3 Things to Do When Life Falls Apart

As much as we try to hold it all together, sometimes the threads of our life unravel and come completely apart.

The phone call that changes everything in a matter of seconds. 

The job you thought was secure is taken away.

Your stellar health takes an abrupt turn in the opposite direction.

Your loved one does something unthinkable, smashing your heart to pieces.

You feel unappreciated by everyone around you; do they even care?

I like the way David writes in Psalm 13 when his life was falling apart. Even though it was written many centuries ago, the pain and agony is no different from what we feel today:

How long, Oh Lord? Will you forget me forever? 

How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and every day have sorrow in my heart?

How long will my enemy triumph over me?

Give light to my eyes or I will surely sleep in death!

I’m right there with you, David. Sometimes I feel like God has surely forgotten me. Surely he’s forgotten or he wouldn’t have let my life fall apart, right?

Sometimes negative thoughts shoot like arrows straight to my soul. I know I shouldn’t be thinking such horrible things, but I just feel so overwhelmed with all that’s happened.

Come on, God! How long are you gonna let this person ruin my life? When will they be held accountable? Do you even know what’s happening?

When life falls apart, sometimes we don’t see any light at all. All feels dark. The bottom drops out. Disappointment can easily turn to despair. And if despair lingers long enough, it turns to deep depression. When you’re depressed long enough, you’d be perfectly fine to just never wake up.

I have felt this way before when life falls apart. You’ve probably felt this way when life falls apart.

I mean, heck, look at David! Not only did he feel this way, but he wrote it down for goodness sake!!

I’m so glad he wrote it down. Because Psalm 13 doesn’t stop there. He pours his heart out to God in verses 1-4 after his life falls apart. But then he keeps going. Look at what David does in verses 5-6. Even in the midst of his life falling apart in front of his very eyes, look at the 3 things he embraces:

I trust in your unfailing love .

So he trusts in God’s love. A perfect love. Unfailing.

People will fail us all the time… Even those who love us the most.

He embraces trust, and not his feelings. Not his emotions. When we’re falling apart, feelings and emotions will absolutely deceive you. David is wise to put his trust in something that won’t fail him.

My heart rejoices in your salvation.

Are you kidding me here, David? What is there to rejoice about when life is unraveling all around you? This is what I thought when I first read this verse! He’s not rejoicing about his circumstances. He’s not rejoicing in the way people are treating him. He certainly isn’t rejoicing about feeling alone.

But he rejoices in his salvation.

He knows (not feels) that God has his back, no matter what. He knows that ultimately, no matter what happens with the junk spewing around him, he belongs to God.

I will sing to the Lord, for he has been good to me.

Wow. Even in the midst of utter turmoil and feeling shaken, David chooses to sing. And he wasn’t singing to perform for anyone in this instance. He sings a song to the Lord. Why?

Because of God’s goodness.

He probably thought about all the blessings God had poured out upon him before his current catastrophe. When we focus on God’s goodness from the past, it gets us through the present problems.

And if you don’t like the sound of your own voice? Then turn on some Christian music and sing along with someone else’s. Yes! Praise and worship music lifts my spirit when I’m in a slump.

Even if life isn’t falling apart for you right now, at some point it will (John 16:33). Purpose now in your heart to embrace these 3 things for when those moments come crashing down.

If you are in the midst of life falling apart right now, embrace these powerful truths and hold on….He is with you.

TRUST (in his unfailing love)

REJOICE (in your salvation)

SING (about his goodness)

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Blessings to you!

Lisa Preuett

 

 

 

 

Cherish What Matters

Just a few seconds earlier and he would’ve been dead for sure.

A near-death experience with some scratches could have been spinning out of control into a fatal bloody mess.

Just a few days ago, the driver of a semi-truck didn’t see my husband’s car in the right lane. He was on a mission to get off the exit so he could get to his required weigh station. But then he slammed into the back of Jim’s car.

Just a minor dent and a handful of scratches on the car. No injuries to the driver or Jim. Amazing to say the least.

When I got the call, my heart skipped several beats. Realizing Jim was okay, I gradually calmed down and breathed normally. But I was shaken up for the next couple hours just thinking about what could have happened to my husband.

