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Tongue Tie, Travesty & Love

This part 2 in my tongue tie series.

I need to once again make sure God gets mad glory for showing me the great and hidden thing that caused us so much turmoil and damage…the tongue tie, the thing that none of our pediatricians knew! God tore away the veil and showed me something that has been oppressing mothers and babies for generations in my family. Still it is troubling to wonder how it was possible for an OBGYN (which by the way our OB was an answer to another prayer!), postnatal nurses tasked to aide with breastfeeding, a lactation consultant (who was so caring and sweet), four regular pediatricians (one of which was also a certified lactation consultant who in addition to learning symptoms visually examined my damaged breast), ER staff, an intensive care unit pediatrician, a pediatric pulmonologist, wound care staff, therapists who were also really caring for Caleb but one of which we saw every week for feeding, my primary doctor (who I consulted for mastitis and breastfeeding problems), my dentist (who I asked about Caleb’s tongue thrust and who told me his wife had a similar breastfeeding experience and also had to supplement), a pediatric gastroenterologist, an internal medicine allergist, and a pediatric allergist…how could all of these medical professionals have missed Caleb’s tongue and lip tie? Not to mention all of the previous pediatricians and doctors for the family members who came before us (see post Great and Hidden Things)!?

The Travesty

While it is especially important that I reiterate that I do not want even a hint of bitterness or unforgiveness to be in my heart or words, I do feel the need to share the following, again not in anger or slander, but as a warning that will hopefully protect someone else’s life and well being. I seek to hide myself in Christ’s compassion, love and grace toward every person…

Firstly, the historical impact of the formula companies and the shift from midwifery to hospital births both have a lot to do with the devastating gap in knowledge and therefore a great lack in treatment. For decades the influence of the formula industry’s advertising as a viable alternative to mother’s milk resulted in pediatricians automatically referring mothers who experienced feeding difficulties to the bottle, that is if they hadn’t already chose the bottle due to cultural popularity. Even in early 2017, when I reached out to doctors I was never told about Human Milk 4 Human Babies or Eats on Feets, two ways I could have supplemented Caleb with donor breastmilk as I got my supply back up (I went from having chronic clogged ducts and mastitis to almost no milk at at all due to the tongue tie). I was simply told that if tolerated to get Similac Pro-Advance. As I noted in my first tongue tie post, formula companies began directly advertising to pediatricians in the 1940s and then in 1959 began even providing free formula to hospitals and pediatricians as part of their overall marketing strategy…which worked (1,2)! Breastfeeding had to be “saved” through counter movements such as the Nestlé boycott of 1977 (1). Although Caleb had extreme difficulties even with bottle feeding many tied babies are able to thrive with a bottle (not to mention all of the tied babies that can actually breastfeed!), as a result many tongue ties were not caught for decades and the training for how to screen for them became obsolete. At the same time more and more women were convinced that hospital births were safer and they began to entrust their deliveries to OBGYNs who were not trained to check for and cut tongue ties at birth. Historically midwives would cut the tie immediately to allow the newborn infant to suckle. Dr. Richard Baxter shares in his book “Tongue Tied”, that an obstetrician textbook from the 1600s specifically instructs how to check an infant for a tie at birth and if present calls for a surgeon to cut it. (3) Sadly, between the shift toward hospital births, a cultural pushback against all surgeries for a time that started in the 1850s (4) and the aggressive marketing of formula during the last century (1,2) the void in how to check for and treat ties was complete and too many pediatricians, OBGYNs, and both occupational and speech therapists to this day are still not properly trained in the subject of tongue and lip tie in school or fellowship. As a result most modern standards of care do not include a proper, if any, evaluation for tongue tie. An exception is in the country of Brazil where, by law, infants must be evaluated for tongue tie at birth. (5)

Before-the-1940s-tongue

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In addition to the lack of proper education the political hierarchy of the medical system gets in the way too. Dr. Ghaheri, an ENT who specializes in tethered oral tissues, shares that shockingly some hospitals today actually have gag orders on lactation consultants so they cannot tell a mother she and baby are suffering because of a tongue or lip tie (7)! This is incredulous and after having gone through the trauma I went through with my baby down right cruel and dangerously negligent. Primary doctors get offended when a lactation consultant catches the problem and “diagnoses” or even suggests/”refers” to a qualified ENT or dentist instead of letting the doctor do so (who again most likely lacks proper training). Even if the doctor were to make the referral it is important for the referral to be to an experienced release provider, not just any ENT or dentist. One significant marker of experience is the use of a laser or scissors without anesthesia. In the meantime while referrals to a preferred provider are being withheld or missed altogether babies are struggling to swallow, struggling to breathe, driving parents mad with colic and extreme sleep deprivation, being put on formula, prescribed proton pump inhibitors, having feeding tubes installed and being hospitalized for failure to thrive.

