That's probably a lot longer than it should have taken. And to be honest, I didn't expect there to be one actual point in time when I reached this milestone.
What am I talking about?
Healing. A reversal of my view of my daughter's T1D diagnosis. The moment I said to myself, "I am so glad we know what to do now" instead of "I remember how sick she was."
It was like an avalanche, rather than sinking slowly in quicksand. I was in the car driving, with the kids, as it happened. In this week, I had been doing a lot of back-searching. Everyday through out the summer, I would say to myself, "This time last year, I remember looking at how thin she looked in her bathing suit," or "I remember how many times we had to visit the bathroom when we went to the ball game last year." (Four times in one inning.) The week of her "diagnosis" was the worst. In my mind, I could revisit the PICU room like it was yesterday, remembering so many details.
Interestingly enough, the day I stopped doing the "remembering" was the anniversary of "Diabetes Boot Camp." (For those who do not know, care of a type one diabetic child requires so much knowledge - nutrition, math formulas, medical techniques, emergency responses, and so on - that those discharged with the diagnosis are required to spend one full day in intense training, and then follow up with several more sessions.)
It was the day we brought her home from the hospital. So much like the day we brought our first child home as a newborn. We thought we knew enough, and pushed away the possibility that we could never really "get" it. We had all the basics, but had to learn how it would apply to our specific child.
We were new parents. Parents of a child with special needs.
You know how when you have your first baby, your other friends who do not have children try to fit right in? They try to say comforting things like, "Sleep when the baby sleeps" when they don't really know. Then they call you during nap time and ask if you are getting sleep. They want to go out with you and assume you have someone to take care of the baby.
This is similar. I was showered with sugar-free recipes. (Diabetics measure carbs, not sugar.) And friends were afraid to watch our "baby," so we didn't go out much without her.
When you have that first baby, you gravitate toward other parents of newborns. That way, you can talk about midnight feedings, sleep schedules, and colic. When you find out you have a special needs child, you also gravitate to those who know because they are there too. And those who are a step ahead of you are a priceless treasure.
We found friends in that latter category. They helped guide us to an endocrinologist who could meet our needs. They were up and on-line at 3 am when we weren't sure if we should change the pump site or wait out the insulin. They recommended the supplies that actually worked and hurt the least.
But their feelings were what helped the most. I had one dear friend tell me that the first year was the worst, but it got easier to deal with after that. (NOTE: Not EASIER. EASIER to DEAL WITH. There's a difference.) So I was waiting for that first year to end.
Waiting for the pain to ease. It's not easy when you hear, even in her sleep, your daughter's gasps of pain each time you inject her. Shouldn't that be gone now? Shouldn't she be used to it? No. It's pain, and she still has functioning nerves. It still hurts.
There was place in the back of my brain that knew the pain we inflicted on her each day was essential for her survival. But the front of my brain was a Mommy who never wanted her baby to hurt. I wanted to cry every time I hurt her.
No, that pain was never going to stop. It isn't going to stop until there's a cure. So in the meantime, I needed to toughen up. Not stop caring, just bring what was in the back of my brain to the front.
Little did I know, I couldn't do it on my own. I apparently have no control over my own mind and emotions. I had to wait on God's grace.
Low and behold, the day had come. My sympathy gave way to the bigger picture. It was the day I accepted her lot and decided to move on instead of whining about her problems. Feeling bad for her wasn't helping her.
She still deals with the pain and discomfort of daily pricks and injections, not to mention the headaches, irritability, hunger, and everything else associated with the disease. And I still try to comfort her with hugs and prayers, because they are really the only help I can give.
It might take my daughter longer than it took me. She's only eight. She's smart, and she's tough, but she's got a lot on her plate. (No pun intended.) Her life is in the hands of the same God who gives the same grace, but it's a whole different ball game between those two.
For me, though, God has given me the gift of seeing our blessing. I've come out the darkness of "why?" and entered the lighter stage of "when?" There will be a cure, and my daughter will go back to where she was before the pain. She will eat without checking her blood sugar. We will go out without packs of quick-acting sugar. She won't have to sit out at the pool due to low blood sugar, and we will ALL sleep through the night every night! (I can't wait.)
It will come. Until then, I can give thanks. Thank you, Lord, that we aren't living and dying in 1921. Thank you, Lord, that there is no question about whether or not we can obtain insulin and have a way to get it in her. Thank you, that it always works. Thank you that we have not had to go back to the hospital. (For her anyway.)
I spent too long being sad and worried. I still have some sadness and worry. But now I am glad to introduce hope and optimism back into my life. Here's hoping that might make the rest of our time go a little quicker.
Thanks so much to Dee from Reverie of a Glitter Aficionado for nominating me! Please go take a loo at her shiny, happy blog.
