An Update on My Daughter

I can’t thank you all enough for the amazing, outpouring of support and prayer you gave our family yesterday. I was shocked to receive over 100 tweets, private messages, emails, and texts from all of you. I hope to respond to everyone very soon. I thank God for giving us the kind of prayer and loving support through this crazy internet world that I would normally only expect from close friends or family.

I came home from worship practice and threw up last night.

JanewayintheMorning

The daughter that I was so worried about saw me start gagging while I was holding the baby, and brought me a bucket. I made it to the bathroom instead.

She asked, “Mom, are you sick?”

“No honey. I was just really worried about you earlier.”

“Oh.” She wrinkled her brow. “I’m fine, Mom.”

“Yeah, I know.” She went back to the living room and ate her pizza.

Her doctor told me that there was no reason to be concerned about eating disorders right now, even after three days with less than 500 calories, because there was no weight loss. However, when I described her obsession with thinness (“I’m really worried my thighs are fat. Do you think my thighs are fat? See this flabby part right here? I never want to get fat. Mom, why would anyone be fat? Aren’t you glad you’re not fat anymore? I love my skinny arms. I’m skinny enough to slide between the fridge and the counter at Janna’s house and hide! I’m sooooo skinny, and it’s sooooo beautiful!!”) the doctor did encourage me to get her some counseling, to keep it from progressing into an eating disorder.

She’s nine.

I’ve never had any relationships with people who had eating disorders. I knew that the ideas floating around in my daughter’s mind were unhealthy, but since she didn’t change her eating habits, I didn’t think it was severe enough yet to warrant some kind of intervention.

Every time she would say something about her weight, her dad and I would redirect the conversation to health, and to true beauty. We would point out that we don’t know why some people are overweight, and that we should never judge someone based on appearances. I lost a large amount of weight when I found out I had food allergies, so we’ve discussed that being fat or thin may have nothing to do with a person’s self-discipline or character.

This has gone on for more than a year. Yes, that means it started in earnest when she was eight.

She’s in the tenth percentile for weight, and has been since she was a baby. Her sisters, however, are in the 50th-75th percentile, and we were concerned that they would feel shamed by her constant focus on thinness. Sometimes, we got so frustrated that we would ban her from talking about weight at all for the rest of the day. “I’m glad you like being thin, but being thin is not a bad thing or a good thing, any more than having red hair is a good thing or a bad thing. Stop. Talking. About. It.”

The good news is that we don’t have an emergency. We don’t have to hospitalize her, make dramatic changes in all of our lives, or start some type of re-feeding therapy to make sure her heart or brain or kidneys keep working.

The bad news is that she lied to me about eating lunch yesterday. She ate one piece of toast with honey for breakfast, nibbled at a bun and a pretzel for lunch, licked the frosting off of a cupcake for a snack, and ate two pieces of pizza for dinner, with no sauce. (We get pizza once a week when the babysitters come over, so we can have worship practice.) That’s still under 700 calories.

We don’t have an emergency. We do have a situation. We have a wonderful, intelligent, talented, spirited, –and yes, beautiful—young daughter who needs help. Please continue to pray for her, that she will be healed and whole in Jesus.  Please also continue to pray for us, that we will make good decisions, not overreact, and be wise and loving in all of our dealings with her.

Thank you so much for being a part of our lives.

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Christian Janeway’s Year of Hell

UPDATE AT THE END OF THE POST.

A lot of times, I don’t have a good perspective on the amount of suffering my family and I have endured. Today, as a brand new barrage of photon torpedoes have hit our ship, from a completely unexpected source, I think it’s time to write out a list of everything we’ve been through.

Why? Because I’m tired, and I need God’s strength.

Despite the Captain’s pips on my cosplay uniform, I’m just a tired mom with four kids and a husband who loves me. I happen to be a writer and a geek. I’m madly in love with Jesus. I’m trying to make better choices in my life. Tonight, I get to go teach a songwriting workshop for the eager young newbies at my church. These are all good things.

