Monday, June 5, 2017

Moms: Let's Stop Drinking the Kool-Aid


“Okay, I’m just going to ask it.” The young mom took a deep breath. A group of us stood around, babies on hips, watching the older kids run around the park. “What do you moms think about…vaccines?” Her last word was spoken in a hush, like an inappropriate word. This new mom was seeking wisdom and advice, but she was afraid of stepping on a landmine. And she did. There were as many different opinions as there were moms – and each held to her opinion with a polite smile and white knuckles.

Moms, it’s time to loosen our grips. It’s time to admit that perhaps we’ve boarded the wrong train – a train we thought would take us to better discernment, but has actually led to fear, anxiety, and judging one another. I’m talking about the mania surrounding our kids’ health. Whether it’s vaccines, essential oils, gluten, GMO’s, or epidurals, we’ve made ourselves susceptible to a very sneaky lie. Not a lie that these things are important and worth researching. (They are.) But it’s the lie that our number one priority as moms is our kids’ physical well-being, and that the physical elements of this world are our greatest enemy.


Misplaced Passion

In our church we recite the Nicene Creed every Sunday. It summarizes our theology and defines our Christian faith. Our seven-year-old enthusiastically busts out the first few lines from memory:We believe in one God, the Father almighty, maker of heaven and earth…”

As moms there is a strong temptation to allow our opinions to become creeds. We might not write them down or recite them out loud. But our hearts whisper to us that we are defined by our choices. It might sound something like, “I believe in GMO-free foods. I believe in the extended vaccine schedule. I believe in essential oils a, b, and c, but not d, e, or f…”

There is nothing wrong with doing due diligence to protect and nourish our families. Some moms deal with their kids’ debilitating health issues around the clock. But we’ve become imbalanced if our quest for physical wellness causes us to lose sight of our kids' spiritual wellness. God’s Word helps us strike the right balance. In Paul’s letter to Timothy he reminds Timothy of what’s important: Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. Rather train yourself for godliness; for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.” (1 Timothy 4:7-8)

Are we as passionate about our kids’ hearts as we are about their bodies? When our passion is misplaced we wind up fighting the wrong enemy. Perhaps we blame our kids’ behavior on a nutritional imbalance at the expense of addressing their sin problem.    

How do we know if our priorities line up with the passage in 1 Timothy? The test is where we spend our time and energy. Our culture is defined by an obsession with research. Every mom can become an expert. But no amount of research will change the fact that we live in a fallen world. We will never reach a perfect conclusion. God’s Word, on the other hand, never changes. It contains “all things that pertain to life and godliness.” (2 Peter 1:3) Do we spend as much time in God’s Word as we do in our research? What would our kids say we are passionate about?

Misplaced Fear

Part of the reason we pursue physical wellness with such passion is because we worship a secret idol: the idol of being guilt-free. What if we do something wrong? What if we feed our kids the wrong thing, or put on the wrong sunscreen, or use the wrong detergent?

When I had my first baby I was obsessed with doing everything “right.” I remember making my own baby food from scratch. I thought I was on the right track, but my research quickly proved me wrong. I made the mistake of making the baby food with store-bought vegetables instead of my own organic ones. Once the baby food was made, I froze it in forbidden plastic. I even made the fatal mistake of covering it with tin foil. The web said it was as good as garbage.

I was a mess. How could I do right for this tiny life when “right” seemed so elusive? The “right” way was actually staring me in the face. I just wasn’t looking in the right place.

God’s Word tells us the right thing to do for our kids – and it has nothing to do with organic baby food or BPA-free plastic. Are you ready? Our job for our kids is to “bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” (Ephesians 6:4)

That doesn’t mean we abandon our responsibility over our kids’ physical wellness. But we recognize that physical wellness is not an end in itself. It’s a means to a greater end: pointing our kids to Christ. Our ultimate goal is not to extend their earthly lives as long as possible, but to prepare them for the life to come. This perspective frees us from fear.

