A Letter to Parents Of Children with Allergies

Posted on Posted in Faith, Overcoming Obstacles, Parenting

My heart goes out to all the parents of kids with life-threatening allergies.

To the moms who have to double check every food label, triple check their purse or diaper bag for the inhaler or EpiPen, and live in fear over the what ifs.

God does not want us to live in fear.

“I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.”  John 14:27 NLT

God wants us to be brave – to be strong and courageous (Joshua 1:9).

This includes praying big, bold, brave prayers.


The Right Reasons

Last week, I listened to a sermon from Pastor Mark Batterson’s Mountains Move series called Enough is Enough.  In his message, Batterson shares his earliest memory of waking up unable to breathe and being taken to the hospital by his father to get a shot of epinephrine.  He talks about his 40-year dependence on his inhaler and how he never left home without it.  He also describes how he wouldn’t be who he is today without having gone through the challenges of living with asthma.

But that didn’t stop him from praying for God to lift that burden from him.

All too often we shy away from praying big, bold prayers because we think in doing so we are putting God to the test.  We worry what will happen if we pray big and God doesn’t answer.  Or we think He has bigger problems to solve or more important things on His mind than our child’s allergy.

God honors bold prayers because it shows we have faith.  God always answers, just not always in the way we want or on our timeline.  And while God may have bigger mountains to move, that doesn’t mean He won’t move yours.

But sometimes you just need to ask.  And ask again.  And again.

“God won’t answer 100% of the prayers we don’t pray.”  – Mark Batterson

Batterson prayed his entire life for God to cure him of his asthma.  As of last Friday, he was free from his inhaler for 425 days and is celebrating by running in the Chicago Marathon.

Whether or not God chooses to answer our prayers on our timeline, we must keep praying, continuously and persistently.  We must pray with what Batterson calls “holy expectancy,” believing He has already done it (1).  And we must pray for the right reasons.

Sure, we want peace of mind that we no longer have to worry about our child ingesting an allergen that could trigger a life-threatening reaction.  We want to know that our child won’t be quarantined to the peanut-free table in the lunchroom or be the only kid at the birthday party that can’t eat the cake and ice cream.  We want to live in freedom, no longer bound to an EpiPen or inhaler, no longer anxious about what might happen when our child is out of our direct supervision.  But ultimately, our focus should be on how this mountain can be used to increase our dependence on Him, strengthen our faith, grow in His likeness, and be used for His glory.

What if “you have been assigned this mountain to show others that it can be moved?”  – Unknown

To show others that He can move it.

To allow this test to become part of your testimony.

To provide an answer when others ask you to give a reason for the hope that you have.

An answer that points back to Jesus.

“But in your hearts set Christ apart as holy – acknowledging Him, giving Him first place in your lives as Lord.  Always be ready to give a logical defense to anyone who asks you to account for the hope and confident assurance, elicited by faith, that is within you, yet do it with gentleness and respect.”  1 Peter 3:15 AMP


My Prayer Request

Last week, my son Luke’s allergist called to discuss his upcoming appointment.  While his previous test results showed that his allergies to eggs, dairy, soy, and legumes have drastically decreased, his numbers for peanuts and tree nuts are still in the “very high” range.  According to the doctor, there is “pretty much no chance” of him not no longer needed an EpiPen.  It would take a miracle.

Good thing God is in the business of performing miracles.

In two weeks, Luke goes back for additional testing and I’ve been boldly praying that God would move this mountain and heal him of his allergies.

Until today, I hesitated to share my prayer request with more than a select group of people.  I didn’t want them to tell me not to get my hopes up and wasn’t sure what I would tell them if God choose to leave this mountain unmoveable.

MercyMe gave me the perfect response in their song, What If:

I know You’re able and I know You can
Save through the fire with Your mighty hand
But even if You don’t
My hope is You alone

They say it only takes a little faith
To move a mountain
Well good thing
A little faith is all I have, right now

But God, when You choose
To leave mountains unmovable
Oh give me the strength to be able to sing
It is well with my soul

Whether it takes 4 years or 40 years, as was the case with Pastor Batterson, I’ll keep praying.  For healing, for strength, for perseverance, and for peace of mind and heart through it all.

Today, I ask you for prayers for Luke’s life-threatening peanut and tree nut allergies and I encourage you to share your prayers for your child in the comments.  In Matthew 18:19-20, Jesus tells us, “I can guarantee again that if two of you agree on anything here on earth, my Father in heaven will accept it. Where two or three have come together in my name, I am there among them.”

Whether in person or online, we can come together in His name and circle our requests in prayer.  If God chooses to leave our mountain unmovable, we can remember that it is in our weakness that we find His strength.  We can allow the experience to stretch our faith and strengthen our character, remembering that when God takes us through it instead of delivering us from it there is a greater purpose.

When God does choose to move our mountain, I pray that we would share it with one another – proclaiming His goodness, celebrating a story of another child healed, and thanking Him for the opportunity to use our testimony for His glory.


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References:

1. Batterson, Mark.  (2012).  The Circle Maker.  Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

6 thoughts on “A Letter to Parents Of Children with Allergies

  1. Jen, thanks for your words of encouragement & boldness to pray before the Lord of Lords. May He heal our sons, and countless other children of life-threatening food allergies. May we live trusting God, moving forward in wisdom & knowledge, finding freedom in the midst of the food-label reading & Epi-Pen carrying – in the midst of it all – may God grow our characters to lean on Him more. And, yes, May we rust that God can & will heal in His will.

    1. Laura, thank you for reminding me that freedom doesn’t just come when the burdens in our life are lifted, but rather in the midst of our hardships and messiness. May we take His yoke upon us and allow Him to lighten our load. May we cast our anxieties on Him and find His peace that surpasses all understanding. Thank you so much for your encouragement and support. Those early days of Bible reading and fellowship after MOPS made more of an impact on me than you may ever know. I love your heart, I miss you, and I’ll be praying for you and your family.

  2. Jen, thanks for a new perspective on this issue. Meredith, at nearly 14, has been taking ownership of her own label-reading and caution for about 4 years, but last Saturday at dinner she was at my parents’ house (Chris and I were away for the weekend) and bit into what was labeled as an apple turnover but turned out to be filled with pecans. After one bite she stopped eating, but she spent a good part of the evening throwing up in the bathroom, even after taking Benadryl. Apparently, the outside bakery that supplies my parents’ grocery store had mislabeled the box. We keep approaching her allergies by praying for protection–but I never thought of praying for healing! That’s boldness, and it’s what God wants from our prayers.

    1. Pam, I am so sorry to hear about Meredith’s experience. Luke had a similar experience when he was only 1. He ate a “sugar cookie” from a local grocery store bakery and had an allergic reaction because there was cross contamination. I don’t give Luke anything from local bakeries or grocery stores unless a special request is made beforehand and they can ensure that it is completely nut and peanut free. I too had been praying for protection for Luke, but recently have been prompted to pray for his healing. God can do amazing things – let’s be bold and not shy away from asking! He is honored by our bold prayers, even if it’s not in His will, because it shows we have faith. I’ll be praying for Meredith and look forward to chatting more about this with you in person.

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