The D-Word

5,110 finger pricks, 2, 160 shots of insulin, 60 insulin pump injection sites, 3 ER visits, 3 blood gas tests, numerous bruises, 300 glucose tabs, and one terrible, unforgettable gusher (see here http://wp.me/p37uFu-6X)   That’s what 2 years of diabetes looks like in numbers.

This week marks two years since I’ve been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.  In October of 2011, this skeletor girl (seriously, I weighed like 105, as a result of the diabetes I didn’t know I had, in this picture…and home girl normally has some curves she’s working with) …

The weekend before I was diagnosed with diabetes
The weekend before I was diagnosed with diabetes

Couldn’t read the power points in her Corporations class (sorry Professor Gulinello for blaming my lack of sight on your power points, but I still think you need to change the contrast on your power points…yellow font, really?), eating a ton, thirsty all the time, and waking up 3 times a night to use the restroom.  One WebMd search later and I was in the doctor’s office having my blood glucose checked.

It’s been two years since that very scary and confusing week.  Honestly, I cannot remember what life was like before diabetes. I don’t know if that’s good or bad, ha!  Last year on my one year diaversary (yea, that’s what we call our diabetes diagnosis anniversary date), a very kind friend created a website where my friends, family, etc. could leave me encouraging words (here’s the link if you want to check it out,  http://diaversaryweekend2012.wordpress.com/ thanks AM!).  You don’t know how many times I’ve gone back and read your sweet messages…they’ve kept me going on some really hard days.

I have typed and backspaced (and cried, ha!) at least 10 times while writing this post.  I very rarely dedicate a whole post to my diabetic life.  Self-psychoanalysis…probably because I try so hard to integrate my diabetes into my normal life that I sometimes forget I’m not totally normal (well, who really is normal?!? But, I forget my silly pancreas isn’t normal 🙂

Since last year, I celebrated with the sweet words of encouragement you all left me…I decided this year I would give you all some sweet words of encouragement.

If you know me well, you know that I am fiercely independent and stubborn.  One of the biggest life changes I’ve been forced to make because of diabetes is the loss of independence.  I’ve had to rely on people more often than I’d ever imagined.  This is has been such a blessing in disguise.  I’ve had to open up and ask for help from my family, friends and co-workers.  I want to very briefly try to thank all of you for the things you do everyday that mean so much to me.

A Brief Thank You List

  1. For stopping what you’re doing to wait while I check my blood sugar
  2. Making sure I have a snack when I’m low or waiting for me to give an injection when I’m high
  3. Texting, calling, or stopping by during my hospital visits
  4. Eating cheeseburgers with me in the hospital or spending a weekend in Nashville celebrating my one year diaversary
  5. Praying for me
  6. Supporting the JDRF
  7. Raising money at work to help me find cure
  8. Listening to my fears, whines, or complaints
  9. Seeing beyond the diabetes and treating me like the same person
  10. Texting me late at night when you know my blood sugar is low
  11. Asking for me to prick your fingers so you know what it feels like—Katie and Anna—I’m looking at you
  12. Leaving a sporting event to take care of me when I have the flu and my blood sugar keeps dropping.
  13. Accommodating all of my crazy diabetic needs.
  14. Loving me

In two years, I’ve learned a lot about myself…but I’ve also learned a lot about you all! You all are far more kind, supportive, and loving than I could have ever asked or hoped for.  This verse really sums you all up “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. (1 Thessalonians 5:11 NIV).  Because the most important thing I’ve learned about the people in my life….You all are strong when I am weak.

Words cannot express how appreciative I am for your strength on my behalf.  I would love to write a specialized thank you for each and every one of you, but I think wordpress has a word limit! I hope that one day I can be strong for you when you are weak.

And a very special shout out to my wonderful parents who deal with the brunt of my diabetic craziness.   You two are angels. Thank you for showing me grace and loving me like Jesus does. You’re the bomb. God must definitely spent a little more time on you all 🙂

Dear bleach blonde, choker wearing, 16 year old Amanda

Recently, I decided to get involved in the high school ministry at church.  I’ll be working with high school girls and it led me to start thinking about what I wish I would’ve know at that age.  Also, I’m rapidly approaching the big 2-6 and have been pretty introspective lately so the product of these two events gave birth to this post.

By the way, I’ve added in some of my favorite chocker pictures for your viewing pleasure.

