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Tongue Tie, Travesty & Love

This part 2 in my tongue tie series.

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

The Travesty

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

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

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

It is a travesty.

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

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

Nutrition and Genetics

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

Tongue-Tie-can-cause

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

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

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

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

Love or Anger

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

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

… … …

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

Even in our love for our enemies.

We have the victory. We have Jesus.

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

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

 

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Great and Hidden Things

I desire only for compassion, love and grace toward every medical professional we have worked with. They were each trying their best for Caleb I hope and I do not want even a hint of bitterness, slander, or unforgiveness to be in my heart or words.

The Generations

In 1936 a baby girl was born in Illinois. Baby thankfully was able to breastfeed because unfortunately for her three siblings mother’s milk was deemed to be “poisonous”.

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Baby bottle from the 1930s. (1)

In 1959 the baby girl from Illinois gave birth to her firstborn in Oklahoma, also a girl. She cried continuously and just wouldn’t sleep. Extreme sleep deprivation set in as baby girl began to starve and finally the doctor discovered that mom didn’t have the milk for baby girl to nurse. Since mother had issues with milk production (her 5 following children were put on formula straightaway) no further investigation was made to see if there were any other underlying factors contributing to the infant’s inability to thrive on the breast.

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“By 1950 over half of all babies in the U.S. were on evaporated milk”…! (2)

By the 1940s formula companies had successfully influenced pediatricians to recommend their products through direct advertising (3). The widespread decline in breastfeeding culminated with breastfeeding commonly being considered unclean in the 1950s and ’60s. In 1959 formula companies began providing formula to hospitals and pediatricians as part of their marketing strategy in order to gain endorsement. (2After taking a hit from organized efforts to save breastfeeding (such as the Nestlé boycott of 1977), formula companies began directly advertising to the public in 1988. (2,3)

In 1986 the baby girl from Oklahoma had grown and gave birth to her firstborn in New Mexico. This baby girl was able to breastfeed, but she screamed…a LOT. Colic nearly drove her parents mad for 9 grueling months, the entirety of her breastfed experience. When babysat she would refuse to eat even if it were an entire day, screaming and starving herself until mom got back. With solids she would eat and then vomit over and over. This little one had tongue thrust and into adulthood she frequently swallowed water “down the wrong tube” resulting in coughing fits as a result. Worst of all her husband had to frantically do the Heimlich on her during her third trimester because her swallowing issues caused her to start choking on a piece of steak. Thankfully her baby had already flipped during this very scary experience and even more thankfully the Heimlich maneuver worked!

Between the 1980s and 2015 babies continued to be born with everything from needing formula supplementation to help with weight, to colic, to slow eating, gaps between the two top teeth as toddlers, food pickiness, recurring ear infections and ergo recurring antibiotics, ear tubes, speech therapy needs, anxiety, mouth breathing at night, and plenty of orthodontic needs.

Then in 2016 a baby boy was born. He had had jaundice and barely avoided supplementation even with feeding every 2 hours. He was sent home with an SNS by labor and delivery nurses because of the difficulty mom and baby were presenting with nursing. He also presented with low oxygen saturation which landed him in the PICU at just a week old. After 2 rounds of antibiotics this full-term baby was diagnosed with “apnea of prematurity”. He quickly fell asleep on the breast and off the breast his sleeping deteriorated to only a matter of minutes, if he didn’t wake right upon being put down. His mother was sent to wound care by a pediatrician for her torn up breast and was instructed to dress her wounds between feedings…except baby would not even sleep long enough for mom to eat or even go to the bathroom! Mom also had chronic plugged ducts and experienced mastitis twice. Mom did find that lying on her back helped with feedings. In addition to the physical trauma on one breast the other side for mom was always creased after feedings. Baby started having watery green stools in addition to periodic projectile vomiting. Extreme sleep deprivation in both mom and baby began to set in and mom began to become unemotional toward her own baby as he kept on crying and not sleeping. Mom resorted to rocking him for hours on the birth ball. Once asleep he would roll to his side scratching and sucking at the walls of his bassinet. Baby grew animalistic during skin to skin, scratching and grasping at the breast. Finally mom realized that what she was going through was not simply the trenches of new motherhood but rather a form of oppression. The multiple doctor visits already had yielded no help and so mom cried out to God for their deliverance. God helped mom figure out that her baby was cutting off his milk supply by pinching her nipple shut (chomping vs sucking) and to get him enough milk as well as to heal her physical trauma mom stopped nursing altogether at 6 weeks. When she started pumping mom barely produced anything and had to supplement in order to keep up with her baby’s hunger (mom’s low supply gave way to an ample supply with regular pumping). With a satiated tummy baby finally started sleeping but he would choke and audibly struggle to breathe all the while. He also “chirped” in his sleep and even snored and whistled sometimes. The bottle feeding honeymoon was short lived because of huge burps, prolonged screaming, excessive leaking milk out of his mouth and the continued projectile vomiting along with choking and gagging. Baby was diagnosed with a “high arched palate” and put in therapy for feeding. His oxygen, sleeping and feeding problems continued. At around 2 1/2 months mom did find the oxygen improved drastically if he was laid on his tummy, however because of SIDS risk a pediatrician advised she continue to lay him on his back even though his airways were struggling to remain open in this position. Baby was diagnosed with silent reflux which resulted in pediatricians advising for his mattress and changing table to be elevated on one side and he was put on omeprazole. He even received a referral for a medical sleeping wedge. Solids went from exciting to gagging, vomiting and aversions to the spoon or food.

