"Life is 10% what happens to you
and 90% how you react to it."
-Charles R. Swindoll
I know this is a LOOOOOOONG overdue post, so I'm just going to jump right in here. But first, an apology. I normally try to mix in a little humor or light heartedness...but today it just didn't happen. This is what was on my heart. I hope it makes you think, and encourages you. Here we go!
REACTION. Reaction is "an action performed or a feeling experienced in response to a situation or event." Reaction defines us on the outside. People categorize other people by the way they respond. When something does not go your way, do you react in anger or fear? When you have been pushed to the limit, what is your response? Do you turn to God? Do you give up? Do you make your mind up that you can make it through?
There are people in this world who have become known because their reaction set them apart (and I mean in a GOOD way). They did not let their circumstances define them. Instead, they used them as a platform to move forward. Our reaction has a strong influence on the end result. For some, that result is bitterness and anger. For others, it is joy and peace.
I heard Beth Moore tell a story about a man who had lost two of his children. He had grown old and had a big get together with the
family. He told his kids something like "I'm glad we didn't miss out on you, because we missed out on them." He put his time and energy into loving the kids that were still here, rather than letting bitterness overtake him and blind him from what he still had. I think that is a powerful lesson. In our human nature it's so easy to focus on the negative. We become controlled BY our reaction, rather than controlling HOW we react.
In dealing with chronic sickness it can be the same way. Don't be so consumed by your child's illness that it blinds you from living. Do not let the sad parts of their life take away your joy, and change your focus from what really matters. I know as moms we want to FIX the problem. I remember when I was fighting for Emma Kate's health and how all consuming that was! Mentally IT WAS HARD!!! But I was determined God would lead us through, and He did! Even in my brokenness, I did not give up. My reaction was never to quit, also, to never miss out. I did not want to miss out on Grant because I was so busy with her. Had my reaction been different, I feel quite certain we would be living a different life right now. Do not be so blind sided by the gravity of the problem, that you forget God is there to help. When you can't see, He can. What you don't know, He does. So when you feel like your 90% reaction is going into negativity and stealing your energy, allow God to take control. Our heart controls our reaction, and our heart should be given to God. When this is the case, our reaction to chaos and confusion can still be PEACE. The peace that passes understanding.
So my question is, what do your kids see when they watch you? Do they see parents who are so unsure of their future that they cannot even focus on today? Do they learn to worry because they see you do it? Or are you showing them that NO MATTER WHAT you TRUST GOD, and react with the best calm spirit you know how? I encourage you to let your reaction be one that you want them to copy. Do you want them to live in fear because of their health? Do you want them to have a "life's not fair" mentality? All we can do is take the circumstances we are dealing with and make the best of them. Worry changes nothing, and unquenched anger breeds bitterness.
We are getting ready to do an addition on our house. Now, every time I pull up and look at my house I do not see it as what is currently standing. I SEE my future house! I have a vision and a plan to get there. It's no different with your children. When you look at them, do not see them as a child with a chronic illness...even though that may be your current reality. See them for what they CAN do! See how bright their future CAN be! When we finish our house, it may turn out different than my initial vision. We could love it, we could hate it. Either way, we will embrace it and choose joy because that is where our journey took us and it was a purposeful path. Just like with your kids. Make a plan for better health, take action, but don't be alarmed if things turn out a little different than you had expected. And no matter what, choose joy! I speak with complete honesty and understanding when I say I know it's NOT EASY. However difficult it is, change your thoughts minute by minute if you have to! When you see limitations, ask God to help you see the positive! Do not think that just because I'm writing this, this was easy for me. I had to take thoughts captive daily!!
Where We Are Now...And Commonly Asked Q's
Right now Emma Kate is 8 years old and in the second grade. She excels in school and has a very disciplined, perfectionistic personality = ) . She is now the big sister of a brother AND sister, and is a wonderful one! She is still a very healthy eater by nature, but I'm pretty sure she take's pride in that now! ;) I am overjoyed to say nephrotic syndrome is a thing of the past for her. It's been so long since she had it that she really doesn't remember a whole lot. However, I will never allow us to become so far removed that we lose sight of what God did for us! I made a book that we like to look through from time to time that shows her journey. I highly recommend doing that. Even if you are still in the middle of it. It's good to help them understand, help friends and family understand, and hopefully look back on little victories along the way.
This blog has AMAZED me!! I really never expected many people to come across it. However, God had a greater plan. I get email and facebook messages regularly from people going through the same thing. People thankful they found some hope and ENCOURAGEMENT through this site. Others with success stories where they did some or all of the same steps we took and also achieved complete remission. And of course lots of questions! So, I will try to answer some of those here:
1. Is Emma Kate still in remission? Yes
2. Has she ever had another spill over the years? No, with one exception when she had some gluten by mistake.
3. Does she still take all the vitamins and supplements? Yes, however not regularly. I have really slacked off but I'm trying to do better!
4. Do we still stick to the same diet? Yes, she is 100% gluten free and will be forever. She also eats very little dairy. It does not make her spill protein but I know it does not really agree with her so I don't over do it.
5. Does she get vaccines? Yes, very spread out. We took a two year break though when she was sick and recovering. I strongly recommend do your research and do not get the flu shot.
6. The PRP spray and powder seem to have dairy...technically yes, however my NP explained it to me that the form it's in the body does not recognize it as dairy and even the MOST dairy reactive people have been perfectly fine with it. It will not interfere with a dairy free diet.
7. Do you still test her urine? Only when she is sick, about 1x a year. It's always negative so I just don't.
CONTACT: I do not get notified when people comment on here. I am happy to talk with anyone. You can find me on facebook as Meredith Cook, or you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
"A wise person is hungry for knowledge,
while the fool feeds on trash.
For the despondent everyday brings trouble;
for the happy heart, life is a continual feast."
Proverbs 15: 14-15
Despondent = low in spirit from loss of hope or courage.