Monday, September 28, 2009

A different way to look at suffering

This is the devotional for today.  It really made me think about how I am handling things.  I definitely have been asking some of these questions to God.  Why us?  What's the purpose?  What do You have in store for our future?
I have definitely learned a lot through this all.  God is working on my faith. I am praying for Him to reveal a greater plan for our lives!


'Neither this man nor his parents sinned,' said Jesus, 'but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life.'" John 9:3 (NIV)

Jesus had a unique way of clearing up misconceptions by helping people see truth as it was meant to be. For example, in John 9 we find Jesus refuting the traditional explanation of suffering when His disciples point to a man born blind and ask, "Who sinned, this man or his parents?" In other words, they wanted to know Why did he deserve blindness? Jesus answers frankly, "Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life."
The disciples looked backwards to find out why the man was blind. Jesus redirects their attention by pointing forward and upward with a new and different perspective.

Usually, our response to challenges or suffering is determined by our perspective. When our focus is inward on ourselves or outward on circumstances, our natural response is fear, insecurity, grumbling and despair. I know. I've been there far too often. Have you?
Yet, Jesus redirects our questions and our focus. In doing so, it causes us to see suffering in a new light that disproves the old tradition. Not all suffering is a direct result of sin. Pain has a higher purpose in our lives. It's not necessarily there because we deserve it. It's to reveal God's glory.
Suffering is meant to refine us. James says it makes us "perfect and complete, lacking in nothing" (1:4b, ESV). Pain drives us to seek the heart and will of God.
Perhaps you and I have been going at it all wrong. We've been looking backwards in the rearview mirror of life asking, "Why? What did I do to deserve this?" Instead, we should look forward and up asking, "What's the purpose of my pain? What's the end result? What is God trying to do, accomplish, or teach me?"
These types of questions enable us to hold out hope for the future. They remind us our suffering can be transformed or redeemed. Tragedies and hardships like the loss of a spouse, a child, a limb, a job, or a home can be used to display God's work and make us more like Jesus.
Isn't it time you and I looked up? An upward focus brings about a supernatural response that reflects trust and confidence in God, as He brings about His glorious work in each of us.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

How many days until Oct. 5?

That's my countdown!  I had my post op appointment today with Dr. Putman.  He showed me the pictures he took at the surgery last week.  There was tissue left over from the pregnancy so he removed that, but there were also some other things I think he called lesions...I don't know...  The IUD will come out on October 5.  Once I start a period I will begin with the birth control pill again.  While this is discouraging to me that it will probably be Thanksgiving before we can transfer the embryos, I know that he wants me to be as healthy as possible.  We also talked with him a little bit about the genetics results.  He had us go ahead and do the bloodwork to see if either one of us are carriers.  I am excited and nervous all at the same time.  I am praying that nothing is found in our test.  I pray that this was just a random anomale and not something that could happen again.  So, we decided to postpone our meeting with the genetic counselor until we get the results from todays test.  If we are carriers we will reschedule, but if not we feel there is no need to meet with a counselor as the chances of it happening again are fairly low.
While I am excited to know we are on our way to getting things going again, I also struggle sometimes hour by hour with fear.  What if these embryos don't survive the thawing process?  That is my latest fear.  To get through most of the process only to be stopped.  Then we have to decide...will we try another cycle...somehow find another $15,000?   It's overwhelming and something I just can't think about right now!
 I'm not going to worry!  God is working it out.  He knows what we need.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Searching for God

That's what I have been doing lately.  I find myself asking Where is God?  I am fighting Satan and the negative attitude he is tempting me with.  A lot of days I am faced with doubt and fear.  I feel like God owes me something big for all that we have been through.  I am focused on the fact that my baby is dead.  God could have fixed it.  He didn't.  I had to have surgery to remove the tissue.  God could have made it disappear.  He didn't.  We have to wait to try to get pregnant again.  God could make it happen.  He hasn't yet.  We can't test our last two embryos for genetic abnormalities.  We don't know if Ethans issues were random or because we are carriers of some terrible thing.  I am faced with the fear of never having another baby.    What if our last attempt doesn't work?  What if we get pregnant and the baby has the same genetic issue as Ethan?  I can't even begin to think how heart broken I will be.  It's days like this that make it hard to get out of bed.  Why is it so hard to focus on the blessings in my life?  Glade and Addison are testaments to God's blessings.  We tried for almost 5 years and He gave us two healthy babies.  Shouldn't that be enough for me to see that God is taking care of everything?  We had another counseling session this week.  It was a good one, but I was faced with some tough questions.  Is my faith in God dependent on whether or not I have more children?  My mind knows the answer.  No, I will still love God and have faith in Him.  Will I be happy?  Probably not!  I can't even wrap my brain around having to deal with that.  I am begging, pleading with God to hear me, let it work just one more time.  With a much better least much better in my mind.  What could be better than getting to be with God?  That's where Ethan is!  He is whole and complete.  Nothing is wrong with him.  I would still rather have him here, growing.  Selfish I know!
I have to stay focused on God's blessings in my life.  I have to watch out for Satan pulling at me with the negative thoughts and fears.  It would be a lot easier if God would just let me take a glimpse at what He has planned.  Just let me know how it's all going to pan out and I will be fine.  I guess I wouldn't need faith if he did  huh?
I have started Beth Moore's study on Esther with several friends from church.  I am so excited for this study.  We watched the introduction session last Thursday and I felt like she was talking to me alone.  The first lesson in her work book talks about losing hope.  Here a some quotes that I found inspiring. all five occasions where those Hebrew words were associated with impending catastrophe, the ending to each story is happy, but before that happy ending is realized, much grief occurs.

