What if emotional eating isn’t wrong? What if God created food to meet us in the midst of our emotions?
Food and how it affects our health is fascinating. It can become one of our greatest allies, or our greatest foe.
Unfortunately, the very thing that is supposed to give us strength and joy and life, is now becoming an all-consuming pursuit; it is distracting and disqualifying God's people from the very things He has created and destined us for.
The morning that God healed me, I was not actively praying for it. Over the past three years, I had asked the Lord to heal me in His perfect timing, and I knew He would. But I had to let go of knowing when that was. (To read the first part of my story, click here)
It was exciting to be able to eat so many tasty things again. For the first time, I could travel without having to bring an entire suitcase of foods I could eat with me. I could look at a menu and order what I wanted without customizing the heck out of it.
Yet this new freedom proved to be surprisingly difficult. I realized boundaries had become my protection. They forced me to eat healthy. I had unknowingly grown to love the restrictions because I felt safe there.
I began to understand that strict boundaries are often meant for a season. God uses boundaries to teach us and shepherd us in a protected place. Then He sets us free. He invites us to step out of those boundaries that have been a place of security, and to let Him lead us out with a new freedom. The journey is so full of purpose, which is different for each person. But if we refuse to leave those boundaries and trust Him, those boundaries will quickly become bondage. They begin to hold us back from everything Jesus has for us to pursue because we start to trust the boundaries more than Jesus.
About a year after I was healed, I started to get sick again. It began slowly, with bloating and stomach pain. Then the headaches and brain fog returned. Then joint and muscle pain, and fatigue gripped my body. Before I could blink, it felt like I was spiraling back towards the place from which God had miraculously delivered me.
When you feel awful, your focus becomes consumed on how to feel better. It affects everything. I fell back on my training – retesting myself for food sensitivities, cutting out gluten and dairy, and strategically supplementing to “fix” my body.
My sister saw what I was doing. In fiery words, she declared, “Jesus healed you!! Why are you avoiding all these things He healed you to be able to eat and enjoy?!”
My response, “If it helps me feel good and function, why wouldn’t I?”
That question ignited something inside of me, and the Holy Spirit then asked me, “Do you trust me? Will you start eating in faith, declaring that healing over yourself every day, rather than trying to fix yourself by running back to your boundaries?”
It awakened me back to faith. I went and bought some organic bread, yogurt, and more. I learned to pray differently before I ate. The enemy had started to convince me that food was my adversary, and that it was my fault I was sick. The Lord showed me that it was actually the enemy tempting me to doubt the wisdom God had taught me.
As I began to eat all those things in faith, my body was restored. The peace of God that comes through trusting Him is the greatest medicine for the body.
This was the beginning of me learning how to live in and stay in freedom, even when confronted by returning affliction. Heidi Baker wrote in her book Reckless Devotion, “Satan is trying to destroy your destiny, God’s temple. If he can’t use sin, he will use sickness or exhaustion. So we have to fight.” The way we fight is obedience. What is God putting before us to do, and what is He asking us not to do? When we follow His lead, He will never fail us.
Restorative Nutrition's mission is to equip people to partner with Jesus in pursuing health and healing. Everyone’s journey looks different. We need to allow Jesus the space to guide us in each season.
More on this next week!
In 2009 my health had reached its worst. After two years in southern Africa, a few parasites, and a whole lot of emotional stress, my body could not take it anymore.
I was 27 years old, a personal trainer, and a dietitian in private practice, though you would never know it by my health. Brain fog was normal, as was fatigue. I had celiac disease, severe IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), hyperthyroidism, and poor immune function.
By God’s grace I finally found answers, which began my journey into the world of food sensitivities and food restrictions. Within two weeks of changing my eating, all of my symptoms were gone! My body started to function better than I ever knew it could. Every aspect of my life had to change to accommodate this, but it didn’t matter. Feeling good was absolutely worth it.
One evening, my sister had a missionary family visiting that was very near and dear to her and we decided to go out for dinner. I had eaten out many times before and had always figured out something I could eat from the menu. This time it was Mexican food, which was hard. There was nothing on the menu that would work. Even the oil they used for cooking had ingredients I was reactive to.
It would have been fine for me to have my water and enjoy everyone’s company while they ate. But how could the others enjoy themselves to the same degree when I was not eating? In that moment, I realized there is so much fellowship and intimacy that God created in sharing a meal together. I desperately wanted to enjoy this meal with them, but was at a loss of what to do.
Holding back tears, I ran to the restroom, locked myself in a stall, and cried to Jesus for wisdom.
Clear as day He spoke.
His peace overwhelmed me as I processed that command.
I dried my eyes, walked back to the table, looked at the menu with fresh eyes, and ordered what I wanted to order. When the food arrived, we all prayed (over the food AND my body), and I ATE. Food had never tasted so good! There was a freedom in my spirit to enjoy the Lord and His people and this food before me.
After the meal, I was in awe. No reaction. Not one. I actually felt better than I did before we ate. The next day, still no symptoms. A normal reaction would have affected me for several days afterward.
I discovered that Jesus had given me grace for that evening, but my body was not permanently healed. Instead, He was inviting me to learn how to live in His freedom, even with these restrictions. But deep down, I knew He would completely heal me one day.
My husband and I made a decision. When we were invited to share a meal or I didn’t have the choice of what I could eat, we would ask Jesus and the Holy Spirit what was in His heart for me to do. If He gave me peace, I ate. And every time, there was no reaction.
One of the biggest convictions the Holy Spirit gave me was about communion. Despite this severe reaction I had to gluten, I felt convicted to trust Jesus and still partake in communion (which includes gluten-filled bread). It never made me sick.
This season was powerful as I learned about God’s grace. He never expected perfection in my compliance to this organic, healthy, restrictive lifestyle. He actually asked me to let go of perfection and focus on His heart instead.
For three years, this was my life. It was good. I was learning about the freedom Jesus paid for me to have, but I also had built-in boundaries that helped me to learn.
Finally, one morning, everything changed when I heard the Lord say, “YOU ARE HEALED.”
A little over a year ago, I closed the doors to my nutrition practice in Denver, Colorado as my husband and I went through a significant transition in life. Today, I am excited to announce that
Restorative Nutrition, LLC is being re-launched!
Its new mission: to work with patients who need healing and HOPE for the health of their bodies. Restorative Nutrition is integrative nutrition counseling for any and all health conditions, especially inflammatory conditions, autoimmune diseases, fatigue, gut dysfunction, and more.
Jesus wants to make us whole. He delights to heal. Sometimes healing and restoration happen rather quickly, but often it is a journey... one on which Jesus wants to partner with each of us. He gives us science and knowledge to utilize, but He also gives us His Spirit so that we can hear what He is saying for each of us personally. What is He asking us to do and what is He asking us NOT to do? The process and journey should be full of His peace. It should empower and strengthen us.
Our lives should be enhanced by food, not controlled by it. Food is supposed to be a blessing and a delight; not a source of frustration or anxiety. It is meant to be something that unifies us with others as we share meals together; not something that divides us because of dietary restrictions. God has so much goodness and delight He wants us to have in how we eat... AND... He wants YOU to feel good, energized, and no longer sick. This is just one piece of the abundant life He has purchased for us.
Our journey is our own and will not look like anyone else's. We are unique creations, with unique needs that God wants to speak into. If you need help, hope, and restoration for your health, please contact me. Let's pursue all that God has for you together, and not settle for anything less that His best.
All consultations can be done via phone or video conferencing. For those in the Redding, California area, consults can also be done in person.