Dayenu

One of the most encouraging and most beautiful blogs that I have ever read is called “It Would Have Been Enough” by Nichole Sawatzky. In it she explains that the Hebrew passover song “Dayenu” declares that it would have been enough even if God had just parted the red sea, or just fed the Israelites manna and nothing more. Each miracle, each provision, each manifestation of His presence during the Exodus into the nation’s God-given destiny was a gift that would have been enough to greatly and deeply praise the Almighty King of the universe even if that was it!

I would like to make my own version of Dayenu:

If He had just healed my broken heart of infertility,
and not allowed me to conceive
–Dayenu, it would have been enough!

If He had just allowed me to conceive and to feel the precious kicks of my little one,
and not allowed me to hear my little one cry
–Dayenu, it would have been enough!

If He had just allowed my little one to breathe,
and not given me an Owlet Oxygen monitor through an Instagram contest
–Dayenu, it would have been enough!

If He had just alerted me to the problem with my newborn’s oxygen saturation which saved his life more than once,
and not led me to discover that my newborn was on the brink of starving
–Dayenu, it would have been enough!

If he had just helped me find out my newborn was hungry and not getting enough milk,
and not provided the special needs bottle Caleb needed to eat without hours of screaming
–Dayenu, it would have been enough!

If He had just led me to the special needs bottle Caleb needed to thrive,
and not warned me against giving my newborn wheat cereal in his bottle as advised
–Dayenu, it would have been enough!

If He had just warned me not to give my son wheat cereal in his bottles,
and not told me my son had food allergies before the doctors caught on
–Dayenu, it would have been enough!

If He had just revealed to me that my son had developed food allergies before the doctors caught on,
and not healed his oxygen saturation levels

–Dayenu, it would have been enough!

If He had just healed my son’s oxygen levels without invasive medical care after 12 long weeks,
and not revealed to me the generational root to his feeding difficulties

–Dayenu, it would have been enough

If He had just revealed to me the root of our feeding difficulties known as tongue tie,
and not warned me against giving Caleb Omeprazole
–Dayenu, it would have been enough!

If He had just stopped at the warning me about the omeprazole when I decided to listen to the doctors instead,
and not led me to a diet that can deeply nourish in spite of and even reverse the scope of food reactions that resulted
–Dayenu, it would have been enough!

If He had just led me to the healing and nourishing diet plan,
and not helped me get Caleb back on my breastmilk even with doctors saying it would be like winning the lottery
–Dayenu, it would have been enough!

If He had just shown me what to eat so Caleb could drink breastmilk again,
and not provided me with a hospital grade pump

–Dayenu, it would have been enough

If He had just provided me with a free hospital grade breast pump even when no place would take my insurance referral,
and not helped me find the support group I did for Caleb’s healing journey
–Dayenu, it would have been enough!

If he had just led me to the support group,
and not provided a doctor who takes our insurance and knows how to help Caleb
 –Dayenu, it would have been enough!

If he had just led me to the doctor who understands what is going on in Caleb’s body,
and not shown me the root cause of my infertility at the same time then
–Dayenu, it would have been enough!

And Dayenu continues forever and ever. God’s wonderful miracles and works of provision deserve all of our attention and glory in continual praise. He is the master of the universe, time, and space;  how great and mighty is He that He takes such detailed care for each of us, Who loves us and speaks plans that are good for us. Let us press in to our Good Good Father and contend in prayer for everything He bought for us and for our children on the cross. Let us not forget one of His benefits.

Bless the Lord, O my soul,
And forget none of His benefits;
Who pardons all your iniquities,
Who heals all your diseases;
Who redeems your life from the pit,
Who crowns you with lovingkindness and compassion;
Who satisfies your years with good things,
So that your youth is renewed like the eagle.
The Lord performs righteous deeds
And judgments for all who are oppressed.

Psalm 103:2-6

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Winning the Lottery

“It would be like winning the lottery”…the doctor’s words sunk in slowly…Just the month prior I had immediately gone on an elimination diet when Caleb’s oxygen jumped up, lips turned red and swallowing issues disappeared when I put him “temporarily” on ready to feed alimentum. I had immediately put myself on the Dr. Sears elimination diet which takes out the top 8 allergens then later also taken out corn per the gi specialist’s recognition of why Caleb couldn’t handle the powdered version of the hypoallergenic formula…But it started to sound like “temporary” wasn’t such as easy word, although it can take up to 3 weeks for a food protein to be eliminated, the latest try for him to get back on my milk after a 3 week window was met with bumps all over his body and him itching his face and head while he was eating. And I had eliminated the elimination diet foods down to only lamb, zucchini and quinoa…then as I kept him on my milk he started itching between meals and in his sleep and the bumps started to stay and spread to more places. I was advised to keep him off my milk until allergy testing was accomplished…and to not get my hopes up, that typically in cases like this the allergen couldn’t be pinpointed. Another doctor told me that although he was a man of faith and wouldn’t say it was impossible that “it would be highly unusual” for Caleb’s allergies to be pinpointed and get on my breastmilk again…in all 3 doctors told me something along these lines.