Here are some things I wish I could’ve told 16 year old me:

1. You look better as a brunette.  No matter how hard you try, your eyebrows are just too dark for blonde hair.

Blonde hair...should've cared
Blonde hair…should’ve cared

2. Stop going to the tanning bed.  It is not a compliment when people say you look like Barbie (You’ll go to Guatemala on a mission trip to an orphanage and all of the little girls will call you Barbie because you’re so tan and have the blondest hair [see above]…this is not a good thing). Plus, you could get skin cancer and you’re already getting wrinkles from it (right in the middle of the forehead!).

3. Be best friends with your momma. She has your best interests at heart, loves you unconditionally, and really does know what she’s talking about.

4. Don’t get angry about having to wear a one piece to church functions.  It’s not the end of the world to have your stomach covered up for one day.  Plus, that’s not really the kind of attention you want—trust me.

PCB 05'  Woo!
PCB 05′ Woo!

5. Be content in the moment. You are only 16 once.  Live that carefree life.  Soak it up.  Trust me, 8 years from now you’re going to get diabetes and that’s going to suck all the carefree right on up, so enjoy it now.

6. Set high standards for yourself.  Set the bar high for the boys/men (some of them will be men) you will date.  You’ve been blessed with a Daddy that shows you how women should be loved. Don’t settle for less because you like the attention or want to have a boyfriend. You’re going to fall in love and it’s going to hurt, bad. But, it’s what you do with your hurt that’s crucial.  Embrace it and learn from it. Don’t try to ease the pain with other relationships—that’s only a small Band-Aid for a cut that needs stitches.  Ps…you’re single now and that’s totally ok, you’re really happy.

groupblogpicture

7. Be a great friend.  Value your friendships and spend time with your girlfriends.  In the next few years you will meet some women that will change your life permanently for the better.  Start preparing now for those great friendships.

8. Stop your clothes buying addiction. You do not always “need” a new outfit and the sooner you end that habit, the more money you will save us in the future.

9. Rethink having a choker for every outfit. No other explanation needed.

I really loved the brown choker
I really loved the brown choker

10.  Don’t yell at your brother every morning when he puts his shoes on in the car on the way to school. It’s not that big of a deal that he’s running late. Treasure the short times you have with him during the ride to school.  Eventually, life will make you both busy and you’ll miss the time you spent with him.

11. Don’t get the tattoo.  Just because you turn 18 and the current boy in your life (see http://runningonfaithandsugar.com/2013/02/14/all-the-single-ladies-and-fellas/) doesn’t mean it is a good idea.  26-year-old you wants to get rid of it.

finally changed up my choker game
finally changed up my choker game

12. Year 24 is going to be one of the hardest years of your life.  You’re going to be diagnosed with diabetes and life is going to change for you.  It will feel overwhelming and unmanageable, but you will persevere. You will learn just how strong you are, how much your family and friends really love you, and how great God is.

13. Love God fiercely and passionately—He loves you that much.  Pursue Him with everything you have.  If you pursued Him before all these other things, you probably wouldn’t need some of the advice found above. Nothing else will bring you more freedom than loving and trusting Him with all you have.

I would love for you all to comment with what you’d like to tell 16 year old you! It’s pretty fun!

PS Sorry Chels, you were also exposed in these photos, but you look awesome!

The Rebel Wears Lilly Pulitzer

Get it, like The Devil Wears Prada? You’ll see where I’m going with this in a minute and fully appreciate my comedic efforts.  So, I’ve been away from the blogging world for a significant period of time…for numerous reasons, but mainly because I was stuck in the rebellious cycle.  I know, that sounds weird…not rebel without a cause rebel (you know, James Dean, cigarette hanging outta my mouth) but a Christian rebel.  See, I know how God feels about me and who I am in Him, but there’s little guy the devil (I have no idea what his size is or if it’s inappropriate to call him little…he definitely causes large problems in our life, but for whatever reason…I’m calling him little) who helped me walk down a path of rebellion.

Rebellion starts out small and innocent.  For me, it started by allowing my heart to seek after its’ own desires (Jeremiah 17:9 the heart is deceitful above all things). First, it was one step towards my own wants, desires, needs and one step away from what God wanted.  One step turns into two, then into twenty… pretty easily (typing this, I can’t help but think about what my grandma always says about drinking….it only takes one sip[this is her it only takes one drink to start down the path of alcoholism talk]). Let me say for the record, sin is rebelling against God and we all rebel…every single day of our lives….because we are sinners.  Obviously, I have a sin problem (like we all do) but my problem was allowing the devil to infiltrate my thoughts and heart and feel condemnation for my sin.

See, once I started down my path I believed the lie that I couldn’t turn around.  I allowed the devil to tell me that God wouldn’t welcome me back.  I allowed myself to believe that I couldn’t share with all of you my sin problems…because you would think I was a fraud or hypocrite. I felt embarrassed and unforgiveable.  Here I am, writing a blog where I’m talking about all these Godly things…but I’m not believing a basic truth about God character. So what did I do? I just continued down the rebellious path.

