There were ridiculous amounts of
what I thought were life or death decisions to make.
I would go online to try to find information about how to best care for my baby and I would end up walking away from the computer ready to take a Valium.
A simple Google search brought me tons of articles about the atrocities of GMOs, the shocking truth about pesticides and the Dirty Dozen, the ever-evolving conversation about carbs are bad vs. good, why diapers could cause cancer, how Johnson and Johnson corporation is run by the devil himself, why breastfeeding and making homemade baby food is the ONLY WAY, photos of kids happily guzzling green smoothies, and detailed horrific videos about where our grocery-store meat and milk actually come from.
The pressure these ‘voices’ put on me to do the
perfect right thing for my kid was a very large burden in my life.
And I am already a bad combination of Perfectionist and Person-who-used-to-have-an-eating-disorder, so the level of fear and expectations I had going was kind of nuts.
I found myself frequently wishing that I was an Israelite who never had to wonder if manna had antibiotics in it.
Then one day I was hanging out at my in-laws’ house and was feeling quite depressed that I wasn’t doing what I thought was a good job of feeding my family. I think that one of my friends had just started grinding her own wheat for bread and making her own yogurt and was also considering buying a cow for her condo and suddenly the Publix-brand sliced whole wheat bread and vanilla yogurt from the tub I bought seemed insufficient and downright toxic.
Seeing my despair, you know what my father-in-law said to me?
He put his hands on my shoulder and said this,
“Julie. Everyone is going to die one day. GOD knows that date and what you feed or don’t feed your family is not going to change that date. You do the best you can to eat a balanced diet, and then you trust that when you pray before a meal – He hears it. He is in control. He loves you. The end.”
I guess somewhere along the way I had gotten the idea that what I did or didn’t put into my child’s body (or my own body, for that matter) was going to determine his future health.
Like he’d become terminally ill if he didn’t have organic this or straight-from-the-cow’s-udder that AND IT WOULD BE ALL MY FAULT.
But my father-in-law’s words opened my eyes to an aspect of faith and trust in God that I had let go of in my quest of what I perceived to be the ‘perfect’ mom, wife, and homemaker.
God will not say to us when we get to heaven, “Did you grind wheat for your child’s sandwich bread?”
God cares about the condition of our hearts.
When my heart gets filled up with fear about things like the pesticides and refined flours in this world, I am no longer trusting Him.
Most of the time, we cannot afford to buy organic meat. So I am learning to buy the regular kind, prepare it faithfully and lovingly for my sweet family, and then when we hold hands around the table and say grace, pray that God will have the final say on how that meat is processed in our bodies.
Now, hear me out. I am NOT saying you should just scrap everything, buy KFC every night and think that grace will cover all the blocked arteries you have coming in about 10 years.
No, we still need to be responsible. We need to make good decisions for our families and feed them the best we know how. We need to strive for balance in our eating. We can learn to listen to His voice if we think He is calling us to try something new (like making bread from scratch, cutting back on processed foods, exploring Paleo, or the Mediterranean Diet, or finding the best menu options for an ill child’s struggling digestive system – like Happy Buddy had to go mostly dairy free after THIS happened and I was having a ton of tummy trouble awhile back, so gluten free helped me get back on track).
But we cannot get into the idol of thinking that WE carry the burden of our loved one’s or our own health for the rest of life on this earth.
Because what happens when you see things on the news like those bags of organic frozen berries from Costco that made 119 people sick with Hepatitis A?
Or what happens when you hear of a bunch of people who were enjoying some spinach (SPINACH, for crying out loud) and ended up with E. Coli?
Or what happens when you take all-natural pre-natal vitamins and eat 98% organic food during your pregnancy and your child is born with life-threatening health issues and has to stay in the hospital for 96 days?
Are we going to shake our fist at God and get angry at Him because we thought we were doing everything ‘right’???
Our world is BROKEN, dear ones.
The point is, eating (like driving a car, getting on an airplane, and pretty much everything else) is an act of faith. We could eat as ‘clean’ as we possibly could and there would STILL be disease and sickness.
At the end of the day, our job is just to do our best to be good stewards of the body Christ has given us (and those of our children) – the bodies that Christ died for – and then we allow GRACE to fill in the gaps.
Remember, whenever Jesus sat down to eat, He gave thanks to His Father.
He acknowledged the Giver of ‘daily bread.’
How awful would it have been if the people on the hillside said to Jesus as He passed out miraculously multiplied loaves of bread and fish, “Does that bread have gluten in it?” or “Does that fish have mercury contamination?”
Instead, they were thankful.
So when you sit down as a family to eat peanut butter sandwiches on store bought bread, don’t forget to bow your heads, close your eyes and truly give thanks.
He’s got this.
The whole baking your own bread works for some super amazing people.
But this mama prefers to buy hers at the store.
I’d rather use the time I’m not kneading dough to blog. :-)