Two Truths–When Life Doesn’t Make Sense

Yesterday morning at our porch party, everything seemed topsy-turvy. A storm had blown through the day before. I’d received weather alert texts, and the dogs and I stayed in the basement for a while. At the same time, parts of Tennessee were being destroyed by wild fires–so many homes and businesses burned to the ground.

So much devastation and loss and chaos.

And this was just our area of the world. 

My husband sat down on the porch, and I started cleaning up the mess from the storm. My little white Christmas tree had blown over. I found a pine cone ornament in the corner behind my rocking chair.

The tiny trees on my grandmother’s table were upside down.

The angel on the table beside the door had flipped over, as if she’d buried her face in the ground.

Poor thing.

She looks hopeless. 

I thought about families waking up after the fire, and prayer requests from some of you and from our friends and family.

But I wasn’t ready to pray. Not yet. I wanted to make sense of everything first.

We sat quietly.

Sipping coffee and rocking.

Me thinking too much, the bad overshadowing the good, at least in my mind. 

This is heavy stuff, Lord. So many needs. So many are hurting. 

Just then Clyde, our Labrador, climbed the front porch steps with a pumpkin in his mouth. I’d thrown it away in the woods beside our house–so far back, I didn’t think he could possibly find it.

That’s just what we need. A pumpkin or our porch in December. 

He plopped it at our feet as though he’d retrieved a duck.

“Thank you, buddy,” my husband said, scratching him behind the ears. “Good boy.”

“Good boy? He brought us a pumpkin.”

“He probably thought we wanted it back.”

Right then, something shifted inside me. Rick had spoken words of praise even though the situation hadn’t called for it. What he said touched a placed in my heart. I remembered a Scripture. 

Be thankful in all circumstances… 1 Thessalonians 5:18

When life doesn’t make sense:

1. We’re supposed to be thankful–in all circumstances. 

And something else.

2. Our emotions are a breath away from each other–so close, they’re almost touching. 

Fear cowers inches from Faith. Discouragement trembles at heels of Hope. Click to tweet. 

Now I was ready to pray.

We thanked God for His faithfulness and for being God. We prayed for the families waking up after the fire. And for you. For friends and family members. For so many who are hurting.

We said “amen,” and I hung the ornament back on the tree.

I stood the angel in place.

But I left the pumpkin under the Christmas tree as a reminder. 

Praising God when things don’t make sense is the right thing to do. Always.  Click to tweet. 

Are there situations in your life right now that don’t make sense? Are you close to giving up hope? Want to share them with our group? We’ll pray.

(To donate to the American Redcross of East Tennesee donate online at Redcross.org where you can specify the local Red Cross.)

Love,

Julie

Comments

  1. Georgia says:

    Powerful post today, Julie. Thank you for sharing. Blessings.

  2. Carm Russell says:

    Thank you. Woke up to a kitchen & living room full of my dog having had diarrhea. Been battling it for for a couple of days. Thought it was the cheap canned food I gave him. Plus I thought I had taken care of it with some med. Just didn’t need this this morning. Angry words to God were spoken and apologized for. Heard Hillary Scott’s “Thy Will Be Done” on the way to work and now your message. Both have made being 45 minutes behind schedule (my schedule for myself) seem less of failure.

    Blessings,
    Carm

    • Carm, Carm.

      That sounds gets me every single time. Her sweet voice grabs my heart and won’t let go. I’m so sorry about your messy situation this morning, and right now, I’m praying for his tummy to settle down and get back in its regular routine.

      So much love to you. Seems like our hearts are connected, doesn’t it?! I love how God does that.

  3. Cathy Mayfield says:

    Life not making sense? A not-so-old woman – a beloved aunt, friend, wife, mother, and fairly new grandmother of two adorable, confused children – left this earth on Sunday. She bravely fought her battle with cancer, but it took her life after 1 1/2 years of pain and horrors. Life not making sense?

    I think the “sense” comes from knowing God loves her…God loves those left behind…God loves all of us.