It is a travesty.

I have seen first hand these issues and the misdiagnosis my son having a restricted maxillary and lingual frenum from a handful of medical professionals, which led to a tonsil and adenoidectomy at the age of 2:11 because his tonsils and adenoids hypertrophied and caused obstructive sleep apnea, all were initially due to infant reflux which was caused by a restricted frenum and swallowing issues from birth… As an SLP, I was not taught how to accurately diagnose frenum restrictions and the impact even slight restrictions can have on the health and well being of an infant, child, or adult.” -Nicole Archambault Besson, EdS, MS, CCC-SLP (8)

But the damage doesn’t stop there, formula has been proven to create a completely different ecosystem in a baby’s gut with higher populations of pathogenic bacteria (9). Even if formula is not introduced, often times antibiotics or antacids are to address symptoms or conditions that tongue tie contributes to or even causes. These kill good bacteria and lead to candida overgrowth and low stomach acid (10) which also deeply changes the ecosystem of a baby’s gut. Both research and clinical evidence are increasingly linking the imbalance of the gut ecosystem to the development of neurological conditions like anxiety, autism, dyslexia and ADHD (11), to autoimmune conditions like fibromyalgia, lupus and Hashimoto’s (12) and to the development of immune system issues like allergies, asthma and intolerances (13)…and so much more.

Nutrition and Genetics

Sadly in addition to the influences above there seems to be an uptick in the occurrence of tongue tie overall and our diet plays a huge role. Specific vitamins, such as vitamin A, D and K2 are needed for the frenum to release properly in utero, especially vitamin A (14). Dr. Steven Lin recommends a diet high in grass-fed offal, eggs, oily fish and whole fat grass-fed butter or cream, as well as some carrots and spinach for 6 months prior to conception to try to prevent tethered oral tissues from forming in utero (14). Dr. Weston A. Price found that modern diets cause nutritional deficiencies that result in narrow mouths with crowded teeth (15). I wonder if what Dr. Weston A. Price found was actually that modern diets increase the occurrence of tongue tie because narrow mouths with crowded teeth and high palates are symptoms of…tongue tie.

Tongue-Tie-can-cause

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In addition to vitamins A, D and K2, midline defects have also been linked to a deficiency in folate. It is estimated that 40% of the world population has at least one MTHFR variant (17) making them unable to process the synthetic form of folate: folic acid…yes the same folic acid that every OBGYN is trained to make sure moms take in prenatals! I tested myself and Caleb. We are both homozygous MTHFR which is the most severe form of the genetic variation. We cannot assimilate folic acid and it actually clogs up our precious folate receptors…

We, as a society, simply cannot rely on a vitamin pill for nutrition, especially when it comes to the critical nutrition we need for our babies in utero. We cannot rely on a modern diet full of “instant meals” and packaged foods. We need to eat real unprocessed food planted, stored and prepared with ancient methods like anaerobic fermentation. The Great Physician had it right all along. He didn’t create us first and then make us wait 5,000 years before we finally had the technology to build factories to create synthetic vitamins for our pregnant mothers. He gave us bioavailable nutrient dense foods from the beginning to create healthy babies.

Tongue tie has had a detrimental affect (one that we are overcoming in the name of Jesus I should add) on the health of my son, myself and my family members through the resulting recommendations of formula, invasive diagnostics and various “medicine” prescriptions, this on top of the damage from our standard American diet which played a role in it’s formation to begin with! We are made in God’s holy image and how we treat that image and what we feed that image really does matter.

A tiny string under the tongue is a testament to that.