When we trust our lives to the unseen but ever-present God, He will write our lives into His story and every last one of them will turn out to be a great read.  With a grand ending.

I am trying desperately to hold on to God.  I need Him more than ever these days.  I am hoping for a grand ending to this time in my life.  I just need to feel it in my heart.  My mind knows the answers, it's just convincing my heart!

This week I am praying for peace and happiness.  I want to laugh everyday.  With Glade and Addison around that is not hard to do!
I have my post-op appointment on Wednesday.  So hopefully Dr. Putman can give me a tentative schedule of where we go from here.  I think I will feel better when I see the calendar and that it really won't be that long of a delay!
We are also meeting with a Genetic Counselor on Friday.  It's just a consultation, but hopefully we can begin to understand what exactly a pericentric inversion means and what the risks are for any future pregnancies.

Please pray for me.  That I can find God in my life everyday...I know he's there, I just need to be open to Him!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

2 months

It's been two months today since Ethan was born. It has truly been a roller coaster of emotions for me. This week is definitely one of the low points. Things just aren't going how I had planned or how I had hoped they would. I know that God is working things out for the good...but is it going to be what I am hoping for?
We got the genetic results on Ethan back. There is some genetic abnormalities. I don't understand a single bit of it. I know that he had a pericentric inversion of the x chromosome. The dr. mentioned something about the 11 and 22 chromosomes. So here's what I did get from my conversation with the dr today. There is a possiblity that either Tim or I are carriers of this type of abnormality. If so, there is a 50/50 chance it will happen again. Our dr. would like us to proceed with implanting our other two embryos. Then once they grow a little they will test them. His recommendation is to terminate if the genetics are abnormal. That is not our plan. God is bigger than a test and while there are still chances for the embryos to be affected, there are chances that they won't be or that it wouldn't be fatal as with Ethan.
I have set up a consultation with a genetics counselor. Hopefully she can help us to understand what happened and what the future risks might be. Tim and I are leaning towards testing us to see if we are carriers. If not, we get some peace of mind knowing it will most likely not happen again.
I am just really struggling lately. It seems as though things just go from bad to worse. When will things start to look up? When will I be able to feel some relief?
I need prayers. Prayers that I can trust God and know that he is doing what is best for me and our family. Prayers that I can still see the blessings even through all the yucky stuff that is happening because right now all I see is the hurt and anger.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Wait, Wait, Wait

That's what I got today. My surgery was scheduled for 11:15. At 11 the nurse came by and said the Dr. had called he was running late and would be there by 12:30. Well, 12:30 came and went. It was 2:00 before I got an IV and got back for surgery. I was fine with this waiting. It's getting me one step closer to getting pregnant again. Last week when I found out about this surgery I called wanting to know what the timeline was from here. I liked the answer I got. It just set us back a few weeks. Too good to be true I guess. The first thing I heard when I woke up this afternoon was IUD. I am devastated! Apparently there was more tissue than he expected and it was more attached than he expected, so he had to put in the IUD to help the uterus heal properly. The IUD will be in for 4 weeks. Then I will have to start the birthcontrol again.
Today I am mad. I am mad that I have to deal with this to begin with. I should be big and pregnant and getting uncomfortable. I am struggling with God. Why couldn't he just make this work out for me? Why? Why can't it just go the way I want it to? Would that be so hard considering all that we have been through lately. Tim was quick to remind me that I have to learn to live on God's time. I KNOW that. I just don't like it. I want to be pregnant. I want to move past this time in my life. I want things to be okay again. Because right now, I am not okay. I am hurting. It just seems like I get a glimmer of hope that things are going to be okay and then something else happens. I am longing for a day when I can wake up and feel happy, truly happy. I want to wake up and really feel that God is here. Maybe I am just not letting him in. I am too focused on my desire to "fix" this. I am too busy thinking about what God could have done for me I am not seeing all the things he is currently doing.
So, for today I am going to be a little angry. Tomorrow I will work on being optimistic and knowing that God is working to make things perfect for when we use our last two embryos. I have to remember it has only been two months and that most women have to wait at least three months before even thinking of trying again.
The genetic results are back. We played phone tag with the dr. regarding those today so hopefully tomorrow I can get some of those answers.
I am praying for God's peace tonight and that he can help me get through this. It is so hard! My faith is definitely being tested and it is the hardest thing I have ever had to go through. I don't feel strong enough to endure this. Some days I feel good, but then I have days like today. When I am angry with God for not fixing things the way I think they should be fixed. I need prayers and I need to figure out how to let God work without putting my demands on Him. Any suggestions?

