You are the Great Wrestler Oh Lord, You wrestle with the sinner’s soul. You don’t grow weary, You don’t give up, Your passion, Your might, Your fury are incredible. Who can stand against You? What weapon of darkness can prevail against You? You wear victory like a crown and by Your touch we are healed. The souls You have secured rejoice, the mighty waters roar, the earth trembles, the heavens declare, Who is Mighty like our God, Who but He is worthy of our praise? Majestic King, Mighty Warrior, Prince of Peace. You reconcile your enemies unto yourself with the blood of Your Son. You call us up from the dead, You place a new heart within us and Your glory upon us. Praise Him together, clap your hands, break forth in song. Worship Him all you nations, shout His name, Victory has come, VICTORY HAS COME!
God will take care of you
Beneath His wings of love abide
Through everyday o’er all the way
He will care for you
God will take care of you
God will take care of you
When dangers fierce your path assail
God will take care of you
Through everyday o’er all the way
He will care for you
God will take care of you (1)
As a newborn Caleb was introduced to commercial cow’s milk formula at just 6 weeks of age due to an undetected tongue tie.
Caleb projectile vomited for the first time upon being given caffeine in the pediatric intensive care unit just over a week postpartum. Projectile and excessive vomiting continued at home.
As a newborn the pediatrician told me egg whites in particular were a common allergy for babies, removing egg whites did make a difference in how much Caleb screamed. That was of course until we started to try to bottle feed, thank God for the special needs bottle!
On February 24, 2017 Caleb’s general pediatrician recommended I buy wheat baby cereal and put it in Caleb’s bottles to help his food stay down in his tummy to try to stop the vomiting and silent reflux. When we got home from getting the cereal as I parked the truck a very strong feeling of dread came all over my body. I sat there for a moment analyzing this feeling and thinking about the box of wheat baby cereal we had just went through what felt like climbing a mountain to get. I decided to listen to my God-given mother’s intuition and not add it to the bottles…
On March 15, 2017, Caleb’s Pediatric Gastroenterologist (G.I.) recognized immediately, before anyone else, that Caleb was allergic to corn, within just a few minutes of meeting. He also told me he didn’t think Neocate would work as I had just started the trial the night before. He was right about both!
Between 3 and 5 months of age, Caleb had a constant scaly red patch of skin between his eyes and suffered from silent reflux.
Caleb had a series of x-ray studies done of his esophagus and the opening to his stomach in addition to another series he had been through in February for analyzing his swallow.
At first Caleb’s body accepted Ready to Feed Alimentum (RTF Alimentum), a highly processed commercial formula created by hydrolyzing (pre-digesting) cow’s milk and the red patch and reflux went away…but then they came back and worse. His reflux got to the point that it would come up into his sinuses and out his nose! It was really bad.
In May 2017 I credit God for helping me to “win the lottery” by getting a diet for myself that worked with Caleb so he could get away from formula, which was obviously not working, and back on his mother’s milk.
On May 25, 2017 Caleb tested positive for wheat, but just a trace positive. If I had been giving him wheat protein every bottle every few hours day and night for 13 weeks as originally instructed to do…that could have been an anaphylactic test result. The more the body is exposed to an allergen, the more sensitive it becomes and the more extreme the immune response. Praise God for our gift of intuition.
During the summer of 2017, since Caleb had tested negative to pork, chicken and cashews I invested in the highest quality corn free soy free local pork and chicken, organically raised and freshly butchered. I also bought organic cashews online and dutifully soaked and dehydrated them…vomiting and hives from the pork, bad poo poo from the chicken and terrible crazy diarrhea that just would not go away from the cashews…Except these symptoms wouldn’t start right away so it would make it confusing. I would think a food was working and after a week add a new food but then all of a sudden symptoms were happening. He was developing new allergies at a delayed rate as I introduced new food proteins into my diet!
Sometime during that summer I also tried to add chocolate back into my diet, organic dark chocolate of course! Hives. Chocolate was out for mom.
In June or July 2017 I found that I was able to give Caleb, without an issue, egg yolk. Although he gagged on it if it was not watered into a liquid (I now know because of his tongue tie which was finally discovered on July 23, 2017 – a HUGE answer to prayer).
On July 26 I wrote “Allergy update: I tried to eat one cherry and one grape cause I love cherries, he got hives, too early too fast. He is gagging and unable to eat the thick baby food due to the tongue tie so we are going to stick with just broth and breastmilk for awhile longer and I will remain restricted. I also need to avoid chicken I found in addition to the pork, wheat, egg whites, dairy, corn, and salicylates. BUT his stools have improved as long as I keep allergens out and broth going in, he had a thick, creamy and a few “seeds” this past week (thank you LORD). I did try some sheep yogurt after which made sour and runny again, so I just need to be patient, long suffering, trusting, praying and PRAISING the Lord to get us through.”
Sometime in August or September 2017 Caleb had a vomiting reaction to egg yolk. I didn’t realize it was the egg yolk at first as it had been a safe food for us for awhile. When I re-trialed a tiny amount though, the same thing plus diarrhea! Egg yolk was now out too!
As mentioned in my “Healing a Tongue Tie” blog, the Lord provided a prayer team of people to carry Caleb and I through. I got this message right when I needed it in August 2017, a message from a very powerful prayer warrior named Laverne:
“Thank you Lord for Caleb. Thank you Lord for Caleb this child shall be great before You and shall do exploits in Your name. I decree that no sickness or plague will come upon Caleb, in the name of Jesus. I decree soundness, health and wholeness into the spirit, soul and body of Caleb, in the name of Jesus. I speak wholeness, soundness and perfection into the heart, eyes, ears Skin, bones, teeth of Caleb, in the name of Jesus. Let the respiratory, digestive and circulatory systems of little Caleb be normal, strong and healthy, in the name of Jesus. I bind every negative reports from whoever in the name of Jesus. Lord, fill the parents with Your joy, glory, peace and love in the name of Jesus. Lord, keep your covering over this precious child that you love so dearly thank you Lord for hearing this prayer amen. Will keep praying especially over Caleb food. Naomi, keep asking the Holy Spirit for guidance on what to feed little Caleb. Blessing upon you and your family! Love Laverne! Hallelujah hallelujah it is well with little Caleb!”
