Thriving Thursdays 6: “Persevering Through Hard Times”

*Sidenote: I am beginning a new experimental method within the Thriving Thursday’s series! Each week, a loved one or peer of mine will be randomly selected to give me one word/topic to write about. (I will state the word/topic given verbatim.) I am so excited to see what ideas unfold! If you would like to submit an idea, feel free to comment below. You may just see a post about it in an upcoming Thriving Thursday’s series post!* 

This week’s topic: “Persevering through trying times.”

Yes, I skipped last week’s post, and it’s not due to lack of material. I had 4 posts drafted but none of them seemed to convey what I wanted.

In short: I needed a creative break.

My mind {read: my life} feels like a jumbled mess.

Last week, I was in quite a funk. I love my life most days, but I was in an unexplainably horrible funk for days that no amount of good vibes & positive thoughts seemed to fix.

When I would start to feel better, something else would come crashing down. It was all weird and random stuff too, which made it more frustrating. For example: our move was 5 months ago, but somehow there were loose ends we had yet to tie up {due to circumstances outside of our control} that all unraveled last week amongst other trials.

When it rains, it torrential downpours and hails and sleets and floods…or something like that. 

I began “handling” it by bottling it up. Trying to suppress it. Putting on a happy face so as not to bother others around me.

And where did that get me?

Exhausted. Spent. Angry. Depressed. Isolated.

It was hard to laugh.

Not trying to be overdramatic, but honestly, it just was exhausting to try to laugh.

The worst part about all of this is that none of this behavior is normative for me. Sure, I have my moments like everyone else, but they are fleeting. It rarely lasts hours, let alone days. I just couldn’t shake it.

I began talking to my sweet, precious friend Lindsay. At first, I didn’t want to. But she could see right through my facade.

“So what’s wrong? Are you okay? You seem sad today.”

BOOM.

I unloaded. That was all it took. A caring friend & a simple question.

I told her everything, I didn’t hold back. I was real, honest, and vulnerable. She didn’t say much, mostly listened, and let me decipher through what was the core issue.

I am so thankful for friends who listen & love radically. 

She made me laugh again, she took me out for a treat, small simple things that truly made a difference. All because of a single question {have I mentioned how much I adore the human connection?!}

The most profound thing she said that day that I really took to heart was something along the lines of: it’s okay to not be okay.

We live in an overachiever culture. There’s an unspoken expectation that we constantly have to be doing everything in our lives perfectly or else we’re totally failing. We have to be the perfect student, perfect employee, perfect wife, perfect mom, perfect fitness/health guru, perfect writer, etc. Striving for excellence is healthy and productive, however this is frequently taken too far.

It’s ridiculous, constraining, and distressing. We are living in a world where people become physically sick due to overexerted themselves and being overly stressed. How are we able to get the most out of life if we are stressing ourselves out to the point of sickness?

Sometimes it’s necessary to “put a face on” when you’re at work or in certain social situations. But around your friends, family, and people who care about you, what’s the point in being fake when they can truly help heal your heart?

When I’m trying to push through hard times, I focus on three things:

  1. Surround yourself with people who truly care about your greater good.
  2. Reflect on the good in your life or even just in your day. Gratitude is a muscle, you have to flex it and work it out to keep it strong. I literally make lists of five things I’m grateful for whenever I’m feeling so burnt out.
  3. It’s okay to not be okay. Think about why you’re not okay, what you can do to give you glimpses of joy, and confide in a loved one for accountability.

Always remember, you can do hard things. You can! You can accomplish much, but your accomplishments don’t define you. Sometimes getting out of bed in the morning to get ready can feel like a “hard thing.” But you can do it! Lean on your tribe. Love them well. Be grateful for what is going right. Keep moving forward. You don’t have to fight all the time, just keep moving.

Onward.

You are loved,

Audge

  

Thriving Thursdays 5: Not My Story. 

This is not my story.

Well, it is my story. But it’s not the story that I wanted to tell.


I have always craved a simple life. Not easy, not boring, but just simple. 

I have a “big personality;” I’m “bubbly,” as people like to say. And I can’t say that I disagree. However, I strive to be more toned down, more of a minimalist. I wanted a sweet family of my own. I had a plan: Married at a certain age, having kids by a certain age, living in a modest & cozy house out in the country, doing something that I love. Faith, family, friends at the forefront, and everything else would fall into place.