Friday, September 4, 2009

Surgery on Tuesday

So the tissue was still in my uterus.  So I will go in on Tuesday to have it taken out.  I am so frustrated today.   I really wanted things to go just like I think they should.  But of course, we have another road block.  Things should be fine for next month, but I wanted it to be this month.  It's hard to explain why this is so upsetting to me other than I want to get pregnant and this is holding me back from that.  So, instead of enjoying the first week of preschool and getting to know the precious little ones in my class, I get to miss the first day!  I am trying to remain faithful.  I know God is working things out in the most perfect way, but I am still sad and frustrated...maybe a little angry that he can't just give me something...just a little something to let me know that things will turn out okay, that I will get the chance to have more children.  So, pray for us next week.  I pray that the tissue can be removed easily with no impact to my uterus and that things will be fine from here on out and we can proceed with the next step as soon as possible.

Prayers for today

I go the the dr. today.  I am praying for everything to be perfect...ready to get going.  BUT, I really think we will hit another road block.  Without going into too much detail...I am still bleeding.  I think it should have stopped already, but I'm not the doctor so I will see what he says today.  I am still faithful that God will let us know this is what we should do and moving forward will be the answer we get today.  If not, I will be sad, but I know we will get there eventually.

We are headed to Abilene this afternoon to celebrate my niece and nephews birthday.  I can't believe they are turning 11.  Where did the time go?

Please pray for us today.  Pray that I can handle whatever the doctor finds and that I will accept the plan we get today.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Plan B

Today was our first official day back at preschool. I had great plans of getting up early, fixing something for breakfast, getting dinner in the crockpot, and getting things together before I got the kids up. I was kinda excited...until the alarm went off at 6 this morning. My stomach was churning, my back was cramping, my head hurt. So I stayed in bed. Needless to say, I was a little late this morning. Better on a workday than the first day right? The kids didn't want to get up either! But, we made it!

I teach the four and five year olds. We are really trying to get the kids ready for Kindergarten and make the curriculum match the state guidelines for PreK, so the director had scheduled a meeting for us all to talk over a few things this morning. What do I do...start crying! I think it is just the combination of not feeling good and running late...forgetting stuff that I needed at home. It seems to only happen once a week now, so that's getting better! I just feel so helpless with this all. I hate that at any moment I could just start crying. I am so blessed to work with wonderful Christian women who care so much about me. I recovered and got some work done. But I am down today.

I know that I will have days like this. But I have so much to do and a small window of naptime to get them done!

I have been inspired by the Smith family. Todd Smith is a member of the group Selah. He and his wife lost their baby Audrey Caroline last year. They have a new song out called I Will Carry You. Makes me cry everytime I hear it. Their church has put together a Plan B series and on the videos they tell their story. Look for it on youtube, there are three parts to it. Anyway, I watched those today and while it made me cry even more, it did give me hope and inspiration. While I won't have millions of people reading my blog, like the Smiths, I do hope that I can tell our story and bring glory to God in honor of Ethan. I pray that one day our story will bring peace and comfort to someone else going through something similiar. Angie says on the video that God doesn't have a plan b. God knows what he is doing. I am just waiting on God to show me what to do with this and how this could be better than having my baby in my arms.
Every morning I pray that God will guide me through the day. I am waiting expectantly for God to show me what to do next, how to make sure we never forget Ethan's life and the things we have learned because of it.
Psalm 5 :1-3

O Lord, hear me as I pray; pay attention to my groaning. Listen to my cry for help, my King and my God, for I pray to no one but you. Listen to my voice in the morning, Lord. Each morning I bring my requests to you and wait expectantly.