charlie's song

Only God Could Know


Today…is my birthday.  I had hoped that I would be writing this post about the great doctor’s appointment we had yesterday, and what a wonderful birthday present it was…but I’m not.

It was actually really, really rough.  It was five hours long with no breaks… except for the brief moment the kids got to go through the sticker box. And though our kids didn’t have to stay for the entire appointment, it was so hard for my mommy heart to watch each of their “check-ups.” We won’t know the exact details without further mycotoxin testing…but it seems symptomatically, like our sweet little Emma was the hardest hit.  She really struggled through some of the neurological tests, and has had a number of other heart-wrenching symptoms.

It’s a lot to carry.  And the appointment only seemed to go from bad to worse. After the kids left, we spent hours talking through every detail of our treatment plan.  And the more Dr. Hope talked…the more hopeless I felt. First, the lovely little rumor floating around the mycotoxin world that you can vacuum pack your stuff and eventually kill them off…well, it’s just a rumor at best.  Mycotoxins aren’t living things. They are chemical matter…like a chair or a box.  And like a chair or a box, they will never ever die.  So there’s no point in boxing them up.  Our immune systems may be able to someday handle the things we put away, but forget about the vacuum packs.

Then she told us that our collective exposure has been so significant that she doesn’t think we can keep any of our furniture…even the stuff that we had thoroughly scrubbed.  We had hoped Clorox wipes would be enough, but since we had lots of vintage furniture, that unsealed wood was just too exposed to the mycotoxins.  So…out went the furniture.

Then we found out that Whimsy- our little vintage camper- will also probably have to go. We had bought it with dreams of a life full of whimsy and family camping adventures…but apparently, that’s not going to be us.  So, out went the camper.

And then she said (after a rather dramatic pause), “And…you probably need to cut your hair.”  Ideally, it would be best to actually just shave my head, since the mycotoxins that close to my body cause the worst exposure, but I sort of stopped listening after she said, “Hair Cut.”  All I kept thinking about was that fragile moment in the movie Little Women when Amy sees Jo’s chopped hair and cries out in anguish, “But Jo!  Your one true beauty!”  

I don’t want to cut my hair.  I don’t want to sell the table my grandparents got as a wedding present.  And I certainly don’t want to watch Whimsy drive off into the sunset. It’s like we’ve just watched our entire house burn to the ground, and now the one box left…is about to get thrown on the fire.  It’s not much of a birthday present.

But I do want to say this…

I have learned some invaluable lessons in my 33rd year of life.  It has been a year filled with the deepest sorrow and suffering I have ever known.  It has been a year filled with tears.  And sometimes, miraculously, a year filled with moments of laughter.  Laughter that probably meant even more than the joy of all the other years…because it cost so very much for my heart to make it.

And it has been a year filled with reminders of who God is.  Which is, after all, what all of these years are about in the first place…knowing Him and making Him known.

And so, since it’s my birthday…I want to share the most important truth I have learned in this 33rd year of mine…

God is Sovereign.

He knows things.  And plans things.  And does things that ONLY HE COULD KNOW.

When I was in college, I had something called my “Only God Could Know Book.”  I, like every college girl (scratch that-human girl) struggled with believing the truth of my worth. And so…every time I felt like God did something, or gave something, or said something through someone else that ONLY God could know I needed to hear…I’d put it in the book.

For example…one day I was reading in 1 Peter 2:9 how it says that we are a “chosen race, a royal priesthood, and a holy nation.”  I remember thinking in that moment, “God, I don’t feel very royal.  And I don’t feel like a Princess.”  I shut my Bible, with what I’m sure was a rather emphatic thud, and went on a run with my friend.

I attended college in downtown Chicago, so runs included lots of stops.  As we approached a stoplight, there were two guys clearly dressed in gang attire standing there beside us. And at that very moment one of the guys turned to me and said, “Hello there Princess.”  

He may have been a gangster. He may have been an angel sent directly from God.  But what I’m absolutely certain about is that only God could know I had read that very passage, and had those very thoughts, right before standing on that very corner.

And I know that this is true of Him, because He still does things…that only He could do.

This week, someone I’ve only met once held an amazing online auction full of handmade goods.  Hundreds of beautiful people made and bid on all these items over Instagram, and then gave the proceeds of the auction to us.  As I was looking over the items the day of the auction I actually said to Reid, “I wish I could bid on all of these.  They’re just so great!  I especially love this little birds nest necklace.”

Are you ready for this…fifteen minutes later I got a message on Facebook from the girl who makes those very necklaces. She wanted to send me one.  It’s like God was eavesdropping on us.

