Mold and a Maker’s Heart Surgery

The great Heart Surgeon, has cut into the cancer of my soul, quietly growing deep within the darkness.

Comparison. Self-Consciousness. Greed. Covetousness. A Hope in THINGS, above people.  A Gaze upon the standards around me, rather than the standards of heaven. A Desire to have a Pinterest home, rather than a purified heart.

I love our new home. (in the “ghetto of Norcross” as I’ve been informed). I love our new life. Neighborhood kids running in and out. Toting neighbors to church in our run-down-but-still-running car with the broken handles and the duct taped mirror. Our mismatched furniture that all has a story of the faithfulness of God to provide for our needs. My eclectic decorating, trying to use what I have on hand instead of spending money on a home that I can’t take with me. I am truly content when I am here.  We live in the lap of luxury compared to my friends back in Newark.

The back porch I love so much (don't have to sweep all the spilled food off my kitchen floor)

The back porch I love so much (don’t have to sweep all the spilled food off my kitchen floor)

But the Lord has thrust us into a culture which seems so foreign to me.  We drive up to church (Benjamin exclaims “Look, Mommy! CASTLE!!” when we pull up) and park that broken-and-duct-taped car next to Mercedes and brand new minivans. We go to church meetings in homes that should be featured in Southern Living and could house six Newark families in it. My kids go to school with children whose parents can afford ballet, and music lessons, and sports, and summer camps. And my contentment fizzles into fear.  Fear that I don’t belong here. Fear of being judged. Fear of offering my home for parent meetings because its old, its “small”, and its always messy. And  deadly cancer starts to grow. And that cancer of comparison starts to rob the pulse of life which enables a person to love outrageously. Because its too busy thinking about self.

In the hurry to get our home settled, to get it decent enough to at least have SOME people (not the really wealthy ones though, good heavens, what would they think of me!) I have worshiped that goddess that woos me so frequently.  I have worshipped neatness, and things, and yard-saling in order to finalize the last touches of my frugal decorating.

Well, the Heart Surgeon, King Jesus, who is jealous for my love, and jealous for my love to be directed towards a husband, and children, and not just a house, well, he cut deep. Right at the root of the issue. He’s stripping back all that I could hide behind. To remind me once again. There are only three things that are eternal.  And only three things things that will be exalted above all else.

1. Himself, His Name, His Character (Psalm 138:2)

2. His Word (Psalm 138:2)

3. And the people He has made, particularly the ones He redeemed as His Bride (Ephesians 5)

All else, will fall away in the blink of an eye.

So with this knife He starts the surgery….

Since about January, I have been noticing Benjamin become increasingly fatigued and catch numerous “coughs”, look sickly in the face and eyes, and have at least 4-5 poopy diapers a day. I never put all the symptoms together, but the fatigue was what was getting to me.  I’ve got enough kids to know that when a two year old is laying on around the house all day, something is wrong.  I tried to get the doctor to do bloodwork on him but she kept writing me off and saying “oh, he’s two, he needs lots of rest.”  or “oh, all those coughs are just because of being in a home with alot of siblings”.  So I started asking around….food allergies? anemia? leukemia? I couldn’t shake the feeling that it seemed like something toxic might be in his body. After seeking counsel from experienced moms, and some doctors, I finally started praying. (Isn’t that funny, how we go to God in prayer once we’ve already exhausted our own resources…pretty sure there are numerous references to the Isrealites doing that) Two weeks after I started praying that Jesus would simply expose exactly what was going on, He did. Ever so faithfully.

We were contacted by the people who bought our home in Florida (we were just renters, but ended up becoming friends with this incredible Christian couple who bought the house to use it for the Kingdom, much like we had).  While they were in the process of renovating they began discovering black mold. The toxic kind, ALL. THROUGHOUT.THE.HOUSE.  With the heaviest concentration being behind all the walls in the boys room. The plumber who had been working in the exposed mold started throwing up blood. Other workers who were in there once it was exposed ended up seeing pulmonary specialists. As I looked up symptoms, Benjamin was a poster child for extreme exposure. Chronic fatigue, muscle aches, diarrhea, respiratory illnesses, a suppressed immune system. And now I had found the source of not only his illness, but Malachi’s several sinus infections, Daniel Josiah and Trinity’s nosebleeds, and Katy-Grace’s post nasal drip.  When all in isolation, I had reasonable explanation for each one, but now it was all coming clear that they were all stemming from the same source. Toxic Black Mold.

Who would have thought this home was deadly?

Who would have thought this home was deadly?

Over the past week we have been investigating all of the items we brought with us. We have found mold on edges/creases of the crib mattress, all inside the futon mattress (the two places where Benjamin has slept his entire life of almost three years), on the backs of dressers. on our three piece leather sofa set (which was given to us by our landlord because it had been in the house for years before we moved there), inside bath toys, and on the under side of area rugs. We have brought the poison with us.

Benjamin has perked up considerably since we moved, since has not been exposed to such a concentration of mold spores, but we now have to work to eradicate the major sources of the spores which we have brought with us.

Benjamin is doing much better now...almost back to his superhero self

Benjamin is doing much better now…almost back to his superhero self

Tomorrow, we will be doing a dump-run.  Couches, dressers, bookshelves made of particle board, any type of cardboard we brought from the old house, all linens, bedspreads, pillows, curtains (yeah, all those things that actually matched) stuffed animals, every darn basket I have in my house (and, believe me, I store EVERYTHING in baskets) will need to be taken to the dump.  Shoot, I can’t even yard sale it, to make money for the adoption we are saving up for.

