Friday, June 8, 2012
Not My Idol
I grew up in the church. Having had my fair share of mission, ministry and overall church experience, I feel fairly well equipped to say that the Western Protestant church lacks in the area of addressing food. In fact, most will quickly put up a defensive wall regarding all things food, and limit its spiritual implications to food laws being old testament, and 'all things in moderation' justifying most everything else. When we ventured down the eye-opening path of Ellie's healing, I found myself ill-equipped to manage the balance between trusting in food and trusting in God.
There is no doubt in my mind that information on GAPS was divinely placed directly in my path. It has opened doors once unimagined, and created a healing hope that was non-existent in Ellie's future. At the same time, I have often been reminded by other GAPS moms that it is God that does the healing. During the 10 days of Team Ellie I felt compelled to be sure I had laid the burden of healing Ellie where it should be - at the foot of the cross, and that the food changes we have made in our home have not become an idol.
The real food world of bloggers has created some interesting dynamics. Various food perspectives and experiences are thrown about, often condemning opposing views, and lately there seems to be a surge in accusations of food idolatry. Ironically, at the same time as I began my ten days dedicated to Ellie, a small group of Christian bloggers launched a real food attack, blogging about those who shamefully damn souls and stop spreading the love of Christ for the sake of maintaining self-righteous eating habits. As I read through their posts and a few others I found, I realized that there were indeed some points that held true.
In the last 15 months I have learned how incredibly important it is to remember that the God of the universe does not operate bound to the laws of the universe - He did create them, after all. He can heal (or not heal) whenever, wherever, and however He chooses that will most effectively glorify Him. In addition, one quick read through the Bible will confirm that food is much more spiritual than any mainstream Westerner would like to admit. Eating, fasting, and hunger are referenced throughout both Old Testament and New to illustrate the power of God. To ignore these references is to ignore the spiritual implication of food.
Ironically, one lesson that was difficult for me to learn was that while it is inappropriate to preach food over the love, mercy and grace of God, I don't have to sacrifice the well-being of my children because other people feel uncomfortable. I will not tell my child that there are certain times it is acceptable to eat something harmful, any more than I will tell them there are times it is acceptable to lie, cheat, or steal. We do the best that we can, and we often fall short in all areas (fast food anyone?) which is where we rely on the incredible grace of the cross. Our God is not a God of grey; He is a God of black and white. That being said, there are times as an adult we are called to ministry and asked to sacrifice our bodies knowing that God has asked us to trust Him. This may be realized through surviving without running water, living in a hostile war torn territory, or sharing a potentially harmful meal, just to name a few.
Yet thanks to FPIES, the focus in our home has been food for so long, I still wondered how that was manifesting spiritually. Long gone are the days of carved images representing fertility or rain or good crops. Generally speaking, mainstream America recognizes idols as statues of wood or stone; yet it is possible to make an idol out of anything, and food is no exception. I took this to the Lord, and I asked Him to show me: had I made food an idol in our home?
What I found was one of those rare times that I received reassurance instead of reprimand. I was reminded of the path He orchestrated for Ellie, leading us to GAPS, and showing us the proof - she is getting better. I was reminded of the countless times I learned something new and amazing, and how every time without fail it brought me back to the feet of Jesus in an effort to express awe at His perfect creation. From the sun, to bacteria, to the basic functions of the body (poop!), science can only begin to see the tip of how we need the world as it was designed. That is not an idol; that is properly placed praise. Food is not an idol in our house.
For the first 18 months of Ellie's life I fought doctors and mainstream medicine for answers, and treatment protocols, and demanded the cure. I spent every day reading as many medical articles and studies as I could find, piecing together concepts in one spot with information in another. I examined existing treatments and was devastated beyond belief when I was told 'we don't know'. I clung to the hope that medicine would have an answer, and I scrounged through every medical journal I could find looking for it for 18 months. Trusting anything for knowledge, power or provision instead of God creates an idol. I had made medicine the idol.
James 5:14-16 instructs: Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.
The dietary changes we have made in our home are a reflection of our experiences and evidence seen in one amazing little girl. We have watched a toxic little body rid itself of symptom after symptom with God-given, properly prepared, and healing real food. I believe the lessons learned are universal. But we are all in different places in our journey and in different stages of healing - physically, emotionally, and spiritually. May only God get the glory every step of the way.
You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men. You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.
May I always be salt and light.