Friday, August 28, 2009

Let the Rope Come to You

Let the Rope Come to You~Pat Layton

"The fruit of righteousness will be peace; the effect of righteousness will be quietness and confidence forever." Isaiah 32:17 (NIV)When I was very young, my dad taught my three sisters and me how to water-ski. You might imagine the amount of patience that took! We would go out in our family boat into the middle of the lake where one of us girls would jump into the water. Then we would each take our turn around the lake as many times as we could go without falling.Once you fell, another sister was waiting to jump in and take your place. If I fell too soon, before I was ready to give my turn up, I would struggle with all of my might to grab the ski rope back and try getting up again before another sister jumped into the water to take my spot.I remember gatheri ng up all the 8-year-old strength I could muster to get to that rope back into my hands. I floundered and struggled in the water with all that gear attached to me - a life jacket that seemed the size of a small car and water skis that seemed a mile long. I would get exhausted trying to get to that rope in time not to lose my turn.One day I remember my dad calling out, "Pat, just relax, lay back on your life jacket and I will bring the rope to you!" And he did. I would rest in the water and my dad would drive the boat slowly and carefully around me until the ski rope would just float right into my hands. No struggle, no fear of missing it, no one jumping in and taking my place.After 22 years of women's ministry, I have often found myself or watched a sister in her struggle to grab something she was afraid she might loose. A ministry spot, a child, a husband, a friend.Sometimes, we feel that if we don't struggle and strive, we will lose our "turn." That someho w, what God has called us to do, have or be, will be missed or that another "sister" might jump in and take our spot. When those times come in my life, I try to remember the words of my dad, "Pat, just let the rope come to you."Maybe you can relate. Have you been struggling to make something happen in your life or to protect a position or opportunity that you are afraid you will miss if you don't strive for it?Let's listen to the words of our Abba Father, let's just relax in the moment and trust God to "bring the rope to us." If it's His best for us, He will do just that.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Partly Sunny

I receive a daily devotional through email. Here is todays. This is something that I struggle with these days, so hopefully you will benefit from it too.

"Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear." Matthew 13:43 (NIV)

Last week my seven-year-old son and I were waiting for his sister to get her hair cut. As we sat in the waiting area, we had no choice but to listen to the radio that played in the background. The forecast came on and the announcer said that it was going to be partly cloudy. My son, who was playing with LEGOs® on the floor, stopped playing and looked up with an indignant look on his face. "Mom," he said, "That man said it's partly cloudy but it's not. It's partly sunny." Then he went back to playing.Oh, to see the world the way my son did in that moment. He taught me a huge lesson on perspective that day and I have b een mulling it over ever since.Do I see my days as partly sunny or partly cloudy? Do I marvel at the wonders or get caught up in the mess? Do I consciously choose to alter my "glass half empty" mentality and choose to see it as half full? Do I rejoice in what I have or focus on what's missing?Just for today, let's focus on the good things that happen, so they don't get lost in the shuffle of life. I hope that you will join me in seeking to see our days as partly sunny. Sure, a few clouds may enter our horizon, but that doesn't mean our outlook has to be altered.Partly cloudy or partly sunny? My son taught me it's all in how I look at it.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Sunday Naps