Those couches? Will be in the dump tomorrow.

Those couches? Will be in the dump tomorrow.

And the Lord cut into this heart of mine.

All the times I spent trying to get that one last little “house project” done instead of spending time in the evenings with my husband, or instead of reading to my children, or instead of engaging their hearts rather than shooing them out of the way. Instead of stopping to hear the voice of the Lord and be still in His presence. All the time spent building my own kingdom in my home has been wasted, for that kingdom has crumbled.

Glory to God, that He cut quickly. Before I had wasted any more time prioritizing things and images, instead of His Name, His Word, and the people He has put in front of me.

*Stay tuned for our remediation process, and for incredible testimonies of God’s faithfulness through the love and generosity of the community of Saints that God has put us into.

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20 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. krskrt33
    Aug 21, 2013 @ 08:38:35

    Kimberly I have literally been writing to you and trying my best to send you my thoughts and prayers…something is wrong with my computer and/or I have been ”stomping” th Date: Wed, 21 Aug 2013 02:03:07 +0000 To: 4kimberly@hotmail.com

    Reply

  2. Jenny
    Aug 21, 2013 @ 11:22:57

    I am praying to see God do amazing things! Im excited to hear the updates about how He provides and knocks ya’lls socks off!! Praise God He moved you into a community that may be able to meet some of those material needs with “ease”. Thanks for sharing – the way Jesus works in your heart and through your posts certainly ministers and blesses me!

    Reply

  3. Amanda Gilbert
    Aug 21, 2013 @ 15:23:19

    Beautiful! Continuing to pray for your family and the work you’re doing, and that everyone stays happy and healthy.

    I can’t believe this is the first time I’ve read your blog. Love your honesty and perspective. ❤

    Reply

  4. katie d
    Aug 21, 2013 @ 19:29:43

    Kimberly… i’m so sorry. I feel like we aren’t far behind you. We discovered some black mold on the outside of our home and I am so afraid of what lurks beneath. Selah has been so sick this summer… we all were horribly sick for the majority of last winter. I keep getting written off by docs as “oh… that’ll happen in a large family”. Poor Selah is on a steroid right now for her breathing and I noticed Tybi had a nose bleed yesterday. I’m going to have to get serious about getting people to listen! Also… I totally feel you about the comparison trap.. .it’s everywhere… but in all the places I’ve lived, Atlanta is the absolute worst! I’m praying for you!

    Reply

    • kimzhis
      Aug 21, 2013 @ 19:39:12

      Oh, NO, Katie!! It sounds exactly like what we have been walking through. But at least we’ve moved out of the major source. Are you guys renting? I would get out if you are. Once you find some, you usually find it EVERYWHERE (thats what happened for the people that bought our house). Please keep me posted…and I will relay to you what I learn about treatments, etc.

      Reply

  5. paula
    Aug 22, 2013 @ 14:51:58

    Hello Kimberly. Your blog was passed on to us by a dear friend. It is painful to read your story as our family is on the unique journey of recovery from a toxic mold exposure in our home. We are praying for you!. We would be willing to offer any information that would help you as you move forward. So thankful that our Maker has pulled back the veil to reveal the root of your health issues. The Truth will always set you free! “Courage, child: we are all between the paws of the true Aslan.” All God’s blessings…

    Reply

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  7. sarah
    Aug 23, 2013 @ 01:40:46

    Kimberly, I had heard about this from my husband Kevin (who got to catch up with Danny at an RTS class a couple weeks ago) and will be praying. Though we were spared it, we’ve had friends have to deal with it in our old city in Asia, and I know it can be an absolute nightmare. I’m so glad it’s been detected, but am so sorry you’ve all had to endure this trial. Praise Him for giving you the grace to see it as an opportunity to repent of idols (and how familiar those same gods are to me, living on a ministry budget in wealthy C’ville) and we thank Him for beginning to restore Benjamin’s health! Love reading about your heart for God and HIs kingdom through this blog.

    Reply

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  9. Janet Vander Weide
    Aug 25, 2013 @ 02:47:18

    I am a new CC mom (in Orlando) and heard about your prayer need. We have never met. I am praying for your family. I would really like to hear more specifics about how you find the mold. My 2 year old matches all the symptoms you described. I am now wondering if we need to search our home for mold.

    Reply

    • kimzhis
      Aug 25, 2013 @ 13:30:34

      I will email you soon with more details! I definitely want to use this experience to help other people who might be going through it as well!

      Reply

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  13. holly144
    Sep 09, 2013 @ 04:05:58

    A friend passed your blog along to me. We went through a similar horrendous experience over the past 3 years. If you need support or any suggestions I’m here for you. No one can understand the heartache of throwing away your sweet children’s favorite possessions and then consoling them for months afterward. It’s hard. And it’s a VERY LONG road. One suggestion I’m going to offer right away: be weary of donated items. Most (90%?) have mold on them already. 😦 I’m sorry to be the bearer of this news. But the sooner you know, the better.

    Reply

    • kimzhis
      Sep 14, 2013 @ 22:15:47

      Thank you for letting me know! Definitely helps me reconsider what I take. Have you heard of using Essential Oils (Thieves, in particular) to help with that? What steps did you guys take to detox your bodies?? Throwing away stuff is one thing, but getting healthy is a whole other battle. 😦

      Reply

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