I have always lived healthily. I never thought I would be that girl, the one who has to operate at 100% every day even when she feels 25%, the one who has to cancel last minute for reasons outside of my control, the one with a chronic illness. I never thought I’d be the one walking around pricking myself, giving injections, wearing intimidating medical machines. I never thought I would be well versed in medical terminology, frequent the hospital, or truly feel out of control of my own body.

I did not do anything to develop Type 1 Diabetes. And I certainly did not want this to define me or be the story that I have to tell. I didn’t want any health struggle to have any part in my story, the story that narrates my life.

The truth is, we don’t always have a say in what goes into our stories. The Author of our lives dictates what is within our pages that make up our chapters; our chapters that make up our truth, our reality.
This is not the story I wanted to tell. Rather, It is the story that God wanted me to tell. He wanted me to bear this burden, use my gifts to communicate this specific message. He knew I had lots to learn, and this is how He taught me: through my struggles. Not just with T1D, but with everything I have gone through. He knew who specifically needed to hear my story. He knew who would be benefitted by me using my big personality in tandem with my experience involving turmoil and triumph in life in general.

Friends, He has a specific purpose for your story. Even if your story isn’t what you would’ve picked, even if your story feels like “nothing special,” it brings Him glory, it showcases your strength, and it encourages others around you. What good is your story if it’s trapped within? Who and how is your story serving? Not only will sharing your story help others, but it will be therapeutic for you. We can’t always choose what happens to us. However, we choose how we react to it. We can choose to sulk, or we can choose to shine.

  
 Here’s to hoping you choose to shine today!

xo

Audge

my husband has type 3 diabetes

type 3 diabetes.

ever heard of it?

it’s a devastating affliction that he never asked for.

medically speaking, the term type 3 diabetes means something different, but for many in the diabetes online community {DOC} “type 3 diabetes” is the term for loved ones who deal with the burden of T1D even though they don’t have it. my husband doesn’t have diabetes in the literal, medical sense; however, he deals with the physical, emotional, financial, and spiritual burden nearly just as much as i do.

watching someone you love go through hell and back every day, fighting a civil war waged within their body, it’s gotta be difficult to watch and to know how to properly support that person. i know he struggles with knowing how to support me {as he frequently tells me}, but what he doesn’t always realize is that he doesn’t have to do anything other than to just be there and listen. 

so, this one’s for you, type 3’s.

listen. even if you have nothing to say, no advice to give…listening is enough. listening without judgement is of the utmost importance. if there are times when you are feeling overwhelmed or saddened by it, SPEAK UP. you matter. you can’t be a strong supporter if you are feeling emotionally unstable. us T1’s truly care about your wellbeing as well, and we know we couldn’t do it without you! realize that you will never truly understand and feel what we go through, and that’s ok. we will never truly understand what you go through and feel as well.

a diagnosis of type 1 diabetes impacts the entire family and support system of that person. it affects all members of the support system in different ways. T3’s, just because you don’t have a dead pancreas, doesn’t mean that you are unaffected. it’s okay to put yourself first sometimes too. take care of you, and then think about taking care of us.

you. matter.and we love you.

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the call

Lord. 

You can send me anywhere. You can ask of me absolutely anything, because I know of the grace I have found in Christ Jesus. I. Know. 

life is a silly thing. we’re always planning: our day, our meals, our outfits, our week, our holidays, our travels, our next steps. there’s this insane assumption that we will always have it figured out before we get to the next step {or else you’ll be embarrassed when people ask overly personal questions, as they tend to do in times of transition.} i have always thought this, & operated accordingly.

however, recently {like…this week}, God has been whispering something in my ear: sometimes, all you need is the call. 

Brian & I are making the move from Ohio to Alabama in about two weeks. we have a lot of stuff figured out, a lot of great opportunities & avenues to travel down, and we are continuing to figure things out as we go.

as much as I would love to say that we have a logical, concrete plan…I cannot say that. we have an outline, but really? this next step in our journey is a huge leap of faith. 

we are moving to Alabama for many “logical” reasons. but the primary reason is this: God is calling us there. 

He has revealed to us many times in many ways that Ohio is not where we belong, & that He has glorious plans for us down south. we, in all our humanness, clearly do not know of His plans for us in detail. but, we have heard His call, & we are taking action.

sometimes all you need is extreme courage to give you the push you need. 

Brian & I are known for not always doing everything perfectly “logical,” due to listening to our Father’s calls. we are the people who got married months before our scheduled wedding because of His call. we are now the people who are making the move states away because He is calling us there. we trust, & we know that God’s got this. He always reminds us of this.

