When Someone’s Life is on Hold

The following is an entry straight from the pages of my journal scrawled during one of the dark times. My heart is pounding at the thought of clicking “Publish.” It’s raw. A peek into the pit.

This is what it looks like when your life is on hold and it’s not a pretty picture, but you’ve gotta keep doing all of the things you need to do and seeing all the people you need to see.

It is one of those mornings.

Tired from restless sleep and weird dreams, I awaken to thoughts swirling like vultures ready to feast on the dead of another’s kill.

Dawn has come. The sun is up, but this soul-darkness is pressing hard. Get up. Answer a text. Make the coffee. Brush the teeth. Write an email. Read a Bible verse. Write a paragraph. Check the schedule. Plan the day. Dress the body. Fix the hair. Put on the happy face. Out the door I go.

When will it stop being an effort?


I know what you’re thinking. I know the pat answers.


The joy of the Lord is my strength. He has overcome the world. Joy comes in the morning. God is my refuge, my strong tower. Nothing is impossible with God.


I can sing the songs.

I can quote the Bible verses.

I know. I do. I believe every word.


When someone’s life is on hold….

When there are unanswered questions….

When their reality isn’t actually “fine”….


It’s alright to say you don’t know what to say.

It’s alright to say you are praying.

It’s alright to say nothing and just be present.

One of the surprisingly hard things about going through a traumatic personal crisis is interacting with others. My story and my sadness seemed to make people uncomfortable, and I hated that it did. Every well-meaning, yet lovingly awkward comment spoke volumes and was appreciated.

I share this today for two reasons:

  1. If you have someone in your life going through something really, really tough, realize you don’t have to do or say anything amazing. Simply being you and quietly loving your family member or friend is amazing enough.
  2. There are many of you who walk through your darkness virtually alone. I hope you have a trusted friend or a counselor to help encourage you along the way. Know that God is present. He sees. He is faithful.

During my darkest moments simply rehearsing the things I know to be true about the God I love and serve keep me focused when I have trouble seeing the light. Remembering the treasures already found help me to keep looking for more.

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted;
he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.
Psalm 34:18 NLT

Image source


  1. It’s no fun getting crushed. The only good I was able to salvage from it was being able to be present for others that have been crushed, and not feeling like I had to say anything.


    1. After I went through one of the most “crushing” times in my life a few years ago I wanted to engage in a ritual someone shared with me about forgiveness and new life after. A symbolic act of beauty for ashes. After burning the many journal entries expressing the pain and anger from being crushed, I burned them and let go of it all giving everything back to God. The ashes were then mixed with the soil prepared for a new plant – i chose violets bc I loved a story I once read. Travelers walking in a lush forest couldn’t determine where a lovely fragrance was coming from. When they finally looked down they realized they were stepping on violets carpeting the forest floor. As they crushed the petals with each step it was bringing forth the heavenly fragrance. I knew that’s what I wanted to reflect in my own life.


      1. Emily, thank you for sharing the ritual that helped in your healing process. Isn’t it ironic how it’s the crushing that releases the fragrance? It is a beautiful picture of God’s redemption for our crushing experiences.


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