At the time a nap on Sunday afternoon sounds so good. It feels so good to just crawl in bed and get some good sleep. But then comes Sunday night. Here I am at almost one in the morning and I can't sleep. I mentioned earlier in a post about the Sunday Sadness I was having. It was better today...until now. Our church had a big back to school bash at a local park to kick off the new school year. It was fun and I loved watching Glade and Addison play. I loved hearing Addison sing Jesus Loves Me during our devotional...even though that wasn't the song being sung...she heard the name Jesus and started singing. But I can't help but feel a part of me is missing. I can't help but notice the looks from people. People who probably don't know what to say to me. They don't want to make the hurt worse. But I know it's there. I've probably been one of those people before. How long will that continue? Or, is just me. Am I still hurting so much inside that I think other people can see it and will feel sorry for me?
We had another meeting with our counselor this weekend. Through all this I feel that Tim and I are growing closer and we are learning to communicate with each other so much better. This time, I didn't leave feeling good. I didn't like some of the things the counselor had to say. Partly because I know that some of the things she said had some truth to them. Since we lost Ethan it has been my mission to start the fertility treatments again and get pregnant as quickly as the doctors would do it. It's what I feel will help me get through this. The counselor on the other hand, thinks I should take time to heal. She said I need to slow down and listen for God and wait on His timing. My question is this-how do I know? How do I know that God is okay with us proceeding with the cycle? How do I know if I am rushing God? How do I know it's not my strong desires making me miss the things He is saying?
Here's what I know, or at least what I hope God would do to show me. Our doctors have been okay with moving forward. I do have the issue of the tissue in my uterus. We are proceeding with the meds as we would with the start of the Cryo Cycle. I go on Sept. 4 for a sonogram to see that the tissue or clot is gone. If not, he can try to "knock it out" with saline. I take that as, if it's gone we are good to go. If it's still there and the "knocking it out" doesn't work, then God wants us to wait. Pretty logical I think. Then I start wondering, what if he wants me to wait even though things are okay? See why I am up at one in the morning. Come on God, just hit me in the head with it...that way I know what you want and I can sleep!
So tonight I sit here going back and forth on whether or not this is what we should do. Thinking about how this shouldn't even be what I am worrying about. I should be 6 months pregnant, feeling my baby moving and kicking inside of me. I should be picking out stuff for his nursery. We should be picking out names...because we woudn't have done it yet. But here I am, crying in the middle of the night. Feeling sorry for myself because nothing is what I hoped or dreamed for. When I know there other people who have it far worse than me. There are mothers right now sitting next to their children in a hospital somewhere. I should be able to rejoice that it's not me. Ethan is home, he didn't have to suffer. I have two beautiful, healthy children alseep upstairs right now. That's more than a lot of other families. Many women are suffering infertility. Wondering if God will give them children. I have been one of those women. I start feeling guilty. Guilty for wanting more. Guilty for feeling this way. I should be happy with what I have. I am happy with what I have. I wouldn't trade it for anything. I know that God has blessed us. But I can't get past what we lost. I can't get past the desire to be a mother to more children. I'm sure that this is just a big jumble of mess and any counselors reading this might just see tons of issues that I need to work through.
So tonight, I pray for God's guidance. I pray that he will show us what he wants us to do. In my bold prayer- I pray that he is good with us going ahead with the cycle, and I pray that he blesses the two embryos we have and he lets them both be successful.
I also pray that God helps me see the little blessings each day. So many times I get frustrated with the small things. I pray that he will keep me focused on the good in my life- which means I might need a little more patience with the kids...did I just pray for patience?
I pray that God will use Ethan's life to His glory. I want to do something to honor God and Ethan, I pray that God will show me what that is.
Tonight I also pray for sleep to come. I am praying that all my worries and fears, the sadness and grief and will stop and I can sleep.

So, here I go to let God answer my prayers...and go to sleep!

So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy. John 16:22

Friday, August 21, 2009

Coupon Shopping

I have taken on the task of really learning to use coupons. I read all about these people who can cut their grocery bill to almost nothing by using coupons. I have always been pretty doubtful about it all. I stick to the tried and true Low prices at Walmart. So, this week I have my list and I'm printing out coupons and I'm going to see how it goes. When Tim gets home from work today I am off to do some grocery shopping. Really, I'm just looking forward to some time by myself. I feel terrible feeling that way. I love my kids, I am so thankful they are here and they are healthy and that God has blessed us with them, but this week...I've had just about enough. I know my emotions play a big part in this and most days I am excited to watch them grow and learn. So, as my escape, I am going to the grocery store! Hopefully to save some money!
Here's my dilema with coupons...
I almost always buy store brand. I have a hard time figuring out the coupons and store deals to save money on brands with coupons that would make it cheaper than buying store brand.
Also...we buy diapers at Sam's. Should I use the coupons and store sales? Would that make it cheaper? Someone please just tell me what to buy, what coupons to use and where to buy it!
Guess I better go do some more research. There are tons of blogs out there, I just have to get through them all without pulling out my hair or giving up and returning to Walmart!