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This special needs bottle was the only bottle Caleb could thrive with, otherwise a dish towel had to be wrapped around his neck to soak up the milk that leaked from his mouth and he would scream for hours. God provided these at a pharmacy. They made a mistake and made me pick-up instead of deliver his first refill of oxygen monitoring supplies and viola there was a basket of these bottles ON CLEARANCE! Praise the Lord.

After a series of swallow-study x-rays, upper gi x-rays, a “fluff-to-make-mom-feel-better- x-ray” and a birth x-ray mom really wanted to try to avoid anymore invasive diagnostics…not to mention all the antibiotics, rx caffeine and omeprazole (a proton pump inhibitor) baby had been put on. God had already protected Caleb by providentially securing his medical grade oxygen monitor which had alerted mom to his choking in his sleep (the post Caleb Gabriel tells how this started with winning an Instagram contest) and from being put under to have a camera stuck down his throat by healing his 02 issues and showing mom about his allergies before the doctors (see post Red Lips). Still, with the continued feeding problems mom knew something was there, something elusive, something that none of the doctors, therapists or the lactation consultant were catching. The doctors seemed to favor the theory of it all being neurological, they had even thought the oxygen saturation issues were too…and neurological problems means generational anesthesia and an MRI after the other invasive diagnostics have ruled things out, including being put under for scopes and then all the x-rays and meds and allergy testing we had already started. Mom knew that this path of medical testing was not working, it was not catching the problem, she knew in her heart it was just damaging her baby further.

The Cry

In May 2017 I shared a photo of Caleb’s tongue thrust with prayer partners and asked them to pray for God to show me what was causing it. On May 26, 2017 a prayer partner for Caleb sent me the same image with Jeremiah 33:3 inscribed upon it. What a prophetic word! image1

God had placed that feeling in my heart that there was a root to the problems. Then I was sent that verse. In July I took these things to the mat and grappled in prayer, asking over and over “Lord please open my eyes and help me see, show me that which is hidden!” I could feel it, there was something there, something in the dark that I could not see!

After months of pediatric specialists, therapists, x-rays, medications and more God did tell me great and hidden things…things that I had not known, that my mother, grandmother and great grandmother had not known…almost a hundred years of not knowing. The suffering had come to a head with Caleb and it took an all-out fight in the spirit realm for the light to shine on that which was hidden, but God did shine the light, and now I see. I cannot thank or praise God enough for delivering Caleb from the damaging circus of medical diagnostics and medications, and for showing me what had wreaked so much oppression in our lives.

The Answer

Finally on July 23, 2017 as I was searching for answers in a Facebook forum another mom mentioned I should look into ankyloglossia. I had already been told by the lactation consultant months prior that Caleb did not have ankyloglossia and Caleb’s feeding therapist had reiterated this stating that Caleb could stick out his tongue so I kind of shrugged it off but politely replied by saying thank you for the suggestion and that I would look into it. I didn’t really intend to make a point of remembering to research it since I felt like the medical professionals we had seen had already evaluated that possibility it for us…But then the Holy Spirit deeply convicted me. I would be lying if I did not keep my word and look into it, and in a timely manner! In order to not be guilty of dishonesty I did a quick Google search that very moment and what I found made my mouth drop – literally. A blog with the symptoms of ankyloglossia that felt like a book about what Caleb and I had gone through.

Tongue Tie

Turns out Caleb was both tongue tied and lip tied! After a few days of research I starting wondering about myself…so I decided to check my tongue in the mirror, I couldn’t believe it, I am also tongue and lip tied! Then I asked my mom to show me her tongue, she is tongue and lip tied! The truth is out, no more tongue tie torture for mothers and babies in my bloodline! With awe and amazement I thank God Who so graciously helped me see. I am so eternally thankful to the Holy Spirit Who kept me at it, He helped me wrestle that answer out of darkness into the Light! Goliath fell in the Name of the Lord God Almighty for David and he can fall for us too in that same Mighty and Holy Name.

