Toni was born and raised in a small town in Oklahoma.She graduated from East Central University with a Bachelor's of Science Degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Economics.After college, she returned to her hometown to marry her best friend, Charles.Toni is a stay at home mom to their three teens, two boys and a girl, whom God led them to homeschool.Her goal is to raise her children to love and serve the Lord.They live on a farm where they grow produce to sell at several farmers markets.She also plays the piano at church and teaches piano.
Six years ago, a few minutes after we ate lunch my husband started getting an upset stomach, hives, itchy eyes, and his throat started swelling shut. He was having an allergic reaction to something he had eaten. I drove him very quickly to the emergency room. By the time we arrived, he was unrecognizable from the swelling. They quickly went to work to stop the reaction. We answered all of their questions about what he had eaten and that he had no known food or drug allergies.
After several hours of treatment, we were told to keep a food diary, try food elimination, follow up with our primary care physician, and return to the emergency room if he had another reaction. And so began our journey to a miracle.
He did not have another reaction for several months. Suddenly, we were on our way to the emergency room again. Food elimination did not show anything. There had been nothing new added to his diet either time.
We once again followed up with our physician and he decided to do a lab test to check for common food allergies (IgE). He was tested for around 20 different foods. A few days later we were called with the results that he was allergic to gluten, not just wheat. Gluten occurs in many grains. Ironically, the call came as I was putting spaghetti on the table for dinner.
Living the Gluten Free Life
He started on a gluten free diet but was so sensitive to gluten that the smallest amount of cross contamination would send him to the emergency room. His sensitivity was so acute that after drinking iced tea from a pitcher that had previously been washed with a sponge, which had also been used to clean out a wheat-flour based batter, he ended up in the emergency room. This was the third and worst reaction yet.
He was so sensitive that he ended up in the emergency room after drinking iced tea that had been in a pitcher, which had been washed with a sponge, which had also been used to wash out a bowl that contained a wheat-flour based batter in it.
Through the years, we got more careful and there were fewer trips to the emergency room. We removed all gluten based flours/powders from our home. I mostly quit baking. All “regular” desserts and baked goods were now store bought. We still had pasta but it had to be prepared in pots and pans that I bought specifically for our children and me to use for “gluten foods”.
We even had a counter in the kitchen designated for gluten. Even everyday condiments could not be “contaminated”. There was no spreading peanut butter and jelly on regular bread and then putting the knife back in the jar to get more out. There were even certain items that we had one for my husband and one for the rest of us. We would put an “X” on the lid so that he knew he could not eat it. Even eating out was difficult because so many people did not understand that it was not celiac but anaphylaxis. We went to the emergency room after one such incident.
One Year Before the Miracle
About a year ago, I started investigating food allergy desensitization. Unfortunately at the time, the closest facility that treated wheat was three hours away and the treatments are bi-weekly. This was just not feasible. I kept googling every few months and finally found a clinic a little over an hour away but they were building another office 30 minutes from us. Just after they opened, I called and they agreed to see my husband.
At our first appointment, we were seen by a Physician’s Assistant (PA), who did not give us much hope. We were told, he would probably not be a good candidate because of his history of a heart attack. The best that they could do was make it to where cross contamination would not send him to the hospital. After receiving his medical records, she also ordered a long list of blood work and scheduled a meeting with an allergist.
When we returned for his follow-up, we were told that the only lab that was abnormal, other than his IgE level for gluten, was his Vitamin D level. It was almost non-existent. This “could” lower a person’s immune response and make an allergic reaction more severe. He was prescribed a Vitamin D supplement and scheduled for a monitored “food challenge” test.
My Prayers Changed
I don’t subscribe to prosperity theology. But, I do believe that God answers our prayers and gives us the desires of our heart.
Before his first appointment I had already been praying. Of course, I had been praying for years, but my prayers changed at this point. I earnestly began to pray for healing. I KNEW God was going to heal him. I was claiming healing and I refused to believe otherwise. I would talk about each doctor’s visit and test and where we would eat WHEN he was healed, NOT IF!
My husband started to believe also, but he was nervous.
Almost exactly six years after this ordeal began, we went for his food challenge test. We bought the softest, most wonderful loaf of multigrain bread for this test.
We were taken into a room marked “Emergency Room” along with several syringes of all the medications he would need for any allergic reaction. He was brought a carefully weighed out bite of bread to start. My husband told her that if anything was going to happen, he would start having symptoms within ten minutes. She chit-chatted with us for about fifteen minutes and left the room with the instruction to let her know if we needed anything.
This continued every 30 minutes in increasing doses followed by vital signs until he ate an entire slice…with no reaction.
The PA that administered the test was surprised and at a loss as to what happened. I told her it was a miracle! His IgE level still shows that he has an allergy to gluten. The only slight explanation she has is the Vitamin D level. But, we know that it was all God.
We are slowly returning to a normal life as per the PA’s instructions. As of this writing, he has eaten donuts, pizza, and biscuits. Every “new food” is an exciting experience.
We can now accept dinner invitations without hesitation or bringing food for him. Vacations will be less stressful.
This has been life-changing! It will take us some time to quit doing some of the “odd” things we had to do before to prevent cross-contamination. We do not know why God has chosen him for this miracle at this time. But, we do know that God has given us a true miracle!