I knew Laverne was right. I needed to ask God for specific guidance. I needed to know very specifically from Him what foods and how to prepare those foods so my son could be blessed by food, not cursed. Sure we could have just let things get to the point where invasive medical procedures began again, but I didn’t want to get there. So I approached God’s throne of grace, petitioning Him for His help daily…and just like He led the way for the tongue tie to be revealed He began to lead the way for how to get Caleb out of this mess. He tenderly and gracefully addressed our needs for health by providing answers for not only our physical needs, but also by providing answers for our mental and spiritual health as well, even with things that were way off my radar as I was very focused working with my son’s therapists each week and on trying to make progress with food. In fact the answers from God came into our lives so intertwined together that the physical I feel is inseparable from the mental or the spiritual answers. We needed them all.
My first clue came through two free DNA stool analyses for Caleb showing a comparison that revealed how vitally important it was for Caleb to have prebiotics (foods that feed probiotics) in his diet since we were relying so heavily on lamb stock and fat. Caleb needed his breastmilk sugars and he needed alternatives as well, complex fibers or carbohydrates of some sort. This was all very encouraging as my mother’s intuition had always told me how important my breastmilk was for my baby and now I had another confirmation of that. I had been struggling with my intuition since some well intentioned women were encouraging me to wean my son, but I just didn’t feel like that was what God wanted me to do. Getting that confirmation through those tests were good for Caleb and I both mentally and relationally as well since breastmilk continued to bond us at a deep level even if it were through a pump and bottle, we were trying back to breast efforts still as well.
God didn’t stop there, His answers continued to come and they came big as we journeyed up and out of the hole we had fallen into…but it did take some time and there were discouraging patches along the way, like in December 2017, right after his first birthday, Caleb ate a crumb of a wheat pretzel. This resulted in mucus for poop. Things kind of stayed discouraging until March when we made some major progress only to have afterwards a step back again. The ebb and flow was real. Like the pushing stage of labor all over again. I was ready for the birth of our deliverance.
On April 2018 after getting some more patch allergy testing I was nervous to try the ones that he tested negative for because of how Caleb had developed new allergies the last time I followed that road. I knew in my mother’s heart there had to be a way to address the root issue of all of this! I didn’t want to create new allergies but I needed a solution, my son needed a variety of foods for a sound nutritional diet. A solution that would feel right to my mommy’s heart. I needed that answer to prayer. I still needed God’s continued guidance. Thankfully juicing vegetables really became a major help and another stepping stone up and out for us. I began introducing all sorts of foods via the juicer which Caleb could swallow without gagging and they were easy and quick for him to digest. I juiced all kinds of veggies to get a power-shot of energy and vitamins into Caleb’s body and to help expand his diet. I started to try to add coconut oil to Caleb’s veggie juice and at first it was fine, but eventually on July 18, 2018 Caleb reacted with vomiting and again with a retrial. I was able to continue the juicing without the coconut oil. But my cry stayed before the throne of the Almighty God.
Summer 2018 rolled around and after relying heavily on lamb stock to supplement breastmilk Caleb’s body became ultra sensitive to meat and meat stock by getting hives from leftovers or from meat and meat stock that was cooked too long. I had started cooking a fresh thing of meat and its stock every night in a dutch oven and then flash freezing his meals every night for the next day and then defrosting for every meal in order to avoid hives. It was a lot to do every day! At the very same time I felt convicted by God to start trying to get out and make other mom friends and Caleb needed to start making friends too. My response to this was “how on earth am I supposed to have time to do that Lord?” I still needed to pump, I needed to do all that cooking, I needed to clean bottles and maintain as much order in my house as possible, and adding “social-time” in didn’t really feel like it was something I could swing or even a priority for that matter! However, the conviction persisted so I obeyed God and reached out to another mom I had met online and who also was following a lot of the same natural food ideas for her children too. She was also a Christian and a military spouse. We could relate on so many levels. She was another Godsend. God began to address mine and Caleb’s health by giving me a friend who was a blessing beyond blessings. Someone who could understand me and who was already there and actually well ahead of me in the trenches. She was another mother-warrior fighting for her children on her knees in prayer and on her bare feet in the kitchen. I just have to take a moment to say I am barefoot and proud. I wear my baby on my hip as a prized jewel. Our babies are precious beyond any paper degree or monetary income. If and when I can I will gladly pour myself out as a mother at home in the kitchen, changing diapers, kissing yayas (Spanish slang for owies) and cleaning up the 10-millionth mess of the day. God bless mother’s of all walks of life, working or stay-at-home, but there is no shame in staying at home.
Laverne’s prayer was coming to fruition as my new friend introduced me to a fermentation system called Pickl-It. I had seen a brief improvement in Caleb’s situation when in March of 2017 I was able to work up to getting 2-3 tablespoons of commercial unpasteurized sauerkraut juice in him per meal and had been able to introduce a lot of food proteins with no problem, pretty much all vegetables (this was before I started juicing). However, we experienced a major setback when following instructions from some certified GAPS professionals online, I tried a fermented garlic brine recipe they provided and personally guided me through. I used a starter and fermented it for about a week. Caleb really like the brine and wanted a lot of it, but then his poor baby mouth broke out in some sort of reaction causing him to have a painful tongue and mouth. I had to pull that and the kraut juice. We struggled to get back to where we had been and although Caleb had been able to eat broccoli with 2-3 tablespoons of saurkraut juice he was unable to without…this was a clue, he needed ferments, but I needed a better solution, for us the mason jar even with a fancy lid didn’t cut it, we needed something else.
THANK GOD FOR PICKL-IT.
