I’ll admit it has become more difficult to find the time and the words to keep this blog going at the pace I had hoped when I first began. Life has a way of getting away from you while you’re busy living it. We breached 100 days into the GAPS diet a little over a week ago. One hundred days feels big. It is usually when TV shows do a special episode or everyone gets cake except no one gets cake on the GAPS diet, especially if you’re looking to heal food allergies. So 100 came and went and we’re still at it. We’re still here. We’re still fighting, and we’re winning.
For those of you who don’t know, I also home school, and we use the Charlotte Mason method. This specific method is not well known, but it is certainly God-breathed and views children as whole persons while presenting a feast of information before them as they journey down their path of life-long learning. It’s beautiful and full of living books and ideas, and we fell in love with it after we read the book When Children Love to Learn by Elaine Cooper. If you have never heard of CM or that book, I’d highly recommend doing some research into all of it. You’ll be blessed by it, that’s for sure.
Charlotte Mason’s motto was this: I am, I can, I ought, I will. And as I trudge, some days, through what must be done and needs to be done, I find this motto is helping even me.
I am a Child of God. I am very valuable because God made me.
I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength. God has made me able to do everything that I have to do.
I ought to do my job so that I will be obeying God, my parents and everyone in authority over me.
I will resolve to keep watch over my thoughts and tongue, and choose what is right even if it is not what I want.
It is a tall order. There is so much truth here for the Believer, and I’d be lying if I said this didn’t speak to my heart on a very real level just as I speak it over my kids and they are learning it’s meaning.
It’s easy to get lost in the day-to-day. I get lost often. Life is hard for us right now, but it’s also sweet. I’m busier than I’ve ever been, working harder than I’ve ever worked, and realizing my need for help and for Jesus more than ever before. And this creed is grounding to me. It is simple yet packed with Truth and points back to the Cross, and I read it every day.
Since I last updated, we have moved Raleigh into Stage 4 of the Intro diet. There are 6 stages before we are on the FULL GAPS diet. That’s exciting, and we’ve already moved from stage 3 to stage 4 faster than we moved though the first three stages. Raleigh has begun taking a new supplement called GI revive. He loves the taste and now gets it three times a day. It is meant to help the GI system heal and recover as it has many healing elements to it. We have also incorporated my homemade sauerkraut into his diet. He gets about 4 teaspoons with every meal. He loves it and smacks his lips. It shouldn’t make me laugh or surprise me because once you remove refined sugars and grains and get the junk out, your body begins to crave real food, and not just real food, but bitter and sour foods like bitter greens and fermented foods like sauerkraut that nourish and heal. Raleigh has quite the refined palate and often comments on the sweetness of carrots and onions. He is tasting what real food tastes like, and likely a Chic-fil-a sandwich will not satisfy him ever again. He won’t be eating one of those anytime soon, but when the day comes that we are off the GAPS diet and we possibly venture down that path, I do wonder how he will respond. That is light years away, or at least feels so.
Stage 4 consists of a few new wonderful things. He gets baked meats, GLORY HALLELUJAH, everything up to this point has been simmered slowly in chicken stock. He also gets fresh pressed juices, beginning with carrot in an incredibly small portion mixed with water. Juicing helps your body eliminate toxins. He can also have cold-pressed olive oil. Each stage contains some of the top 8 allergens. Early on he reacted to egg and fermented cod liver oil, so we decided we’d stay away from the top 8 until most, if not all, of his body has cleared significantly of eczema so we can see clearly any reaction from those foods. It is still too difficult to truly define a reaction because we are still dealing heavily with eczema in certain areas of his body.
Every stage forward continues with the previous foods and all you do is build on slowly and see how the body tolerates each new food. It’s something akin to introducing new foods to a baby. You do one thing, in small amounts and wait for a few days before you try something else. Talk about painful and slow. It is definitely that, especially if he finds something he loves and I have to put a cap on how much he can have in a sitting.
The beauty in all of this is how it is working, because it is working. He has areas of his body that remain clear, all the time, even when other areas flare up. That is proof positive that healing has and is taking place. His upper back and upper arms, and part of his torso, are clear and moisturized. Healing. Beautiful, glorious, healing.
