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                Fresh_baked_bread
Some of
you may remember my post on diving for pearls this summer in which I alluded to
some health problems I was having. I have been blessed to have many people
inquire about how I’m feeling now that it’s Fall. I struggle to answer that
question succinctly—a problem that isn’t new to me! But the simplest answer I
can give is that I was malnourished , but am now well fed by the grace of God.  I want to tell you more in the hope
that God will use my experience to help you or someone you love.

At the age of 17, I was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis. I
wasn’t put on medication, but was told to avoid milk products and alcohol. I
dealt with what were actually mild symptoms compared to most UC sufferers until
I was 34. That was when I had yet another week-long episode of abdominal pain
and a complete inability to eat. The symptoms of the disease weren’t anything I
relished sharing with others, but on one Fall Sunday, I shared my burden with
two dear sisters in the Lord at church. They prayed for me and I returned home
certain that I would have to go to the hospital and submit to either medication
or surgery. I had seen the devastating effects of drugs on a friend who had UC
and greatly feared having a colostomy.

When I
returned home from church, I prayed fervently and told the Lord that if He didn’t
do something, I would go to the hospital. I was lying down and felt a warm
tingling sensation go through my whole body. I fell asleep and when I woke up,
the pain was gone. Not long after, an online friend told me about the Specific
Carbohydrate Diet
(SCD). It was an incredibly stringent diet, promoted by Elaine
Gottschall, a woman who I do not believe was a Christian. I assumed that God’s
healing was only for my current crisis and started the SCD. My symptoms went
into complete remission and I gave the glory for my healing to my diet.

The abdominal
pain came back a few times during that eight-year period. At one point, I appeared
to be developing more food allergies. My husband and I were in Cancun and I had
no idea what to eat between the restrictive SCD and the new allergies. I prayed
and then read Matthew 6:25 in my Bible, "Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes?" I knew the Lord had given me freedom to eat
while in Cancun and I enjoyed eating what I was served. But I assumed that this
freedom was only for my vacation. When I came home, I continued to eat
according to the SCD.

A year
ago last spring, a new troubling symptom cropped up. I was having numbness and
weakness in my right leg. My mother has MS so I knew what it was. I was certain
that the chocolate I had been eating (that was prohibited by the SCD) was
responsible. I was stringent about my diet and the symptom became less and less
noticeable until last May. The numbness spread to the entire right side of my
body. At the same time, GI symptoms I hadn’t had for eight years returned with
a vengeance. I also began experiencing severe heartburn, indigestion, and nasal
allergy symptoms. The heartburn was so bad that at times I was unable to speak
or swallow.  I was determined to find the
solution.

Why
didn’t I just go to a doctor, you may ask? I hadn’t had good experiences with
doctors up to that point. I won’t detail them here, but suffice to say I didn’t
trust them. Instead of seeking medical attention, I sought answers from the
world of natural health. What I read convinced me that I had food allergies. I
drastically changed my diet in order to determine what was at the root of my
symptoms. As a result, some of my symptoms disappeared. Suddenly, I no longer
needed Zyrtec for nasal allergies—something I’d suffered with for decades. My
year-long battle with increasingly severe hormonal symptoms was also over. I
felt I was on the right track!

But the
heartburn, indigestion, and neurological symptoms continued. In addition to
trying different stringent diets, I added a huge number of expensive natural
supplements to my regimen. I learned about nutrition and the dangers of eating
chemically and genetically altered foods as well as too much sugar. I told
everyone who would listen about the health I’d regained as a result of my diet
change and what I believed diet and supplements could do for me and for them.

After
several months, I had lost more than 20 pounds and the digestive and
neurological symptoms were no better. I finally saw a gastroenterologist. Her initial
prescription did not stop the heartburn and her second prescription of a med
that had serious neurological side effects gave me no hope that she could help
me. Despite the love and prayer support of so many, I was depressed and
terrified. It was at that time that I found a book on Amazon called A More
Excellent Way
.

When I
received A More Excellent Way, I had read at least a dozen books on health and
nutrition. None had been the definitive answer for me. I prayed and asked the
Lord to show me whether this was what He wanted me to read. I’m sure He
thought, “Finally!” The daily devotional I was reading (and continue to read)
for that day actually used the phrase, “A More Excellent Way.” I wonder
sometimes if I get these dramatic answers to prayer because I am too dense to
pick up more subtle answers! I began reading the book and become convinced that
the Lord wanted me to fast for three days (I should note that this conviction I
should fast had nothing to do with the book). I was afraid to fast because of
the amount of weight I’d lost up to that point, but my dh agreed that I should
do it.

I spent
three days being purged. I learned that there was a good chance my illness had
spiritual and emotional roots. I shed a lot of tears and let go of
unforgiveness, hurt, and fear. I learned that I hadn’t been trusting God.
Instead, I felt I was responsible to heal myself and fix everyone and
everything around me. I had also been trusting in everything BUT God. I didn’t
give Him the glory for the healing I’d already experienced. As I read about
people who had been healed of multiple allergies, autoimmune disorders, and
cancer, I believed that God wanted to heal me, too. When the fast was over, I
began eating normally. Not only did I eat normally, but I began eating foods I
hadn’t eaten for eight years. Then I began eating foods I hadn’t had since I
was 17. And I was okay!

At
first, nearly every meal required that I repeat Scripture and God’s promises so
I wouldn’t panic. At times, I felt that I would have to run to the bathroom and
could feel mouth sores developing, but as I prayed and trusted God, the
symptoms disappeared. My children and husband rejoice with me that I can now
eat anything! I no longer feel like an outsider with my family. I can eat
popcorn with them while we watch a movie! I can eat the daily bread I pray for
in the Lord’s Prayer!

I have
waited all this time to share what is an absolute miracle in my life because I
am not 100% healed. I still have mild heartburn and mild neurological symptoms.
I have had a return of a few hormonal symptoms and even a return of the desire
to overeat—something I haven’t had for more than a decade. But these symptoms
and the fear they generate drive me to pray and to read His Word as I’ve never
done before. I’ve experienced miraculous physical healing, but even more, I
have experienced  spiritual and emotional
healing. The spirit of anger and fear that I’ve lived with all my life have
been overcome by the Holy Spirit. I have peace and joy and my faith in God has
grown by leaps and bounds.

This
spring I was certain I was malnourished. I believed the food allergies I had
gave rise to damage to my digestive tract which in turn gave rise to
malnutrition. That malnutrition was responsible for the many physical symptoms
I was experiencing. You wouldn’t think that a person who was eating every day
could be malnourished, but I learned that it was very possible. Whether I was
physically malnourished or not, I don’t know. But I know I was spiritually
malnourished. Though I prayed and read God’s Word most days, I rarely had a
full meal. I now understand that I “picked at” my spiritual food because I had
a problem in my relationship with God. Deep down, I felt He was the hard master
described in Luke 19:21, not a loving Father who longed to care for me.

Of
course, I would like to have complete physical healing. I would love your
prayers for this. But more importantly, pray that I will continue to be
spiritually healthy. If the symptoms I have are what is necessary to keep me
hungry for God, let me keep them forever.

I am
very sorrowful that I have not given God the glory for health and healing He’s given me and
sorrier still that I have encouraged others to look to anything other than Him
for help. I cannot tell you not to see a doctor, not to take a medication, or
not to change your diet. But I can tell you not to neglect your spiritual
nourishment. Spend time with Him today in prayer and reading His Word. Trust in
the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding (Proverbs 3:5).

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