Friday, November 18, 2011

Five Actions When You Hear Bad News

I haven’t posted much lately, because our family was recently hit with some serious news. On August 23, we learned that my son has type 1 diabetes, an autoimmune disease. We’ve been visiting doctors and a nutritionist, learning to use an insulin pump, and generally adapting to the presence of a monster we never wanted. I’m very thankful that my son is in a nationwide study that has connected him with the latest equipment and care from some great, caring professionals. The supplements he’s taking also seem to be dampening his immune system and protecting his pancreas. The other good news is that a cure for diabetes is expected “soon.” I hope it’s my version of soon!

At first, I was sad and scared. I knew very little about this disease, and I’d heard horror stories of long-term complications involving blindness and amputations. I dreaded what it could mean for my son. I was quickly told that we can expect him to live a full, normal life; yet as a mom, I can’t easily dismiss thoughts of what is now possible. I’ve learned it’s best not to dwell on it.

We live on a dangerous planet. Prolonged seasons of peace are unusual, for both nations and individuals. We face war, broken relationships, disease, financial fears, and natural disasters.  Sometimes, a life storm explodes overhead without warning, spinning us out of a false sense of security. But storms have a silver lining. They can draw us closer to God and refine our character. They can establish a deep level of trust and intimacy with our Creator, equipping us to love and empathize with others.

I’ve noticed several actions that help me cope with our storm. First, I can resist the temptation to deal with it in my own strength. 2 Corinthians 12 examines the paradox that we are only as strong as we are content to be weak. Jesus tells Paul, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Cor. 12:9) When we rest in the arms of Jesus, we can receive His strength, wisdom, and power.

We’re also invited to connect with God through His word and prayer. Here we find promises to which we may confidently cling. These promises change our outlook. They remind us of God’s presence in our situation.

By keeping a record of God’s faithful words to us, we can set aside some hope for our dark moments. A friend reminded me of Joshua 1:9: “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” The verse in my planner for the week of my son’s diagnosis was Psalm 56:3: “What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee.” And here's part of a devotional I read, the day my son was diagnosed: “Entrust your loved ones to Me: release them into My protective care. They are much safer with Me than in your clinging hands.... Watch to see what I will do.” (From Jesus Calling, by Sarah Young.) Recalling these and other encouraging words strengthens my faith when I feel afraid or overwhelmed.

It’s important to act on any inspirations God might give us. I felt led to set up a prayer page online for my son. As we progressed through the diabetes learning curve, it was so encouraging to know that people knew what was going on and could pray accordingly.

At some point, it’s time to pick ourselves up and deal with reality. This follows acceptance, and of course, it’s best done in the strength God gives us (see point one!). 1 Peter 1:13 tells us, “Prepare your minds for action.” I’m learning all I can about diabetes, without developing an unhealthy obsession. Educating ourselves tends to rob our troubles of their power. When we know what we’re dealing with, we gain a sense of control.

How have you dealt with your trial? Has God led you to take any unusual action? Do you have a miracle to share?


  1. I'm visiting you back and now following you. I'm so sorry to hear about your son's new struggle! I will pray for him and for your family.

  2. Sorry to hear about that, Lisa.. Yes, do remember God will never forsake nor leave us.. in all ways, acknowledge Him and trust Him...He will turn all bad to good...
    That was what He has done in my life.. my husband was taken away when he was 37 and I was left with 3 young kids/toddler.. but looking back, God has been good to us.. nothing can change the fact that He is always In Us, For Us and With Us!
    God Bless You, and your Family!

  3. I'm so sorry about your son's new diagnosis. I hope I can give you a little comfort by telling you that I've been a Type I diabetic for 32 years (diagnosed at age 7) and have been pumping for the last 6 of those years. I am in great health (knock on wood) and have led a very normal life and had a great childhood...well except for all the shots I used to do! LOL! I will keep your son in my prayers and you too. Please feel free to holler if you ever have any questions.

  4. Thank you for sharing your trial and your strength. This is a great post! Thank you also for visiting my blog today.
    God Bless!

  5. Thank you all so much! Kayce, I'll be in touch. It is so encouraging to hear of people with type 1 who are doing so well! Reanaclaire, I'm so sorry for your loss! I know how hard it is to be left alone with young children. Mine three were also small when my husband left. You are so right - God is FAITHFUL, 100 percent. We've learned we can totally trust Him. Some of the best stories come out of storms like yours. Love to all,

  6. Oh wow - praying for you and your son as you walk this difficult journey.

  7. Thank you for this beautiful post and for adding it to the Christian Moms Blog Hop! I agree that education is a great source of strength, but through my own personal experience, I found I was spending too much time seeking information about my illness, that I began to neglect more important things. Asking the Lord to lead me to the information I needed has been a great time saver.

    Merry Christmas!

  8. nice post! thank you very much for sharing...loves soraya

  9. I'm so sorry, Lisa, to hear about the diabetes. I don't know which son it is. I pray that you'll experience God's grace deeply in your heart as you continue walking forward. God loves your son more than you do...