So, where did that rebellious path take me? Well, it led me to pain and heartache…where all rebellion and sin takes us.  But, luckily I have a God that loves me so much and unconditionally, that He powerfully reminded me of Romans 8:1-2 (when I say powerfully, I mean powerfully…my church did a sermon series on Romans 8…talk about God-ordained). Romans 8:1-2 says, “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.”

I love this story of Jesus’ love that is found in John 15.  The disciples are with Jesus in the upper room, sharing communion and Jesus says this in verse 13 “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” (my emphasis on friends).  Jesus goes on to call them friends two more times.  It is huge that Jesus is calling him his friends. He called them friends three times.  Jesus is driving home a point to the disciples…I love you, I love you, I love you! And then He sacrificed His life for them…and what did the disciples do…they walked away…they turned their back on and they went back to doing what they did before they knew Him. In John 21, Jesus appears to them and He sees them fishing (fyi the fishing is what they used to do) out in the Sea of Galilee and the disciples did not recognize that it was Jesus on the shore and He called out to them “friends” John 21:5. This story blows me away…anyone can call someone friend at the communion table, but He called them the same name while they were in rebellion as He did while they were at the communion table.  He sought them out…not to get them back, but to bring them back into a relationship with Him.

See, I was scared to come back to Him.  I was afraid He wouldn’t want anything to do with me. But, He has shown me that His love for me is not conditioned on my rebellion.  His love for me is always the same.  It doesn’t increase when I’m singing His name in church or decrease when I’m saying a four letter word…its constant. Romans 8:38-39 says “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  Can God stop loving Jesus…nope (I hope you all yelled nope like I did writing this)! Then, as a follower of Jesus…God cannot stop loving me and He sacrificed His life for me…not to get me back…but to bring me back into a relationship with Him.

This time, when my rebellion took me to painful places…I didn’t let the devil tell me that I can’t turn around…I listen to God’s loving voice cry out loudly “I have loved you, my people, with an everlasting love. With unfailing love I have drawn you to myself.” Jeremiah 31:3

To sum it up, I am confessing my sin to all of you readers (if I still have any readers).  I let myself believe the lie. I know this post isn’t as interesting or fun to read as some of my other posts, but it is definitely the most vulnerable and heart-filled.  I pray that you all will show me some mercy and continue reading.

Also, in case you didn’t get the title…I’m the rebel (if you didn’t get that from reading the above…you probably didn’t read it) and I used to thoroughly enjoy myself some sunshine Lilly P prints.  Now, I wear them sparingly.  Mainly, because most of her dresses look terrible on me and look like I’m wearing a tent (all you super thin girls…wear away!)

And just to end on a lighter note…..the funniest Rebel I know

It’s not you, it’s me…but really…it’s you

“It’s me not you” is a phrase often said during a break-up…but how many of us actually believe that?  We really want to say “it’s not me…it’s really all you, totally you.”

I meet on Sunday evenings with a group of women for a bible study.  A few weeks ago we were discussing some different things we had all been praying about.  One of my friends shared that she had really been struggling with a bad attitude that someone else had.  She shared that it was a struggle for her to pray that God would change her heart about the person instead of changing that person’s attitude.

Since that night, I’ve been thinking about her prayer.  I can totally relate to her situation.  9 out of 10 times, I think it’s that person’s attitude, conduct, behavior that needs to change instead of me. When I think someone has “wronged” me the last thing I want to do is just forgive them.  Or if I do forgive them, I want strings attached.  I want that little joker to know I forgave him/her or others to know I forgave them.  They need the prayers, not me.  Those are the typical Amanda thoughts that go through my head.

So, why should I change my mentality?

After my friend brought this up, I kept thinking about her prayer.  “Why should I be the one to pray for a heart change?” As I meditated on that thought I began to see how hypocritical it was for me to focus on someone’s bad attitude or conduct.  In 1 Timothy 1:15 Paul describes himself as the “chief of sinners.”  Hold the phone, so Paul really thought he was a bigger sinner than someone like Judas Iscariot? (For those of you unfamiliar, Judas Iscariot was the apostle that ultimately betrayed Jesus for 30 silver coins) Diving deeper into this verse it was clear that yes, Paul really did perceive himself as the biggest sinner.  Why was that?  Because Paul was more aware of his sin than he was anyone else’s.  Obviously Paul knew that in theory other people were just as much a sinner as he was, but he thought about his own sin before he thought of theirs.  J.D. Greear says this about Paul, “When Paul thought about a need for grace, he didn’t think of others first—he thought of himself.” By the way, I love this definition of grace by A.W. Tozer:  “Grace is the good pleasure of God that inclines him to bestow benefits on the undeserving.”

