Sunday, January 10, 2021

Love Hunger and Healing

Recently, I had a moment where I sat down to a meal, and stopped in the middle of it, overcome with gratitude to God, for celery. But I never would have pictured myself 30, 20, even 15 yrs. ago, ever feeling that way. 

I want to talk about food, my evolving relationship with it, and how God is healing me from the inside out, through it. 

As a child I developed an addiction to sugar, partly going to it for comfort, and partly as I learned later in life, due to an unhealthy gut balance. When I say sugar, I don’t just mean the white granulated stuff, I also mean starches, breads, cereals, and of course sweets. 

As a pre-teen/teen I began to develop food allergies (though I had eczema and asthma before this) and GI issues, as well as staph infections. This is the physical health part of my story. Sugar in combination with multiple doses of antibiotics and steroids was wrecking my gut health and immune system. 

On the spiritual side, I remember reading a book called “Love Hunger” by Frank Minirth. God opened up my eyes and heart to see, that sometimes I was going to food for affirmation and comfort, instead of Him, either as a fun “party” friend, or to help me reach that goal of perfection that the world around me seemed to hold up as standard, and I always felt I was falling short of. I have been on ALL the diets. The worst was a 4 day fast on nothing but beet juice. I still hate the taste of beets. 🤢

I would like to say I turned the corner at this point. But that book did plant a seed in me. 

Fast forward to motherhood, my first pregnancy I can remember treating myself to cookies every afternoon, because after all, I was eating for 2. I believe after the birth of my 2nd baby, having borderline gestational diabetes myself, and her blood sugar not being stable right at birth, I tried to cut out sweets with my 3rd child. She was at least, smaller at birth, and I gained less. 

I quickly returned to old habits though and after the birth of my 5th baby, playtime was over. 

I had to take an antibiotic due to a UTI, and multiple sensitivities, food and other, became impossible to live with. I had GI symptoms and rashes/hives constantly, and could rarely leave the house. My first diagnosis, proposed by a naturopath but later confirmed by a doctor, was candida overgrowth. Candida feeds on sugar and thrives in an unhealthy gut. There were many other issues discovered further on, but all related to my gut health, ultimately. 

I had no choice but to start eliminating foods.  I was forced to eat healthier than I had ever considered. This was full on “tough love” from my Heavenly Father, as I look back on it. Because I now had immediate painful consequences to every abusive choice I had made with food, and even some healthy foods I was deprived of now. 

At the same time though, before it got really bad, I saw that food was an obstacle to my relationship with God. And I began asking Him to change my heart, and remove anything keeping me from Him. 

So guess what? I became allergic to everything. Food became my enemy. It no longer gave me joy, it gave me great suffering. 

I can remember a pivotal experience. It was Thanksgiving. My favorite meal of the year. And I couldn’t eat anything I enjoyed previously. But in my heart a spontaneous prayer rose up, a healing moment only possible by God’s grace, and I said “YOU are my banquet, my God. You are the delight of my heart.” And I was happy and satisfied, in Him alone. 

I’m not going to tell you, I have always felt that way when I had to watch others eat things I couldn’t. But it was the beginning of a new freedom in my way of thinking.

Another lesson He began to teach me, was the serious responsibility I had to the temple He had given me, my body. I not only was accountable for the stewardship of this gift, but accountable because my family, my future grandchildren maybe, need my presence in their life. My full, healthy presence. Not taking care of my health was not only irresponsible but even selfish. 

After everything was stripped, all food, except for a few things to survive, He had to teach me from scratch, by reintroducing me to food again, in a way that was nourishing, balanced, and healing. 

I could go into great detail about all the cleanses, supplements, and treatments I have tried. But would rather dwell here, on what I have learned thus far, because I am still on this journey of healing- body, mind, heart, soul. 

I’ve learned that every meal counts, towards healing my health, or destroying it. 

I’ve learned that all the things God has created for food, *can* be good for me, in moderate amounts, and preferably, in their pure forms. 

I’ve learned my limits and “near occasions of sin” which is a catholic phrase regarding avoiding moral temptations, but for anyone 
trying to avoid any forms of destructive behavior, can be understood as, know your triggers. 

I’ve learned that no magic number on the scale, approval from others, or even a nice big tasty brownie, will make you feel loved. Only God and your confidence in His love for you, can fulfill that need. This is honestly, the most important lesson I have learned, and central to all the others. 

I’ve learned that sugar is addictive. The more you eat the more you want. It sets you up for cravings, then crashes, and repeat. I’ve learned (thanks to Trim Healthy Mama) that keeping your blood sugar under control is everything. It’s also taught me self-control and given me a new perspective on trusting in God for the freedom to eat to live, and even enjoy it while doing it, but NOT live to eat, a slave to cravings, and destructive behavior. 

I have become more and more dependent on my loving Father ultimately to satisfy a hunger that goes way deeper than an empty belly. 

Recently, thanks to a special doctor helping me and being able to implement some gut healing in my diet, I have been able to add back foods, slowly. 

As I said at the beginning of this post, I sat down to a meal I have had countless times, once just eggs, then able to add turkey, then peppers, and most recently added, celery. 

There was a time when I never would have imagined getting excited about celery, much less it’s nutritional benefits to me, endowed by my Creator, but I started eating and I had a moment. I tasted celery, really tasted it, for the first time. It’s distinct flavor and texture added so much to my previously repetitive meal.

 I was overwhelmed with gratitude. and I seriously stopped to thank God, for celery. 

It took a long and arduous road to get to that point. I still have more to go. But I am grateful now, for every step of the way. Even if I wouldn’t have chosen it. We never think to choose the hard path. But it’s where growth happens. 

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