To God be the eternal glory, honor and praise. Amen.

Stay tuned for my next post which shares how it was possible for Caleb’s ties to have been missed even though we frequently visited many pediatricians, pediatric specialists, therapists, and more.

Footnote:
To finally get the answer it took an act of staying true to my word to the other mom on Facebook even when I wasn’t motivated to make it a priority. This is interesting because when trying to get pregnant I sought a referral to the only local reproductive endocrinologist on the grounds that I wanted to find the root cause of my infertility. When I got to her office and realized she intended try to get me pregnant with hormone manipulation versus uncovering and fixing the root cause of my hormone imbalance I decided to stay the course (and I am forever thankful for her hard work, night and weekends literally for us!). However, this ended up being dishonesty because I had told the referring doctor that I wanted to find the root cause, even if it meant I had to leave the state to see an in-network provider. I was given a rare referral to an out of network provider. If I had decided to stay true to my word even when tempted not to and search out a doctor that would help me find the root then tongue tie may not have even manifested in my child because of its link to nutrition. Our journey with antibiotics etc. which resulted in Caleb’s gut issues certainly would have been very different because I now know that much of the same opportunistic overgrowth (which is caused by overuse of antibiotics and the poor nutrition provided by the standard american diet) was at the root of my infertility.

References:
1. https://goo.gl/images/iUZNoL
2. 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/
3. A History of Infant Feeding
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articlecs/PMC2684040/
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Red Lips

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Image

Caleb Gabriel

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

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

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

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

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

HOODWINKED

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

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

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

Answered and Unanswered Prayers

There are a couple of really big things I’ve been praying for in my life. I mean like lifetime big. Last night while driving along I prayed for a really tiny thing, and then I found myself thinking and then half jokingly/half seriously saying to God, “but if you have to choose between answering this really tiny thing or my really big prayer request, please just completely ignore this one, even if it turns out to be the most opposite of being answered in every way….” But prayer doesn’t work that way, we can’t barter answered prayers with God.

God’s word promises us that if we pray for something in the name of Jesus, and that if it is in line with God’s will that it will be done. God’s will. Whether it is in the tiny things or the big things. Submitting to Him, even when His will is different than what we are praying for is what it means to be a Christian. It means trusting Him, that He IS good. That He IS loving, and letting Him be our Lord, the light leading us through life, no matter how our prayers are answered.

The great thing is also that His Holy Spirit inside of us will comfort us and sustain us when our prayers are unanswered and also transform us to be more in line with His will so that over time we pray more and more according to God’s will. That doesn’t mean that the sting of sorrow will not be felt when a prayer goes unanswered, but the Holy Spirit, as the seal of our covenant with God through Christ, does give us confident hope in Him, the orchestrator of the universe.

As the hymn goes “I have decided to follow Jesus/ No turning back / No turning back” and I’d like to say, No matter what / No matter what.

 Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.

If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned.

If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you.
John 15:4-7

You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit–fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name.
John 15:16

Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God–this is your spiritual act of worship.
Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.
Romans 12:1-2

So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.
For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want.
Galations 5:16-17

Your word is a lamp for my feet,
a light on my path.
Psalm 119:105

Public Prayer Observations

Wow, where did the past few weeks go?! Last night I finished doing the simple observations of who, what, when, where, why and how in regards to the examples of public prayer I found throughout God’s Word. View all of the verses on prayer that I gathered for reference and future study, including prayers such as intercession, fasting, confession, supplication, praise etc.

I say “simple” observation because in reality to truly dive in and study each of the passages below you’d have to observe keywords, repeated phrases, the who, what, when etc. for multiple subjects referenced and more. The observations below are a vital part of the Tim Tebow and praying in public study…I captured these observations over the past couple of weeks so I’ll take a bit to look over them again, pray and ask God’s Holy Spirit to teach me as I observe them all together. Observing them together will help us take them into context.

If you are interested in doing a similar investigation instead of just “taking my word for it” then please do! If you find any verses that I missed, please let me know. In regards to personal Bible study, I highly recommend the Precept Ministries book, “Lord, Teach Me How to Study the Bible in 28 Days” by Kay Arthur. It really helps you practice the carefull steps of observation and study which can lead to sound interpretation when studying God’s Word. When we approach God’s Word, it is good to be humble and to take it very seriously with a healthy recognition that apart from God we are in darkness, yet we shouldn’t be afraid of studying the Word of God, He made it available to us – praise the Lord! Let’s listen to Him instead of our hearts though!

Observations
1 Samuel 2:1-10
Who: Hannah
What: Worshiped the Lord in prayer in the presence of her husband and Eli the priest
When: When she brought her son Samuel to the temple to dedicate Him to the Lord
Where: at the Lord’s House in Shiloh
Why: God had answered her prayer of sorrowful and distressful supplication that she made a few years earlier during the family’s yearly sacrifice. He caused her to be able to conceive a son in spite of her barren womb so she jubilantly worshiped the Lord when she brought Samuel to Him as she had vowed to do.
How: With rejoicing and exultation.

