Letters to My Son

 

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My strong little man,

I have a feeling that today will be remembered as a turning point for you.  We enrolled you in a Taekwondo Academy and today was your first class.  You were nervous at first, not sure you wanted to participate.  But as soon as the Instructor called out, “Mr. George!  Will you join us?”  You ran to the mat and jumped up and down with excitement.

Your personality came out during this class.  You are a very black and white, all or nothing young man.  When your heart is involved in something, nothing can stop you.  I watched you run laps and try to pass all the other kids.  During circuit training, you had no fear of failure.  You jumped right in and tried several things you had never even seen done before.  When the class was over, you would not leave until I purchased your uniform because you were determined to come back in two days for your white belt.  You wore the uniform all afternoon.

This will be yet another Type 1 Diabetes learning curve for us.  I tested your blood sugar before the class, and I knew you were going low toward the end.  But with some trial and error this will be no problem for us.

One reason we decided to sign you up for Taekwondo is because we notice that you are becoming increasingly frustrated and angry.  The littlest thing will cause you to burst into tears or shout angrily.  You frequently say to me that you feel like no one likes you.  And the hardest for me:  You want to hurt yourself sometimes.  I know that blood sugar levels play a part in this, but it isn’t the only factor.

One night a couple of weeks ago I got you up to visit the bathroom and you kept calling yourself an idiot and hitting yourself in the face.  I tested you and you were high.  I gave you a shot for the first time in the middle of the night.  Once you were peacefully sleeping again, I wept and cried out to the Lord.  Any parent who has ever seen their child hurt themselves knows the helplessness and fear that I felt.  But that night, something changed in my heart.  I began to see T1D as an enemy who was trying to destroy my son.

So I declared war.

  • I’m reading some new parenting material that is giving me a new perspective on how to communicate with and train you.
  • I am exercising because I want to set that example for you.  I need to be healthy in order to take care of you.  I need extra energy so I can come alongside you and teach you how to manage this disease.
  • I make myself read something about T1D every single night so I’m constantly learning something new.
  • I pray more.  And then I pray again.  And then I find myself praying.  Because Son, if there is anything I know for absolute sure right now…it is that we cannot do this on our own.  And we don’t need to.  We just read the story of David and Goliath again together.  At the end of the story I asked you, “Who brought victory to the Israelites?”  You didn’t even hesitate when you said, “God did.”  We may be fighting our own Goliath right now, but I promise you, God is the one who gives us strength for the battle.

I spoke with your Instructor after class.  She was so impressed with you that she recommends moving you up to the older class in September.  She mentioned that your focus and determination were exceptional.  You are a natural. Of course you are. You have been in a serious battle since March 19, 2014.

There is no other little soldier that I would rather fight alongside.  If you can do it, I can do it.

I love you with aaaaaaaallllllll of my fart.  I mean, heart.

Mom

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Letters to My Son

My Darlin’ Boy,

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I’m thanking God tonight for the past few weeks.  This Honeymoon Phase has enabled us all to take a deep breath and get grounded again after Hurricane Type 1 Diabetes hit.  You still only have two shots a day, we are learning more about the effects of certain carbs and proteins in your body, and your blood sugar has leveled out to a (somewhat) predictable pattern.  Your mood swings and reactions to blood sugar levels have lessened.  We see more glimpses of our familiar Georgie pre-diagnosis.  It has brought peace and hope to our hearts.

It seems like it might be a good time to sit back and relax.  But I don’t think so.

You have heard me talk about my years on the Track team.  And now you see me training for a half-marathon.  In every race, son, there is a strategy.  You want to start well, pace yourself, and maintain your position throughout the race.  And then there comes the time to kick.  You cannot wait until the end of the race to exert yourself and give everything you’ve got.  If you wait until the end, it will be too late and you won’t have the strength to bust through the finish line.  You have to start kicking while everyone else is still maintaining.  You may not even see the finish line yet, but you must set your mind, rely on your training and sprint to the end.  This is how races are won.  (Remind me to tell you the story of when I did the 300 meter hurdles and tripped over the last hurdle at the finish line.  That is NOT how races are won, by the way.)

