Finite Disappointment

I read another great quote this morning, this one from Martin Luther King Jr. "We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope."

I don't even know how to characterize this past week. Some new friends invited us to go with them to their beach house for a few days. We had just been praying we'd get a chance to take the kids to the ocean once more, but it didn't look like it was going to happen. Then God blessed us through His people. We were so excited!

Then we got a call from Omara's doctor. She'd been complaining of abdominal pain over the past year but lately it had been increasing. I took her in to see a doctor, expecting a minor intestinal issue thanks to Africa, but quickly discovered she had only gained 1 pound in the past year. At 6 1/2 years old, 35 lbs is a bit...little bitty. So we drew some labs (at my insistence...but who is keeping track!). Those labs came back positive for Celiac Disease, an autoimmune disease that leads to the destruction of the intestines if exposed to any gluten. Even trace amounts of gluten. As in... Omara now needs her own knife and cutting board, pots and pans, jar of peanut butter and jelly and tub of butter, and measuring cups and spoons, and a million other things I haven't even thought of yet. I coped with the news by going shopping and buying pretty teal pans and utensils and by crying in front of an open fridge trying to figure out what I can now make for dinner.

We went to the beach, and it was A.M.A.Z.I.N.G. Our friends spoiled us rotten, I probably gained 5 pounds in those 3 days, the kids had a blast in the waves, and we survived restaurants and vacation without gluten.

Then we got a phone call from the loan agency; even after pre-approval, after full disclosure of all our expenses and income and explaining our unique situations with foreign-earned income and clergy salary issues...1 week before closing on our house they decided they couldn't give us the loan. We lost the house. I feel bad for us and I feel terrible for the sellers, and we're all in a mess. We spent the next few days reviewing our goals, our "needs" for a house, and concluding that we can go smaller and simpler and still be well-housed. So we picked out several available homes in a lower price-bracket...and then we watched go into contract with someone else before we could make it up there to see them. On this Monday morning, the week we were supposed to move, there are exactly ZERO homes for sale in our size/price range/school district.

Then the doctor's office called again, and said the biopsy results also show lactase deficiency. It could be a short-term side effect from the Celiac Disease, but she could also be lactose intolerant. "So just go ahead and keep a strict gluten and dairy free diet for the next 2 weeks." just. That little word is insultingly deceptive. I just started crying at Walmart when we were invited to a BBQ, trying to figure out a side-dish to bring that contained no dairy, gluten, or red dye. I just cried that night at dinner when I fixed her Mexican...minus the tortilla. Minus the cheese. Minus the sour cream. Minus the taco seasoning on the meat. Minus the beans because someone forgot and used the bean-spoon on their tortilla and then put it back in the bowl. So yes. She ate unseasoned ground beef with a fork, and we called it a taco.

In 2 weeks, we'll give her a "lactose challenge" (aka a large bowl of ice cream) to see if it causes abdominal pain. I am praying she enjoys every bite! Because, let's be honest--I can figure out gluten free and dairy free. She'll likely start growing again, and thriving more, (and hopefully whining less!) and it could be so much worse. It isn't the end of the world. But let's also be honest--it really stinks. For her, when she has to turn down doughnut holes in Sunday School and ice cream on hot summer days. For me when I try to sort out a new way to cook. For everyone when we just want life to be simple. For once.

I just wanted to move on--which I realize now meant moving IN to my new house, full of my new decorations and dishes and blankets and soft towels. I just wanted to get our family one. two. three. more steps towards healthy and happy and abundantly living. I just wanted simple. And it's still not simple. I find myself peaceably-fatigued, if that is a thing. I'm not worried. I'm not freaked out. I'm just weary. I thought the finish line for this leg was 'just there' when in fact it's not 'just' at all. But it is there. Somewhere up north, where some sort of living arrangement can be arranged, where the new dishes will serve the new gluten-free meals around the new table in infinite hope.


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