Tuesday, February 16, 2016



It’s just a word until you have to live it. 

For some of us, just reading that. One. Word.  We relive a nightmare. Some of us grip our hearts while we follow those black nine letters to a stifling moment that forever changes our breathing in and breathing out.

I sit with you in that suffocating definition, and -  with some fragment of understanding that was delineated for our family in a pediatrician's examination room on September 6th, 2015 - I am reaching for you. 


“We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.” Hebrews 6:19

God prepares us for our journey. Do you believe that? Do you believe that our omniscient God sees your day before you live it, and because He is a good God in whom there is all sufficiency, He prepares you with everything you need to - not only endure - but to conquer every challenger? We, who love God, are secure.


“Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.” Psalm 42:5

My mom has always encouraged me to study God’s Word. She didn’t just tell me to read it; she told me to study it.  

So she called me one New Year’s Day, about five years ago now, and told me how she asked God to teach her one word for that year: one word. She asked Him to make that word his curriculum specific to His purpose for her.  She asked Him to teach this word to her verse by verse as He had written it, and then moment by moment as she lived it with Him - in every circumstance He knew would be her life. She prayed that He would make that word – His living Word - her realization. And so I was curious.

I asked, totally disbelieving this was even possible, “How do you know what word?” 

She answered, “He will show you. Just ask,” she encouraged me.

I have lived enough of life “not doing” what my mother had said, so I thought good and hard about praying and asking God to teach me a word. I want to know more than one, though. Just one? Question after doubtful question, I acquiesced. 

I asked God to teach me one word. “Lord, teach me one word; teach me one word you know I need to realize; one word that through all things I realize great truth about you. Let one word penetrate my heart and mind and life. Thank you that you will always teach me with perfect intention and that I can know with certainty that you do.”

There’s no magic in that prayer. I just expressed to God what I hoped for – His attention. Every year, for the past five years, God has given me a word to learn. 

I always wonder if He will do it again, like maybe this prayer - this request of God to teach me something entirely specific to my soul, can only work once. But every year after, the first of the year, I ask Him to give me a Word to learn from Him again. 

Days will pass, and the word will be everywhere. 
This past year, 2015, my word was hope. 


Hope would not let me go. Verse after verse, conversation upon conversation, pictures and songs; it was there. 


I didn't ask God for this particular word. It wasn't like I saw it, and said, "Oh, that word. Teach me that one." He gave it to me - clearly. And at first - I liked it. On paper, it was so pretty. What could He possibly want me to understand about Hope? I had no idea how hard hope could be to realize. It's just a word - until you have to live it.

“By day the Lord directs his love, at night his song is with me – a prayer to the God of my life…Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.” Psalm 42:8

When I study, I write. God’s Word, pen, and paper are powerful weapons against every enemy in 2016. What worked for Moses, Daniel, and Isaiah, King David, and the other faith warriors through whom God wrote - is an encounter quite good enough for me.

Write what you learn from God. 

Diagnosis tells a story of God. Every time. No matter what.

I was sin sick. In 1997, Jesus diagnosed me and healed my heart, soul, mind, and body. I chose to seek Him as my healer forever when I was 27 years old. And from that point on, I now choose to seek Him and find Him daily, and so I will read Him in our every diagnosis. No matter what. Will you? He is there. 

I am not telling our story for any reason except to encourage you in yours – not because we are doing this diagnosis so well, or because our story is so dramatic, or horrific – it’s not. I want to tell you our story, because God is in it, and my hope is that when you read Him in our story, you will find His Word in your own. 

Type 1 Diabetes: call out your own diagnosis, too. What is it? Sickens you to say it, doesn’t it? I feel that heart cringe, that deep ache with you. I feel it, and even as I type it I still stare at it in disbelief. Write it. Write it down and look at it. This word will forever bring glory to God in your life, because God will use it for his glory until he says it is over and then HE WILL ERADICATE IT. He authored it with a beginning, middle, and end - and that will be magnificent. Every part.  

We are living a holy conquest. I refuse to see it any other way. Open your eyes and look up. 


“Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him. Truly he is my rock and my salvation’ he is my fortress, I will not be shaken. My salvation and my honor depend on God; he is my mighty rock, my refuge. Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.”

Psalm 62:5-8

Diagnosis eats away at a healthy body slowly. 

September 5, 2015, 10:00 p.m.

Kaden, our twelve year old,  got on our bathroom scale and yelled for me. “I’ve lost 10lbs since last week.”