Pickl-It. Anaerobic fermentation. Pickl-It garlic cannot even be consumed until it has fermented for 6 months, saurkraut, 3 months (most ferments are moved to a fridge after being on counter for up to a week). Thankfully beet kvass took only only 21 days to prepare. Caleb’s body easily accepted EVERY Pickl-It fermented foodstuff. Pickl-It beet kvass was our game changer. Caleb and I were both able to easily add every food protein his body had not had a reaction to with ease, as long as it was fermented in the Pickl-It jar. Rice, lentils, potatoes, and so much more. I started to ferment everything, even safe foods from before like rutabaga and asparagus to maximize nutrients. Fermentation makes all foods easier to digest and the vitamins and nutrients more bio-available as I’ve learned from reading information from the founder, Kathleen. Her son recovered from having early-childhood schizophrenia and autism…because of prayer and Pickl-It (2). Kathleen has also shared with her customers that she was unexpectedly rid of her severe cat allergy through Pickl-It fermented foods! The Pickl-It jar is truly airtight as opposed to the mason jar. This creates a higher quality ferment with a higher ratio of lactic acid bacteria versus acetic acid (acetic acid burns).
I should mention that in September 2018, shortly after starting Pickl-It, I introduced home-rendered cow’s ghee. I must not have strained it well enough resulting in traces of cow’s milk protein present in the ghee because Caleb got mucus for poop along with a trace of blood. I withdrew the cow’s milk protein and kept on focusing on what I knew worked, Pickl-It foods and goat ghee plus grass-fed lamb, bison and beef.
On September 28, 2017 I got another clue about Caleb’s physical needs after he got terrible stools from scraping a bowl I used to make fat bombs with honey…I re-trialed by increasing fat alone and got the same results. Ironically in my quest to get as much fattening foods into Caleb as possible too much fat caused problems too! I thanked the Lord for showing me everything I needed to know to custom tailor Caleb’s diet just for his body.
As Caleb and I continued to add more and more foods with Pickl-It. We finally began to feel like life could be a little bit more normal. Still I hated knowing that if I messed up on timing for ferments or if I made a mistake with a staple that we could be left too short on food. Then another friend shared with me a pastor online. She said “God will send you to the right sermon”. I ended up watching several of his sermons, one of them about spiritual warfare. At the end of the sermon the pastor tells about a time that a mom of a four year old boy brought her son to him for prayer because the boy had a LOT of allergies. The pastor followed his simple method for deliverance using spiritual warfare and the little boy went home and was completely delivered from all allergies! I was telling my sister about this on the drive to her house after Caleb and I flew down a few weeks ago and then lo and behold the very first sermon at her church in her little town of only 3,000 people was specifically about the same type of spiritual warfare that the pastor had talked about online, also there had been a sermon recently with the same exact sermon topic at my church in Alaska. I was wondering, “Lord, what are you trying to tell me?”.
The Spiritual. I decided to go visit the pastor that preached the sermon at my sister’s church. He admitted to me that the sermon was out of his comfort zone but agreed to pray for Caleb. He invited me to pray over Caleb too after he was done. I did. I prayed. I followed the advice from the sermon I had watched online and I repented for any authority I had given to anything else when Caleb was in the womb. I had struggled with fear and anxiety about my baby’s well-being throughout my pregnancy because it had taken me 5 years and 3 IUIs to get pregnant. I had a dream the week Caleb was born that a big scary fast black spider crawled onto my belly while I was sleeping and pierced through into my baby, i hit “it away” so hard that I woke myself up by slapping my belly… I repented for any way that this fear and anxiety could have given authority to any other spirit than the Holy Spirit and I prayed for the Holy Spirit alone to have authority in my son’s body and for him to be healed from all his allergies, in the name and by the blood of Jesus! Preparing for my meeting with the pastor I also went through some prayers ahead of time sent to me at the perfect time by another friend without me asking her, they were dealing with topics that the spiritual warfare sermons I had watched online dealt with too.
That spider in my dream the week Caleb was born might have pierced him but Jesus was pierced and hung onto the tree so that Caleb could be delivered from all plans or works of the enemy. (see 1 John 3:8)
After this prayer time with the pastor I decided to follow the advice I had received from some of Caleb’s doctors to periodically retrial some of his allergens. We went home and I, in faith, ordered some pork, dairy, chicken and eggs to trial, I tried ordering the highest quality possible. I planned to slowly start trialing his allergen foods beginning Saturday. Well we didn’t make it that long. Friday morning I was curling my hair and overheard my niece tattling to her mom/my sister that Caleb was eating her Cap’n Crunch which she eats with cow’s milk!…I literally skidded on the wood floors trying to get to the dining room fast enough, but I was too late Caleb was sitting on the dining room table with highly processed cereal dye-colored cow’s milk running down his chin! I decided instead of running out to buy activated charcoal pills to wait and see what happened since the pastor and I had prayed over Caleb for him to be healed of his allergies with only the Holy Spirit in control. About an hour after eating highly processed cow’s milk infused with Cap’n Crunch he had a beautiful brown stool. He had not had a healthy stool with cow’s milk since he was a 3 months old! So I started feeling a bit braver and while we were at a car dealership for my sister in Louisville I decided to let him have some Dove mint hot chocolate in water (his first direct exposure to chocolate), then at a family fun center later he was refusing his banana I had brought but we were both hungry so I let him have some tater tots, barbecue sauce and a tiny bit of my sister’s Diet Coke…healthy poops continued!! So the next morning I actually let him drink cow’s milk, eat butter, and a little bit of egg and it was fine! He was not reacting! Then he had bacon and chicken! He has now trialed all previous allergens and so far so good! Praise God.
