Healing.

This is the story of a miracle many years in the making.

Five years ago I sat in our little yellow car with two young boys outside of the minute clinic. Brad’s ear was pained with infection. One prescription later we were on our way home.

After a week the infection was not resolving so off to a primary care doctor he went. Another prescription in hand, a little stronger, and he was on his way home.

And again he went back, still with pain. “Here, try this one, it’s a little stronger”, they said.

Going to bed one night he told me his face looked off as he was brushing his teeth. I was quick to shake it off until I looked closely in the low light. “That’s weird,” I thought, “it looks like one side of his face isn’t keeping up with the other”.

We feared for a stroke and prayed about what to do. A little internet searching led us to believe that he was experiencing Bell’s Palsy.

He went back to the doctor where he was diagnosed with Bell’s Palsy, most likely triggered by the massive ear infection his body was fighting. It would resolve on it’s own, but the ear infection required the strongest antibiotic that could be given.

The ear improved, and Brad regained movement of his face (but not before we had family photos taken. What a way to remember this time in our lives!).

A few months later at a book party in the governors mansion Brad spent the entire time vomiting, laying on the cool marble floor of the swanky bathroom.

The only thing we could trace it to was a frappucino he had earlier in the day, something he rarely drank.

Later that year we were due to leave for NYC to attend the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade but Brad had such excruciating pain in his foot the night before we were to leave he had to crawl to the bathroom. In the ER they diagnosed him with plantar fascitis and gave him some anti-inflammatory medicine. The medicine cleared the majority of the pain in a day or two leaving him able to trek the streets of New York.

Over the years dairy began to bother him more. He stopped drinking straight milk, then ice cream, then butter, and then cheese. Eventually, he couldn’t even have baked goods or cooked foods with a small amount of dairy in them. Accidental ingestion caused vomiting and flu like symptoms for a couple of days.

The foot and ankle pain would also reoccur often, something we eventually self-diagnosed as tendonitis. Brad would be laid up for a day or two until the pain and inflammation subsided.

Doctors diagnosed him with this and that but there were never any cures offered, never any hope for healing.

I don’t know why, I imagine it was God, but one day I began searching about the strong antibiotic that he was given.  I found heaps of information about the terrible side effects it can cause right away, and years later as well. The pieces were falling into place: the dairy allergy, the tendonitis, the awful heartburn weren’t random but were all consequences of a class of antibiotics that now come with warning label.

It was good to know why, but the prognosis felt hopeless.  How could this damage ever be reversed?  Would he spend the rest of his life dealing with these chronic symptoms?

We ate dairy free, yet Brad was still often sick or in pain. For a while he worked with a natural health doctor and we significantly changed our diet. Restoring his gut health alleviated a lot of ongoing symptoms, yet it did not completely heal him.

About a year ago God prompted me to start praying for restoration for Brad’s body.  I did pray and over time my prayers gained authority as I witnessed miracles and gained knowledge of who God is and what He will do.

This past December, a bad cold led to bronchitis and another ear infection for Brad. He began to seek natural health supplements, then, through prayer, felt prompted to give this infection to God and trust in His healing only. God was going to heal him, God was going to restore him and we had to be patient and trust.

After many weeks of pain the ear infection healed without the use of antibiotics.

Four weeks ago Brad caught a stomach bug. I had an inkling this was part of the healing process, and later when a friend sent us a picture of Brad receiving healing prayer from our small group I knew it was. He included the words: “I pray today that the prayers we prayed that day were answered.”

He recovered from the stomach flu and my prayer turned from one of healing to one for knowledge. I knew Brad would never willingly try dairy because of how sick it made him, so I prayed when the time came he would accidentally ingest it and have no reaction.

We waited and prayed.

One Sunday our friends had us over for a pizza party. There were two salads, one with goat cheese and one without for Brad. Well, Brad missed that memo, thought the goat cheese was cauliflower and accidentally ingested it! We prayed that there would be no reaction and for total healing.

He had no reaction, no vomiting, no cramping!  Completely and totally fine.

Brad has had no reaction from kefir, butter, or yogurt. Two nights ago he drank a few ounces of fresh cow’s milk and we woke up in the morning amazed at his health and God’s fulfilled promise.

All glory to God!  Praise him for his miraculous work in our lives!

a poem, aged 4 years

Our house on Harvard had a kitchen window that was right next to a busy walkway.  I wrote this poem on April Fool’s day, 2014.

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Windows open,
spaces commune.
The inside welcomes the outside,
private life seeps into public.
The clank of dishes drifts outside,
the smell of breaking bread
teases passersby.
It is spring again
and life is shared.

The fire ring

I walked out in the arctic air to dump the compost and stopped at the beauty of the setting sun on our fire ring.

I was reminded of the hot fall evening we spent with friends around that fire, roasting hot dogs and shooting cans with BB guns. Much has changed since that not long ago evening.

There have been new relationships formed as well as old ones broken, miracles and healing witnessed, death and tragedy lived through, hearts made whole, fears squashed. This, all of this together, is the holy work of living life together with others. There is absolutely nothing like it, surely evidence of His kingdom coming here on earth.

Twelve/Twelve

Sol is sprawled out sleeping at the top of the stairs like a dog. He’s going through a phase where he doesn’t want to lay down in his bed, or do anything I ask of him, so he pouts at the top of the stairs until he passes out. Sometimes he dumps laundry on the floor, uses the hamper as a step stool and covers himself in deodorant from atop my dresser. He’s quite the booger and is really good at pushing buttons, but his sweet grin and dimples wins me over every time.

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It’s the end of the year and I’ve been reflecting a bit on the fact that we’ve added two people to our household this year. We got rid of one restaurant. It’s quite a lot of change, but it’s good rebuilding change, and I am thankful for all the neat things God prompts us to do.

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Our house feels so small now that it’s winter. We may have added an entire addition, but the kids and I still generally spend all our time in the same room. I remember fondly the days that we lived in a 2,700 square foot house and wonder how it would feel to have extra room with these four kids + one grandma. Of course, this thought process is impossible because this IS what we have and it’s great to be squished together all the time (or so I tell myself).

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I was nursing Winnie to sleep tonight while watching the shadows of our paper snowflakes dancing on the ceiling. It is amazing how magical some cut paper can make a room look, and even more amazing that the boys are getting old enough to actually make some beautiful ones.

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God is truly a God of miracles, of healing, and of answered prayers. It NEVER looks like what I think nor do I think I could write up an accurate portrayal of the amazing work he has been doing in my life and in our community. His timing is perfect, it is good, and it so much more radical, yet normal, than I could ever have imagined.

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Brad and I are married so we have arguments. Often they’re stupid and about rabbits and other times they’re about big and important topics like our kids or what we’re doing with our lives. The days are so full taking care of others that when everyone is finally in bed (or passed out at the top of the stairs) the last thing I want to do is spend that time arguing. Sometimes we go to bed mad only to wake up with an anger hangover. Today my love brought home a huge bouquet of daisies, big enough to fill two quart jars, because of a difficult conversation (read: fight) last night. It’s so good to be loved and to love.