The One Thing You Cannot Live Without

This has not been the greatest week to start my “Gratefulness” journal. Seriously. With summer heating up, schedules out of sorts, and my attitude turning sour, keeping a gratefulness journal seemed like a good idea.

Crying Woman
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But that was before summer started.

Day one went relatively well, and day two went better. Let’s say some self-sufficient satisfaction started to kick in. Day three started with a bang . . . my husband’s back was out of whack. Since I’ve heard him complain once in my life, I was concerned but remained committed to being grateful. A good doctor, an open appointment, ice packs, and an early bed time would do the trick.

Day four rolled around, and life rolled out of control.

The Glass Shattered

People say that a grateful person views the glass as half-full rather than half-empty. Somehow, my glass must have had a hole in it because I was not a happy camper.

My husband’s back became a painful, serious condition, my son Jon got sunburned, my other son Austin had a mirror shatter on his leg, and the dog got sick . . . on the only area rug downstairs. I think I lost my journal on day four, and that glass that was supposed to be half-full . . . that one with the hole in it . . . I trashed it.

Two weeks passed.

I told my husband I wasn’t going to read Philippians—that contentment was way overrated. I wondered why Paul had to let us know he wrote on the subject of contentment from a prison cell of all places.

How the Father Loves Us!

As God usually does, He let me get sick of me. My family had been silent, and in silence some of God’s most profound work is done. I sat outside listening to my iPod, and a quiet hymn began to play. I was overcome with emotions as God revealed the ugliness within my soul. Here I was praying for help and healing, yet I was consumed with complaints about the dusty house, shedding dogs, unwashed dishes, dirty laundry, broken sprinklers, and unpaid bills.

Yet . . .

Me, this wretch His treasure . . . HE LOVES

Yes . . . through great pain of searing loss . . . HE LOVES

Yes . . . that He would give His ONLY Son . . . HE LOVES

Yes . . . who bore the wounds that marred the cross . . . HE LOVES

Yes . . . His dying breath has brought me life . . . because HE LOVES

Glass of Water

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It’s All about Him

Tears of grief spilled over into the depth of my human condition . . . broken to the bone yet loved without end.

  • When will I . . . will we . . . realize this life is not about our messy mistakes and miserable ways; it’s about the Messiah’s love?
  • When we deserve an attitude adjustment, He offers abundant grace.
  • When we deserve punishment, He offers peace.
  • When we deserve death, He offers deliverance again and again and again.

It’s easy to get all bunched up as a caregiver or husband or wife or kid or friend or pastor or father or mother or whatever because we are human. Will you accept that . . . that you are broken? But God LOVES us through our broken lives.

The one thing you cannot live without is His love. It is everything!

Let Me Hear from You

Try one thing: let the irritations of life remind you of God’s love.

In the messes . . . Lord, you still treasure me.

In the dust and dishes . . . Lord, you died for me.

In the woes and worries . . . Lord, you are my peace.

In the storms . . . Lord, you are my strength.

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10 thoughts on “The One Thing You Cannot Live Without

  1. Colleen, my heart aches for you because you’re going through so much, but I’m happy that you got the relief from the Lord. You’re right on that this life is not about us. We are God’s children and our family has a very real enemy out there who is determined to kill, steal and destroy us. But we have a Heavenly Father whose power, wisdom and strength is everything we need to win over every attack that comes against us. I think that sometimes we feel as if we can handle situations ourselves and so we give it our best shot first and then seek God’s help when it doesn’t work. I finally learned, through much tribulation, to give everything to God at the onset of each day and at the onset of each trial that comes. I learned to settle down and stop trying to be a perfectionist (because I was and every speck of dust drove me crazy and every family event that I was responsible for aged me and turned me into a madman). But now I take one day at a time, seek God and try to do the things that give Him glory. Yes, the trials still come – even more now – but I keep my eyes on Jesus, look for His return, and try to live each day with His help because I know that I cannot do it on my own.

    You have a wonderful family, a husband who loves you and children who adore you. You are the most important person in their lives, and please don’t take this wrong, but you’re not perfect. You’ll make mistakes—it happens—and things will go wrong at times and messes will still happen, but when you have the peace of God, knowing that He’s there with you, then you’ll see that life is good and that Jesus has better things for you ahead.

    I love you, Colleen. You and your beautiful family are in my prayers. I admire you for your faithfulness to God and to your family, and your posts bring inspiration and encouragement to the rest of us who are also living this life one day at a time as we follow Jesus. God bless you!

  2. Dear fellow warrior….might I suggest an evening drive when the sun is just setting and it’s a bit cooler….oh, and be sure to roll down the windows and slow down….. I was driving home today from San Antonio and drove through one of those sudden downpours in West Texas….the temperature dropped from 92 to 72 within minutes….and yes, I rolled down my windows…..prayers and blessings for your family!!

  3. Colleen
    Thank you for sharing your summer trials with us. You always keep things real and in doing that you remind us what we should to focus on. I am determined to change my attitude about all my life’s irritations. I need to refocus and, yes be reminded, of my blessings and act with a more graceful heart for what the Lord has done for me. Thanks for the much needed reminder.
    Hope you are feeling well and the rest of your summer is a memorable joyful one.

  4. Hi Colleen, I can certainly relate. I am especially comforted by the reminder that God “delivers us again and again”. A great reminder of God’s unconditional love and how it brings back hope and the will to try and try again. Thank you for this article.

  5. Vicki,
    You are always so affirming and authentic…what gifts to share on our blog.
    The trials continue but my soul is being changed. That’s sort of a “love/hate” relationship. We love the relief of letting go and trusting God; but the process can push us to our limits, can’t it. I so applaud your commitment to our Lord and to His constant work in our lives. You are an inspiration! Many blessings, Colleen

  6. Scotty,
    How we are longing for one of those Texas rains that drop the temp and provide relief. Not long ago, we had a storm blow through and I pulled open my study windows, listened to the rain, and thanked the Lord for His care over us all. It had been a stormy day emotionally so the physical reminder of His sovereignty was a splash of comfort. Hope you are doing well! Drive through Dallas again sometime…when it’s cooler so you can enjoy the breeze. Hello to your beautiful bride!

    • Oh don’t you long for the day, when the lion lays down with lamb….that is the one thing that frustrates me more than ever about this world….humans never learn….and that is why I have to stay attached to the Word…if I wander away, even for a day, I feel it and I don’t like….just had another reminder this week. Have been putting off listening to Dr. Jeremiah’s study of Job because it is just too painful, and it makes me realize just how really blessed I am. I hope the move into the new building won’t be too stressful (any move is stressful, what am I saying)….hope to see it and all you again some day. Sending blessings and prayers for all of you. And give your sweet mom and dad a hug from us as well. Blessings Colleen!!

  7. Ronnie,
    As you can see in how long it’s been since you wrote, we’ve been quite busy with life and I’m sorry this is later than I would like…but hey, no one is perfect, right?! = ) One of my mentors used to say to me… “Colleen, if all your best thinking brought you here, maybe you need to let God do the work and sit back for a bit…He always comes through”. Sounds like you and my mentor have chatted…Just kidding. I love how the Lord reminds us to let go by using people who don’t know one another yet offer the same words of counsel. It’s been great to see Him sending nuggets of golden wisdom through various people-including you right here-reminding me to keep my eyes on Him, my heart connected to those I love, and to wade through the messy times with faithful trust. You are an amazing woman and I so appreciate your words! Thank you! Colleen