I know what some of y’all are thinking. “how do you know if it’s God speaking to you? how do you know this isn’t just cooked up in your heads?” well, for one, it is hard for me to leave my job that I love. I mean, I love Alabama, but I have contemplated staying up here just to stay at my job. however, as much as I love what I do, I know and feel that we are being called somewhere else.

I keep coming back to this cheesy old quote, “let your faith be bigger than your fear.” it may be cheesy, but I am adopting it as my new philosophy throughout this bold next step.

wander

{wedding day & t1}

Shortly after my Type 1 diagnosis, I began to feel anxiety about my T1 management on March 22, 2014: my wedding day. I had only been diagnosed for a few weeks and still had no idea how I’d do this forever; I couldn’t comprehend a time where I knew how to handle it.

Thankfully, there are other blogs out there that deal with this scenario. However, it’s slim pickings. Most blogs I read about T1 women and wedding day management were from women who had a pump pocket sewn into their dress; my dress was already finalized. {it didn’t end up mattering anyways because I’m back on injections, but at the time, this was a source of worry.}

Overall, it went pretty well.

I had 7 {yes, seven} bridesmaids and I “assigned” 2 of them to carry my supplies around for the day since 1) they offered and 2) I didn’t have a clutch. I made a full PDF guide on what everything means and what to do in certain {specific} scenarios. It had a table of contents and everything!

I thought I would run high all weekend due to stress. To my surprise, I ran low. GET THIS: I didn’t have any hypers and only one hypo! I had a few out of range numbers, but overall, I ran pretty normal. A couple times, after a little too much alcohol, I crept too close to the 240 line but never actually hit it.

On the day of, I ran in the 100s ALL DAY for the most part. Are you geekin’ yet? Because I still am. I only had to give 3 injections day of; only one of which was in my wedding dress.

I wore a simple ball gown, and was terrified of getting blood on my blinding white wedding dress. So I did my injection in my upper arm; it worked fine.

I ate cake without giving insulin {because I was running low} and it was glorious.

I had one hypo on the wedding day and it was just so perfectly timed {sarcasm.} Standing at the altar, after lighting the unity candle, everyone looking at us, quiet moment…it was fab. Each of my bridesmaids had a roll of smarties tied to their bouquets. I nearly reached back to grab my MOH’s but I didn’t want to have ‘betes interrupt my moment {stubborn?} I toughed it out, and ate smarties in the limo IMMEDIATELY following the ceremony. Looking back, I should’ve just eaten the damn smarties.

Overall it was a successful and beautiful day. I recommend having a team of people to help with your supplies and who are trained to know how to respond to dangerous situations. It helped me immensely!

Questions are welcomed; photos attached. {you HAVE to check out Leigh Elizabeth Photography and Happy Daisy Photography!!}

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a little bit longer

Sorry I haven’t blogged in a while. I was on a much-needed vacation for 2 weeks! Coming back to reality has been SO TOUGH, especially since it’s my first time back in school since my type 1 diagnosis. I’ve got a lot to say today, so be prepared.

I love the class I’m taking. I am so glad I didn’t drop it. It’s easier to give myself an injection in class than I thought. I’ve just been doing it under the table. Some people have noticed, but no one has said anything yet. I had to develop an emergency plan with my professor the first day of class though, and that was embarrassing for me. I hate being high-maintenance.

Let me tell ya a little tale from my vacation. I’m trying not to be too pissed off thinking about it so that I’m able to tell it respectfully. Buuutttt…

Okay. So. I was in Harbortown in Hilton Head one night getting ice cream with family and friends. I had to give my injection before I ate (obviously) and the little town was very busy with families and people everywhere. So I slipped off to the side and turned around to give my shot, so I wasn’t drawing attention to myself out in the open.

Right after I stuck myself and was pressing the insulin pen to inject the insulin, this lovely lady came up to me and was all huffy. I was thinking “Hmm. Wonder why she’s peeved.” The next thing that happened absolutely shocked me…
She approaches me with, “Excuse me?! What do you think you’re doing? There are tons of children around you right now!”

I was flabbergasted!
She then proceeded to say that her child has a needle phobia and that I was being disrespectful by giving my shot in public. I explained how that is why I turned my back and stood off to the side, and that I’m a type 1 diabetic and need my injections to live. I asked her to reconsider next time before approaching someone this way and told her that being diabetic is hard enough. She then had the audacity to say “maybe you should’ve thought of that before you ate so much sugar and gave yourself this disease.”