No. It couldn’t be. Ten pounds in two weeks? He had to be wrong.  His appetite was fierce - was not unusual - but why the weight loss?  Memories of my oldest brother’s diagnosis when he was only ten awakened and began to whisper, “Type 1 diabetes.”

We had just been with my oldest brother and his wife enjoying a beautiful day on their boat. Kaden had been frequently urinating - like every ten minutes - he HAD to go. I knew then. I just didn’t want to know. 

I asked my brother what he thought. He thought reasonably, too. “It’s summer. He’s drinking a lot. He would be lethargic.” My brother remembers the lethargy. “He wouldn’t have so much energy.”

True. But - Diagnosis creeps. 

Try to think reasonably. Isn’t positive thinking reasonable? Think positively. It can’t be. Go over his days – his health - with a mother’s eye. 

Ten pounds lost. He’s been an eating machine. Drinking relentlessly. Getting up to go to the bathroom throughout the night and every ten minutes throughout the day, and what about those painful leg cramps that wake him? What is that about?  Am I a hypochondriac mom?

My husband, Kaden, and I went over all of it in our bedroom together. I rocked in the chair where I had held my son in what I believed were safest arms so many nights. I was holding him now, but he stood before me watching my face to know how to feel. 

I gave this to you – was all I could think. I never uttered the words to him. They were too ugly. I just kept repeating them to myself until they buried me. 

Be strong. Cover fear. He sees my face, and he will inhale my fear or my faith. Choose faith. Faith is life. Faith is life. 


Who can I call? It was too late for social calls – or so I’d been taught. My second oldest brother went through diagnosis. His daughter, my niece, was diagnosed at age eleven. I wonder what my brother would say.

But it’s late. I kept thinking, “Call your brother.”

I dialed. The phone was ringing.

“Tom, I need to tell you what’s going on with Kaden.” 

I described the symptoms while he listened attentively. My sister-in-law and niece were there. I could hear them in the background as Tom was repeating our concerns. My niece yelled out, “Does he have leg cramps?”


It was then I completely knew.

Kaden was looking at me. 


“Take him to the E.R.,” my brother guided. “We will be praying.” 

Praying what? I wanted to know, but I was too afraid to ask. Praying this diagnosis isn’t so? Praying that we will be spared what others we love are enduring? Praying that we can endure it, too. Praying that, like you, the faith in our lungs we have breathed until this very moment won’t be crushed under the weight of Diagnosis. 


I called our pediatrician. Can you believe she told me to wait until the morning? Yes. She told me to call the office when it opened at 8a.m. and - make an appointment.  

Moms, calling all moms, let me boldly voice one truth: You are your child’s primary physician. God leads you to care for your child. When you know something is not right, move heaven and earth and the pediatrician that is in your way to find out what is wrong. 

We’re so concerned about looking like a hypochondriac mother sometimes, though, aren’t we? 

I’m so afraid of what you think about me I ignore the truth. Often. In a thousand circumstances.

Do you do this, too? 

My comfort in the fact that I hold this tinfoil shield before a judgmental world - or pediatrician in this circumstance - is this: God is my God. He is my true shield. 


Kaden slept soundly in the arms of God that night. Perfect rest, except for the few times he had to wake up and go to the bathroom, which was the disease taking its course.

I did not sleep. At 2a.m. I went to listen to him breathing. Then I went to my learning place (our family room) with God. His Book on my lap and my journal over it, I wrote exactly this: 

9/6 /15

Fearful of diabetes in Kaden. Speak to me, Jesus. 

I then began to read the Bible, as God took me verse to verse.

“To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul.” Psalm 25:1

“…cause me to hear your lovingkindness in the morning, for in You do I trust; cause me to know the way in which I should walk, for I lift up my soul to you.” Psalm 143:6-8

“Whatever you ask in my name, that I will do.” John 14:13

When I read this verse, I cried out in pen, “Jesus, in your name, I ask – heal my son.” 

As I wrote these words I heard my mother’s voice crying the very same words forty years before my own. Why must we know this disease, Lord? Why won’t you bring healing to all of us who call out to you? Why? Why won’t you heal us? 

I was mad. Mad and shaking in my anger. For a long time I cried angry tears. I let it out. And then, I read on. 

“My soul waits for the Lord – more than those who watch for the morning; yes, more than those who watch for the morning.” Psalm 130:5-6

“Come, Lord Jesus.” Revelation 22:20

“Rejoicing in hope, patient in affliction…” Romans 12:12

I had to stop there. Tears were heavy. Rejoice in hope – in the midst of our suffering. I can rejoice that we have hope. There is always hope, because God is.  