My focus shifted from his close call with a semi to the moments I had with him before he left for his trip.

He was a bit stressed trying to get ready for his business trip. Rushing around, he reminded me that the tires on the Jeep needed air. He would get to it before I had to leave with my daughter for an appointment.

Stressed from some conflict with my daughter, I felt frustrated. With little margin left, it was time to go. We had a forty minute drive with thirty-five minutes to get there! But Jim had waited until the last-minute to put air in my tires.

Come on! We’re already running late! Why did you wait until now to do this? I told you what time we needed to leave!!

I snapped at him. And he snapped back at me.

Pulling out of the driveway, I barely glanced at him. I knew he was getting ready to leave for his trip in just a couple of hours. He would likely be gone before we got back. No time for a kiss goodbye. It was time to go.

After getting off the phone with him that night, I replayed in my mind our last conversation and moments of snapping at each other.

It hit me like a ton of bricks. If he’d been killed in that accident, rushing out the door and snapping at each other would’ve been our last shared moment together on this earth.

Tears flooded my eyes and I broke down.

We may think we’ll grow old with our spouse. But the reality is that we just don’t know how many days we truly have with one another.

We may take for granted that we’ll live to watch all our kids grow up into adulthood. But there are no guarantees for anyone.

My spouse’s near-death experience has changed my perspective on how to live my life.

I should cherish every moment I have with my loved ones.

I should live in the moment instead of getting too caught up in the next thing on my schedule.

I should be ready to offer grace when people don’t follow through with my expectations.

I should take a few seconds to give those hugs or kisses, even if it means I’ll be late.

 

This doesn’t mean we should let fear and worry consume our every waking moment! It also doesn’t mean we linger over past regrets that can’t be changed.

I’m praying for God to just help me enjoy the life He’s given me.

To live it to the fullest.

To savor the moments that really matter.

To soak up His love so I can pour it out on those around me.

To focus more on what is eternal instead of the things that won’t last. 

Sometimes I need something to stop me in my busy-self-centered tracks to realize what’s really important. For me, it was a collision between a semi and my spouse. For you it might be something else.

I encourage you today, dear friend, to slow down and cherish the moments that really matter. 

 

Blessings to you!

Lisa Preuett

 

My Hidden Addiction

Smartphones. Ipads. Laptops.

These things aren’t bad. In fact, these pieces of technology are capable of helping us navigate our lives more smoothly, keeping us connected with people we love and helping us complete important tasks.

I can pick up my phone and within seconds, I’m talking to my husband while he’s on a business trip. We can even see each other if we choose to do face time or Skype.

My daughter can instantly look up information for school on her mini-Ipad. Within seconds she can access dates and places for her history assignment.

I can take my laptop just about anywhere and instantly be able to email, blog, write or do anything I choose to do in cyberspace.

But our instant-connection ability becomes a problem if we let it consume us. Even worse, our desire for instant-connection can lead to a disconnect from God.

I am often guilty of grabbing my phone before opening the pages of God’s word. Or I will spend too much time scrolling Facebook instead of seeking His face. Too often I’m looking down at my phone instead of looking up to Him.

I’d rather not write about this topic today. I’ve fought God in sharing this post with others. It’s easier to write about things I’ve mastered and have gained victory in! 

But the unhealthy pull of technology is something I struggle with now. I don’t have victory over this area of my life yet. This is where I am constantly being challenged. But I feel God is nudging me to share this because I think many of you struggle with this as well.

What often starts out as something positive can get sidetracked to something negative.

I need to answer emails from my publisher. But then I start surfing the Internet for just a few minutes. Then those few minutes turn into an hour.

I need to answer text messages from friends who need encouragement. But then I click on my Facebook app and get pulled into an endless scroll of checking out what everyone is doing.

I need to post to my blog so readers can be encouraged and inspired. But then I’ll allow myself to get consumed with checking the stats of how many people have viewed my post.

Because we all live in a technology driven, social media saturated world, it’s become acceptable to constantly be looking at some type of screen. We don’t see it as a problem.

We can quickly judge others for their obvious, outward struggles, while feeling better about ourselves for not falling into certain sins.