However, God isn’t intimidated by the lottery and He is really into the highly unusual – in fact the impossible – like virgins giving birth and seas parting to expose dry land…THAT is MY GOD, the ONE TRUE GOD- as it says in Isaiah 41:10

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

MY GOD is the King of the Universe, He is my adoptive Dad, and I because of that I’m seated in heavenly places with Christ. MY DAD up in Heaven has plans and thoughts about me that are for my good and for my welfare. I can trust Him. I do not need to be afraid. MY GOD healed my son in March when things were about to get unnecessarily invasive by showing us that the key to his healing was my baby’s diet…How little did I know what that healing journey would entail though, I thought it was immediately finished, done and golden in 3 weeks…Well, IT WAS FINISHED — in the spirit realm, but in order for Caleb’s healing to completely manifest I would have to and am actively waiting upon the Lord in prayer and in allowing Him to lead my mother’s intuition for what to feed my son.

I wish I could say that my faith never faltered but as days turned into weeks and weeks turned into months without being able to get Caleb back on my milk I would go back and forth between rock solid faith in His healing and rock solid faith that God would reveal to me what to eat and then back to battling fear, discouragement and despair – temptations to give up, to stop pumping…But God promises that if we stand firm in battle and raise that shield of faith that He will meet us there, even if our shield is as small as a mustard seed and He will shield us and protect us and boost our faith! I would cry out to God in tears and He would meet me there. I would praise Him and worship Him and He would meet me there. I would pray and pray and He would meet me there…

It is hard to pump every time you feed your baby formula and then because he is too small to sit on his own having to sit him in some sort of baby chair or device in order to pump even though they are a bit too big for him because I couldn’t lay him down due to his silent reflux…even if he fussed and wanted to be held and couldn’t understand why he had to sit there, or was bored being put in the same place over and over…it was heart breaking. Of course since I have to pump and bottle feed even when he is on my milk I was already having to do that, but with me having to put him through that and not even being able to use my milk — that is just extra hard. But let me say this, God provided! Caleb started sitting on his own at just 4 months!!! Typically this happens at 7 months. This allowed his muscle development and posture to be protected and for him to be able to be entertained and to play with more independence while I pumped. Thank you Lord!! God also provided Caleb with impressive head control ever since he was teeny tiny so when I was putting him in a chair at just 2 and 3 months he held his head up just fine, like a champ! He is a super strong little dude! Waking up in the middle of the night and early hours to pump even as he slept was not easy either, again not even being able to feed my baby the milk…but it was a lot easier not having to wake and feed my baby who is already a slow eater and then on top of that pumping. God would wake me up and help me get up without waking up Caleb so I could pump. God has allowed Caleb to sleep like a champ at night so even with the extra pump sessions to protect my supply, I still get enough sleep! Thank You Lord! It was also hard emotionally and physically as my meager diet took its toll on my body and mind with cravings and rapid weight loss, the tiredness, the hunger I felt at times as I desperately tried to eliminate as much as possible while also trying to get enough to eat, I just wanted to get a base point to start from so I could start adding food back in. I had eliminated viatmins and supplements due to corn content as well so I also knew I needed to start to add foods back in to protect my bones etc. plus the milk would need to have vitamins in it for Caleb. I had to pump no matter what even as my own body suffered and my baby had to endure shelf ready, highly processed food, and it was hard. BUT, I couldn’t give up, I felt strongly in my heart that my breastmilk was the key and that God knew the elusive combination.

Then on top of the strain of the elimination diet and pumping without feeding my own milk, his silent reflux started getting really bad ’cause his body could tell the milk protein was still there in the rtf alimentum even though they were essentially pre-digested in the form of hydrolysates. Formula was in his sinuses, coming out of his nose as he would sneeze and ultimately he started to refuse to eat because of the discomfort in his throat. He started to get constipated and his weight percentage stopped climbing as it should…I was given 2 weeks and if he didn’t stop refusing to eat after 2 to 4 ounces he would need to be “scoped” which meant anesthesia and intubation as a camera was placed down his throat…invasive loomed once again. This time it would have been necessary — but I certainly wanted to avoid it at all costs. The 2 week window would end before the allergy appointment even took place…which meant it seemed inevitable.