Georgie, running a race is hard.  It is painful.  Especially if the race is long.  The longer the race, the greater the struggle to the end.  You were with me earlier this week when I ran 7 miles with you and Hopie.  You saw my pain and weakness.  Every race will have pain.  Diabetes is your race right now.  And I would give anything for us all to withdraw from the race.  But instead, we are going to kick.

  • Rather than numbing or escaping from the pain, we need to acknowledge it and deal with it in healthy ways.  Trying to find comfort in food, alcohol, material things, busy-ness, and yes even “religion” is not helpful.  The best thing we can do is to let it drive us straight into the Man of Sorrows.  The One who has endured more undeserved pain than anyone else ever has or ever will.  Even on the cross, Jesus rejected a sedative because He chose to face His suffering head on.  I will tell you this, we don’t need to be fake and paste a smile on our faces and say that we are OK with Diabetes.  But we don’t have to hide from it either.  Or get bitter because of it.  Or allow it to affect our race.  Pain can make our kick stronger.  And George, I already see you growing stronger because of your affliction.
  • Preparation is as important as performance and without it no race can be won.  Today I had the privilege of being part of your training.  You were having a very hard time and you mentioned wanting to hurt yourself.  Alarm bells went off in my spirit and I immediately went to my knees.  I prayed over you like I’ve never done before.  I did it out loud in front of you and your sister.  When I was done you looked at me and said, “Mom, I have no idea what any of that means.”  I just smiled and said, “You don’t need to know yet.  But God knows, and you better believe our enemy knows.”  You (because you want to be a Jedi Knight) wanted to know more about how to fight Satan.  I simply said that the best way to fight is to praise and worship God.  You immediately put your fists in the air and declared, “Praise You Jesus!  You are my King!  I love You!  Enemy you must get away!”  And little Hopie praised Him too.  And I just sat back and marveled at it all.  This is all preparation for you, my warrior son.  You will have some battles to fight, some races to run, and God is setting you up to know how to win.
  • In this race, God is always after one thing.  Your heart.  He wants a close, intimate relationship with you.  And there are many things along the road that can slow, distract or weaken you.  Don’t miss the relationship God wants to build with you through your pain.  You might hear some folks tell you that God will never give you more than you can handle.  That’s not Biblical.  There are a ton of things in this life that we absolutely cannot handle.  And that is the whole point.  Our lives as Christ Followers is not about what we can or cannot do.  It is about what He has done and is continuing to do so that He can have our hearts.  Forever.

My mom told me today that she is praying specifically that God will restore your body back to the way He originally created it.  Diabetes free.  I love that.  We all pray for your healing daily.  Sometimes hourly.  Sometimes even more.  But unless or until He heals you, this Honeymoon Phase will pass and the real race begins.  We will need to know how to run straight into Him.  We will have been prepared by spending time in HIs Word and praising and worshiping Him.  We will know how to kick.  So we can bust through the finish line and hear Him say, “Well done!”

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My miracle son, there is no one else I would rather run this race with.  You are my hero.

I love you with aaaaaaaaalllllll of my fart.  I mean heart.

Mom

Difficult yet Effective

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This year has held some changes for me (and my hubbie), one of which is our journey to physical health and fitness.  We have not “arrived” at the fitness destination by any means, but we have both lost weight and established healthy eating and exercise habits.  For me, it has been about 11 months since I fully committed to this emotionally, physically and mentally.  It has been absolutely life changing.  I will write more about all that in a different blog.