Unanswered prayers. Those two words are heavy, amen? I look back at some of the things I prayed for but never received and thank God for saving me from myself. Then I look forward to the things I have now and remember how long I prayed desperately for them, never knowing if they would come to fruition, and I’m overwhelmed with gratitude. It leaves me with a confidence that I can look forward to whatever answers are in store for prayers that seem to be in limbo, because the granting or denial from God is a blessing either way.
But I have to admit, there are deep longings that I have prayed for, that while I submit them to God, my practical side just thinks them too good to be true. So the irony is, as much as I would like to see them come to pass, I don’t spend much time praying for them because they can be painful to think about. But they creep up from time to time, and I believe it is God’s way of nudging me as if to say, “It’s okay to ask, keep trusting me for this.”
So this weekend was this introvert’s dream. Odd segue, I know, but stay with me. It was full of favorites: quiet time, finished a book, started a new one (if you like to read you get this), baking, and now I’m listening to wind chimes and trees rustling in the wind. Such a perfect end to this blissful weekend. So what is this twinge of sadness that has been intruding on my happiness all day? It finally hits me–the dream I had last night that reminded me of an unanswered prayer! Le sigh, and things were going so well.
“It’s okay to ask. Keep trusting me for this.”
The nudge–it’s not a yes, but clearly I’m not supposed to stop praying into it. It should come as no surprise that today’s sermon was about unanswered prayer, God is clever like that. Feature verse?
“I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.”
Aaaand of course this song ended the service, “Everlasting God.” It’s so so good.
As soon as I woke up this morning I did not allow myself to indulge in the “woe is me” feeling that followed that dream. Instead I revisited last week’s sermon online, spent time praying, and worked through a daily devotion book. Which by the way–if you don’t have a copy of My Utmost For His Highest, here you go, no need to thank me. http://utmost.org/
That seemed to be the antidote to making sure I didn’t fall into a funk. I’ll be honest, I was pretty proud of myself. Then at church Mr. Preacher Man starts preaching and talking about unanswered prayers. Doesn’t he know I just shook that off?! Can we please just move on? Well, it turns out that God was not as impressed with my ability to shut down my feelings as I was. Instead of dealing with my hurt and turning to God, I stuffed my emotions and decided not to allow myself to feel. I then passed it off as a good thing, convincing myself that anything else was just self-pity. Lame. So I allowed myself to hope again during this sermon about waiting.
The question now is, what does it look like to wait in a healthy way? The sermon taught on many reasons that could lead to unanswered prayer according to scripture. These were action items to dive in and take stock of my heart andseek an answer from God instead of the lazy approach of throwing my hands up and saying, “Well God, I guess it’ll happen if you want it to.” I found myself disinterested in doing the work, not because it was work, but because it means I’ll be actively waiting again. This active waiting usually has hurt and sadness in tow. It’s not a pain-free thing, and I don’t love it.
But it’s clear after today that God is telling me to deal with it and allow myself to feel. There is obviously a lot of growing God plans to do in me through this. It is not, however, a guarantee that there is a “yes” on the other side of this prayer in waiting. It is a guarantee that I will see the goodness of the Lord. That is more than enough reason for me.
Let me impart this “nudge” to you via my desktop inspirational Dayspring calendar:
“God doesn’t plant desires within our hearts to let them wither and die. Yes, they may be dormant for a season. And yes, when they finally push through the ground they may look nothing like what we anticipated–but they’re still possible.” –Holly Gerth
What is your prayer in waiting?
Are you willing to trust God with the pain that comes along with the uncertainty by actively waiting on Him?
I was born in Denver, Colorado. I moved to OKC after quitting my jobs as a teacher and YouthIntern to pursue the call into ministry. I started as a non traditional student at Oklahoma where I met my husband. He was a non traditional student working on a 2nd degree after moving from Poland to pursue a degree in Ministry. We dreamed together of serving the Lord in Europe. Now we are blessed to be witness to the awesome way that God works all over the world. We live in Vienna, Austria with our3 kids. We work with Eastern European Mission. We provide Bibles and ethics materials in native languages of Eastern Europe. That means we get to seeGod's hand and providence all over Europe. I am Publishing Assistant at EEM and a fitness trainer. I fill my days caring for my family, teaching gym classes and designing book covers and working on details to provide quality materials to those who need God's word. In my free time I paint, cook, make jewelry and run 2 blogs.
Have you ever prayed so hard for something, only for God to answer no? I have. More than once.
I am 40 now, and I mentioned at the beginning of last year that I want to be a prayer warrior. I have thinking a great deal about prayer and remembering my journey so far.
When I was younger I dated a guy who had promised to marry me. We lived life with this plan in the back of our heads. He was ten years older than I was. After a year, the relationship became abusive. Still, I prayed and begged God to make my dreams of marrying him come true.
One day, one of my friends noticed my bruises. She moved in with me to help me leave the relationship. God said “no” to marrying a bad guy, and “yes” to reaching me at my lowest. This is where my journey in prayer began.
When I sat broken, scared and alone, he met me there.
We started to talk. Really talk–not me bringing my requests like a grocery list to him.
When I look back on this time in life, I can clearly see why God didn’t answer my prayers to give my life to this man.
That unanswered prayer was to help me learn to long for him.