For He Alone is Worthy

I sat in the church pew alone this past Sunday and sang these words.


And God spoke to me.

We have had a rough year.  My son was diagnosed with obsessive-compulsive disorder in June.  It’s not any sort of joke the way people kid each other and say, “you’re so OCD!”  It is a serious and often debilitating mental health disorder.  In my son’s case it centers around contamination and the fear of becoming ill.  It led him to basically stop eating and as a result he was also diagnosed with an (unspecified) eating disorder.  This has been the hardest thing I’ve ever dealt with in my life, by far.  Words can’t ever explain the difficulty of this journey.   It has become all-consuming- the treatment, the appointments, the stress of feeding him, the extra laundry, the hyper-vigilance about not breaking his OCD rules, the crisis moments, the heartbreak of seeing him struggle.  We have seen some improvement but treatment is going to be a long road.  It often feels like one step forward and two back.

Back to my story- I was sitting in church listening to and singing those words and I just felt like God told me- “I alone am worthy of all the attention that your mind is giving this circumstance. Yes, it’s serious.  But I am in control, I know what’s best, I am good, and you can trust me.”

These are all things I already knew- but I needed the reminder.  The reminder to keep my eyes on Him.

Do you need a reminder today, too?

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Our Celiac Story

So one of the things that has caused so much change in our household over the past year is my son’s health.  Here’s the story – if only to help another family who might be going through the same thing.

In the Spring of 2013, my (then) 9-year-old started complaining of stomach pain, pretty consistently although not daily.  However there were no other symptoms – just pain.  In July he had a check-up in which his pediatrician could find nothing wrong.  In September he had his yearly physical, still with occasional complaints of stomach pain.  The pediatrician suggested we try a dairy-free diet in case he might be lactose intolerant.  We did that and there was no improvement.  Around October, the complaints of stomach pain were nearly daily and a new symptom was added – severe anxiety.  About stuff that was normal for our family – going out to eat, traveling in the car anywhere more than 15 minutes away, going to Grandma’s house.  If we even suggested doing any of these things he would either throw a temper tantrum or just get really upset and cry.  We didn’t know how to handle this and did the best we could.  Because there were no actual physical symptoms, we really thought it was a behavioral issue.  By January, the stomach pain and anxiety were extreme and interfering with our family’s daily life.  I really started to wonder if the pain and anxiety signaled a psychological problem.  However, I also noticed that when he returned to school, his adjustable-waist pants needed to be tightened -which I knew wasn’t a good sign but thought it was just because he’d been picky about eating.

So back to the pediatrician we went.  He had lost 6 pounds since his appointment in July (which is a lot for a 10-year-old who only weighed about 65 pounds anyways!).  The pediatrician ordered some blood tests and we got results a couple of days later that his antibodies were elevated – indicating celiac disease.  The pediatrician recommended we put him on a gluten-free diet and set us up with an appointment to see a gastroenterologist.

We put him on a gluten-free diet right away and saw improvement within a week.  Less pain and the anxiety nearly disappeared.  Amazing!  I was so thankful!  I started to do research online about celiac disease.  As an auto-immune disease, it is closely linked with Type 1 diabetes.  Both Dave and I have extended family with celiac, and as you know we also both have diabetes in our families.  The other interesting thing I found out was that canker sores are a symptom of celiac disease.  My son had had very frequent canker sores for about 2 years prior to this!

It took two months to get in to see the gastroenterologist and my heart just broke when I heard what they said.   They told us that he would need to be on a gluten-containing diet for TWO MONTHS prior to an endoscopy and small intestine biopsy in order to accurately diagnose celiac disease.  Now, I had seen in my research that a gluten-containing diet was necessary (and in fact I had called our pediatrician to ask about this but they said it shouldn’t matter (wrong!!)) but I thought they would say maybe a week or two.  And my son had been doing so well on the diet that I really didn’t want to put him back on gluten until it was necessary, and I thought one or two weeks we could handle.  But TWO MONTHS???

And, not to mention, this is a 10-year-old we were talking about.  He knew enough about what had been happening that he wanted no part of going back on a gluten-containing diet.

