled in (read: trapped) she could handle herself much better.  

On another occasion my sister-in-law had LittleM.  She stepped out of her mini-van to walk her son to the front door for a play-date.  LittleM FREAKED out.  She was scared of being left alone in the van.  We don’t leave the kid’s in the car when we go places, but of course there have been plenty of times when we’ve loaded them in the car and needed to run back into the house to get whatever it was we might have forgotten inside.  In all of her 3.5 years of life this reaction has NEVER occurred.

I began praying about this.  Had something happened when I was not home that scared her?  Had she been trapped in a closet (a favorite playing spot) or the bathroom?  Had there been a punishment that made her feel particularly trapped?  I asked my husband and there had been nothing.  One morning after praying about it, I remembered an event that happened shortly after we moved in with my in-laws.  For various reasons, we put a gate at the top of the stairs once we go to bed at night.  We use both of the two bedrooms upstairs and don’t want the kids wandering downstairs during the night.  A few mornings when I went downstairs to make the kid’s breakfast “bottle” I left the gate up.  After only moments in the kitchen I was running to the steps to help LittleM – who was hysterical at the top of the steps because she was trapped upstairs without mommy.  I realized that this was somehow related to her fear in the car, but it was still a mystery to me.   

The other thing I have noticed in this same time frame has been a deep inward breath that I clearly recognize as anxiety.  This has also been most concerning to me.  I personally had a childhood wrought with anxiety.  I was painfully shy and insecure (that is a whole other topic!).  Watching the birth of this anxiety in LittleM was more difficult for me than the hysteria really.  So I continued to pray that God would reveal the root.

Today I made “soup” for LittleM and LittleR.  "Soup" - this was what we called vegetable and meat puree before LittleM had her tongue-tie revision this May.  There was a time when the kids were about 2 when this is what we were trying to get them to swallow.  For some reason LittleM couldn’t even swallow this!  All she could accomplish was a loose stage 1 baby food.  The thicker “soup” puree was too much and she would not swallow it.  We were told again and again by the occupational therapist that we were seeing that this was a behavioral issue.  Though I really didn’t think so, the doctors continued to tell us that there was nothing wrong with LittleM’s mouth.  In a moment of doubting myself I entertained this theory.  I decided that LittleM was GOING to swallow her soup or suffer the age appropriate punishment.  This little 28 month old repeatedly chose punishment over swallowing her “soup.”  Thinking about this now brings tears to my eyes.  We sat there at the table battling for hours.  I decided that one day that she would not get up from the table until she had eaten her 2 ounces.  We literally sat there all morning.  She was faling asleep at the table – both from being tired and from being emotionally exhausted from the timeouts, spanks, and yelling that she was enduring.   I am not advocating this approach – not at all.  When I took her from the table and carried her sleeping into her room, I sat there on the floor at her crib rocking her while I cried.  It was terrible.  After nap we went at it one more time.  Later that evening I called my mom – I was at the end of myself.  After going over a 2-year-old's choice of discipline over swallowing some soup – a two-year-old who loved the approval of her parents – my mother helped me to see that this was crazy.  She helped me to stand on what I knew in my heart – something was physically wrong with LittleM’s mouth.  As a side-note, it wasn’t long after that that this OT and I simply COULD NOT work together.  

Fast forward to today.  For the first time since those days, I made “soup” for the kid’s.  I didn’t call it soup because I didn’t want to revisit that horrible experience on LittleM.   I called it broccoli/carrot puree, but as soon as LittleM saw it she said, “Did you make us soup?”  I had to answer honestly, but I didn’t really want to.  I asked her if she wanted to have it to which she said yes.  That in and of itself was a shock to me.  She asked, “Is this the same soup that I had when you made me a crib and I couldn’t get out of there?”  My heart fell like a stone into my stomach.  “Yes, it was honey.”  She just kept eating as though it all meant nothing.  