Love or Anger

The implication of a tongue tie that is not caught at birth can be horrific on so many levels for not only quality of life and health, but also simply the ability to survive and thrive. This is in addition to the heartbreak associated with not being able to breastfeed, or the violated feeling that comes from having the micro-biome (the one that I worked so long and hard to pass on through an all natural labor) hit hard by unnecessary antibiotics just seven days later. When our ability to thrive and survive is threatened or when our gut ecosystem suffers we can become bogged down in ways that can directly thwart our God-given destiny (see post Bagworms). In light of all of the damage and trauma that tongue tie can cause it is easy to grow angry or bitter at industries or even certain people…but really there is only one true common enemy throughout—THE enemy. The efforts to convince people to eat processed foods are immense and how about the efforts to convince mothers to not breastfeed their own children which has been going on for centuries, think of the popularity of wet nursing before formula and bottle feeding became all the rage (2).

In his booked called “Love Never Fails” (18), Kenneth Copeland points out that when Jesus’ cousin and close friend John the Baptist was beheaded Jesus withdrew for prayer but was followed by the crowds. During this deeply emotional time the Bible says that Jesus responded with compassion and healed the sick. He didn’t lash out in anger or condemning words toward Herod or just ask the crowds to be leave him alone, instead he ravaged the kingdom of darkness with love and compassion because He knew that the real enemy wasn’t Herod or Herodias, it was Satan. When someone we love is deeply damaged by misguided nutritional or medical advice we can respond with sorrow and anger especially when the trauma is deep or when we are constantly reminded daily of the damage that was done to our child’s body. In the strength of Christ though we can respond in love which allows the true enemy to be stopped in His tracks. When we respond through faith in the love and grace of Christ the enemy can’t find any new footholds to stand on. Loving our enemies requires faith and as I am learning dying to myself. It is one thing to be polite or nice toward someone who openly opposes the truth and gaslights you in a detrimental fashion, but to love them!? However, I have to keep on reminding myself that when I step out in faith that faith forms a shield of protection against the enemy’s fiery darts. If I have learned anything it is that I really need that shield cause those darts are real and they can hurt us or our loved ones really bad. Thank God in Christ we have redemption, RESTORATION, PROTECTION (oh He is our Cleft in the Rock) and ultimately we have VICTORY. He alone can heal and restore. He alone can truly save. After what Caleb and I have gone through I do not want to create a new foothold for the enemy in my heart because of imperfect judgment or anger toward anybody or anything. Even though it certainly is not easy to respond to a slight in love I am seeking to walk in the love of Christ for everyone involved in our health journey, historically or present. In Christ alone are we made whole and restored, in Christ alone we live and breathe. It is He Who holds my head above the waters, no matter how torrential they get. With His mighty right hand He draws me up out of the waves, me and my precious child and He walks out onto those raging waters for us. No amount of anger or bitterness is worth jeopardizing my intimacy or lifeline with Christ. I trust in Him to be perfect in judgment and in provision. He has and He will continue to contend with those that contend with me and to save my children.

… … …

Part of love is compassion and the Lord truly has helped me to have compassion in the sense that much of what The Lord desires for our bodies to manage it’s health is, I’m finding, very different than the practices of conventional western medicine today. There are many well-meaning doctors out there but to evaluate the health of someone in a more holistic manner or to evaluate for tongue tie is not something that they are trained for or often approve of, even by the very medical associations that they receive their certifications and legal protections from. In order to follow the guidance of the Holy Spirit in treating a patient, as it should be, they would have to deviate from standards of care which would essentially mean transforming their practice and identity and removing themselves from the legal and monetary protections of their earthly associations. I listened to several of the speakers during the recent Candida Summit and one of them was Jack Wolfson, a board certified cardiologist (19) that practiced conventionally for years. When he made the leap to integrate holistic medicine with his conventional training it meant leaving the hospital he worked at with guaranteed income from people’s insurance and stepping out in faith by opening a cash pay cardiology clinic. He now sees people from all over the world because there is such a demand for his kind but at the same time so very few (if any other) holistic cardiologists. Another reason I find in my heart compassion is that I now realize that every doctor, every formula company, every manufacturer for vaccines, antacids or pharmaceuticals, every one of them is not only accountable to their medical associations and peers etc…but they are also and ultimately even more-so accountable to God. People made in God’s image are entrusted to their care to try to heal or care for that image to make it healthy and to function optimally for the glory of God. In light of this I realize I am not their judge, they already have a judge who is the original Image Bearer and because, as mentioned, much of what they may be doing is damaging toward that precious image it is with the fear of God that I do have compassion. They too are made in God’s holy image and they too are infinitely precious to God. He is their Judge. He has got this in hand and so we must pray! We must pray for doctors and for the medical community to listen to the Holy Spirit, to the Great Physician. Pray for more awareness and acceptance in the medical community about the horrendous damage that can happen from a tongue tie that is undetected or left intact. Pray for the doctors that are out there trying to educate their peers like Dr. Ghaheri or Dr. Baxter. Pray for our individual protection and freedom from the enemy’s agenda to essentially mutilate the image of God with generation after generation of antibiotics, proton pump inhibitors, misinformed nutrition and more. Too many are listening to another voice, a voice that harms and damages the image of God. Oh how precious is the Lord and His image that we bear, and may He be eternally glorified in our bodies and in our love for one another.