He has a lust problem.

She has an anger problem.

They are addicted to drugs/alcohol. 

They are too focused on materialism. 

But too often I’ve drowned out the faint whisper of God in these moments. I’m not still enough to hear the truth He is trying to speak to me.

You have a problem too, Lisa. It’s not obvious to others, but it still interferes with your relationship to people and with me.

Yes. I. am. guilty!

Just a few more minutes. Just one more post. Just one more email. Just one more text.

If I’m not intentional, my time with technology takes the place of more important things.

I’ll get lost in endless scrolling and miss out on a conversation with my kids.

I’ll get pulled into an Internet search and forfeit time with my husband.

I’ll get overly focused on a writing project and later on wonder why undone tasks are piling up around me.

Ephesians 5:16-17 (ESV) puts it this way:

“Be very careful then how you walk, not as unwise–but as wise. Making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.”

Technology isn’t evil. Social media isn’t wicked.

But how I choose to use them is crucial.

If anything takes the place of connecting with God, then I need to disconnect. If I’m running to anything other than God to fill a void, then it’s idolatry. If I’m spending more time on the Internet than interacting with my family, I’ve crossed the line.

So, what about you? Do you struggle with the amount of time you spend on technology? Do you allow social media contacts to interfere with real relationships?  Do you attempt to fill a void with a screen? I’ll bet I’m not alone in this.

The first step is acknowledging we have a struggle. Once we do that, we can surrender to God our unhealthy desire for instant-connection.

His connection is all-satisfying. His connection is fulfilling. His connection is ongoing without any bad reception. His connection is eternal.

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Blessings to you!

Lisa Preuett

 

 

From Ruined to Redeemed

If you’ve ever felt like part of your life was in ruins, then you certainly aren’t alone. Maybe you’ve uttered things like this:

My marriage is broken.

My health is disintegrating.

My finances are in shambles.

This relationship can never be repaired.

My kids are a wreck.

I’m completely devastated.

Yes, we’ve all been in a place at one time or another when we would definitely say something or someone in our life is in ruins.

When thinking about our response to something that’s in ruins, I’m reminded about the story of Nehemiah in the Old Testament. Upon hearing the news that the walls of Jerusalem were in ruins, having been burned with fire, this was his response:

When I heard these things, I sat down and wept. For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven. (Nehemiah 1:4 NIV)

I think there is something here we need to recognize in how we ought to respond when face-to-face with devastating news that crushes us to the core. He acknowledged his hurt and pain. He wept. He mourned. Even went without food for a while! But he did all this…before God. 

When we are smack in the middle of an impossible situation, we bring our hurts before God. We pour out our hearts to him. We don’t have to hold it all together for fear of what might come out of our mouth. I love Nehemiah’s transparency before the God of heaven! He doesn’t hold anything back. He empties himself completely before God.

But the story doesn’t stop there. If you continue reading, you’ll come to chapter 2, verse 17. This is where we gain even more insight into our next step when we are on the brink of despair:

Then I said to them, “You see the trouble we are in: Jerusalem lies in ruins, and its gates have been burned with fire. Come, let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem, and we will no longer be in disgrace.” (Nehemiah 2:17 NIV)

First of all, who are the them he is referring to? He is speaking to his people–fellow Israelites who were exiled with him years before. God’s people!

When we’re faced with devastation, we don’t go running for comfort and support to people who aren’t believers in Christ. We rally around those who are on the same journey of faith.

And then Nehemiah takes a step of courage.

A step of faith.

A step towards healing.

He doesn’t stay stuck in his despair. 

He begins the process of rebuilding.

To stay stuck in misery and hopelessness would be disgraceful. He doesn’t want to stay there! And he realizes he can’t do it alone.

Dear friend, I urge you today that if you are stuck in despair and staring at broken pieces of your life to pour out your heart to God. He knows your pain and hurt. Give it to Him.

But don’t stay there.

Just like Nehemiah, look around you. Lean on your brothers and sisters in Christ. Accept the fact that you can’t rebuild in your own strength.

It might be a long journey to recover from what you’re going through, but I can promise you God will lead you one step at a time, just as he guided Nehemiah through one brick at a time.