Deliverance. My son has been delivered. He still has some sensitivities that I have observed from letting him eat too many unfermented factory-processed foods, but he CAN eat them on occasion if he has to and will not have an over-reactive immune response in his intestines or otherwise. Pickl-It began as an answered prayer for Kathleen and her son, then it became our answer to prayer too. We are now successfully even doing Pickl-It Sourdough, pancakes, rolls, and even sourdough banana bread. Amazing. I’m getting ready to make my first batch of sourdough cinnamon rolls, hopefully they come out good! My baby will get to have an actual cake on his third birthday. Hallelujah. We have waited a long time for this. I can even look forward to making sourdough pizza with fermented veggies and fermented marinara sauce along with his favorite meats!
We are on our way out. We have left allergies behind and in Jesus name we will leave all sensitivities behind too. I continue to claim perfectly beautiful poop as God intended for my son to have at the beginning in Jesus’ name. God fights for my son. He sees inside Caleb’s body. He knows what my son’s body needs. I listen for His answers to prayer. He leads me to friends, to doctors, to therapists and to pastors, He leads me where we need to go. He is the Good Shepherd.
My body has been blessed as well. I don’t even have to wash my face and my skin is still clear and beautiful. I have naturally regular cycles for the first time in my life and the debilitating painful menstrual cycles are gone. If I eat too many potatoes the pain and the acne start to come back. These are clues, my body talking to me that my health too is found in a big way through anaerobic fermented food. I have faith that I will be able to conceive again, naturally this time and this time I will be ready. I will be drinking kefir every day and consuming fermented foods every regular meal , Lord-willing. I will bless and honor my body with the food it eats and the bodies of my children with God-honoring foods.
God didn’t just lead me to fermented foods, He led me to Him, He led me to perfectly matched Christian friends and He provided amazing medical professionals to support Caleb’s body with therapy and sound advice. We are made up of body, mind and spirit. I truly believe that we cannot attain true health without the Holy Spirit ruling supreme over our members physical, mental and spiritual. In Christ we are truly balanced. In Him we can truly thrive. My pastor in Alaska taught last summer that we reflect God not only with our physical image but also in that we are tri-part beings made up of the physical, the mind (emotion, imagination and intellect) and the spirit. He taught that it was important for our physical bodies and our minds to come under the authority of the Holy Ghost in order to fulfill God’s plans for us. For Caleb and I, I feel like God’s plan on our lives includes a requirement for a healthy body and a healthy mind under that leadership of the Holy Spirit. For example, my infertility was directly getting in the way of God’s calling on my life to be a mother but I now know that what I eat has a lot to do with how fertile I am! I strongly feel that Caleb and I are called to be as healthy as we possibly can mentally, physically and spiritually as an act of worship toward the One Who gave us life and our body to begin with.
How can God help you today? What are you facing that He can set you free from? He may do it miraculously all at once at the altar…or He may tell you to make a new friend and to try a fermentation system in addition to prayer like he did for me. However it may look like for you, trust Him. Seek Him. Cry out to Him. Bless Him.
“And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.” Revelation 12:11
“But thus saith the LORD, Even the captives of the mighty shall be taken away, and the prey of the terrible shall be delivered: for I will contend with him that contendeth with thee, and I will save thy children.” Isaiah 49:25
1. Songwriters: Jeremy Bose / Tiffany Arbuckle Lee
2. Read Kathleen’s (Pickl-It Founder) Story here:
Rehabilitation from tongue tie can take time. For many, true healing requires a team of people to support them at a physical, spiritual and relational level.
For some, one of the hardest things to heal from a tongue tie is the trauma. Between my son’s traumatic birth, the far reaching negative affects of the tongue tie on our life including his hospitalization in the PICU at 7 days of age, and all of the food reactions due to the medical damage and the resulting limited diet that my son and I have been on now for over a year I have had a pretty traumatic introduction to motherhood (I am still pumping breastmilk for him so my diet has been deeply affected as well). At first I didn’t recognize the trauma for what it was but have since been able to identify the trauma as well as some of the triggers. When my son first advanced past gagging on contact with a spoon and started gagging with food in his mouth during occupational therapy I would sometimes have to leave the room because my heart would begin to race and the fear and the panic felt like a wave hitting me out of nowhere. This was in a safe environment under the care of a therapist that helps with feeding and gagging all of the time. This is trauma. Mournful tears welling up uncontrollably just from driving by the hospital where Caleb was born a few weeks before his first birthday is trauma. My son’s first birthday was a particularly hard trigger for me because it is a natural time of reflection on everything that you and your baby experienced together during their first year and the trauma from everything that was taken from us by misguided medical and nutritional care came to head in the weeks leading up to his birthday. I have joked in passing with my son’s occupational therapist that I needed a therapist too…and I actually am getting ready to go visit a Christian counselor to help me even further as I pursue complete healing and rehabilitation in the Lord. I am really thankful that Dr. Ghaheri, an ENT that specializes in tongue tie, speaks to the emotional impact that tongue tie can have on both mothers and babies.
“Mom has an inherent instinct to nourish her child, and a disruption in that desire can have profound psychological impacts.” Dr. Bobby Ghaheri (1)
I can attest to this statement one hundred percent, not only in the context of tongue tie inhibiting the ability to breastfeed but the detrimental affect it has had on my ability to feed my son in general. Our problems transferred from the breast to the bottle and then to solids not just with gagging but picky eating and texture aversions as well. While we have a lot to be thankful for and God has been so good to us, this struggle to do the most basic thing: to nourish my son, certainly has taken a toll on me as a person and on the quality of life that our family experiences. Something as simple as sharing our regular meals together as a family has become a mountain. Praise God that we can say to that mountain move and it will move…and believe me, I am telling that mountain MOVE! in Jesus name and I know it will!