So my baby was barely eating ’cause his throat hurt from the stomach acid and food coming up into it and his sinuses, my attempts with only corn finished lamb, zucchini, quinoa and rice crackers had failed and I was supposed to wait until we saw the allergist which surely meant the scope. We were also about to run out of $420 worth of free hypoallergenic formula God had provided…I know God is perfect in his provision and that He was in charge so I decided to take the risk and try my milk again even though the specialist had warned me that his reactions were getting progressively more severe…I had been researching what causes baby allergies, whether it be in the gi tract or otherwise. During this process I had joined a Facebook group for the GAPS diet. One of the moms told me to consider salicylates. I had never heard of these but did some further research and since my current diet, which was nill to none, hadn’t worked I decided to try grass finished lamb that was processed with hot water (not vinegar), brussel sprouts, soaked and sprouted quinoa and a little maple syrup. I landed on this combination based on a severely limited version of an elimination diet called The Failsafe Diet which eliminates salicylates, amines and histamines. I decided to put my faith in God and try again and pray with all my heart for it to work…and…IT WORKED! PRAISE THE LORD IT WORKED!!! No itching, no bumps, no rash, no oxygen dips!

Selah (Let’s pause, reflect and just praise God here).

After getting him back on my milk I needed to get more fat back in my diet so I decided to try to add in avocado and “allergen free” chocolate…hives!!! Then Bok Choy…hives! and Jerusalem Artichoke, just a tiny bit…red rash and itching! I wasn’t completely convinced and sure about the salicylate connection though until Caleb tested negative on the skin prick tests which is expected with sals since it is this chemical in the foods versus the food protein. The only thing that connects zucchini to the foods that reacted after I got him back on my milk is salicylates. God helped me figure this out even though I am certainly not a trained allergist, gi doc or naturopath by any means. God knew the winning numbers and He showed me to help my baby who was reacting to every formula out there. THANK YOU LORD for protecting my milk supply, for the faith to keep me pumping, and for allowing my baby to thrive. I can never, ever, even come close to thanking you enough…

YOU OH LORD are my Baby’s HEALER, YOU are JEHOVAH RAPHA. You are the Banner of me which is Love and YOU ARE MY GOD.

Apparently baby food allergies begin in a compromised gut (outside of DNA determined conditions that is)…and antibiotics kill good gut flora (in addition to C-sections causing a gut that is not populated as it should be, thankfully this was not a factor for us to consider). I wish I had known about the affect of antibiotics though so I could have administered probiotics both in my diet and directly right after Caleb was in the PICU, then on caffeine, then on corn-free omeprazole. I wrote in my last post how there was a delay in into omeprazole until after his oxygen went up so I didn’t end up having to put him on it...turns out God was protecting Caleb from the regular version of the medicine because it contains corn and corn disables Caleb’s ability to swallow well, causing choking, gagging, coughing and ultimately a hard time breathing when combined with silent reflux due to other foods (this statement has been redacted, God told me to not give Caleb omeprazole because of the devastating affects of acid blockers to the gut microbiome, the redacted statement was false testimony and it has been made right in the blog post “take it back”). I do feel that his salicylate allergy appeared after the omeprozale was introduced, but I understand that medicine involves risks and benefits and his reflux was so bad that he needed it to protect his throat and its components, but there are the consequences. If it weren’t for getting the “secret combo” to a perfectly custom breastmilk we would be in real trouble. Caleb can’t swallow with Neocate and was in too much pain to eat well on ready to feed alimentum…plus the acid blocker meds were negatively affecting his gut flora and then with solids introduced at six months compromised stomach acid would prevent them from being digested enough before entering an already compromised gut. For more information on the details about the gut and its relation to allergies, intolerances, reflux and also autoimmune and neurological conditions (not just for babies!) I highly recommend you read the “Gut and Psychology Syndrome” book by Natasha Campbell-McBride. I really feel like God provided this information to me for Caleb’s healing as I, along with many others, prayed for that healing.

I know with all my heart that God can, has and still does supernaturally heal ailments. In a millisecond, he can and has raised the dead, healed the lamed, the blind, the barren, the possessed, in fact every person that came to Jesus for healing was healed. However, God also commanded the commander of armies, Naaman, to humble himself and dip in the filthy Jordan to be healed. Sometimes it takes work, it takes humility, it takes time, determination and sacrificial obedience—and most of all it takes determined, long-suffering faith for the healing to manifest. That is the path God has put Caleb and I on. It is not easy on our diet, for example Caleb is not allergic to peanuts or almonds, but peanuts and almonds are high in salicylates so I’m making cashew butter and cashew flour from scratch. I’m learning how to properly prepare food for optimal digestion of vitamins and minerals by soaking the nuts in salt, and soaking and lacto-fermenting grains and legumes with homemade breastmilk whey (it’s dairy free)…I’m learning A LOT and eating in ways I’ve never eaten before. God has provided everything we need. It is not a coincidence that a nearby farmer’s co-op provides corn free pork processed in hot water, including bones for bone broth and fat for making lard, they also provide soy and corn free eggs and that a local grocery store stocks locally grown fresh mung-bean sprouts, grass-finished water-processed lamb, and organic rutabaga which is low in sals and the latter an important ingredient for my baking and broths.