2 Samuel 15:25-37 (31)
Who:
King David
What: David prayed for God to turn the counsel of Ahithophel to foolishness.
When: Upon hearing that his trusted counselor, Ahithophel, had sided with Absalom to give him counsel.
Where: While climbing the Mount of Olives barefoot and weeping in escape from Absalom.
Why: Because his son Absalom had turned the hearts of the people against David.
How: Right then and there, “on the spot”, immediately, however you want to say it David prayed right away and then when we got to the top of the mount, he worshiped God in spite of the events taking place and the new he’d just received.

Note: God answered David’s prayer through Hushai the Archite and the priests.
Significant Details:
1. David’s immediate response to betrayal by a close counselor was prayer. He publicly relied upon and turned towards God as the supreme counselor.
2. David publicly and genuinely worshiped God in spite of the betrayal of men and of is own son.
3. David publicly humbled himself before God’s sovereignty and authority and recognized and submitted to God’s will. He trusted God. All of this is evident when David says of the Lord…”If I find favor in the Lord’s eyes, He will bring me back and let me see both it [ark] and His house. but if He says, I have no delight in you, then here I am; let Him do to me what seems good to Him.”

This is all quite astounding taking in that David was king over a nation during a historical time period when kings could pretty much do as they pleased and some even considered themselves to be deities, it is also astounding taking in that God has anointed David as King and promised Him the throne with descendants. If David’s heart had been untrue towards God or if there had been lingering seeds of pride, arrogance or idolatry in David’s heart this trial could have easily made David turn His back on God and choose to distrust the Lord. Instead David humbles himself before the people and worships God. Now I am starting to understand why God called David a man after His own heart…how I long to have that same heart in me because I think of how far off from this I am! I am convicted and rightfully so.

1 Kings 8:22-54, 2 Chronicles 6:12-42
Who:
King Solomon
What: Worshiped God and prayed for him to hearken to the prayers of God’s people and of strangers when they pray towards Gods house, recognizing that God cannot be contained but as a symbol of faith. Prayed for God to hear and to forgive, save, deliver and/or heal in accordance with their hearts since God alone knows the hearts of men.
When: At the dedication of God’s house built in Jerusalem and the bringing of the Ark of the Covenant (symbol of God’s presence) into the Holy of Holies.
Where: In front of God’s house in Jerusalem
Why: Recognition, worship and dedication.
How: Solomon stood and then knelt before the Lord’s burnt offering altar in the presence of all the assembly of Israel and prayed with his hands spread forth toward heaven. Solomon was on a bronze scaffold that measured 5 cubits wide and 3 cubits high in the midst of the court.

1 Kings 18:30-39
Who:
Elijah
What: Gathered all Israel and the 450 Baal prophets and 400 Asherah prophets of Queen Jezebel. Had the 850 prophets pray to Baal and Asherah for them to send fire from heaven for the sacrifice and then Elijah prayed to God to send fire from heaven. God did send fire and it not only caught the sacrifice on fire but consumed it, the altar, the water and dust around it.
When: At the end of a 3 1/2 year famine that God sent due to the idolatry and evil of Ahab, Jezebel and the people and after Jezebel had killed all of God’s prophets except for Elijah.
Where: Mt. Carmel
Why: To prove to the people who the true God was. Elijah did all of this because God told him to
How: At evening, after the 850 prophets prayed from morning to evening, cutting themselves it was Elijah’s turn. He repaired the altar of the Lord, building it with stones and had a trench dug around it. Then he had it drenched with water. After this Elijah prayed for it to be known that God was God, publicly recognizing that God had told him to do all of this and for God to hear his supplication.

1 Chronicles 29:10-20
Who:
King David
What: Praise and recognition, thanksgiving, supplication for guidance and for the purity ad commitment of his son Solomon and of the people toward God.
When: At the offering which was to provide for the building of God’s house
Where: In Jerusalem (28:1)
Why: During his rejoicing with the assembly because of the generous offering of the people and since they gave willingly with a whole and blameless heart, offering freely to the Lord (v 6-10)
How: Prayed to and blessed the Lord before all the assembly which consisted of the leaders of Israel, officers of divisions, stewards of property/livestock, people who held places of office and mighty men/warriors.

