Ninety days

Ninety days. Today is ninety days into Raleigh’s journey into the GAPS diet. It feels like a lifetime. Like forever. It feels like we haven’t lived any life but this life and like we won’t ever have a life different from this ever again. It’s safe to say I’m exhausted in ways I didn’t know were possible. We are so deep into this thing. The slowness of this journey is excruciating. I wasn’t expecting quick results, but I wasn’t fully prepared for the limbo, the monotony of the day-to-day, the guessing and the longing for sustainable change. I guess you can’t really know until you’re fully in something what it will entail and what the end game will look like. We still aren’t even sure what the end-game will look like.

I’ll just say it: Ninety days is a terribly long time when you’re counting the days, and I am counting them. I have a spiral notebook that has found a permanent spot on the counter where I log all supplements, all bowel movements, or lack-thereof, any changes to his skin, good or bad, and anything I find pertinent to the day. Every day I do this, and every day I prep for the next day’s journal entry. Time moves slowly when you’re logging it in this fashion and fast when you aren’t. I have had many days where I find myself wishing away time, wanting to fast forward into the future, to a future I believe will be different in a good way for our family, for Raleigh. But the journey serves an important purpose. The journey teaches us many things. I’m learning a great deal about who I am, about who I am not, and about patience and perseverance. James 1:2 rings true and still serves as a life verse for me. How do you begin to count something all joy when the joy is difficult to find and most days are just full of pain? Some days the valley is so deep and the light is so dim that I feel like I’m stumbling around in the dark, aimless and alone. I know I’m not alone, but my faith is being tested, my endurance is being tested. I long to find my way out of this valley. I long to see a brighter light.

I’ve come to a point in this journey where, when people ask how I’m doing, I just don’t know how to give an answer that would make sense to anyone. We are in the midst of something no one can understand, at least no one we’ve met. It’s nearly impossible to describe. We are in survival mode. Every day is survival. Survival in the most basic sense, but also in an emotional and mental sense. Raleigh is almost four-and-a-half and is now able to really start to understand he is different from his peers. He looks different, he eats different food, he can’t eat what everyone else eats, and this is increasing in intensity considering how it makes him feel. He is wrestling with emotions and deep-rooted issues kids his age don’t typically have to deal with. He has begun to tell me that he wishes God hadn’t given him this skin. He also tells me from time to time that he is praying God will make his skin white and not itchy and that God isn’t answering his prayer. He’s in these beginning stages of anger and confusion. Perhaps the most difficult part of this is helping him understand something he just isn’t capable of comprehending at his age. This is an impossible, exhausting, and emotionally draining task. There are so many tears. Everyday there are tears. Parenting is difficult even on the easy days, but this is an impossible parenting situation. God, help me.

Last week I made Raleigh a sausage and cabbage stew. He loved it and ate it for four days. Within those four days, his skin seemed to flare a little bit each day. It’s difficult to know, for certain, since stress of the constant emotional waves of a 4-year-old and the heat of a lingering summer both make his body flare, if the sausage was the culprit, but we think it may have been. My first instinct, being the resident pessimist in the family, is that I failed or somehow I should have known. Sam’s first response was a celebration of sorts for finding a new piece of Raleigh’s food puzzle. How differently we process this journey. So sausage is out for the time being. We did move him into Stage 3 of the Intro GAPS diet, which is exciting. He has been able to eat ripe avocado, sauteed onions or Cowboy Onions as we call them. Cowboy onions just sound tastier, don’t they? I serve them up multiple times a day usually along side a simmered piece of ground beef I call a hamburger. The onions are sauteed in beef tallow. If you’ve never seen, smelled, or tasted beef tallow, you should go out and try some because you really haven’t lived yet. I will warn you, tallow isn’t delicious, it tastes like grease-gone-bad, and it makes your house smell like a grease pit for hours, or days in my case because I’m constantly making them. But Raleigh loves them, and the fat is fantastic for healing, it’s an essential element to the process, and the onions aid in digestion and have immunity benefits. So really, Cowboy Onions are a home run.

Today also marks the start of a new supplement called GI-Revive. Raleigh has been taking zinc for a while as a stepping stone to get to this GI-Revive. We can tell that the zinc has been a huge aid in assisting his skin in it’s ability to heal. Any cut on Raleigh prior to the GAPS diet would take extraordinary amounts of time to heal. If it took a typical child 3-5 days to heal from a minor cut, it would take Raleigh 3x as long. That has changed since we began the diet, and it’s a small indicator that healing is taking place.

The GI-Revive has a lot more in it than just zinc and that makes me nervous as to what may happen in the reactionary sense. It could be positive, and I’m hopeful it will be, but I’m nervous it will be a set-back. The purpose behind the GI-Revive is further healing of the gastrointestinal system. All of the other supplements up to this point have been received well by his body, so please pray this one will as well.

I’ve been listening to a song by the artist Plumb for the last couple of weeks called God Help Me. And to be completely honest, I wouldn’t still be here fighting this fight if it weren’t for God’s help. I truly don’t know how people face the difficult challenges of life without God. I don’t feel strong right now, but I know God has given me the strength I need to face these challenges. He has given me the grace I need, and He is carrying me through. I believe this journey has great purpose for my life, for Raleigh’s life, and my entire family. I can’t see very far ahead and likely, that’s a blessing, but I’ve got to keep trusting that God will provide everything from the monetary side to the emotional needs we are each facing through this journey. This is the darkest, most cavernous valley I’ve ever wandered through.

Here are the lyrics to the song:

There is a wrestling in my heart and my mind
A disturbance and a tension I cannot seem to drive
And if I’m honest, there’s quite a bit of fear
To sit here in this silence and really hear You
What will you ask of me?
Will I listen to your voice when you speak?

Help me to move
Help me to see
Help me to do whatever you would ask of me
Help me to go
(Or) God help me to stay
I’m feeling so alone here
And I know that You’re faithful But I can barely breathe
God help me

Sometimes things, they are black and white
But sometimes they are not and it leaves us torn inside
And in the middle we are left to wonder
Who we are, what You want and where we’re going
Oh such a mystery
I don’t always understand
But I believe

Help me to move
Help me to see
Help me to do whatever you would ask of me
Help me to go
(Or) God help me to stay
I’m feeling so alone here
And I know that You’re faithful But I can barely breathe
God help me

I don’t know the future
It’s one day at a time
But I know I’ll be okay with Your Hand holding mine
So take all my resistance
Oh God I need Your grace
One step and then the other Show me the way
Show me the way

Help me to move
Help me to see
Help me to do whatever you would ask of me
Help me to go
(Or) God help me to stay
I’m feeling so alone here
And I know that You’re faithful But I can barely breathe
God help me

I think a lot of times Christian’s believe they are meant to go and do this or that and many times that is what God is calling them to do. But, other times, we’re simply meant to stay, and sometimes staying somewhere is the most difficult thing. Staying in something and fighting for life or truth or healing can be just as challenging as going. It’s certainly easier to run, and, though I’m not a quitter by nature, I have been running in my thoughts. I’ve been running to the future when I need to be present here physically, mentally, and emotionally. Because the journey matters, the journey is important. It’s significant and it has a purpose.

 

 

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