caroline holzberger

Keepin' it real about motherhood, Jesus, life, and everything in between.

Milk and Honey

Mayo. Prior to this week, that word would simply have been a disgusting white condiment that I avoid at all costs. After this week, it is one of my favorite places ever. Ever.I have had the unique blessing of being a patient at, arguably, the best medical facility in the world. I have endured four years of medical drama looking forward to the possibility of this, the dream of it, the hope in it. And now I’ve been there. And in true God fashion, He totally outdid Himself. Friend, Let me explain. (get comfy 🙂

First of all, is the fact that He divinely arranged for some of my favorite people in the world to live just minutes away from this place. He wanted Ryan and I to be surrounded by loved ones. By people who loved the Lord, loved us, and were standing in faith beside us through this journey. But that’s not all. We actually got to spend time with them, eat meals with them, hang out on the couch and just have fun with them and their precious kids. I have known this family since I was seventeen years old. Don’t do the math, just trust me, it was a while ago. When I met The Nelson family, their kids were little. Daniel was 11, Scott was 9, Brent was 6, Gregg was 2, and Colleen was still in Sue’s belly, about ready to pop out! 🙂

This week, as Ryan and I had the blessing to invade this family’s home, we enjoyed hearing about Daniel and his lovely wife (who I also grew to love through working with at camp!) and their precious two-year-old. We got to hear about Scott and his wife and the youth ministry they serve in and their excitement of expecting their first child. Ryan and I got to go to lunch with Brent and hear about his upcoming boot camp as he has decided to enlist in the Marines. Sweet Brent was in my very first 5-6 year old group at camp, such a sweet boy and now such a fine young man! Gregg was a joy to see maturing into his soon to be adult self, and hear the antics of his senior year of high school. And then there’s sweet Colleen. I held her as an infant, she was a flower girl in my wedding, and we got to hear her excitement to be driving soon and the pure joy of owning her very own first horse. Blessing upon blessing.

More than anything, Ryan and I got a beautiful gift- a glimpse of the type of family we want. Everyone is different. Their personalities, their interests, their hobbies, but one thing is for sure about the Nelson family – they love God and they serve Him humbly. Each one of them. Ryan and I would have been blessed by staying at a nice hotel, we don’t ever do that kind of thing…but instead God arranged for us to be encouraged, uplifted, and spiritually challenged in our road to godly parenting.

That’s milk and honey, friend.

Like I mentioned in a prior post, the method God chose to use to get me into The Mayo clinic was through a friend of this precious family. This doctor friend, Dr. Furst (catch his name, I think this was God reminding me Who’s planning should come 1st!!) basically accepted me as a patient and then did EVERYTHING to make sure I saw all of the best doctors in every area of concern. I didn’t necessarily need to see a family doctor, like he is. But, by taking me as a patient, I was in. He knew I needed help. And he had a heart to do so. Now, keep in mind, I don’t know this man. All I know about him is what I have been able to gather from our few email correspondence and the positive things the Nelsons said about him. I knew he was kind and personable, because he enjoyed calling me by my camp name, “Pele” which is what the Nelsons still call me. So, I was walking into yet another doctor’s office somewhat blindly.

Let me remind you that I have, conservatively, seen more than twenty different doctors over the last four years. Each one of those doctors had a nurse or two that I have dealt with as well. So, all said, I have come into contact with at least fifty medical professionals throughout this journey. They had different areas of expertise, different personalities, different medical practice styles- they were all unique. I only say this to assure you I have been around the “medical block” a time or two or twenty, and I have never, ever experienced anything like this.

When he walked into the room, he shook Ryan and I’s hands, introduced us to his medical student and sat down. So far, so normal. Then he adjusted some of his papers on the desk as he welcomed me to Mayo and asked about our drive up. Then he put everything down and looked me dead in the eye and said “Pele, we are going to get to the bottom of this. Don’t worry. You will get better!”

Whoa. No doctor has ever been that bold, that encouraging, that sympathetic.


But wait, friend, it gets better.

We then spent the next HOUR going over all of the history of my last four years. I had already given him this info but he wanted to hear it from me personally. He wanted not just my medical records, but he wanted to hear me tell my story. After answering all his questions and asking some of my own, we were about done. Then it happened. Something that I have never experienced, nor ever thought I would, in a doctor’s office.

He said, “Now, Pele, I know you are a woman of faith, and so if it is Ok with you, I’d like to pray for you.”

I was speechless. Stunned. Shocked. Surprised. Honored. Humbled. I have no idea what my face looked like but I managed to muster up enough mental ability to say “You bet! I’d be honored.”

Then my doctor prayed for me, “God, we know that you are with Pele and that you know everything she has been through. We ask for your healing. I ask for you to be with her. Thank you for bringing her here. We trust you. In Jesus Name, Amen.

That was it, I was crying. I was blessed that God brought me to Mayo. I was blessed simply to know that my doctor was a Christian.

But that, friend, was milk andhoney.Goodness gracious, I could go on and on.

