Where does discipline come from?

But this kind never comes out except by prayer and fasting. (Matthew 17:21)

It kept ruminating around in my head.  I personally had decided to fast multiple times over the course of the past two months, but as soon as crisis hit, or the exhaustion set in, it was just too easy to reach for that food, grab that cup of coffee, down that handful of chocolate chips.

But this time, I did it.

It wasn’t because I am a disciplined person.

It isn’t because I am a holy person.

It was because I was a desperate person.

At the root of all Christian disciplines: prayer, fasting, early rising, Bible memory, giving, is an element of desperation. 

We are desperate to meet God. Desperate to see Him work. Desperate to be delivered.

Desperation drives discipline.

And I needed help. I needed miraculous intervention to the prism of thought life that held me as prisoner. So I abstained, because deliverance was more important to me than dinner. My discipline was driven by desperation.

It was the third day of the liquid fast, each day crying out for God to rescue me. I met with my pastor’s wife where I cried, and unloaded, and vented about how wild my kids are, how much I have failed to train them, how I can’t keep up with everything, how I have a sick boy  who needs a lot of attention right now, how my husband is about to have surgery and what am I going to do without his help?!?

We prayed. And God started moving.

A friend last minute volunteered to drive the kids home for me. When I got home, BOTH little boys fell asleep at the same time (which hasn’t happened in a good year or two). And as I desperately tried to catch up with the school emails and all the commitments I needed to plug into the calendar, the phone rang.  It was the Christian postpartum counselor I had spoken with a month prior. The one that I had left a little glib message with two weeks ago, “I don’t think I’m struggling with postpartum depression after all. Thanks anyways!” (just to sink further in during the subsequent days).  She asked how I was doing and if I wanted to set up an appointment to see her.  There were financial obstacles and time obstacles, but I would get back to her.  Twenty minutes later (still while the boys were sleeping so I could actually have a conversation without all hell breaking loose while I was talking!) one of the counseling pastors called to see how they could help financially so that I could go see someone. “Just pay your percent, and have the rest billed to the church. ” and that was that. So another phone call was made to set up an appointment with the counselor. I managed to get out of jury duty and rearrange another meeting in order to set up the appointment. In an hour flat it was all worked out.

And hope began to shine forth. Hope that I was on a path toward health again. Emotional. mental. spiritual. health.

We’re not at the end of the journey yet, but at least we’re moving in the right direction, and not sitting {LINK THIS } in a place of despair.

I have no doubt that “this kind” will come out through prayer and fasting. And God often waits a little while to move things into place so that He can bring the healing.

And it wasn’t my holiness that drove me to fasting and prayer.

No, desperation for God drives us to discipline for the sake of getting Him.

My man, standing by me as I feel with postpartum issues, and the juggling of six children...

My man, standing by me as I deal  with postpartum issues, and the juggling of six children…



My Sick Little Boy

“Jesus is so stwong. He is stwonger ‘dan satan. And Jesus love yittle Judah and he is wiff you. He is wiff you evewy day.”

The little white-boy afro hovers over his little baby brother and sings truth to him. Truth that even this Mama needs to hear every.single.moment of these action packed, feels-like-I’m-sinking in all the needs of this family of eight days.

Benjamin singing over Judah in his little bouncy seat

Benjamin singing over Judah in his little bouncy seat

Those songs sound like the ones I used to sing over him before placing him in his crib in that mold infested room. I thought it was a safe place for him, but all those nights of sleeping and playing in it were actually slowly infusing toxins into his little body.

We didn’t discover it all until last fall, and finally the health issues that little boy was having made sense. We worked our plan, and saw improvements.

But then symptoms started coming back towards the end of this summer. The sallow face. The bags under those brown eyes.  I started catching him laying around the house more and more, just like he had done in our old house. The fatigue, and achy legs, and he started catching every sickness that came into our home, and it took him twice as long as anyone else to get better from it.

It was time to do some health hunting again.

His pediatrician (who was at least honest enough to admit this!) told me that western medicine is ill equipped to deal with detoxifying a body and strengthening an immune system.  “If you need drugs, I can prescribe them, but other than that, I can only refer you to a naturopath or someone who deals with detoxifying the body.”

So last week, I loaded the three little guys up early in the morning to drive to Birmingham to get tested with a much-recommended naturopath.  We would also be conveniently visiting my wonderful, wise and encouraging 89 year old grandmother who lives in Birmingham as well.


