We are never ready for our lives to be turned upside down. We are never ready to be told that we need to make huge changes to our lifestyle and that the time frame is indefinite. We don't realize how much comfort we find in our routines and how the unpredictable throws us for a loop.
I have always been careful with what I am feeding my family or myself, except those few times when life get absolutely crazy and here comes the corner of the street pizza! 90% of the time we would eat homemade cooked food from scratch with plenty of veggies and meats bought organic from our Amish friends nearby. We'd enjoy our few favorite restaurants and every once in a while indulge in a very well missed desert. There are never baked goods or sweets in our home laying around, and their presence, if at all, would be scarce or on holidays. And still, I got very sick.
I blamed it on pregnancy, then on my c-section, then on breastfeeding till I had nothing else to blame it on. That was the moment sickness has reached its peak and started to look scary. The dizziness, being unable to get back to my pre-pregnancy weight, in spite of all effort, the exhaustion, the "weird" floaty-brain fog feeling, the numbness in my hands, the overboard inflammation in my fingers to the point of being unable to change a diaper, the inexplicable pains in my entire body that would not go away could not be blamed on anything anymore. A 30 year old should not feel this way.
I waited; a little too long, as we all tend to think this shall pass. When I finally stopped waiting, I got immediate answers for all I have endured for a couple of years now. The digestive condition isn't the point. We all get sick, we will all suffer different illnesses and troubles. And mine is not the worst! What sickness reveals is the point.
Being told that I have to change my already healthy diet fell on my shoulders like a bomb. No meat, no dairy, no sugars, honeys or fake sweeteners, no preservatives, no caffeine, no wheat or white rice, no cheating and light consumption of fruits. There wasn't much left that I enjoy eating after that. It has been harder than I thought it would be, continuing to cook for the rest of my family, adjusting all my grocery shopping, and spending hours reading labels in the grocery store. I was shocked to find out that 95% of the stuff contain added sugars or fake sweeteners and awful preservatives with fancy names. I would spend hours in a store, ending up leaving with a screaming child trying to bust out of the cart, after his patience has been well long stretched.
I grumbled and complained, at first, to the really close people in my life, feeling like I can never get a break from cooking anymore, and not only that, but now I have to think breakfast, lunch and dinner in a "foreign language" or cook two separate meals. Sometimes sunflower seeds would be all those three, since it seemed just easier than anything else. I grumbled and complained and felt bad for my family being dragged into this: it felt enjoyment has left and we could not go anywhere without me having to pack a lunch or my own dinner and bringing my own boring salad dressing. I knew my husband will suffer along as he would not want to have a feast in a restaurant with me looking at him. I wasn't seeking pity, I simply had a really hard time giving up life as I knew it, even though my health improved tremendously and inflammation and numbness started to become things of the past, as well as "after pregnancy weight". I was "missing the fish, melons and the cucumbers of Egypt", even if Egypt was nothing else than slavery. I was missing the freedom and comfort of certain legitimate foods and not looking at the blessing of a treatable diagnosis.
As my husband and I were reading through the Book of Exodus one evening, we came across those passages where the Israelites were grumbling and complaining, desiring the foods of Egypt. And I was nothing less than one of them, looking back at the pains and physical discomforts with grief in my heart; because losing them meant losing everything I knew and made me comfortable, my ways, my cooking habits, my breaks on nights we would go out, and mostly my well loved cup of coffee.
We've also read about them eating Manna for 40 years in the desert, having enough to last them one day at a time. 40 years! Generations have died without another cucumber juicing their mouths, but they were free! Free to serve God, free to birth and raise their kids, free to love their spouses, far from the inflictions of the Egyptians. And so am I. Free to stick around my husband and love and help him well; to care for my sweet little boy, whom I have to chase around, free of the pains that would increase with each physical task. And there hasn't been one day I went to bed hungry. I went to bed with my mouth watering over Armand's bowl of cherries, or with the thought that I will have to live through another day of caffeine withdrawals tomorrow; but never hungry! Never in need!
I checked my heart and I have turned my grumbling into thanksgiving. I have seen how the Lord has always been most present when myself was broken, emptied of pride and not walking in my own strength. He must have seen my heart growing distant and loving more the things of this world. He must have seen deeper in me that I can even go; He must have known I need to kneel again and ask for strength for today without worrying about tomorrow. He must have thought I need to see myself in how I respond to heavy, burdening and out of my comfort zone circumstances. He must think my spiritual heart needs surgery and if He thinks so, than it is true.
I still have my hard days when I have to renew my mind that even if I do have to "eat Manna alone" for 40 more years, it is good for my soul. The fear of unknown, the costly treatment, the burdensome diet and unlimited time-frame of this life change creeps in some days and scares the heck out of me like a maniac pulling a gun to my head. But these are short lived moments and I am convinced my Lord will provide.
I can't stop singing these couple verses from two different bands I happened to recently see in a concert: "I found my life when I laid it down/ Upward falling, spirit soaring/ I touch the sky when my knees hit the ground" (Hillsong United); "When You don’t move the mountains I’m needing You to move/ When You don’t part the waters I wish I could walk through/ When You don’t give the answers as I cry out to You/ I will trust, I will trust, I will trust in You!" (Lauren Daigle).