    My aunt did not “lose” her battle…she WON it! She had courage in the face of evil, grace in the moment-by-moment, kindness to all who visited. No, she didn’t live the life some Christians would feel she should have.

    But…she believed in Jesus as her Savior, and she is now in heaven rejoicing at His feet. And that’s what makes sense!

    • Cathy, AMEN! Your words–so much power!!

      Reminded me of when my dad (who was 47 at the time) died of a brain tumor, 9 months after being diagnosed. Ohhhh, how I prayed God would heal him. And very gently, over time, He showed me that He had healed him.

      I’m so sorry. I’m lifting all of you in prayer right now. And at the same time, I’m rejoicing with you b/c she’s gone on ahead of us.

      Much love to you and yours, my friend. XO

  4. Brenda E. Greene says:

    Let me see if I can do this through the tears, Sweet Julie Girl! Powerful, powerful post to my heart and soul this morning. I, too, have carried a heavy heart of sadness for the victims of the wildfires in neighboring TN, especially for the father, running for his life with his wife and two daughters as the “firestorm” was fast approaching…he made it, they did not. For the family of the fellow that took his life beside a gas pump here in our county a few days ago. And the young father (whose wife is a co-worker with our daughter and his two small children attend the elementary school where they teach) that was killed at his deer camp when his propane heater exploded a couple of weeks ago…. leaving her father (his father-in-law) severely burned over 75% of his body. The two young women I’m lifting constantly in prayer who are on the same journey (time wise) for their life against breast cancer; one is single with two adult children, the other, younger, married with a two-year-old son. Oh my yes…it’s a sad and “heavy” world out here.

    But here’s the source of my tears…I woke earlier than usual this morning with a different heavy heart; hubby’s health continues to decline and it’s easy to realize our time together is growing shorter. As I stumbled into the bathroom I was telling God how fearful I am of the time when I will be alone when it happens. However, before I could even get that entire thought out, here’s what was crowding to get into my mind (complete with the tune): “many things about tomorrow I don’t seem to understand. But I know who holds tomorrow, and I know who holds my hand” (from the song by the same name)! As I lay back down I was afraid I would not remember when I woke for the day so I dressed, came and wrote about it in my journal. As I sat in the glow of our Christmas tree reading God’s word, I realized how in the “dark of the night” of my soul, it’s so easy to let the heavy thoughts consume me….however, your sweet words reminded me I need never be afraid.

    Thank you Sweet Julie Girl. Thank you.

    • Dear Brenda, I don’t know you…but was drawn to your comment for some reason. I read it all the way through and wanted just to tell you that I’m praying for you and for your husband. Life here together is what we have until we meet in heaven one day. May your days be blessed and merry.

      • so kind of you, B.J. xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo

      • Brenda E. Greene says:

        Oh sweet B.J., how kind of you. Thank you for your prayers. However, meeting him in Heaven is the source of my tears. Just not sure he will be there. Even though he admits to accepting Jesus at age 9, shortly thereafter his father died (after only 6 weeks of a brain tumor) and at age 12 he was told he had leukemia and when he didn’t die, they changed his diagnosis to hepatitis. Sadly in our almost 50 years of marriage (in March 2017), I’ve seen no sign of a close relationship with Jesus. It was a dream I had to grieve and move on from. He’s a good man, with a good heart but anger and resentment consumes much of his heart. And now that his health is declining, it seems to escalate at times. I’m not sure what God is up to where we are concerned but I do know I would not have the close relationship with Him, his son Jesus, and the Holy Spirit had I walked away. I always felt my wedding vows to him and God were more important than my happiness. Trusting Him. Thank you for caring.