Will you join in me in praying for Caleb’s total and complete healing to manifest over the next few months? Caleb did test positive for corn with the patch testing as the gi doc had already determined plus a trace for wheat and he had some redness with dairy and egg whites which we have figured out both cause the bad reflux so they are intolerances. We are actually even now in recovery from egg whites because I had decided to try them and he had started to refuse to eat again, not just his bottles but food with spoons as well…so the winning combination: a corn free, dairy free, wheat free, egg white free, and low salicylate version of BABY GAPS (Gut and Psychology Syndrome) DIET is what we are on now. I’ve learned from other allergy baby moms that allergies can change. So please pray for Caleb’s to go away completely and for no new ones to surface, this means praying fro Caleb’s gut to heal and if there has been a blood/brain barrier breach for that to heal as well. Please pray for God to help his body and mind to allow him to receive the bone broth and other key healing foods that he needs. His pediatrician let me know that between 6 and 9 months is a critical time for digestive enzymes to start to populate a baby’s gut that weren’t present before, but there hasn’t been a lot of research on how this is triggered and happens. For some GAPS patients they have to be on probiotics and enzymes their whole lives, please pray for Caleb’s gut flora and enzymes to be restored, this is critical to his total healing. I’m so thankful God revealed so many answers for Caleb so early. His pediatrician told me at his 4 month well-baby that it is highly unusual for so many things to have been figured out so early-on. Prayer makes all the difference between health and oppression. Thank you for your prayers. Prayers have made all the difference, literally from Caleb’s first breathe. Thank you Lord.

I am humbly grateful to JEHOVAH JIREH, my Provider, My Hope, My Victory, My Son’s Healer.

May all praise, and all glory and all honor that ever leaves my lips be forever and only to the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. Praise Him.

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Red Lips

I didn’t know my son had red lips until he was 12 weeks old…He is now 13 weeks and I still am taken aback (in a good way) by his red lips, they look so out of the ordinary–so absolutely beautiful because red lips means oxygen and oxygen means healing, divine and supernatural healing.



When I posted my last blog I talked about how my son and I were hidden together in the Rock of Ages, but I had no idea how much I was going to learn about what that means over the next few months, nor how much I would learn about God’s providence or God being my son’s strength…Around the time that I posted that I had started to realize that my newborn baby boy was not sleeping enough. Out of desperation to sleep I had started to look up how much a newborn should on average be sleeping, my son was barely sleeping at just under a month. I thought it was the caffeine medication he was on and I started to try everything in my power to help him sleep from swaddling and rocking him on the yoga ball or in the dark with the water running so long that my arm would get stuck in a pain from holding him. I wasn’t even able to eat or go to the bathroom unless I let my baby cry or unless my husband was home and able to make me a sandwich to bring me while I nursed or rocked our son. We even moved my husband’s beer fridge out of the garage into the nursery in another desperate attempt to help me grab a snack (2 months later I threw out the food that was in there) because I hadn’t had time to eat it. Something was wrong, I just didn’t realize how wrong. In addition one of my breasts was badly cracked, 4 cracks, one of them right through the middle and a portion of the nipple had come off. I had even received special supplies from the wound care clinic to try to help it heal, but nothing was working. I didn’t understand why God wasn’t answering my prayers for my nipple to heal or for my son to sleep. I knew that scripture says that if we pray something according to God’s will it will be done, so how come it wasn’t God’s will for my baby to sleep or for my nipple to heal?

During this trying time of almost no sleep, no self care, and a crying baby that would scratch at my chest and scream and try to nurse even though he just had almost every time I tried to get him to sleep in a wrap God gave me a scripture to hang onto:

Do everything without murmuring or questioning [the providence of God], 15 so that you may prove yourselves to be blameless and guileless, innocent and uncontaminated, children of God without blemish in the midst of a [morally] crooked and [spiritually] perverted generation, among whom you are seen as bright lights [beacons shining out clearly] in the world [of darkness]. Philippians 2:14

This scripture became my lifeline, every time I was tempted to despair I would remind myself to trust in God’s providence even though this didn’t seem to have an end in site or any solution that worked. I hated sitting in the dark with him to get him to sleep, but any light would stimulate him and make him stare at it. One afternoon when I was rocking him in the dark with the block-out curtains down in our room I had left the door open because I didn’t want to be in total darkness – not again. It just so happened that the light from the sun moved onto the door and that little light softly and beautifully illuminated our room as my son slept and I bounced…I had been using the time on the ball to pray, and I felt like God was telling me that it may be dark on the ball on this side, but in the spirit realm we were a ball of light because the Holy Spirit was in us and all around us.