We have been so incredibly bombarded with love over the last seven days.  It doesn’t even feel real to be this loved by so many people all at once. But I felt especially humbled that I was being sent a beautiful little birds nest necklace with six tiny pearls…because there’s only One person in all the world who knew I had wanted one.

And He’s the King of all the birds nests.  And of all the gangsters on all the corners.

And most of all…of all my baby birds.

If there is one thing I’ve learned in the last year of life…it’s that God’s sovereignty is a precious gift.  It is a hard gift on the days when God does something that only God could know was coming, especially when that thing breaks your heart beyond ever being put back together again.  There hasn’t been one moment of the last week that I wouldn’t have gladly traded in for ten seconds of baby Charlie in my arms.  Or the next baby, or the next.

I don’t like all of the things God knew and God did.

But I trust Him.  Because He is GOD.  He knows things that we don’t.  He sees things that we don’t.  He hears things that we don’t.  He does things that we don’t even fathom the far-reaching, sovereign implications of.

And at the end of this incredibly painful year of life…I truly can say, just like Habbakuk once said,

“Though the fig tree does not bud
and my precious babies are in the ground,

though the olive crop fails
and there is no new baby in my womb,

though we lost almost everything we owned,
and now I have to get a mom haircut,

yet I will rejoice in the Lord,
I will be joyful in God my Savior.

The Sovereign Lord is my strength;
he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to tread on the heights.”

I’ve read this passage hundreds of times.  But this year especially, one word alone has become an anchor to my heart.  The Sovereign Lord.  He is my strength…because He is sovereign.  Only God could know why we have suffered so much.  And only God could know the beautiful eternal outcome.

I could not do this life…if my God was not sovereign.  I just couldn’t.  I have wrestled deeply with every one of the hundreds of passages on God’s sovereignty over this last year. And it is because He is sovereign, because He numbers the days of every baby bird in my nest, and because He is the God of a lifetime of only God could know moments for each and every one of us that I can honestly say…

I trust Him.

And someday, I will get to sit down at His feet, and hear His version of my “Only God Could Know” book.

And it will be so very good.


33 thoughts on “Only God Could Know

  1. Thank you for sharing your pain, your hope, and your knowledge of God. My family has been going through some hard times, yet no where close to as painful as yours, and when people tell me that God will use our trial to glorify Him, I admit that sometimes that makes me angry! Really, Lord??? This is awful! I wouldn’t wish this trial on anyone! But God, in His sovereignty, gave us this time of trials. I wanted you to know that through reading your blogs, I have been blessed and God has been glorified. I pray that my family’s life will also bless others and bring glory to God.
    We pray for you all.

  2. Happy Birthday, Misty!!! May God continue to uphold you during these hard days!!! You ARE beautiful and you still will be even with a short haircut!!!! Just remember that it does grow back!!! And that is coming from someone that does not have “good” hair!! Beauty comes from within and in reading your blogs you have that beauty!!! I wish I lived closer so I could help you on more of a personal level, but please know that you are constantly in my thoughts and prayers! Much love!!!

  3. Reblogged this on Chubbic's Blog and commented:
    read the end of the post, especially about the birds and Habbakuk.

  4. Wow what another powerful post. I have been praying for you and was hoping today to hear excellent news. I felt so sad for your family but I kept reading and kept being reminded that God is the author of time. Nothing that happens surprises him, and that all things work together for His good. Thank you for being willing to share your journey with complete strangers. Thank you for the reminder that whatever may come my way, the Sovereign Lord is my strength.

  5. I just stumbled onto to your blog through the Instagram auction and am still trying to take it all in. You have been through so much and your love for The Lord is a true testament that He is God. This morning I heard two songs that brought tears to my eyes and thought about texting a close friend of mine to share the thoughts with her but after reading your blog I realized that those songs were to be shared with you, someone I don’t know but a sister in Christ that I will meet someday. They were “God makes no mistakes” by The inspirations and “Even in the valley” by The Whisnants. I will be praying for you and your family.

  6. Happy Birthday Misty. What a lovely, precious blessing you are! I am sitting here thinking of how your beautiful gray blue eyes will just sparkle with your new shorter hair. You probably know this already, but the passage in Habbakuk is one that the Lord used powerfully in Reid’s life when his identity and self esteem were being formed in his high school years. He had a white board perched on a ledge near his bed and I can remember specific times when I would sit on his bed and personalize with him in prayer the challenges just as you have done in your blog today. Those challenges were nothing like the ones you and your family presently are experiencing, but it helped us to focus on God’s bigness and his character. That spot in my Bible has many dates and initials scribbled in the margin where I have staked a claim on that truth for myself and others. Today I am adding yours with love for God’s goodness in creating you and being with you in all things. Love, Robbie

  7. Hey Misty,

    Also found your blog through instagram. Have been so challenged by your faith during these incredibly hard years. years are things we mark age, suffering, joy by. praying that for you and your family, that this next one that despite all the struggle, you would feel close to god. that he would comfort you. not that he would just take the pain away (although that would be preferred), but that whatever storms may come, that you feel him upholding and guiding you. that in the misery, hope would rise. that it would be fought for every step of the way. thank you for being so authentically honest. there is no doubt that god has used the horrific sufferings of your family for that which is better — the glory of his name. thankful for the heart he gave you. praying for your family.