Jesus knew we moms would struggle. He knew we would be tempted to let physical cares cause fear. That’s why He lovingly reminds us to “seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” (Matthew 6:33)

There is a way to be guilt-free and it’s not by getting all of our nutritional ducks in a row. It’s by trusting a sovereign God. We trust His perfect plan for our kids – a plan that takes into account a fallen world, our weaknesses, and even our sin. We fear God, not our environment. In a beautiful logic-defying twist, fear of God produces peace. We acknowledge that He’s in control and He loves us. We recognize that everything we see and touch now will fade away, but we have an eternal hope to offer our kids. And when this physical world fails us again and again we remind ourselves (and our kids) of what David said: “My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” (Psalm 73:26)



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46 comments:

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    3. I agree 100%. Balance in this area just like every other.

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  2. Thanks for this! My son had leukemia and one of the most reassuring things I heard was other Moms who had done "everything right" and their child still got cancer. It just proved to me that God numbers our days and is sovereign over our health. We do what we can and leave the rest to Him!

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    1. Couldn't agree more. Our son had a kidney cancer, and now, even though we're 2 years NED, Praise God, we have a lot of extenuating circumstances that cause us to be in a lot of doctors' offices. Life is just plain too short. Do the best you can, and pray. He'll fill in the gaps...

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  3. I'm not sure what I think about this ... while I agree that we can do all the "right" things and still get cancer or a life-threatening illness ... I don't think it's an either/or issue. You can be "all in" and very dedicated to the nutritional side of things and still be very much in step with the Lord ... you can be super knowledgable of how modern foods and environmental factors negatively impact health while at the same time still have your spiritual focus in the right place. For me, it's BECAUSE I love the Lord that I'm especially driven to be diligent about my family's health from a holistic standpoint. Perhaps I read the article wrong, but this article has a vibe of a dualistic view of health and faith & assumes that a passion such as health is an idol an/or based out of fear, that those who enjoy and are passionate about such things are misguided. I mean, I get some of what you're saying ... we can't put all our eggs in the health basket and think the quality of our lives are all up to us, but we are called to care well for these bodies we've been given ... and this can be done out of a love for God. I know I'm totally rambling at this point ... those were just some thoughts I had/

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    1. April; I agree that we have a responsibility to take care of ourselves and our families... However, the point of this (I think) was to point out the futility of depending on self rather than God, and to see the idolatry of it all if we're not first seeking "His kingdom". I adhere to a healthy lifestyle with my family but occasionally really struggle with this issue-- it shows itself when I am fearful rather than just being wise or informed. I needed this reminder; thank you, Sara!

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    2. I tend to agree with April Emery that there is a hint of dualism in this article when the truth is that raising children is much more complex. It can be idolatry to treat our doctor like God, whom he is not--praying about everything else, but taking what the doctor says as gospel without really praying about it and perhaps researching while asking God for wisdom all the while. I don't think trusting the Lord to be in control should mean that you don't study what is best for your child. We have a job to do and we should not be lax! It also can be idolatry to think that we can make our children into wonderful little Christians by perfect spiritual upbringing. God, the Perfect Father, has had many failing children. Also, I think the article misses the fact that there are so many terribly damaged and sick children whose parents are doing anything possible to help their kids. You can believe they are praying from seizure to seizure and researching like crazy. And...you will not see these dear mothers (whose children are actually hurt by vaccines, for instance) at play groups. They are too exhausted with it all.

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    3. Exactly right. My daughter has epilepsy and due to that it was recommended that we don't vaccinate our kids. I have 4. Her epilepsy is resistant to drugs, they don't help at all. So yes, I spend a great deal of time researching and trying new things to allow her a better quality of life. This article did make me realize that I have put that priority above teaching them about our creator and savior. So I'm going to rearrange that, but I will still be researching and comitting to keeping my kids as healthy as possible. It seems like people want there to be an exact right way to go about the health of our kids, but there isn't. Nothing will prove to you that you're not in control like watching your kid go through something that you can't help them with. I pray for my kids. I want them to have the best in life, and do everything in my power to give them that. I do understand that this life is temporary, which is the part of this article that hits the Mark because I do need to focus on encouraging a growing relationship with The Creator,

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    4. I agree with April. The Lord has given us a brain so we can use discernment when it comes our health AND spiritual things.

