Overflow

(Image not mine)

No one makes you swear.
No one makes you lash out.
No one makes you flip the bird.
No one makes you hit/kick/punch/slap.

No one makes you be a jerk or a mean/rude/spiteful/vengeful person. You just have meanness inside you to begin with. We all do. Sometimes a strong outburst is perfectly appropriate because a real, actual injustice has taken place. But most of the time, it’s the overflow of what’s already in our hearts. Think of ourselves like a soaking sponge. Life circumstances apply the squeeze or pressure to the sponge. Whatever oozes out was already there in the first place.

“When someone bumps into me, what overflows out of me reveals what’s in me ”
– John Ortburg, The Me I Want to Be

A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.
– Luke 6:45

Which is challenging because I want to say “Well, you did ____ first so I reacted.” Turns out I’ve just got rotten bits inside me. I need renewal and transformation from within and this is only possible through a new life in Christ. And then, I need to “guard my heart, for everything I do flows from it” (Pr 4:23). Do I have good and godly influences? Am I filling my thoughts with things that please God? 

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
– Philippians 4:8

THEN, the overflow of my heart will be good.
And I’ll be a more pleasant person to be around. =)

Healed?

So I was diagnosed with Graves Disease end of 2011. And in October last year I shared how my body curiously no longer carries the Graves Disease antibody. At my latest endocrinologist appointment, the doctor confirmed that I no longer need the monthly TSH monitoring as I maintained stability throughout and after pregnancy. Despite the immune changes associated with pregnancy, Graves didn’t come back. And she said, “Maybe you’re the rare few who won’t get it back ever again.” I hope so. I pray so.

And I praise God.

How to Heal From That??

Last week I attended the screening of “We Were Children” and also had the privilege of hearing the stories from those whose parents had gone through residential school. The film follows the story of two Aboriginal children, Lyna and Glen, as they endured residential school in Manitoba and Saskatchewan, respectively. These schools aimed to “kill the Indian in the child”. The effects of physical, emotional and sexual trauma they survived through persist into all aspects of their adult lives. It was such a heavy film to take in…I’m still processing…but here are some thoughts:

The First Nations “problem” we perceive to have today is just the symptom of  the incredible brokenness the residential school survivors carried. Many of these children were separated, sometimes forcefully, from their parents from the age of 4 to 18. The schools forbade touching, provided no affection, taught no social or life skills and the rich family-oriented culture they were taken from was effectively erased. In addition, attacks and abuses were heaped on physically, mentally and spiritually. No one believed you even if you told them you were abused because “why would the priests do that”? So you carry the shame, the hurt, the guilt, the anger, the injustice, the rage, the helplessness and hopelessness in silence. Upon “graduating” you were tossed back out into the world but now have no idea how to cope with the new freedoms. No ideas how to be in relationship with others. No idea how to be a husband or a wife or a mother or father. Many turned to alcohol to numb the memories. Many took their own lives. Many left their own wounded children in their wake. And the children of residential school survivors are the First Nations elders we have today. They’ve faced abuse of all sorts simply because their parents (the survivors) didn’t know anything else and many have passed that brokenness on…so the generational curse really does reach into the third and forth generations.

One lady from the Haida tribe shared about her memories from before she was taken into residential school. Their one tribal law was to respect and honor each other. And so they did…everyone’s conduct hinged on this law. Families were tight and loving. Homes were clean and decorated with flowers and seashells. Everyone took care of each others needs. It was a happy time.

Apparently, the atrocities seen in this film is still considered to be a mild version of what some have experienced. I can’t imagine. Also, I was horrified to learn that Hilter’s concentration camps were inspired by the Canadian residential schools. And even more sickened by how these schools were run by various “Christian” churches. What terrible terrible representation of God and His love!! But I am reminded that “our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” (Ephesians 6:12) The end of the Story has been written and Christ will conquer. All who trust in Him will not be victims but victors.

Back to our First Nations…how does healing begin?? How does healing reach those wounds from generations back? For those of us bearing Christ’s name, how might we be agents of reconciliation today? The end of the Story might already be written but right now we get to be part of the action. Hearing the stories from Christian First Nations that night bore witness to the incredible power of healing from God. How do we fit into this picture, this journey of healing? That’s what I want to know…and be part of.

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.

Curious

October results…

TSH = 2.4 (normal is 0.27-4.2)

T4 = 15.6 (normal is 10.5-20.0)

Praise God…I continue to be normal. Well…TSH-wise anyways. =) I saw my Endocrinologist yesterday and she shared something interesting with me. Earlier I was tested for the antibodies that cause hypothyroidism and the antibodies that cause Graves Disease. Results came back positive for the hypothryoid antibody….and NEGATIVE for Graves Disease antibody. However, since I developed the slight double vision in my eyes, which is a unique indicator of the Graves antibody, I MUST have the antibody. Except I don’t. And I must have had it at the beginning otherwise they couldn’t diagnose me with Graves right? Curious no?

The Endocrinologist said that sometimes these curious things just happen and it’s unexplained. But I think I might have an explanation. I had prayed for healing. Healing beyond just managing the disease through diet restrictions and lifestyle. Healing, in my mind, would mean that Graves would be gone from my body. (Though I would’ve settled for “well-managed via diet and lifestyle” too.) So, this might be answered prayer!!

I’m not going to pig out on seafood just yet though. Matters of health do not usually happen quickly. I’ll have another antibody test in the new year…and if that one confirms the findings this time…then maybe I’ll celebrate with some sushi, and raw oysters, and Alaskan King Crab, and calamari. =D