You may be familiar with the biblical story of David and Goliath. Goliath was the giant of his time and the champion of the Philistine army. David was a mere shepherd boy, sent on an errand to deliver food to the Israelites. Instead of simply sticking to his delivery, David wound up defeating the mighty Goliath using just three things: a slingshot, a stone, and faith.
I grew up hearing the story of David and Goliath, and it didn’t matter if it was in Sunday School, church sermons or summer camp, the story was always the same. Sure, the details varied, but the takeaway was always the same: Have faith in the Lord and you will prevail in your battles using the tools that you already have.
A champion named Goliath, who was from Gath, came out of the Philistine camp. He was over nine feet tall. He had a bronze helmet on his head and wore a coat of scale armor of bronze weighing five thousand shekels; on his legs he wore bronze greaves, and a bronze javelin was slung on his back. His spear shaft was like a weaver’s rod, and its iron point weighed six hundred shekels.
Today, I see the story of the small shepherd boy taking down the infamous giant from a different perspective. Goliath is no longer the massive, strong warrior from Philistia, but rather, something I see all around me. I see Goliath in homes, schools, restaurants, and stores. He comes in the form of grandma’s kisses, high fives from friends, sticky fingers on shopping carts, and unclean lunch tables. My Goliath is food allergies.
David said to Saul, “Let no one lose heart on account of this Philistine; your servant will go and fight him.”
Even though food allergies are the Goliath of my daily life and can be terrifying, debilitating, and even deadly, they can also be manageable. They should not define who I am as a parent, and they should not define who my son is as a person. I should not lose heart because of these allergies. By being prepared, well-informed, and communicating effectively with those who interact with us, food allergies are something I can fight just as David fought Goliath.
Saul replied, “You are not able to go out against this Philistine and fight him; you are only a boy, and he had been a fighting man from his youth.”
I often talk to myself like Saul talks to David. I have been wrestling with the idea of publicly sharing our story and our lives for quite some time. I am currently a stay at home mom with a rambunctious threenager, a crawling toddler, and a high-maintenance (and even higher-energy) puppy. I consider it a good day if I get to go to the bathroom without an audience or take a shower, so why would I think I have the time to do this? I am ‘only’ one person. I am not a doctor, a researcher, or an expert of any kind when it comes to food allergies, so why would I think that I have the capabilities to create a blog on the topic? I am ‘not able’ to do this.
But David said to Saul, “Your servant has been keeping his father’s sheep. When a lion or a bear came and carried off a sheep from the flock, I went after it, struck it and rescued the sheep from its mouth. When it turned on me, I seized it by its hair, struck it and killed it. Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, because he has defied the armies of the living God. The Lord who delivered me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.” Saul said to David, “Go, and the Lord be with you.”
I have been fighting this allergy battle for three years now. I have been to an abundance of doctor’s visits, asked question after question, and Googled with the best of them. I have eliminated major food groups from our household and learned to cook new recipes. I have worried and lost sleep, imagining all of the accidents and emergencies we could face. I have cried tears of pain and heartache, knowing that my son will always be different.
I have metaphorically killed numerous lions and bears in order to keep my sheep alive. So even though I am just a shepherd, why can’t I be the one to fight the giant? At the end of the day, I am a mother who spends my life trying to do one thing: Make sure my son survives another day. So why not me? Why not now?
David said to the Philistine, “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the Lord will hand you over to me, and I’ll strike you down and cut off your head.”
Food allergies are rapidly becoming more common and there are still so many unknowns. How do you get food allergies? Why does one reaction look different than another? Why does the blood panel show different results than the skin prick test? Will they outgrow them? If so, when? Will they develop more later on? Why does one sibling have them but the other doesn’t? These are all good questions, but most are questions that we don’t yet have the answers to. There is currently no cure for food allergies, but we can ‘strike them down’ by learning more about them and having compassion for those who have them.
As the Philistine moved closer to attack him, David ran quickly toward the battle line to meet him. Reaching into his bag and taking out a stone, he slung it and struck the Philistine on the forehead. The stone sank into his forehead, and he fell facedown on the ground.
My prayer is that this blog will be my sling and stone. It will be a resource for those who simply want to know more, those who know someone with food allergies, and especially those whose everyday lives are consumed by them. I will be posting raw and real personal stories, simple recipes for the family (not just those with allergies), and products that we love to stock our kitchen with. I have faith and all of the tools that I need. Now is the time to prevail in this battle. Thank you for allowing me the privilege of sharing my life with you and for supporting this unwillingly chosen passion of mine.