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  4. There's a lot of wisdom here. Many Christian women have been sucked into the "ecosystem/subculture" of health food/living fads, and often miss the bigger picture of what they are called to do as wives and mothers. Just wrote my own blogpost on this: http://www.benzornes.com/the-soggy-reasoning-of-crunchy-mamas

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    1. Yes and it was excellent by the way. I'm too scared to put it on Facebook though. A lot of my friends are crunchy. I'm the dirty one who lets my kids eat cereal for breakfast.

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    2. Anonymous, don't be afraid to share! :) The gospel levels the playing field. We all share the same basic need and are offered the same basic solution. There is nothing more comforting than the peace and security we find in Jesus.

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  5. This article assigns motives to those she doesn't agree with and yet she is only assuming their passion for health is driven by fear. I can almost promise you it is not. Many of my friends have vaccine-injured children (the courts agreed and have compensated them) so this kind of article is extremely insensitive to those who struggle with a reality for their child they never intended.

    Secondly, many of us struggle with autoimmune issues that flare up with some of the above listed items that we have to avoid in order to feel good. This is not a fear-based motivation it is a "I want to be able to function" drive.

    Third, some of us love providing good healthy food for our kids because it brings us pleasure to see them enjoy things that help them build a strong mind and body. The motive is not fear but love. Perfect love drives out fear because fear has to do with punishment. This author is entitled to her opinion and yet her view is extremely narrow and regretfully hurtful, judgmental and divisive.

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    1. Anonymous: I could not agree more.

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    2. I don't hear this author saying, "Don't show your family love by providing for their nutritional health." If you are seeking God's wisdom, and are therefore providing for your family as you do out of love and not fear, then you've got it! The author isn't accusing everyone who seeks to be knowledgeable about health and nutrition as being fearful. But there are people on both sides of the coin, and it is the moms whose motive IS fear that she is exhorting to put their trust in the right place. Yes, seek the best health and nutrition for your children. But put it in the context of seeking God first.

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    3. I don't think you actually read what I wrote and why I wrote it. I'm writing it for the women that may struggle with this and her article just heaps MORE shame on them.

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    4. And how many parents vaccinate and medicate out of fear? The whole vaccine industry is based on fear! People are so afraid of their kids getting any kind of sickness, they'll inject anything the dr says to just to supposedly avoid it. I agree that we need to keep our main focus on the gospel, but that doesn't mean not being prudent with taking care of ourselves and our kids, just like it doesn't mean not being prudent to avoid sin in general.

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    5. I completely agree. I believe this post goes well beyond leaving our trust ultimately with God to neglecting another serious responsibility: to consider carefully what is best for our children.

      Many with vaccine injured children have their entire days and lives consumed with all that it entails. Other children in the home may be traumatized by the violence and other behaviors.

      At the end of the day, healthy people must care for the sick to have any kind of civilization. Beyond that, who is going to go to the hard places and bring the gospel? Hint: It's not going to be those whose lives are fraught with medical and behavior issues that will NEVER be outgrown. And absolutely, a sovereign God DOES call some to this no matter what they do. But for heaven's sake, don't go looking for those trials!

      We *have* to care what is going on and what is causing this. At least, someone has to. To do otherwise is the height of poor stewardship of our bodies and the environment.

      It's always going to be a struggle to find balance, but the balance is not found in criticizing those who are on the other side of the health issues, particularly when so many of them are suffering so deeply. (My newsfeed is full of it.)

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  6. Very nice, and I agree wholeheartedly. Going to share your post to Stumbleupon now :)

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  7. I read it as speaking to both sides... don't get too caught up in the quest for natural health, and don't let your fear of alternative health snub other mums or exclude them. If the vaccine issue is to be secondary to the gospel, then that includes Christian mums for or against. I'm prone to get caught up in justifying my alternative choices (when you go against the popular medical culture you don't want people to think you're simply ignorant and irresponsible but it can become all-consuming), but I've seen Christian mums also get caught up in the pro-vax movement - the gospel comes first unless they're speaking to an anti-vaxxer on Facebook, then they feel at ease to apply liberal abuse.