So, hope in what? Hope that God will do my bidding? 

No. Change your hope. That’s much too small. Hope in what? I had to think of all the false hopes I had in that moment…

Hope in healing? Hope in a cure? Hope in the end of sorrow? Hope for a good doctor? Hope it will not be hard? Hope it won’t last long? Hope in the release of pain and guilt for what we encompass genetically and pass on to our children ignorantly? God! Answer me! Save me! I’m suffocating in my ignorance. Hope in what? 

“Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” Romans 5:1-5

We hope in the glory of God. And we hope in His glory in the midst of suffering. And hope given to us by His Spirit will not put us to shame. 

Glory to God comes. Through you.

Hope in God. 

I read on. 

“We must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God.” Acts 14:22

Stop asking why. 

“Whoever does not bear his cross and come after me – cannot be my disciple.” Luke 14:27

Those who are his followers carry crosses. It’s a defining mark that we all bear something we must die on. Something must kill this flesh of ours, so that only God’s Spirit lives for us. 

“No one should be shaken by these afflictions; for you yourselves know that we are appointed to this.”

I Thessalonians 3:3

My son has been appointed to this. This is given to him by God who gave Him life. I didn’t give him life, nor could I give him a purpose. Only God can determine what is good. My good for my son is pathetic compared to what God has done. 

“Jesus, speak more to me,” I prayed. 

“My ways are higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8-9

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:3

Yes. Pray this. Pray this for me. 

God of hope, I want to abound in hope. 

“…A living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ – yet believing you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory.” I Peter 1:3,8

Oh God that you would teach this to my son. 

And there - in my hope -I realized. He was. He was teaching his mom.

At 6a.m. I called my mother. The truths God has taught her, she has taught her children. She is brimming with truth, full of faith, and she is a woman of prayer. 

I wept with her over the battle we were about to face. Understanding every word that God had said to me, I needed to now – live those words - know each truth -  in my skin. Knowing is a hard word. 

“Do you believe this?” I heard Jesus’ words to Martha at the tomb of Lazarus in John 11.

You can hear, and know, and not believe. 

Learning hope would not only take God’s voice, it would require my life, giving my son’s life to God, to believe it. 

My husband took our daughter to church, because for my husband and daughter diagnosis was not happening. 

I drove my son to the pediatrician for our 8:15a.m appointment. Yes. I had to make an appointment. For me the diagnosis and all the frustrations that would be born with it - was here. 


I looked at my son as I drove, and not wanting to scare him, but rather wanting to prepare him, I said, “Kaden, a tidal wave is coming. We are going to ride it, and you are going to be okay.” 

His breath was so sweet with sugar that had spilled into his blood all night; I could literally smell his disease. He drank water from a clear plastic bottle and looked at it in disbelief. 

“Mom, this totally tastes like lemonade.”

The walls of the pediatrician’s room were once painted so beautifully. When my babes were little we used to make up stories about the little children laughing and playing in pinks, yellows, purples, and blues. Now the walls were green, and ugly. I’ll never forget exam room 5. 

The diagnosis came. I held tightly to my son while the realization pressed in on him. He wept, but I refused. “Kaden God has you. We have Him, and you are going to be okay. You are strong, because God has prepared you.”

He wept. He was not afraid; he was broken. I held him in arms made able by God alone, and let him cry.

I remember very little from the point of exam room five to the emergency entrance at Children’s Hospital. I know I called my husband. I cannot tell you what he said. I know I called my mother. I cannot tell you what she said. I know I called my in-laws. 

I know, when I pulled up to the esplanade, my husband and daughter and my mother were standing there waiting to take Kaden into their arms and walk him in. I know my husband came around to the driver side door and told me that he would park the car, so that I could do the only thing I wanted to do – be with my son. 

I know that when Kaden was tucked safely into a hospital room bed, with IV’s running and insulin - not his own - not ever again - was finally pumping into his blood, I walked down the hall to get ice and water. And I know my husband silently followed me. He turned me around to face him when we were alone,  and held me in arms that only God could make able, and he let me cry. 

I could not look at him. 

Guilty tears ran down my face. 

“I did this to him. I gave him this disease.” 

“No,” he said. 

 I had to say it. I was drowning in my shame. I did this to my husband, to our child. 

“Would you still have married me had you known I would give you a son with this disease?”

“I would marry you a thousand times. I would have no other son.”

Hope does not put us to shame.