The rules for the Liebster Award Challenge are as follows
And now, to answer the questions posed by the bookworm…
1. This is probably extremely cliché, but what got you starting on blogging?
I actually didn't think I would like blogging. I only started so that I could have something interesting on my author website. (We are told to post new material often to keep people coming back.) Turns out I kinda like it. It's a great way to get thoughts out and practice writing on a regular basis.
2. What is one thing you want everyone to know about yourself?
I am a Jesus-loving, God-fearing, sports-playing/watching, odd-number-avoiding, dinner-making, picture-drawing, book-writing wife and mother of 3. (Ha HA! How did you like my getting around that "one thing" rule?)
3. What type of music do you listen to regularly? Does it help you concentrate?
Lately, I have been listening to classic rock - a wide variety of it. It brings me back to my younger days. I don't listen to it when I write, because I can't concentrate. But I save it for when I am exercising. That's when I need a beat to motivate me.
4. If you were stranded on an island and to pass the time, you’d re-watch the same movie and keep re-reading the same book for two weeks, what movie and book would you like to be left with?
Nope. Couldn't deal with that boredom. I'd turn off all movies and write my own book! (Though, yes, I could read the Bible every day.) I do like the idea of being stranded on an island, though, thanks!
5. When you feel you need to say something that could potentially hurt a friend, do you choose your words carefully so you cause the least pain without lying, simply blurt out exactly what’s on your mind, or lie?
Actually I would try to avoid it altogether, if I could. But if I had to, I would labor over the words.
6. Would you rather…for one month: be stranded in a small house with your three best friends or be free to roam the land without anyone at all?
Roam. I am always good for a break from people. (Boy, don't I feel like a snob?)
7. Do you have any ridiculous fears, something you know won’t ever hurt you, but it still kinda freaks you out? If yes, what is it?
My fear of snakes has brought me to an irrational place. I will never go camping. And now that I have seen a snake in my front yard, the weeds in the garden there have grown way too huge. That doesn't help anything, but there's no way I'm going anywhere near it!
8. If you could live out the life of any fictional character from any form of entertainment, who would you want to be?
Always be yourself, unless you could be Batman. Then always be Batman. No, just kidding. I would be Geena Davis's character, Dottie Hanson, from A League of Their Own. Because she pretty much was me - catcher, #8, and batting 3rd. Only, I didn't do it professionally as I wished I could have.
9. What’s an embarrassing tale from your younger days?
I really don't embarrass easily. I will always try to make the best of the situation I am given. I can't think of anything.
10. What’s your favorite quote?
"Don't put off for tomorrow what you can do today." I have a fear of procrastinating.
"In all you do, in word or deed, do as unto the Lord." Give it all to God!
"Accidents happen, but we do not need to dance in the puddles." Clean up and move on!
11. Would you be able to survive without the internet? (And I don’t mean just a short break. A complete cut-off from it forever.)
Physically survive, yes. But I'd be an emotional weirdo. I rely on the computer completely for my social life. I have no plans to do this, ever.
And to fulfill my curiosity, these are some things I’d like to know.(But only 10 questions, because what's with 11? I just can't do odd numbers.)
1. Which element of a book is more important to you, character or plot?
2. If you could visit any country for a week, which would it be?
3. What time frame is your favorite to read about? (Can be past present of future)
4. What one person has most changed your life?
5. What would you choose to eat for your last meal?
6. How many books can you be reading at one time?
7. If you could relive any one year of your life, which would it be? Would you do things the same or change it up?
8. Do you have an all-time favorite book?
9. What is your favorite animal to see at the zoo?
10. What one thing would you most like to change about your life?
These are the wonderful people I’d like to nominate! Swing on by their blogs and have a peek. :)
Lindsay at Books for Christian Girls
Patti at Gridiron Granny Football Fanatic
Jessica at Book Reviews from a Christian Gal
I was taking communion at church recently, and as usual, I bowed my head to pray.
I began as I normally do. Lately, almost every prayer I pray is directed to our daughter's medical situation. It has been so taxing on us all, that I never waste an opportunity of prayer get away without asking God to cure her of her T1D.
Most impromptu prayers I have are usually spurred by someone's need, usually not my own. I bet this is pretty common among Christians. We're good people, right? We need to use our focus to turn it outward.
We need to give up our prayers on behalf of others because we're already okay, you know. We're doing fine. We might have a desire, or maybe even a need, but we should really be interceding for those less fortunate than ourselves. Since after all, we're okay.
During that communion time, my mind was redirected quickly. I don't have to give up praying for my daughter, but now was not the time for that. Now was the time to look at myself.
It has to be done.
Not looking at what I want or need. I'm not an infant; I can move past looking at getting myself taken care of. What I needed to look at was who I am. I had to look down deep into my heart and find my sins. I had to see why I am not that "higher than thou" person who can call on God to care for those less blessed than me.