About how nice it was to have time for me and my man for a while. Don’t get me wrong, I missed our babies something fierce! But, God truly gave me a peace that doesn’t make any sense at all. Just like He promises in my life verse, Philippians 4:6-7 “Do not be anxious about anything but in everything by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God and the peace of God, which transcends all understanding (i.e. Doesn’t make any sense at all!) will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Boy, were my heart and mind guarded!! I am a worrier. I am a control freak. I should have been much more nuts about it. But I wasn’t. Instead, my hubby and I got some much needed, looooooong overdue “us time”. Heck of a way to get it.

But, friend, that’s milk andhoney.About how THE most brilliant doctors in these fields were also THE most caring, personable, thorough doctors I’ve ever met. I would have been blessed to just receive care from brilliant doctors, but the fact that they could laugh with me (and at me!) and each genuinely cared about hearing all about my story.

That’s milk andhoney, friend.About how financially burdensome this trip was going to be. Don’t get me wrong, we were so happy that I got accepted, but in reality, medical care ain’t cheap. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I am convinced that I’ll be voted “most popular” by Blue Cross Blue Shield this year – fourth consecutive year of holding that title, I might add. Yet, before we even left our house, friends donated generous love offerings to us…arranged meals for my family while we were gone…booked hotels for us for our looooooong  commute there and back at no cost to us…bought gluten free treats, fun Minnesota-worthy warm boots for my little feet…paid for our rental car…given magazines…books on CD…coolers with Ryan’s favorite drinks, Scripture for us to read each day…the list goes on. We would have been blessed to know we were lifted up in prayer, but all of this!?!

That is milk andhoney, friend.So, what do I mean about this whole milk and honey thing?

Well, for the last eight weeks or so, I have been super blessed to get to be a part of a Bible study at church written by Priscilla Shirer. It is called One In a Million and it is just flat out awesome! I mean it, go check it out!!

This study isn’t just a workbook with a cool cover and a catchy name. This is the real deal. Priscilla took us on a journey with the Israelites. Like I’ve said before, I swear my maiden name should have been Israelite. I have done studies on this subject before. I relate to those silly people. God always gets His loving 2×4 out when I read about them, I guarantee that.

But this study was different. I had studied about God calling Moses. I had studied about God parting the Red Sea. But, this study wasn’t just about an event. This study was about the journey. This study truly focused on the two million who took this long journey and the two men who actually made it. Scholars estimate that the number of people who traveled on dry ground with Red Sea as the walls beside them, were about two million. But if you read through the book of Exodus, which I know doesn’t sound like the most fun thing to do on a Friday night, but I promise if you do, you will be shocked! Only two of those men actually made it. Only two stepped foot on the land promised to them. And one of them was not named Moses.

Joshua and Caleb were the only two men out of two million people to make it to the milk and honey. Two out of two million. Do the math…that’s one in a million. Not a catchy phrase – a reality.

All throughout the book of Exodus and also in Deuteronomy, God promises this land “flowing with milk and honey” to these people. They rebelled. God forgave. They disobeyed. God forgave. They complained, grumbled, whined and basically threw God’s grace back in His face repeatedly. That was it. Our perfect and righteous God was done. In Joshua 5:6, we hear that it took forty years for the generation of wicked to die off, so that the next generation could inherit this Promised Land. Only Joshua and Caleb remained. Only those two would experience His abundance.

During the study, Priscilla opened my eyes to, not only what that meant for them, but also what it means for you and me today!  Milk and honey? I mean, personally I always thought that was a little odd. And messy. But, I agree with the interpretation Priscilla gave – “the milk represents the provision, but the honey represents the abundance”.

Friend, God didn’t want them to just get out of Egypt, He wanted them to have an abundant life. To have milk for sustenance, but honey for sweetness.

John 10:10 Jesus says “The thief (our enemy, Satan) comes only to steal, kill, and destroy, but I have come that they may have life (the milk) and have it abundantly (the honey).”

Ephesians 3:20-21 says “Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us (the Holy Spirit), to Him be the glory in the church and in Jesus Christ to all generations forever and ever. Amen.”

Friend, God wants YOU to be the one in a million. He wants YOU to be living a life filled with milk and honey.

Don’t misunderstand me…I do not believe in the mindset that Christians should think they’re entitled to always be healthy, wealthy and wise. In fact, like mypastor says, I think God is more concerned with how, or if, you praise Him when you are sick, poor and dumb. Friend, I am not healed. I didn’t receive divine healing while at The Mayo clinic. I absolutely believe God could have done that. But He didn’t. Instead, He gave me a heaping spoonful of milk and honey. And friend, I am thankful!

I believe He wants each of us to be so faithful to stay close to Him. He desires our relationship not our religion. We wants us to, like Joshua and Caleb, get to experience what He has available to all of us…the life of abundance!

A life with practical and pretty.

A life with the meat and the sweet.

And messy or not, friend, I’m in!

You with me?

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