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  8. I think the point of this article is not that we can't have multiple priorities, but that the order of the priorities must have God as #1. When we wake up in the morning, what do we look at first, the Bible or Facebook? I often look at Facebook first, but my days are much better when I put God first. As long as God is first, vaccines, organic food, or whatever you like can be second, third, fourth, etc. If God isn't first, then whatever you have ahead of Him is an idol.

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  9. Well said, Sara. Thank you for writing and sharing!

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  10. http://lifewithautisminpictures.blogspot.com/2014/09/doing-away-with-vanity-dignity-tonight.html

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  12. Because you mentioned vaccines here, I have to comment. Having a vaccine injured child, you can not send the message to other believers in Christ that you just do your best. Vaccines are an issue of life or death, not just doing your best/avoiding guilt. It isn't one or two children (babies) who have died from vaccines, it's thousands, if not millions. And it isn't one or two vaccines that list death as a possible adverse effect of the vaccine, it's several. So the message you are sending to moms is a very dangerous one. And it is one that GOD feels very strongly about. Each death matters to Him. Each child whose immune system has been irreversibly impacted to the point of autoimmune disease matters.

    The deaths from vaccines are significantly more than from the illnesses vaccinated against. As a Christian, speak for life and truth. Any issue of truth and life are at the heart of the gospel, at the heart of the very nature of God.

    From the bottom of my heart, I hope you didn't receive money for posting this blog.

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  13. As an old, almost sixty, mom of six kids, I can say I see the point of this article as being one to take to heart. At the same time I am not so sure if the author has a clear understanding of what us behind the sickness industry. It is indeed evil at its core. Not that the individual doctors or nurses are evil. And obviously the medical field is to be praised for the things it does right. If you have broken a limb I'm sure you are glad that there are doctors. There is an insidiousness behind this vaccine industry that I don't think most people have a clue about. In the book Rules for Radicals, by Saul Alynski, you see clearly that the way to influence and control any given population is to make them poor. The number one vehicle for that is using their health care system. Simply put, you make people sick, create a massive " health care system" to take care of their sicknesses, the cost is so high that the only way to get help is to go into great amounts of personal debt. This in turn makes you poor.. health care poor. Once you are sick you can't be as great a worker, and so become more poor. Once " poor" you need to turn to the govt for help. This is exactly what the powers that be want. As actually it us satanic at its core. I am living this, so it further confirms the principles set forth in Alynski's book. I vaccinated all of our kids. To the hilt. One has epilepsy, and it did start after a vaccination. There is nothing like watching your child have seizures. It was only when the doctor treated me dirt if funny, when I had researched the HPV, vaccine, and was adamant that my daughter with the seizures not get it, that I began to see that there was more to this. That was when my eyes were opened. We are a Christian family. One if our older daughters, studies Gods word every day. She has been so sick for years. She still works two jobs, and owes thousands to a drs bill for traditional testing for her sickness. The medical community doesn't care that she owes all of that money and us still sick. Now she is working to pay those bills, and to go to a naturopath for which she self pays.sge had a full scholarship for college and running track but was so sick she had to quit. So these things DO affect us. We have not lost our faith in God through it all but our eyes have been opened. Research people who are super pro vaccine, like Bill Gates. His father was at one time, the head of the Eugenicist movement back in the day. Most people I tell this to have never even heard the word Eugenicist. God is still in control, He comes first, but there is a reason you see more vaccine than ever before .. health centers going up everywhere you look, and sickness beyond measure everywhere you look. Bring sick us a big business industry. Sorry this is so long.

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    1. Right. I am sure it comes from a good place, but it lacks understanding. I have seen so many sweeping things written by Christians attempting to encompass both sides, but in reality there is no grasp of what "crunchy" or nonvaccinating actually means or how they got there. There is no understanding that maybe the reason they are die-hard gluten free is that they observe horrific behaviors that go on for hours when their child gets any (WHETHER OR NOT your physician agrees with that).

