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

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My Precious Boy,

I’m sitting in our back yard tonight looking at the garden you helped me plant this weekend. Just a few hours ago, this patio table was covered with Star Wars Legos and you were teaching me all about them. I love watching your excitement! Georgie, you are so very loved. So valued and cherished.

God created you with an extra tender heart. You have a sensitivity toward others that runs deep.  You are usually aware of how others might be thinking or feeling. These are special things God has planted within you, and they will grow into beautiful tools that you can use to show compassion to many. They will also help you in your relationship with Jesus; having a tender heart toward Him, being sensitive to when He is speaking to you or wants you to do something.

Along with this, you are living with Type 1 Diabetes which has opened your eyes to a whole new world. You can empathize with people going through pain and suffering. In the past few weeks I have noticed that you not only empathize, but you act on it.  Which is true compassion.

  • When we read the Bible and pray you always want to pray for your Dad.  “Dear God.  Thank you for this beautiful day.  Please put joy and grace down deep into my Dad’s heart.  Let him know I want to play with him and I love him.”
  • I was struggling through some discouragement recently.  You could tell even though I tried my best to hide it from you. I will always remember how you told me that I’m beautiful and graceful and the bestest mom. You hugged me, kissed me and told me that you would help me all day long.
  • Your sister stepped on a bee yesterday. Your dad and I couldn’t get her calmed down, but you brought her water.  Then you brought a piece of bread and helped her eat it. You spoke soothingly to her about how the pain wouldn’t last long and everything would be OK.  She stopped crying and allowed you to care for her.  Because you have experienced pain, you knew how to care for someone in pain.  It was breathtaking to watch.

And Georgie, just as you reach out and care for others, I want to be sure that you know how many are reaching out and caring for you as well.  Today I realized this in a profound way.  Your grandparents from Lacey, WA are here visiting and taking care of your great grandma for a few weeks.  Your Grandma Patty had to learn how to give insulin shots to your great grandma.  When you realized this, you wanted her to give you a shot for lunch today.  My heart was in my throat because you haven’t allowed anyone to give you a shot except your dad and me since your hospital visit.  It was a huge step for you!  And for me.

So many people are ready and willing to walk this road with you.  Your grandparents here in town went to an all day seminar to learn how to care for you and give shots.  Your brother and sister-in-law are researching, learning, gathering recipes and doing all they can to be prepared in case anything ever happened to your dad and I.  My parents are learning as much as they can as well. Your uncle, aunt and cousins sent a huge box of goodies especially to bring us joy.  And above all…everyone is praying.  Contending for your healing.  Constantly.

I’m sure by the time you read these letters, you will know that one of my all time favorite books/movies is The Lord of the Rings.  Toward the end of the movie, when Frodo and Sam are trying to climb the last mountain that will take them to destroy The Ring, Frodo falls down under the weight of the evil ring and cannot get up.  Sam cries, “I cannot carry the ring for you.  But I can carry you!!”  And he carries Frodo up the mountain.

We cannot carry T1D for you, my brave boy.  But we can, and will carry you.  Because we are also being carried.  By the Creator and Maker of tender, sensitive hearts.  By the One who loves us beyond measure.

Our Needs Are Met…Ahead of Time Part 3

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Emotions are running higher than usual for me tonight.  I remember where we were two months ago at this time, and it’s hard not to re-live the experience of the diagnosis.  Maybe writing the remaining ways in which the Lord provided for our needs in this third blog will help.

A few weeks prior to knowing George had Type 1 Diabetes, we thought Shane might have an open door to a new job in Portland Oregon.  I lived there for seven years and all my family and several close friends would be nearby.  This job would pay more.  It was difficult, but all I can say is the Lord made it clear that we were not to pursue a big move like that.  And then came the diagnosis.  If Shane had a new job we would have had a season of no medical insurance.  The insurance  from Shane’s employment at Lowe’s has been exceptional.  And to top it off, his manager has asked us to give copies of our medical bills to him so he can present them to higher management and possibly offset the costs for us.

Along with that, we have been humbled and blessed to receive checks in the mail for the exact amount we need for monthly prescriptions.  Two months in a row.