I sat there for a few moments wanting to cry, and then I began talking.  I knew that this was my opportunity to do some repair work with my daughter. 

“M,” I began, “Did that scare you when you were in your crib and you couldn’t get out?”  

“Yes it did, because I needed you and you didn’t come, and I was screaming (yes she used the word screaming),” she answered.

Tears were welling up in my eyes.  I had put her in her crib several times as punishment in between each horrible bite.  At one point I was so angry/confused/frustrated that I closed the door to her room and left her in there screaming for probably 10 minutes.  Oh – I will never forget that day and I so wish I could do it over again.  Thank God that he is bigger than that day.

“M. did you know that mommy made a mistake that day?  Were you getting in trouble because you weren’t swallowing your soup?”  With a mouthful of meatball, she shook her head yes. 

“Mommy is very sorry, M.   I didn’t know that you had a tongue tie.  I didn’t know that you COULDN’T swallow your soup because your mouth wouldn’t work right.” 

She talked with me about it for a few minutes.  She was very matter of fact about it – not upset.   I was absolutely shocked that she remembered this event.  I was not shocked that it had affected her, but that she REMEMBERED it.  Right now as I am writing there are tears in my eyes and a big hard lump in my throat.  But THANK THE LORD He is BIGGER than this historical event in my daughter’s life. 

I reiterated my sorrow over these events several times to my 3.5 year old – in 3.5 year old language.  LittleR was there participating in the conversation too.  He had some significant stress watching this event when it happened.   At one point I very seriously called LittleM’s name and told her to look at me.  When she took in one of those deep anxious breaths I knew that she thought I was about to say something of a disciplinary nature; to the contrary, I reiterated my regret and remorse to my children.  At that moment I believe I saw a change in her countenance.  It was as though that little girl exhaled all that anxiety right out of her little body. 

When she was finished eating all of her lunch I got her down from her booster seat and held both of her hands.  I looked in her eyes and said, “M, mommy made a big mistake and I am SO sorry.”  This beautiful, articulate little girl looked at me and said, “You ARE sorry, and I am sorry too.”  My heart melted and then she melted it again when she reached her little arms around me and hugged me tighter than ever before.  

We always end timeout conversations in that way – holding hands, conversation, hug…forgiven, but never before has that little girl reached out and actively hugged me in one of those moments.  Usually she passively lets me hug her.  This was different.  I am just believing that the Lord healed something in that little one today – something that I had done to her.

Thank you Lord that YOU are bigger than my brokenness.

Listen to this beautiful truth – spoken by the Lord to you and me.


Misty Edwards
"I Knew What I Was Getting Into/All Men Are Broken"

“I knew what I was getting into when I called you I knew what I was getting into when I said your name – I said it just the same.
I knew what I was getting into and I still like you.
I knew what I was getting into.
Listen my beloved,
I am not shocked by your failure.
I am not shocked even by your sin.
Only I can see the end from the beginning.
Only I can see where this is going.
Where you see only your failures, I see a fighter .
When you see only your brokenness, I see a lover.
I am not shocked by your failure.
I am not shocked even by your sin.
Listen, listen, I knew what I was getting into when I called you.
I knew what I was getting into when I said your name – I said it just the same.
I knew what I was getting into and I still like you.
I knew what I was getting into.
Just don’t give up. Don’t give in.
If you don’t quit you will, you win.
It’s all that I’m asking,
Just don’t give up. Don’t give in.
If you don’t quit you win, you win.
Listen, cause everything is in my hands.
It’s gonna be all right - gonna be ok”

I hear him singing over you.
He says:

“Everything is in my hands – it’s gonna be alright, gonna be ok.”
He says,
“Everything is in my hands. It’s gonna be alright.”
I hear him singing over you. And some of you are hearing Him saying your name. Saying your name – he says to you,"

“I’m not like your father.
Listen my beloved one, I’m not like your father.
Cause even the best of them are just broken brothers.
Listen my child, listen to me I’m not like your father,
why are you putting that on me?
Listen, listen, I’m not like your father.
I’m not like your father.
Cause even the best of them are just broken brothers.
Listen, For all men broken,
and broken men break their children,
Who grow up to be broken men…
BUT I’m bigger than that."

