It’s Food Allergy Awareness Week. Maybe you already know that food allergies affect 1 in every 13 children under the age of 18 years old in the United States. I’m not going to wow you with a bunch of facts. I’m going to let you know more about us. And how food allergies affect our lives.
So here are my ramblings and confessions about our life and food allergies:
1. We don’t want to be different. Oh, we don’t want to. But we are. We didn’t ask for this lifestyle. We only do what we have to do to keep our child safe.
2. We are not crazy. Yes, sometimes I feel crazy. Or “cray cray”, as SG has come to say.
3. We are not out to ruin anyone’s traditional treats and foods. Birthday cupcakes at school or traditional holiday foods can be DEADLY to children with food allergies. There are plenty of fun, new and safe ways to celebrate birthdays and holidays. You may have to forego a store bought cupcake or that famous mac and cheese or pecan pie, but really, isn’t it worth it to have a loved one with you? We only want to be included in a way that’s safe.
4. That last sentence bears repeating. We want to be included. Food allergies don’t have to define our lives. We live with food allergies. It’s a part of us. But it doesn’t have to define us or isolate us. But sadly, sometimes it does.
5. Our church- a biblical church based on Jesus Christ as Savior- has been amazing! SG is well cared for. Her class all has safe snacks and all kids get wiped with baby wipes. The church has been so wonderful in accommodating our special needs. And the people… the people… they have stood in the gap for us. They have sat with me when I cried and poured out my heart about some difficulties and struggles due to life with food allergies. And then they have touched my heart so deeply and invited us into their homes. Y’all, you just don’t know how much these sweet Christ loving people have touched our hearts. They have shown me the love of Christ in real and tangible ways. You know who you are. And thank you. You are loved.
6. We don’t go out to eat as a family. I have learned to bake and cook. When we first got married, I received an apron that said “Domestically Challenged” and I’m proud to say that is no longer true. While I’m not a chef, I’ve learned I can throw down some good homemade food!
7. I love Vegans. We, however, are not Vegan. But I’ve learned to search “Vegan” whatever and tons of safe and yummy recipes pop up. They have already substituted in baking for me. And we love Vegan products! Hello Daiya cheese & Earth Balance products! SG would never be able to enjoy “cheese” like goodness if it weren’t for all the yummy Vegan products out there. Thanks y’all!!!
8. Worrying is not a good thing and a sin. Yup. I struggle with worry. I’ve found some verses about worry that I’ve highlighted in my Bible.
“But I trust in you, O LORD;
I say, “You are my God.”
My times are in your hands…”
Psalm 31:14-15 (NIV)
“…and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live.”
Acts 17:26b (NIV)
“Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?”
Matthew 6:27 (NIV)
Food allergies have exposed this sin of worrying and is a reminder daily to trust The Lord with this very precious gift of a child He has given me to raise up. I sometimes struggle balancing doing my part in keeping SG safe and just plain ole worrying.
But then I remind myself,
“God has my times in His hands. He has SG’s times in His hands. I have to be responsible for certain things like her diet and right now her environment, but The Lord has our times in His hands. Worrying will not change that. Trust The Lord. Trust The Lord!!”
9. Food allergies can wear on marriages. Mine has remained strong- and actually, been strengthened by our standing side by side together. We are in this together. I’m thankful for a man who has agreed to keep our house free of dairy and eggs to keep our daughter safe. I know that isn’t always the case and I’m so blessed that we are united in our decisions.
10. Sometimes I get jealous when I see a family eating ice cream. I feel cheated somehow. The moment is fleeting. I’m glad for that. I don’t want to give in to jealousy. I know that’s a sin. Sometimes I get tired of cooking all the time and wish we could go out to eat as a family without worry or stress. Then I snap to my senses and look at the beautiful little reason I’ve given all that up. For six long years we tried and failed to have a baby… until on our very last try we conceived our precious child. Who happens to have food allergies. She is worth it. Who cares, really, about ice cream from an ice cream shop? I have a precious child who is worth every single sacrifice I make.
We are just normal people trying to lead a safe and normal life.
So there you have it- my random thoughts and confessions for Food Allergy Awareness Week.