I am supposed to be able to instinctually nourish and care for my baby with my body starting in utero and then at birth with breastmilk and tongue tie has the capacity to attack a mom in this arena (remember not all tongue tied babies have trouble nursing). When a mother is attacked in this way so is her baby, at their most vulnerable time in life and at their most basic instinct at birth, which is to suckle at their mother’s breast for nourishment, as Dr. Ghaheri valiantly points out for infants:
“I maintain that babies who have difficulty with breastfeeding are actively in distress, similar to the abandoned baby. A basic human function (like parental proximity during sleep OR breastfeeding easily) becomes disrupted, and cortisol levels can rise…It’s time that medical professionals start to look at breastfeeding as an important developmental process rather than a stair step to getting a baby to grow physically…We need to focus on the neurologic and psychiatric well being of infants in addition to their moms. Our current system is failing the dyad from the emotional aspect, and we need to examine what happens as a result of that failure.” Dr. Ghaheri (1)
Taking Off the Trauma
Earlier this year God revealed to me that part of my continued feeding struggle with Caleb was indeed linked to trauma. He showed me that Caleb had a mask of trauma around his mouth and face. I asked God what I should do. He told me “Take it off”. God’s power can do that and He is leading me in the charge to stand against trauma in the name of Jesus and in defense of my son’s well being. A weighty thing about being a mother or a father is that God has given us spiritual authority over our children and with the Holy Spirit residing in me I can be led by God to bless my child and be given power and authority to remove things like trauma from my baby’s face, from his mouth, from his mind and from his heart. Praise the Lord, my GOD is BIGGER.
I also praise the Lord with all my heart that He has provided for Caleb a team of people that respect me, respect my intuition and decisions for my son, and who take tongue tie seriously. As I mentioned in my last two posts, we went through a lot of medical professionals before discovering the tie and while many were truly kind and caring some of them were very degrading. What makes matters worse for many tongue tie mothers is that they face this kind of degradation not only in the doctor’s office but away from it as well, even from people they should be able to trust at their most vulnerable times. I have found that being around people that act from a place of misunderstanding and lack of empathy compounds the trauma I experience and increases the curve for healing. I noticed a few months back that when I leave my son’s Occupational Therapy session that I feel uplifted, positive and happier because just talking to his therapist each week reminds me that I am not alone, she sees what I see. She is so valuable not only for my son’s physical rehabilitation but also for my emotional healing. Surrounding yourself with therapists, medical professionals and people in general that are of the same mind helps to heal trauma. I also thank God for the godly friends that He has given me, friends that love me and who have not dismissed me or my experiences, who have been there for me and even those that God has been so kind to provide that can relate because of their similar experiences. Praise God.
Healing of course must be supported physically as well. That is where our “dream team” shines. Through both the first and second frenectomy Caleb’s improvements have been aided along by his valuable team of medical professionals that God has assembled for my precious little one. Having an experienced release provider in our same city was a Godsend as well as my son’s physical therapist, occupational therapist (who also is his cranial sacral therapist), and his chiropractor all of whom have helped Caleb to physically be set free from tongue tie. I also thank the Lord for the primary care doctor God provided for Caleb who not only takes his gut health very seriously but who also encouraged me to face my fears and get Caleb’s tongue tie revised when I was having doubts.
We visited Caleb’s holistic dentist recently for his regular check up and she got really serious when we were talking about Caleb’s occupational therapy. She told me that Caleb’s occupational therapist had changed his life for the better in ways we can’t even begin to imagine and that she is having to regularly work with adults who did not get such early intervention and have suffered a lot of the consequences of an untreated tongue tie, untreated tongue thrust, sleep apnea, etc. I truly agree with Caleb’s dentist. Caleb’s occupational therapist has dedicated herself to the hard work of addressing his ultra-sensitive gag reflexes, his food trauma, his low facial muscle tone, his highly uncoordinated suck-swallow-breathe pattern, tongue thrust and more through occupational and cranial sacral therapy techniques which have been a life-changing blessing.
Caleb didn’t roll until 8 months, just after his frenum was first lasered which included multiple chiropractor visits. He also began climbing the stairs within 24 hours of his first or second chiropractic visit. As mentioned in past posts Caleb felt like a loose noodle immediately after his first frenectomy because of the tightness the restricted oral tissues caused in his body. The tongue muscles stretch surprisingly far into the neck, and tongue tie has a surprising affect on the body via fascia. These muscle and fascia tensions pull on bones and muscles in ways that contribute to imbalance. I do believe that the combination of a frenectomy, physical therapy and chiropractic adjustments are what helped Caleb finally roll at 8 months. He didn’t stay on the ground much longer after that though ’cause he also started walking just a month or so later at an early 9 months 3 weeks! Go Caleb!
God knew that Caleb needed physical therapy early on and he provided this therapist in Caleb’s life through a special connection. The early intervention has made a huge difference in the quality of Caleb’s life. One of the very first interventions was the introduction of a Nuk pacifier to help him strengthen his facial muscles (Caleb was identified as having low facial muscle tone by both his PT and OT). Caleb could not use a soothie because it so easily fell out of his mouth and if he did manage to keep it in he would swallow so much air from using it that he would scream and scream. The Nuk also helped shape his palate which was identified as being high-arched by the lactation consultant very early-on. Since his tongue had not been in proper contact with his palate in utero the palate formed wrong and the Nuk was able to do what Caleb’s tongue couldn’t do, make full contact. When we finally made it to the release dentist just shy of 8 months he praised the fact that we had been using the Nuk because of it’s help to the palate formation. A person’s palate continues to grow and develop through toddlerhood, a tongue is supposed to play the most vital part in shaping it correctly, that is why so many kids and adults that have tongue tie also have sleep-disordered breathing (apnea) and/or nasal airways. Many of these kids and adults end up having to get nasal surgeries to try to open airways and reduce sinus infections, adenoids removed, use of a CPAP machine at night and more. Caleb’s physical therapist also addressed his torticollis at a very early age and supported the dentist’s frenectomy by supporting proper positioning of the jaw and helping to both address the tone of the tongue base as well as release the tight base of his posterior tongue. The physical therapists also spend a lot of time working on Caleb’s hips because just like “what you get at the lips you get at the hips” is applicable during birth it is true for babies while eating as well. A tight mouth and a tight pelvis go hand in hand. Releasing the pelvis helps release the mouth. Vestibular insecurity was something else that both Caleb’s PT and OT identified and have worked on with him using various swings and physical maneuvers to strengthen him in this area since he was a late roller and also experienced high cortisol levels and fight or flight throughout infancy due to the tongue tie and invasive medical treatments which resulted in traumatic food reactions on top of the choking and gagging etc. that he already experienced from the ties. There is a lot more that both Caleb’s occupational and physical therapists have accomplished for Caleb through early intervention, more than I will ever know I am sure. As one of my son’s physical therapists puts it “the baby’s mouth is the first place a child learns motor skills, and sensory skills. If this is compromised due to positioning problems or timing, or strength problems it can have an impact on further development” (2).