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  14. And sorry for all of the " ifs" for the word of etc.......
    My phone has its own mind

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  15. This is SO good!! Thank you!! As someone who writes a lot on my own blog about the problem of the mommy wars and how they are detrimentally affecting the church, this article is right up my alley! What a breath of fresh air! Thank you, thank you! I shared on FB. <3

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  16. I have a lot of health issues myself so I am very careful about what my daughter is exposed to. The problem is when I let the pride of doing the right thing and the fear of doing the wrong thing rule my life. I also need to be careful I don't let my choices hinder my relationships with others. In the end its about what God expects of me and how he wants me, Charity, to care for my family. Its so easy to get caught up in all the dos and donuts that the world gives us instead of seeking His will though.

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  17. I thank the Lord that DESPITE me my kids are his, they have his blessing, are guided by him. I sometimes go back to the past and feel guilty about something I did that might have hurt my children, but their love and grace for me, not too mention God's, is a healing balm. Trust the Lord with all your heart and don't lean on your own understanding. Do what you believe is right but accept that you will make mistakes. Thank God he covers the rest! Mom of 5, grandma of 10!!!!

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  18. I infer from the title that your point of view on researching health, and food, and healthy living is cultic. Or perhaps you do not know the history behind the "drinking the Kool-Aid"?

    At any rate, I am a mom who researches and does my best to provide good health for my family through nutritious foods and healthy living choices. I don't do it out of misplaced passion nor fear! I just want what is best for the family God entrusted to my care. And most certainly I do not think that by doing these things my family is protected from bad health. Whenever I drive by a children's hospital, I am almost in tears of thankfulness to God that such facilities exist, and that they are there should we ever need them. I'm not crusading my point of view on Facebook or to my friends, I'm not selling anything, and I most certainly do not stand around arguing for the things that - yes - I'm passionate about. The things I consider to be healthy are not replacing the Lord in my life. I do the best I can with the budget I have, and trust the Lord for His care.

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  19. Thanks so much for this Sara! I am always encouraged by your posts. I think it's easy to look at the word vaccinations or epidurals and get carried away with your opinion; these are very sensitive topics (for good reason)for so many people. But it's about putting Christ first and knowing that this is a temporary life. No matter how much suffering we go through, we have our hope in Christ and that He will restore everything! It's so easy to get tied up with making this life so comfortable and happy for our children, but neglecting to teach them what feeds their soul! Thanks again!

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  21. Excellent, As evidenced by the comments section, this is a message that is desperately needed! Thank you.

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  22. I understand the point you are trying to make as far as not making children an idol. This article's advice seems very lazy to me. We are moms,and those of us that we're bestowed that title,whether thru natural birth,adoption,or by any other means are meant to take care of our family.You can't feed your children junk food and prescriptions and just hope that they have a prosperous life. Don't get me started about not researching vaccines or any medical procedure either!

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    1. Her point is not making children idols, it's that we as moms tend to put our children's physical wellness above their spiritual wellness. There is absolutely nothing wrong with researching things and keeping our kids healthy, BUT it should not be our number one priority if we claim to follow Jesus and teach our children about Him. Their souls are more important than their physical bodies (which is a temporary thing).

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    2. Exactly, and those that are saying she is insensitive to those who have children effected by vaccines or other health problems that have to monitor foods. We all get that, but isn't that even more a reason for her to express how important it is for us to not neglect their spiritual health? We all make choices, God gave us that right. He also tells us not to judge others for theirs. This article speaks to those who he wants it to speak to. Those who read it can choose to like it, twist it, hate it, or disregard it.

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  23. This is amazing!! Thank you!! I needed to read this!! I def spend more time reading and researching stuff rather than reading and spending alone time with God. I think you said it perfectly!!! I absolutely loved this article. I can see God gave you the words to say! Thank you for being obedient. What a convicting wise article. Convicting in a good way for me to stop worrying and trying to read every little thing and read more of HIS Holy Word! Wow. Great job. Thank you

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  24. Well written..I completely agree. Thank you for sharing!

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