"Listen, I’m bigger than that.
And all men are broken,
And broken me break their children,
Who grow up to be broken men…
But I’m bigger than that
Come to me – I’m bigger than that."

"I’m not like your father,
and some of you have been so afraid of repeating the same mistakes –
that fear has you frozen.
But listen, listen,
I have the power to change things,
and I have the power to make you new,
and I have the power to rearrange that same old chain.
And listen you’re not like your father.
It’s a new day, it’s a new day.
Your not like your father and the sins of their fathers, and their fathers, and their fathers and their fathers fathers will not be on you.
Just keep on, keep on coming…
Listen my beloved,
All men are broken
and broken men break their children
who grow up to be broken men.
Listen, I’m bigger than that.
You gotta let your fathers go.
Your fathers were broken by their fathers, who were broken by their fathers and their fathers and their fathers and on and on and on…”

We’re all in this together.
And there’s only one good father.
He’s the father of all creation.
He’s the father of lights,
the father of glory
and He loves us so well.

And he says,
“Everything is in my hands -
it’s gonna be alright –
you’re gonna be ok.
No regrets.
Everything is in my hands -
it’s gonna be alright –
you’re gonna be ok."

"And some of you have been so full of regrets.
Your babies are my babies.
Listen, your babies are my babies.
And I will be the father.
Cause your babies are my babies.
I’m gonna turn it all around - just wait and see.
I’m gonna make everything beautiful just in time.
I’m gonna turn it all around - just wait and see.
No regrets.
I’m gonna make everything beautiful just in time.
It’s just a matter of time."

Monday, August 6, 2012

The Beautiful Act of Cleaning the Broth Pot

For the past year and a half we have cooked more broth than I can really even figure out. Until recently my process was to pretty much keep the broth pot on the stove all the time. I would then blend a couple of “bottles” worth of meat/broth formula for each of the twins as needed. This was not really the adhering to the “work smarter not harder” train of thought. It was more of a “head above water” train of thought. Recently, as we moved in with my in-laws I realized that we really had to get a better process going since we would be sharing the kitchen.

Here we are about a month later and the process is quite a bit better. We cook a pot of broth and meat and then blend two days worth of formula all at one time. After this big blending job is done the hefty stock pot gets a much deserved rest on the baker’s rack. But the effort to get “old faithful” onto that baker’s rack has been a much dreaded effort for me. At some point over the last year and a half I have come to DESPISE cleaning this thing. The very thought of it was part of the reason I used to leave the thing on the stove all the time rather than blending the contents all at one time. It had gotten so bad that I pretty much refused to clean it and asked Shawn to be the official broth pot cleaner.

About a week ago something occurred to me that changed all of this. I am certain that it was that “still small voice” of the Holy Spirit in me – challenging me. I suddenly had a change of perspective. I realized that in reality the act of cleaning this dirty broth pot was really such a joyous honor. This pot that is instrumental in nourishing my children…this pot that nurtures the very “medicine” that is healing my children’s bodies…this pot is akin to the “hearth” in our home – the place where we gather as a family for warmth and togetherness. No, we don’t actually gather around the broth pot. Ha! But this pot – it is beautiful, and the act of cleaning it – the same! It has only needed to be cleaned twice since this great realization, but both of those times I thanked the Lord not just for the pot, but also for the opportunity to clean it again.

***

A few days ago my sister told me of a couple who shared their story in her church recently. When she told me that she gave them this blog address I thought, “Oh no.” Not that I didn’t want her to pass on the information, but their story…it makes the struggles we have faced seem so insignificant and writing about them, well, almost silly. This couple’s 10 month old baby had a degenerative condition. I believe they were told that their precious little girl would not live past the age of two.