He’s a master at taking things in ruins and redeeming them for His glory!

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Blessings to you!

Lisa Preuett

 

How to Win the Fight

Your spouse offends you with unwholesome words. You’re innocent (as far as you know). Your flesh enraged, you lash back. And before you know it, a full-fledged argument is underway. This is the time to fight! Right?

Your tween-aged daughter gives you that hateful look again, and before you even have a chance to think, sassy words come spewing out of her mouth. No time for this kind of behavior! Your flesh ignited with anger, you raise your voice a bit higher (a.k.a. YELLING), telling her she’d better go to her room…or else. This is the time to fight! Right?

As much as my flesh wants to say, YES! It’s time to FIGHT, deep down in my soul, I know it’s not.

Actually, it IS time to fight. But not with your spouse. Not with your child.

Huh?

According to Ephesians 6:12, we need to redirect our focus towards the real enemy.

 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”

Our biggest struggles are usually with our family members. Our flesh and blood. Who’s in agreement with me?

But God emphasizes that our struggle shouldn’t be with them. Will we have struggles with them? Yes. Will we have conflict with them? Yes. Will we get frustrated and feel like there’s nothing else we can do? Yes.

But ultimately our struggle is actually a battle between our soul and the enemy. The enemy against all Christ followers. Satan.

We are called to battle on our knees in prayer instead of getting pulled in to mindless yelling matches. This is not easy. I have learned the hard way that being flesh-driven instead of spirit-led causes me much grief and disappointment.

This powerful verse in Ephesians is a reminder to me that God can fight my battles a lot better than I can. When I take my concerns, hurts and offended heart directly to Him, then He takes over and gives me victory. Sometimes I  only have a split second to decide how I’ll respond. The times I’ve chosen to walk away and find a quiet place to pray turn out so much better, bringing me peace only He can give. But the times I take things in my own hands and fight in my flesh? Not a pretty picture at all.

The enemy is out to destroy our marriages. Our families. Our close relationships. He won’t back down.

But God is for us. Greater is He that is in us than he that is in this world!

I pray that wherever you have conflict today with that family member or close friend, you’ll be ready to FIGHT!

Not in the flesh. But on your knees.

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Blessings to you!

Lisa Preuett

Wounded with Words?

Ephesians 4:29 ‘Let no unwholesome talk come out of your mouth, but only what is helpful for building others up, that it may benefit those who listen.’

This scripture cuts straight to the heart. Right to the core. Ouch!

I’m reminded of it when I’m tempted to say something unwholesome. But I’m often reminded of it after I’ve already said something unwholesome.

But what about when someone else gushes out the unwholesome talk? What do you do with this truth when someone else is not building you up? Maybe it feels like you’re being torn down instead.

Your spouse mutters something harsh.

Your child spurts out sass.

Your co-worker offends you.

Your neighbor calls you a name I can’t type out on this blog.

Yes. We’ve all had someone speak unwholesome words to us.

I want to bring up this verse to them in that moment. I yearn to spout off the memorized words as a rebuttal!

Don’t you know what God’s word says about how you’re speaking to me? Don’t you know how you’re coming across?

I open my Bible so I can see the verse up close–rubbing my finger across these powerful words. The whole time thinking that I deserve to be built up instead of torn down.

I’ve been the one to speak unwholesome words before.

But not this time.

I’ve been hurt with harsh words. Sassy words. Offensive words. Words that cut deep to my core. I even let out a prayer that goes something like this:

Jesus, I’m so upset right now. Did you hear what he/she said to me? Did you see that play out? Do you know how I feel right now?

Turning to verse Ephesians 4:29, I read it again. Feeling justified with how this person has indeed spoken unwholesome words to me, I let out a sigh.

Keep reading, Lisa.

What, Lord??

Keep going, there’s more.

Just three verses away from verse 29, I read verse 32. It knocks the breath out of me. I didn’t know this verse was here. 

Ephesians 4:32 “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”

After I let this powerful truth sink in, I realize something. Verse 32 is written on the tails of verse 29 for a reason. Don’t miss this!

Other people will speak unwholesome words to us. Other people will sometimes tear us down.