Monday, August 17, 2009


I'm finally feeling some peace in all of this. While the time schedule for starting another cycle is not what I want, I do feel peace about it. I know that God is in control. I don't get the tightness in my chest as often as I did. The crying isn't coming as often. I can talk about Ethan and my feelings without just losing it.
On another note: My grandmother was moved to a nursing home today. She has Alzheimer's disease and has been living with my parents since May. My grandad died at the beginning of July. This has been extremly stressful for my parents. I have been praying for some time for some peace for mom and dad and that the decisions they have to make would not be too hard to make. Granny had a stroke on Wednesday. This was an answer to my prayers. Mom didn't have to be the one to decide it was time to put her in the home. She just had to decide which one. I am praying for my mom today, I know it is really hard on her to see her mom this way. I am also praying that mom will find some peace now. She has been so stressed taking care of everything she hasn't really had time to grieve and accept all that has been going on.
I think I can without a doubt say this is the WORST summer I have ever had. BUT, I know that things will work out and the sun will shine in our lives again! I'm just praying for sooner than later!
Here's a scripture I found inspiring today:
2 Corinthians 9:8 (The Message)
8-11God can pour on the blessings in astonishing ways so that you're ready for anything and everything, more than just ready to do what needs to be done. As one psalmist puts it, He throws caution to the winds, giving to the needy in reckless abandon. His right-living, right-giving ways never run out, never wear out.This most generous God who gives seed to the farmer that becomes bread for your meals is more than extravagant with you. He gives you something you can then give away, which grows into full-formed lives, robust in God, wealthy in every way, so that you can be generous in every way, producing with us great praise to God.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Just one of those days

Today is just one of those days where you just want to go back to bed and have a do-over. I had an appointment with Dr. Putman today at 9:45. I get there and they say something happened and I didn’t show up on the schedule and he went for an emergency surgery. So, instead of getting to leave and drive to my parents house, I get to go home finish packing and loading the car, get the kids lunch and go back to the doctor with Glade and Addison. I have to admit the kids were really good, considering we got there at 1:15 and didn’t see Dr. Putman until almost 3. This is their nap time, so they were really tired. I was running out of things to do with them. We sang all the songs we know several times, played simon says and I blew up several rubber gloves. Finally Dr. Putman made it in. He said the lining of my uterus looks good, but there is some tissue or a blood clot in the uterus. I am on medicine to start a period…(sorry to talk about such girly stuff, but I have to write about it, it makes me feel better) The prayer is that the tissue or clot will come out with the period. Once the medicine does it’s job (I am praying it DOES the job because in the past this hasn’t worked for me) Dr. Putman will take another look. If it’s gone, HALLELUJAH, thaw out those embryos! If the tissue is still there he will do a different kind of sonogram and add saline into the uterus. From there he will determine if surgery is needed to remove it. I am praying hard that it just goes away on it’s own. I left the office very discouraged today. I was hoping that I would leave with a calendar in hand of what dates to start what meds for our next transfer. Instead I am being told to wait. Again! So, I get out to the elevator, call Tim and tell him the news. I had to let 3 elevators go without getting on them because they were so full I couldn’t fit with the double stroller. I’m sure everyone thought I was crazy. Here I was with the stroller, the kids, the diaper bag, talking on the phone with tears streaming down my face. It’s not that the news is devastating, or that we can’t ever get pregnant again, it’s just not what I wanted. I wanted him to say that everything looked perfect and we are good to go. But that is my time. God has a different plan and whether that plan is just to wait another couple of week or a couple of months, I know it is the best thing for me. As much as I don’t like it… See, in my head I want to be growing babies by December. I want to know that I will be close to holding another little Schreiner when really I should be holding one then. Not that it will make this hurt any less, or make me not cry over what we have lost. I just want to know I will have another child. (or two)
So driving down the road, crying because it didn’t go the way I wanted, God and I had time to chat. I was able to vent my frustrations that things just aren’t going the way I wanted them too. For those of you who have read any Karen Kingsbury books, you know that the characters always have scriptures that just come to them when they are struggling. Well, I could be a character in her book today. As I was crying, asking God to give me a break. Show me something, let something go right…the scripture Romans 8:28 came to mind. And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. That one just came to mind. So through it all, I know it will turn out okay. I know God is taking care of us and he will answer our prayers for more children. So for whatever reason, God felt I needed a lesson on patience today.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Sunday Sadness

It seems to be a pattern in my weeks. Sunday just makes me think about Ethan more. It's the songs we sing, the scriptures that are read and all the people who say they are thinking about us. It just makes me sad. Sad that this is something we have to go through. While all of those things give me hope and comfort, they also make me sad. I have to say I am doing better. I did wear mascara to church today! The last song in worship today was I Need You More. Here are the words:
I need You more
More than yesterday
I need You Lord
More than words can say
I need You more
Than ever before
I need You Lord
I need You Lord
More than the air I breathe
More than the song I sing
More than the next heartbeat
More than anything
And Lord as time goes by
I'll be by Your side
Cause I never want to go back
To my old life

