There is a crack in the door filled with light

Summer is my least favorite part of the year. The heat and I just don’t ever see eye-to-eye, in fact we’re not friends. If I had a nemesis, it would be Summer. However, other than all the delicious berries that come into season, the best thing about summer for me is the fact that Sam is home for a solid two months. He works really hard throughout the entire year and, depending on the time of year, he can be found working 2-3 jobs. And since I’m a homeschooling mom on top of being a stay-at-home-mom, the time I get to myself is scarce, to say the least. So, when it’s summer and Sam is home, I try and fit in morning walks most days of the week. I haven’t been able to fit in as many this summer because I’ve been dealing with a crisis of sorts of my own since early June.

I have an anxiety disorder that, until early June, was presenting itself in the usual ways. I do a lot diet-wise, use adaptogenic herbs and have been able to manage my disorder much more affectively because of these things, but also because I’m continually working hard to heal my own gut. However, it goes beyond just gut-healing for me. Having an actual anxiety disorder means there are literal grooves in my brain that need to be retrained to think a different way. It takes time and persistence to retrain a brain that has been thinking and reacting one way to go another way. I’ve been working hard the past few years since being diagnosed with my anxiety disorder to retrain my brain to do this. The anxiety comes in waves and ebbs and flows, but no one can do the work for me, which makes it more difficult and requires a great deal of persistence and perseverance on my part. It is something I’ve embraced, and I work on it because I don’t want to be a slave to my disorder, and I’ve seen such good change from the work I’ve done thus far.

June was a busy month. Something shifted and the anxiety began to affect my sleep. I’ve never struggled with sleep before in my life, so, having spent multiple nights watching every hour pass, I began to panic, feel angry and fearful. I didn’t understand what was going on with me even though I knew it was anxiety. It wasn’t until after I went to see my therapist a few weeks into not sleeping, or not sleeping well, that I started to understand how to approach this new cycle of anxiety in a healthy way. I needed to stop trying to fix it, stop fearing it and accept it. Accepting that you may spend the entire night awake and have to take on the next day exhausted and feeling hung over is really not an easy thing to do, but I went into each night telling myself it would be okay if I didn’t sleep. I would survive the next day. I wasn’t going to die. Anxiety disorders are tough that way, and a great deal of my own health journey is founded here. I won’t go into all of that right now, but while all of this was happening to me, even more was happening to Raleigh.

We hit a year on GAPS, and we were soaring. Raleigh looked great, we were thrilled with what we had accomplished at a year, despite not having reached full healing yet, and we were beyond thankful and excited to forge forward into our second year on GAPS. On day 366, we decided to start him on a new prebiotic fiber supplement. This was something we had tried previously, about a month before, and it had affected his bowel movements negatively, so our GAPS practitioner advised us to remove it and wait until things returned to normal. So we did just that. We took more than enough time for his body to bounce back, having only been on the supplement for two days previously, but life happened, and I wasn’t eager to put him back on something that caused such a disruption, so we waited well over a month. When we put him back on the supplement his body didn’t react the same way it had the first time. I thought since his bowels were mostly typical that he was handling the supplement well. It took us nearly two weeks to realize his body was not handling it well, and on day 13 of the supplement he woke with his skin red and raging. Typically when he wakes his skin is a calmer color, more typical, and the eczema on his torso is a muted red color, not bright. But on day 13, he woke itchy and irritated and the skin on his torso and back were screaming. His chin and neck were flared and the splotches were returning in places that had previously cleared to soft and smooth skin. And to make matters worse, he had some mild virus, and virus’s typically make his skin flare. My anxiety went next level at the realization that we were seemingly taking steps backward.

