Image

Tongue Tie, Travesty & Love

This part 2 in my tongue tie series.

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

The Travesty

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

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

Before-the-1940s-tongue

(6)

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

It is a travesty.

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

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

Nutrition and Genetics

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

Tongue-Tie-can-cause

(16)

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.

40108918_2030108023678132_7386713471259246592_n

(20)

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

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

 

Look What God Has Done

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.”
Psalm 111:2

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.

Hallelujah.

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.

http://www.freeimages.com/photo/raven-at-death-valley-1306968

Strengthened in the Wilderness

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.

Childbearing Hips

As one negative pregnancy test led to the next and to the next, each cycle became less of an exciting wait and more of a dreaded encounter, hoping against all odds that this would be the month, only to have those hopes dashed be a single pink line and those telltale cramps. Agonizing cramps that seemingly mock me from within my own body. Taunting me that I have the body parts but that I’m broken, that I don’t work, that I might look like a perfectly fine woman on the outside-but that I’m not. Cramps that I still have to suffer. Suffer every month for what-for nothing my mind cries out. The frustration at “being broken” can feel overwhelming at times. Questions of “why was I created to be a woman if I don’t even work” flit across my mind as cruel reality brings jarring pain to such a crescendo that my infertility cannot be ignored–not today. I can go for a few weeks acting like everything is normal, but then the cramps, then the reality. The empty womb crying out at me–”don’t you dare forget!”– a war between my body and my mind, between my hormone levels and my desire to be a mother.

The identity crisis of being a woman with infertility is real and it was unexpected. It caught me off-guard when I began to feel trapped in my body, a body that didn’t work. A body that looked like it should work-but wasn’t. My childbearing hips were helping me carry in the groceries, or a box up the stairs, but that wasn’t what they were supposed to carry. They were supposed to help me carry a baby, my baby. Like I’d carried brothers and sisters growing up. Instead here I was all alone with no baby and these childbearing hips. Watching the diagnostic ultrasounds of my womb, finding out the exact measurements of these body parts that remained vacant, lifeless. I felt like I was useless, like I was defective. Betrayed by my own body it felt like there had been a mistake. Life wasn’t supposed to be like this. I was supposed to be a mom. My dream of raising children, homeschooling, making homemade bread, my body didn’t match up. It wasn’t right. Something was wrong.

Something is wrong. Things are broken. There is sickness. There is disease. I’m not the first person to feel trapped in, or betrayed by their body and I won’t be the last. In the end our bodies will fail each and every one of us, expiring to return to the dust because of the curse of sin that is upon us and all of creation. A curse that we’ve inherited and that we perpetuate. A decay that renders our ability to stay young, strong and healthy out of our control as time marches forward until we breathe our last. And when we breathe our last it will surely matter what or who we identity with and as. It matters because if your identity is founded only in the life that you spend in this body then you are guaranteed to be disappointed, to be betrayed by your body and by your idolatry. But, if your identity is rooted in Christ Jesus then you are guaranteed life eternal. Whenever I feel frustrated with my body, whenever the sorrow washes over me I cling to Jesus and I remember that my identity is in Him. I am His. I belong to Him. I am His daughter. I am His bride. He satisfies me with His Living Waters and comforts me with His strong arms. He holds me and He sustains me. He is my confidence. He is my Rock. He is my salvation. He is my hope. I will never be disappointed when my eyes are on Him, and they will be on Him forever–for when I leave this body I will be going home to a place that He is preparing for me. A place where He is the Light, where there is no more sorrow, no more tears, no more shame.

I refuse to agree with the lies of Satan that seek to take my eyes off of Jesus. I speak the Truth of God’s Word over myself. I am fearfully and wonderfully made. I am carefully made by the hands of my loving Father Who knew me in the womb, Who knew me even before He formed me. God made me a woman, God has given me the heart of a mother and I am so thankful for these things. I rejoice because of His tender love, He is my Victory. I am so incredibly thankful for my body. I am thankful for every part of my body. Yes this creation may be under the curse of our sin, but God is the Redeemer and He is making all things new. God is my Redeemer! He is my “dream-come-true-Boaz”, He has paid the greatest price so I can be with Him forever and ever and I gladly give myself over to Him, to His authority, to His will. He can–and is–making something beautiful out of the mire clay. I am free to dance in joy as He lifts me up from the ashes. He has brought me into His glory and I look forward to be taken into the full measure of His glory. His strong arm upholds me, His strong right hand defends and protects me.

I need thee every hour Lord. I need Thine Righteousness to revive me for Thine power to course through me, for You Holy Spirit to wash and cleanse me, for Your Word to lead me. For every part of me to be enveloped in Your presence, under Your guidance and authority. Every lie, every doubt hold no power over me-for I sit down under Your shadow with great delight and Your fruit is sweet to my taste, You bring me to Your banqueting House and Your banner over me is love. You satisfy me and embrace me, You come leaping and bounding over the mountains and hills and lead me into the Cleft of the Solid Rock, through Your pasture among the lilies. (See Song of Solomon 2).