 “I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.” John 14:18

Who was there for you? I know that I know you were not alone. Who held you while you cried, while you yelled, while you said everything ugly your skin needed to ooze, so that you could expel the choking lies and breathe in truth?   

Those who love us were there. 

"...I will never leave you, nor forsake you."  Hebrews 13:5


I have learned, in the midst of Diagnosis, that love shows up. Love climbs into your diagnosis with you, and will not leave you in the discomfort of your tears. Love is not easily offended…Love always protects. Always trusts. Always hopes. Always perseveres. Love never fails. 

Love is present.

My husband and I were amazed as we watched our son learn to master his disease, so that it would never master him. From his very first shot, he wanted to be in charge. That is entirely a work of God, because independent is not a characteristic of our son. In everything, he prefers to be cared for – except now - in his disease. Here is where God has given him a sense of power and self-control. 

Only God knows how to shape the heart of a man. He is growing our son in ways I could not have ever dreamed or imagined. Because only God knows the purpose for which our son was made. 


I hate this diagnosis. I am not at the point where I can thank God for it. I am sure I will one day. But, as for right now, I don’t know if I will ever be able to fully express gratitude this side of heaven. When you hear me - because you will - it will be the work of God. Only. For those who preach that message, "Praise God in the Storm",  I’m still learning, so preach on. I'm listening. I'm teachable. What I am able to do by the work of God in my mother's heart is thank Him for all He is constantly doing with this disease that is good, and through this disease that is indeed good. There is always, daily good. 

Kaden now says that he wants to be a doctor who will one day help kids with diabetes. 


My diabetic diva niece is currently in college studying to be a nurse who will one day help kids with diabetes. 


Only God can shape the heart of a man or a woman for His purposes. 

I don’t think that every diagnosis results in someone joining the medical field. My son has yet to get through 7th grade science with a B, so we’ll see how this plays out. And my oldest brother - 40 years a diabetic - would laugh at the thought of ever wanting to be any kind of physician. He works best with power tools that have nothing to do with blood. (Love you, Brother!) 

A diagnosis  results in various mighty works of God. Thousands of people have turned their ear to listen to faith in Christ expressing itself in the midst of terminal diagnosis. Many have given their lives to Christ as a result of a life-changing disease. Because of diagnosis, communities have come together to pray, to raise money for research, to bring help and comfort to those who are in great need. Because of diagnosis, the grace of God has kind faces and strong hands. Thousands of people have given their lives to God, because of the awesome glory of our Savior in one’s diagnosis. 

 Diagnosis may be a weapon in the hand of the enemy, but the power of God through His people turns that weapon against him, and will continue to do until this story of disease on the earth comes to its everlasting end. Diagnosis cannot limit life in hand of the One who authors it. Life is Christ, not our flesh. Life is Christ. I am learning this. A new word - Life. The flesh is not life. Christ is life. 


Every diagnosis is a story of the grace of God in this life we were blessed to live - temporarily - in flesh. I do believe God is in your diagnosis, and I do hope that you will tell others what He has done in the midst of it. Your story is not insignificant. That’s a lie. I needed to tell  you that, because I believed it, too.

Someone else shares the same diagnosis letters with you - the very same black letters that shape a word - that brought them to a moment of life change, and that someone needs to hear and know - HOPE.

We were then, on 9/6/15, and we are now, grateful for every diagnosis story. No story was, nor is, too great or too small. Every story of God’s grace teaches, encourages, and brings hope. 

Daily we face new challenges, very real struggles for our son. Diagnosis gets that, right? We move past the exam room into life and death stuff. So, we are desperate for what we have always been desperate for - the Word of God – one word every day, to pierce our unknowing and become our well-known. 

We pray, “Lord, teach us one word; teach us one word you know we need to realize; one word that through all things we realize great truth about you. Let one word penetrate our hearts and mind and life. Thank you that you will always teach us with perfect intention and that we can know with certainty that you do.”

Every day one verse from God's Book saves my life. Every day one Word from God awakens the warrior in my son. Every day one verse grows our family together toward God. Every day one verse brings hope. 

In the midst of Diagnosis, what I am secure in daily is this:  the Word of God is living and active. I will never turn my ear from listening for God. By His Word we live forever…with hope. 

“We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.” Hebrews 6:19


I will never read this word the same way again. Just like diagnosis. 
It's not just a word. We live it to know God well. 

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:3

Yes. Pray this. Pray this for those we love who Hope in the midst of diagnosis. Joy. Peace. The Power of the Holy Spirit.