However, yesterday I found out that my elementary school age daughter likely has an eating disorder.

I found out that, during the entire day, she’d only eaten: (calories are beside the food item)

24 –1 slice of bread with no crusts

46- ½ apple

16-1 tbsp of mashed potatoes (this was at dinner)

220-1 snack-sized bag of doritos (after school.)

105- ½ a pop tart (breakfast)

This is disturbing, and worse than I’d initially thought. I looked up all the calorie counts to verify that I wasn’t overreacting.

That’s 411 calories. I’m shaking as I write this.

I’ve contacted the school counselor, and she agreed that it was likely an eating disorder. She referred me to an eating disorders clinic that’s only an hour away, and has very good results. I’m waiting for a call back.

This is on the heels of getting my preschool aged child treated for a sleep disorder.

My friends at the Wartburg Watch have been actively praying for her—and for me—so that we as a family could finally start sleeping. I’m happy to report that the treatment seems to be working, God is good, the child is happy, and I’ve slept more in the past week than I have in the past three years. However, we’re still going to do a sleep study for her, to rule out apnea and other physical problems.

That came on the heels of the baby teething. After a month, she has six shiny new teeth.

That is on the heels of several rounds of sickness going through my family: the flu, gastroenteritis, ear infections, and pneumonia. The baby will need tubes in her ears.

Before that, I had to have emergency surgery to have my gallbladder removed. This was right before Thanksgiving, which we were hosting. I have food allergies.

Before that, we’d found out my husband was getting laid off at the end of the school year.

Before that, well, we had a new baby.

Before that, I struggled w/ pre-term labor symptoms, and was on bedrest for four weeks.

Before that, I was actually okay for about two months. I played guitar with a big round beach ball belly on stage, and loved it. My husband brought me breakfast between services. 🙂

Before that, I threw up for twenty-eight weeks.

When I was six weeks pregnant, we moved to a new house, with three other kids and a puking wife and mom.

Before that, I did something crazy and unheard of in complementarian culture, and gave my husband an ultimatum: get a vasectomy, or be prepared to take care of me while I throw up for at least six months, because I will get pregnant again. He agreed. He thought being pregnant six times in nine years was enough.

I didn’t know it, but I was already two weeks pregnant at the time. Lucky seven! (I have four living children.)

Before all of this, we were dealing with a variety of other things, from getting our own mental health issues taken care of, to financial problems, to marital healing, to career choices, to health issues—and this whole time, my third child was not sleeping. Because she had a sleep disorder, but everyone around me was sure that the problem was just me not being firm enough at bed time.

This is only this year, plus an extra couple of months.

Looking back, this has been the Janeway family “Year of Hell,” to be sure. Yet, unlike in the Star Trek universe I can’t use a time machine to go back and fix everything, and turn all of this into a bad dream.

The funny thing about Star Trek is that it is built on the idea that everything will be okay in the end. The writer’s guidelines for the novels, and the show-runner’s bible for TOS and TNG, all mandate that everything be restored to equilibrium by the show’s end. Obviously, DS9 and Voyager had to throw this out the window a few times, but the general optimism that Trek is known for still pervaded the shows.

Now, I’m sitting here reading about eating disorders in children, and finding out that 20% of them die. Granted, that means 80% of them don’t die, but how will I know which way the dice will roll? God knows; I don’t. All I can do is pray, learn, support my daughter however I can, get her the best treatment possible, and try not to let discouragement seep into my soul.

Through all of this, let me assure you: I still believe that God is good. I still believe God can work all things together for good. Because even though I’ve listed so much suffering, I’ve not listed all of the things God has done to support us during this time. I’m honestly too tired to do that right now, and the two youngest children are tired of me writing right now. They want their Mommy’s attention.

Please pray for my oldest daughter. Please pray for my husband’s job search. Please pray that the Year of Hell will end soon, and that God will be glorified in it, regardless of the outcome.