1 Chronicles 29:10-20
Who:
all of the assembly (vs 20)
What: blessed the Lord, (corporate prayer, since studying public prayers made by David in same chapter included these observations too, see more examples of corporate prayer).
When: At the offering which was to provide for the building of God’s house
Where: In Jerusalem (28:1)
Why: Because of the generous offering of the people and since they gave willingly with a whole and blameless heart, offering freely to the Lord (v 6-10)
How: bowed down and did obeisance

2 Chronicles 7:1-4
Who:
All the people of the assembly of Israel, a great assembly
What: Praised and worshiped God (corporate prayer and worship, their prayers are linked to the public prayer made by Solomon in 6:12-42, see more examples of corporate prayer).
When: At the dedication of the temple, after Solomon finished his prayer of dedication God sent fire from heaven and consumed the burnt offerings and sacrifices and God’s glory filled the house of the Lord.
Where: In front of God’s house in Jerusalem
Why: Because of who God is and what He did
How: They bowed down with their faces upon the pavement

2 Chronicles 20:1-29
Who:
King Jehoshaphat
What: Recognition, quoted in part King Salomon’s prayer of dedication, presented situation to God and asked for guidance. Verse 12: ” We do not know what to do but our eyes are upon You.” He publicly humbled himself before God and sought Him as their hope for deliverance.
When: Threatened by a great multitude from Edom
Where: The House of the Lord
Why: Because Moabites, Ammonites, Meunites coming against Judah
How: Stood in the seemly of Judah and Jerusalem and prayed

2 Chronicles 20:1-29
Who:
People of the cities of Judah
What: Seek the Lord
When: they were threatened by great multitude from Edom
Where: in the House of the Lord
Why: Because Moabites, Ammonites and Meunites coming against Judah
How: Stood before the Lord

Significant Details: God’s Spirit came upon Jehaziel in the midst of the assembly and spoke in response to Jehoshaphat and the people’s prayers. Got told them to:
-Be not afraid
-The battle is not theirs but the Lord’s
-Gave the directions on where to go and what to do.
When God spoke in response to them King Jehoshaphat and all the people fell down with the faces to the ground and worshiped God.
Sure enough the multitude was encamped in the wilderness of Tekoa where God told His people they’d be. King Jehoshaphat appointed singers to go before the army praising the Lord and when they began to worship God then God took the battle into his own hands the multitude from Edom self slaughtered based on fears of betrayal so when God’s people reached the watch tower they saw their dead bodies all over.

Ezra 9:1-15, 10:1
Who:
Ezra, a scribe who set his heart to seek the Law of the Lord and to do it and to teach it in Israel.
What: He prayed a prayer of confession, confessing on behalf of the nation since they had again forsaken God’s commands in spite of God’s recent mercy.
When: Ezra reacted immediately, as soon as he was told from the officials that the people, priests and Levites had taken heathen wives for themselves directly violating God’s commands.
Where: Before the House of the Lord.
Why: Because the Israelites intermarried, again, even after their forefathers were punished and in spite of God’s mercy.
How: With a large group gathered around him, Ezra publicly rent his outer and inner garments, pulled hair from his beard and sat appalled all day till the evening sacrifice before praying. He knelt on his knees, spread out his hands to God, addressing God personally and confessing on behalf of the nation with weeping.

Significant History: A few years early God stirred the hearts of some of the Israelites in Babylon to return to Jerusalem when, upon being charged by God, Cyrus the king of Persia declared for God’s house in Jerusalem to be rebuilt. Ezra went to Jerusalem after the house had been rebuilt in the 7th year of Artaxerxes.

Significant Notes:
Ezra does not ask God to forgive them in his prayer because he recognized that true reconciliation with the Lord required true repentance which is marked by actual change in actions as well as verbal confession. Ezra genuinely and passionately confesses the sins and then he works with the other officials to begin the real life repenting action throughout the people. Ezra was in tune in how serious sin is – I pray for God to help me to be appalled at my own sin and to not only confess the sin but to also take on “active repentance”, turning away from that sin and clinging to God (Joshua 23:8).

Nehemiah 8:1-6
Who: 
Ezra and the Israelites
What:
Worshiped and blessed the Lord
When: 
Ezra the scribe stood above them at a wooden pulpit and opened the Book of the Law, reading it to them from early morning to noon.
Where: 
In Jerusalem, in the broad place before the Water Gate
Why: 
At the opening of God’s Word and when Ezra blessed the Lord
How: 
Stood at the reading of God’s word and when Ezra blessed the Lord they answered “Amen, Amen” and worshiped God with uplifted hands and bowed heads with faces to the ground.