Looking around at others so much has made me forget that maybe I am a fallible person myself. Other people have needs, but I do too - a primary need to be forgiven.
During communion, I need to look at myself and see what I have done. There is a reason I need a Savior to bring me into the presence of the Father, and during communion, I see those reasons individually. If I don't see the reasons for my need of a Savior, then what is the point of having a Savior?
The more I go without looking at myself, the more I see the faults of others. I would venture to say that when you come across a particularly judgmental person, you have probably found a person who has not been looking at his own faults too closely. When the Holy Spirit shows me my sins, I know I am often humble enough overlook the sins of others. Pulling this plank out of my own eye takes up a lot of my focus.
So, the idea of putting others first, of always thinking of your brother before yourself is great for about 90% of the time (give or take whatever God tells YOU it should be). Where two or three are gathered, there Christ is in the midst. You NEED to pray for others. You NEED to turn your focus outward.
But I don't think that can happen with a true heart until you have had the chance to clean out your own heart. If you are praying for someone because you believe another person needs your holy prayers, it's time to look in the mirror again. If you feel badly for that person because their sins are so much greater than yours, stop and look again.
Possibly you are just ignoring yourself, and you feel this is an act of humility. Well, how can you have a relationship with God and converse with Him without being there yourself? You are a part of the "God and me" didactic, so you must work on that fellowship before asking Him to help with another one.
There are times when fellowship is a "more the merrier" situation. But just like in a marriage, if you don't commit some time to the one-on-one aspect of the relationship, you won't be able to know the other person well at all.
So, to get to know God better, you need to be able to see yourself first. Because I guarantee when you look at yourself and see your faults, you most certainly will see God's lack of faults and His awesomeness. And that is the bottom line - why we were created - to see His greatness and give Him glory.
I'm glad we have communion once a month. I should really be thinking about this more often, but communion is a great reminder that I need to look at me to see how my salvation had nothing to do with me, but all about Him.
A few months ago, I was given a thank you note from the parent of one of the boys my son had at his sleepover party. She thanked me for having him over. He had a great time. I admit this sheepishly, because I had not sent a thank you note for the gift he gave my son! (And, sadly, I still have not.)
Some people are ninja note writers. These people might start writing the thank you notes at the event they are thanking them for attending. They can barely fit everything they want to say on the perfect little card they chose. And that perfect card always arrives in your mailbox (not your inbox) at just the right time. I don't hate them. I envy them.
Ninja note-writers are mostly my parents' age (baby boomers), but there are quite a number who are my age. (Guilt, guilt.)
I am not a ninja note writer.
I'm a professional writer, doggone it! That means, I apparently can use language well enough that people pay money to read what I wrote. And I am also a writer who has been twiddling her thumbs for months between book releases. I've bought special note cards. There is no shortage of stamps in the house. And heaven knows there is quite an assortment of pens around here.
It's not due to lack of training. I come from a family of note-writers, and my grandma was a ninja note-writer. If you did not send a thank you note after she sent you a gift, you heard about it! (It usually came in the polite jab, "I wasn't sure if you got your gift or not," but sometimes, in later years, progressed to the more blunt, "So, I guess no one sends thank you notes anymore.") I'm not sure if my mother learned it from her mother or not, but she too meticulously follows the guidelines of note-writing. (Her forte, however, is making the beautiful cards herself. So she has a special interest.)
What, then, is my problem?
I think it might be one of these.
1. I don't want it to look like a form letter.
We are told to thank the person for the gift and say how you will use it. That's TWO sentences! It does not take up a whole card, no matter how small the card is. You know when you've received a card with two sentences that it was either sent to you by a child with a mother hovering over his shoulder or an adult who stared at the blank card for an hour with an imaginary mother hovering over her shoulder.
2. Expectations are high.
Thanks, ninja note-writers. Since your card brought me to tears, I may never be able to face myself in a mirror again after writing anything less. Did I mention I'm a writer? People know this.
3. I forget!
Lame excuse, I know, but when something is not a habit, it tends to fall by the wayside. I am convinced I will not write a note unless I set my calendar alarm for a specific time.
4. People tell me not to worry about it.
And I believe them. Does this sound familiar to you, "Oh, dear, you have so much on your plate, with your new <insert here: husband, job, baby, house… whatever was the reason for the gift!> Don't you even think about taking time for me." I always tend to think people mean this. Perhaps some do.
5. Time Limits
By the time I have gotten around to putting the gift where it belongs, sometimes two weeks may have passed. Sometimes more. At any rate, they say that late gratitude is better than no gratitude, but it still seems a little embarrassing to thank someone so far in the future that they don't even remember what they did.
6. Where will this madness end???
But here it is. I am afraid of the avalanche. First, you thank people for gifts. Then, you thank people for cards. Then, for visits. Then, for what they mean to you. That would be just about everyone I know! (That's a lot of cards.)