Grandma Murphy’s first time meeting Judah

After Benjamin’s testing, several months of my suspicions were confirmed. He’s still got an off-the-chart level of mycotoxins (from the mold) in his body. He’s got chemicals and hard metals festering there.  His gut and liver are in hyperdrive trying to remove the toxins, but because he is gluten, dairy, peanut, soy and sugar intolerant (and the kid lives off of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches….good job, mom.) his body has been constantly attacked, with not a break to recover.

The doctor told me, “This little boy couldn’t have experienced enough trauma and stress in just four years to cause his adrenal glands to be this depleted, even with all the exposure to mold….The only other explanation is that your adrenals were shot when you were pregnant with him.” Well, as a matter of fact they were. (we were in the middle of leaving the ministry in Newark, to move to seminary, and my body completely shut down)

The doctor asked about rapid mood swings, about complaining about running, about his bowel movements….all things she could read on the scan she had done, and it hit the nail on the head.

Serotonin levels were extremely low, leaving no buffer to deal with conflicting emotions.

The yeast and mold has settled even in his joints, which explains why he doesn’t run as much as the other kids, and hates walking up and down the stairs (or is that only when I’ve asked him to do his chores?)

His digestive tract is in ruins because of all the stuff I’ve been feeding him that his body can’t digest.

That appointment for my boy connected a lot of dots. explained a lot of issues. but also gave me a heap of a lot of work to do to try to get my little man better.

nebulizer treatments. round the clock herbal supplements. vials of homeopathic prescriptions. alkalizing water treatments. soap and skin care product changes. and a major dietary overhaul.

SO….on top of adjusting to life with six and trying to keep up with the older three and all their school commitments and homework and projects. and on top of nursing and caring for an infant, while his two preschool brothers get into everything imaginable in the house, we now are playing Dr. Mom AND specialized- gourmet, gluten-free, dairy-free, peanut-free, soy-free, and sugar-free chef.

And based on the symptoms that the doctor was describing, I have very strong suspicions that Katy-Grace and Malachi also have gluten intolerance as well.

I have to admit it. Our family is now categorized in the “food snob” bracket of society.  We’re taking everyone off gluten and dairy and we’re eating a whole lot of fruits and veggies and rice.

So when we turn down the snacks offered or the treats given, please don’t take it personally. Can you offer us blueberries instead?  We have restrictions now, but we know that “The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance.” (Psalm 16:6) and we will be happy and content with our boundary lines

We know that our “bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? We are not our own; we were bought at a price. Therefore we will seek to honor God with our bodies. (I Cor. 6:19-20)

And we will be careful what we put in them, not so that we can “achieve” perfect health, or simply be healthy in order to have a “happy life”, but because that little boy, Benjamin,

he has some more singing to do.

And he has more hearts to touch.

And this mamma wants to give him every opportunity to do so, using a strong, healthy, mold and toxin-free body, that can be poured out for the sake of others. (2 Timothy 4:6)


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Anyone have some brilliant bulk style, affordable, gluten free and dairy free meal ideas?  Please share! It will save this busy mamma some time researching!


Mouths of Babes….Malachi


They were all piled on the bed.

Sprawled out during our nightly family devotions.

We are reading through the Bible as a family, and we’re camped out in the book of Numbers right now.

I know, I know, not exactly an attention-grabber book of the Bible for little ones.

But you would be surprise, how much our family has gotten out of reading the book.

Even little, hardly-talking-yet Malachi.

Daddy’s voice was gone, so Mommy was reading that night from Numbers 13….

 But the people who live there are powerful, and the cities are fortified and very large. We even saw descendants of Anak there. The Amalekites live in the Negev; the Hittites, Jebusites and Amoriteslive in the hill country; and the Canaanites live near the sea and along the Jordan.”

And while I read it, all of a sudden half-asleep Malachi pops up and starts pointing to himself,

“Me!? Me!? Me!?”

It didn’t register in my mind, so I was about to scold him about needing to be quiet during family devotions, but Danny caught it…

“He heard Amalakite. And he thinks you said his name.”

Well, prove me wrong again.

All those nights that I spend half of family devotions breaking up feet fights between children sprawled on a bed, they might just be listening,

And through all the times I keep telling them to be quiet and listen,  they might just be listening.

And even if I’ve just yelled at them, I still gather them to hear God’s Word despite the fact that the one reading it is unworthy to share it with them, they might just be listening.

And those Words, and my prayers might just be laying dormant for a time, but Malachi’s little reaction gives me hope, that life will come from the seeds planted.

So, I’ll keep breaking up feet fights, and keep reigning in attention spans, and keep quieting talkative preschoolers, and keep bringing those kids to the Source of Strength that we all need desperately….

banking, all the while,  on the promise…

so is My word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty,

but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.  

Isaiah 55:11