…when sorrows like sea billows roll…

One of my all-time favorite hymns is called “It Is Well.”

When peace like a river attendeth my way, when sorrows like sea billows roll, whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say, “It is well, it is well with my soul.”

Horatio G. Spafford wrote these words after an extremely devastating time in his life.  He has lost everything in the Chicago Fire, and he has just lost his children when the ship they were on sank.  All he had left was his wife, and God.  And yet, in spite of the anger, doubt, fear, frustration, grief, and despair, these words flowed through his mind, heart, soul, hand, pen and ink onto paper.  God took H. G. Spafford’s valleys and made such beauty from the darkness.

Why does this matter to me?  It struck me today while I was doing my Proverbs 31 Ministries Bible Study that God’s Word is so powerful, and brings such incredible imagery to mind.  It is ALIVE, and sparks these beautiful tapestries that are our lives.

Here is the blog post I read today:  Managers of Blessings?  The questions at the end of today’s post are these:

And here are my responses:

O—For me, I am managing the blessings in this disease of Type 1 Diabetes. When I get so frustrated with dealing with this, God reminds me of this: “I am with you.” I was diagnosed in 1986. I have zero complications. That is a blessing. I have two beautiful sons. That is TWO blessings! I can work full time with minimal issues. That is a blessing. THIRTY years, God has allowed me to walk this road alongside Him. When I remember that HE is with me, my pity parties melt away and my burnout moments slink back into the shadows. They still come, and God still shows me He is sovereign.
B—For this week’s verse (2 Corinthians 4:18), the Amplified version caught my attention: “So we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are unseen; for the things which are visible are temporal [just brief and fleeting], but the things which are invisible are everlasting and imperishable.” The words that jump out to me are TEMPORAL (fleeting) as compared to EVERLASTING AND IMPERISHABLE. Such strong words! Temporal brings to mind a mighty tempest, a storm over the sea. And you know what? Jesus calms those kinds of storms. These moments in life are tempests. And my savior walks on waters in the stormiest of nights. My savior speaks, “Peace,” and that storm even listens. IMPERISHABLE. My future, my eternity is so secured through my savior, I have zero doubts. So why let these momentary struggles bring me down?
S—“This week, when struggles arise in my everyday life, I will keep my eyes fixed on God by…” taking some deep breaths, and asking Him to change my perspective. Move me, Lord, move my eyes, move my spirit so that I can see Your Hand in this. So that I remember that You are in control. You are bigger, Lord. Bigger than ANY of this. Help me to let go.

 

I want to go deeper into the keywords from 2 Corinthians 4:18 that jumped out at me. When I read the word “temporal” in the amplified version of the Bible, the image that came to mind was Jesus in the boat with his disciples on the Sea of Galilee.  Jesus, asleep, remained so as a huge storm came over the waters.  His disciples feared for their lives, and woke him up in a panic!

Mark 4:35-41  On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, “Let us go across to the other side.”  And leaving the crowd, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was.  And other boats were with him.  And a great windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking into the boat, so that the boat was already filling.  But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion.  And they woke him and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?”  And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!”  And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.  He said to them, “Why are you so afraid.  Have you still no faith?”  And they were filled with great fear and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and sea obey him?”

That is my savior!  Mightier than the storm, mightier than the wind, mightier than any situation God allows me to face!  The tempests are momentary.  They are finite.  My God is infinite.  When I feel like I am sinking in the storms surrounding me, Jesus is right there walking on water, lifting me up in His arms.  My weakness will pull me under if I forget to look to the hills, from where my help comes!  Keep my eyes on Jesus, and He WILL bring me through the storm, one way or another.  Sometimes, He calms that storm by saying, “Peace!  Be still!”  And sometimes, He calms me through His words, saying, “Be still and know that I am God!”  (Psalm 46:10)

So when peace like a river comes my way or when sorrows like sea billows (during a tempest) roll, I will turn my eyes to Jesus and KNOW that He is God, that He is mighty to save.  I may be weak and broken, yet He IS victorious.  He has already won the battle, AND the war!

