At least we’ve average….

In between my last diabetes post and this one,  things have gone down-hill, then more down-hill, then an even keel and perhaps finally we are on an upward swing with Sarah’s diabetes.  Can I just take a moment to say how rotten and horrible and down-right annoying diabetes is?   It is!  It’s a royal pain in the you-know-what and we will never get used to it and I don’t think we ever should get used to it.   And now I shall do my best to sum up the situation.

Back in November Sarah and I went to the hospital for a clinic/pump training day, and there we found her A1C’s had gone up a whole percentage.   This wasn’t great news – when they test your A1C ‘s they are checking the percentage of hemoglobin that is covered in sugar – and this gives them an over-all picture of how well you have managed your diabetes in the past three months.   And this test showed that Sarah’s percentage had gone up significantly and now was higher than they would like it to be.   It was upsetting because it’s means that I’m not doing a great job managing her diabetes – and it also means we were a statistic.  It’s a researched fact that when diabetics start using an insulin pump their blood sugar control starts out great, and their A1C’s tend to come down (that’s good) but by the end of a year – and that’s where we were at – people’s control over their diabetes tends to wane a bit and they typically end up back to where they were before the pump with higher A1C’s again (not good).   I think this is generally contributed to complacency, people just ride the wave of initial good control and stop paying attending.   So I went home kinda down and frustrated, but on the other hand determined to do better.

But things weren’t getting better and I was finding that I was getting frustrated with Sarah because she didn’t seem to care at all and certainly wasn’t doing things that were helping the situation.  And how do you try to tell a 8-year-old that there will be long-term consequences for their actions?   In my frustration I called a friend, and I’m so grateful that God has provided me with her.  Her daughter has had diabetes for over 10 years and so she is no stranger to all the ups and downs on dealing with this frustrating disease.  And guess what the first thing she told me I had  to stop doing was?   Well get this, she told me to stop feeling sorry for Sarah.

I had to stop feeling sorry for Sarah????

But of course I felt sorry for Sarah!   Jason and I feel very sorry that our healthy daughter was stricken with a disease for no known reason, and we feel sorry that she has to live with it and endure and the poking and prodding and it really upsets me just to think about what could happen to her if we aren’t diligent all of the time.   However, I could see what my friend meant.   Unknowing I was communicating my sympathy to Sarah and it wasn’t helping her, in fact it was hindering her.  Because I was feeling sorry for her, she was feeling sorry for herself, she only saw her diabetes as something bad and something that wasn’t fair.   And because of this I don’t think either of us were properly viewing it as something to be managed well – it was just a burden.   And I think that I was trying to shield Sarah from it – which meant that she felt she had no responsibility and no consequences.

It shook me to realize  that I wasn’t viewing it correctly –  and that it stemmed from me not realizing that God could have a purpose in this.  Jason and I had a clear understanding that God had a purpose for Ava’s life, and we completely accepted how that turned out.  But for some reason I could never see how diabetes could bring God glory.   But my friend went on to say that God did give diabetes to Sarah – it is His refining fire in her life,  He is going to use it for His glory and I shouldn’t feel sorry that God has allowed this to happen, just the opposite!  Of course God brings difficult things into our lives, but whining and complaining and feeling sorry for ourselves doesn’t accomplish God’s purpose, how could it?  But if we can see Sarah’s diabetes as something from His hand, to develop perseverance and faithfulness and to please Him by remaining under it, that’s the only place that we can find true joy in something so miserable as type 1 diabetes.

So after asking forgiveness I changed my perceptive and instead of having a good cry with Sarah about her diabetes,  we had a talk about how God allowed this for her and it was going to make her stronger and it was exciting to think of how God was going to use this in her life.  And it helped!   Her attitude towards it has changed (for the most part) and now she cares what her blood glucose levels are, and that’s great.   We still have our cries, it’s not easy living with this disease, but I’m happy to say through our tears I can remind her that God has a purpose,  and that has been wonderful.

And I wish I could say that at our next clinic visit at the end of January her A1C’s went down and all was well – but that wasn’t the case.  They stayed the same in spite of our hard work and it was incredible frustrating!  Grrr…stupid diabetes!  But the kind doctor told me that even though they would like her A1C’s to be lower,  we are right at the pediatric national average.   So we aren’t doing a great job or a bad job, we are just completely average 🙂    But things are starting to look up!   Last Sunday I shared with my small group our frustration with Sarah’s diabetes and I know they have been praying for us because these past four days we seem to be in a better groove and her daily numbers are coming down (that’s good) and I’m so grateful that we have a loving heavenly Father who although allows all these trials and difficulties in our lives, He never ever leaves us or forsakes us.  Not ever.

Amen.