And the Spiritual: Ka-POW! Take that Tongue Tie.
In addition to a team of medical professionals that take me, my son and his tongue tie seriously God also provided for Caleb and I a prayer team that I could turn to for help even when I felt I couldn’t turn to anyone else. I have been at the precipice of hopelessness in our medical or feeding situation, I email this team and within 24 hours, boom God moves. I can never thank God enough for them or their prayers. The prayers from this anointed team have been critically important to Caleb’s healing and victory over all that the enemy has thrown at him already in his first 21 months (Caleb’s guardian angel sure hasn’t been bored, I can say that for sure!). From God healing Caleb’s oxygen saturation issues before things got even more invasive to Him giving one of the member’s a vision of Caleb with Jesus standing over him with His hand on Caleb’s chest, protecting his oxygen and airways before the healing…I should mention I was praying specifically for his oxygen that morning and I hadn’t talked to this member since before Caleb was born and that afternoon she gets a vision and emails me. God is amazing. God has given these prayer team members words of command from God, words of encouragement, all very timely in miraculous ways. I am in complete awe still at these experiences, humbled and so thankful.
Jesus Heals a Tongue Tie
While Jesus may not have healed Caleb’s tongue tie in the same manner that he did for the man in the gospel of Mark…I can truly say Jesus has healed my son’s tongue tie. If it were not for Him I would never have known Caleb was tongue tied to begin with! If it wasn’t for Him I would not have won the Owlet oxygen monitor on Instagram right before Caleb was born, if it was not for him…the list goes on and on (See my post Dayenu for more of the great things God has done for Caleb). The Holy Spirit victoriously led me to find out about a generational birth defect that has gone undetected for almost one hundred years on my mother’s side (See my post Great and Hidden Things). I just thank and Praise the Lord everyday that He is has been there with me through it all, encouraging me, sustaining me and guiding Caleb and I up out of the pit. He was there every time Caleb’s medical grade oxygen alarm went off in the middle of the night, He was there as Caleb continued to not sleep day after day after week and He alone understands the severity of sleep deprivation I was facing as I began to cry out for help only to be misunderstood by multiple people. He was there every time Caleb choked, gagged, or projectile vomited and He is the Cleft in the Rock Who loves me more than life itself. I hide myself in Him. I hide myself in His love for me and in His love for others. He will contend with those that contend with me and HE will save my children. In Jesus’ name, so be it.
“And again, departing from the coasts of Tyre and Sidon, he came unto the sea of Galilee, through the midst of the coasts of Decapolis. And they bring unto him one that was deaf, and had an impediment in his speech; and they beseech him to put his hand upon him. And he took him aside from the multitude, and put his fingers into his ears, and he spit, and touched his tongue; And looking up to heaven, he sighed, and saith unto him, Ephphatha, that is, Be opened. And straightway his ears were opened, and the string of his tongue was loosed, and he spake plain.” Mark 7:31-35
Blessed be the name of the LORD.
1. BREASTFEEDING PROBLEMS CAN AFFECT THE EMOTIONAL HEALTH OF MOM AND BABY
2. Considering Breastfeeding/Early Infant Feeding a Developmental Milestone by Karen Adams
3. Tongue-Tied: How a Tiny String Under the Tongue Impacts Nursing, Speech, Feeding, and More by Dr. Richard Baxter
4. When Did It Become OK to Stop Listening to Mothers?
5. BREASTFEEDING DIFFICULTY AND FAMILY SUPPORT
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)!?
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)
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.
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.
For a list of symptoms and related conditions to tongue tie stay tuned for my next post.
1. A HISTORY OF BABY FORMULA – HOW EMERGENCY BABY FOOD BECAME AN EVERYDAY MEAL FOR BABIES IN AMERICA
2. A HISTORY OF INFANT FEEDING
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
7. Hospital Gag Orders on Lactation Consultants, Bobby Ghaheri MD
8. The Tongue Was Involved, But What Was the Trouble?
9. The Risks of Not Breastfeeding for Mothers and Infants
10. The Largely Unknown Health Epidemic Affecting Almost ALL Americans
11. Gut and Psychology Syndrome: Natural Treatment for Autism, Dyspraxia, A.D.D., Dyslexia, A.D.H.D., Depression, Schizophrenia
12. Ways To Reverse Autoimmune Disease
13. What’s Causing Food Allergies?
14. Webbed Fingers Syndrome: Is Tongue-Tie Linked to Vitamin A Deficiency?
15. 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?
18. Love Never Fails, Kenneth Copeland
19. Dr. Jack Wolfson
Look at what God has done–
He has given me a son.
Look at what God has done–
He has given my son oxygen.
Look at what God has done–
He has delivered Caleb from the evil one.
Look at what God has done–
He is the Strong and Might One.
He is the Ancient of Days, the very present One.
The Lord contends with those that contend with me.
He will save my children.
The Lord plants my son by the waters.
The Lord pours His Spirit out upon my son.
The Lord is my Son’s strength.
Look at what God has done–
He has given me a son.
In recent weeks I faced a struggle feeding my son. While toddler feeding battles are nothing new, for us it is particularly hard given our history. In some way or another I have struggled on and off to feed my only child since his first hour of birth starting with the inability to nurse correctly due to his undetected tongue tie. This has been traumatic for both of us, with feeding, breathing and swallowing difficulties that seem to manifest in so many different ways. An extreme sensitivity to textures, flavors and to the experience of the spoon or the cup is common in tongue tied toddlers. For me the trauma of everything we have been through creates an emotional tangle and a world of weariness that is hard to get out of when I face yet another fight in determination for my son to continue to thrive which is in accordance to God’s will. To continue to eat and to drink. Something so simple can become so hard.
