“Idols & Altars: The Journey to True Surrender” by Tasha Bailey
Man, oh man! Winter has just been brutal on my kids’ health. It can be so frustrating because I do all the “crunchy” mommy things… essential oils and elderberry! Holla!
I seriously feel like our pediatrician can smell us pulling into the parking lot: “Here comes lemon, lav, and pepp!”
Honestly though, nothing can turn me inside out like the helplessness of seeing my children suffer.
Around 18 months old, our oldest son was diagnosed with severe food allergies. Until that day I had never heard of anaphylaxis, cross-contamination, or an EpiPen double pack Junior. But in a terrifying instant, all that changed, and we became shockingly aware of just how many foods could potentially kill our son. From my perspective, he was no longer safe so I began living on the edge of my seat, waiting for the bottom to fall out from beneath us.
I didn’t just come unglued for a moment, I lived and operated out of the grief for weeks after the attack, obsessing over what I could’ve done differently while fear and shame pecked on my shoulder, taunting me with all of the “what if‘s.”
Then, the Father, just as he does, lovingly called me to name the vicious cycle what it was: SIN.
Between every food allergy exposure I hid my fear at the bottom of the ocean floor, burying every heart-stopping moment, yet foolishly believing I had given them to the Lord. My “surrender” wasn’t really surrender at all because with every attack on my son’s body, I came undone.
Each time one of my precious little idols seemed cracked or broken, I begged God to put it back together, to fix what I had placed on a mantle high above his goodness. And while I was calling it surrender, God was calling me to a deeper intimacy with him through repentance. He asked me to take my idols from the mantle and bring them to the altar where I could believe that he is good no matter.
I had made my children into little sacred idols, believing that I couldn’t fully trust in the sovereignty of the Lord to keep them safe.
“Lord, let our unraveling become repentance as we invite you to be the sustaining life-source of all that we are and all that we hope for our children. Take our unbelief as we trade in our idols for the deep abiding truth of who you are. Teach us to find our security in the way your love triumphs over every fear. We give you the food allergies, the asthma, the autism, the ADHD, the anxiety, the hearing loss, the broken and the cracked, once and for all. We lay down our lives before you, remembering how you laid down your son for the suffering of the world, only to resurrect the promise of our salvation. Give us the faith of Abraham as we make our way to the altar, living fully surrendered in the promise that you make all things work together for our good. Give us the courage to pray your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”
God calls us into that place of unshakable belief because long before he knit the complexity of our children’s unique DNA, he looked within us, knowing all that was, and is, and is to come and chose us for our children. He calls us to rest in a place where his strength becomes known in our weakness as we journey from mantle to altar.
I won’t stop hoping for the full and complete healing of my son’s food allergies because I know my God is able. I know the healing will bring my Father glory and give courage to the hoping against all hope. I’m living as if the miracle is already in our pockets because that kind of white-knuckle faith crushes the enemy’s advance and transforms little idols into reminders of the Father’s sacred love (who also just might happen to smell like lemon, lavender, and peppermint).