Is that a bad thing? Some people really treasure written gratitude. I'm not one of them, but it shouldn't stop me from sending it to someone who might be. Really, we all like to know that someone, at some point in their day, thought about us in a positive way.
Notice I didn't put lack of time as one of my excuses. I really can't say that's it. If I were to just commit 15 minutes each day - I'm sure I could easily find 15 minutes - I could knock out 300 or so in a year (with a little grace).
Maybe I'll give that a shot. Once I'm done sitting here on the computer, maybe I'll actually close it up and look for a pen. Time to go set that calendar alarm!
Before I finish that statement, put this picture in your mind. Imagine a clock with a pendulum. On the furthermost righthand side of the pendulum is extreme comfort. On the leftmost side, you have extreme discomfort.
In a normal life, your pendulum should swing back and forth. Hopefully, it won't reach either extreme.
Too often, we stand in the middle, trying to keep the pendulum from ever going to the left. We keep trying to push our comfort level to the right.
But do you see how that feels unnatural and unbalanced? The pendulum needs to swing both ways. When it does, it will cross the mid-point (of normalcy) twice as often as it reaches either end. And that's okay.
But why do we want to experience discomfort?
One word… Appreciation.
One problem I see with so many kids these days is discontentment. With my own children, I try to reason, "But at least it's not as bad as… (insert worse circumstance)." They don't get it because they haven't been there. That's not unusual. Remember when we were kids, we were supposed to eat all of our food because the kids in Ethiopia (or China, or India, whichever it was in your decade) didn't have as much. Did you really feel for those kids? Or did you just eat because your parents told you to?
I have not been to a third world country myself, but I have spoken to many missionaries who have. The things they appreciated when they came home were amazing. Beds, carpet, toilet paper, and of course, food and water. I really don't think you can truly appreciate these things until you have been without them. Until your pendulum has swung and you have become uncomfortable.
Why wouldn't you want it to reach the extreme of comfort?
Well, I suppose there's nothing wrong with this, per se. However, I would think it's nicer to always have something to look forward to or to strive for. If you reach the point of absolute comfort - and that that was the best it could ever be - wouldn't it be a little sad when you were done? Knowing there was nothing more after that? (It could be just me on that one.)
What's the problem with being comfortable all the time, of not experiencing discomfort?
You've seen the kids who always get what they want. And if you haven't, look no further than Veruca Salt from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (by Roald Dahl). That stereotype has become far too common. Now imagine these Verucas as grown ups, not understanding why they haven't gotten their way. Grown-ups are more powerful than children and with more resources. Tell a child, "no," and at least there's hope to be obeyed, even if there is punishment involved. Tell an adult, "no," and there may be a lawsuit.
How it applies in exercise
Exercise has to hurt. The entire premise of it is to break down muscles in order to build them back up to be stronger. You aren't going to be able to meet your fitness goals if you aren't experiencing discomfort. You've heard of "the burn," right? That's not in your head.
It's gotta hurt somewhat. You've gotta not want to do it for it to work. If you are comfortable in exercise, your muscles are not breaking down. If they are not breaking down, you are not burning calories to build them back up. No matter what it says on the treadmill display.
*Remember - there is a difference between discomfort and pain. If you have pain, your pendulum is broken and you need to get your clock fixed.
How It Applies In Life
Just like with my exercise example, seeing how uncomfortable you can be, can make any amount of comfort look good. When I have not exercised, a shower is just another chore. But after a long, tiring run? I could stay in the shower for an hour, praising God for how the warm water helps to soothe my tired body. (Or, in the summer, how the cold water refreshed my overheated body.) Do you want your life to be full of boring showers?
Work a job with an hour-long commute. Every 10-minute commute after that will be a dream come true. Go a week without your TV. You will find PBS fascinating afterward. Skip a few desserts (gasp!) Jell-O will make you happy at your next meal.
Live a few days without your family. You will forget any annoying habit they ever had.
So, the end of my thought, "The best way to be comfortable is… to learn to be uncomfortable too." Appreciation is the key to contentment.
It's probably not a good business practice for an author to recommend a break from reading. Nor is it good professional practice for an author to stop reading. (Must always strive to get better…) But here I am, on vacation, with no plans, and I have not yet picked up a book.
Every year on vacation, I read or re-read a classic. Each year, I have enjoyed it so much, I have had trouble putting the book down. A sneaky little part of me, however, wanted the book to hurry up and be finished, because I wanted to do other things on my vacation.
This year I didn't. I have my classic picked out and loaded on my Kindle, but I have not started reading. Instead, I looked around. Here's what I found.
1. The sound of the ocean waves breaking is one of my most favorite sounds.
It's one sound that has never changed, throughout history. (As far as I know, anyway. I have only seen a few decades of history.) There's an incredible thought. The first people in the world to ever see the ocean heard exactly the same sound that we hear today. No enhancements, no digitalization. Nothing but the shear beauty of power.