Sometime during the twilight of this battle I heard or I read the verse in Psalms “Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” The desire of my heart was for my son to eat and for his gut to be healed with GAPS so he can eat all the foods God has given to him to be blessed by and to eat in abundance without fear or trauma. I have to admit I have spent a lot more time raging at how something that should be so simple as eating has been so hard and how it stole the what was supposed to be a delightful newborn away from me and so forth…When Lazarus died Jesus wept. Even though He had known Lazarus would die and He knew Lazarus would raise from the dead He still wept. He wept as He saw Mary and Martha weep. The brokenness of death. Life wasn’t supposed to be like this in the beginning. The curses we live under, including death, they create sorrow, they create anger and rage because they aren’t supposed to be that way. We know when something is wrong. When it isn’t right. However, God has convicted me that anger and vengeance belong to the Lord. I suspect that God is angry too every time a newborn baby struggles to breathe or to eat because of a tongue tie. Every time a mother becomes trapped in a swirling vortex of a screaming, projectile vomiting, sleep deprived nightmare this is not good, this is not a blessing, this is not from God. When my little one was about 6 weeks old is when I realized this was not from God and I sought deliverance versus just trying to cling to Him to get me through. There is a difference between enduring and escaping. Jesus was trapped on the cross so we could be set free, by His stripes we are healed. He became a victim so we could have victory. When I “woke up” to the need for deliverance versus endurance is when God revealed to me that my baby was not sleeping because he was hungry and that he was hungry because he was cutting off my milk supply. God provided the special needs bottle that Caleb needed to thrive. But the anger, the vengeance. They belong to God. Judgement belongs to God. When I take the anger into my own hands and rage at my situation then I become guilty because righteous anger and judgement belong to God. He alone I feel can “rage” in perfect love and perfect judgement.
Anyway, I need to spend more time delighting myself in God. No matter what. No matter how the day went. I am to delight myself in God. Well I finally spent time delighting myself in God after two weeks of struggling to just try to get my now toddler son hydrated enough each day, and God provided. He showed me a way and Caleb started to and praise God has continued to eat again. Life is not perfect and I have to spend time every single day delighting myself in God, without him life is certainly to harder than it should be, and there is much to delight in.
Martin Luther once said “I have so much to do that I shall spend the first three hours in prayer”. I used to think he was exaggerating, or that just ’cause He was Luther he could somehow have a prayer life like that, but I am starting to realize that Luther got it. He truly got it. He got that the more he had to face, or the more he had to surmount that day, the more He needed the Holy Ghost. The more He needed to move and groove in the Spirit…He needed God’s very present help. God taught me a long time ago, when I was just a teenager how when I would sacrifice something in order to spend time with Him, especially when it required faith to give up that time to pray and also be able to finish a research paper or something…God always helped me to get everything I needed to get done on time, but when I skimped out on God and chose not to walk with faith or sacrificially in prayer then I truly struggled! We can get to the finish line, but Jesus said His burden was light. We make it heavy and burdensome when we don’t delight ourselves in Him. I seem to have faltered in that die hard commitment to sacrificial prayer somewhat. I have been staying up into the wee hours or all night pumping, cooking, cleaning, doing everything within MY power to get me son’s situation straightened out…But the thing is –MY power is never going to be good enough and quite frankly is waning thin into weariness. I don’t need to and should in fact be intentional to not spend all my time on MY power, I need to spend time with THE POWER, the ONLY power that really will help, to spend time with God. He knows the way. Just like He knew how to get Caleb back on my milk when I was told it would be like winning the lottery. God knows how to heal Caleb’s gut and how to get him to eat. God’s way. God’s leadership. Me spending time with Him.
Whether the desire of your heart is for your baby to eat and to thrive or something else just know this, God loves you and desires to bless you and your children. Spend time with Him. Delight yourself in Him and He will give you the desires of your heart. When we delight ourselves in God He transforms us by the entire renewal of our minds and our desires come into alignment with His and His will is able to manifest in us. When we delight ourselves in God we are no longer fighting against the goads. We cannot successfully hold up the rage or the sorrow in us, railing and fighting and shaking our fist in confusion and at the same time be blessed. We need to release everything to God. We need to let Him be our Shepherd, including letting Him use his staff to fight our enemies on our behalf instead of running between Him and the bear bleating in fear. Let Him fight your battles.
So I realized I needed to start being intentional about “delighting myself in the Lord” but wondered exactly how I should go about it, this intentional practice during my time with God. Then I heard the answer in passing on the radio (ok God is so awesome in His grace to answer my heart’s query like that isn’t He!?):
“How amazing are the deeds of the Lord!
All who delight in him should ponder them.”
So there we go: ponder the amazing deeds of the Lord.
Delight myself in Him.
I delight myself in Him as I ponder how He:
- Gave me a baby boy to grow within my womb after 5 years of unsuccessful attempts at conception.
- I delight myself in the Lord for giving Caleb the breath of life after his first intubation failed at birth, hallelujah!
- I delight myself in the Lord for gifting Caleb an Owlet oxygen monitor through an Instagram contest right before He was born ’cause God knew his oxygen would be affected by his tongue tie!
- I delight myself in the Lord when I reflect on the velcro swaddles God gave Caleb through the same contest because He knew the struggles we would go through trying to get Caleb to sleep as a newborn, God knew ahead of time.
- I ponder with great amazement and eternal gratitude that God provided a professional grade oxygen and heart monitor that literally saved my son’s life, waking me up with it’s alarm to audibly hear and find my son choking on his back in his bassinet, then again in his rock ‘n play.
