Monthly Archives: February 2013

the cup runneth dry…

Today was just one of ‘those’ days.  I’m sure you know the kind of day I am talking about.  The kind where when the alarm goes off, it feels like you are surfacing from under hundreds of fathoms of water and are totally disoriented when you reach the surface.  The kind where you get up and just trudge through the routine not really wanting to do it, but knowing you have to do it.  The kind where you go about your day with your feet dragging and your mood dragging and no one is cooperating.  The kind of day where you try to do a good/nice deed and make nice warm muffins for most of the family for breakfast even though it means you will have to make two separate breakfasts since there are two of you who are on a gluten-free diet.  The kind of day where when you check to see if the oven is warmed up to slide the muffins in before starting the 2nd breakfast preparations, you realize someone stuck the plastic fruit bowl full of fresh apples into the oven last night before a book club gathering at your house and the bowl is now oozing hot plastic between the racks of the oven.  The kind of day where after you lose your temper about the bowl since this was the 2nd time this had happened in the last 6 months and the lesson obviously wasn’t learned the first time, your loving husband decided to remind you of how poorly you handled the situation followed by listing off items that you tried to get done yesterday but didn’t.  The kind of day where you try to reconcile your checking account and realize that you are off by 20 cents because the bank did not process a payroll check you wrote out correctly.  You know…. just another day. *sigh*

Most days, I try to roll with the punches flying at me without much of a fuss.  I will complain occasionally or make a sarcastic comment, but have found that no one really wants to listen to whining and what good is whining if no one listens?  But, on days when I am already overwhelmed as the ‘To Do’ list is way longer than the hours in the day and I have NO idea how to get everything done on my list, let alone continue to teach the kids, run the kids, feed the kids, take care of grocery and laundry and all of the other never-ending tasks, my engine tends to overheat since my oil level is on empty.  I try to catch that oil level before it gets this low, but I tend to forget to check that level when I am checking everyone else’s level, the laundry pile level, the work level, and all of the other levels in my life.

Interestingly, we actually discussed this very topic last night at the book club gathering my daughter and I hosted.  DD#4 and I are in a book club discussing the book Beautiful Girlhood by Karen Andreola with 3 other 11-year-old girls and their moms.  Last night’s section included the chapter about “The Oils of Life”.  In this chapter, it talks about how life is like machinery and without oil, the machinery will not work right.  The oils of life outlined in the book include the oils of kindness, politeness, kind thoughts, patience, thoughtfulness, and consideration.  The reality of life is that with constant use, our oils get used up.  When there is a lot of friction in our lives, we have to use more and more oil to stay lubricated and to keep on going.  But, if we aren’t careful, we use up all of the oil and are left dry and parched.

The answer to this dryness is obvious once it happens like my engine did this morning.  So, even though today has a very hectic schedule, I have no choice than to take the time needed today and repair my engine.  How could I have let my oil levels get this low?  What have I been missing in my life that has helped to refill the oil in the past?  How could I have prevented the oil from running out?

I know that I am on empty right now and need a refill desperately!  But, the Lord was one step ahead of me.  What did I find when I turned to today’s Scripture?

Brothers and sisters:

Since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us rid ourselves of every burden and sin that clings to us and persevere in running the race that lies before us while keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus, the leader and perfecter of faith. 

For the sake of the joy that lay before him Jesus endured the cross, despising its shame, and has taken his seat at the right of the throne of God.  Consider how he endured such opposition from sinners, in order that you may not grow weary and lose heart.

In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood.                                                                                                  Heb  12:1-4

Hmm… ‘a cloud of witnesses’… the Saints!  Have I prayed to and called on the saints lately or have I tried to do this on my own?

…’rid ourselves of every burden and sin that clings to us’… the Sacrament of Reconciliation so clearly defined here and desperately needed by this repentant sinner after my meltdown this AM.

…’persevere in running the race that lies before us while keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus’.  To me, this phrase SCREAMS adoration time!  The only way to stay focused on the race is to keep my eyes on Jesus and what better place to do this than in adoration.  Maybe time to get a designated/scheduled time slot again at the Adoration chapel?

… ‘Jesus endured the cross’.  Am I enduring the struggles that go along with this season of life?  This particular season definitely has some trials associated with it.  None of them are as bad as what Christ endured though.  I need to remember that I am not alone in this race of endurance and sacrifice.  My model and my guide as a Christian is Jesus Christ.  My trials can never compare to what He sacrificed so that I would have the chance for eternal life.  It is my free ticket to heaven.  Now, to remember I am holding it and not be careless about the gift given and throw it all away!

.. He endured, so that I may not ‘grow weary and lose heart’.  Convicted!  That is exactly what I was thinking this morning!  I was so tired and willing to throw away all of the good because I lost hope.  Even to the point of going and getting ‘comfort food’ that will NOT offer comfort at all but be more of a punishment which I knew deep in my conscience but chose to ignore. *sigh*

And the most convicting of them all?