  8. That was BEAUTIFULLY written. Such a testimony of faith. Praying for you.

  9. Happy birthday Misty! I pray that your birthday next year overflows with joy, gratefulness and supreme happiness!

  10. Continued prayers from Michigan. My eldest daughter is Emma, too. My heart aches. And you will be fabulous with new hair!

  11. so beautiful. my eyes are filled with tears. Praying for you over here in Newton, Kansas

  12. I was thinking those 6 little pearls in your birds nest necklace are your 6 babies. I’m praying for your family. Your messages touch me deeply, Misty. You and your family are much loved. Thank you for your willingness to be so transparent with all of us. You have no idea what impact your lives are having on thousands of us. Your words, your heartbreak, your faith, engages all of us and we want to walk this journey alongside of you, helping to hold you up when you don’t have the strength to go on.

  13. Happy birthday! I just heard about your story today and have been reading over your blog. I am so very sorry about what you are going through right now. Winter indeed. My heart goes out to you and your family. I couldn’t help but reflect on the trials my family has faced over the past few years. We lost a baby boy who was born prematurely and was too young to make it (21 weeks pregnant). Three months after that I was diagnosed with cancer. I lost my hair… and a whole year of my life between the bedrest and then the cancer treatments. I was so very sick while grieving for my baby and trying to take care of my two year old son. Then we lost our home due to a crashed market (and medical bills). I remember that sickening feeling that my life would never stop spinning out of control. But then slowly it did. And here I am almost five years later… and spring is now finally showing her beautiful colors in my life.

    I will be praying for your sweet family. I’m so glad that you are feeling the love of such amazing people around you right now. I truly believe that it’s in the darkest times of our lives that we really learn what God and life is really about. I learned in my winter what it means to cast your burdens on the Lord and trust in his constant care. I hope that through this time of great trial you will continue to see miracles happening in your life.

    I am truly inspired by your faith. I can feel God’s message shining through in your writing, you have a real talent. Thank you for sharing your journey with us, even though it is so hard and heart breaking right now. I pray for your spring… it will come!

  14. HI Misty, praying continually for you and your family during this suffering God is allowing. I’d like to send you some natural healing oils that friends recommend. Can you please email me your shipping address? Is there any other needs of your family that we can send? Ps…your hair will look super cute short…not like Jo’s! Praying!

  15. I’ve just recently found your blog Misty. I read it all the way through. You are beautiful, and so is your family. Praying so hard here for your family.
    Thanks for being my friend in Instagram, your posts will keep you in my thoughts and prayers.
    Big stranger hugs from Ontario, Canada

  16. I only know of you & your story, through Lana. My heart breaks every time I read a post from you. It breaks, and yet it’s somehow simultaneously filled with hope. Hope for, for me, for us all… I find myself moved to pray passionately for your family. I am encouraged, humbled, shocked, inspired & moved with every post. I think of you guys when I’m driving or cooking… Thank you for vulnerably sharing your heart & pain, & pointing to God in the thick of it. I’m learning from you.

  17. Amen. Thanks for the reminder. Good bless you and yours.

  18. Misty,
    I just came across your story tonight via nataliecreates on IG and kept thinking, “there has to be *something*!” In our home we use therapeutic-grade essential oils and a friend helped me to locate some info that may be beneficial to you and your sweet family. Dr. Sharnael Wolverton is an incredible source of knowledge on the topic of essential oils and also speaks to toxic mold. At this link on program #29 she talks about ridding mold in the body and home, same topic here: and more info here: I’m praying it will be of help to you. I believe she dealt with toxic mold in her blood as a result of Hurricane Katrina and through her research/treatment discovered some amazing things. Praying for you!

  19. Your faith is so very inspiring. As a fellow sister in Christ and a fellow momma bird, your story hits home and has buzzed in my head daily since I first read in earlier this week. I pray that Christ overwhelms you with abundant blessings. So much so that you fill a whole book with stories of His sovereignty and provision! God is good. And even though this world is broken, He’s still good. Thank you for sharing your story and reminding us that He should always have the starring role.