Nehemiah 9-10
Who:
Israelites
What: Fasting and Confessing (corporate prayer and fasting, since studying public prayers made by the Levites and Ezra in same chapters included these observations too, see more examples of corporate prayer).
When: Last (8th) day of the Feast of Tabernacles, during solemn assembly
Where: Jerusalem
Why: The people of Israel initially mourned and wept when they first heard the words read and taught to them and then in order to keep that day holy they rejoiced and praised the Lord since He had given the law to them (ch 8). After this when the priests and Levites gathered with Ezra to study and understand the Book of the Law they found out about the Feast of Tabernacles so they held it as commanded. On the 8th day, a Sabbath, after 7 days of rejoicing they held this solemn assembly to seek God and make a covenant with Him.
How: Fasting in sackcloth and with dirt on their heads. During the fast they spent 1/4 of the day reading the Book of the Law and another 1/4 of the day they confessed and worshiped the Lord their God.

Nehemiah 9-10
Who: Levites
What: Blessed and extolled God
When: Last (8th) day of the Feast of Tabernacles
Where: On the stairs of the Levites during the solemn assembly in Jerusalem
Why: The people of Israel initially mourned and wept when they first heard the words read and taught to them and then in order to keep that day holy they rejoiced and praised the Lord since He had given the law to them (ch 8). After this when the priests and Levites gathered with Ezra to study and understand the Book of the Law they found out about the Feast of Tabernacles so they held it as commanded. On the 8th day, a Sabbath, after 7 days of rejoicing they held this solemn assembly to seek God and make a covenant with Him.
How: Cried out with a loud voice.

Nehemiah 9-10
Who:
Ezra
What: Prayer of recognition, praise, worship, remembrance of Who God is and what God had done, God’s faithfulness, justice, righteousness and mercy. Also confession, humbleness and made a covenant with God. Prayed publicly on behalf of everyone there.
When: During the solemn assembly, on the last day of the Feast of Tabernacles.
Where: Jerusalem
Why: Ezra had been reading and teaching God’s law to the people each day of the Feast of Tabernacles, then on this last day, they solemnly confessed theirs sins, worshiped God and made a covenant with Him.
How: While fasting in confession and worship with the people and Levites.

Daniel 6:1-13
Who:
Daniel, an exile*.
What: Gave thanks to God and made prayers of supplication to Him.
When: Three times a day, everyday, even after a law was passed that made it punishable by death to worship anyone or anything else besides the king for thirty days.
Where: At his open chamber windows, which faced in the direction toward Jerusalem. (Remember, King Solomon had prayed that when God’s people were in exile for God to hear them and deliver them when they prayed to Him, and as a token of their faith faced towards the temple in Jerusalem).
Why: Daniel was not afraid or ashamed to worship God even if it meant death by lions. He put is faith in God and continued to worship Him publicly as had been his habit before the law was passed.
How: On his knees

*Significant Note: God doesn’t always protect His followers from suffering or being taken into captivity or on the flip side, no matter if you are carried off into literal captivity that is no excuse to stop seeking, worshiping and obeying God. Daniel was an exile, in the land of Babylon, yet the book of Daniel shows how much glory God received from the exiles who believed and followed God wholeheartedly even if it meant risking a painful death. God was glorified when he protected Daniel from being eaten by the hungry lions, after this King Darius wrote a declaration to all people, nations and languages (in his realm which was very big) for…”in all my royal dominion men must tremble and fear before the God of Daniel, for He is the living God, enduring and steadfast forever, and His kingdom shall not be destroyed and His dominion shall be even to the end. He is Savior and Deliverer, and He works signs and wonders in the heavens and on the earth-He Who has delivered Daniel from the power of the lions”.

Luke 2:21-35
Who:
Simeon, righteous man, looking for the Consolation of Israel, Holy Spirit upon Him. God had divinely revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ, the Messiah, the Anointed One.
What: Praised and thanked God saying, “And now, Lord, You are releasing Your Servant to depart in peace, according to Your word. For with my eyes I have seen Your Salvation,which You have ordained and prepared before all people, A Light for revelation to the Gentiles and praise and honor and glory to Your people Israel”.
When: When Mary and Joseph brought Jesus to the temple for Mary’s purification and for Jesus to be dedicated to the Lord in accordance with the Mosaic law.
Where: In the temple enclosure in Jerusalem.
Why: God revealed to Him Jesus was the Messiah and the Holy Spirit upon Him prayed prophetically through Him.
How: He took Jesus up in his arms

Luke 2:36-38
Who:
Prophet Anna, daughter of Phanuel of the tribe of Asher. She had been married only 7 years before becoming a widow for 84 years. She stayed in the temple enclosure worshiping day and night with fasting and prayer.
What: Returned thanks to God.
When: When Mary and Joseph brought Jesus to the temple for Mary’s purification and for Jesus to be dedicated to the Lord in accordance with the Mosaic law. She came up at the same hour as Simeon.
Where: In the temple enclosure in Jerusalem.
Why:
How: Before everyone who was looking she thanked God and spoke of Jesus for the redemption of Jerusalem.

