Note: This was originally posted on a Facebook note on Sunday, November 29, 2015.
52 weeks ago, I went to the doctor for what I thought was a sinus infection that never went away and for generally feeling like crap for far too long. Turns out, there was a good reason; well, not a good reason, it really sucked, but a logical reason. After describing some symptoms to the doc, she decided to check my blood sugar, which was 342 fasting in the middle of the afternoon (In case you don’t know, that’s really bad). And that’s how I learned that I am a Type 2 diabetic. A couple of weeks later, I met with a primary care physician for the first time in many years. My doc decided to go ahead and run a lot of tests. The full diagnosis: Type 2 diabetic with Hashimoto’s Disease (hypothyroidism) and a non-alcoholic fatty liver (with some abnormalities), oh yeah, and high blood pressure too. No big deal, right? Yeah…. such a big deal. One of the specialists I met with told me that if I kept going the way I was living, then I would need a liver transplant in the next ten years. Getting a new liver just didn’t sound like a wonderful 40th birthday present to me, so I went through a diabetic and nutrition course and started making some life changes, mainly related to diet, exercise, and proper medication for the things I couldn’t control. I began doing something I don’t think I’ve ever done in my life before: I started fighting for my life. I wanted to actually live instead of just going through life like I had for the majority of it. If you know me really well, especially for most of my life, then you know I typically go with the flow. I’ve drifted for most of my life except for a couple of rare moments, where I’d like to think something usually amazing happened in my life. Anyways, this past year has been full of change for me. I don’t like change. I hate the transition. But it was worth it. I have lost about 100 lbs from my heaviest weight. I am now off my medication for my diabetes in a trial period to see if I really even need it anymore. My blood pressure normalized, my liver has completely healed, and my thyroid is under control, even if it continues to meddle in my life in various ways. This semester has been extraordinarily hard on me as I’ve struggled to keep up the lifestyle changes from the spring, to catch up on a couple of incomplete courses from last semester (because I was so focused on my health), to continue taking a normal class load (essentially with the incompletes and this semester, it was like taking five courses, instead of three), along with some family tragedy. In short, there’s just a lot going on in my life. I was not able to make it home for Thanksgiving this year. I could have probably joined other people and other families easily enough, but I decided to do something different. I decided instead of feasting on food that I would feast on the spiritual food. During the time I would normally be stuffing my face full of food that I didn’t need, I stuffed my mind and my heart full of scripture and prayer that I so desperately have been starving for. During my time at the Lord’s Table, so to speak, I discovered that I have a lot of reasons to be thankful. In my study of Psalms (one of my courses actually), I learned that a psalm of thanksgiving and a psalm of lament have a lot in common. Both typically present a problem in the beginning and end in praise; the only difference is that the psalm of thanksgiving talks about the problem in the past tense, it is a lament that God has already taken care of. In my years at seminary, a lot of events with a multitude of emotions has occurred and each has been something that brought me closer to God if I let it. God has been shaping and forming me even when I think everything is falling apart, and for that, I am thankful. I still have a long way to go, but He is still in control and He is still working within me. This past year has reminded me that sometimes life is about the journey, not the destination (Cheesy? Yeah, but it has some truth). I don’t always know where I am headed in life; I would like to say I have an idea, but I can’t know for sure. I am thankful that I have a God who walks beside me. I may not know exactly where He’s leading me or the steps to get there, but He does and as long as I am walking with Him, I have nothing to fear. I can just enjoy the walk, even when it gets challenging, because a journey with God is worth more than any destination I could ever dream of going. And if I stumble and lose my way, He is there for me. I look to His throne and see Him seated there, and I know from the depths of my soul, He is worthy of all honor, glory, and praise.