Humility, Faith, and Folic Acid

Life is perplexing. We don't know all the answers. That's why we need to approach life with humility and faith.

What does folic acid have to do with humility and faith? Humor me for just a minute, and I think you’ll see…

What’s the absolute most important supplement to take when you’re pregnant? Most literature I’ve read agrees that it is folic acid.

Folic acid helps fight miscarriage and protect the developing baby from serious neural tube defects. It’s a pretty powerful supplement.

When I was pregnant, I might skimp on other supplements because they made me feel sick, but I took folic acid faithfully.

After baby Edmund was born, I had some blood work done. Guess what I discovered. My body doesn’t process folic acid. At all. The hundreds of little white pills I took so faithfully during four pregnancies? They didn’t do an ounce of good. **

Humility because we don’t know it all

When I first found out, I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. Thankfully all our kids survived just fine, but I thought back to the many nights when I had pulled my pregnant self out of bed just as I was about to fall asleep and fumbled around in the bathroom to find the folic acid I’d forgotten to take earlier. My mommy instincts just wouldn’t let me go to sleep without it.

And then to find out that all that trouble was for nothing! It was disheartening and frustrating.

As I tried to see the humor in it, I realized this folic acid “discovery” was relevant to a lot of my life.

We don’t know it all. Scientists are still searching for the cure to cancer, patients still die from properly prescribed drugs (source/source), and today’s hot new cure-all home remedy might end up having serious side effects.

This lack of omnipotence isn’t limited to the realm of health, of course. There is so much left to uncover in every arena. It should inspire us to dig deeper and search more diligently.

But at the end of the day, we are human. Part of being human is not knowing everything. And that should provoke us to humility in our health choices, and food choices, and educational choices. In short, in every aspect of our lives.

Faith in the One who does know all

Our limitations should also point us to our Creator.

Sometimes I wonder if God sits in heaven and laughs. I wonder if He laughs when we go about our days absolutely confident that the latest idea we’ve read is going to work, only to see it fizzle or backfire.

I wonder if He patiently proves to us over and over that we don’t know it all so that we learn to put our trust in Him.

Because, unlike us, God is omnipotent. He does know all. Our lack of knowledge is just one more reason to put our faith in His mighty hands. Not in a I-might-as-well-give-up sort of way, but in joyful faith that He loves and cares about us even more than we do ourselves.

After four long pregnancies, I discovered that the folic acid I'd been taking faithfully didn't do me an ounce of good (thanks to a fairly common genetic alteration I needed a different form of this vital nutrient.) At first I didn't know whether to laugh or cry. Then I realized that so much of life is unknown. We do our best with the limited information we have, but in the end have to learn humility and faith in the face of life's perplexing questions.

Humility and Faith in the Face of Life’s Questions

Life can be so annoyingly perplexing.  We are going to face many difficult questions on this journey of life. Rather than responding to them with pride or fear, our limitations should inspire humility and faith. (And maybe a few good laughs too.)


**I still think folate is very important, just that folic acid is a synthetically-produced version of the necessary nutrient folate and my body can’t process the synthetic form (due to a fairly common genetic trait). Leafy green vegetables, lentils & beans, and citrus fruits are naturally high in folate, and methylated folate is a more natural form of the supplement my body can process.  Hopefully!

(photo credit)

[Full disclosure: links to products in this post are my referral links.]

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  1. Amber says

    This post was encouraging, Anna. 🙂 Today I’m trying to figure out what vitamin supplements to cut out to save money. It’s so easy to think that we can’t live without our supplements to keep our bodies healthy. What is the balance between trusting God for health and using the resources He gives us for keeping healthy? I don’t know, but I sure would like to know. I was reading a different post on your blog and then just happened to see this one. 🙂

    • anna says

      I totally know how you feel! That balance is one I’m constantly in need of grace to find. It’s so easy to let this or that supplement/herb/medicine be what we trust in, instead of grounding our faith in the Great Physician. Praying God gives you wisdom, dear Amber!


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