See, my problem is that I see the other person as the “chief of sinners” and not me.  I can see their sin, but totally turn a blind eye to my own.  If I understood my deep need for grace, I would be naturally inclined to extend this grace to other people. I love this quote from J.D. Greear’s book Gospel:  “When you really believe the gospel, you see that you are first a sinner and only secondarily sinned against.”

Shoot…that cut straight to my heart.  My problem is that I was going through life not being aware of how much I’ve been forgiven, because if I had, I would have a totally naturally extend forgiveness to others.

The Jerry Springer Final Thought:

(Sorry for the heading, I couldn’t resist)

Ultimately, God has given me the opportunity to love like He loves. Even if our showing of grace and mercy never changes the people we forgive, it changes us and that is God’s purpose for our lives…to change us into people who reflect His image.

By the way, I love this clip from Seinfeld…probably one of my favorite “it’s not you” moments…enjoy!

The Gusher: Dealing With The Unexpected

Sorry, for the delay in a new post.  I had a busy weekend.  My best friend, Megan, is getting married and my friend Kristian and I threw an engagement party for her (pics at the end of the post!) Back to this post, I know…you’re probably thinking, “weird title” but keep reading.

So, as some of you may know, I wear an insulin pump.  It’s a pretty amazing thing.  I went from giving myself 5+ shots a day to just changing this set every three days.

All of the 'betes supplies
All of the ‘betes supplies

I won’t go into the science and technology behind it (if you have questions, you can e-mail though! I love to talk about it!)  I just got this insulin pump in January.  I was pretty apprehensive of changing the insulin set because I use this little thing that shoots it in ( a lot scarier sounding than it really is).

the cause of the gusher
the cause of the gusher

Cool story, bro…but what does it mean for me?

I began to think about this “gusher”  I thought I was prepared for everything this insulin pump could throw my way, but I was wrong.  How much is like that our lives?  We do what we can to prepare for the unexpected, the chaotic but when the unexpected and chaotic happens we become overwhelmed.  I’m sure everyone reading this has had a time in their life when they were thrown a curve ball.  When something happened to you that you didn’t expect, that through your world through a loop, yet when the unexpected happens we are overwhelmed.

From disorder to order

So what do we do? What’s the solution when the unexpected happens? I venture to say that the reason we feel overwhelmed when the unexpected happens, the reason why we shut down and just sob, is because we don’t have peace.  I know what some of you are probably thinking…peace is such a fluff word.  Everyone says peace, peace, peace…but what does having peace really mean?  I think there are two types of peace. (1) Peace with God and (2) Peace of God.

1. Peace with God

There is a gap, a relational rift between us and God.  We try to bridge that gap on our own.  I know before I was a Christian, I tried to bridge that gap with good works.  If I did all of these good things, I would to bridge the gap between us.  But the reality is that nothing we can do will bridge that gap.  The only thing that can bridge that gap is the cross and Jesus Christ. Romans 5:1 says:

“Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”  Do you have peace with God? Has there been a time in your life when you realized you were on two different sides of the cliff and you asked Jesus into your heart?

I urge you to read Romans 10:9 “If you declare with your mouth, [Jesus is Lord,”] and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” and pray that verse.

2. Peace of God

Peace with God leads to peace of God.  When we don’t have Jesus, we naturally have chaos and disorder in our lives.  I know, some of you may be thinking, “wow, Amanda…bold statement.” Seriously, look at the people around you that know Jesus.  They still struggle, they still experience the unexpected and chaotic, but how do they handle it?  I hope that they seem to have a peace about them, a joy through the hard times that is abnormal from the rest of the world. I love John 14:27:

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”

What an encouraging verse!! Jesus does not give us the peace that the world offers, He gives us his peace.  In fact, he doesn’t just give us His peace, He promises us His peace and let me tell you something I know about Jesus (and I don’t know nearly enough) HE NEVER BREAKS HIS PROMISES. No matter what happens in life… He is still God, He is still good, and He is still in control—let yourself rest in that promise!

My Favorite Peace Passage

“6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6,7

I don’t know what you’re going through in life right now…maybe everything is gravy or maybe you’re dealing with a gusher.  I can promise you that even if everything is great now, you will experience a gusher, but Jesus can bring peace.

 Engagement Pictures

The bride-to-be and Kristian
The bride-to-be and Kristian

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