We’ve witnessed some interesting things in the almost four months we’ve been on this journey regarding how Raleigh is healing. I’ve listened to Dr. Campbell-McBride a handful of times in interviews because I’m fascinated by 1) how this is the answer to healing so many ailments, and 2) how it’s still so on the “fringes” that not many people know about it. I have a couple of handfuls of friends and family members who suffer from one or more of the ailments the GAPS diet specifically treats and heals, but what I’m learning, not specifically from these friends and family members, just from being a member of society, is that most people aren’t really looking for healing, they’re looking to treat symptoms. We certainly began going down that path of treating symptoms until the symptoms grew so out of control we felt we had no choice but to choose a different path.
The analogy Dr. Campbell-McBride gives on healing was likened to an onion. When you begin the diet, your body decides what needs healing first and it begins to attack that area. During that time, your symptoms, whatever they may be, for Raleigh it is the eczema, worsen for a time. But then, the outer layer is peeled off when healing has taken place and you see improvement for a short while, a reprieve, and then the body begins working on the next layer and symptoms return. We’ve seen this in Raleigh’s skin where he does worsen and then clear, worsen and shed his skin and then clear. It’s pretty fantastical to watch and see the healing process happening. It is slow beyond belief, but it is lasting.
Raleigh is an incredibly emotional person. He is as far of a Feeler as they come. Evelyn, my other child, is as far of a Thinker as they come. His empathy is off the charts and hers is difficult to muster, at best. I do not think we give Raleigh enough credit for how much of this process he is taking in emotionally. I am delighted to report that most days he is a very happy child. He plays, he laughs, he jokes. He is a joy. But, he also feels so deeply and knows he is different and something is going on inside his body that is unlike others, and he tells us that. He will say, “something is wrong inside of me. Something hurts. The bad bugs are winning, this isn’t working.” In those moments I not only feel intense emotion myself and pain for my child, but I see a valuable window into the world of learning to trust in God and to teach the same to him. Not just trust though, also Faith, Hope, and Perseverance. Not only has God led us here to find healing, but He’s teaching all of us, our children included, about Faith and Trust and our utter need and reliance on God for everything; including healing.
I believe God has big plans for Raleigh’s life. He is special and different and going through something uncanny at such a tender age. He didn’t ask for this and many nights he will tell me, “I shouldn’t have got this skin.” He feels deeply, he hurts deeply. He is strong. We take every chance we get to show him how God is healing him. I find it interesting how, even at such a young age, both my kids expect things immediately. The instant gratification is strong in them and that’s part our fault and part just the world we live in now. Amazon can get here in two days, and, if that’s not fast enough, we can drive to a store in five minutes. But healing, healing takes time. It requires patience, careful planning and execution, dedication, perseverance, love, devotion, more perseverance and more patience. None of this is instant; and all of it requires Faith and a steady hand and heart and total reliance on God’s grace.
Here are some small yet big proofs we see as healing: Clear skin that remains clear, quick healing of cuts and sores, asthma 99% gone, constant shedding of old skin, a bolstered immune system. We all caught a nasty cold a few weeks ago. I got it the worst, and on the worst day where we sat and watched movies, Raleigh sat next to me. In the past he would catch everything and usually it would be worse than anyone else. A few times that day he needed lotion reapplied to his face, and it came at times right after I had blown my nose, and I wasn’t about to get up to wash my hands just to apply lotion to his face. I thought for sure he would catch the cold, but he didn’t. To me, that was proof positive that his immune system has come leaps and bounds from where it was. Proof of healing.
One of our biggest concerns still is Raleigh’s itch. He is still taking benadryl at night. We now buy it compounded to remove all other ingredients like sugars and dyes. He still needs it because, even with it, he wakes most nights at least once attacking his legs and feet. Part of the itch is from the skin attempting to heal, but part of the itch is the eczema that torments him. We’ve come far in a short amount of time, but we are fervently praying this itch will dissipate and he will no longer need the benadryl. It is rare he gets an uninterrupted night of sleep, or me for that matter. So, if you’re praying, please pray for the itch to be gone for good.
Even in the hardest moments of this journey there is still hope and “Hope” is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul (Emily Dickinson). A few weeks ago while we were giving Raleigh a bath, he asked us to leave the room so he could pray. We walked right outside and listened and this is what he said with his precious little tender voice, “Dear Jesus, please heal my body. Please make me not itchy anymore. We invite the Holy Spirit. In the name of Jesus, Amen.” It is the cry of my heart. Lord, please heal my son.
I am. I can. I ought. I will.