UPDATE:

I just got off the phone with the intake counselor at the eating disorders clinic.  Based on my daughter’s medical history, she says there’s a 50/50 chance that it could be an eating disorder, OR it could be a physical medical problem. (GI blockage, new food allergy, illness, etc.)  She advised me to take her to the doctor, and call her back w/ my daughter’s weight.  If there’s no statistically significant drop in her weight, then I should keep the GI appt in two weeks, and call the clinic back if there’s a drop in her weight, or if the eating behavior doesn’t improve.

I was like, “OK, LET’S DO THAT!!”

FakeCaptain

I’d much rather it be something that *doesn’t* have a 20% mortality rate!!!!
I’m taking her to the pediatrician this afternoon. I’ll update as I can. Thank you so much for praying!

My First Encounter with the ESV

I was barely 20, single, and alone for Thanksgiving that year. My family lived several states away, and I couldn’t afford to travel. I also had a bad habit of going out with this one particular guy  (a seminary student at SBTS) when I didn’t have a date, or plans with anyone else.

I couldn’t figure out why we didn’t connect more often—we both had a strong heart for evangelism, we both had similar beliefs, and I wondered if I was just being too picky in my interactions with him.

JanewayBrushingOffAdvances

(Brothers and sisters, take my word for it: don’t do this. 😉 If you just can’t develop a connection with someone that goes beyond “I’m bored and there’s nothing better to do, and anyway, the guy’s just plain hott,” then don’t waste your time, or his. It doesn’t get better—you just have more opportunities for boredom later on!)

Anyway, I dressed up (modestly) and brought a couple of treats to his apartment on the SBTS campus the day after Thanksgiving. He had dinner mostly ready, but a couple of things still needed time on the stove. “Hey, while we’re waiting, check out this new Bible translation we’re using around here. Man, I really love this.” It was the ESV.

Now, let me confess, I was thrilled. I’m a word geek. I love language, I love storytelling, and I LOVE the privilege of having so many English translations available to us. Also, I’m a songwriter, and I’d just discovered the thrill of setting the Bible to music. In my mind, a new translation was also a Bible full of new song ideas waiting to happen.

janewayandchakotay3

I opened it up to the passage I’d read that morning, Psalm 57. The words flowed so nicely at first, and I was sure I would fall in love.

With the translation. I still wasn’t sure about the guy. 😉

Then I got to this section:

7My heart is steadfast, O God,
my heart is steadfast!
I will sing and make melody! ( I’m gonna love this!!)

8 Awake, my glory!b
Awake, O harp and lyre!
I will awake the dawn!

“Oh, hang on a second.” I said to my host. “This is a new translation, right?”

“Yeah, why?”

“They got an English phrase wrong here. You don’t ‘awake’ the dawn. You wake it up. It sounds pretty funny.”

I laughed.

Kirkandspocklaughing

I laughed at a Bible translation.  Maybe that wasn’t a good idea!

My sometime-date wasn’t happy about it. “It’s not wrong. That’s correct English.”

“No it isn’t. You don’t say, ‘I will awake my roommate.’ You say, ‘I will wake him up.’ Maybe ‘I will awaken him.’ But ‘I will awake the dawn!’ [insert grand hand gestures here] sounds like something from a badly dubbed Bruce Lee movie.”

My sort-of-friend insisted it was correct, for over twenty minutes.He had this look on his face that told me that he didn’t like to be challenged about it. I even got the impression that I was offending him. JanewaySexy

I was confused. How could I offend anyone by suggesting that this translation was anything other than perfect—including the translators? I mean, couldn’t they make mistakes? And if they found them, couldn’t they just make a second edition? God’s word still stands infallible, regardless of our little grammatical translation errors….right?

Now, keep in mind this was a long, long time ago. Maybe I’m getting some things wrong. Maybe I was rude in some way that I don’t remember. I certainly never thought I’d be writing about this little dinner over a dozen years later. If the guy comes by my blog somehow, and recognizes this story, I’d be happy to apologize for anything I was rude about. I was barely 20. (Which means I knew everything.)