Matthew 6:1-18
Who:
God’s people
What: Do not do your acts of righteousness, such as giving, praying and/or fasting to be seen by men (recognized, honored and praised by men) as the hypocrites do.
When: Giving, praying or fasting or other things God calls us to do in obedience to Him as Christians
Where: Both in the synagogue (church) and on the streets (outside of church).
Why: If your motivation to do your acts of righteousness is to be seen by men then you have already received your reward and will have no reward from your Father in heaven.
How: Do your acts of righteousness for God’s glory alone, making an effort to keep it an act of obedience between you and Him, even giving, praying and fasting in secret. Don’t make a big deal out of or make fanfare out of your acts of righteousness.

Significant Notes:
Verse one of chapter 6 sets the stage, the lens, the perspective however you want to say it for verses 1-18. It is important to note that Jesus did not say, do not do your acts of righteousness in public period, but he did say, do not do them in public or before men to be seen by them. Check your heart and search whether or not you are doing any act of righteousness with even the slightest hint of desire to be found out by, seen by, looked up to or admired by other people. That is a sin because God alone deserves glory and honor. In Isaiah it says that our righteousness deeds are like filthy rags compared to God’s holiness. In Romans it cautions us not to think more highly of ourselves than we ought to. The reality is that we are all hopelessly lost and condemned without Christ’s blood protecting us – and God does no save us based on ANY merit of our own but because He loves us and is merciful. No amount of righteous acts earns us “more or less points” – we are all on the same level before a holy, impartial God.

Also, note that these acts are considered righteous not because we are righteous, God alone is righteous. Giving, praying and fasting are all forms of worship and obedient acts based on faith. We give to honor God with our first fruits, worshiping him with our giving and trusting Him to provide for us. The whole point of prayer and fasting isn’t about us and what we can “get out of God” but it is to get in God’s presence and draw closer to Him, it is filled with worship as we can see through all the prayers throughout God’s Word. We pray and fast because we have faith that God hears us and that He is faithful to His promises that if we seek Him we will find Him.

In all “acts of righteousness” God calls us to the reason He calls us to do them is to worship Him and because when we obey Him with a pure heart we grow closer to Him. He is the true treasure. In the sermon of the mount Jesus says to let your light shine so that people may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven. The whole point is to bring glory to God – are your good deeds leading people to personally praise our Father in heaven or are they just shining the spotlight on you?

Matthew 14:18-21, Mark 6:41-44, Luke 9:14-17
Who:
Jesus
What: Prayed publicly, thanking God for His provision and asking God to bless the five loaves and 2 fish to feed 5000+ people.
When: Late in the day.
Where: Near Behsaida, in a desolate, isolated place.
Why: He had compassion on the people and to bring God glory.
How: After having the people recline on the grass he took the food into his hands and looked up to heaven, gave thanks, blessed the food and broke the food into pieces for the disciples to pass out to the people. There were 12 hand baskets of food leftover.

Matthew 19:13-15
Who:
Jesus
What: Prayed for the little children.
When: After rebuking the disciples and telling them not to forbid, restrain or hinder the little ones from coming to Christ.
Where: Part of Judea beyond the Jordan.
Why: He rebuked those that would hinder the children from coming to Him because He said that “of such is the kingdom of heaven composed”.
How: Laid his hand on them and prayed for them.

Matthew 26:26-27, Mark 14:22-23
Who:
Jesus
What:
Praising God, gave thanks and asked God to bless the food to their use.
When:
Passover Dinner
Where:
Upper room
Why:
Visually, to demonstrate his body being broken and his blood poured out to ratify the new covenant on behalf of many, for the forgiveness of sins.
How: 
Took the bread, prayed, broke it and gave it to the disciples to eat. Took the cup, prayed, gave it to them to all drink.

Luke 23:32-43
Who:
Jesus
What: Prayed “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”
When: When the people and soldiers crucified him on Golgotha
Where: On Hebrew: Golgotha, Latin: Calvary – placed called “The Skull”
Why: Jesus forgave his debtors and prayed for those who persecuted Him as He commands us to do
How: While hanging on the cross between two criminals.

Matthew 27:45-50, Mark 15:33-37, Luke 23: 44-29
Who:
Jesus
What: Prayed “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” which means “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”. Also prayed, “Father, into your hands I commit My spirit”
When: Right before  He expired
Where: On the cross, at about the 9th hour (3 pm).
Why: Christ gave up His spirit willingly, it was not forced out of Him. He willingly obeyed God and took on our sins, although He himself was blameless and holy. Sin separates us from God, Christ had not sinned, our sin which He willingly bore separated Him from God and for the first time He felt what it was like to be apart from God – to be forsaken.
How: Cried out with a loud voice

Significant Notes: At once, as soon as Jesus gave up His spirit to God, the curtain to the Holy of Holies was torn in two from top to bottom and earth shook, the rocks split, tombs were opened and many bodies of the saints were raised from the dead and they came out of the tombs after His resurrection, appearing to many in Jerusalem (Matt. 27:51-54, Mark 15:38-39, Luke 23:45-47). The centurion and those who were with him at the foot of the cross observed the earthquake and all that was happening and they were terribly frightened, filled with awe and said that truly, Jesus was Gods Son.