2. My youngest loves to play in the sand. And she likes to help and be helped.
I remember my youngest child being grumpy in the past, but this year, she has really been much more pleasant. She has always enjoyed digging in the sand, and in earlier years, I was grateful for that easy entertainment. Every year, my feet have been buried in the sand. This year I enjoyed the bond of digging with her. Together, we buried everyone's feet to cool them off. And she's right. The feeling of wet sand on your hands is very relaxing.
3. My middle child is not a big fan of crabs.
I probably could have guessed this one, but it was nice to be there in person to see his reaction rather than hear the story at dinner and wonder where I was. (Oh yeah, I was in Civil War Georgia…)
4. There is some great scenery on the beach.
The beach is beautiful, but also, I love to people-watch. It's amazing to see how so many people can come to the same place and all be thinking something different. I try to read minds, too, based on what the person is doing. Kids playing in the sand are the best. Older folks are trickier. Also, I look for cute new bathing suit trends.
5. No one dies from boredom. (But it does lead to fake hunger.)
I almost posted, "I'm Bored!!!" on Facebook. I knew if I did, however, I would get sucked back in to Facebook and miss other things. Most of my "busy items" on my to-lists are back at home. Cleaning, phone calls, working, appointments, errands. None of it can be done at the beach! So here I am… back to sitting. Sitting, thinking, day dreaming. (OK, yes, I still do some exercise too. But not enough to take up a whole day.) All this time has been here on past vacations, but I never found it while I was lost in a book. I really haven't been bored since I was a child. I hated it then, and was a little afraid of returning to it now. But you know what? It really wasn't that bad. However, my brain often decided the best way to fill the void was to take a trip to the kitchen.
6. Adults can be grumpy when you interrupt them to talk while they are reading.
My kids learned this years ago, and I knew it when I was a kid too. But somehow, when you are on the other side of that book, you forget. The adults to whom I was trying to talk (whom also shall remain nameless) didn't even know I was talking to them. I am not putting down these adults - as I am usually one of them. But I am reminded how my children feel when I do it to them.
7. Days are longer than I thought they were.
Why did vacations seem to fly by so fast in previous years? Because I thought time was standing still while I was reading when it actually flew by. (I am SUCH a slow reader.) Without a book, I am getting done everything I want, and some of what the kids want me to do too. Mini golf might not be quite the chore I always thought it would be. Maybe this year, when it's time to leave, I will actually be ready to go.
8. There are lots of people in this family.
And they're all a little different. We're a party of 11 when we are all together. (My parents, my brother's family, and mine.) Watching the interaction and relations between each of the members is intriguing. Different family members act differently to one another. If you're in the mood for playful beatings, you go to my dad. Baseball talk? My nephew. The latest book? My sister-in-law. Everyone brings their whole world to the family, and interacting with each completely can take up nearly a lifetime.
9. Sometimes just sitting is okay. (But only when I have, or have plans to exercise.)
I sat on the beach today. I had to tell myself a few times that it was vacation, and it was okay to not be doing something. That self-talk was the only thing that kept me in my chair. Because I sat, I was able to do some of the other things on this list. (And knowing I would be on a bike within a few hours helped me not feel too lazy.) BTW- those who enjoy my "Body Language" humor series will soon hear from my body how difficult a battle this actually was.
10. My favorite waves are the ones that have not broken yet.
I remember this vaguely from my days as a kid, when I actually went in the ocean as deep as possible. (I'm still a little grossed out by the ocean as an adult, but this year I spent a little more time in it, just up to my knees.) The unbroken waves roll your floating body in a way similar to when you drive over that slight hill on the road and your stomach goes airborne. Why to we like that feeling so much? Maybe because we just realized that we got away with a free amusement park ride.
*Bonus- The little waves close to the shore look like they are smiling and giggling as they run up to your toes.
Now, some of you will be pulling out that soapbox, ready to yell, "Same with phones! Put away the phones!" I did keep my phone out with me. Why? First, because it is my camera. I don't want to forget this special time, and I want the kids to be able to enjoy it later too. Also, I did want to share it on social media with my friends. Not everyone gets a family vacation like we do. Some don't want to hear about it, but some really do. I appreciate those in the latter group, and I am happy to oblige.
And please. I am not condemning anyone for reading! (As a matter of fact, I would love to offer you a suggestion for reading here.) There is a time for everything, and if reading is your pleasure, you should definitely make time for it. All I'm saying is that I took a break and noticed a few things.
If you are thinking hard about it, you are realizing that, if I am writing this while on vacation, I am on my computer, and not doing any of the above. Well, I have a short memory, and didn't want to forget, so I had to write about it right away. And yes, technically, I am reading it too.