Finally when my baby was six weeks old I decided I had to pump and bottle feed in order for my nipple to heal. This led to 2 things, I researched how many ounces a day my baby should be getting and solutions for how to get my baby to stop pinching my nipples. That is when I read that a baby that pinches a nipple can constrict the flow of milk so that it is like they are drinking out of a coffee straw…then later that night I saw an article that listed signs of a starving baby – stick like limbs, green watery poop etc. I conducted some experiments with changing his nursing position and did conclude that he was constricting the flow, my heart felt so heavy, broken within me. Sure enough once I started bottle-feeding he started sleeping!!! I had brought him to the doctor several times in January but it was never caught that he was failing to thrive because God gave Caleb strength to stay awake way more than a newborn should to eat constantly and for long periods of time in order to survive and not start losing weight. I don’t know what would have happened if he hadn’t had that strength, I don’t want to know, God gave him what he needed. Praise God that HE knew and HE provided a shot of caffeine everyday for my baby to help him stay awake and keep on fighting. The LORD IS my son’s strength.

During this time of serious sleep deprivation I learned a lot about the cleft of the Rock. It is not a hard, cold place, like a cold but safe cave in rock. It is not just a safe place, or just a comfortable place, it is literally being held in the arms of God Himself. He did provide, even in the tough times and the smallest of ways throughout that time. We each have a choice whether or not to radically trust God even when it feels like our prayers aren’t being answered and when we are under intense physical and mental pressure. If we do decide to set our heart on trusting and obeying Him then He WILL provide. He IS Jehovah Jireh. It may not feel like he is providing, it certainly didn’t when I gave my non-sleeping baby caffeine everyday and when my breast continued to get worse than better – but God used that breast to make me pump and bottle-feed, and that was what my baby needed.

The bottle-feeding honeymoon didn’t last long, my baby had a constant stream of milk coming out of both corners of his mouth and he would scream and scream when he was eating from the amount of air he was swallowing. Apparently his high palate made bottle-feeding difficult, not just nursing. I felt desperate, how was I supposed to feed my baby! I resorted to using a syringe, but once again God stopped in and helped me find the haberman bottle online, the first time I tried to buy it I got the notification that it wouldn’t ship to Alaska. But then a few hours later apparently that company changed their minds cause I got free expedited shipping with Amazon Prime. Then a few weeks later I found a place where they were on clearance locally, still expensive, but cheaper than Amazon! Once again the providence of Jehovah Jireh saved my baby and made it easier on me than having to just wash and clean 3 bottles over and over, 5 was much easier to handle. 🙂

Then the snacking began. The new bottle prevented air intake and decreased the choking, sputtering and gagging, plus the flow of milk all over out of his mouth, neck and chest, but then it felt like we were going back to eating all the time and having a hard time sleeping. I started researching online and I found a blog about silent reflux. It sounded like what was going on and would explain the intermittent projectile vomiting, the on-going coughing – both without any indication of sickness…the gagging and choking. I made a same day appointment…but the doctor wasn’t so sure, but he scheduled a swallow test. In the meantime the snacking and everything continued. I felt like I should try to put him on a schedule, but he was a newborn still and feed on demand was what I was told over and over. It wasn’t until his therapist had me try to get him to eat faster and he started to projectile vomit again that we were given the green light to a feeding schedule vs the rooting. Apparently silent refluxers may eat to comfort themselves and tend to overeat! This made a huge difference, my son started to actually eat, play then sleep – at two months old we finally started to leave chaos behind and enter into a lifestyle that would allow us to leave the house and get more sleep (we were getting more than his first moth, but his naps were so short still and the nights were still frequent waking as well because he was never full from the snacking habit). Miraculously my baby even started sleeping 6 hours sometimes, and then by 3 months 8 hours at night! This was the same baby that pretty much did NOT sleep his first month of life without major intervention and then not well at all his second month…miraculous!

Around the time that I started bottle-feeding my baby’s oxygen started to desaturate again, the car seat, the changing table, while he napped. This in addition to coughing, gagging, choking. The doctors were not sure what was the direct cause of the desats and he stayed on the caffeine. Grunting in his sleep, cyanosis, and his heart heart had started to drop on top of everything. Things were going to start getting invasive if the doctors couldn’t find an answer soon. On March 1 sent out a prayer alert asking for prayer for quick answers, that night I started to cry as my son slept soundly with oxygen at just 92% for an hour and pale…but then I felt like I should praise God in faith and so I did. Then the next night that song, the one from his birth, came on and I felt like God wanted me to sing that song again, I was tempted to go brush my teeth and pump etc. but I started to sing “There is Power in the Name of Jesus” and to pray, and to declare healing for my baby – and I felt the Spirit move. I prayed hard over every part of him, for his heart, his lungs, his throat, his brain, his mouth, his tongue, his larynx, his esophagus, his trachea, his bronchial tubes – to be under the authority of the Holy Spirit – in subject to God and for there to be complete and utter healing – here is the email I sent out the next day:

Thank you everyone for praying, I’m putting my faith in God for complete and utter healing and deliverance as of last night in, as Laverne says the immaculate name of Jesus Christ. I wanted answers,  but now I just want the upcoming tests to be ones that show this healing and for his pulse oximeter to be redeemed from a device of alarm and fear to be one of joy, a testimony of the power of our Jesus Christ. Pray for me as I rely on God’s strength to keep my shield of faith raised over my household in praise of our God. Thank you Terri for the words of promise in Psalm 91 to pray over my son, God is good and He WILL be massively glorified through Caleb Gabriel. Praise the Lord for His providence, for His healing and for His authority over our every breathe.
For from Him and through Him and for Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever! Amen. —‭Romans‬ ‭11:36

God answers prayer. Caleb’s oxygen started doing well, really well, 96, 97% except one night when I struggled with fear and it was at 94%. The quick answers also began. The green watery poo had come back and I was suspecting the fat content in my milk was low because we had been busy with appointments so I had allowed myself to go long periods without pumping because I was getting enough volume for multiple bottles. I decided to do formula for a few days so i could get my pumping back on track and the fat content back up. I noticed Caleb’s fussiness increase a lot. Then my husband accidentally bought a pro-sensitive formula. I decided to give it a try. We immediately saw a decrease in fussiness and not only fussiness but his grunting while he was eating, plus the raised patch of dry skin between his eyes started to look better and more like just a patch of dry peeling skin versus raised like a wart or something….I decided to buy some liquid alementum and try that for two weeks instead of the pro-senstive…before my eyes I watched the skin between my sons eyebrows turn smooth  in just an afternoon, even though I’d been putting oil on it for weeks…AND his oxygen shot up to 98, 99, 100% at night during deep sleep!!!! PLUS his lips turned red, dark beautiful red! I’ve looked back at past photos and can find some with color in his lips, but most of the time they were pink, or even less than pink sometimes…I had just gotten used to seeing pale lips…my heart breaks when I realize this but then deeply and profoundly rejoices because again GOD KNEW what color lips he gave my son and GOD SAVES and if our GOD IS FOR US WHO CAN BE AGAINST US? Once again God used what looked like a problem with my milk to provide an answer, once again I was floored. There IS Power in the Name of Jesus, let me say it again — there is POWER IN THE NAME OF JESUS, to break EVERY chain!! I immediately started an elimination duet and decided to ask the doctor once again to let Caleb go off the caffeine and to not start a new medication that was already at the pharmacy – but get this had been delayed so that we had to wait to pick it up AFTER the weekend that my husband bought the wrong formula. That’s right. In light of the obvious change linked to diet we got to go off caffeine – cold turkey – no weaning, this is after a .10 ml a week weaning had been scheduled and then postponed. Praise the Lord!

THEN on Sunday the 12th I had determined to meet a friend at her church, it would be the first time Caleb and I went to church since he was born. Another friend Barb had told me she went to another church and I decided I would visit that one the next week with her. Well God had other plans, he had a divine appointment you see for Caleb and I to testify. It is by the blood of the lamb and our testimony that we triumph over the enemy! Caleb was crying and the other church was closer so I decided to go there instead of the one I had planned on, turns out it was a testimony service. Caleb and I had never attended that church before, but I felt like God wanted me to get up. Fear and doubt didn’t want me to so I made sure to get up and be the very first person to go – obey God fast and let the Holy Spirit to the talking (can I get an amen?!). Later during the testimony service the pastor actually stopped and said he had a song to sing for someone, a promise from God. I believe this was a promise for Caleb and I. I had never heard this song before, but now I’m declaring it, not just singing it!

Be not dismayed whatever betide
God will take care of you
Beneath His wings of love abide
God will take care of you

God will take care of you
Through everyday o’er all the way
He will care for you
God will take care of you

Through days of toil when heart doth fail
God will take care of you
When dangers fierce your path assail
God will take care of you

God will take care of you
Through everyday o’er all the way
He will care for you
God will take care of you

God will take care of you
He will
God will take care of you
He will

“So do not fear, for I am with you;
    do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
    I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
Isaiah 41:10

Praise God. Again I say praise Him and rejoice. Dance and sing for joy!

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Caleb Gabriel

THE LORD IS MY STRENGTH
At my baby shower I spoke about my son’s name, Caleb, and how his name will forever be a reminder to me, and to him, to remain wholly devoted to God whether we are entering a promised land or a wilderness. Either way it takes courage to follow God, to fear Him versus fearing our situation. These are things that God used infertility to teach me and the Biblical heritage attached to my son’s name is a reminder of these important lessons. That leaves Gabriel, which means The Lord is my Strength – how beautifully and how powerfully this name has become intertwined into my son’s legacy. During labor I talked about my son Caleb Gabriel and was able to focus on God to be my strength, speaking my son’s name and its meaning over me as the power of the contraction would take over my body. However no one had any idea what was to come at delivery – how this name that my husband chose for our son really in a sense was prophetic because it was the strength of God that saved my baby. It was God, who after my son did not breathe at birth, when the oxygen mask failed, a failed intubation attempt, it was God who finally used an ER doctor who was rushed into Labor and Delivery to successfully get my son to respond during a second attempt at intubation. During this entire process I did not stop calling on the name of God, crying out loud to Him to save my son, declaring that He is good and He is the authority over my son’s life, crying out that every chain was broken in the name of Jesus and crying out to my baby to hang on, mommy was there. It was shocking watching tube after tube being inserted into my baby and tons of people swarming in and around him as my own OBGYN continued to work on me to deliver the placenta and to stitch me up. Time stood still for me, I noticed nothing but my son on the “baby spa” and focused on God saving my baby until finally about 45 minutes later my baby was placed safely in my arms.

