Battle with Sugar

We went on a little babymoon last week….to Houston and New Orleans. I know, it’s not what most think of when you think of a babymoon, but we’ve always wanted to see the deep South and there’s a next to no chance of us bringing kids to the French Quarter. It was also a great way to see and catch up with my dear friend Dahn (miss you!)….thank you for housing us and doing all the driving!!

Blackened and Fried alligator

Blackened and Fried alligator

I had a list of things I wanted to eat when we were in New Orleans:

  • catfish
  • crawfish
  • alligator
  • beniet
  • gumbo
  • fried green tomatoes
  • fried pickles

And tried them all we did. My favorites are blackened alligator and cajun-seasoned boiled crawfish. (My Mom is reading this and is probably tisk-tisking me for eating exotic meats and shellfish

Cajun seasoned crawfish

Cajun seasoned crawfish

while pregnant. The Chinese have a very long list of forbidden foods during pregnancy…but just a “little bit” can’t hurt can it?? For the record, I restrained from eating any oysters though they were really cheap and I totally wanted to.)

The biggest battle was with managing my blood sugar in gestational diabetes. All the breads were made with refined white flour. (No sprouted or whole grain products anywhere.) I kept to my restricted carb servings per meal and we were walking daily but still my blood sugar was really high. It was so discouraging each time I checked my sugars. Around day two of the trip I started to connect corn products to particularly high readings. If I ate corn chips…or cornmeal battered fried stuff…my sugar would take FOREVER to come back down. While I could avoid corn chips, the battered stuff was harder to avoid. Finding a decent salad was difficult too. Many vegetarian options were loaded with sugary carbs (i.e. white rice, breads) so that wasn’t a viable option either. I ended up increasing my insulin doses…which helped…but it was hard to be surrounded by all the food I wanted to try and had to hold myself back to just a couple bites. And I

Icing sugar coated beniets

Icing sugar coated beniets

skipped all desserts entirely. Man! For someone who really likes to eat….this was a tough battle. I felt I tried really hard with minimal results. And then I would worry for Baby thinking about all that sugar passing to him/her.

Skywalker reminded me that we really can only control so much. Trust is still in God and not in all the things I try to do…though doing them is still a good and wise thing. Three days in New Orleans compared to the three months left in pregnancy isn’t going to make massive impacts…but I should probably pick up the exercise now that I’m back home. I’m also SO happy to be eating green vegetables again!

Week 26: Poke poke poke

(Image not mine)

It’s official…I have gestational diabetes…and it’s bad enough that I need insulin. =(

Some background info: Gestational Diabetes occurs when the placenta produces some hormones/chemicals that end up causing the mother’s body to become resistant to her own insulin. As blood sugars start to rise, her pancreas tries to make MORE insulin to break down the sugars. As the baby and placenta grows into the third trimester, more hormones/chemicals are produced, making her body even more resistant to insulin. They don’t know why it happens to some women and not to others; about 18% of pregnant women are affected. Of that, 7% can’t keep up with natural insulin production so extra insulin from outside sources is needed. That’s my case.

It was nearing the end of 2013 when sugar started showing up in my urine tests. That lead to me taking the glucose test at Week 23 and soundly failing it. I received the diagnosis Jan 2 and was referred to the gestational diabetes clinic right away. Diet restrictions were given at Week 24, and I was happy to note my regular diet already met the guidelines I was told to follow. Thankfully, I’m also not a big carb or sweets eater. But, I do have to watch out for those big bowls of noodle soups I like. Added to my regiment was the daily finger pokes to test blood sugar. Before meals, blood sugar should be under 5.0 and after meals, it should be under 7.0.

I hate getting my fingers poked. (Reminds me of when I stapled my fingers in younger years. Twice.) For the first week, my heart sank a little more every time my before-meal sugar level was over 5.0. Even after sleeping all night my blood sugar was too high. Actually…it was too high before every meal. All my after-meal levels were normal. My pancreas couldn’t make enough insulin for the minimum carb diet I was on. At Week 25, the endocrinologist, nurses and dietitian all told me it doesn’t look like diet or exercise will make much difference in my case…I will need insulin.

I was pretty bummed.

But they all reassured me that it’s nothing I did wrong and there isn’t anything I could’ve done differently to prevent this. Thankfully this is a very well manageable condition and I can totally have a healthy pregnancy. So, even if I have to jab needles at myself through the day, Baby will be healthy. That’s the main thing.

The scary statistic is that 50% of women who get gestational diabetes will become Type-2 diabetic in about ten years. I do NOT want that to be my life…..50% chance is a very big number. I’m reminded and am grasping onto God in this….He is bigger than any statistic. He is Healer and Restorer. He was faithful as I wrestled with Graves Disease (over one year medication free now!) and He will be faithful in this too. Walking with Him is about learning to surrender and trust in HIM and not in anything of the world. As counter intuitive as that journey is sometimes, I’m determined to do this. Trust. So help me God.