For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ,  being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete.  2 Corinthians 10:-6

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies, but test everything; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil.  Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.  I Thessalonians 5:16-24

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” And he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment. The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be my son. But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.”  Revelation 21:1-8

Burn the Plow. Roast the Ox.

fire-1568645So Elijah went from there and found Elisha son of Shaphat. He was plowing with twelve yoke of oxen, and he himself was driving the twelfth pair. Elijah went up to him and threw his cloak around him. Elisha then left his oxen and ran after Elijah. “Let me kiss my father and mother goodbye,” he said, “and then I will come with you.”

“Go back,” Elijah replied. “What have I done to you?”

So Elisha left him and went back. He took his yoke of oxen and slaughtered them. He burned the plowing equipment to cook the meat and gave it to the people, and they ate. Then he set out to follow Elijah and became his servant.
1 Kings 19:19-21

When we repent and accept Christ as our leader and director then we leave our old life behind. In fact we don’t just turn our back on it, but we are spiritually born, no longer dead in our transgressions, but alive in Christ. From that day forward when we wake up every morning the Holy Spirit within us cries out for Christ, for righteousness. A sign of a true believer is someone who denies the desire of his flesh nature, this is called dying to oneself.

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? Matthew 16:24

You see Christ was made sin on the cross, even though He had not Himself sinned, as a payment for the debt we’ve racked up with our sin before God. However, the transaction is not complete until we offer up that sin in repentance. Burning it like Elisha burned his plow. When we repent and die to ourselves. Then and only then will Christ’s righteousness is imputed upon us to protect us from the wrath of God. We are purchased by the blood of Christ, protected by His righteousness.

The Christian life is one of continual repentance and dying to oneself, not because we lose our salvation every time we go to sleep, but because we have set our hearts and minds to accept Christ as our Rescuer which can only happen when we submit to Him as Lord. Submission means dying to self.

When Elisha was called to serve God he burned His plow, killed His oxen and ate them for a farewell dinner. He got rid of them for good, no turning back. We must burn our plows, our old life must die under the transforming fire of the Holy Spirit. While it is painful to die to ourselves it will not be as painful as it will be to come under the eternal fire of God’s judgement.

But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.” Revelation 21:8

Just like Isaiah cried out in terror when He saw a vision of God’s throne and His mouth was purified with a coal from God’s holy fire, so must our tongues be purified with the fire of the Holy Spirit. If not, our tongues will be scorched and parched for water where there is none.

And in Hades (the realm of the dead), being in torment, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham far away, and Lazarus in his bosom. And he cried out and said, Father Abraham, have pity and mercy on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am in anguish in this flame.

But Abraham said, Child, remember that you in your lifetime fully received [what is due you in] comforts and delights, and Lazarus in like manner the discomforts and distresses; but now he is comforted here and you are in anguish. And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, in order that those who want to pass from this to you may not be able, and no one may pass from there to us. Luke 16:23-26

God’s purifying fire consumes all unrighteousness. Will it only be your works consumed on judgement day (1 Cor. 3:10-15) or your whole body?

Something Has to Die

So I’ve just been thinking how you’ll hear “I’m just letting whatever God’s will is be done”, but the person behind that statement is living in blatant sin. I find this statement strange and unsettling. Why? Because there is a difference between choosing to live in sin with indifference towards God, vs living in submission under God’s authority and therefore denying sinful desires. One is called obedience the other is called rebellion. It is not God’s will for us to rebel but to repent.

It is as if we were told by our mom not to hurt our sibling, and then we just slap them up right in front of her and then say “I’m just trusting my mom for her will to be done because she loves me”. It was not her will for you to hurt your brother or sister, and even though she loves you more than life itself, you will suffer the consequences. If you really trusted her you would’ve known that, and feared that, and obeyed. The only thing is we have all done this before God. Blatant or not before men, it is all blatant before Him. The consequence of thumbing our nose at the Author of Life? Death.

But, God loves us in spite of who we are and so He gave His perfect and innocent Son to take our punishment so that if we are sorry and turn from our sin then when God looks at us He will see the blood of Jesus paying the price of our sins, no matter how many or how great. The thing is we must repent, we must be sorry for our sin, we must cry out to God for His help. We cannot keep on thumbing our nose, we cannot keep on living according to the desires of our flesh.

Something has to die, either it will be our soul, or our sinful desires. He has provided Himself for atonement, and He provides His Spirit to strengthen us to obey. Plus that means we get the greatest, most satisfying thing of all, Him. Call out to Him, cry out to Him, we all need Him.