PROVIDENCE
Just a few hours before breaking my waters on my due date to send me into labor God placed some verses strongly on my heart. I wrote this to a friend who was praying with me in preparation for labor:

“I was just praying my list of verses and two of them in particular feel like they are extra important for me to be praying:

‘For I will contend with him who contends with you, and I will save your children.’
Isaiah 49:25, NKJV

‘ The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom. To him be glory for ever and ever. Amen.’
2 Tim. 4:18
Out of the two Isaiah 49:25 was most heavily impressed upon my heart. I did not realize how literally this promise would be fulfilled within the next 24 hours…nor did I realize how God had providentially provided to save my baby from low oxygen levels once we got home from the hospital.
Just a few days before God brought my baby into the world I got an Owlet oxygen and heart monitor in the mail that I won on CyberMonday through an Instagram contest sponsored by TempTraq… After 3 consecutive red alarms and low oxygen lasting 15-20 minutes as my son soundly slept early Sunday morning, 8 days after my baby was born we found ourselves in the ER and then the Pediatric ICU with oxygen desaturation episodes. If it hadn’t been for that monitor at home that God provided me with through a contest who knows? Now, with a medical-grade pulse-oximeter it is so wonderful to see great oxygen levels as my baby sleeps in his bassinet.
The Lord is my baby’s strength. When the tubes from delivery put my baby and I behind with feedings due to his sore throat and a resulting poor suck reflex – the Lord was our strength. We overcame, we met a 24 hour deadline for weight gain and no more meconium. My son is brave, he is courageous, God is his strength – these are his foundations: grounded, founded in the Lord. Where does my baby’s help come from? His help comes from the Lord the maker of heaven and earth.

HOODWINKED

So where does that leave things, how am I handling all this? To be honest the question “why” has been on my lips before God. It is ok to ask God why, as long as we are willing to wait for His correction, correcting our perspective to align with his. Often we don’t get an explicit, “x,y,z” answer, but instead the strength to simply trust in Him as our Sovereign Lord and our Good Good Father. I don’t know why we were in the hospital more than home the first 2 weeks of my son’s life, or why he had to get an IV and a lumbar puncture, why he didn’t breathe right away when he was born or why he has to be on caffeine, but what I do know is that God saved my son’s life, God knew there was an oxygen problem and provided, God has blessed me with a reward, a gift, a heritage, a son precious beyond words. My son is actually a very healthy little boy. The hospital ran the gamut of tests on him, ultrasounds, x-rays, he is brave and strong. I have a lot to be thankful for.
Something his pediatrician told me this week has really struck me. He said he wanted to reassure me and give me some good news so he ordered a test that he really didn’t have to that I was worried about. He said this should be a really good time in my life, celebrating the birth of my baby boy. When he said that it struck me, all of these events and tests had really put me in a place of concern to the point that I was spending a lot of my time researching every possible thing about it all to the point that I was worrying about things I didn’t have to worry about. It is natural of course given the circumstances that I would find myself researching things and looking for symptoms – but the bad thing is I was letting it rob me of bliss – of simply enjoying these precious weeks where my baby is so tiny and brand new. I wasn’t resting in the Lord or in His joy, I was being robbed of this. I felt hoodwinked by it all – God has answered my prayers. He has given me a precious son, He has saved His life. God’s got this. I can trust Him with my baby just like I trusted Him with my barren womb. Now it is time for me to enjoy my blessing. Now it is time for me to enjoy my son. We are hidden together in Christ, in The Rock of Ages-The Rock Eternal.

You will keep in perfect peace
those whose minds are steadfast,
because they trust in you.
Trust in the Lord forever,
for the Lord, the Lord himself, is the Rock eternal.
Isaiah 16:3-4

NAME ABOVE ALL NAMES 
There are two songs that now are strongly linked in my memory to the birth and delivery of my son and interestingly enough they both have to do with names. Just as my son’s first and middle name have become very significant testimonies, there is another name that stands above it all – God’s name. I have an entire playlist that played on repeat during my labor – but there is one song that sticks out to me starkly – it brings me back to those moments of thanking God for the contraction, accepting the contraction, and relying on God’s strength to get me through. Interestingly I only had a vague knowledge of the song when I added it – really only it’s name and the images of Time Square – not the song itself, but the sound of it fit the mood I was going for. Now, however, it is part of my story, part of my son’s story. There is truly No Other Name. The second song I sang as a prayer out loud as I begged God for my son’s life at his birth, There is Power in the Name of JESUS to Break EVERY Chain! Amen.