So what storm are you facing?  Know that is finite.  There is a beginning and an end to it.  I have faced some storms over the years, and one has been long term thus far.  Through 2 Corinthians 4:18 though, God reminds me that it DOES have an end.  Type 1 Diabetes will end either with a cure or when God calls me home.  My prayer of course is for that cure!  Will it come in my lifetime?  Only God knows the answer to that.  In the mean time, as needed, Jesus is here with me speaking peace to the storms and peace to my heart and soul.  So then, it is well with my soul, and He is my strength.

Speak your storm, speak what it is.  Bring it to Jesus.  Trust that He will calm it or calm your heart.  Sometimes, He’ll do both!

Until next time, may you find peace in His presence.

Roller coasters and crashes

I love when the Bible study I am doing currently coincides with the activity in my daily life.  Boom!  Something terrible happened.  Crash!  God speaks truth into my life!  It took less than 24 hours for this to happen this time.

Yesterday morning, I had an “I really hate being diabetic” day.  I had listened to my body and taken less insulin than I normally do, and still something went topsy-turvy on me!  My blood sugar fell for no apparent reason.  I had to make some difficult decisions in the moment.  Thankfully, I had some glucose tablets with me that I quickly consumed, and even poured sugar into my hand and licked it out.  Disgusting, right?   Desperate times call for desperate measures.  And the roller coaster of blood sugars began.

As soon as I was stable enough, that’s when things began to fall apart.  As soon as I could, I got myself out of the situation.  Can I just say, PEOPLE ARE MEAN?!?!?  I don’t ever want people to have to experience what I experience, but yesterday was one of those, “I wish you could feel what I am feeling and experiencing right now” kind of moments.  In public, I balled like a baby.  Yes, I broke down in tears.  It took me a good hour and a lot of people talking truth into me to bring me back to baseline.  And in that process, God reminded me, “I am bigger than this, Kara.  I’ve got you.”

Then I read these words this morning:  “I NEED to open my Bible to see what God can teach me about peace and trust. Then He can show me how to become more than a good Bible study girl in my walk with Him. He’s shown me I can’t just read the verses. I have to understand and believe them, then put them into action by allowing His Truth to replace my anxiety.”  (Thank you, Walking the Daily Walk)

When I spend time with Jesus, He is able to remind me that He has the wheel.  He’s had it all along.  I try to take it from Him, try to be a backseat driver, but He NEVER LETS GO.  Even in the most chaotic of moments, He has it.  He never leaves my side.  And I know this.  I have experienced it time and time again.  I just needed yet another reminder!

How often do we all forget that though?  How many times in scripture does God remind His people, the Israelites, that He is in control?  That He is sovereign?  Oh, I don’t know, hundreds of thousands of times over the generations?  As He is providing Manna to them in the wilderness, or sending water out of the rock, or bringing them out of Egypt, or bringing them into the land of milk and honey, and even as He brings His Son to the cross, God reminds us that He provides, He loves, He is faithful.

Thank you, God, for reminding me that You are sovereign in all things, and that You call me to action through prayer.  So I pray for the people I interacted with yesterday.  I pray You remind them of Your truth.  I pray that Your Spirit will equip me with Your strength to forgive them before I interact with them again.  I pray that You will continue to walk me through this life of Type 1 diabetes, and continue giving me insights into the needs of my body.  You have brought me almost 30 years in this Type 1 journey, with minimal issues, and I am so thankful.  May I not forget that.  G0d, YOU ARE GOOD, in all things.  Teach me, mold me, make me.  I am Yours.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Health (getting there)

On November 26, 2015, Thanksgiving Day, I fell down the stairs.  My ankles hurt, but not enough to slow me down.  By Tuesday, I couldn’t put weight on them!  So I went to walk-in (ha ha, get it???) care.  I had sprained both ankles somehow!  So I found myself on the couch, immobile, for about a week.  For the following weeks, I was on crutches.  I slowed way down, and yet did not change the number of calories going in.  Very rapidly, I put on weight.  I found myself at the heaviest I had ever been (apart from pregnancy), and my joints getting worse instead of better.