What worked best for me this year was to do a DVD at home while my little girl napped every morning.  I chose one by Jillian Michaels, and after 11 months I completely have that thing memorized.  Sometimes I get frustrated because I can hear Jillian in my head…and I don’t know if I can ever get her out!  At one point, she starts off an exercise for abs by saying, “Now this is NOT easy.  But it IS effective, and that’s why you’re GOING to DO IT!!”  And so I do it.  Because I’m kind of scared that somehow she will know if I don’t.  And she’s not joking.  It’s very difficult.  Very.

Tonight, out of the blue, I thought of that quote while putting my children to bed.  I was wishing it wasn’t Jillian’s voice echoing through my mind, when all of a sudden I realized it’s not just a Jillian-motivational-thing.  It’s truly a Christian-walk kind of thing.  Being a Christ-Follower is not supposed to be easy.  What’s easy about Jesus saying in Luke 9:23, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me”?  Or in Matt. 10:22 Christ promises “…you will be hated by all for My name’s sake”.  Um, that is not easy any way you try to look at it.

I’m learning that effectiveness is equal to difficulty.  It is that way in the exercise world.  A few jumping jacks here and there doesn’t accomplish a whole lot. But running uphill pushing two children in a stroller over a grass field for an hour in the summer heat at over 5000 feet….now that is difficult and effective.  The weight falls off and the muscles build up.  And man oh man do you sleep well at night!!  Not to mention the amount of buttered popcorn you can enjoy guilt-free!!

That principle of difficulty = effectiveness applies to our Christian life as well.  Big time.  In fact, Mark 8:35 states, “For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it.”  Talk about difficult.  Talk about effective.

I want to be effective.  I want to give God glory.  I want to live a lifestyle that communicates the gospel, the good news of His incredible love and grace, that I totally don’t deserve, but willingly receive.  Obviously this is something I will never “arrive” at, just like I will never  “arrive” at being completely fit and in shape.  However, here are a few ways we can embrace something extremely difficult, knowing it will be unbelievably effective:

  • Humility and Meekness.  Our hearts can be, and should be, in a posture of humility and meekness.  So many definitions to these words…but in simple terms:  Let’s realize the immense loving miracle of a Holy God providing a way for sinful people to be in relationship with Him for all eternity…by humbling Himself.  Not something we deserve.  At all.  So let’s follow His lead.  NOT EASY to let go of pride.  NOT EASY to retrain our worldview of entitlements and rights.  NOT EASY to give up self-preservation and selfishness.  NOT EASY to get over ourselves.  But oh if we do….the things we can do without because we realize our treasure is in Heaven, not on earth.  The places we can go and the people we can love because our heart is full of others instead of full of ourselves.
  • Serving.  This is another posture of the heart.  It’s not busy-ness.  Or religiosity.  Or always saying yes if asked to do something for someone.  Those things aren’t especially difficult.  The kind of serving I’m referring to is found in Matt. 5:44.  Jesus taught in this passage that we are to love our enemies, bless folks who curse us, do good to people who hate us, and to pray for ones who use and persecute us.  I would put that kind of serving in the extreme difficulty levels.  These are things we cannot do without the Holy Spirit’s enabling.  I do not run 6 miles unless I know I’m properly hydrated…and I would not attempt this kind of service unless I had spent time in prayer asking for living water to flow from my life to the life of the one who hates me…as I serve them.  Practically.  Consistently.  With humility and meekness.  It is a good thing to seek the Lord about this, and actively pursue serving and loving those who hate us.  I think even Jillian would agree that this is quite effective when done right.

I was going to come up with a few more, but seriously.  Isn’t that enough?  Those two have me so convicted and yet motivated…I’m not sure I could handle more.

I’m asking the Lord to change my heart daily, and help me to be in this posture of humility, meekness and serving.  Will you join me??  I’d love to hear your feedback if you’d like to comment about how you are choosing humility and meekness, or who you are serving and how you are doing it.  We can walk this difficult, yet effective road together.  It’s not easy, but it is effective. And that’s why we’re going to do it!!  Let’s live effective lives that give God the glory He deserves.