I just about clocked the broad.

But instead, I calmly explained the differences between type 1 and type 2, told her to do her research before making a fool of herself next time, and bid her adieu.

You have no idea how hard it was to restrain myself from doing something I would’ve regretted.

I just can’t understand the sheer ignorance of some people. Not only does it make them look dumb, but it hurts me.

I already feel like a freak. I don’t need people pointing it out to me; I’d rather point it out myself, if at all.

Sorry for the ‘tude, but this is has been an awful ‘betes week. Vomiting, dizziness, extreme fatigue, weight gain, lots of scary hypo episodes…My body is exhausted and I am just drained. Staying positive is a goal, though it seems unachievable right now, no matter how hard I try.

I’m sure that outsiders who do not have type 1 probably look at me or my social media posts and think that I’m a wuss, a baby, an attention hoe…

I mean, I never knew that type 1 diabetes was so serious and so difficult to live with.

My beloved Pa Edgar had it, but I was too young to understand. My amazing cousin, Ally, has it…I remember looking at her pump when I was younger and thinking, “Man, that’s gotta suck. I could never do that.” Or I remember going to the Jonas Brothers concert in high school (not ashamed) and hearing Nick Jonas tell his type 1 diagnosis story. He then proceeded to play his song that he wrote about it, “A Little Bit Longer.” I listened to this song at the concert thinking, “Awe. That must be hard for him. But it seems like he’s handling it well.” Then I never thought about it again.

I went back to this song by Nick Jonas over my vacation and listened to it on the beach by myself. I had heard this song a million times before and knew every word, but it was like I was hearing it for the first time.

Here are the lines that I felt the most–

“You don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone

You don’t know what it’s like to feel so low

Every time you smile and laugh you glow

And you don’t even know

…Waiting on a cure, none of them are sure

A little bit longer, and I’ll be fine”

And my favorite lines…

“So I’ll wait till kingdom come,

All the highs and lows are gone.

A little bit longer, and I’ll be fine.”

Y’all, I bawled. You can’t truly understand what he means by these simple lyrics (and their relation to t1d) until you have lived this. I just love how in the last couple lines of the song, he reminds all of us type 1’s that the only time we will be free from this disease is when we return Home;  this life is temporary. <–That’s a reminder I need daily. 

Today, after vomiting all morning, I was laying in my bed moping, feeling like crap. Crying, feeling lazy and worthless, asking God “why me?”, etc….Then I got so mad at myself. I wiped my tears and continued to wait for Him to answer me (I haven’t felt like I’ve received His reasoning yet.)

My mind wandered to a place I didn’t purposefully take it (which makes me think it was the Holy Spirit.)

“Why you, Audra? Because.

Because God gave this struggle to you. He gave you this challenge to strengthen you…physically, emotionally, and spiritually. And not only did He give it to you, but He gave it to you without a reason why.

He does not ever have to give you a reason.”

I know, because the Bible tells us all, that we will struggle in this life.

Isn’t that what makes the promise of eternity with Him so much sweeter?

The fact that, yeah, it sucks now. Yeah, it feels like it’ll never end. But this life is a blink and it’s gone. And then, as Lecrae (my fave Christian rapper) puts it, “some of us go end up holy, some of us go end up hot” for eternity.

ETERNITY.

My troubled human mind cannot even comprehend that word, let alone all that comes with it.

I feel so ashamed about the way I have handled this.

Yes, God gave me this struggle. No, He didn’t give it to me because I can handle it–I’m not a fan of the phrase “God never gives you more than you can handle.”

If He never gives me more than I can handle, then how do I ever turn to Him in my weakness and truly, fully, wholeheartedly rely on Him for strength/guidance/comfort/help? If He never gives me more than I can handle, then I wouldn’t feel a reason to cling to Him with all that I am. If He never gives me more than I can handle, then I’d go thinking that I can handle it all by myself, otherwise He wouldn’t have given the struggle to me,  because I’m strong enough without Him.

So yeah. He gave me this. Yeah, when I’m sick and exhausted and done with this disease, I am angry with Him, and I beg Him to tell me why.

Oh silly human, He doesn’t owe you an explanation! But He does provide you the necessary tools to seek comfort and refuge in Him—my Bible. Love that thing. That’s the main way He speaks to me, is through His word. My family. Love those people. They never give up on me, even when they want to. My soon-to-be-husband. Y’all. Brian goes absolutely above and beyond. He loves me and cares for me so selflessly.

