It’s been raining steadily the last several days. I woke up this morning to thunder and lightning and stumbled around in the dark trying to shake off the sleep and locate my alarm clock. Jonathan has an insane schedule that has us getting out the door around 6:45 every morning. And, as many of you know, I am NOT a morning person. Well, I guess I am a morning person, but not by choice. I finally have the house to myself and as I look around and assess the situation, I see that once again, dishes fill the kitchen sink, the hamper of dirty clothes has started refilling–four loads yesterday just didn’t slay the monster, the stacks of papers on the high table in my kitchen are reappearing (they never really completely go away), my face needs washing and my heart needs some tending, too.
I’m in a reflective kind of mood (rain helps) and I want to pause, and stop, and celebrate and share an answer to prayer that has been long coming.
As many of you know, Julia has food allergies to peanuts, dairy and eggs. The last year or so I’ve noticed that it has become more and more difficult for her as she feels left out and sometimes deprived. Costco is selling those enormous pumpkin pies again and I brought one home and put it in the refrigerator in the garage. Jonathan came into the house with a handful of pie–seriously, do some of you also have teenagers with an aversion to dishes? cereal by the handful, yogurt without spoons? Anyway, Julia plopped down on the couch with tears in her eyes, “It just looks and smells so good and I can’t have any of it!” I just sat with my arms around her as she cried. We have altered much of the food we eat so that we all eat the same things for dinner, many emails go back and forth between the mom’s and me trying to buy soccer snacks that Julia can enjoy, our closest friends keep on hand “Julia friendly margarine and treats” and have also learned to read those tiny food labels, and every birthday party Julia brings her own version of a cupcake or chicken nuggets in place of the cake and pizza at the party. Halloween is coming up and once again over half of her candy loot she will have to swap out with her brother or other friends.
When Michael was around five, he would pray earnestly every night that Julia would outgrow her food allergies. Night after night, month after month. About nine months into his nightly prayers for Julia, he looked up at me and asked, “Mom, what does “outgrow” mean?”
And so we have prayed, and prayed and prayed for Julia. And then I realized I stopped praying with Julia about her food allergies because I was tired of hearing the answer, “No.” Eight years of “no” seems like a long time to me and I felt discouraged and disappointed. Navigating the food allergy world has challenged us. It has also expanded our hearts. Hers and mine. I remembering talking with Julia about how God grows her character through being able to understand from experience what it feels like being left out. She came home and shared, “Mom, today at school I was with my friend who was sad because she was the only Jewish girl in the class and everyone else in the class celebrates Christmas but she doesn’t. I went up to her and shared that I kind of knew how she felt because I am the only one in the class that can’t have certain foods and I know how it feels being left out.” I’m proud of the way Julia handles the challenge, but my heart hurts with her when she struggles.
This fall Julia ate something that caused her to break out with eczema around her mouth. The eczema got infected and then she had a separate allergic reaction which affected her breathing that brought us to Urgent Care. Then she had an allergic reaction to the antibiotics. We had not been in to see her allergists in a couple of years and some friends recommended a new doctor so we went in to see him last week to see if she had developed any new allergies we weren’t aware of.
Her allergy panel came back.
Still allergic to peanuts and dairy.
No longer allergic to EGGS!
Unbelievable. Goofy happy dancing around the kitchen. We brought out sparkling apple cider to celebrate over dinner. A whole world of food and options is now opened up to her. I’m baking up a storm: brownies, cookies, banana bread and on and on. She will be able to eat the cupcakes at the soccer party this year.
I wrestle with the Lord in prayer. I have witnessed His incredible power over the weather, His incredible provision in the eleventh hour, I have seen Him answer prayer before I even finished praying. But there are prayers that I have prayed for decades now that seem unanswered. I know God hears. I know God cares. I don’t understand His ways.
The eight years waiting for this “Yes.” causes me to appreciate and even treasure this answer to prayer. I know I am not the same person and Julia is not the same person because we had to wait.
Today, though, I am listening to the rain and I am basking in His “Yes.”