So I made a hard choice, that at the time I felt like my only choice – to try to sneak some gluten into his diet.  Because I knew he would just refuse to eat if he thought something had gluten in it.  And let’s face it, you really can’t make someone eat something.  So this is what I did for two months and it was awful.  A new symptom arose – headaches.  Daily.  The canker sores came back.  The stomach pain came back.  Not to mention the guilt I felt for giving my child something that I knew was making him feel sick.  Ugh.

Fast forward to the endoscopy / biopsy – it went smoothly.  However, the results came back with no small intestine damage and so they couldn’t diagnose celiac conclusively.  It was such a disappointment!  We left the gastroenterologist with a recommendation to put him back on a gluten-containing diet for 6 months and then come back and retest.  CRAZINESS!

After a long conversation with our pediatrician (which included my disappointment in his recommendation to immediately go on a gluten-free diet prior to diagnosis), we decided to move forward with treating as though he has celiac.  We also got genetic testing done, which confirmed that he has the gene for celiac – just another part of the puzzle.  I feel that the positive antibody testing at three different times, the genetic testing, the family history, the symptoms, and the improvement we see on a gluten-free diet is enough evidence for me that he has celiac – even though a positive biopsy is the gold standard for diagnosis among the medical community.  He is currently on a gluten-free diet and rarely has stomach pain / headaches / canker sores although anxiety is still a part of his life.

Looking back, although I am definitely disappointed in not having an actual diagnosis (honestly, I am concerned about things like college – without a diagnosis will we be able to require them to provide GF meals??), having that period of having to eat gluten again was probably good for my son because he is super-compliant with the diet now.  At first he was not cooperative – didn’t want to eat GF stuff – as soon as the gastroenterologist told him he HAD to eat it for 2 months, he didn’t want to touch it.  Reverse psychology??  ha!

The lesson we learned that I’d want to share with other parents is this – if celiac is possible – do NOT just “try” a gluten-free diet!  Get the testing done first!

Here is a link to my favorite celiac disease resource if you want more info:  http://www.cureceliacdisease.org/

And an infographic of celiac disease symptoms, thanks to http://www.glutendude.com

December 2014!

Christmas is two days away!

Today we are finishing up our preparations… wrapping the last of the gifts, making the last of the cookies (peanut butter balls), and all that good stuff.

Here’s what we’ve been up to this month:

We’ve had a rough December in terms of busy-ness and sicknesses, so we’re also doing a lot of resting, too!  This weekend we took it easy and pretty much watched Christmas movies all weekend.

It was a good weekend – probably because I had zero expectations of it.

Unlike last weekend.  One of our advent activities was to pick out a child to sponsor through ICCM.  We’ve been wanting to do this for a while and I thought it would be a great way to celebrate Christ’s birth.  It didn’t go at all like I’d planned.  (ooh – those expectations we have in our heads are so sneaky!)  I guess I thought it would be a truly meaningful family moment – and it was anything but.  We still did it, but the kids were being silly and totally not taking it seriously.  It made me angry and one of them was in time-out before it was over.

And today the littlest had a doctor’s appointment – diagnosis cold with a side of ear infection.  Not exactly how I’d expected to spend today.  But more snuggling and resting is okay, too.

In the midst of all this I thought of the Christmas devotion I’d done at MOPS a couple of years ago.  And realized I needed to hear it again.

Maybe you do, too.  Here’s the good part:

 Are you trying for the perfect Christmas? And don’t get me wrong – I get caught up in it, too! But God keeps reminding me that the only perfection I’ll find on Earth – the only perfection that you’ll find – is in Jesus. He was, and still is, the perfect gift and the reason we celebrate!

Jesus was referred to in the Bible as “Immanuel”, which means “God with us”. God gave us His son as a gift – the gift of His presence in human form. He is present (no pun intended) with us at all times.

Jesus, the Messiah, was born in a dirty stable when people were expecting a King with all the trappings.

But God is more concerned about what people need rather than what they expect. And He is not afraid to come into the mess of our lives – our dirty stables.

Despite your efforts to create the perfect Christmas, what kind of messes do you have in your life?

The good news is that God’s perfect gift is still available to you. Immanuel – God with us. Isn’t it amazing? The God of the universe is willing to give up the majesty of heaven to be with us in our dirty stable. And he is big enough to deal with whatever mess we’ve made – but not too big to care about it!!