Yes, the standard is to speak wholesome words. Yes, the command is to build up.

But we live in a fallen world. We are surrounded by other sinners. We are sinners.

So when other people don’t live up to verse 29, I’m commanded to forgive them in verse 32. I might expect my loved ones to model verse 29, but I should be willing to forgive with the truth from verse 32.

I love how God inspired Paul to write these verses in this specific order! We should strive to weigh our words carefully. We should pray for our loved ones to do the same.

But when they don’t…(not IF!)

We go to the feet of Jesus and humbly ask him for the power and strength to FORGIVE.

There are times when we need to hold people accountable for their words.  Times to discipline children for their words. And sometimes people seek help for verbally abusive situations.

But ultimately we are still called to forgive.

It’s hard and I don’t always feel like doing it.

In those moments, we are given the choice to surrender our wounded heart to the one who forgave and continues to forgive us.

What about you? Do you struggle with speaking unwholesome words? How do you respond when someone speaks unwholesome words to you?

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Blessings to you!

Lisa Preuett

 

How to Make Time Slow Down

Where has the time gone? 

How many times have you uttered these words?

Can’t believe my child is already in kindergarten (or middle school, or high school)!

Countless Facebook posts declare these words underneath pictures of our kids as they’ve started a new school year.

I wish I could go back to the days when my daughter played dress-up.

I wish I could go back to when my son played tee-ball. 

Where has the time gone?

And as we look back on days we can never get back, our hearts ache to simply slow down time. Maybe with regret, we feel pangs of guilt for the past seasons of life we wanted to rush through.

And in the stillness of the moment, we wish things could somehow change. If it were possible, we’d give anything to be able to slow down the clock so we won’t have to face times like this again, wishing we could go back.

Life gets busy.

Chores must be done.

Bills have to be paid.

Homework completed.

Laundry washed. Again and again and again….

Making a mad dash for soccer practices and dance lessons.

Before we know it, we’re posting a picture on Facebook of another milestone moment.

Where has the time gone?

Dear friends, I don’t know about you, but my mind has wandered and lingered in this spot too many times to count. I’ve prayed and asked God to help me reconcile my moments of regret mixed with pangs of wishing to hurry up and get through a certain season of life.

Do you have those hurry-up-and-get-me-through-this-season moments too? I’m sure you have….

I can’t wait until this baby is out of diapers.

I can’t wait until this child can feed herself.

I can’t wait until this child can dress himself.

I can’t wait until I can put this kid on a school bus so I can have some free time.

I’m so ready for this girl to stop singing that same old princess song 100 times a day.

Can’t wait for the day when I can leave my child alone without a babysitter.

Can’t wait for the day when my teen can drive herself to school so I can stop being a taxi driver.

And before we know it, those seasons are gone. Our thoughts of hurry-up! have now turned into SLOW………..DOWN.

My prayer of crying out to God and asking him how I can possibly slow down time, came with this answer:

I can’t change how time works. One day still has 24 hours. One hour still has 60 minutes.

I can’t go back. I can’t touch the future. But I can decide how to spend today.

I get to decide how to spend each and every waking moment. I get to decide what my attitude will be for each and every waking moment.

Ephesians 5:16 says it this way, “Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil.

When I stand stuck in the pit of regret, it robs me of today’s moments. That’s unwise.

When I feel sorry for myself because a situation didn’t turn out the way I wanted, I miss out on the moments my kids are involved in at that very moment. That’s unwise.

Wishing to hurry-up and get through a season because it’s too demanding and inconvenient. That’s unwise. 

I don’t always get this right, but I’m slowly learning to live in the moment. Soaking it up. Embracing it. Living it. Trusting God one moment at a time. This is wise.

What about you? Are you wasting your moments looking back in regret? Are you wishing to hurry-up because you think the next stage is better? If you’re like me, maybe you waver between the two!

I encourage you today, dear friend, to be still. Breathe in the grace of God. Ask him to help you live one moment at a time, making the most of each day.

Instead of uttering Where has the time gone? I’d much rather say, Thank you God for allowing me to embrace the time you’ve given me.

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Blessings to you!

Lisa Preuett