But that short memory of mine? That's exactly why I am very glad to be able to enjoy this "book vacation" as well. Who knows what I'll remember of these vacations when the kids grow up?
What am I doing wrong? No, seriously. When are these kids going to be content?
We just had an issue come up in our family that my husband and I thought we handled the best way possible. You would never know it by the reaction of the offspring. What we had to do was determined by the medical condition of our youngest, but it afforded her a privilege that our older two had been waiting for for a long time. (And we still don't think they are mature enough for it.) I will not tell you this privilege, because you undoubtedly have an opinion about it, and frankly, we're sick of hearing everyone else's opinions right now.
We are doing what we deem to be right. We are convinced of it, but every other outside force - most notably the smaller ones we live with - is trying to tell us we are not being fair.
Who's helping us see we are right? Those in the same boat as we are. Others who have a child with a chronic condition that needs to be monitored like ours does.
The world may call us helicopter parents, hovering over a child, who would might not actually die if we did not keep such a watchful eye. My daughter does not belong to the world; she belongs to me. The world is not responsible for adding as many years to her life as possible by preserving her organs. That's my job. Watch your own kids, World, and leave me alone with mine.
Many may favor the opinion of my older kids. Especially those who have children their age who have already given their kids this privilege. My kids are not their kids. My values are not their values. We are doing what we believe is best for them.
Then there's my own conscience. Good grief, it's so hard to hear how unfair we are as parents. Every. Day. We've had tears, fits, arguments, tantrums, and silent treatments. (Sometimes, that last one is almost a relief.) We are told routinely that we do not love our kids. By every one of them. They each believe we favor another child in the family- always a different one, too. I just don't know how they seem to know better than we.
How hard is it to stick to our guns? Impossible without the grace of God. So, for those of you who have had to give in at one point or another - I TOTALLY GET IT. I will not judge you, because I want to be you every day.
And I wish we would not be judged either.
This reminds me of walking life as a Christian. Nowhere in the world are we ever going to see a non-believer say, "Way to stick to your guns! Way to stand up for what you believe!" Instead, our persistence in our faith is countered as "closed-mindedness."
Are we doing what is right? Yes, if we are truly following what Jesus tells us. And the Word even tells us we will be hated for it. Daily, told how unfair we are. Sometimes, even by those in our own family. We will get more arguments, tears, and fits. Sometimes, not as much, and our silent treatment is the act of just being forgotten and left behind. Somehow, others in the world have found that they know better than we.
But we're not giving up. Is it hard to persevere? Impossible without the grace of God. So who do we get to support us? Others in the same boat. Christians, THIS is why we are told to love one another.
This past week I rode in the Tour de Cure to raise funds for research for diabetes. As you know, it's a cause dear to my heart, especially now that my daughter suffers with T1D.
The bike ride was annoying. But then I realized that having T1D was probably more annoying, and therefore a good use of my time. Here's what I mean.
1. I Hate People
Whoops, that's probably too broad a statement. Allow me to refine. I hate exercising with people. When I run, I don't have enough breath to carry on a conversation AND use my asthma-strangled lungs to take in oxygen. So leave me alone and stay out of my zone. I'm focused on what I'm doing.
Speaking of my zone, riding my bike is a tenuous thing. I am not confident enough in my balance to ensure that I won't fall over and land on you. So stay away. And don't put me in a "pack" of other people.
(It should be noted, though, that playing sports does not count here. That's not exercise. That's fun, and more fun with people.)
1. High Blood Sugars Make You Feel Terrible
I only know this from watching my daughter. When her blood sugar is too high, she is a monster. And why wouldn't she be? Chemicals that work themselves through in a normal person are pooling in her stomach and blood supply and making her whole body feel sick. When it gets really bad, it is literally killing her.
So, those with diabetes probably hate people too, when their disease is getting to them.
2. There's So Much To Do to Get Ready
I'm a little bit into cycling now. Yes, I wear bike shorts and even the tight jerseys. Gotta have at least two water bottles and something to consume. I need my gloves and helmet, special shoes and sunglasses. Must have my cycling computer to know how fast I'm going. Then there's sunscreen, lip balm, phone, iPod, inhaler, & tissues. Let's not forget that fix-a-flat kit that I don't know how to use. Then, since it's not just a ride from home, I need to have my waiver, number, donations, I.D., toll money, directions… is that it? I hope so. So much stuff. (What a first world problem.)
2. In order to EAT - eat anything-, my daughter needs to first check her blood sugar.
This involves, cleaning her fingers, "priming" them to get the blood flowing, getting out a test strip and prepping the meter, lancing her finger, squeezing out the blood, hoping it's enough for the strip (which isn't always, in our case), dipping the test strip, waiting for a reading, cleaning up the blood and supplies. THEN we have to count the carbs in what she's eating, enter the blood sugar reading into the pump (or algorithm), enter the carbs, praying that she will eat and be satisfied with what was chosen, push all the rest of the needed buttons on the pump to get the calculation, decide if the amount of insulin the pump recommends is really appropriate, and then administer the insulin. Wait a few minutes, if possible, and THEN she can eat.