Sleeplessness can really mess you up, man. I wasn’t handling any of this well. I wasn’t living my best life. I was drowning. I felt like I was in a new wasteland. And I quickly realized just how vain I had become regarding Raleigh’s skin. Now to dial it back a few years, we’ve been dealing with Raleigh’s eczema since he was somewhere around two-and-a-half years old. Any parent out there who has a child with eczema, whether it be mild or severe, knows the sting of eyes that stare, or worse, people who say just flat dumb things in front of children. It is beyond difficult when you are different in any aspect, but when people stare and ask what is wrong with him? is he ok? is he contagious? you begin to feel things. I had gotten really good at handling those comments and did so with great purpose because I wanted Raleigh to hear from me that there was nothing wrong with him.  One of the best ways I think we have helped him emotionally and mentally deal with his eczema is a reoccurring conversation we have with our kids. We’ve spent a lot of time talking to them about the brokenness of our world. None of us have perfect bodies because of sin and none of us will have perfect bodies until we get to Heaven. Everyone has a thing or, multiple things that are wrong with their bodies. Sometimes you can see a person’s thing, but other times you can’t. So we spent time listing all of our things for everyone we knew. Raleigh has a grandmother with scoliosis, a deaf grandfather, a sister with a cross-bite, a mother with an anxiety disorder and the list goes on and on. Raleigh has friends at church who wear glasses, and the amount of friends who have eczema just like Raleigh, is in fact growing. I do believe helping him see that he isn’t, in fact, different, that right now, eczema is just his thing, has helped his five-year-old mind navigate something so heavy and deep. At least, that is my prayer.

So when Raleigh’s face began to clear and people began to take notice, I started to feel really good. I was thrilled because it was yet another sign that healing was in fact happening. But mostly, I felt relief that we could go places and people weren’t staring as much as they had in the past, and more than that, people weren’t asking if he was a burn victim or if he was contagious. Those comments add up and wage war against my mother’s heart the more I hear them. So when the switch came and his body revolted against the new supplement, combined with the virus he was fighting, I was wrestling with feelings of failure, doubt, and, coupled with my sleepless nights and not understanding my own challenges, I was losing ground I had previously won. June was a tough month for me. I was in a new wasteland.

So when I did manage to take walks, I was listening to NeedtoBreathe, and their song Wasteland really spoke to my heart. It became sort of a balm to soothe the places that were aching and raw.

Here are they lyrics, but if you can, you should listen to it. Turn it up when the drums start, too.

I’m the first one in line to die
When the cavalry comes
Yeah it feels like the great divide
Has already come
Yeah I’m wasting my way through days
Losing youth along the way
Oh if God is on my side
Oh if God is on my side
Oh if God is on my side
Who can be against me
There was a greatness I felt for awhile
But somehow it changed
Some kind of blindness I used to protect me
From all of my stains
Yeah I wish this was vertigo
It just feels like I’m falling slow
Oh if God is on my side
Then who can be against me
Yeah in this wasteland where I’m livin’
There is a crack in the door filled with light
And it’s all that I need to get by
Yeah in this wasteland where I’m livin’
There is a crack in the door filled with light
And it’s all that I need to shine
All of these people I meet
It seems like they’re fine
Yeah in some ways I hope that they’re not
And their hearts are like mine
Yeah it’s wrong when it seems like work
To belong all I feel is hurt
Oh if God is on my side
Yeah if God is on my side
Oh if God is on my side
Who can be against me
Yeah in this wasteland where I’m livin’
There is a crack in the door filled with light
And it’s all that I need to get by
Yeah in this wasteland where I’m livin’
There is a crack in the door filled with light
And it’s all that I need to shine
Oh if God is on my side
Yeah if God is on my side
Oh if God is on my side
Who can be against me
There is so much good in that song. I can’t even say enough about it or how God has really used it to restore broken pieces of my heart in this time in my life.
This journey is such a process.
I’m not out of the woods yet with my sleep, but I’m learning to accept it, this new stage of my anxiety, and trust God’s goodness and grace for me while I’m in this wasteland.
Raleigh, however, is detoxing well. We switched him into a heavy detox mode once we realized the supplement was causing his flare. We have increased dry brushing in the mornings, detox baths, rebounding and using the lymph oil on certain areas of his body, lemon water first thing in the morning and juicing. All of these things have helped his body, and he continues to improve. I’m thankful.
I also learned a valuable lesson here. It’s ok if his body flares. It’s ok if people see it shift and change. This is a journey. It wasn’t going to be easy, and it wasn’t meant to be easy. My emotional state shouldn’t be tied to how my son looks. My vanity regarding Raleigh took a pretty significant hit over this ordeal. It’s not easy. None of this is. We have seen beautiful and incredible changes and healing – the asthma is GONE. G-O-N-E! HALLELUJAH. My son used to have asthma; he doesn’t now! Sometimes it’s hard to wrap my mind around that. We aren’t at the finish line yet. We are still learning how to piece together this puzzle. We work at it one day at a time. Yeah in this wasteland where I’m livin’ there is a crack in the door filled with light and it’s all that I need to get by. 

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