Friday, October 17, 2014

Choosing Joy in the Midst of Suffering: Five Minute Friday

This post is apart of the Five Minute Friday writing challenge. Find out how you can participate here!

Today's word is: LONG .

(Disclaimer: I am probably going to take longer -- no pun intended! -- than 5 minutes to write this post.)

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When I was first diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, I had no idea what a huge lifestyle adjustment I would have to make. 

I assumed managing this disease would be as simple as taking a couple shots and testing my blood sugar a few times a day. No big deal.

Little did I know that coming home from the hospital that day would be like coming home with a newborn baby.

(In the hospital the day of my diagnosis.)

It would require constant attention. It would keep me up all night, or at least wake me a couple of times in middle of the night. I didn’t know my hair would fall out, or that my fingers would become calloused, or that it would become a balancing act trying to keep my blood sugar between too high and too low, or that living with this disease was a 24/7 math equation.

It hasn’t even been two months, and yet it feels like it has been forever. The idea that I would have to live with this for the rest of my life is terrifying—and yet that is exactly what the doctor told me at the hospital. 

He said it would be “permanent”. Permanent = never-ending. Forever.

But I knew better than to believe that. This life is only temporary. The pain and suffering we have to go through today will be gone in just the blink of an eye.

2 Corinthians 4:16-18 (NCV) says:

So we do not give up. Our physical body is becoming older and weaker, but our spirit inside us is made new every day. We have small troubles for a while now, but they are helping us gain an eternal glory that is much greater than the troubles. We set our eyes not on what we see but on what we cannot see. What we see will last only a short time, but what we cannot see will last forever
Why does this scripture tell us to “set our eyes on the unseen”? 

Perhaps because God knows that in doing so it will cause our spirits to become lifted.

If we keep our eyes focused on all of our earthly problems for too long, we’ll eventually become weighed down by all of them and fall into depression.

Yet when we fix our eyes on God and remind ourselves that this is only temporary, joy will fill our hearts. When we thank God no matter what we are going through, we show the enemy that he has no power over us.

When the Israelites were wandering around in the desert, they didn’t thank God for all He had done for them; instead, they chose to complain. 

They chose to fall into self-pity simply because they had their eyes fixed on the wrong things.

We have two choices when we go through hardships: We can either make this season much longer by only focusing on our suffering--or we can thank God, reminding ourselves of His many blessings and knowing that this pain is only temporary.
I can remember the time I attended a Jonas Brothers concert with my best friend in 8th grade. From the audience I watched and felt sympathy for Nick Jonas as he sang his song, A Little Bit Longer, that he wrote after his diagnosis of type 1 diabetes.

A little bit longer. 

Only a little bit longer until it’s dawn and the nighttime has passed. Only a little bit longer until Jesus returns and wipes away all the tears from our eyes.

When we choose to thank God while we wait, our mood will shift. 

Not because our circumstances have changed, but because we have chosen to keep our eyes focused on what makes us joyful rather than what could make us depressed. 

Our mind will always follow what our eyes are fixed on.

Philippians 4:4-8 (NCV) says:

"Be full of joy in the Lord always. I will say again, be full of joy . . . Brothers and sisters, think about the things that are good and worthy of praise. Think about the things that are true and honorable and right and pure and beautiful and respected."
When we have Christ living in us, we will always have a reason to be thankful. 

Our suffering on this earth will become much more bearable when we continue looking forward to our homecoming with Christ.

If only we wait just a little bit longer.

“Crying may last for a night, 
but joy comes in the morning.”
~Psalm 30:5 (NCV)
♡ ♡ 

How do you strive to stay full of joy during hardships?What scriptures have encouraged 
you the most on this topic?
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  1. A 24/7 math equation- that describes having diabetes incredibly well. I have been living with it for about 5 years, and sometimes it still hits me hard in the chest at a random point during the day that I will have type one diabetes my whole life on earth. And it is terrifying!
    Knowing that God is looking out for me, and that I have type one diabetes for a reason that I cannot see right now definitely helps me stay joyful. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 says (NIV):
    Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
    And that is a verse that helps me :)

    1. It can get overwhelming if we look at it from that perspective, which is why I’m trying to remind myself to take things day-by-day instead. I can’t imagine that you’ve had to live with this for five years already, though! My cousin was diagnosed 10 years ago, and I told him recently that I had no idea this disease affected his life so much. I now have much respect for diabetics who strive to live a normal life, despite their sickness.

      I love that scripture! Thanks for sharing. =)

      By the way, I ordered an insulin pump and continuous glucose monitor (Dexcom) the other day! I am so, so excited. I was going to order the Animas, however I chose the Omnipod instead since it’s tubeless. I’ll be sure to let you know if I like it!


  2. Amen! What a beautiful perspective you have.

  3. Tessa, this post is beautiful. You bless so many people with your understanding and your maturity in your faith - I know your posts certainly encourage me!

    I can't imagine living with diabetes - it doesn't seem like it could possibly be easy. But it's so amazing that even in this short period of time after your diagnoses, God has already reached out to your heart so that you will understand his will for your life. Amazing post :)

    1. Thank you, Stefanie! It has definitely made me stronger and has given me the opportunity to be more responsible with my health. So there are aspects of it that I know can be used for good--it’s just taking some time to get adjusted. But I’m sure I'll get used to it eventually. =)


  4. Hi me again. Sorry about your sickness. I'm still not getting your blog posts by email. I'm ready to cry. Getting posts by email is the only way I can keep up with my blogs. Besides liking to see the number of posts add up in the special folder I created for it. Do you know what's wrongs?

    1. I’m so sorry about that! Have you looked in your spam/promotions box? Sometimes it may go into either of those email folders.

      I’m not sure how to fix it, though. Have you heard of the app Feedly? You may want to consider using that to read your favorite blogs.

      Let me know if you can figure it out! Again, sorry for the inconvenience. =/


    2. I have checked my Spam folder. Its not there either. I'm getting nothing. I don't have a iphone so I cannot do the app. I found my old confirm email (confirm your subscription to Christ is Write) and clicked the link again. That did not work either.


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