Even in our love for our enemies.

We have the victory. We have Jesus.

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For a list of symptoms and related conditions to tongue tie stay tuned for my next post.

References:
1. A HISTORY OF BABY FORMULA – HOW EMERGENCY BABY FOOD BECAME AN EVERYDAY MEAL FOR BABIES IN AMERICA
HTTP://DOMESTICGEEKGIRL.COM/UNCATEGORIZED/HISTORY-BABY-FORMULA-EMERGENCY-BABY-FOOD-BECAME-EVERYDAY-MEAL-BABIES-AMERICA/
2. A HISTORY OF INFANT FEEDING
HTTPS://WWW.NCBI.NLM.NIH.GOV/PMC/ARTICLECS/PMC2684040/
3. History of Tongue Tie
Baxter, Richard. Tongue Tied, How a Tiny String Under the Tongue Impacts Nursing, Speech, Feeding, and More. Alabama Tongue Tie Center, 2018. Page 5
4. Backlash Against Surgery
Baxter, Richard. Tongue Tied, How a Tiny String Under the Tongue Impacts Nursing, Speech, Feeding, and More. Alabama Tongue Tie Center, 2018. Page 6
5. Brazilian Law for Tongue Tie
Baxter, Richard. Tongue Tied, How a Tiny String Under the Tongue Impacts Nursing, Speech, Feeding, and More. Alabama Tongue Tie Center, 2018. Page 257
6. Dentist sheds light on tongue tie in infants
http://www.ourmilkyway.org/dentist-sheds-light-on-tongue-tie-in-infants/
7. Hospital Gag Orders on Lactation Consultants, Bobby Ghaheri MD
https://www.facebook.com/DrGhaheriMD/posts/357748484386534
8. The Tongue Was Involved, But What Was the Trouble?
https://leader.pubs.asha.org/article.aspx?articleid=2432362
9. The Risks of Not Breastfeeding for Mothers and Infants
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2812877/
10. The Largely Unknown Health Epidemic Affecting Almost ALL Americans
https://bodyecology.com/articles/unknown_health_epidemic.php
https://bodyecology.com/the-body-ecology-diet-book.html
11. Gut and Psychology Syndrome: Natural Treatment for Autism, Dyspraxia, A.D.D., Dyslexia, A.D.H.D., Depression, Schizophrenia
https://www.amazon.com/Psychology-Syndrome-D-D-D-H-D-Schizophrenia/dp/0954852028
12. Ways To Reverse Autoimmune Disease
https://www.amymyersmd.com/lp/ai-webinar-registration
13. What’s Causing Food Allergies?
https://bodyecology.com/articles/whats-causing-food-allergies
14. Webbed Fingers Syndrome: Is Tongue-Tie Linked to Vitamin A Deficiency?
https://www.drstevenlin.com/webbed-fingers-syndrome-tongue-tie-linked-vitamin-a-deficiency/
15. Weston A. Price, DDS
https://www.westonaprice.org/health-topics/nutrition-greats/weston-a-price-dds/
16. Tongue Tie and Crowded Teeth, Misaligned Jaws, Narrow Palates
Baxter, Richard. Tongue Tied, How a Tiny String Under the Tongue Impacts Nursing, Speech, Feeding, and More. Alabama Tongue Tie Center, 2018. Page 195-196
17. Do You Have The Gene Mutation That Affects 40% Of The World?
https://drwillcole.com/what-you-need-to-know-about-the-gene-mutation-that-affects-40-of-the-world/
18. Love Never Fails, Kenneth Copeland
https://www.amazon.com/Love-Never-Fails-10-pamphlets/dp/1575620944
19. Dr. Jack Wolfson
https://www.wolfsonintegrativecardiology.com/about/
20. Bible.com
https://www.bible.com/verse-of-the-day/PSA.91.2/385?version=1

 

God Knew

When my husband and I started to try to have a baby in 2010 God knew that it wouldn’t be until 2016 that we finally would conceive our son Caleb.

