My first day of praying for Ellie did not turn out how I expected. I started the day fasting and praying. I begged the Lord to heal her, and I begged for open eyes to see what stood in the way.
As the day progressed I got hungry, and as expected, every time I got hungry I was reminded to pray. In addition, I was also reminded that I had a child who could not eat, and my heart would break. And my prayer was answered as my eyes were opened.
The day went on, and I began to see glimpses of events during Ellie's first 18 months. Each memory was haunting and reduced me to tears. I describe them as 'seeing them' instead of 'remembering them' because it was as if I was reliving them. It is a spiritual experience unlike any I have had before. I struggle to find words to explain it. As the day progressed my heart grew heavier with the burden of these memories.
I saw the doctors in labor and delivery propping her bassinet, and heard them telling me that she was just prone to vomit. I heard their instructions on how to care for her, and was extremely concerned. And then I remembered that I did not question why she might vomit, and could see now how Ellie reaped the consequence.
I saw the first conversation I had with my GAPS mentor. I met her when Ellie was only a few months old. And then I sharply remembered sticking the book on the shelf and not looking back at it for at least 12 months. It was a divine appointment that I did not see, and now know that Ellie reaped the consequence.
I saw myself leave to go for a walk the night I abruptly weaned her and put her onto formula. I saw the green acidic diapers and the reflux, and heard the doctors say it was just part of the adjustment process. I remembered reading the back of the can and feeling angered at seeing things like MSG but feeling trapped. I had forgotten about the book on my shelf, and I had started the journey of figuring it out on my own. And because of that Ellie reaped the consequences.
I saw her throwing up from rancid warm almond milk and filling her diapers with yellow poop. I relived a week of following doctors orders, and know now that I was starving her. And I cried.
I cried Father forgive me for not having the eyes to see. Father forgive me for not hearing you clearer. Father forgive me for not being bolder and acting sooner. Father forgive me for being captive by fear, and trying to control things that I should have laid at your feet.
I had no idea that when I started the first day praying for Ellie and begging for wisdom, He would first reveal how I got in the way - how I hung onto control and feelings of inadequacy, feelings of failure. And that in order to hear him for the next 9 days I would need to have my eyes washed clean.
Learning new things can be scarey, and the weight of responsibility can seem overwhelming. Discovering how you have unintentionally hurt your child is a devastating place to be. But it is an incredible place to find grace.
I realized that I was being weighed down by the burden of not forgiving myself. I am, after all, a perfectionist. And the fact that, in spite of all the reading and research I did, I did not get it right, ... well that was devastating to my pride. I hurt terribly for failing Ellie, who has been entrusted to me.
Yet as I ended the day I felt that grace one can only find by leaning in to God's embrace and receiving that giant enveloping hug of forgiveness. I heard Him say let it go, and let ME take those regrets. I heard Him remind me once more that He has a future and a hope for her, in spite of me. I heard Him say she is mine. And I heard a promise of healing.
Father God help my eyes to be open. Help me to never succumb to pride or the need for control, even in an effort to heal and care for my children. May I remind myself on a daily basis that You are the One in control, and that through You we find rest within our soul, regardless of what sorrows this life may give. May I always be able to say 'it is well with my soul', and may I model that example for my children.