  20. happy birthday, misty! praying that His sweet love would embrace you and your family on this special day and praying that the hope you have in Him would be anchored firmly.

  21. I too, learned of you and your family through the Instgram auction, and what an incredible blessing it has been! To read of what your family has gone through, yet see how you are still leaning on God and glorifying Him is a wonderful testimony and encouragement! And then the auction! That was another amazing thing to be a part of! I cried buckets watching God working through so many that want to serve him! My prayers are with you and my arms would hug you if I could and my heart loves you even though we’ve never met. Makes me look forward to heaven even more! Psa 27:13

  22. Thank you for sharing this. I saw your blog through the post of a friend on fb. Your writing brought tears running down my cheeks. Though our circumstances are different, our journeys seem to share some common themes. Thank you for posting about His soverignty. I can relate to hours long doctor appointments only to leave with your heart aching and feeling like a rug has been pulled out from under you.

    One verse that God has been encouraging me with is Joel 2:25-26. “I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten, the great locus and the young locust, the other locusts and the locust swarm, my great army that I sent among you. You will have plenty to eat until you are full, and you will praise the name of the Lord your God, who has worked wonders for you. Never again will my people be shamed.

  23. Thank you, Misty. I needed this reminder of God’s sovereignty… lately I’ve realized that I’ve never believed in it fully. But I need to learn to deeply trust that He planned even the overwhelming disappointments of my life. It IS such a comforting truth. Thank you again.

  24. In July of 2011 our house caught on fire and we lost close to everything… Everything and anything that had any value or sentimental value at all was gone. My three children lost everything that they had. I couldn’t imagine it could get much worse. However, believe it or not in June 2012 our new house had an electrical problem and we lost our house again and everything that we had managed to piece back together. However, this time was much worse…. My sweet 3 year old little boy was in the house & couldn’t get out. Miraculously my husband ran in over flames and was able to throw him out a window to my 9 year old. I was left again with only the clothes on my back… I know how difficult it is to lose the things that mean so much to you. Baby blankets I had made my children… All of our family photos… Family videos… Our vehicles… Everything was gone. Again. We were homeless again living 5 months in a hotel. But, I had everything at the same time. I have my little boy who had been caught in a burning building… I have my husband and my other children with me still. That is all that matters.

    I promise that the shock of losing your belongings will fade. Time will ease that pain. I do promise you that.

    I have seen firsthand how giving people can be. It is a beautiful thing that not many get to experience at such a magnitude as you & I have experienced. Allow people to serve you and find beauty and comfort in their service. The only thing they can give to make things a little better for you is their service & love.

    I don’t know why The Lord gives some such hard trials. I can’t imagine the depth of your heartache. I pray that your health & the health of your children will be restored to you. I pray that in your darkest moments that The Lord will bless you with strength, peace & comfort.

    All of my love,


  25. Your family has been on my mind constantly since I read about your story. Having lost 2 babies during pregnancy in the last year I can only imagine the trials you have been through. I have heard a couple of messages lately that I thought could bring you some encouragement from God’s word. Here are the links to them. I pray they are a blessing to you.

  26. Amen!! Such hard and beautiful truth!! Thank you for sharing. Praying for your family as I go to sleep now . By the way I love my mama bird necklace my husband got me from melody and I have short mom hair by choice:) it’s not to bad:) great with some cute dangly earrings!

  27. Thank you for sharing these hard and beautiful words. Gods sovereignty is my greatest strength as well. I Love the only God knows notebook with messages from God via gangsters, He is an amazing God. I am so glad melody is sending you a necklace my husband got me one for Christmas. It is my favorite jewelry piece. I love having my babies close to my heart. I have one in heaven and 5 on earth with us. One of my little guys has Down syndrome which has taken us on a new adventure of Gods sovereignty. On a lighter note. I went with the short mom hair cut a few years ago when I started going gray I promise it is not too bad if you rock some cute earrings:) your husband will like seeing your neck too:) lol! I know you will be beautiful. Headed to bed and will pray over your family as I shut my eyes. Thank you for telling your story to proclaim His big story!

  28. Misty, does your family have a registry or wish list on Amazon? If there is a way to send something to your family,I would love to! Thanks!

    • hi nicole! thanks so much for your message. we do actually have a registry that our friends started for us. its an amazon wish list, under “reid zeller.” thanks so very much for your love and prayers… love, misty

    • hi nicole…i’m not sure if i ever replied to this…but we do have a wish list on amazon under “reid zeller” in ca. i hope that helps. thank you so very much for your prayers and love. love, misty

  29. Continuing to pray for you and your family! I keep checking here for an update. Just know that you have lots of people praying for all of you. May you feel God’s presence as never before!

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