A Change of Plans

 "A man's heart plans his way,
But the Lord directs his steps."
-Proverbs 16:9

Plans. We plan our daily schedule, our menus, our leisure time. We make plans within plans, and plans to see those plans through. In spite of an unpredictable world, where the best of plans often go awry, we still make them every day. When our plans are broken, we all respond differently. These responses have much to do with our personalities, our histories and the value we place upon those plans. I'm not naturally very flexible about changes in plans, but over the years, I've learned to better handle my disappointment when things don't work out the way I want them to. I've gotten pretty good at changing my meal plans at the last minute when I don't have the needed ingredients. I don't enjoy missing scheduled social functions, but I don't let it bother me anymore when a family member gets sick and we have to stay home. It's not my favorite thing to change date plans when Brandon and I are running late to our movie, but I have learned to enjoy an impromptu stroll through a favorite store when the stars fail to align. My children have been my greatest teachers in the classroom of flexibility. (Can I get an amen?) However, when my latest plan for physical restoration and healing exploded in my face with the energy of a grenade, I did not handle it well.

For several days, I had been suspecting what I considered to be the worst. When you eat sparingly, especially after a fast, you notice every tiny change in your body after you eat. You can feel the slightest tingle of your lips, the smallest itchy bumps on your skin, the faintest flash of heat wash over your body, the tiniest swelling of your tongue or throat. I knew, but I was in denial. I couldn't yet admit it because the stuff was my lifeline, my best source of nourishment. I even began saying aloud, "I don't know what I will do if I begin having reactions to this."

 I had gone through about $200 trying various nutritional supplements, each one causing allergic reactions, some of which were severe. I tested digestive enzymes, probiotic cultures, and amino acid supplements. I thought I had found the answer to my need for protein on Mt. Capra's website. Mt. Capra is a company that specializes in health and wellness products derived from goat milk. I ordered the colostrum supplements and the protein powder. The way in which I responded to these supplements confirmed my worst fears. My body (or rather, my antibodies) were attacking goat milk, a substance that had always been safe. After my evening helping of protein powder mixed with my rice cereal, I had an obvious reaction. I wanted to believe that it was something in the powder, the vanilla flavoring maybe. Anything but the goat milk itself. So, that is what I told myself--I can't take the powder, but I can still drink the milk.

To put things succinctly, I drank my nightly glass of goat milk before bed, became very ill, dropped my head in my hands and wept as if someone had died. I called my mom, and we agreed that our plan--the plan I had been depending on, banking on to get me well--had to be scrapped. Without the goat milk, I would quite literally starve to death. It would take time, but that's what would happen. And mom and I both agree, anaphylaxsis is preferable to starvation every day of the week.

So, we have formulated Plan C . . . . or D, E or F . . . . we have lost count. While it's riskier in some ways, I actually like it much better because I'm finally eating real food! We have decided to try food rotation. Because my list of safe foods is so short, I can't do much better than avoid eating the same thing twice in one day and avoid eating the same food two days in a row. Here's how it works--

Yesterday, I ate three egg yolks and my rice cereal for breakfast. For lunch, I had some very simple homemade chicken soup (Hanna Peshoff, God bless you!). For dinner, I made hamburger patties seasoned with salt and pepper alone and some broccoli. Today, I ate rice cereal for breakfast, peanut butter and an apple for lunch and a pork roast with potatoes and green beans seasoned with salt and pepper alone. The peanut butter and apple at lunch was a HUGE mistake for which I have paid dearly all day long, a mistake I have no plans to repeat. Tomorrow, I will probably repeat the egg yolk breakfast, eat a vegetarian lunch and have chicken for dinner. There will be no grains (excepting rice), no nuts, no butter, no olive oil, no strange gluten free additives such as tapioca or gums, few fruits, no goat milk, no processed food whatsoever. This may sound terrible to some of you, but I am absolutely delighted! I only hope it works!

After being so hungry for so long, chicken soup, hamburger patties and pork roast is the BEST. FOOD. EVER. I am thanking God for the animals, the farmers who raise the animals, the people who kill the animals (so sorry, PETA), the people who prepare and package the meat and the cashier who sold it to us.

All of that being said, this sudden influx of food is indeed a risky business (although no riskier than throwing in the towel and allowing myself to starve). To help reduce the risk, I am going to see a natural doctor on Wednesday of next week who specializes in bio-nutrition. She also claims to have success in helping people overcome their food allergies and sensitivities. She will be addressing my other symptoms using a "whole-person" approach, which means she will see me as more than a list of symptoms that need to be alleviated. Rather, she will address me as a physical, emotional and spiritual being, and will try to help me in each respect. Honestly, I'm a little skeptical because I'm skeptical about everything, but I plan to go with an open (yet discerning) mind.

 I really hope she can help me because I'm seeing clearly now that what I need is a miracle. I need a miraculous intervention from the Lord, and I am open to whatever venue He would like to use. I'll accept a miraculous healing in my sleep, from a doctor, from a drug, from a diet, from a supplement, and/or from a lifestyle. I will accept whatever He is willing to give however He is willing to give it (whenever He is willing to give it) because if I insist upon it coming to me in a particular way, I may end up dead rather than well.

And I don't think the plan is for me to end up dead. I don't believe that God is penning a tragedy here. I believe that He is instead scripting an adventure that ends in restoration and a happily ever after. Yet, I find that I can be happy today in spite of the uncertainty of tomorrow. My new plan may fail like all of the rest of my seemingly well-conceived plans, but I can always be happy in Jesus and trust that if this plan fails, the Lord is working something out here that is too wonderful for me to comprehend, and I can trust Him to guide me safely to the next course of action. I can be happy in sickness and in health. I can be happy in plenty or in poverty. I can be happy hungry or full. I can be happy because Jesus Himself is my satisfaction, and He is enough.

I think this latest change of plan is a gift. Goat milk may not be an option for awhile, but after three weeks of being truly hungry, I am enjoying feeling satisfied, and the food is absolutely delicious! I hope and pray my body doesn't betray me further by rejecting this new effort. I hope healing is just around the corner. I hope that this time next year, I can look back smiling and reflecting on how far I've come. But most of all, I hope that God's purposes and plans are accomplished in this--every last one. All of the purposes He has for me, for my family, for my friends, for my church, for the strangers who hear of or read my story are worth it. The hunger, the pain, the grief, the fear, even my life is a worthy price if it works for your good, Reader, and the greatest good I know is God's glory. Beautifully, mysteriously, He has intertwined His glory with our good and happiness so tightly that one does not exist without the other. How cool is that?

John Piper, one of the greatest Christian teachers of our time, puts it like this--"God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him." I hope you take time to revel in the person, the grace and beauty of our Lord Jesus Christ as you so kindly beseech Him on my behalf, for He is the key to "happily ever after" for all in this life and the next.