That's for every meal, every snack, pretty much every time she opens her mouth. Yeah. That's annoying.
3. It's Early in the Morning
Not a convenient time for me. I prefer exercising later in the day, and ideally late at night. Now, my ride started later, but my husband rode the 63 mile ride that I wanted to do before I broke my wrist. He woke up at 4 am for his ride. Umm, no thanks.
3. There's never a convenient time for your pancreas to stop working.
I can give my daughter insulin, but it will only work when it wants to. When my she eats pizza, we still have not found the exact time when the insulin and the carbs will intersect. That's not convenient.
It's also not convenient for her blood sugar to drop during school, so she misses class to go to the nurse. It's not convenient when her blood sugar goes high in the middle of the night and she is up sick in the bathroom.
4. I Have to Ask People for Money.
I HAAAATE asking people for anything, especially money. Fundraisers, even for a good cause, bring out the fear in me. I can't even bring myself to ask people to buy the books I've written - and that's my job! I'm a lousy marketer. This time around, for the first time ever, I didn't have as much trouble asking people to save my daughter.
4. I also hate PAYING money for things I shouldn't have to.
Like, bank fees, parking tickets, and medication to replace a hormone your body should already be producing. Recently, I picked up my inhaler from the pharmacy to find it was covered by insurance 100%. I told the pharmacist, "Hey, nice that I get to breathe for free!" She answered, "Well, I don't pay for air. Why should you?" Now, some of my daughter's medications and supplies are covered by insurance, but not all. What is not covered adds up. And heaven forbid we make a mistake (or the pump makes a mistake) and we need to pay for the insulin before the time the insurance company has allotted for us. It's really enough to make me want to suction insulin out of my own body to give to her. If only…
I am always telling my children that life is not a competition. Fair is not always equal, and all those clichés. But in this case, we can call a winner, and it's not me. So, I will ride as many bike rides as it takes until they find a cure for my daughter and others who suffer with diabetes. Thank you to all of those who make it possible by raising support money and arranging for it get to the right hands. May it only be a few more until we ride for something else.
I suppose it was more dramatic when Tony Stark announced that he was Iron Man, but this is no less true. I am not Wonder Woman.
There's an awesome meme that says, "Always be yourself… unless you can be Batman. Then, always be Batman."
Yeah, that would be nice. Or would it?
Okay, Batman is not realistic for moms these days. A wealthy, orphaned, sad philanthropist has other things on his mind than we do. All he has to worry about is saving the city from evil. He doesn't have to feed a family or keep a house clean when he has Alfred. Maybe Alfred is the superhero. Where would Batman be without him?
Some women think they can do it. There's a Wonder Woman image they strive for. She can fly her invisible jet and rope any villain with her magic lasso without breaking a nail. Oh yes, and of course she looks flawless doing it all in high heeled boots and a bustier without breaking a sweat. Women want to be her, and the men just want her.
Yes, I'm guilty of that too. I try hard to do it all. As a matter of fact, I feel a bit like a liar writing this post. But just because I don't do it doesn't mean I don't know what's right.
As moms, is it realistic to want to be clean, organized, AND well-rested? Can we be the best mom AND a top employee at our job? Can we have kids that are happy… well, can we just have happy kids? And hey, I would like to be healthy and look pretty myself, too.
It's like a buffet. Everything you want is there, but the plates just aren't big enough. You could go back for round after round, but your stomach isn't big enough either. You just can't have everything. If you try, you won't be happy. (Ask your stomach.)
So you have to pick and choose. Here's how I handle a buffet. I go in reminding myself that I don't have to take everything I like. There's just no way to have it all. So, I take what I am in the mood for, and remember it is not my last ever buffet. The next time I come, I'll get something else. If I feel like it.
In life, you won't be happy trying to cram it all in either. The difference, though, is that you might not get to pick what goes on your plate. You just have to remember not to fill it up. Sometimes you might have to sacrifice something good for something better. Maybe what goes on your plate this time is the health of your children, and you have to sacrifice a full night's sleep, or the best you've got at your job, or maybe even the happiness of your children.
At the buffet, you might not always be HAPPY with what's on your plate. Your body might NEED the iron in the liver you take because you are anemic, and even though milk is good for you, calcium hinders the absorption of the iron. So you must take the healthy liver and forego the healthy milk. No one said it was going to be easy. Or fun.
Wonder Woman's plate was full of great things, like being strong, beautiful, and smart. But she is a fictional character. And may I add that Diana Prince did not have children? Can you imagine if she had to wait for the babysitter to come before running out to save the world? She was given an easy buffet, full of all good choices. (And of course, she's the type who could eat it all!)