        • Lynda Raniero says:

          Brenda, when I read your post I thought, “she and I are carrying the same load”. My husband, too, is in declining health both physically and mentally. I have the same fear of what my life will be like after he is gone as he has chosen not to make provision for my income after he passes. But more so I am burdened for his place in eternity. He says he believes in Christ as his Savior, but there is almost no evidence of a relationship between them. He is consumed with bitterness and anger over family relationships and he is also very selfish. I used to think I had chosen him as my mate (we were high school boyfriend/girlfriend and 30 years later I moved across country to be near him in hopes of rekindling our relationship. We have been married now for 27 years, most of them very difficult. I spent many years chiding myself for making such a foolish mistake, but my dear pastor taught me about the sovereignty of God and assured me that God had chosen us to be together and He has a purpose for our relationship. Friends have reminded me of the saying, “You may be the only Bible someone ever ‘reads'”. My husband has no friends, is estranged from all his family, and there is no one to speak of Christ to him except for me. 1 Corinthians 7:14 is a great comfort to me, especially when hubby is in a “bad mood”. I will claim that promise for you and trust that God will break your husband’s heart with His love.

          • Lynda, your response to Brenda is so incredibly kind. I can tell–it comes from a heart tenderized by God.

            Thank you so much for sharing. Such wisdom and honesty in your words. I’m saying a prayer that God’s Spirit fills you to the brim.

            So much love,
            Julie

          • Brenda E. Greene says:

            Thank you Linda for sharing your heart and I agree, sounds like we’re traveling the same road. Heavy some times isn’t it? Thank you for your prayers. One of mine has been for God to “open the eyes of his heart, that he might see Jesus.”

            Excited to read the following in one of my devotionals this morning and wanted to share to see if it speaks to your heart as it did mine: “Psalm 1 says that the blessed (wo)man doesn’t just grow; (s)he is also planted. Never does (s)he “just happen.” (S)He is planted at a specific time in a specific place to accomplish a divine purpose. If you have been planted, you grow down before you grow up. God isn’t concerned about how high your trunk grows. He is concerned about how deep your roots go. He has taken every struggle and test, every mishap and neglect, to cultivate in you the soil needed to make you reproductive.”

            Blessings My Dear…Blessings.

          • Brenda E. Greene says:

            Spelled your name wrong…LYnda, so sorry! And failed to say where my quote came from! “Hope For Every Moment” by T.D. Jakes.

    • Ohhh, Brenda.

      How can I do your precious words (and heart!) justice? Your poured it all out so beautifully for us. So much pain and real emotions. And yes, hard situations.

      And yet…. And yet….

      I can see you in my mind sitting by the Christmas tree, writing in your journal. You’re lifting it all back to our Father. Your heart is still following long and hard after Him.

      You just drew me closer…made me want to praise Him, despite all the things that don’t make sense.

      Thank you for the gift of your honesty–for trusting us with your heart.

      I love you. I’m praying…so many are hurting.

      • Brenda E. Greene says:

        Again…thank you Sweet Julie Girl. Your love and prayers are precious to my heart. Thank you. As Hubby and I were heading to one of his doctors this morning, I was thinking that having read all of your Mom’s books over the years and now “chatting” with you here, it feels like “family” and I am humbled. God’s blessings abound.

  5. Linda says:

    Thank you, Julie, for these thoughts and words. I needed to hear them today.

    • Oh, Linda. Bless your sweet heart. Thank you for letting me know they touched a place in your heart. For whatever’s going on in your world, I’m opening my hands to our Father, asking for His Sweet Spirit to fill you to the brim.

      So much love~~

  6. Oh Julie. Straight to my heart. You know…thank you for your sensitive spirit. It blesses me.

    • I feel the same way about you, my sister Shawnelle. Our hearts have been through so much together–across the miles.

      I love you dearly~~

  7. Anna Haney says:

    I needed this message very badly this morning.
    Last week I was in so much pain. By Saturday I felt well enough to go to Asheville for our niece’s wedding and went to work Monday but awoke at 2:30 Tuesday morning in tremendous pain. Never went back to sleep. My mood was horrible. Everything was getting on my nerves–coworker, husband, relatives. Thankfully, I was able to get in to see the doctor yesterday, got some sleep, am back at work, but my mood is not that great. As I pulled out of the garage, there was a power blink, setting off the alarm which I could not shut off. Students are coming in, wanting a class schedule when courses are full, whining about it. We have been registering since the end of October. My coworker revised a document that I had redone twice already and she should have done in May.
    This made me stop. I am thankful that we have an alarm. Thankful that I had a better college experience than my students. Blessed to have a husband who loves me. Thankful my pain has subsided. The revisions my worker made were something I didn’t catch when I created the original document.
    Thank you, sweet Julie. I am here in tears, blessed to call you friend.
    Love,
    Anna

    • Anna…..look at the POWER in what you just did. And shared.

