My biggest fear was realized last month...and I am surviving.
For 30 years I've watch my mom deal with diabetes. Endless injections, close monitoring of every bite she takes, medical complications from normally simple illnesses...in my mind it's been a dark cloud over her life. And I've always feared that this would become my fate too. So when I was finally brave enough to share my symptoms with my U.S. doctor just a week before we returned home to Honduras, I was sure my life was over.
I was officially diagnosed just six days before we left the comforts and "safety" of our first-world medical system. But I've known I'm diabetic for months, maybe years. This was devastating confirmation of my worst fear. If my incredible, strong, brave and resilient mom was followed by the dark cloud of diabetes, then I was facing an entire solar eclipse.
I was certain we'd have to delay our travel, at the very least. At worst, I didn't know how I'd be able to manage the disease on the mission field. I felt all our dreams for a powerful ministry that changes lives for the Kingdom of God were slipping away. So I prayed. "God, don't let this happen to me...You need me at my best!" But God didn't respond to my arrogance and selfishness.
Instead, I met with doctors and dieticians to talk about life-changing and impossible new daily regimens and the possibility of having my feet amputated if I didn't follow the rules. So I prayed again. "Why are you doing this to me, God?" I didn't even wait to hear an answer before my own internal voice answered. "You deserve this. You knew you were at risk, but you still ate awful and didn't exercise enough. You're fat and now you're going to be miserable too," I grumbled in my soul. "You've ruined everything." I was drowning in self-pity, shame, guilt and an ego big enough to block out all light—my own personal eclipse.
That's how I was feeling that last Sunday before we flew to Honduras. The last place I wanted to be was around my supportive, excited church family eager to hear our plans for a successful ministry. And I sure didn't want to face my Heavenly Father that morning. But He had something to say to me—a reminder.
The worship team led us in a few songs that barely registered in my addled mind. But then the first few notes of a familiar and beloved hymn caught my attention. It was my favorite—the song my mom sang to me and I sang to my own baby to comfort him. Even in my sullen anger, I couldn't help but sing out Amazing Grace. And as I sang "The Lord has promised good to me," all the lies, fear, dark clouds and eclipses rolled away. Even my ego had to fall under the weight of this Truth. The Lord has promised good to me.
Mom has had diabetes for 30 years. In that time, she has raised two children, travelled around the world, paid off her mortgage, retired, led a youth group and then a Sunday school class, started a ministry to the poor, conquered far tougher battles and experienced joy beyond belief. She is a beloved Nana, trusted friend and faithful example to her community and to me.
I've had diabetes for one month. In that time, I've moved to a third-world country, started planning for Nick's wedding, taught English classes and began rebuilding a ministry. I've also discovered a community of supportive missionaries and co-workers that live with this disease and are doing amazing things for the glory of God in spite of it. This is the good we've all been promised.
Right now, I'm learning and adapting. I've started a new diet and medications and my glucose levels have remained in the normal range since we arrived in Honduras. I'm surviving, and maybe even thriving. Diabetes is inconvenient at times, but it is no longer a dark cloud or eclipse. The Lord has promised good to me.