18 Jul Whatever We Face As Parents, God Is Still Good
“Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord.”
Psalm 31:24 NIV
My son has food allergies. We learned this when he was only 9 months old. It’s been quite a journey. Moments of frustration, worry…you name it. Those in the food-allergy community know all too well the seriousness of these autoimmune issues. And they are intimately aware of its isolation component. If you are not a food-allergy parent or are closely connected to an individual with food allergies, you may not realize that having food allergies can be a lonely path to take. And as a parent, it’s absolutely heartbreaking to watch.
My children were invited to a child’s birthday party awhile back. My daughter was excited to play with her friend and meet new children. I was…nervous. I knew there would be pizza, cake and ice cream; none of which my son would be able to have. I planned ahead and brought safe snacks and treats for him to have. Having to separate my toddler son from the birthday celebration group in order for him to remain safe and not become contaminated was absolutely heart wrenching. I had to put him at a table in the farthest corner and make sure he would not touch anything that would get him sick. As a result, he could not fully engage with the other kids during this happy event. It felt as if I was disciplining him for something he could not control. And yet, it was for his own safety.
As parents, we tend to have this mindset where we want to absorb all the bad that happens to our children. I remember during this birthday event, I kept wishing that I could take on all of his allergies, on top of my own gluten issues. And I wondered how things would be when he grew older and could comprehend those necessary limitations for his protection. Would he feel left out? Would these food allergies be the cause of bullying? Would he be careful enough to avoid getting sick from an allergen?
I took all these thoughts to God. And I prayed. I gave Him my worries, my frustrations, my heartaches and my tears. I knew this journey for my son would not be easy, especially as he grew older. I knew that he would notice, sooner or later, that there were yummy foods he wouldn’t be able to have and would not be happy about it. So, I continued to pray. And I continued to get creative, doing my best to make sure he would not feel he was missing anything during family events and celebrations.
In all of this, I prayed. I was reminded of the events surrounding my son’s birth. I remember interceding for him when he was barely 2 days’ old, saying, “You will know that the God you serve is a God who heals.” At the time, I had no idea why I kept saying that to him and praying healing over his little life. Just a few months later, we encountered a potentially serious issue with my son. And I began to understand that prayer of mine. Being reminded of that prayer years ago sparked more determination in me to continue steadfast in praying over him regarding his food allergies.
I can’t say that everything is perfect with my son’s health. But, I can report some small victories, which are huge wins for me. Every year, my son has to see his allergist. This year, they did bloodwork to check his allergy levels. When I was given the results to read, I had to hold my tears in until I got into my car (yes, I’m a sensitive soul). ALL of my son’s food allergy levels have drastically lowered in one year’s time. I was so happy, because these small victories were so precious for my son and a huge step forward towards eliminating food allergies. As a result of this, my son’s allergist wanted to take the next step and have him do a baked food challenge for one of his allergies: milk.
I need to explain this baked milk challenge for you. Maybe it will open your eyes to what food-allergy parents go through and will cause you to pray for us, because we will ALWAYS need prayer. My son’s challenge began at 8am. We did not leave the allergist’s office until after 12pm. This challenge involved me having to follow a specific muffin recipe (containing a certain amount of dry powder milk) and bringing the muffins in with us to this challenge. Every 15 minutes, the nurse would come in and bring my son a small piece of this muffin, increasing the quantity each time. This happened 10 times. Then he was to eat as much of the muffins as he wanted and be observed for at least ½ hr to make sure there was no reaction to the milk. Well…HE PASSED THE CHALLENGE!!! And of course, the tears almost came out of my eyes. But, this was huge for my son!
I share these small victories with you because they’re full of my hope in Christ. Just last year, my son’s levels were high enough to require an Epi-Pen case at all times. His allergy-induced reactions included three anaphylactic reactions, which resulted in two overnight stays at the ER. Experiencing your child struggling to breathe, his airways constricted, and not being able to control how his body reacts to certain ingredients is enough to bring on all that worry. But, being able to go through this process, trusting that God is good, no matter what I see in front of me, has allowed me to keep His peace in my life. And now, I continue to put my hope in God as we cover our children in prayer every single day.
I am a food-allergy parent. You may be a parent to a child with neurological challenges, behavioral issues, or physical handicaps. Whatever the case may be, keep your hope in God. Rejoice over the small victories. Allow yourself to be transparent with God and give to Him all of those burdened thoughts. Your situation may not change, but your mindset may – that makes a huge difference. And when you’re filled with peace of mind and supernatural strength from up above, no challenge you face with your children will be able to overcome you and your home. Because, God is still good and that will NEVER change.