      You saw good in so many yucky situations. And when you did, you blessed all of us!

      I’m the one who’s blessed to call YOU MY friend. And I have your name on my calendar to pray on Dec 15. You’ll be covered in prayer that day–especially that day. But every day too.

      xo

  8. Oh, Julie. Beautiful. There is so much that doesn’t make sense in my life right now. But God keeps telling me to love … to do the right thing. Don’t back away. March forward and love. I’m trying to march forward. xoxo

  9. Missy Tippens says:

    A beautiful post, Julie. Thank you so much for sharing. This really spoke to me today.

    • Awwwww, Missy. Thank you for letting me know. That’s why we write, isn’t it?! To touch hearts.

      Means so much that these words made a difference in your life today.

      So much love~

  10. marci says:

    This is so meaningful. Yes! When Life doesn’t make sense.
    I thought of you with all the storms, and fires. Prayers were going up.
    It can be hard to deal with things after going through the storms. And there seems to be so much that is heart breaking.. The fires, storms, loss of life, homes. Lots of hurting people. Lots to pray for. And I know, sometimes I am not ready to pray, .. I have to breath first.
    As a cousin reminded me once. We are to pray IN all circumstances, not FOR all circumstances, and that was a good reminder for me.

    December once was a month I loved. When I was young. All the colorful lights, decorations, my birthday, Christmas. Now it holds both joy and sorrow. I have to work at not letting the sorrow take the joy away.
    The loss of loved ones, The demands on time.

    It can be an emotional time. And, yes! “.Our emotions are a breath away from each other–so close, they’re almost touching. ” Thanks for that reminder.

    I am thankful for the blessings God is giving. I am praying for all those who are hurting this time of year, for what ever reason. I pray both prayers of thanks for each person here, and prayers that the Lord will provide the answers and comfort each one needs, even the secret needs that only He knows.

    So glad you are here Julie. So glad you let the Lord use you, and give us the greatest gift anyone can- part of yourself.

    Much Love, Blessings,
    Marci’a
    xoxoxo

    • Marci’a, there’s so much wisdom in what you said…praying IN all circumstances. And breathing first.

      What you said about the Lord using me went deep. Thank you.

      I’m so very grateful He brought us today–you and me–and this circle of friends with us.

      Big hugs,
      Your sister in Georgia~~

  11. Your Rick is an optimist. I love that about him! I’m working on being more like that in all of my hours and all of my days.
    Hugs and LOVE!

    • You’re exactly right, B.J. I don’t think he even knows HOW to worry!

      Love you. Miss you. XOXOXO And by the way, I’d definitely say you’re an optimist. For sure. No doubt about it.

  12. Patricia Martin says:

    Julie, I feel so bad for those touched by the fires in Tennessee! I know that God will comfort and be with the people who have lost so much as the result of these fires. I think the holidays are not always about joyful celebrations, but sometimes are more about healing from the previous months and learning new truths for the coming year. Just like we start each day new with God, we start each year new sure that it will be perfect and yet knowing that it will not be and accepting that. Hope Katie, Rilynn, your fur babies, and family members are well?
    xoxoxoxo

    • marci says:

      Amen, Patricia, That is so true. Thank You for your wise words here. How nice to use this time to heal, and begin again. God Bless, Marci’ a xoxo

    • Patricia, you’re so wise (and kind and thoughtful)–especially to be so young. I admire you, and I always, always smile when I see your name pop up in the comments.

      You know how to pray. I’m so grateful because you pray for us.

      So much love~~

  13. Marjorie Hill says:

    Thanks, Julie. Great post. Happy that you guys are safe.

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