When I was in my mother’s womb, God knew that I would struggle with infertility issues when I grew up, but that didn’t stop Him from planting the desire to be a mother deep in my heart from a young age. That didn’t stop Him from placing me in a family where I was the oldest of six, surrounded by babies and younger children–I’m so thankful for those years that I feel prepared my heart for loving and valuing children – whether they “are mine” or not! All children belong to God first and foremost as their Creator*. He gets to see their first smile in the womb, their first grimace, their very first movement, their “firsts” belong to Him. God gets the first fruits of our life in the secret place of our mother’s womb. Even today with the advancements of ultrasound technology we come no where close to the 24/7 intimacy God has with our precious little ones as He tenderly and lovingly knits them–as He knitted us –together.

God doesn’t make mistakes. God is on time. God is perfect.

In January of 2013 I created a business card for a dear friend of mine as a class project for school. I needed to created one and she had a business that needed one. She created cute, lettered cloth blocks by hand. I borrowed one to help me with my project and I ended up never giving it back to her before she moved out of state. Flash forward to 2016, God has blessed my womb with life and another blessing of a friend graciously and kindly offers to take some photos of me to help document this miraculous time in my life. That morning before we met up for breakfast and photos she wanted to know if I had any wooden blocks with letters on them to help with the photos, I had none but thought maybe we could go by Walmart and grab some after breakfast. Anyway I remembered though that I had a cloth block in one of my office drawers somewhere…I just couldn’t remember the letter on it! I hoped it would still be in the drawer that I thought I’d last put it in, it was — way in the back.

Lo and behold the letter on the block was the letter “C”. In the bold color red, just like the shirt I had chosen to wear that morning for photos.

Before the beginning of time God knew me. He knew all of my paths that I’d take and every moment of my life. He knew that my husband and I would come very close to choosing to stop trying to have biological kids before He would open my womb. God knew that we would have a son and that we would choose to name Him Caleb. In 2013 He knew this and the cloth block my friend gave me to help me with my project had the letter “C” on it. How fun it must be for God, like a big surprise, 3 1/2 years earlier and He is the only one that knew as she handed me a block of cloth, both of us clueless how meaningful it would become. How amazing and how loving is our Father in Heaven truly is!

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Picture by Magdalena Ferrandino

 ” I could ask the darkness to hide me
  and the light around me to become night—
     but even in darkness I cannot hide from you.
To you the night shines as bright as day.
    Darkness and light are the same to you.

You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body
    and knit me together in my mother’s womb.
Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex!
    Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.
You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion,
    as I was woven together in the dark of the womb.
You saw me before I was born.
    Every day of my life was recorded in your book.
Every moment was laid out
    before a single day had passed.”  – Psalm 139:11-16

“I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb. Before you were born I set you apart and appointed you as my prophet to the nations.” – God speaking to Jeremiah (the prophet) 1:5

* Whether we accept the price God paid to adopt us as His child and become our Spiritual Father is different than God being our Creator. See John chapter 8 and Romans chapter 8.

Summer of The Leviathan

God often prepares His children before something happens. Revealing a key part of His Truth so that we can be ready for when the storm hits-or for being thrust into the icy, isolated, darkness, which is a more fitting description in this case. Several things that were my biggest dreams in life were stripped away around the same time that we left the tropical island of Okinawa and moved to Alaska, a week before the snow hit. This on top of me never having lived anywhere where the snow actually stays longer than a day. The psychological shock of being thrust against my will by the military into an environment that felt like an icy trap mirrored the trauma I felt in my soul.

