I’ve been putting off writing this post because I really wanted to be able to say this has been a good week, a successful week, and that I’m full of hope. I still have hope, don’t get me wrong, but this week has played Russian Roulette with my emotions, and Raleigh’s skin has been very flared, flaky, and dry, and I’m pretty emotionally stripped.
I studied English Literature in college. It was a dream, I wish it had lasted longer, and I loved every piece of literature I could get my hands on, well almost every piece, even in reading the 14 Shakespeare plays in one semester that nearly broke me. That was intense. I’ve particularly been drawn to literature that presents hope, and often times, the kind of hope that isn’t so obvious but intricately woven into the story in such a way that you almost don’t realize how powerful it is until you’re able to fully digest the entire story at the end. I love Leo Tolstoy for that reason, and Victor Hugo, and there are a few others, but they are certainly two of my favorites at showing how hope and God’s goodness and grace can be found woven into the tapestry of our every day lives, and how even simple, seemingly insignificant things and encounters can be powerful instruments in revealing God’s mercy to us. However, it’s easy to get lost in the every day, and I’ve certainly had moments when I’ve felt lost this week. I still feel a little lost and overwhelmed even in writing this, but I’m not alone, and God has been more than faithful to show me that in many ways in these past 7 days.
As week three comes to a close and we begin week four, we realize we’ve gotten ahead of ourselves. We got a swift kick in the pants and since had to take a giant step back. The egg backfired, but when we removed it, Raleigh’s skin cleared fairly quickly. We had also begun to supplement with fermented cod liver oil (FCLO), and after eight days of having a small dose, his skin flaring a little more every day, we decided to remove that as well. However, after removing the FCLO we’ve yet to see his skin calm back down. Confusing and discouraging.
We went and saw an herbalist who works with Raleigh’s holistic pediatric doctor and got a few supplements she thinks may help assist his liver in detoxing and a few other calming herbs to try. We haven’t tried any of this yet because we haven’t been able to establish a base-line again with his skin. The base-line is essential for determining if something is causing his skin to flare.
One of the hardest things for me is feeling like my son is a guinea pig. We certainly weren’t expecting this journey to be an easy one, but, in all honesty, I wasn’t expecting such an emotional roller coaster ride either. Perhaps that was naive.
I struggle with being in the present sometimes, focusing on what today means and not worrying so much about what tomorrow holds. I have a wonderful aunt who reminded me of the importance of that yesterday. Obviously, God is using this GAPS journey to refine me and my story as well as healing Raleigh.
What going forward looks like for us right now is a six week hold in Stage one of the Intro GAPS diet. After talking with the herbalist, we felt like his body clearly needs time, and a lot of it, to heal and not have anything new introduced that will disrupt the healing process. We are also getting in contact with a certified GAPS practitioner I was able to locate down in Colorado Springs. I’m hoping for even more insight from her.
So, really, there is hope. There is always hope. We see that in Jean Valjean’s life and in Ivan Ilyich’s death.
I love Elizabeth Elliot, and God has used her writings as an instrument to speak truth into my life many times. I keep a print out of one of her devotions titled “I will Not Be Afraid” on the wall in my kitchen. In it she writes, “Things are, in fact, under control. God is our Refuge, our Strength, our Mighty Fortress. Nothing will get by the moat of his protection without his permission. To be afraid of what happens today or what may happen tomorrow is not only an awful waste of energy, it is not only useless, it is disobedient. We are forbidden to fear anything but the Lord himself.” She goes on to write, “When Christians in China were being hounded to death in the 1930s, one of them (I am told) wrote this simple song, which has helped me in countless times of fear ever since I learned it as a high school girl:
I will not be afraid.
I will not be afraid.
I will look upward, and travel onward,
And not be afraid.
I read this often and repeat it in my head often. God has been holding me in this valley for quite some time. I know he won’t leave me, He hasn’t yet, and He continues to show himself to me. I have hope. I will not be afraid. I will not be afraid. I will look upward, and travel onward, and not be afraid.
Thank you for praying for us. Please keep us in your prayers. And for those who have spoken Truth and given encouraging words, I am so thankful for you. God is good.