 Be strong and courageous…. for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.”  Deut 31:6

P.S.   I just gotta tack this on to this post… with the rise of Type 2 diabetes, it’s not unnatural for people to get confused between the two diseases, but they are completely different and I’m learning to be gracious when people try to give us good advice, or ask if Sarah can eat something (she can eat everything!!)  Here’s a really cute type 1 diabetes rant…

 

All the days ordained for me…

Lisa is going to be updating their story here in the next few days, but she asked if I could share my recent blog post chronicling how it began for them in the meantime.  

Love Christa

_________________________________________

Somewhere around 18 weeks ago, I stood on my back deck crying on the phone with one of my dearest friends as we celebrated and shared together in the shock and wonder that a new life was growing inside her. I remember us both agreeing that this sweet surprise was obviously God’s plan, and that He knew every one of her days and her purpose before we even knew of her existence.

And today, that same dear friend and I cried together on the phone repeating those words… that God had planned this little girl’s life, that her body was crafted by Him, without mistake, and that each of her days were planned and numbered before any came to be.

3 weeks ago Lisa Colley texted me following her 20 week ultrasound to tell me that she had fallen madly in love with her baby GIRL! The very next day the midwife contacted her to say they had seen something during that ultrasound, an abnormality with the baby’s heart, and could she please schedule a fetal echo-cardiogram. She did, and we began praying. One special friend even committed to fast a day each week in prayer for this new life.

Yesterday morning while I sat in the hospital waiting for my own little girl who was in surgery (for tonsils and adenoids), I received a text saying they had finished the ultrasound and were waiting for the results, but that the abnormality (a narrow valve coming off a ventricle) was definitely apparent- even to her and Jason (her husband). They were currently waiting to meet with the doctor to hear what the results meant.

It’s weird, as pessimistic as we all can be sometimes, and how easy it is to google the worst case scenario, you still somehow expect to never hear it. The worst case scenario is always for someone else. I know I expected to hear that upon closer inspection- the baby’s heart looked just fine! Or perhaps that they’d need to closely watch to make sure she would outgrow it, etc etc. But even though this is still kind of beyond comprehension, they heard instead, “let me show you a picture of a normal heart, and now let me show you what your little girl’s heart looks like…”

Critical Aortic Stenois.
In Lisa’s words,
“Our baby has Critical Aortic Stenois which means
that the valve coming off her left ventricle is way too narrow, and at birth
would not be able to allow enough oxygen-rich blood to pass through to
sustain her life.

So she will need some serious medical intervention, either now while she is
still in the womb, or immediately after she is born. There is also a
possibility her heart could fail her now or at anytime, so as you can
imagine Jason and I are feeling like we have been hit by a Mac truck.”

And yet despite this, Lisa and Jason are already looking for and sharing evidences of God’s grace. Acceptance of God’s control and His plan. A supernatural peace in knowing that all things are filtered through God’s hand and the comfort of His presence. I’m kind of totally in awe. So encouraged by them. And so thankful for them, their testimony and faith and God’s great grace.

Tomorrow morning at 8am they will meet with a surgeon in Toronto who will hopefully find Lisa and their baby girl to be a good candidate for surgery while she is still in the womb. If so, this surgery could be done as early as friday or saturday. The surgery is experimental and fairly new in Toronto, but holds the best chances for their daughter’s heart to grow healthy instead of to continue to damage itself further each day.

I’ll include an email below that explains a bit better (my brain is currently struggling to function after a night of little sleep with my little tonsillectomy patient), but I wanted to ask of anyone who reads this- to please please pray. And also, if you know Lisa and Jay and have their email address, please let them know you are praying. And if you want their address, email me and I will forward it to you. Let’s cover the Colley family over and over with our love and support and prayers.

Here’s the email sent out after one of our pastors met with them…

Hey All,

Just wanted to give you an update on Jason and Lisa Colley. I just got back from a pastoral visit at their house and its been a rough day for them – asking that you’d pray for them, and that we get them into our prayer channels. What a joy to pray with them today.

They were told today by the Pediatric Specialist at the Hospital that their baby girl (due date December 15) has pretty significant heart problems in the left ventricle. I won’t go into the details they were telling me about whats not working, but suffice it to say that its as serious as serious gets in the world of cardiac issues. What they are dealing with as of today from the medical community is that the baby could die at any time now up until the estimated delivery date; and that even if she makes it, she would be rushed into urgent heart surgery right away for a procedure that won’t actually fix it…more of a temporary intervention that could prolong the years and hopefully set her up for a heart transplant mid life. Its really quite overwhelming news to get. They have to make some decisions about seeing a specialist in Toronto who is working on an experimental procedure that would be done in the womb soon, but only has a 25% success rate.