During that first year of trying to have a baby, while we were still in the tropical “paradise” of Okinawa, God laid on my heart an urgency to read the book of Job. Even though I was beginning to realize that there was indeed a problem with my fertility, I really had no idea and I thought we could just get help after the first year and have our baby soon after that. Oh, how little did I know that 5 years later there would still be no cigars, no sweet baby coos, no staring in wonder into the eyes of my baby. No baby.

God knew though. He knew all the different emotions, all the different parts of my heart and soul that would be laid bare under his refining fire. He knew this, and He knew that a lot of it would hurt and that I had to be ready. I had to know that He was God and that I was not. God knew that I was going to have to hold onto this key, foundational Truth in order to submit to Him and let Him fully have His way in me. Even when it felt like “all my dreams” were being taken away.

 Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Declare to Me, if you have and know understanding. Who determined the measures of the earth, if you know? Or who stretched the measuring line upon it?…

…Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind, saying, Gird up your loins now like a man; I will demand of you, and you answer Me. Will you also annul (set aside and render void) My judgment? Will you condemn Me [your God], that you may [appear] righteous and justified?

Have you an arm like God? Or can you thunder with a voice like His? [Since you question the manner of the Almighty’s rule] deck yourself now with the excellency and dignity [of the Supreme Ruler, and yourself undertake the government of the world if you are so wise], and array yourself with honor and majesty…

…“No one is so fierce [and foolhardy] that he dares to stir up Leviathan;
Who then is he who can stand before Me [or dares to contend with Me, the beast’s creator]? “Who has first given to Me that I should repay him?
Whatever is under the whole heaven is Mine. [Who can have a claim against Me who made the unmastered beast?]

Job 38:1-7, 40:6-10, 41:10-11 AMP

These passages from Job deeply impressed upon my soul. I cannot stand before God. God alone has the power and might to create, to give or to take away. God does not “owe me” anything. Like it says in Job “Who has first given to Me that I should repay him?”-no one. No one has given anything to God so that God owes them. In fact God has richly blessed us, the undeserving, by sending His son while we were still in rebellious hostility toward Him. Even if literally every dream and everything that I love was taken from me I would still have Jesus, and I would still be rich because I am His. He is my Redeemer. Like Boaz who redeemed Ruth out of destitution, shame, and sorrow into wealth, love, and joy. God redeems us out of sin and death into eternal life as His adopted children, purchased by the precious blood of His Son, and that is the only gift that we need.

It was vitally important from the beginning that I set my mind on the task of trusting God. Jesus said His burden is light and His yoke is easy. He desires to clothe us in His righteousness and strengthen us with His joy, but first we must entrust Him with our life and trust Him wherever He leads. To desire nothing-but Christ alone, is to have all that you need. He is more than enough. I remember forcing myself to sing “Enough” by Chris Tomlin after we’d moved to Alaska and began to become more acquainted with the reality of infertility. He is more than enough. With a tightly constricted throat, and tears forcing their way down my cheeks, “All of You is more than enough for all of me / For every thirst and every need / You satisfy me with Your love / And all I have in You is more than enough”.

Sometimes the rocky mountain paths or the dark valleys don’t make sense from our perspective, but we can be like Habakkuk, who after He asked God “why” He resolved:

I will stand on my guard post
And station myself on the rampart;
And I will keep watch to see what He will speak to me,
And how I may reply when I am reproved.

It’s ok to ask God why, as long as our heart is right. Are we asking Him so He can reprove and correct us, or are we challenging Him? There is a distinct difference.

God wanted me to be in a posture of submission so that He could transform me according to His will, not mine. So that He could bless me with the portion of His presence that is reserved for those that declare, no matter what, that He is all that we need, and that He is more than enough. And, believe me, I needed that presence, because it was Him, my Father, my Anchor, that I was clinging to; hiding in the Cleft of the Rock.

To choose to trust in God and let Him take the lead means being able to abide in His presence. To be blessed with His ever comforting Spirit. He is the Good Shepherd, He does not push us into the valley, He walks ahead of us and protects us. But in order to be satisfied as with the fatness and marrow (Psalm 63:5) of His presence we have to be in close proximity and that means following Him right on His heels. When we enter the valley of the shadow of death we must press in closer ’cause it is harder to see. Maybe the death in that valley means the death of our dreams. But we can trust Him with the thoughts and the plans that He has for us, He Who is the Author and the Perfecter of our Faith.

Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. – Hebrews 12:1-2

 

ANT-PEOPLE!

So you mayBugs have seen either seen the preview for, or the actual movie Ant-man recently. I haven’t seen the movie but I have seen the preview, in 4D at Disney’s California Adventure! I was just waiting in fear for when the “creepy crawler” sensation would come upon me from the chair to match what I was watching on-screen. When it did I couldn’t help popping up and exclaiming out-loud, MY BUTT!!! Haha, that is just what popped out of my mouth, it was really funny. Lately God has been placing Psalm 113:4-6 on my heart, I read it awhile back and was struck by it in my heart but then forgot where in the Psalms this passage was. Recently the Holy Spirit impressed it upon me again as I’ve meditated on scripture about God “keeping a list” of all that we say and do (see post “The List”) Thankfully I was able to Google what I remembered of the scripture to find the passage again and meditate carefully upon it as God continues to impress it upon my heart and mind.

The Lord is high above all nations, His glory above the heavens. Who is like the Lord our God, Who dwells on high, Who humbles Himself to behold The things that are in the heavens and in the earth? Psalm 113:4-6

What really is striking to me here is that God actually has to humble himself to regard us. This may not seem like such a big revelation, I mean we mere man, filthy in our sin, before an almighty, holy God. But really we tend to lose sight of this and it has been impressed on my heart. I’ve been pondering this, chewing upon it and allowing it to humble me. Then this morning during praise and worship as we sang song after song about how forever Great and Mighty God is He helped me to see and understand just a little bit more. You see, this week at work something out of the ordinary has been going on. When I get out to my car at the end of the day my driver’s side handle area has been teaming with super tiny bugs, smaller than ants. It is really disgusting, I’m repulsed and just hoping that when I open the door that they haven’t made it through the crack and begun crawling all over my seat. I quickly open the door, sigh with relief and then forget all about them by the time I get home. That is until this morning. Right there in the middle of worshipping majestic, awesome God, He brought this picture to my mind. That before Him I am like a little ant, but even smaller than that, kind of like those bugs on my car. We all are, and we are repulsive, creepy crawling in our sinful ways all over the earth. BUT, God who is holy chooses to regard us. Instead of ignoring us or wiping us out like we deserve, filthy bugs that we are, He allows us to continue to team around on earth for now, and He regards us. He pays attention to us…and….He considers our ways. From His dwelling place He looks upon all the inhabitants of the earth—He Who fashions the hearts of them all, Who considers all their doings. Psalm 33:14-15  As I was singing and considering how infinitely small I was compared to God I couldn’t help but have a big smile break out on my face. In part I was smiling because of the joy that poured over as God was taking the time to use these experiences in my life to teach me, like a tender loving Father teaches His child. At the same time I couldn’t help but picture the whole sanctuary of people this morning like a tiny little patch of ants organizing themselves to praise God. Then it came time for God to become really serious with Me as He pressed His truth upon my heart even further. Although in comparison to Him we are like these microscopic ants, we are at the same time very valuable and very much accountable. How can this be? Because God assigns us value and responsibility when He creates us.

Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. Genesis 1:26-27

When I consider your heavens,
    the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars,
    which you have set in place,
what is mankind that you are mindful of them,
    human beings that you care for them?

You have made them a little lower than the angels
    and crowned them with glory and honor.
You made them rulers over the works of your hands;
    you put everything under their feet:
all flocks and herds,
    and the animals of the wild,
the birds in the sky,
    and the fish in the sea,
    all that swim the paths of the seas. Psalm 8:3-8

So it is with fear and reverence that we must come before God, not spurning His holiness and the calling to worship Him instead of ourselves. We each will stand before God for judgement, but will it be with or without the protection of Christ? Will it be as one who dared curse the name of God and to His sorrow spurned His grace? Or, will it be as one that was once filthy but was born again, becoming a new creation, an adopted child of God through Christ? Christ the Lord Who rescues us from our filthy ways and puts upon us the new identity of co-heir. Mind-shattering is this mystery, this business of ransoming us from the kingdom of darkness through the blood of Christ. O praise Him, the King of Glory who from the beginning of time has known each one of us, unworthy as we are, created us in our mother’s womb and Who calls us each by name, who in His great love and mercy seeks reconciliation with us.

I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules. Ezekiel 36:25-27