Playing college golf taught my kids many things and, for that, I am grateful. Was it all fun and exhilaration? NO! But there is a “grave robber” moment that we all experienced. For our family personally, it was one of the most amazing ways we have seen God’s provision. This is still a very emotional story for me to share so bare with me. Even thought you can’t see my tears, I promise they are there!
Several years ago, when all three of my kids were in the throws of college golf–the two boys at Clemson and Collins at UGA–I was in Puerto Rico following Collins in her tournament. The great news is that I got to stay 10 whole days because Thomas had qualified to play in the same men’s tournament for Clemson the following week on the same course and at the same hotel. I will never forget this time, ever.
It was the middle of the night, or morning, around 4 a.m. I received a horrible call from Brewer. He was crying on the other end of the phone and so upset that I could hardly understand him. My heart was in my throat. I knew that it had to be something terrible related to Thomas. I just knew.
You see, at the time, Thomas and Brewer lived next door to each other. Thomas was living alone, which is a terrible thing for a diabetic, absolutely terrible. His roommate had severe allergies and could not stay well in the apartment so he had to move out and find a newer place. We completely understood but it was not at all ideal for Thomas. We had to trust God because it was out of our hands. At least Brewer did live next door.
The morning the Clemson team was leaving, Thomas didn’t show up at the van. Teammates were calling and, as you can imagine, the coach was very angry. He had a plane to catch in Atlanta and a team to put on the plane so they were on tight a schedule. Thomas was nowhere to be found so they called Brewer. Brewer went next door and found Thomas out with a very low blood sugar, not unconscious but very close. Thankfully, Brewer knew what to do.
He gave Thomas some things to help raise his blood sugar as the team drove over to pick up Thomas. As you can imagine, and we have lived COUNTLESS times in many different situations, the coach didn’t have a true understanding of what was going on with Thomas. He only knew that if he didn’t get Thomas and get going, the team was going to miss their flight to Puerto Rico.
They were in such a hurry to get Thomas and go that they didn’t allow him to get all the stuff he needed. Thomas had packed his car the night before so that he could get to the golf facility on time the next morning. When Brewer woke him up and got him going, he was still in that diabetic fog of very low blood sugar, something you cannot possibly understand unless you have had one yourself or lived with it up-close and personal.
Brewer knew Thomas had not had enough carbs to bring his blood sugar up long enough to make it to Atlanta. At that moment, Brewer was absolutely horrified that Thomas, on the way to Atlanta from Clemson, was going to slip into a seizure and be OUT. We have had a few of those in Thomas’ life. Brewer, first of all realized that, left untreated, Thomas’ life could be in serious jeopardy.
You see, when Thomas got in that van, he was still so low that he knew his name but was unaware and foggy and couldn’t help himself. To the normal person, a diabetic person, if you don’t know them, may seem fine during a diabetic low but they are NOT. They can even speak to you but can drop into a seizure of no return at any moment. Thomas has had three in his life and each one was the scariest thing we, as a family, have ever encountered. The first one took Thomas several weeks to get over and it took me several months because I thought we were losing him. Brewer knew of the danger. He knew of the possibilities but somehow in the fray of the moment couldn’t communicate the danger to the team or the coaches.
I hung up the phone and started calling Thomas every minute. He wasn’t answering because he was very low, in a zombie-like state. I dropped to my knees on that tile floor in my hotel room and begged God for Thomas’ life. Brewer and I both prayed on the phone together. There was nothing I could do. I couldn’t get to Thomas and I knew he wasn’t capable of helping himself nor asking for help.
It is very difficult to understand, but when diabetics are experiencing a low, they are in a prison in their mind. They can know they need help but their mind isn’t connecting the dots. Low blood sugar affects the central nervous system and a diabetic with low blood sugar is not in a rational state nor can they think or act rationally. After two agonizing hours of repeatedly dialing Thomas’ cell, Thomas fumbled with and answered the phone. Having been his main caregiver for the first ten years with this disease, I knew he was still dangerously low. I talked to him and tried to reason with him. It was a true miracle from God that he was still lucid. He was in the airport with the team but not making a whole lot of sense. Somehow, and it is ONLY GOD, Thomas made it to Puerto Rico without having a disastrous seizure.
The only ones I expect who truly get this are the ones who live with the disease up-close and personal. YOU KNOW IT WAS a MIRACLE. That whole day, looking back, I experienced miracles. I didn’t have a car and God provided the nicest couple, parents of a girl who played for Arkansas, who took me in their car to get the supplies Thomas would need. All the things left in his car at Clemson. Brewer overnighted the rest of the items to us. This couple was so loving and reassuring to me. I had no legs that day. They were weak and rubbery.
I cried when I saw Thomas at the hotel that day…tears of joy and relief. No one but our family really knew the devastation that was looming and how God had miraculously intervened. That night, as I have grown accustomed to in the years since Thomas first suffered from this disease, God reassured me that not only did he have Thomas, but He gave me the comfort and feeling of knowing Thomas was going to play well that week.
God showed me…Isaiah 40:29, “He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength.”
And, guess what?! That week he did the best on the team and tied for 5th overall in the tournament! God is good. He is faithful to the faithful, and faithful even when we are faithless.
2 Timothy 2:13, “If we are faithless, he remains faithful—for he cannot deny himself.”
He can handle things. He sometimes gives you so much on your plate that you know IT IS HIM and HIM alone. God has used golf and diabetes so much in my life TO REVEAL HIMSELF TO ME and to our family.
Side note: a few years later, Thomas came home from Clemson for the summer and was very sick. He was diagnosed with MONO. Two weeks later he was allowed to play in an amateur event with restrictions of only playing, not practicing, and he couldn’t carry his bag. I was the caddy. I got to see God show up and show out big once again. Thomas was 50% that week. Seriously, health-wise he was at 50% and he won. He even broke a tournament record in score for the week, 20 under par.
Tell me that it wasn’t God?! It was God. It was ALL GOD. He continues to teach us: Not in our power but in HIS! Amen and amen!
What are you trusting God for today that is out of your hands?
Zechariah 4:6 rings true. “So he said to me, ‘This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the Lord Almighty.” It is not man’s power that accomplishes anything. It is the Lord!