Just listening to everyone sing this song made me tear up. I couldn't finish singing, because that's exactly how I feel right now. I need the Lord more than I ever have before. Sometimes I am so overwhelmed with grief and pain that it's hard to breathe. Sometimes I don't even have words, just tears. Thankfully I know that God knows what I need and what I feel and He is there comforting me.
So, here's to hoping the Sunday Sadness won't last forever.
I have a busy week planned. Playdates, Dr. Appointments, and a trip to my parents house will definitely keep me busy. I have found that if I keep busy during the day I don't get too sad. I still have my moments though. Like at 12:30 Friday night, I just started crying. Sobbing really. I have to say this past week has been a hard one. I don't really know why, I have been doing the same things I have in the other weeks since Ethan's death. Maybe because it's been a month today?
Pray for me this week. Tim and I will be apart for most of the week and I find such strength and comfort from him. He's there to give me hugs when he can tell that I am having a hard day. He holds me at night when I am crying. I feel such comfort when he is here or when I can call him at work when I am having a sad day. He will be traveling for work. So pray for his safety and for me to not totally lose it while he is gone! I also go back to the Fertility Dr. this week. I am praying for things to look good so we can begin the process. I will also be traveling to my parents house on Wednesday, so I am praying for happy kids on the ride there since I will be by myself!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

If only...

If only? That's the question I have been dealing with today. If only the kids would take a nap? If only there weren't so many bills to pay? If only I could keep the house clean? When what it all boils down to is...if only my baby was still alive. Everything would be fine. The kids would sleep perfect. There wouldn't be quite as many bills this month and the house would be spotless. I KNOW it's not true! I know the kids would still fight there naps and we would still have the same bills(minus a few extra dr. and hospital bills) and the house would be in a lot worse shape than it is now.
Today has been hard because well, there's just not enough money for all the bills, until next week. I feel like I could have done better watching what I spend lately. I could have cooked more and eaten out less...
It's also been hard because I have two fussy two year olds who desperately needed a nap but refused to take one. We have had a busy week and they have been up late every night this week so far because of VBS at our church. Maybe I am just making excuses because selfishly, I need the time when they are asleep. I had plans. Plans to clean up the kitchen and make chocolate chip cookies. So, instead of getting those things done, I played the nap nazi! I sat upstairs returning kids to bed after they would get out. I would get one to sleep and the other would wake him/her up! So, it's now almost 4:30, one child is asleep, the other one is downstairs playing- riding his tricycle in the mess that is our kitchen! The butter is in the mixing bowl, but it doesn't look like the cookies will get made. I'm wondering if I should just skip lunch and go right to dinner, because I missed lunch a long time ago!
It's just been one of those days. And what's more frustrating, is that I am so frustrated I'm frustrated with it all. Shouldn't I be able to handle this? Shouldn't I be able to just let it go and not sweat the small stuff? Because that is what it is. Small stuff. As I was crying to Tim on the phone I said I just want things to be the way they were. I don't want to cry so much, I don't want to get so frustrated with the kids. He reminded me that things won't ever be the way they were. As hard as that is, I do try to find some comfort in it. Ethan will never have to experience the pain that life would have brought him. I try to focus on that. But still the questions is there. If only?
So today, I am praying for relief. Relief from whatever is that is making me so upset today. I am praying that my kids will take a good nap tomorrow. I am praying that God will help me through the rest of the day without completely losing it! I am praying that I will be able to handle tomorrow a little better than I did today.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Facing the Giants

I just love this movie! The first time I saw it I think I cried through the whole thing. It's such a great story with a wonderful message. My sister and I talked about this movie just the other night. I think we relate to this movie because of our struggles with infertility. She reminded me of a quote from the movie. "Will you still love Him even he doesn't give us children?" Ouch, that's a hard question to ask. In the movie the wife of the football coach gets yet another negative pregnancy test. She walks to the car and tells God she still loves him. Now, that's the movie. In my personal experience, that doesn't come immediately. As I told my sister the other night, I know I will still love Him, but I'm not ready to face that question. I'm not ready to come to terms with the fact that our family may remain a family of 4. I have hope! I have hope that God will add to our family.

At the end of the movie, after they have won the state championship, the coach asks what is impossible with God. NOTHING! He can do whatever He wants. The coach says "God chooses to work in our lives because He loves us." I know that God is going to do great things in my life. I know that He will continue to bless my family.

Watching this movie again has helped me trust. Trust that God will do great things in my life even when right now things seem to be falling apart. It has helped me change my attitude to look for the blessings and not dwell on the heartache. At least for this moment.

Just thought I would share this. If you haven't seen this movie, you need to see it!