Tag Archives: heartache

When You Come Undone and Can’t Pull Yourself Together

I copied this article from instead of simply inserting a link to the site. It seems readers are less inclined to click on a link once they arrive at my home page and I really want people to read this article by Angela Nazworth. I love how she unfolded Hannah’s story. So, no link to follow today, just scroll down!

I have been pregnant three times. I have given birth twice.

Fragmented memories remain of the day I lost my first baby — the child whose heart thumped in my womb for only eight short weeks. I remember the horror I felt when I discovered the first scarlet spots alerting me that my baby was gone. I remember the weight of my husband’s hand resting heavy on my shoulder when my doctor confirmed our fears and tried to comfort us with statistics. I remember the coldness that swept through my chest when the nurse who assisted with the examination gave me a stern warning as I shakily made my way toward the exit.

“Now I know you’ve heard some unsettling news, but you need to pull yourself together,” she cautioned as I brushed tears off my cheeks and neck. “You’re young. You’ll get pregnant again in no time. There are women in that waiting room who are pregnant now, and they don’t need to be upset. So just get a hold of your emotions before you go out there.”

Then, with a pat on my back, she scurried away leaving me shamed by my grief.

My legs trembled as if I was walking a tight rope without a safety net. Through blurred vision, I forced a stoic expression, entwined my shaking fingers with those belonging to my husband and walked out of the building. With each step, one thought bounced around my mind.

Pull yourself together.

I’ve heard those words numerous times throughout my life in various situations. Sometimes they were spoken by well-meaning individuals. Other times, I whispered the phrase to myself.

A graveside vigil. Pull yourself together.

Job loss. Pull yourself together.

A loved one’s betrayal. Pull yourself together.

Saying goodbye to dear friends. Pull yourself together.

Overwhelmed by an infant’s colicky cries or a toddler’s 40-minute tantrum. Pull yourself together.

I’m sure that everyone who reads this post can add to the list above.

The expectation of pulling yourself together after life twists you undone is misguided.

Need biblical assurance that I’m sharing truth? Turn to the story of Hannah. Hannah, the mother of the prophet Samuel is a beautiful example from Scripture of a woman who mourned honestly before the Lord. Hannah didn’t pull herself together. You can read her story in the first chapter of 1 Samuel, but here is an excerpt from 1 Samuel 1:10-16:

“In her deep anguish Hannah prayed to the Lord, weeping bitterly. And she made a vow, saying, ‘Lord Almighty, if you will only look on your servant’s misery and remember me, and not forget your servant but give her a son, then I will give him to the Lord for all the days of his life, and no razor will ever be used on his head.’

As she kept on praying to the Lord, Eli observed her mouth. Hannah was praying in her heart, and her lips were moving but her voice was not heard. Eli thought she was drunk and said to her, ‘How long are you going to stay drunk? Put away your wine.’

‘Not so, my lord,’ Hannah replied, ‘I am a woman who is deeply troubled. I have not been drinking wine or beer; I was pouring out my soul to the Lord. Do not take your servant for a wicked woman; I have been praying here out of my great anguish and grief.’”

At that wall, Hannah unraveled the twisted, messy knots of her grieving heart before God. Passersby probably shook their heads. Eli mistook her agony for drunkenness. Hannah’s core was shaken. Her heart was broken. Her hope was nearly threadbare.

She wasn’t able to “pull herself together,” but she knew where to turn as her emotions were shred to bits.

The fiery pain of a personal loss is immeasurable. And each person’s threshold for heartache is different. There are times when we cannot keep going on our own. And God doesn’t expect us to pull it together and shine with glee when we’re busted up.

In the moments when torment throbs deep, God doesn’t bark “stiffen that upper lip, girl.” He instead whispers, “Come to Me dear one, come to Me.” He invites us to crumple into the comforting arms of Christ to pray or scream or to beg with abandon until we heal.

“For He has not despised or detested the torment of the afflicted. He did not hide His face from him, but listened when he cried to Him for help.” {Psalm 22:24}


Posted by on October 4, 2016 in Faith, Grief, Links


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Philosophical Thinking, Unicorns & Rainbows

8 Great Philosophical Questions That We’ll Never Solve - Does God existOn my more philosophical days, I have been known to think that I am far more blessed than those around me who seem to live lives devoid of tragic loss and health challenges. Truth be told, I’ve not found myself terribly philosophical in the two and a half years since Bethany and Katie’s lives were stolen by the selfish and reckless actions of an unlicensed driver. But I remember those moments in what feels like the distant past.