So what do you need this Christmas? Instead of chasing after the perfect Christmas, I challenge you to chase after the “perfect gift” – Jesus. He is, in fact, regardless of his birth in a dirty stable, all the things that Isaiah prophesied.

Do you need guidance on how to get out of your mess? Well, Jesus is the wonderful counselor.

Do you need peace to get through? Jesus is the Prince of Peace

Do you need the impossible to happen? Jesus is the mighty God.

Do you need hope? Well, Jesus is also the Savior and light of this world. He is the way, the truth, and the life.

All you need to do is not miss it.

(here’s the original post, if you want to read all of it)

Merry Christmas, friends!  Praying for all of us that we don’t miss Jesus this Christmas.  

 

 

Back-to-school Teacher Gift

I’ve got a quick, cute back-to-school teacher gift for you!

back-to-school teacher gift

Get yourself some school-themed scrapbooking paper, some white cardstock, ribbon, and a frame.

Go to this awesome blog to print out the art for FREE!  (Thank you, bitsycreations!)

Put it in the frame and dress it up however you like, and there you have it – another quick & easy gift!

Back-to-School Perspective

I hope you all don’t mind that I often just post to give you links to other blogs!

But sometimes I find something that just needs to be shared.

This post really hit me, because as I’ve mentioned before, God’s got me on a journey of trusting Him more and relying on myself less.  I do not need to be in control of everything (and, wouldn’t you know it?  I’m really not!!)  and I don’t have to get everything perfect (and, again, do I even need to say that I don’t?)

And with that in mind as I send my kids back to school, this just fit in perfectly.

So here you go… even if you don’t have kids going off to school in the next week or so, I highly recommend this…

http://www.susiedavis.org/back-to-school-promises-for-parents/

Enjoy!

For the Disney fans… (the rest of you can ignore it!)

I found a link to this blog post on Pinterest and just thought I’d share it. Those of you who have been to Disney can probably relate; those of you planning a trip might want to be sure to read it!

From Love Our Disney, the 7 Most Disappointing Disney Vacation Moments.

It goes along well with my post about perspective when planning a trip to Disney with your family!

And I would add one more – waiting in line to see a character and then having the character leave when you are second in line!  (Yes, it happens!)

Have a happy day!

Opportunities (a.k.a, God’s Abundant Life, lesson 2)

Yesterday the Holy Spirit led me to this passage and it was so timely.

 

Ephesians 5:1-15

 1 Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children 2 and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

3 But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people. 4 Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving. 5 For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person—such a person is an idolater—has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.[a] 6 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient. 7 Therefore do not be partners with them.

8 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light 9 (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) 10 and find out what pleases the Lord. 11 Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. 12 It is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. 13 But everything exposed by the light becomes visible—and everything that is illuminated becomes a light. 14 This is why it is said:

“Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.”

15 Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.

 

(no wonder God tells us in John 14:26 that He will send the Holy Spirit as our counselor to remind us of His promises!)

The last verse, especially, spoke to me and that’s why I have it bolded above.  Very often I mother in survival mode – just trying to make it.  But God calls me to more than that.  I am to make the most of every moment with my children – to bring them up as men and women of God.  There is much evil in the world and if I am not actively working against that influence in my kids’ lives, then that evil can influence them very easily.

As parents we cannot be apathetic.  We cannot be indifferent.  We cannot be passive.

When my kids were infants and toddlers, I looked at the years ahead that I would have with them and it felt like an eternity.  No longer.  Those years are passing by much too quickly – and soon they will be gone.

Make the most of every opportunity, of every morning, every afternoon, every mealtime, of every bedtime.  Each moment is precious.

Will we as moms have moments where we feel desperate to get away?  Yes.  Moments that we cannot wait to end?  Yes.  Moments that are complete failures and serious screw-ups?  Yes.  And that’s ok.  I am determined not to dwell on feeling guilty about those.

Just every once in a while I am determined to come back and center myself on God’s fabulous calling – to raise these children of His to know Him and love Him and serve Him for their whole lives.  To focus myself on God.

And try again to make the most of every opportunity.