Somehow we ended the discussion, with me feeling like a little English major was nothing in the sight of the Almighty ESV Translation Committee, and we got on with our dinner. He opened with the prayer, “Father, we thank You for Your word. We awake the dawn with Your praise…”

Goober.

janewayeyeroll

Even as a complementarian, the following rule of thumb was drilled into my head: never marry a man you wouldn’t want to submit to. I knew that this guy didn’t care enough about my opinion or my thoughts for submission to be the joyous, Godly exercise that it was supposed to be, so I never went out with him again.

QhardtoGet

However, this little story has been repeated over and over again in different contexts: I keep encountering people who insist that the ESV is the best, most excellent, most accurate, most dependable, most Godly translation of the Bible that ever existed. Any disagreement with that seems to equal blasphemy in their eyes, and they’re quick to insinuate that truly intellectual believers would use it.

I believe the ESV a translation of God’s word, and can therefore be used by God, just like the KJV, NIV, NLT, CEB, NET, and many others. Please don’t misunderstand this. I just think that it’s not infallible. I think it could use a second edition, and that the translation committee should hire an English style consultant.

As a writer and songwriter–who also has a degree in English–I think the ESV sounds like a jumble of English and Old English phrases strung together. I think it also sounds like the people on the translation committee don’t talk with non-academics very often. (Open to any passage, read it aloud, and ask yourself, “Does anyone I know actually talk like this?”) While they may understand Greek and Hebrew very well, they don’t seem to understand modern English, which is an important part of the process of communicating with the intended audience.

This is just my opinion.  If the ESV works for you, great!!!

However, I’m going to stick to the translations that are currently working for me.  While I would love a journaling Bible that has a grail-diary leather cover and super-wide margins, I think I’ll wait until either Zondervan or Tyndale comes out with one in the NIV or NLT.

PS:

If you’d like a great way to get Psalm 57:8 stuck in your head, I can’t recommend a better way than this song. 🙂 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C13m7BOcTmg

Dear “Dochas82”

Dear “Dochas82”, some guy I just met, who once went by the Twitter Handle “Glittery Mob Neelix,”

I liked that, by the way. 🙂

I saw your disappointment in the Tony Jones/Rachel Held Evans fiasco. I saw how you vowed to delete your blog, and vowed never again try to make money off of Christian publishing. I saw you follow through—your blog is, in fact, deleted. I saw your passion, and your desire to genuinely serve people.

Janewaysoft

Let me encourage you to stop and reconsider eschewing “writing for profit” for a moment.

You’re right that no one should try to fleece the sheep for money. You’re right that Rachel Held Evans showed serious hypocrisy in her dealings with the Jones/McMahon situation. You’re right that everyone who ever creates a product for Christians to consume should be held to a higher standard. The Bible guarantees that God himself will hold anyone who claims to teach others to a higher standard on judgment day.

However, if everyone with Biblical ethics leaves the publishing industry, and refuses to make money off of their writing, then the only people left will be those without Biblical ethics. That leaves both the influence and the money in the hands of people that you don’t trust.

Don’t do that.

compromisewithborg

You have a voice that God created to be heard. That has real monetary value, and people are willing to pay for it. It’s not sinful or shameful to be compensated for your work. If you help lift others out of darkness, and show them God’s marvelous light, people are happy to pay for an ebook! They’re happy to tell others about it too! “Hey, did you hear about that Glittery Mob Neelix guy? He wrote this book that really helped me see God’s face during a dark time in my life. You should read it.”

I know that many people have different convictions, and I want to honor that. You may have been called by God to offer your work for free. The Apostle Paul certainly was. However, there’s a big difference between acting on a conviction God placed on your heart, and reacting to the sin you see in big-named Christian celebrities. If you want to help the poor, make a lot of money, and give it all away! If you want to write, make sure as many people see your work as possible! But don’t let the failings of Rachel Held Evans and her ilk drive you away from your calling.

Now, “To him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy— to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.” Jude 1:24 & 25, NIV