While on the topic of prescriptions, I need to mention a sweet gift from the Lord to me specifically.  I had a miscarriage a few years ago, and during that time I went to a particular Walgreens for my prescriptions.  I hate that Walgreens.  I rarely go inside because of the memories it invokes.  But it is cheap, and that is where I had the doctor send Georgie’s prescriptions.  Weeks prior to all this, one of my dearest friends decided to come for a visit.  He is more than a friend, he is our family.  He just happened to be here when I had to go to the hated Walgreens.  He came inside with me.  He stood by me as I paid for the numerous bags of needles, insulin, blood sugar test strips, syringes, vials, glucagon and I don’t remember what else.  He cried with me.  And after we cried, he made me laugh.  And after that I’m pretty sure we cried again.  I could NEVER have done that by myself.  And I could never have planned his visit to fall on the exact day I had to fill those prescriptions.  Only my loving Father could provide that for me.

I have just a few more that I will quickly summarize, then I want to end with a story that illustrates perfectly how the Lord provided before we even knew we needed it.

  • Georgie is an extreme extrovert.  God created him this way.  Neither Shane nor I are this way.  He loves people and loves communication.  This is a gift God has given him to help him as he learns to manage this disease on his own in the next few years.
  • I didn’t know it, but I already have two friends who have sons with T1D.  When they heard about Georgie, they contacted me and have been a source of encouragement, help and hope.  I also have friends with T1D who have been helping me more than I can express.
  • About four years ago, a godly couple prayed over Shane and me.  It was encouraging and prophetic.  But one part never made sense to me until a few days ago.  Hope was rummaging through a drawer and she brought me the notes I took from this prayer time.  It said, “As God’s design for George becomes clearer, it will make sense why Melodi was chosen to be his mother.”  I was chosen to be Georgie’s mother.  And God wants me to know it.

Now I can write my favorite portion of my provision-ahead-of-time story.

After our time in the hospital we were discharged and sent directly to the Barbara Davis Center for Childhood Diabetes (BDC).  One of the top research facilities for T1D in the world.  It was late afternoon and we were still in shock, exhausted in every sense of the word, fragile mentally and emotionally.  But we had to meet with a doctor and nurse and learn several things before heading home for the night.  Only to return in the morning.  For eight hours of training.

George was completely traumatized at this point.  The hourly finger pokes, an IV in each arm, countless blood draws, hunger, thirst, fatigue….he was a mess.  And hysterical.  I don’t like to talk much about his screaming.  Or his weeping.  Or the desperate look of confusion that would come over his face.  Or how he would cry out, “Mommy!  Mommy!”  He hadn’t called me that in many months.  By the time we arrived at the BDC, anyone in scrubs sent him into hysterical screaming and he would hide in my arms.

And then we met her.

I was dazed when we were ushered into the lab technicians room.  I remember seeing a small woman in scrubs trying to talk George into getting onto a scale so she could weigh him.  And he went absolutely nuts.  He would not let her touch him, and wouldn’t let us near him either.  I started to fall apart but then I heard something.  I heard the Name that has been my refuge for as long as I can remember.  I lifted my eyes and saw this woman with her arms raised to Heaven praying, “Oh Jesus.  Oh Jesus.  Help my Little Brother.  Be with Mama.  Be with Daddy. Let them know that it will be alright.  Everything will be alright.”

Somehow I found myself in a chair with tears streaming down my cheeks as I watched her envelop my son in her arms.  She told him that she would never hurt him.  That Jesus loved him.  That she was here to help him.  And Georgie instantly calmed down.  For the first time in nearly 24 hours he wasn’t screaming.  Because he knows that Name too.  And felt His presence as immediately as Shane and I did.  Amazingly he allowed her to weigh him, measure him and give him a finger poke.  No crying.  No screaming.  Just peace.

She turned to me and said, “Everything will be alright, Mama.”  And I wept.

She has worked at the BDC for several years.  Diabetic herself, she has learned to comfort others through her own affliction.

And the best part??  The absolutely incredible miracle part??  Her father’s name was George.  When he passed away, she had his name tattooed on her ankle.  Little Georgie always wants to see it.  Once he wanted to ask her if she was a real angel.  (Because I refer to her as our sister-angel.  I honestly don’t even remember her real name yet.  I just call her Angel.)  So he asked her if she was a real angel.  She stared at him with tears in her eyes and said, “No, Little Brother.  I’m not a real angel.”

But you never know.  You just never know.

All I know is that this lovely woman was put in place years ago by a loving God who knew I (and countless others) would need her.  Desperately, desperately need to encounter the Prince of Peace who so abundantly flows through her precious care.