Praise God that we have hope in Jesus Christ who has a sovereign plan for this girl, a plan that won’t be thwarted for any reason; a High Priest (Hebrews 4:14ff) who has called us to pray boldly and come to his Throne for mercy and grace in our time of need and who has called us to pray persistently (Luke 18:off). I am reminded of the fact that as parents we are stewards of these children for the Lord’s glory. So, just wanted you all aware so we can be an encouragement to them and be praying alongside them. Id encourage any of you to reach out to them over the next few weeks as the waiting gets hard.

Leo

For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful, I know that full well.

My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place.
When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,
your eyes saw my unformed body.

All the days ordained for me were written
in your book before one of them came to be.
Psalm 139:13-16

The miracle of a potato

We took advantage of the warm weather we are having this week and my uncle John and I harvested our potato crop.  Now, can I just say how much fun it is to watch the pitch-fork go down and wait with anticipation to see how many potatoes that plant grew?  Because I found it very exciting, but as Jason will point out, it doesn’t take much to make me happy.

We had some great producers that grew upwards of  6 huge potatoes, and some plants that only produced 2 or 3 small ones, but we had a splendid crop all in all and here are the those potatoes drying out on my living room floor,

I’m sure they will do this potato-loving family until Christmas and I’m tickled pink that we can enjoy the fruits of our labours until then.

But that day as I was trying to figure out how much money growing our own potatoes saved us,  my uncle John pointed out that it’s not about that.  And he was right, it’s not.   What having a garden this year has been about is being able to experience the joy that comes from watching things grow.   It’s having the kids learn and experience the miracle that happens when you put a quarter of a potato in the ground and end up with 6.    From seeing pumpkins grow bigger every time we went to the garden, to the fun the kids had pulling carrots out of the ground, wiping off the dirt off and eating them right there,  to the fact that Sarah at age 4 can recognize a bean plant!

And it also awakens the joy for me that my God is a God of miracles, of big ones like being able to save us from our sins and reconcile us to God,  and on a smaller scale that through his incredible design a tiny seed can be put in the ground and grow and produce and give a huge harvest, and that is what I’ll take away from my garden this year.

My thoughts are with those…

who are picking up the pieces after Sunday’s tornado that ripped through Goderich and Ben Miller.  We were packing up at the cottage just 30 minutes north of Goderich at the time it happened, but obviously knew nothing about it until an hour later when on our way home we were stopped at a police road-block and had to turn around.    The officer was helpful with directions and said that there had been a tornado… which completely shocked us as although there had been storms earlier in the day, it was bright and sunny by then.    And even on the out-skirts of town we  saw trees with limbs ripped off, a huge solar panel shredded and debris everywhere and then we found out that it had hit Ben Miller too..   a tiny little town with a beautiful Inn that we normally drive through on our way too and from the cottage.    Trees were down blocking the road,  roofs were ripped off and I was grateful that our timing hadn’t been off.     The first information we received on what had happened came from  101.7 Fm and on their website you can see pictures of the destruction… praise God there was only one fatality.

It does make you stop and think about how one minute everything is fine, and the next minute everything can change and in this case clearly not for the better.   I am thankful every day that I can trust completely in God my Saviour,  I know that I am in his hands, my children are in his hands,  and the Bible is clear He is all-powerful and nothing can happen to me that He has not allowed.     If  He does allow times of suffering, I know that they will be used for His glory, even when I can’t see it.   And again,  He teaches me not to be anxious…  in Philippians 4:6&7  he says, “do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God, and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus”.

And isn’t that what we all want… peace in the eye of the storm?  So my thoughts and prayers are with those whose lives were turned upside down,   and in my heart I ‘m thankful that tornado’s or sunny skies, God is in control.

God didn’t die for frogs…

In this season of Lent – the time coming up to Easter I’ve been reading “Fifty Reasons why Jesus came to Die” by John Piper.    I’m ashamed to say that I started at the beginning to Lent and today I only read #5 –  “To Show the Wealth of God’s Love and Grace for Sinners”  and something really struck me…

“I have heard it said, “God didn’t die for frogs.  So he was responding to our value as humans.”  This turns grace on its head.  We are worse off than frogs.  They have not sinned.  They have not rebelled and treated God with the contempt of being inconsequential in their lives.  God did not have to die for frogs.   They aren’t bad enough.  We are.  Our debt is so great, only a divine sacrifice could pay for it.
          There is only one explanation for God’s sacrifice for us.   It is not us. It is “the riches of his grace” (Ephesians 1:7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace.)  It is all free.  It is not a response to our worth.   It is the overflow of his infinite worth.  In fact, that is what divine love is in the end: a passion to enthrall undeserving sinners, at great cost, with what will make us supremely happy forever, namely, his infinite beauty.”

Oh – treating God with the contempt of being inconsequential in my life?   That hurts.  Time to refocus and get my priorities right again!