So, somehow I messed up in scheduling this post, but the fog of jet lag last week meant I was too tired to sort it out. I believe it will encourage you today though and am so excited to introduce you to Erin from MommasLivingRoom.com! Erin is a mother of two, living in the Pacific Northwest and writing about faith, family, homemaking and hospitality. Be sure to check out her blog for more encouragement this week!
This year has been quite a doozy for my little family. Earlier this year, my oldest son was diagnosed as a type one diabetic (it’s the rare version of diabetes, not the commonly known type two diabetes). My husband and I had always known that there was a chance that one of my kids could develop the disease, but there’s also a chance that we could be struck by lightning and win the lottery on the same day, too! What I didn’t know was how being the parent of a type one diabetic feels like being plowed over by a freight train.
The day he was diagnosed, we had noticed a few issues. One was while we were out shopping. He kept asking to go to the bathroom. He’d hardly have returned from the restroom before begging to go again. When we decided to do lunch, he hardly made it to the restaurant, and it is kiddie corner from where we had been shopping. We knew that something wasn’t right, but I just assumed that he was bored of shopping and wasn’t completely emptying his bladder.
We get to the restaurant, and he’s begging for a drink. I’ve never seen “excessive drinking” before, but it was unreal. I’d fill up his glass and would hardly sit down before he’d be asking for more. In under 5 minutes, he had finished 48 ounces of liquid and he showed no signs of slowing down. Understandably, he continued to frequent the restroom. Watching this whole scene, my husband and I looked at each other and knew our sweet little boy was a diabetic. Seeing everything that was going on, we were faced with this knowledge that his chances of being a diabetic were high, but we also wavered between confidence, doubt, and denial.
Diabetes isn’t a crazy thought in my husband’s family. His dad is a type two and his younger sister is a type one. My husband had kind of grown up around diabetes. My mom was only recently diagnosed as a type two, so I didn’t actually grow up around the disease. With this knowledge, my husband talked to his dad, and within an hour, my son was having his blood sugar tested for the first time. I’ll never forget the moment when the meter wouldn’t even read it because it was too high. I kept thinking something was wrong with the meter, I kept trying to force a number that would tell us that my son was just fine. Instead, my in-laws looked at us and said, “We need to go to the emergency room.”
What Happens When Hard Times Hit?
That train hit me, and it kept on going. It didn’t wait for my mind to catch up to this new reality; it took off running with my baby on it. My baby had gone from seemingly fine to suddenly, permanently (or until there’s a cure one day) insulin dependent. We went to the Emergency Room where he was confirmed as a type one diabetic. When you’re diagnosed like he was, you don’t get to go home the same day with your tiny package of new meds. You get a three-day stay at the hospital, a crash course in diabetes, a large, grocery-sized brown paper bag, and the simple fear that if you do it wrong, you could kill your child. And that’s just the fear we feel as parents, it doesn’t compare to the new reality (and freight train) our child had to face. Three days later, we brought our little boy home, and I was too afraid to even feed him. What if I did it wrong?
We are now six months into this new journey, and that freight train has turned into a roller coaster ride of high blood sugar, low blood sugar, and blood sugar that is in range.
Here’s what those six months taught me, though. It taught me about faithfulness and the value of being close.
Faithfulness and Fellowship
Without the closeness of my in-laws, I’m not sure that my husband and I would have known how to proceed as we watched our son in the restaurant on that day. They were close enough to us relationally to call for help and advice.
They chose to come close, bring a glucose meter, and give us the answers that we needed. They chose to be insistent that my son goes to the emergency room. They didn’t give us time to respond, they didn’t give us the opportunity to choose anything else but to take our child to the emergency room. I didn’t know how sick my child was prior to the crash course at the hospital. To anyone else, he looked tired, and he acted normal (outside of his frequent bathroom trips and drinking). They came in close and told us the things that we didn’t want to hear, as they stepped in to get my son the help that he needed in the midst of my own lack of understanding.
They chose to accompany us to the emergency room. I love that they came in close, and that coming in close meant taking care of us as parents in the midst of this terrifying time. They didn’t let us take one step on this journey by ourselves. Coming in close, sometimes looks like butting in, but in instances like these, we longed for someone to butt in. We were in such shock that we needed the voice of experience and wisdom in the midst of our chaos.
They chose to visit us regularly in the hospital. They were with us every step of the way! They made themselves available to just listen, to share their own experience, and to help us process what we had just been through. Sometimes there aren’t any words, but there is always the opportunity for prayer. I’m so thankful that they provided that support!
The Father’s Faithfulness
We also experienced God coming in close. God came in close through the presence of my in-laws. He came in close through their experience, their peace, their wisdom, and their concern.
God paved the way by providing an excellent hospital and doctor that gave us that crash course training (and other training later on) that help us take care of our child and allow him to live a normal life.
God stayed close and provided a friend for my little boy so that my little boy would never feel like he was the only one in the world who is a type one diabetic.
God stayed close and stayed with us (and continues to stay close) every step of the way through this scary journey.
Sometimes the journeys that God calls us on are scary, but He doesn’t leave us alone in them. I think of Elijah when God brought in Elisha for support and to show Elijah that he truly wasn’t alone. I think of the many verses in the Bible where God tells us that He’s always with us. (Matthew 28:19-20, Psalm 27:10, and Joshua 1:5).
If we’re paying attention, we’ll notice that God doesn’t leave us, even for a moment.
Now for this week’s Encouraging Word Wednesday linkup!