Naomi’s Baby Story

I told my baby story at my shower – I didn’t know if I’d every have a baby shower, and I’m so thankful to God that I did. I hope you find the story of my journey through infertility encouraging to you no matter if you face infertility or not. We will all face something that feels crippling or overwhelming at some point in our life. We are all busy with the building of our household whether it has children in it or not – who will you trust with the building?

http://www.freeimages.com/photo/blob-with-a-vengeance-1168817

Vengeance in the Wilderness

Even when we walk faithfully with God in the wilderness, the wilderness is still a hard place to be. Darkness and confusion seemingly surround us and we are being tested and refined to live by faith. One of the hardest things to do in the wilderness is to resist the temptation to take vengeance into our own hands. In the wilderness when others hurt us it is compounded because of the pain we are already going through. To love, to forgive, and to spare in spite of what a situation or a person says or does takes the strength and the love of God. It is too great in our weakness for us to do this on our own. It requires supernatural, it requires faith. The only way to give grace is to learn grace, and learning grace is hard because it is undeserved. Having mercy is hard because it is undeserved.

It may also feel just downright wrong. The enemy will try to get us to believe so many lies to justify our hatred, our anger or our vengeance. What we have to remember is that no one is “getting away” with anything. When we exercise love and forgiveness we first must exercise faith in God. It requires for us to trust Him. The Lord’s Prayer begins with two very important words: “Our Father”. God loves His adopted, we are His children, and His love for us is more fierce and more passionate than the love of any parent–as hard as that can be to imagine. We are precious in His sight. When we choose to love and to have grace in a situation where it is not deserved we are choosing to trust God with the situation. We are releasing the people and the circumstances to the authority of God. We are reserving the right for justice over to God. He is perfect and we can trust Him with that.

Even in our daily lives this is difficult. It doesn’t take extreme wilderness circumstances to have to face difficulty in releasing anger to God in exchange for love. However, with the help of the Holy Spirit we can do it-and we must do it. God commands us to love our enemies and to pray for those who persecute us. He commands us to not keep a record of wrongs. He commands us to forgive. He knows this is to hard for us without His help – and He longs to fill us with the Holy Spirit in order to perfect His love in and through us.

Think about David in 1 Samuel 26. Talk about being in a wilderness on the account of another! Filled with jealousy and bent on preserving his line as the rulers of Israel, Saul was in pursuit of David’s life, acting in direct defiance of God’s will. David ended up in the wilderness, hiding out as a fugitive because of this. In 1 Samuel 26 David and a companion stood over Saul as he slept in his camp with the perfect opportunity to kill Saul with his own spear. His companion even offered to do it on David’s behalf so the blood wouldn’t be “on David’s hands”. David absolutely refused however. What if you are in a situation where the stars align perfectly for you to get back at someone who has hurt you and even to not have to do the dirty work yourself? Would you consider that to be divine providence for vengeance or would you steadfastly reserve vengeance for the Lord – biting your tongue, refusing to harm the other person in any way…? Furthermore David had been directly anointed by Samuel to be the next King of Israel – with witnesses, and the people loved him! In the eyes of man David could have walked away from this with every justification necessary–but not in the eyes of God. David understood that vengeance belonged to the Lord. In I Samuel 24 David had spared Saul’s life. then in Is Samuel 25 David was tempted to execute vengeance for himself and his men against Nabal, but God used Abigail to stop David with wisdom and then God executed the justice on David’s behalf. Then in I Samuel 26 David faced another perfect opportunity to take Saul’s life. By this time He’d learned it didn’t matter if two, if a hundred perfect opportunities to execute vengeance presented themselves, even if was seen as justice in the eyes of men – vengeance belonged to the Lord.

There was a time in my own life when I was wrapped up in bitterness, hatred and anger, so deep and so wide that it took the supernatural help from God to love those that had betrayed me and to forgive the unforgivable. But God commanded me to do it and He planted a love in my heart that I did not and could not have mustered on my own. In addition to helping to forgive, God also manifested restoration and healing. Just because we forgive someone and have love and grace doesn’t mean we have (or should have) a restored relationship with them. However, if it is God’s will (well really it is, but if the other person(s) is in resistance to the will of God it may not be possible)…Restoration it is so delightful, a wonderful gift from the Lord! God desires to heal each of us. To make brand new that which has been tattered and torn. No situation, no wilderness is beyond the hope and the help of God – Miraculous, Wondrous, Wonderful God. Our Father. Trust in Him. Release vengeance to Him. He is faithful.

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