Thank you for reading.  It has been a healing experience for me to write these past three blogs.  Looking back and acknowledging the work of God in this way is heart-changing.  Thank you for allowing me to do it with you.

Our Needs Are Met….Ahead of Time

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I absolutely love gardening.  My grandparents had farms and gardens.  My parents always had a large vegetable garden.  And although I HATE bugs, I love every other aspect of gardening.  Cultivating the soil, planting seeds, watering, fertilizing, weeding, and the best part of all:  Watching the growth and enjoying and sharing the harvest.

And of course, I deeply love and appreciate all the spiritual lessons that gardening affords.  Lessons such as, the seed has to go into the ground and die before it can bear fruit.  Or realizing that weeds must be pulled up by the roots completely or they just come back bigger.  I could go on and on…but the lesson on my heart tonight is simply the concept of sowing and reaping.  If I sow cucumber seeds, I will reap a harvest of cucumbers.  It is so simple.  So basic.

So life changing.

I have been compiling a list of ways that the Lord has provided for us.  Ahead of time.  Before we even realized that we had a need.  So that we would know without a doubt that He loves us and will take care of our Georgie.  As my list has become longer and longer, I am compelled to share it.  But not just share it…I want to sow it.  Because as I blogged a few weeks ago, I will not waste this pain.  I will use every single thing I can use in order to bring glory to God and encourage others.

As I share these miracles, my prayer and hope is that a harvest will take place in the hearts of whoever reads these words.  A harvest of faith.  Hope.  Joy.  Peace.  Trust.  Rest.  Knowledge of God’s love and care.

Right now my list is up to fifteen.  I can see fifteen different ways in which the Lord provided, prior to Georgie’s diagnosis, so that when the storm of Type 1 Diabetes hit we would not drown.  I am certain that there are more than fifteen, but these are the ones I can recognize so far.  It is my joy to share all of them in these next few blogs.

I cannot say that God gave George this disease.  But I can say that He has worked in our hearts for years, preparing us and giving us exactly what we need in order to walk this path.

The first that I want to mention is our prayer shield.  That might be a strange phrase to some, but it is simply a group of incredible people that have walked with us for years through ministry and life.  These people know us.  They love us.  And they pray for us at the drop of a hat.  If I remember correctly, my prayer shield began about 14 years ago with a handful of ladies who were burdened to pray for a single young gal in full-time ministry.  This group has grown to include many friends and family.  And honestly, I do not know what life would look like without this group of people consistently covering our family in prayer.  On our way to the hospital on March 19th, I sent out one or two texts and immediately countless people were praying for us.  People who were ready ahead of time, years ago.  To provide intercessory prayer in a time of crisis.  Amazing. Humbling.  Inspiring.

Which leads right into the second thing God provided ahead of time.  Sometime after the first of the year, I was invited to become part of the leadership of the Bible Study Fellowship (BSF) class that I attend.  I was asked to become a children’s leader, and so it happened that a few weeks prior to George’s diagnosis I started going to the leadership meetings and began their training.  There are over 60 women in this group who have come around us with prayer, texts, Scriptures and most dear to my heart…they have come around George.  He is quite popular with the ladies!  Several of the ladies have taught him over the past 3 years, and his current teachers have cared for him tenderly.  I’m overwhelmed with God’s provision of this safety net of sisters (which includes some who have T1D in their families as well).

Third on my list is again from my involvement in BSF.  Prior to joining the children’s leaders, I was part of a small group.  Together we discussed the Bible passage we studied that week, and exchanged prayer requests.  I LOVE these ladies, and the group leader has become a dear dear friend to me.  Amazingly, in this group is a woman who is a nutritionist for folks with kidney disease and/or diabetes.  Also in this group is a woman who has a family member on the board at the Barbara Davis Center for Juvenile Diabetes where we are receiving George’s medical care.  Not a coincidence.  God placed me in this group way back in September.  Because He knew what was coming in March.

These first three provisions that God put in place ahead of time, along with our family, friends and local church are just the tip of the ice burg.  I am undone when I think about the far-reaching love of God.  How He sees, how He provides, how He pours out love and grace.  He has sown much into our lives, and it is time to start enjoying and sharing the fruit.

“You are acquainted with all my ways…You have hedged me behind and before, and laid Your hand upon me.  Such knowledge is too wonderful for me…where can I go from Your Spirit?  Or where can I flee from Your presence…Your hand shall lead me, Your right hand shall hold me…”  Ps. 139