10th December 2016

As I sit here, I’m lost for where to begin. But I know the words need to come – for myself, for others who are going through something similar, for anyone who cares for our family.

I’m so tired.

A year ago kicked off the most horrific, painful, tiresome months of my life – of watching my 5 month old son, covered in weeping, red, itching eczema, fluctuate from not being able to move from the pain to writhing in agony. There wasn’t a day I didn’t cry. I couldn’t even kiss his face he was so covered with open skin. We didn’t sleep. We had no answers and listened to doctor after doctor swear that it wasn’t related to food, strip our pocketbooks even barer as we filled prescription after prescription that didn’t help, and fought the instinct that the issue was much deeper than anyone let on. Finally, after a friend led me to the Autoimmune Paleo diet, we dove into holistic healing, quickly seeing that it was the only thing that would work. My son’s food sensitivities are too many to list. As a breastfeeding mother, he and I were both eating about 15 foods total. I, a 5’5″ woman, got down to 104 pounds, I cried all the time, I was hungry. But I knew without a doubt this was the road we needed to take. Out of naivety, even though I had been diagnosed with an Autoimmune Disease that year (although I now know every single AI disease and chronic illness has several food sensitivities that contribute greatly to symptoms) thought I would not have to take the hard path we took with my son. I counted down the breastfeeding-days until I could eat whatever I wanted again, and then slowly started realizing this change was going to be life-long for me.

Truly, I started feeling SO much better. No more migraines, no more anxiety, no more insomnia. No more unexplained shakiness, tingling, stomach-aches, depression, hypochondria. I lead a completely different life than I used to. But things can get worse before they better. When your body is chronically inflamed, you may not notice every little response your body has – there may be no clear pattern between food and symptoms – but when you start to heal your body, it calms down enough to notice every little thing. It’s a good thing, really. But as I sit here, able to eat 20 foods that I’m so sick of I could die, I have to wonder if it was worth it. What would it have been like to ignore my food issues like so many people do? And I have to be confident that I did the right thing. That I’m trying to take care of the temple the Lord gave me. Ignorance is not an excuse for me anymore and I’m too far in to go back. But it’s hard. It’s frustrating to not be able to eat at a single function, to have to overly coordinate every meal prepared by someone else and then be ready for it to go wrongly and physically suffer, to have people constantly question what you’re doing because they can’t begin to understand the pain that a mere bite of the wrong food can cause.

Here’s where we’re at, just to give you a picture. We can’t eat gluten, dairy, grains, soy, eggs, legumes, processed food, refined sugar, corn, alcohol, peppers, tomatoes, white potatoes, nuts, seeds, most green vegetables, most fruits, pork, most starches, food additives, and I’m sure more that I’m leaving out.

Do you know what that leaves? Not very much. We still eat about 20-30 foods. And as I creep into borderline complaining here, both of my sons are in this same, crappy boat. My youngest, we knew for a while, but my oldest has been having ongoing stomach issues (among others that we probably didn’t realize) for a long time. After further testing, he is also restricted to this same diet. Forced into the same life of inconvenience, pain, and uncertainty. The same life of being afraid of eating because of what it could do. I watched the other day as patches of eczema began to pop op on his face and I’m terrified of the potential suffering we’ve already experienced too much of.

And I’m so tired.

I’m so tired of explaining myself to people and feeling like they don’t understand why we chose this route. Tired of not being able to eat out on a hard day. Tired of every meeting, gathering, function, and party being centered around food that we can’t have. Tired of being so limited in my diet that I can’t even take most of the supplements I’m prescribed because my body is so in shambles that I can’t process basic vitamins and minerals. Tired of pouring money into new tests and appointments to get more answers that I desperately need. Tired of seeing my children suffer. Tired of thinking about all the ways my kids are currently deprived and will be deprived, made fun of, or left out in the future. Tired of hearing another story of someone who was healed easily through the steps we’ve already taken, as most people are. Tired of the things we’ve been doing for so long working quickly for everyone else.

Even as I sit and type, I know that it all seems so silly. But it’s not just food. The symptoms can be killer. The lack of control is debilitating. The feelings of hopelessness and confusion are hard to fight off. And with that said, I still know we’re doing the right thing. I truly do. And the Lord has been so generous to show that to me. Most of the women in my current circle have some sort of autoimmune disfunction, without seeking that out. My doctor has now started implementing the Autoimmune Paleo diet in her practice because of my dedication to it. Some of my health posts have taken off completely without my trying. And most importantly, the Lord is drawing us to himself through this – reminding me that I am never in control, and that I don’t want to be, because he is gracious, loving, and merciful in his sovereignty.

I get frustrated sometimes, that I’m pouring so much energy into my own health and my own family that I’m missing out on greater kingdom work. I want energy to serve others more. I want the time and physical capability to be more present in my community. I want to be able to go to a camp or on a mission trip without having to somehow coordinate food for the whole trip. I want to have an excess in my bank account to give to others, instead of pouring it into our health expenses. But that’s not where the Lord has put us, and I have to trust that this is the best thing. That he will be faithful to let us see the fruit of our labors, even when the labor seems so irrelevant. I pray that more than leading people to healing, our story draws people to Jesus. I don’t know how that plays out, but I have to trust that the Lord will not waste the energy, time, and resources we’ve put into getting better.

And I ask you, dear reader, to pray for that on our behalf. Pray for healing, yes, but pray that the Lord’s glory would spread – that we would be gracious for the suffering God allows in order to make us more like Him. I don’t have all the answers, but the author of my story does. My final prayer is that if you’re reading this and have any inkling of pre-autoimmunity or full blown AI disease, please, do not wait to tackle it. This road less travelled is fruitful, even if it’s winding and long. If you know us, you know that our son’s eczema is nothing like it was a year ago, that he is almost completely clear most days. You know that my symptoms are nothing like what they used to be. It’s tiring, but it is rewarding. My family is an extreme – most people do not have to go to the lengths we have to see healing, but I’m confident the Lord is using it. So I will push forward in my weariness, cling to the promises of Jesus, and proclaim truth however I know how.


Jeremiah 31:25 I will refresh the weary and satisfy the faint.”

Romans 8:26-28  “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.  And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who[a] have been called according to his purpose.”

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