I came across a testimony video from the lead singer of MercyMe about the song Even If. He shared about his 15-year-old son who has type 1 diabetes, and the enormous challenges – physical, mental, emotional -- of living with a chronic disease.
My daughter is also 15 and also has type 1. She was diagnosed 6 years ago, on Mother’s Day. It is an auto immune disease where she has to become her own pancreas, determining how much insulin to give via shot or pump based on food intake, activity level, time of day, etc. It is a 24/7 management process and constant reminder; an ongoing juggle between high and low blood sugar levels. She dealt with countless finger pricks to test her blood. Shots 4-7 times a day to take insulin her body doesn’t produce. The immediate worry of lows and passing out, and the long-term worry of highs with potential for permanent organ damage. Never leaving the house like a carefree kid…always having a bag packed with a blood testing machine and a juice box or two plus snacks in case she goes low. I prayed and cried when I dropped her off at school each morning and met her at lunch everyday to help count carbs and decide how much insulin to take. It often felt like I didn’t breathe until she was back in the car at the end of the day.
I remember thinking that between the two kids, she is the one who could handle it. She is naturally responsible…an old soul. I was thinking there is no way my son (3 years younger) could handle such a burden and responsibility.
I would be proven wrong 8 months later, on Valentine’s Day, when he was also diagnosed. I couldn’t believe it. How could both of our kids have this horrible disease? It wasn’t fair. My stomach was just starting to not be nauseous with worry all the time. How in the world would we do this?
While we wanted to keep things normal, the reality is, it changes everything. Nothing deepens a prayer life like trials, when nothing else matters but hearing God say, “we will get through this together.” Maybe that is part of why the Bible tells us to consider it pure joy when we face trials of any kind (James 1:2)…they draw us closer to our purpose -- closeness to God.
Fast forward six years, at 15 and 12, and I still get nervous dropping them off new places for extended periods of time. I still worry when my son is out on the soccer field for an entire game and his blood sugar has been wonky. I still panic a bit when my daughter is on the dance floor in the middle of a performance and away from all of her stuff. I’m already worried about her going away to college in two years. But it is in these things that are way too big for me that I give it God. There is no other option, when believe me, I would look for one. Against this disease, I know full well I am not in control.
I don’t know God’s purpose in this, but I know He has one. It is a hard thing to KNOW that God can heal, but for whatever reason is not. It is a hard thing to KNOW that God can keep any bad effects of this disease from happening, but for whatever reason He may not. But if I believe IN God; if I BELIEVE God, then I have to be able to rest in that. No matter what happens.
From the song, “I know you’re able and I know you can to save through the fire with your mighty hand. But even if you don’t, my hope is You alone….I know the sorrow and I know the hurt would all go away if You just said the word. But even if you don’t, my hope is You alone.”
“They say it only takes a little faith to move mountains…well good thing, because a little faith is all I have right now. But God, when you choose to leave mountains unmovable, give me the strength to be able to sing, ‘It is well with my soul.’”