Beauty From These Ashes

I’ve had quite a few people reach out to me lately. Many of them are on a journey to find healing for a child and feel swallowed up by the pain of it all. Saying I can relate is an understatement. I still feel intense emotional pain when I revisit pictures and memories of Raleigh pre-GAPS. I wonder if that pain will ever fade in time or if it’ll change somehow, someday. There is a part of me that feels like it shouldn’t hurt as it does considering the healing we have seen in these 22 months on the GAPS diet. But it does. I still cry when I look at old pictures or tell the story. There is an intense mourning that envelops me each time.

Out of the darkness comes light and out of these ashes such beauty. But not just in Raleigh’s healing, in my life as well. This journey, perhaps the most difficult of my life thus far, gives me hope for the future. It would be easy to look back at the pain and feel anger and allow bitterness to creep into my heart. But I don’t feel anger or bitterness for the road we previously walked upon, no — I feel gratitude for the journey because it has shown me that beauty does come from the ashes. I have seen first hand that God allows the difficult and the broken times to change us. We may beg Him to remove the pain, to change our circumstances, but God didn’t allow the pain without purpose, instead He means to change us through the pain because there is always a greater purpose, and I’d be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge that.

Making Raleigh’s journey public has always brought with it some fear. I fear failure, still, in smaller amounts, but it is still there. I fear doing something wrong and having an on-looker shame me. I fear doing it all wrong and many other things. But one thing I have learned is that there is no way to do this healing journey 100% right. It’s going to look different for everyone, for everyone is different and unique in their needs. There isn’t a perfect way to do GAPS, and there must be grace for the days when some things slip or break a little. There must be grace for the fallout — we’ve had a lot of fallouts.

It’s the puzzle analogy that I’ve written about before: It’s like piecing together a puzzle in the dark. You don’t know what the picture even looks like but you must find a way to put the pieces together to turn the lights on. And when you think of it that way you will have fallout. You will make mistakes and stumble around in the dark for awhile. You will take one step forward and two steps back, and, as maddening as that may be, it’s all a part of the journey, and it’s all okay. It is better to make a mistake, start again and continue to move forward than to just quit altogether. Had we given up on GAPS before the first year was complete we wouldn’t have seen the healing we are seeing today. It’s not about perfection, it’s about progress.

We are making progress. We are seeing beauty come out of these ashes.

It has been a long while since I’ve updated. I got the opportunity to tell my story on an Instagram take-over last week. If you’re on Instagram and interested in viewing Raleigh’s story go follow @simonsaysrealfood . Raleigh’s story is on her story reel on her page.

So for the last few months we’ve been seeing a few new things out of months of seeing not much at all. Raleigh began taking something called Restore ( after I learned it had helped other children recover fully from asthma  and eczema. He has now been taking it between 2-3 months. This product is not technically “GAPS approved”, and after talking to our practitioner and deciding for ourselves, we’ve decided to continue giving it to Raleigh. We first noticed a bulking of his bowel moments within the first few weeks. They were more fully formed and looked even healthier. Then I began to notice another shedding of sorts. There have been a few times on this journey when Raleigh has shed dead skin and it looked like snow or really bad dandruff. The shedding has always revealed softer and clearer skin. After about a month on Restore I started to notice a slight shedding when dry brushing him in the mornings. This was exciting.

I took some pictures of him the other day because his skin is beginning to look clearer and feel softer than it ever has before.


The evolution of his changes are especially shocking. It is easy to forget, in some ways, just how far we’ve come. Here are some pictures of Raleigh pre-GAPS and in the beginning days.


The eczema we are battling now is nothing compared to what it was. Beauty from these ashes. Such beauty. Such grace.

We are approaching two years on the GAPS diet this coming June, 2019. It is hard to believe we’ve been at this for nearly two years. Most of it feels like a normal, every-day routine of life and for that I’m thankful. We are still learning and growing, and I continue to learn, research and pray for continued and complete healing. I believe it will come. The body wants to heal itself. Food is medicine. God designed our bodies to heal and designed food to be a medicine to the body. All of this, the broken and the beautiful, belongs to Him. It is by God’s grace He gave us this pain. He had a greater purpose in it, and I have learned just how much He loves me through this pain He’s allowed in my life. He meant it for good. He meant for it to change me, and it has. There is beauty in these ashes.

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