Sunday, March 3, 2013

The Fast Fast

 Sometimes people send us messages or visitors tell us when they are here how they think we are brave or amazing.  I remember a time when I thought that God lined up certain 'super' people to do foreign mission work. The picture of Christianity is sort of blurred sometimes by what we do not know about God himself and the ways he works.  Now after almost 20 years into this journey, one would possibly expect that all that Bible reading, all those church services, and all the great examples I have had, that I would have more faith and have a more Christ-like intellect.  However, God is still working on my disbelief, on my trust in something I cannot see, and on my natural inclination to be independent.
 A few years ago God gave me a really wonderful gift.  An answer to prayer actually.  In the year 2008, Andrew and I decided that we were going to try to have a second child.  I could not have admitted this if things had not have turned out this way, but I really hoped I would have a girl.  In January of the next year she was born.  She was completely different than our first child.  She was twice as cuddly and tender.   I could give my sternest of looks and deepest of commanding voices and Levi would not budge but with her it would take the slightest move of the eyebrow before she was racing to obey.  She has this beautiful blond curly hair and two sets of super chubby cheeks.  As she has gotten older she has become so funny.  While she is a tender little thing she has another side.  A bossy, commanding side.
If you would like for Ivey to get you a roll of toilet paper,
 you should not expect a roll with that. 
the real Margaret
I sometimes liken her to Margaret on Dennis the Menace.  You know the more recent movie with real people.  Margaret is so bossy and has that lisp.  Ivey has outgrown it now but she used to have one too.  I loved it.  She would be really getting onto Levi about some thing he had done with her most serious voice and bouncing curls and chubby finger waving while saying something like 'thith ith my baby!'.

For all that spunk you wouldn't know that from week two of her life she was ill.  She got RSV which took a scary hospital stay and several doctors visit to overcome.   Nine months after that she began vomiting when she would eat.  We eventually found out that she was lactose intolerant and allergic to nuts, beef, and tomatoes.  I hope you do not know how very difficult it is to come up with meals for someone like that.  She has asthma and serious eczema.  The eczema has been the latest of our trials with her health.  It originally cleared up once we found out about the allergies and began feeding her accordingly but eventually it returned. Because of that compromised barrier to germs she has gotten repeated staff infections.  Since living in Africa this last year we have prayed many times for her to be healed and repeatedly used two different strong antibiotics.  We even had to make an emergency visit to the US for the problems with staff.  I know anyone who reads this blog will probably know all of that already. But I have something to add to the story.  Why we did not think of this first I do not know.  We do devotional times every night where we read through a part of our children/teen bible.  We recently read about King Asa.  He is described in 1Kings 15:14 as a person whose 'heart was loyal to the Lord all his days'.  Second Chronicles 16:12 says that in the 39th year of his reign, Asa became diseased in his feet, and his malady was severe; yet in his disease he did not seek the Lord, but the physicians.  That sat heavily on my shoulders as I pondered what that meant fully.  On a different but related note, I had just heard a story about one of the teen girls at the center.  She heard that one of her sponsors had a child that was not a Christian and was having a difficult time.  Her response? She fasted and prayed-even through her own birthday party.  I was struck by the seriousness with which she took the news. How many of us know people who have not heard or have not known about this great God that we say we serve?  How many of us pray for them, let alone fast with seriousness about it?  So a 14 year old girl inspired me to do something I should have done a year ago-pray earnestly.  Andrew took off work on a Tuesday in order to focus solely on fasting with me for Ivey's eczema and infection problems.  Friends heard about it and decided to do the fast too.  This is what Ivey looked like the week leading up to that day:

The eczema sways like a pendulum and while these photo's represent the down side, it comes and goes in a fairly consistent pattern. Even on her best days there was always an area of open wounds.  
We received loads of welcomed advice.  We have done bleach baths, swabbed her nose with medication, watched everything we fed her and yet she still would wake up several times a night scratching- sometimes until she bled. We have creams and medicines stacked a mile high and wide in the pantry but always the eczema was there.  Notice I said WAS.  The next morning after the fast she was completely clear of any eczema.  Not even in the most resistant of areas.  Andrew and I were surprised and I am embarrassed to admit that I wondered how long it would be until it came back.  We could not remember the last time she had no eczema anywhere.  She has struggled with it since she was 2.  It was at least since April or May of last year when it started to get really bad but we really don't remember when it started to escalate.   It has been almost 3 weeks since the fast and she has had no eczema other than a pea sized spot on her finger and the same on her toe, both of which cleared up overnight. Also, she had just taken the last dose of antibiotic for a hundredth round of staff infection the day after the fast.  In this three weeks she has had no new outbreaks of staff infection.  Please don't misinterpret what I am trying to say.  We had a dermatologist from our church offer help and send us some creams and medicines which we recieved and began using 4 days after the fast.  We believe that God miraculously healed her overnight after our fast and is using another Christian to help us maintain that.  I am not saying we are giving up doctors or medicine.  I am saying that we were foolish not to consult God first.  How silly not to even think to.  

Ivey recently turned four years old.  Because of her love of the board game we decided to do Candyland as the theme of her party.   We had a life sized game where each of our kids was a different character.  Ivey was Princess Frostine, Levi was Mr. Mint, Isatu was Princess Lolli, John was Gloppy, and Albert was Lord Licorice.  


Candy Castle

Princess Frostine's 'ice cream' cupcakes

Gingerbread forest

Princess Lolli

smashing Lord Licorice in the mustache

ready for trouble
Lollipop lane
Rainbow trail

lucky for us Ivey won the game

Attempting gumdrops with jello in Sierra Leone during Harmaton is not a good idea.  

A new doll.
I hope that in this year number four of her life that we will be better parents.  I would really like to be the brave and amazing people that we are sometimes inaccurately attributed with.  I am working on being the knowledgeable intellegent type Christian who can do the obvious thing first.  As it turns out, it does take a certain 'super' human type of person to do foreign missions.  You have to have the spirit of a god. More accurately, you have to have The Spirit of The God. We may or may not be all the things people say but we do have that.

1 comment:

  1. I prayed every night for Ivey's healing. My heart was so heavy for her. Now I've saying THANK YOU JESUS!! I will continue prayers for all of your health and happiness! I love all of you dearly! Mom