The Battle with Eczema That Revealed a Battle in My Heart
If you have read any posts from the blog I used to write, or if you have had a heart to heart with me in the last five years you may be able to pick up on some common themes. I love baking, I love health research, I love whole food eating/recipes and these things often cause a perception of control in my heart and mind.
These three things are not bad, but my heart can turn just about anything into an idol.
Two years ago we had been blessed by excellent health. Through the knowledge of giving our bodies what they need, we can, in a very small way, control our health. However, ultimately, God has complete control. He created every cell in each of our bodies, and He is the one who decides the function and purpose of each of those cells. He has given us means to help our ailments, whether by supplements, changes in diet, or knowledgeable physicians, but again, ultimately there is only one Great Physician.
So how did this battle play out for me?
My daughter had been struggling with eczema for about 3 months. I tried every natural remedy people threw my way, including: elimination diets for both me and her, probiotics, essential oils, increasing supplementation to boost the immune system, wet dressings, what seems like every possible cream on the market, oatmeal baths … When she broke out in a full body rash, I immediately took her to the doctor. Two doctors looked at her and gave me no answer as to what caused it or even an answer to what exactly this rash was. They referred me to a pediatric dermatologist. I was more than willing to go at this point. Our poor girl was only getting 20 minutes of sleep at a time, and that was only totaling about 3 hours a night. The dermatologist was not able to get us in for several weeks, in the meantime however, Moriah was continuing to get worse. I have pictures of bloody ears, a crusty neck, and a rash that covered her body. We had to call a different dermatologist so we could get some relief for her (and me, who developed strep during this time). We saw the dermatologist and had a plan of action. I was on antibiotics simply so I could be well enough to take care of both Moriah, and now also Isaiah who seemed to have gotten strep. Moriah started antibiotics because of her infected eczema, she was also on steroid oil, Isaiah was getting Advil every 6 hours and THEN my husband had to go to the ER. He was fine, but it was still stressful, and one more facet of control in my heart that God stripped away, FOR MY GOOD. Two days later, Lance got strep and now three of the five of us were on antibiotics.
Here I was, a women who promoted health through natural means, with 3/5 family members on antibiotics. If ever there was a way, during this season of life, for God to let me know who is really in control, this was it. Sometimes I need a gentle nudge, and sometimes I need a “kick in the pants” (as my father-in-law would say). This was more of a kick in the pants. I can honestly say, I WAS THANKFUL. I may not have loved all the medication. In fact, after reading the side effects, I had to post Bible verses about worry above my sink. My husband can validate this. I don’t love medication, but I do love the results it produced for my daughter. More importantly, I love that this whole series of events brought me to my knees, a position I should find myself in more frequently. I had to confess my sin of idolatry, yet again, and ask for my Father’s forgiveness. He does forgive! Confessing, what may seem like a small sin in my human and fallen brain, can feel silly, but it’s not! We have all sinned and fallen short, we are all prone to wander, easily tempted, and our affections and energy are so often misplaced. I struggle daily with the idol of control and it takes on so many different forms; health, cleanliness, order … Maybe you don’t struggle with this idol, maybe you struggle with material things, wanting more, striving to get more; the shiny things of this world may lure you away from the Creator of this world. Maybe your struggle is with appearance; being consumed with wanting to look attractive or wear the latest fashions. There are so many things that can turn our heads from what ought to be a fixed position on Jesus. I am reminded of the idea that had a significant impact on me several years ago. This perspective shifter was from C. S. Lewis’s book, The Screwtape Letters. On many occasions when Wormwood (a demon) would write his uncle Screwtape telling him that he was failing in his mission to guide his “patient” into sin, Screwtape would often respond by telling Wormwood to distract or tempt “the human.” Some examples of these distractions were: materialist friends, politics, relationships/sex, ideas of the future, amusements, reminders of the past, the removal of alone time. The use of these distractions would cause “the human” to shift his gaze. Lewis explains this as a slow sort of step by step process; it does not happen all at once. Uncle Screwtape responds to Wormwood saying, “Indeed the safest road to Hell is the gradual one—the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings or signposts.” Does that make you think?
This is a fiction book, but this idea was extremely thought-provoking for me. Am I so easily distracted?
This can be a cause for despair, surely. But for those of us in Christ, we can read things like this and be challenged all while knowing that we WERE dead in our transgressions and sin, ... children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. BUT GOD, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead, in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved. Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ; be thankful, your idolatry and sin have been paid for, ask your Father who loves you to forgive you, and keep running the race, fix your eyes on Jesus! Through Him alone are we cleansed and through Him alone do we find strength to take on another day.