According to the all-knowing Internet, every food on my table is liable to kill my poor children ten years down the road. This one causes inflammation, that one causes high cholesterol, and the other one causes diabetes, and just when I think I’ve got it figured out, the dietary angel of death takes a new form and creeps his way into my pantry. If I’m not careful what I feed my children, I might be guilty of murder. The mother, in the pantry, with the percolator.

At least, that’s how I feel much of the time. And I know I’m not alone. We moms read that refined carbs and sugars are the hidden cause of every disease in the book (and a few that don’t have names yet), so we decide to root out this insidious enemy from our cupboards. A favorite blogger tells us grains are destroying the gut health of Americans everywhere, just when we’ve gotten into a routine of oatmeal for breakfast every morning. And we stand in the produce section of the grocery store, hand hovering mid-air between the organic and conventional grapes, trying to decide whether we should save money on the grocery bill this week or on the hospital bill six years down the road (because, y’know, non-organic grapes cause cancer).

There is so much conflicting information. And I’m liable to believe whichever expert’s words are ringing in my ears. But really, who should I choose? The ad campaign paid for by the Corn Growers Association? My pediatrician? WebMD? The FDA? Dr. Oz?

They all claim to be backed by science, of course, but even science can’t get its act together. The studies from this year are the opposite of the ones from last year. This side of heaven, we will never know the perfect diet, much less eat it.

And yet, as mothers, we feel a crippling responsibility to keep the death angel waiting outside the door, until our children have, at the very least, outlived us. We see all around us a growing list of threats, and we take it upon ourselves to vigilantly guard every entry point. And food is one of the main ways we can do that. And thus the modern mother mantra:

Put the right things in, keep the wrong things out.

Put the right things in, keep the wrong things out.

Put the right things in, keep the wrong things out.

But if we really want to protect our children, there’s one place we’re sure to get straight facts. The Bible tells us, “Do not be carried away by varied and strange teachings; for it is good for the heart to be strengthened by grace, not by foods, through which those who were so occupied were not benefited.” Well that cuts right to the chase, now, doesn’t it?

Apparently, it doesn’t benefit us or our children to be preoccupied with varied and strange teachings on theology or food. Apparently, we are to be strengthened by grace and not by what we put in or keep out of our mouths.

“Put the rights things in, keep the wrong things out…”

Ultimately, we don’t have control over our children’s health. God has made us stewards of their bodies for a time, but even now we cannot control every input, much less the end result. As parents, when we are confronted with our own impotence in the face of illness or allergies or even accidents and death, we have only one choice. Sure, we go to the doctor. But, most of all, we throw ourselves on God. These circumstances force us to walk by faith because we have finally come to the end of ourselves.

But we shouldn’t wait for a crisis to entrust our children to God. We should submit them to our pastors and elders and ask for help more often than we bring them to the pediatrician for their annual well-child exam. And we should protect them from sexual abuse and other spiritual hazards more intensely than any strain of Ebola.

Of course, I’m not saying we can eat whatever we want or that we can stop eating or that we shouldn’t think about the health of our children or that we shouldn’t care about what the pediatrician says. A charge of “Be strengthened by grace, be warmed and be fed” can’t replace scrambled eggs on my children’s breakfast plates. Food does, in fact, strengthen our bodies just like grace strengthens our hearts, and the one teaches us about the other. Food is a gift from God, and the way we eat affects our health.

I love to cook. In fact, I love to cook healthy, delicious food in a large, clean kitchen. And I’d love even more to do it with an unlimited budget and with unlimited time for people who really, really appreciate it.

But at the end of the day, there’s only one thing that has ever kept the angel of death at bay. And it has never been supermoms who have finally cracked the code and figured out just what to put in and what to keep out of their children’s bodies.

There is really only one perfect food, and that is the Bread from Heaven, Jesus Christ Himself. He is the Lamb of God and the only sure hope we have of defying the death angel’s grasp.

You don’t know what will or won’t happen to your children. But you do know that you have a loving heavenly Father. And if you are the sort of mother that can never bear to give her child this or that food because it might cause harm, remember Jesus’s statement about the father, who, when his son asks him for a loaf, would never dream of giving him a stone. “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him!”

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