In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood.  

Nope.  No blood.  Ruined bowl?  Yep.  Children hiding from me as they aren’t sure if I will yell at them or not? Yes.  A husband I need to grovel and apologize to?  Definitely.  A stomach in turmoil for eating food that doesn’t agree with me? *sigh* Yep.  But, blood?  Nope.  I do now recognize my weakness in that I can’t even endure the struggle in these simplest stages, let alone resist to the point of bloodshed. *sigh*

Thankfully, I haven’t had to yet.  But, I need to make sure I could if I am ever called to that.

So, now that my blood pressure is much lower and the image of the cross is in my mind…

“I felt it was far more valuable to speak to God than to speak about Him.”                                                                                                  St. Therese, The Little Flower

Off to apologize and adoration I go….

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it all comes down to perspective…

I read a fellow blogger’s post this morning that has stuck with me all day.  In it, she was brutally honest about the pain and suffering she has experienced due to infertility.  Most people who look at me and at my family don’t understand the empathy I have for women battling infertility.  They think, “What does she know?  She has 5 beautiful daughters!  She can’t possibly understand what infertility means to a woman.”

The reality is that I can and do.  Yes, I have five children now.  But, once upon a time, many years ago, I didn’t.  I still have those pesky notes on my gynecological charts labeling me as “infertile”.  In fact, when my youngest was born (on my 40th birthday to be exact), I will never forget the doctor walking in my room perusing my medical chart and laughing.  His comment?  “Well, I think we can remove this label from your chart since this is your 5th baby!”  At the time, I also laughed (after the contraction passed).  But, as I have reflected on that moment, I realize that I wasn’t ever completely comfortable with his comment.

The reality is that many women today who do have children ARE infertile.  One never knows the circumstances behind how the children were conceived within a family and most of the time, society doesn’t ever really want to know.

The reality is that infertility means so much more than not having children.

  • It means a heartache so intense that it radiates to those around you.
  • It means a daily spiritual battle as you beg and plead with God to grant this one small request.
  • It is feeling as if you are somehow inadequate or broken.
  • It is an almost mechanical intimate relationship with the person you love above all but which is getting shadowed by this desire that is coming from the deepest part of your soul.
  • It is the crushing depression that comes to you each month when you realize that once again, whatever you are trying this time didn’t work.
  • It is the comments from well-meaning people around you asking when you are going to start your family. Or after the 1st child is born, the questions about why you have such a large age gap between your children.
  • It means taking medicine that messes with your moods in ways that no one around you really wants to experience or causes such weight gain that you feel like an elephant.
  • It means laying awake at night wondering why you aren’t like your friend who gets pregnant if she so much as looks at her husband.
  • It means questioning yourself constantly about the things you did in your past and whether those actions are the cause of your problems now.
  • Most of all, it means that you are questioning who you are and what purpose you have here in this life when all of your life, you have dreamed of being a mom.  Now, what do you do if you aren’t?

In Fumbling Toward Grace, Sarah raises the most important question that is raised in an infertile woman’s heart.  Is God trustworthy?  Deep down, as a believer, you know the answer is yes.  But, as a woman feeling broken and lost in the midst of the pain of infertility, the reality is that while your mouth is saying the word yes, your heart is wondering whether He truly is.

As a woman who has lived and survived infertility, I have a different perspective.  I can now look back and see how even when I didn’t realize it, God was guiding our days.  He knew the correct timing for us.  He knew what was best for us.  And yet, as much as I recognize that now, it still doesn’t take away the pain from earlier.  That earlier pain and suffering will always be a part of who I am.  It is what has guided me to getting early help for my teenage daughters who are battling the same medical condition that I have.  Because, as time has passed, I know now that there is hope.  It doesn’t seem like it in the midst of the trial, but hope is with us all of the time.  Today, the field of Naprotechnology has brought so much to the topic of women’s health that I actually have hope and not despair for my daughters and their coming trials with infertility.  I actually have hope that with the new treatments out there, maybe, just maybe, they won’t have to suffer as I did.

I also have hope that one day, people will be able to look around them with a different perspective.  Not all that we see with our eyes is accurate.  If we see someone in church with only one child, we shouldn’t assume automatically that they are contracepting.  Maybe they are infertile and are rejoicing in the one blessing that God has given them while battling the despair that they can’t have the larger family they envisioned.  Maybe even a family like mine in church which fills the whole pew, understands more about infertility than what you think.  Until you have walked a day in someone else’s shoes, we need to remember not to judge and to do our best to put on the best perspective of all… God’s!

Jesus does not ask for great achievements: only surrender and gratitude.                                                                                                                                                                 St. Therese of Lisieux

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