There are Treasures in the Darkness
Five months ago, my son was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. Five months ago, I learned that we would have to regulate my son's carbohydrate intake, test his blood sugar several times a day, give him four shots a day, monitor him for low blood sugar, and be prepared at all times to correct those lows. I felt like my world had turned upside down. Five months ago, I learned that my daily life/daily routine was going to have to look different than it ever had before. Five months ago, I had no idea how I'd manage that daily routine...
Now, five months later, I can look back and see that God was marvelously with my family through it all: the pain, the struggle, the adjustments...And he's still with us as we continue to make adjustments.
I remember reading a commentary on a passage in Isaiah years ago, and one of the concepts really stuck with me: "There are treasures that can only be found in the darkness." Isaiah 45:3 in the New American Standard Bible says the following: "I will give you the treasures of darkness and hidden wealth of secret places, so that you may know that it is I, The Lord, the God of Israel, who calls you by your name."
There are definitely treasures that I have received as a direct result of the last few months of internal and external struggles. I have learned so much about true internal strength found in Christ, about God's omnipresence, about how my family operates, about the dynamics of my family, about what I truly value, and, surprisingly, about myself.
Here is some of what I have learned:
God is there and He is so not taken by surprise when life becomes tough. As a matter of fact, He gives us strength in the midst of those moments. He supplies a special grace that you just can't imagine until you're walking through the situation that warrants extra grace. He is also everywhere. When Little Tech Guy spent five days in the hospital when he was diagnosed, God showed Himself to us in so many ways. First of all, so many members of the body of Christ rallied around us and were there for us. Secondly. having various conversations with different employees and staff at the hospital, I was able to discover that a few of them were also believers. Just knowing that brought me some joy and comfort over that time.
There are days when I have to make decisions that wouldn't have made sense to me before and might not make sense to others. It doesn't matter. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt what is important to our family. That sometimes means making decisions that others don't understand, but I now have a heightened awareness of what my family needs and a renewed sense of our family priorities. Those are our priorities and come first.
While I already knew that what affected one member of our family affected the rest, I never saw that more clearly than when each and every one of us in our family of four grappled with the fact that Little Tech Guy has a chronic disease that will require medical intervention. 1 Corinthians 12 :26 talks about how when someone in the body of Christ suffers, all suffer...and I saw that happen. I saw that in my close friends, my church family, my extended family, and my family of four. Never before had I seen so acutely how my family does actually operate as one single breathing unit.
I learned some things about myself: I can do things that I never thought I could do before. This boils down to something as simple and even crazy-sounding as being able to count carbohydrates, balance out carbs and proteins, and plan meals in ways that used to intimidate me greatly. I have honestly had thoughts in the past about how I could never think through all those nutritional facts and information. The entire concept seemed so overwhelming. Know what? I proved myself wrong...and THAT, my friends, is quite an accomplishment. Furthermore, I am challenged (by myself) to see what other "totally cannot do that EVER" areas in my life I can tackle.
I also realized that there is something else--something very important--that I can do: I can give GRACE to myself. I don't know about you, but I'm my toughest critic: my house is never clean enough, my recipes are never quite good enough, I never quite perfect certain skills the way I think I should...You know what, I don't have the energy or the time to be that tough on myself anymore. I'm still learning (aren't we all), but I've had to learn recently to just let some things go. And that, my friends, is perfectly okay!
While I would never choose to go through a difficult time and never choose to walk through darkness, I am amazed by our incredible God who gives us treasure even in the midst of those dark times.