Last October I had one of those moments that take your breath away. I wish I could say it was from looking at a beautiful sunset, a display of human compassion, or even the peace of watching the horses in the pasture. It wasn’t. For me, it was a flight of stairs. 10 steps and I was sucking wind like a jet engine. I was 42 years old and stairs had become the thing I dreaded most. Whether it was the knee that gave constant pain, or the knowledge that I would not be able to talk at the top of the stairs, I had begun to avoid them at all cost.
The next morning after a shower and with a smile I stepped gingerly on the scale (It is a glass scale, so you will understand my caution in a moment.) to see my situation. I was at the heaviest I have been in my life. Just 3 pounds short of 300. I remember the sense of dread that hit me when I realized I was about to cross over into a world where my weight began with a three. That had not happened since I was 2 years old, and something needed to change. Immediately.
I went to work on it, and started changing my diet. Not huge changes, just being a little more aware of how often I would go back for seconds (or thirds) and not allowing that. I also started eating a salad a day or two a week, and set a hard rule about eating after 9pm. Again, not huge changes, but I was huge, so any change was good!
Results started quickly with me and the first ten pounds were gone in a month or so. The holidays came next and I got through them with only picking up a couple pounds. After that I started to average about a pound a week with the occasional stall, but the stall never bothered me as long as it didn’t turn into an upward trend. The stall would result in another little change, and then weight would start to move again. It was going well.
Last Thursday I went in for my annual physical and was actually excited. I had lost 25 pounds and was lighter than I had been in almost 4 years, and felt better than I had in at least that long. The Doc was pleased and we actually did a “high 5” at one point. (If you know my doctor, you would be surprised!) As I was getting ready to leave we briefly discussed the lab work I was about to have done, and how the results of those tests (cholesterol) couldn’t take away from the fact that I had done a good thing and I felt healthier as a result. We left the room with smiles on our faces.
That evening I was at a birthday party for my father-in-law when I got an e-mail to check my patient portal for my test results. The cholesterol was not bad, but I got a shock I had not been expecting. There were some bold lines of type with results on my blood sugar and a note from my doctor in all caps telling me I had diabetes and I needed to see him ASAP. (That sound you heard was the sound of my good feelings being crushed.)
I am a diabetic.
To say that night was a hard night would be an understatement. I understand now why they offer counseling groups for people who are getting news like this. It rocked me all the way back on my heels. I was doing a good job! I had been losing weight and getting healthier. Why? What on earth is going on here?
That night as I lay in bed trying to wrap my head around this while clinging to the encouragement of my wife, I came to the conclusion that there is a reason for this. God has allowed this into my life for a purpose, and I needed to figure out what it was. God was good in that He didn’t make me take a long time to do it. It was pretty obvious to me.
I love to eat. I don’t just like food. I love food. I will sit and think about food I will eat in two hours, for supper tonight, for supper next week! I will plan how to make sure I get to have the maximum amount of food when it is available even if it means short-changing someone else. I have shared this sinful pattern before on this blog, but I have not really gotten control of it. Food has continued to rule my life, and now something is going to need to change.
Things come into our lives for reason. Sometimes we get to experience really good things that cause us no pain while giving us the simple pleasure of feeling the love of God. Sometimes God allows hard things to come into our lives in order to teach us something or to make us realize that we need to stop something or make a better choice. No matter what is going on in your life, it is there in order for you to look at it and see where God is speaking to you in that moment.
Lying there in bed, I realized that God had allowed this to happen in order to teach me that food is a god that will leave me wanting. In every way it is temporary, and when fully in control, it is damaging. It is a substandard god. It is an unworthy god. It is a bad god. It was a god that THE God decided I needed to see in a different light. The next morning I told Tammi that it was like God had just walked in and kicked food off the throne in my heart and said that it had been in His seat for far too long. It was time for me to learn how good it is to have Him on the throne instead.
The last few days have been a little rough at times. I’m on a new diet now that has me on a pretty tight leash. I’m checking my sugar, taking my medicine, and looking at my food in a different way. I have been very careful, and I have the support of my amazing wife and kids and some good friends and family praying for me as I walk this new path. It’s a new chapter of my life, and while in some ways it will not be as sweet as it used to be, in others it is already tasting so good!
I’m still losing weight. This is a picture of me last summer on our Wyoming vacation where I had not yet hit my peak weight along with me today being down 30 pounds. I am committed to losing more while controlling my sugar in order to reach a healthy weight. I’m not sure if God is going to allow me to get off the medication, but right now I believe that is a goal He has allowed in my heart, and I intend to follow it with Relentless determination.
The sugar levels are already moving in the right direction, and my prayer is that when I go to see my doctor in a month, he will tell me that I am on the right track. It will be three months before I can get my A1C checked again to see just how much movement I have had. I’m placing that in God’s hands. He is writing this chapter of my life, and I am open to His direction. My prayer is first of all to honor Him in this process. He has placed me here for at least one reason I have already mentioned, but I believe that is going to lead to even more.
I would appreciate your prayers, and I will share my journey with anyone who wants to read or ask questions. Please keep my wife and family in your prayers as well. This is something we are all experiencing, not just me. I am blessed with a family that loves me and is supporting me as we do this together, but I want to show them love and encouragement as well.
Thanks for reading, and as always, feel free to share this with anyone you know who might be encouraged by it.