Choices.  What can I do?  Well, I started on December 30 by letting go of diet soda.  I have not had a Diet Coke or Diet Dr. Pepper since then!  I am trying to stretch more.  That will be a huge help, as there are days I feel like I can’t move at all.  Yoga.  Stretching.  Smaller portions/meals.  Increase activity.  That is my start.  I am down 8 pounds already!

Certainly, I am quite far from my goal.  One step at a time, I will get there.  The strength is not my own, but a gift from God.  The support I have surrounding me is a blessing.  So, I am putting all this out there for accountability.  I don’t want to hide my journey.  So here we go!

Diabetic and 2nd trimester with baby #2

So, being diabetic (type 1) is challenging.  Add in pregnancy, and I go into hyper mode!

So I am 14 weeks pregnant.  The last 10 weeks have been challenging in getting situated with doctors.  I think I blogged earlier about my frustrating encounter with a “specialist” here in town?  If not, I can’t go into it.  I was FURIOUS and really did not respond well.

Needless to say, I took my care into my own hands for a short while before reconnecting with a doctor almost 3 hours north of us.  In that time, I was able to bring my A1c from an 8.1 down to a 6.3!!!!!  Do you know how happy I was?????  This revealed to me that I really do know HOW to take care of myself.  I just need MOTIVATION to continue to take care of myself!

Right now, that motivation is obvious:  I want this baby to be healthy!  I know I need to be healthy to help baby be healthy!

Post-birth, the first few months are obviously motivating as well:  stay healthy so I can take care of baby.  Then…life gets overwhelming.

So I ask, please pray for me throughout this pregnancy.  Pray for me come December (baby is due December 18, but will join us around December 11) that I can balance a newborn, a 23-month-old, and my health!  Pray for our finances so that I will be able to maintain using the insulin pump that is so beneficial for helping me monitor my glucose levels and insulin dosages 24 hours a day!

Pray for my emotional well-being.  I have struggled with Depression on and off the last decade or so, and know that will hit me hard after the baby comes.  Pray that I am diligent in awareness of red flags and triggers, and will get help right away as soon as I suspect those triggers are creeping in again.

In the weeks and months ahead, I will continue to work with my endocrinologist, will meet the new “specialist” that is an hour away, will be seeing my OB twice a month, and will be preparing our home for the arrival of baby #2.  Thankfully, I have a couple weeks off of work so that I can start to tackle these projects and plan out my schedule for when I do go to back to work (Seriously, I just typed “go back to bed…” think I am tired????).

As challenging as it is to live with type 1 diabetes, I am thankful for the care and provision the Lord brings.  I know this illness has been a part of developing me into who I am today, and so I press on.  Maybe, some day, there will be a cure.  Or a long-term fix easier than an insulin pump.  I am reading of more and more bionic pancreas operations and options, so hopefully those become more mainstream and affordable!  We shall see!

Just a random update…

It has been a while since I have written, so I thought I would just give you all some updates.

 

So, in reading Lies Women Believe, I have to say I have failed miserably the tests I have faced recently of these lies in my life.  I have not been able to control my emotions, and I have let my temper get the better of me on more than one occasion.  Stress has been impacting me in some very negative ways.

But there has been some good that has come out of this too.  God has given me peace in the midst of the emotional turmoil.  Though I have felt justified in my responses, I know I did not act appropriately.  The outcome has been good in the long run, though, and for this, I am very thankful for God’s grace.

 

I had some issues with a doctor’s office here in town.  We had some major miscommunications, and I felt belittled and my concerns and issues were not addressed by them.  Instead of trying to work through the issues, I had a few outbursts.  Blame it on pregnancy hormones or stress, it does not matter.  I have since refused to be under their care, and am now working with a doctor three hours away from me.  This doctor I have seen before, and am very pleased with her understanding and insight.