I can't be Wonder Woman. Saving the world is not on my plate. Right now, saving my children is the best I can do.
I have always hated giving Audrey her shots. Even now that she is on the pump, and injections are only every 2-3 days, I still dread it. Knowing that it is keeping her alive doesn't make it less painful for either of us.
When she was in the hospital, she was severely dehydrated (which was baffling to me, as much as she had been drinking at the time). What do you get with a tiny, 40 lb., dehydrated child with wobbly veins? Apparently, a near-impossible stick, as the nurses kept telling me. We were in a very highly-rated children's hospital, and no one on the team of pediatric IV-specialists could get an IV started on my child. These are people who do nothing but start IVs on dehydrated children day in and day out. No one could do it. (*side note- Alan, to whom I refer as "super nurse" from our local hospital's ER, was the ONLY one able to get a line of any kind on her for the whole week. That, after more than an hour of trying.)
Watching all those professionals dig into my daughter's skin with needles for so long, was almost sickening to me. I'm not terribly squeamish around blood, and I have no problems with needles myself, but this was too much. The only blessing was that she was delirious and mostly oblivious to the pain. I can only imagine if she weren't.
Did you ever watch a child react to the sight of a needle? A needle that was going to invade their body? I believe most children universally scream like you've chopped off an major appendage. Why? Because they hate pain. Any and all pain, no matter how brief or necessary or non-life-threatening.
So what do we, the parents, do? We hold them down and make them endure it. We explain to them (or to ourselves) how this simple action keeps away a world of more dangerous pain and sickness. They don't understand. But we do. We must. Or else small pox would wipe out the rest of us.
A diabetic 7-year-old who needs 4 shots daily is just plain mean, isn't it? Especially when the child also has sensory issues with her skin. What torture! She dreads every moment of that pain. When she really can't take it, she runs away. And she cries. Because she knows what's coming and that I won't give up.
Who has it worse? The child who must endure the pain, not understanding its importance? Or the parent who cannot successfully communicate that the pain prevents death?
The parent has probably been acquainted with death. She has had family members delivered to the ground in beautiful boxes meant to seal them away forever. They never returned. Possibly, that family member suffered with an agonizing disease. Maybe they died in a horrific accident. Or it could have been a quick, easy passing. No matter. Her loved one never came back.
And that is not going to happen to my child. Not on my watch. That child can fight, kick, scream, and even try to run away. But she's not going to die. Not while I hold life-giving insulin in my very own hand.
You hear that, child? I hold your life in my hand. What I can give you will make it so you won't die. Why. Why? Why are you running away from it? From me? Why don't you believe me?
Oh yes. Because you don't know what death is yet. (Really, I don't either. But I know that I don't know the full extent. You deny it all.) To you, a child is invincible.
They are not. Children can die. Children do die. I hate to say it. I hate to admit that I am glad it is not my child. But it will not be my child. Not when I hold her life in my hand.
It's times like this when I "get" God, the Father. (To a limited degree, I admit.) He holds life in His hand. He holds it out for every one of His children. But not every one takes it.
Which one of us understands what happens after we die? None of us. No one has been there; no one can tell us. So we live our lives in pure oblivion. Like the invincible child who cannot die, we are the eternal souls sure that every one of us is bound for Heaven.
Only the Father knows differently. He desperately tries to tell us, just as the parents tell their children of the horrid diseases they will not be getting after they have endured their vaccination. The Father was so desperate to tell us, that He sent Evidence from Heaven. He sent His Son to tell us, to show us, EXACTLY what will happen when we die.
How frustrated is He when we don't "get our shot?" When we don't believe the precious Evidence He sent us? I know a piece of that frustration! Why on earth would my child NOT want the medicine that keeps her from dying? Why?
So why do God's children not take the medicine He offers us? Why? The medicine we need to take is simply believing that He loves us and already paid the price it took for us to be with Him in heaven when we die. It's so easy. Why are people not taking it?
All we need to do is believe. If the child believes the parent and gets their shot, they will not get the disease. If God's child believes, he too, will be rescued from the disease of sin. If my daughter takes her insulin, she will not die from her diabetes. If we accept God's medicine, we will not die a second death.
The vaccination ends the possibility of getting the disease. Audrey's insulin, unfortunately, does not end the disease. Only a cure will do that. Her pancreas is dead. It needs new life.
Jesus brought new life to us. There's nothing else that needs to be done. We can have new life by simply taking it.
But it's painful, right?
It could have been. It was. When God sent His Son, Jesus demonstrated the suffering that was supposed to have been for sinful man. But once He accomplished that, He concluded, "It is finished." Therefore, it does not need to be done again. One cure saves forever.
The only pain is submission. Dying to yourself and admitting that you cannot save yourself. It hurts to not be your own God.
But the reward should be amazing.
Passion Under Grace,