Today I got word to pray for this family as their little girl went to be with Jesus.



***

Though I was already writing this blog post and had already decided that cleaning the broth pot would be an act of joy, the sobering reality of how blessed we are is overwhelming. The fact of the matter is that for some reason LittleM and LittleR were born with a rare and strange condition – a serious condition, BUT they are growing, healing, and even thriving. I am so thankful for the ways in which the Holy Spirit has changed my heart over the last year, but I am truly ashamed for some of the attitudes I held onto.

The broth pot --- case in point.

Please pray for BabyP’s family.


Monday, July 23, 2012

We Are IN the Ark


Divine Provision
I think that here in the US we think God’s provision is supposed to look a certain way.  God should provide a good job, a nice house, 2 cars, nice clothes, plenty of money for a nice vacation, extra funds for entertainment and on and on. 
I think about this and I have a difficult time.  I just know that my family is in the will and plan of God and yet look at some of his provision in our lives (not even to mention those in 3rd world countries). 
  • We have twin children who are allergic/intolerant to food and who have spent the majority of their lives really sick.  God’s provision was not supernatural healing, but insurance coverage for “liquid gold" and then later the GAPS healing protocol
  • When the kids were babies we operated our family with one car – not as though we didn’t need two – with the number of doctor appointments for the children.  Provision was loading up twin babies most mornings and driving Shawn to work so that we would have the car during the day.  (Later provision was God GIVING us a 1999 Saturn, but that is a different story really.)
  • Today with a little over a dozen special foods for the children, we don’t make enough money to feed them, but by the grace of God they have never gone without a single need. 
  • At this point, we literally don’t have the money to provide a safe living environment for the medical needs of our family and yet we are living in a safe environment as we speak.  God’s provision was to move us in with my in-laws. 
  •  A year ago Shawn finished his undergraduate degree and not for lack of trying he has still not been able to get a better paying position within his company.  Somehow I am sure this is part of the Lord's provision for our family. 
In obedience to the voice of God, we moved our independent – sovereign – “leave and cleave” family in with our parents.  This seems like such a backward move – and in many ways it is, but this folks, is provision.
The Ark
What a whirlwind summer this has been.  It seems like a near eternity since we first found out that there was mold in our home.  Though in reality it has only been about three months.  Even so, the Lord gave me complete peace that he was in control of the situation and that he would provide – even supernaturally for our health/medical needs in the interim of remediating the mold.  The Lord spoke to my heart as Abba Father, speaking into my spirit that I was simply waiting for my father to call (and tell me what to do next).
Then the word came – word of the estimate to remediate the mold and repair all of the necessary things in order to prevent the mold from repopulating immediately.  Since we couldn’t give the children their allergy immuno-therapy treatment while living in an environment contaminated with mold, we had decided to allocate the funds from a year’s worth of this treatment toward helping our landlord with the mold repairs.  We were excited to be able to offer that $2200 toward the project.  We were hopeful that this would cover a large portion of the cost.  When the actual cost came in we were shocked and overwhelmed - $30,000 No, I didn’t put the comma in the wrong place. 
It Looks Like We’re Moving
There are a couple of things I KNOW about our landlords.
  • First, these are good people – they don’t come any better.
  • Second, they love the Lord and they do not make hasty decisions.
  • Third, they are invested in our lives – as the parents of my brother’s wife – and as friends of my family and me since I was a kid.  Simply put, they love us.
  • Lastly, in addition to the above facts, I also know that they gave us there home in a time when my family needed a place to live for a price that was a fraction of the market rent.  This was a gift. 
The Lord in his grace and provision prepared my heart the very same day that they told us that they couldn’t fix the mold right now – I already knew.  Although I wanted to cry when I read their letter explaining this, I was completely at peace in my spirit.  Although my flesh wanted to panic, my spirit was at peace.  In the days and weeks to come there would even well-up moments in my “heart” and mind when I was inclined to be angry – but still my SPIRIT was at rest.  The Holy Spirit was no doubt at work in communion with mine. 