I can’t imagine what these past 2 months have felt like for him, and I constantly tell him and thank God for putting Brian in my life. I could’ve (and probably would’ve) died by now without his help.

When Brian asked me to marry him, he did so not knowing that he would have to be my primary caregiver. But he never complains, never makes me feel bad or guilty, and (almost) always loves, protects, and cares for me, even when he’s exhausted of it. He is not perfect; he’s a sinner like the rest of us. But I am so thankful I get to love a man who is so close to our Lord. God teaches me so much through the way Brian demonstrates his love for me.

Ow, my brain hurts. I have nothing left to say today. Sorry it’s all jumbled and nothing makes sense. I don’t feel good today.

Thank you for your prayers and constant support. I promise to write a better, more sensical post next week.

xoxo

Audge

Behind the veil…

I’ve heard a lot of things about myself and our engagement that I didn’t know before in the past few months.

“She’s only in it for the ring.”

“She just wants to plan a fairytale wedding.”

“She’s searching for attention.”

“She’s just rudely rubbing her happiness in to the people who are single.”

Hmm.

The backlash I received from getting engaged young was more than I had anticipated. Granted, we have had MUCH more support than criticism. For this, I am immensely thankful.

I’ve just been amazed at how inappropriate people can behave at one of the happiest times in someone’s life.

It hurts.

I have felt a load of extreme emotions since October. Everything from pure joy to deep hurt.

 It’s funny how the good news of an engagement and the wedding planning process can bring out either the best or the worst in people.

In the beginning, I was handling these emotions in the wrong way. I took everything too seriously and cared too much about other peoples’ opinions, that it distracted me from the core of the situation at hand.

I get to marry my best friend! My other half. The man who God was preparing for throughout my life. I get to take his last name, to wake up to those incredible blue eyes every morning, to raise children with him, to deeper learn about our Lord with him, to grow old with him. The person who challenges me every day and supports me endlessly. I get him. Forever. God gave him to me. 

Some people have trouble understanding why in the world we’d want to be “tied down” at age 21 and 19. But that’s the thing that they don’t understand. We don’t feel tied down. We simply aren’t. That’s the point of finding the person who you’ll spend your life with. They don’t hold you back. In fact, they do the very opposite. They open up your world and empower you to reach your dreams, instead of keeping you from them.

Sure, your priorities and responsibilities have to change. But isn’t that the way it goes? As we walk throughout the many seasons of life, our priorities and responsibilities are constantly changing, no matter our age.

God’s plan for one individual is different from the plan He has for another individual. He does that on purpose. Brian and I’s plan is different from the “typical college student”‘s path. But He has blessed us with this path, and has equipped us with the proper tools and strengths in order to handle it.

I’m sure people will always question my motives and intentions, and that’s alright. I can’t do much to stop that, other than to prove myself. But I don’t feel like I need to prove myself to anyone.

Something I’ve been wondering throughout all this is:

Why is it so hard to believe that I’m in this for the marriage?

And, after being brutally honest with myself, I can finally answer that.

Before I met the man, it used to be all about the perfect ring, the fairytale wedding, the center of attention, the cute little flawless married life. But once I met Brian, none of that stuff mattered anymore.

In fact, the only aspect of our wedding that is important to me is that at the end of that day, we will be husband and wife. Everything else about the wedding is just pizazz. Half the time, I just want to courthouse it or have the smallest wedding imaginable because I don’t need all of that stuff” in order to have the “perfect, fairytale wedding.” Brian is the reason why our wedding will be perfect, regardless of how everything goes.

Our love for each other and for Christ is why our wedding will be perfect. Not the dress. Not the venue. Not the colors, or the dance, or the centerpieces.

Wedding planning is certainly fun and surreal, but I feel as if it’s a flaw on my part to get too wrapped up into it. It can really distract from the core purpose. And I never want to take my sights off of the purpose.

I know I can’t please everyone and I know there will always be people who don’t like me because of  my past. I know that if I hadn’t gone through those negative things and if I hadn’t strayed, then I wouldn’t have met Brian. I wouldn’t have been given the experiences and the tools necessary to have my own family and move on to the next chapter in life.

So although it doesn’t make sense to some people, I am getting married next year to the man who God sent to me, the man who I love in such an indescribable way, the man who loves me so well. My best friend, and my partner in this life and for eternity.

That’s what’s important.