- I delight myself in the Lord as I ponder how amazing it is that He healed Caleb at 12 weeks of age from whatever it was that was specifically causing the low oxygen, whether it was narrow airways, or whatever, God healed Caleb!
- I ponder in amazement and immense gratefulness that God revealed to me that my son was tongue tied after many medical professionals including a lactation consultant and ‘feeding therapist’ missed it! God showed me, I kept on praying and He showed me after generations in my family have suffered on a spectrum from this in one form or another, the veil has been removed!
- I rejoice in the Lord and remember that God told me not to give Caleb omeprazole. Even though I did, God warned me. He warned me, even though He knew I would disobey, He still took the time to warn me…
- I rejoice in the Lord as I reflect on how God provided a free hospital grade breast pump to me even when my insurance referral was rejected time and time again.
- I rejoice and give thanks to the Lord for prodding me forward to keep on pumping even in the middle of the night for 40 days and 40 nights without my baby drinking any of the milk because it turns out my milk has essentially “saved my baby’s life”.
- I rejoice and give thanks to the Lord as I reflect and remember on how He led me to an online retailer for grass fed grass finished water processed lamb that would ship all the lamb we need for Caleb to Alaska for only $7.50, for real!!!!
- I give thanks and rejoice in the Lord for providing free ready to feed alimentum to get Caleb through the time when I was pumping and storing.
- I give praise and delight myself in God for revealing and showing to me that my baby had food allergies and intolerances at just 12 weeks of age even when a medical professional scoffed at the idea until my son’s oxygen improved the rest of the way and his lips turned red and then he tested positive for corn and a trace for wheat.
- I delight myself in the Lord for giving Caleb shoes as a newborn through a gift that have turned out to be the only type of shoe we own so far (without having special ordered) that fits Caleb’s feet and his orthotics and keeps his feet warm at the same time.
- I rejoice in the Lord and give Him eternal praise for providing corn free soy free goat kefir grains for breastmilk kefir, which has turned out to be a MAJOR key for healing Caleb’s gut.
- I ponder with great thanksgiving and wonder that amazingly God has provided some corn free soy free goat colostrum for when his body is ready to handle it in order to further bless his immune system healing.
- I rejoice in El Roi, the God who Sees who showed me that my son needed the prebiotic in my breastmilk to defeat the pathogenic bacteria in his body.
- I rejoice and give thanks to God for increasing my milk supply with the hospital grade pump and for helping me to wake up and cluster pump etc. and still have energy to cook for Caleb’s gut healing diet and for therapy.
- I rejoice and give thanks to God for showing me the GAPS diet when Caleb was just 5 months old to heal his gut and to reverse all allergies and intolerances as well as neurological sensitives.
- I ponder in amazement that 7 years ago when we purchased our home in Alaska from Okinawa, Japan that we purchased a home without a smart meter attached to it and in a bit of a dead zone for a meter given our city location. This is a blessing of providence. There are so many examples of God’s providential love that I could continue to think of them forever and write them down.
- I reflect in amazement and thanksgiving on how God has give me and Caleb life, in the image of God himself. I now choose to walk humbly before God in holy stewardship of this image of God that I reside in.
I delight myself in God for giving Caleb everything He has ever needed. For healing my son. For being our strong and mighty Shepherd through the rocky, craggy, high places. He is leading us to green pastures where we can rest and thrive. I rejoice and I delight myself in Him.
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.
Yesterday I posted about staying faithful to God in the wilderness, even a wilderness that comes upon us because of the sins of others. We are to fully follow God–whether He tells us to go back into a wilderness or to go forward into the Promised Land. Not every wilderness is the result of another’s sin. I’ve suffered in the wilderness because of my own sins (see my post But, there is a Redeemer) and I’ve suffered in the wilderness simply because we live in a fallen world and there is a curse of death upon our bodies (see my blog series starting with 5 Years). No matter how we end up in a wilderness though, if we humble ourselves before the Lord and recognize His authority by submitting to Him then God will provide for us in the midst of the suffering.
Think about Elijah, when Ahab and Jezebel brought suffering upon Israel because of their sin. The land was parched with drought, and on top of that Ahab and Jezebel were out to kill Elijah. Jezebel was out to kill all of the prophets of God in fact. It was a dangerous and perilous time to be a prophet of God–but God provided for Elijah. Elijah was faithful to God in the “wilderness” season of his life and God in turn transformed the actual wilderness into a safe haven for Elijah:
“Then the word of the Lord came to Elijah: “Leave here, turn eastward and hide in the Kerith Ravine, east of the Jordan. You will drink from the brook, and I have directed the ravens to supply you with food there.”
So he did what the Lord had told him. He went to the Kerith Ravine, east of the Jordan, and stayed there. The ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning and bread and meat in the evening, and he drank from the brook.” I Kings 17:2-6
One of my favorite verses in Exodus is chapter 15 verse 27:
“Then they [the Israelites during the Exodus in the wilderness] came to Elim, where there were twelve springs and seventy palm trees, and they camped there near the water.”
God had created these 12 springs of water, one for each of the tribes of Israel, way before the Exodus. In His providence He created a safe haven for them, a place to camp at. Interestingly, and importantly they were tested directly before this provision with a time of wondering where there was no water, and a time where there was only bitter, unfit water.
Whether we’ve brought the consequences of sin upon ourselves, or whether we are suffering because of others or even because of the way we were born–God longs to be tender and affectionate towards us in the wilderness. He longs to provide for us supernaturally and providentially. God is able. Sometimes we find ourselves in a wilderness all of a sudden, and sometimes, just like Caleb, Joshua and Elijah, we need to obey God when he tells us to enter into the wilderness.
It is in the wilderness where God can teach us and refine us. It is in the wilderness where God chooses often to show Himself mighty and strong. It is in the wilderness where God delights in magnifying His love and His provision to His faithful ones. It is in the wilderness where you suddenly become aware of how much you have to rely upon Him. It is in the wilderness where He opens up the Rock and nourishes us with Living Water.
He is all that we need.