Sunday, January 19, 2020
Sunday Afternoon Tea - When you don't want to celebrate
John Piper wrote a bestselling book with the title Desiring God. I was amused (but thought it a good idea) years later when he wrote another bestselling book with the title When I Don't Desire God. I must admit that my thoughts went to the title of that second book when I knew God was giving me the word Celebration as my word for 2020.
I honestly didn't think I wanted Celebration as my Word for the new year. This past year was difficult, with multiple family members suffering illness, my usual battle with two autoimmune diseases, a significant loss of sight in my already damaged right eye, and a possible life changing event still in recent memory.
I haven't written much lately about my own illness but long time blog readers know that developing Adult Onset Juvenile Diabetes in my forties would go on to change my life completely. The longer I have lived with it, now twenty years plus, the more limited my world became. I remember my mother's brother suffering from the same disease and he passed away blind and in a wheelchair long before his two healthy sisters.
Thankfully, there have been a lot of medical breakthroughs since then and while it is still a dangerous disease, the medical discoveries that I benefit from... long term as well as short term insulin, flex pens, ways to keep track of blood sugar, and breakthroughs in treating diabetic eye disease, have extended the years and quality of life for me and many people with Juvenile diabetes.
I'm doing far better than was predicted at first when one specialist I went to predicted a ten year life span after diagnosis and even then... like my uncle, I would be in bad shape if I did survive. I learned not to let medical professionals predict the future. God had other plans and twenty years plus later, I'm here!
Then there are the emotional issues that come with having a disease that people cannot actually see. I don't talk about them very much, preferring instead to concentrate on good people who encourage me. However, there are those who... don't.
I can't tell you how many times I have been judged because I stay at home so much. The most common rumor is that I am agoraphobic because people know other people who are diabetic and they get along quite well, thank you very much. They do not understand the difference between Type 2 diabetes, which something like 95% of diabetics have... and Type 1 diabetes. You eventually get tired of explaining.
This last year just about plunged me over the edge with one thing after another coming at me. My already small world became even smaller as reading was difficult. The vision in my right eye fell to 20/250. Even cooking became difficult because trying to cook from a recipe book or card made me dizzy. I could still drive but not in rain, snow, or in the dark (I still can't drive in the dark).
Thankfully, surgery has helped improve the sight in my right eye to 20/40, which means vision is not entirely clear but a whole lot better than it was. Loved ones continue to deal with their own health issues but they are doing just that... dealing with them. A change in living conditions is still possible but far from the certainty it once seemed.
I have seen God at work, weaving through the trials of each day in such a way that it was impossible not to see His glorious hand at work. Unless one was only looking at the problems instead of the answers. He has given the grace to accept what cannot be changed and to be thankful for what has.
Still... I wasn't sure I was ready to celebrate anything. The more I thought about it, especially after rereading You Bring the Confetti, it came to me what God was doing by giving me the Word Celebration! He was telling me to stop concentrating on what I could not do but celebrate what I could.
He was asking me to change the way I looked at my world!
Now, almost three weeks into 2020, is it working? Yes, it is! I have been focusing on answers to prayer instead of what still needs prayer. Which, when one lives in a fallen world, we always have the need for prayer. One answer comes... another prayer request is needed.
I decided at the beginning of the year to celebrate my improved vision by finishing some of the books I started and had to set aside the last few months of 2019. So far, I have finished three of the books that I wanted to complete.
I decided to celebrate and purchase a new cookbook with Amazon credit since I'm not getting dizzy when I cook and look at recipes. (I thank everyone who entered their Amazon shopping through the blog!). It is Julie Taboulie's Lebanese Kitchen cookbook, which is the same name as her very good PBS cooking show. I started trying more Mediterranean recipes a few years ago and now I can continue that goal.
I have decided to take Luci Swindoll's advice in You Bring the Confetti and celebrate by enjoying eating out once in awhile again. Nothing expensive mind you for I am on a budget... perhaps something as simple as going to Panera for coffee and a scone. But taking the time to really enjoy good coffee and a delicious orange or cinnamon chip scone (with extra insulin!).
It is something I used to enjoy when we were homeschooling and we were out and about all the time (it should be called car schooling in those high school years). I loved sitting in Panera or another coffee shop with a book. Lately it took less energy to just make a K-cup in the single use Keurig. I would not call that a celebration... unless it is my first cup of coffee in the morning, which is always celebrated.
I can definitely see why Celebration is a very good word for 2020, one we all can learn from. It is easy to get in a rut in the best of circumstances. However, when you have any trial that stays with you day in and day out... and many of us do... we need to make that decision to do something when we cannot do everything.
Once again, when I stop to think about it, God knows best. Always. Even when it takes me awhile to realize it. Find a way to celebrate life this week, my friends.
Mentioned in this Blog Post
Desiring God by John Piper... here.
When I Don't Desire God by John Piper... here.
You Bring the Confetti by Luci Swindoll... here. (Third Party, I have the older hardback version.)
Julie Taboulie's Lebanese Kitchen... here.
Disclaimer: Most links to Amazon.com are Associate links.
Image: From The Return of the King movie.