Now, the validation to my concerns has come, as I have seen improvement in my care even while I was monitoring my own medication and glucose levels while I was between doctors.  I am thankful for the insight God has given me to my body’s needs!  I am ever thankful for His provision for allowing me to work with the best doctors now, and to FINALLY be back on my insulin pump.  Already, I am seeing drastic improvements even after 24 hours.  Thank you, Lord!

Now, my biggest prayer request is for that of the baby growing within.  With the delay of going back on the pump, and the stress-induced blood sugar swings, there are higher risks for some complications with baby’s heart.  Please, pray that there are no lasting effects of my blood sugars on this precious baby!  We’ll know more in a month or two after we have a fetal echo test done, but I know our God is greater than any physician.  He has the ability to knit together a perfect heart, perfect lungs, perfect kidneys, etc. in this child.

He did this for Zander, and I know He can do it again.  If He chooses not to, I know I have to prepare for that.  He is the great Physician, though, and I trust Him.  In all things, I must trust Him.

In the meantime, though, will you lift me up in prayer, and lift this pregnancy and baby up in prayer?  We’re 12 weeks today!  I can’t believe we’re almost a third of the way through already!  Time flies!  And, thank you for praying!

And so it begins…

I did it.  I got on the elliptical.  And I went one mile in 10 minutes.  Then I got off and stretched.  I’ll do it again tomorrow.  And the next day.  And the next.  And I will work up to 2 miles, then 3 miles.  That should hopefully be 30-45 minutes a day.  Then, as I get faster, I’ll add another mile.

I am so out of shape!  I feel dizzy, though my glucose level was 138 prior to getting on.  It is now 121, by the way.

Water…drinking water…and stretching.  My quads and hamstrings are way too tight!

But I did it.  And I’ll do it again.

Thanks be to God!

It’s Not Fair…

I was reflecting on the Made to Crave Bible study this morning, and as I wrote my response on the M2C Blog page, I thought I should share my response here as well.  Today and tomorrow, the focus is on Chapter 10 of Made to Crave, entitled, “It’s Not fair.”

So here are my initial thoughts:

It isn’t fair…that I have type 1 diabetes…that I lost my sister to suicide…that I struggle to lose weight…blah blah blah….
All these thoughts have run through my heart and mind over the years. It isn’t fair that every time I have those thoughts, I sink deeper and deeper into depression, which brings me more frequently to the fridge and the deliciousness I find inside. Or to the pantry for the jar of peanut butter and a spoon with which to stuff my face…
I have been on a journey to health. A journey of healing. Type 1 diabetes does not ever go away, and I am 28 years into the journey. Grief is a path that ebbs and flows, with crashing waves at times and moments of serenity, basking in the memories. There are violent storms, gentle rains, and sunny days all mixed in, no matter how long it has been. It has been 14 years now without the physical presence of my dear sister. And I still go on. Granted, I have been in and out of therapy and on and off anti-depressants (currently on again).

In all of this though, the Lord has proved Himself. He provided the best counselors for me when I needed them most. He has filled my life with the best girlfriends a woman could ever want, to the point these women have become as sisters to me. I have 7 women in my life I would gladly claim as my sisters. God knew I needed them, and they needed me.

The path He has given me is not an easy one. Looking back, I can see His handiwork in it: His safety net in place to catch me with every fall. By His strength alone, I am here. I am weak, but HE IS STRONG. Paul writes that he prayed 3 times for the Lord to remove the thorn from his flesh. I have prayed hundreds, if not thousands, of times for the Lord to remove this disease from me, or to bring my sister back. And I hear His still, quiet voice whisper gently as He pulls me into the shelter of His Fortress, “My grace is sufficient for you.”
One of my first blog posts describes my journey: https://walkingfaithlearningtolove.wordpress.com/2014/01/01/footprints-in-the-sand/

The story of Abby Rike is heartbreaking and inspiring.  Her video is in the Bible Study blog page, linked at the top here, and I linked her personal page here as well.  Check it out!