Our world changed more than we were able to really comprehend when we discovered that Ada has food allergies. Until then, Joseph and I both were aware of the severity of food allergies to a degree. He’s an educator and I had been working in student ministry in some capacity for eleven years. Epi pens, and dietary restrictions, etcetera were common for us to deal with.
But then it became our everyday life. It became something that we had to think about all of the time.
We’ve become defensive about food allergies because we have to be. “Oh, she’s lactose intolerant?” “She doesn’t like peanut butter?” If only it were that simple.
Simply put, food allergies mean that an ingredient is read by the body as a toxin. With every exposure we are unsure how severe her reaction will be. Hives or anaphylaxis. Itching or inability to breathe.
Food allergies make me jealous of others who can go to any restaurant without fear. Our list of restaurants has dwindled to two places in our area that are safe and/or that Ada enjoys.
Food allergies make me jealous of those who can enjoy birthday parties. Trying to explain to a toddler that common party food and snacks will harm her is difficult. Baking our own “safe” treats isn’t always helpful. Who doesn’t want to eat the same type of treats that their friends are enjoying?
Food allergies make me jealous of those who don’t have to read labels on everything. We have discovered that some frozen French fries are sprayed with lactose, some meat products are prepared in a facility with common allergens and that even items marked “dairy free” on the label actually aren’t.
Food allergies make me jealous of those who don’t have to think about whether or not church child care workers or baby sitters understand the severity of allergen exposure. Thankfully we have had awesome caregivers for Ada; and my mom and step-father have been gracious to care for Ada and Ellen in order for Joseph and me to go out on dates. But it’s difficult to leave the house and not think about all of the “what ifs.”
We have to think through what residue may be left of shopping carts and playground equipment. We are constantly asked, “Well, just tell me what she can have. Do you have a list?” It’s not that simple. We have to think about how close we are to a hospital when we go to most family gatherings, church events, and when we travel.
Food allergies make me jealous of a lot of things, but most of all, food allergies make me jealous for Heaven.
In Heaven there will be no pain (Revelation 21:4). In Heaven everything is perfect. There’s nothing there that can cause harm.
We deal with food allergies day in and day out. And while I realize that many others endure other difficult circumstances regarding the health of their child, I’m just a mama who is like any other parent: I want to know my child is safe. Aren’t you glad that we serve a God who loves our kids even far more than we do?! He knows best how to care for them. He knows best how to calm us. And He uses it all to make us look more like His Son.
Tomorrow Ada has another blood test (Rast test, for those who want to know the technical term). We will know within 5-7 days what her allergy test results are. This will let us know where she is on the “scale” that tells how allergic she is to milk, the three separate components of milk, and peanuts.
I believe that the Lord is able to heal her from food allergies. And I have begged Him to do so. Joseph and I would love your prayers. Ada has told me repeatedly that she is going to be brave tomorrow. But the reality is that it’s a lot for a 2 year old to understand. Thank you in advance for all of you who are praying with us and for us in this journey. If the Lord is glorified through it in any way, it’s worth it. And prayerfully soon Ada will believe that to be so in her heart, too.