We knew it was time to move on.  In my spirit I heard the words of a song, “the Lord has promised good to me…” I heard this as the song of the Lord to my heart – a promise in this situation.

Building the Ark
We began looking for homes to rent the day before we got the news.  There was nothing in the miniscule budget that we have to work within.  We knew that we would have to purchase a home.  Given our budget we figured we could afford a home at about $60,000.  The next day we began driving by the homes in our area in this range.  Some were horrible – some were possible – but they were all old, needing work, and questions remained about the safety of these homes for the  physical health of our family. 
We drove by a home in an undesirable location – it was newer, the price was good – but the location… yikes.  As we were driving away Shawn looked at me and said, “I would sooner move in with my parents than move my family into this area.”  YEAH RIGHT.  I laughed and said, “I would sooner move to Maine.”  I truly thought the idea was laughable – I wasn’t about to move in with anybody.  That very afternoon my husband’s parents were coming over for a cook-out.  I laughingly replayed the conversation for my mother-in-law.  She laughed for a few moments and then she and my father-in-law started informing us that we were certainly welcome.  They started going over the details of how we could make it work. 
I didn’t like this idea, but somehow…I just knew – even in that very moment – that his was the answer to our immediate problem.  I didn’t accept it right then.  The fact that my husband was adamantly against it allowed me to fight the idea in my head – for a short while anyway.   Still, the Lord was working on my heart and within 24 hours I was praying and decided that if this was His plan I would leave it in his hands to change Shawn’s heart.  I am sure that you can guess that is exactly what God did.  It was Saturday when we drove past the house.  By Wednesday when I asked Shawn if he had thought any more about the idea of moving in with his parents, he answered that he had already called his mom about it.  We were on our way to Maine for a week of vacation (paid for by my mom – provision) and we knew that God was moving us in with my in-laws when we got home. 
After talking with my sister-in-law (daughter of our landlords) I knew that there was still one thing the Lord would have to work out.  What would we do with our things?  The very next morning after talking about this with her we got a phone call.  My in-laws had arranged people and trucks to move us, as well as a place to store our things.  This was just one of the many confirmations that we were moving in with Shawn’s parents. 
It took 100 years for Noah to build the ark.  It took only 14 days for us to actually move into this one.
This Truly is Our Ark
Two weeks after moving in with the in-laws our pastor preached on Noah.  He likened the ark to a place of provision, rest, and safety.  He talked about the ark being that place of safety as the storm raged around it.  He told those of us listening to look at the person next to us and tell them, “There may be a storm coming.”  I looked at Shawn and said, “We are IN the middle of the storm!”  We sat there for a moment whispering back and forth about how we don’t feel like we are in a storm.  We feel at rest.  We know that this strange and “backward” move is the Lord’s provision.   “It’s because we are IN the ark,” I said to him. 
He agreed.
A Word From the Lord
Before the move there was a short time when I was truly fighting this whole idea.  But I lived many years outside of the Lord’s plan.  The past handful of years has shown me that I have no interest in living contrary to his plan for my life.  No matter how hard it is, I want to be right in the middle of it.  His plan is not always easy.  I am certain that the ark was no picnic.  I am sure it was hard work, crowded, and seemed to stretch on forever. 
In a short period of time, I decided I would just open my heart the master sculptor.  I opened myself up to allowing him to mold my heart toward his will.  In that time I heard him speak into my heart very clearly.  I heard what I know to be a promise, “I need you to be obedient in this so that I can do what I am trying to do.”  With that statement in the “still small” of my spirit I knew that he was talking about our living situation (at least in part).
I am still not certain what the Lord is doing, but I know that He is in control – and that he has promised “good to me.”