Question: Is intentional childlessness biblical?

We’ve been coming across a few articles on the hot topic of “intentional childlessness” (for married couples)…and whether that is biblical or not.

http://community.focusonthefamily.com/b/jim-daly/archive/2013/08/19/is-intentional-childlessness-biblical.aspx
http://www.boundless.org/adulthood/2004/motherhood-on-trial
http://www.relevantmagazine.com/life/why-i-decided-not-have-kids

Skywalker and I do want children, though perhaps for slightly different reasons. Part of my reasoning is to live in obedience to God’s design for marriage. I believe that marriage is for intimacy AND procreation; and we can’t choose only the parts we want. A lot of the comments we read in response to the articles seem to agree that not all have the gift of parenthood, nor have the desire to be parents, so they should be able to opt out of parenthood. Or that every child should be “wanted”. One commenter replied that “Mary probably didn’t want to be pregnant with Jesus as an unwed, impoverished teen, but she submitted in obedience.”

Certainly God does not promise marriage and children to all. Nor should anyone expect it. But I do believe that if God has blessed you with a marriage partner, then you should be open to receiving children from God out of that marriage. If God does not provide children within the marriage, then perhaps that too is His “gift”…for the couple to build into spiritual children or to adopt or be foster parents etc. I believe it kind of boils down to submitting to what God would give or withhold (and I’m not saying it’s easy either way) as opposed to intentionally choosing not to. I should add that people should also be intentional about why they want to have children too.

We posed this question to @RevTedNg and this was his reply (published with permission):

In a word, the answer is: no.

The Bible at no point provides license to take up this position for theological, cultural and historical/technological (they had no reliable contraceptive options) reasons.  Even in principle no support can be found in the text.  In fact it would suggest the opposite.

I read the articles you sent  along and the first two are rather reflective while the third one was  well, fluff.  One must indeed take into account the age, life-stage, experience and expertise of the authors.

There are two ways to see having children – blessing and  curse.  There really is not legitimate in-between.  As a blessing, children are a natural form of spiritual and life challenge – contributors to character formation as well as joy.  They are also a huge  responsibility.  Responsibility, however, in certain cultures (our own in particular which is still shifting but in this direction) can be seen as negative, even detrimental.   In this perspective, children are a burden, they are inefficient and inconvenient.  Having a child is likened to having a 20 year prison sentence.  And frankly, this is a first-world problem (to use that  hipster phrase).  Our culture also tries to impose that value and our solutions on the rest of the world, whether it be in the form of contraception or abortion.

It is also the choice of an urban developed world issue because of expense. Having children can mean a reduction of living standard and an increase in cost of living.  The argument of “no unwanted child” can be an excuse for a cold pragmatism or even personal comfort. It verges on the reprehensible when we pretend that it is actually for the  sake of the unborn that we do this “good.”  I am also aware that in other cultures, children may have some economic value a workers (especially in agrarian settings) but this is also not ideal as they are reduced to commodities which is incompatible with Biblical values of people.

A case in point is China’s one child law.  So what do we get in this society?  Abortion, infanticide and abandonment not only of girl babies but also those who have disabilities an challenges.  They are treated as burdens, as flesh and not as people.  In the Christian faith, life is supposed to be a miracle and sacred.  Every person bears the image of God.  This is a Biblical value applying to human life whether young or old.

Of note, the Catholic church upholds its ban on contraception based on the theology of sovereignty of God and the sacred mystery of life and therefore speaks against intervening in God’s natural order.  Non-Catholics (and unofficially, a number of Catholics) allow for contraception based on arguing stewardship effectively enough to challenge the Catholic position while maintaining the sacredness of life argument.  It is something still worthy of exploration and openness if not dialogue.

What one might ask of intentionally childless couples, however, is self-reflection regarding why they chose to be so.   Short of medical issues (which include a host of things including the risks of age) more comes to light about one’s thoughts and condition.   This may ultimately be a matter of discipleship.  We treat those who have this perspective with kindness and understanding, inviting them to share their perspective so that we can come alongside to understand and explore the issue with sensitivity.  Of course, time, in itself will make the issue moot.

So while it is impossible to argue for intentional childlessness from the Bible, it does not necessarily fall into the category of intentional sin.

I have known people who have been traumatized by their upbringing to the degree that they are adverse to having children.  Perhaps, in time, God  will be able to heal their emotional wounds where they can move beyond  that perspective.  At the same time, I have listened to friends  who took this position but after some time (with much listening to God) they changed their minds.

One book that I think is very significant to anyone considering (or not considering) parenthood is Sacred Parenting by Gary Thomas.  A friend who said they would never have kids reversed their position after reading this book.  Now he is the happy father of two.  I do not assume that this is the norm but I do wonder.

Anyways, I hope this provides some framework for considering how we respond to this issue with truth and grace in hand.