Life is hard. Circumstances have driven me to my knees literally and figuratively. In fact, circumstances have led me to a full body prostrate position, the nubby carpet of my bedroom floor, imprinting my cheek as I’ve petitioned the Lord for the hearts, souls, and health of my children.

And I’ve lost. I’ve lost too many of the things I love most in this life. No great spiritually inspiring story to be told. Just loads of heartache, anger, and questions for the One True God of love and justice.

Loss and heartache translate into vulnerability and weakness. And in this day and age both are intolerable to society at large. We are a nation of overcomers. We pull ourselves up by our bootstraps and keep going. We deceive ourselves into believing that through sheer force of will and dogged determination we can overcome every challenge, every trial in life.


We perceive ourselves as strong when we ignore negative feelings and refuse to be beaten by circumstances beyond our control. We pat ourselves on the back (as do others) for moving forward while we are really undermining our future health and happiness by ignoring or repressing emotional needs all in the effort to meet societal expectations and exercise control over the chaos that has somehow infiltrated our lives.

images (44)According to John Powell, author of Why Am I Afraid to Tell You Who I Am? the two major causes of anxiety are supercharged repressed emotions and unmet emotional needs. Emotional needs include the need to feel accepted, approved of, believed in, forgiven, listened to, needed, important, useful, respected, valued, supported, understood, in control, trusted, and worthy to name a few. The cultural demand to overcome, to turn every negative into a positive promotes and encourages the unhealthy practice of ignoring emotional needs and repressing negative emotions.

I fear this secular theology of overcoming against all odds, when boiled down reveals that we believe ourselves to be, or are bound and determined to make ourselves, God. And these efforts, are obviously in utter and complete opposition to the doctrine of the Bible.

The philosophy that enables me to believe that I am far more blessed than those whose lives appear to be filled with unicorns and rainbows, is grounded on the Biblical truth that I am NOT God. I am not capable of independently and self-sufficiently controlling and overcoming the chaos that surrounds and invades my life.

Tragedy, weakness, and suffering have driven me to work out my salvation. I’m constantly comparing my beliefs to the Word of God which reveals secular untruths I have absorbed, personal misconceptions or interpretations that don’t hold up under stress or simply an incomplete understanding of scripture.

I fear that the average Christian, myself included, doesn’t hold up the shield of faith in order to protect themselves from Satan’s fiery arrows but instead in an effort to hide their vulnerability and project an image of spiritual maturity to a watching and expectant audience of believers and non-believers alike.

Somehow we have interpreted the shield of faith as an impenetrable barrier of protection from pain instead of protection against Satan’s deceptions and lies than weaken and destroy the very foundation of our faith; trust in God Almighty.

Weakness and dependence are paradoxically the strength of the Christian faith. The beauty of weakness is the revelation of Christ’s power at work within us. A supernatural strength is inexplicably revealed through our weakness and humility that far exceeds the strength manufactured by force of will alone. Is this not why Paul said in 2 Corinthians 12:9b-10, “Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”? (ESV)

In my humanity, I desperately long for a life filled with unicorns and rainbows. I long for a life that is filled with nothing more than common everyday hardships; car repairs, defiant children, financial fears. Garden variety, everyday frustrations, and irritations.

Dark Clouds an Little Blue SkyGiven the opportunity, I would rewrite the story of my life. But in the recesses of my mind, the storm clouds of sorrow shift and briefly reveal the truth that hides behind; losses and sorrow have gifted me with things of great value. Empathy, compassion, and understanding poured out on others in an effort to help meet their emotional needs. The assurance of my salvation and an awareness of the solid foundation of my faith even as it is battered by the storm. The development of a more holy and heavenly perspective. And then the wind picks back up shifting the storm clouds once again obscuring those encouraging truths. And I am left frustrated and discouraged instead of philosophical; feeling more cursed than blessed, desperate to escape the suffering that plagues my daily existence and longing for unicorns and rainbows.


Posted by on July 2, 2016 in Adversity, Books, Faith


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