It is significant that the veil was torn from top to bottom by God’s divine power because the veil physically separated the priests from where God’s presence symbolically abode in the temple. Yet, under the new covenant God’s people have become the temple and He sent His Holy Spirit to abide in each of us. Covered by the sacrifice of Christ’s blood we are made clean and able to enter into God’s Holy presence. The tearing of the veil is therefore very significant!

From Matthew Henry’s commentary: The manner how he breathed his last; between the third and the sixth hour, that is, between nine and twelve o’clock, as we reckon, he was nailed to the cross, and soon after the ninth hour, that is, between three and four o’clock in the afternoon, he died. That was the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, and the time when the paschal lamb was killed; and Christ our Passover was sacrificed for us and offered himself in the evening of the world a sacrifice to God of a sweet–smelling savour.

John 11:41-42
Who:
Jesus
What: Thanked God for always hearing and listing to Him and that he was praying for the benefit of those who were watching that they may recognize that Christ was from the Lord.
When: After Lazurus had been dead for 4 days.
Where: In front of Lazurus’ tomb.
Why: To glorify God.
How: Lifted up His eyes and prayed out loud to God.

Acts 7:54-60
Who:
Stephen, a man full of faith, full of and controlled by the Holy Spirit, full of grace and power worked many great wonders and sings among the people. He was selected, along with 6 other men, to look after/superintend the serving of tables and distribution of food to widows (ch. 6).
What: “Lord Jesus, receive and welcome my spirit!” and “Lord, fix not this sin upon them”
When: While being stoned to death by the Sanhedrin, Scribes, elders and the people
Where: Outside of the city
Why: He surrendered himself to the Lord in death as opposed to changing his tune and he forgave those who killed him unjustly.
How: Falling on his knees, cried out loudly

* I had initially included Matthew 26:36-46, Mark 14:33-37, Luke 22:39-47 and John 17:1-26 but after careful consideration would consider these to be corporate prayer so I removed these observations.

Tim Tebow and Praying in Public

The Debate
I don’t watch sports, nothing against them I’m just not really into watching, although on a rare occasion you will find me going to a hockey game cheering for whoever the home team is cause hockey games are so much fun to watch live! In spite of my lack of attention to sports, the Tebow sensation has reached my eyes and ears through the news and through Facebook friends’ posts. Most recently I saw a heated discussion between a Facebook friend and one of their friends who I don’t know. They were debating whether or not it was OK for Tebow to be praying in public. What really bothered me about it was that one of them was basing their whole argument off of a scripture reference they were taking out of context. This really made me uncomfortable/raised my heart rate a little bit and made me get that nervous feeling in my stomach that maybe I should point that “out of context” issue to them. Since I love, love – LOVE God’s most holy infallible word, I wanted to say something so bad! I didn’t though – I had a feeling that wouldn’t be the wise thing to do.

Anyway, as I contemplated their debate it didn’t take long to recognize that if one person is asking this question then there are more. It is good to ask questions about the Bible – God wants us to ask questions and to study His word. The latter is the part that gets left out most of the time which unfortunately leads to heated arguments based on human worldviews as opposed to God’s perfect truth. To find out what God says about public prayer let’s dive into His Word.

The Method of Study
Well first, set your own initial opinion/gut feeling to the side (sure I have on too!) and open the Bible along with a concordance, I use Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance. It is available in book form or online. Then start looking up the word “pray”, “prayer”, “prayed” etc. As you look the verses up make sure to read the context by reading the paragraphs before and after or even the whole chapter. That really helps a lot. As you read each passage start categorizing them by types of prayer such as public prayer, corporate prayer, private prayer etc.

After compiling lists we will then look at what God says about public prayer by reading the verses and studying them in context by:

  1. Studying the text before and after.
  2. Comparing the scripture with the other scriptures we find about prayer.

God’s word, although consisting of 66 books written over thousands of years does not contradict itself so it is important to shine the light of meaning on scripture by using other scriptures referred to as “cross references”.

As you compile your own list you will realize that it takes some time. I’m going to look up a section of verses/passages each day and will keep my lists here:  Verses on Prayer. I’m sure this will come in handy later on for other studies too!

After studying the scriptures we’ll be able to draw a conclusion to the question based on what God has to say about prayer in public throughout His word. Remember to check back for progress on the study and the results!

View the observations of public prayers recorded in scripture

View the conclusion!