Brokenness Series

I wrote this series over Lent, a time where we reflect on vices or sins that have a grip in our lives as well as to consider what virtue might take its place instead as we ask God to forgive and remove those vices. It was an interesting experience to recall those memories….memories of situations where I was so hurt yet it pointed to a root problem that was within my own heart.

I remember, also when I was 18 and asking to be broken, that God would also show me what’s so amazing about His grace. Grace was for those who needed what they didn’t deserve and I thought I was pretty good, hence deserving, actually. And well, looking back, I see I DESPARATELY needed His grace and the grace of so many others. I still do. So, I challenge you, if you think your vices are minimal or under control, or if you don’t know why you need God’s grace, consider asking Him to show you. He will. And will also walk/carry you through it.

  1. Did I ask for this?
  2. But I’m smrt!
  3. Friends Forever
  4. I don’t GET fired!
  5. False Starts
  6. Nothing could’ve prepared me for this
  7. Still broken

Brokenness: Still Broken

(Image not mine)

Intelligence
Friends
Jobs
Relationships
Family

It started fifteen years ago…and now, it’s kind of quiet…at the same time not. All through last year I struggled around control of my health in having Graves Disease. I imagine my health will always be something I cannot take for granted as I did in my younger days. And in nearing our second wedding anniversary, I can tell you there definitely have been gritty moments of facing each other’s brokenness. This also will not stop as if we can “arrive” at a place in life where no more conflict happens. We keep changing and growing.

Health
Marriage

One day, God willing, we may have children. And as I’ve heard some mothers say, the time you carry them in your womb upto the point they start walking is really all the time you get that’s all yours. After that, they’re walking AWAY from you…growing up into their lives in a direction only God knows. We’ll do our best to guide, but it’s like the letting go starts when they let go of your hand and can walk on their own.

Children

And in uncertain economy, it’s not unlikely we may face a financial crisis either. Even now we are challenged to think on whether our security is in RRSP’s, savings and the “nest egg” or if our security is in God.

Finances

Then it’s as if you have to deal with all of the above again as you age into retirement. There’ll be another crisis of marriage, health, career, family, and so on. Spaced out over decades or some at the same time. Or maybe it’s repeatedly. And I’m starting to see more clearly that truly, while I “asked” for brokenness, our natural human condition was broken all along. We seek control…over ourselves and others…but do poorly at both. We are proud and often see slivers in others’ eyes while ignoring the plank in our own. We have misplaced expectations of ourselves and others and this causes pain. We are selfish and short sighted and have such deep trust issues. I see in growing clarity that our greatest “wisdom” is still just folly before God. And how much I need His wisdom. His grace. His forgiveness. His compassion. His love. Not just for myself, but so I would be transformed and be able to extend His qualities in abundance to others. I need HIM….living in and through and IN SPITE OF me.

And, that takes me being broken so that He can do that.

The Broken Pot (not sure of the origins of this story, but I got this story from here.)

A water bearer in India had two large pots, each hung on an end of a pole which he carried across his neck. One of the pots had a crack in it, and while the other pot was perfect and always delivered a full portion of water at the end of the long walk from the stream to the masters house, the cracked pot arrived only half full.

For a full two years this went on daily, with the bearer delivering only one and a half pots full of water in his masters house. Of course, the perfect pot was proud of its accomplishments, perfect to the end for which it was made. But the poor cracked pot was ashamed of its own imperfection, and miserable that it was able to accomplish only half of what it had been made to do. After two years of what it perceived to be a bitter failure, it spoke to the water bearer one day by the stream.

“I am ashamed of myself, and I want to apologize to you.” “Why?” asked the bearer. “What are you ashamed of?” “I have been able, for these past two years, to deliver only half my load because this crack in my side causes water to leak out all the way back to your masters house. Because of my flaws, you have to do all of this work, and you don’t get full value from your efforts.” the pot said.

The water bearer felt sorry for the old cracked pot, and in his compassion he said, “As we return to the masters house, I want you to notice the beautiful flowers along the path.”

Indeed, as they went up the hill, the old cracked pot took notice of the sun warming the beautiful wild flowers on the side of the path, and this cheered it some. But at the end of the trail, it still felt bad because it had leaked out half its load, and so again the Pot apologized to the bearer for its failure.

The bearer said to the pot, “Did you notice that there were flowers only on your side of your path, but not on the other pots side? That’s because I have always known about your flaw, and I took advantage of it. I planted flower seeds on your side of the path, and every day while we walk back from the stream, you’ve watered them. For two years I have been able to pick these beautiful flowers to decorate my masters table. Without you being just the way you are, he would not have this beauty to grace his house.”

Each of us has our own unique flaws. We’re all cracked pots. But if we will allow it, the Lord will use our flaws to grace His Father’s table. In Gods great economy, nothing goes to waste. Don’t be afraid of your flaws.

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. – 2 Corinthians 12:9