How Do You ‘Get a Grip’ in the Face of Tragedy?


How Do You ‘Get a Grip’ in the Face of Tragedy? You know the term and may have even used it.

Maybe you were about to throw in the towel on a dream and a friend challenged you, “Really Shelly? -Get a grip- Where’s your faith?”

 Sometimes all we need is to just take a deep breath, look up, “get a grip” and move on.

But not always… certainly not in the face of tragedy.

What do you do when you lose a child or a spouse?

-I think of my sister-in-law whose four year old son was suddenly ripped from her life because of a drunken driver.

-Our friend Eric and his 6 children watched as the love of his life slowly died of cancer.

-A close friend Kim’s 19 year old daughter was lulled away by a slave driver named heroine.

We stood in hope and prayer. We walked with them as they fought for her life pressing on in the name of love; tough love, gentle love … all in faith-filled hope for her release from the clutches of darkness.

Sometimes you celebrate 2 steps forward, and then get yanked 3 steps back.

How do you “get a grip” when you get a call that “It’s over –she’s gone”?

I don’t think you know unless you go thru it.

Surely love and support of friends and family help carry these thru those numbing days. But one needs MORE as days as weeks move on.

It’s the place beyond where you just “Get a grip”. You need something some ONE bigger than any man -to hold you together.

I imagine this is the place where time stops, even seems to rewind. You will the clock to stay at pause just moments longer before you pass into another tomorrow –away from their voice, their touch, their breath.

Indeed, this is where your own life depends on getting in His GRIP.

It is only in the hands of the LIVING God; Jesus, can one gain hope and rise above the blow of death.

You can’t even “GET” there; you simply find He IS THERE.  The place where one says, “Oh death where is your sting?” 1 Corinthians 15:55

In His care -where time doesn’t look backward or forward , it simply rests with full gaze on the One Who ties all times, all purpose, all cares to Him.

Where nothing else matters –but Him.

And because you see that it’s all for Him,

Suddenly. Painfully even -yet gloriously so,

you realize;

Everything does matter

–because all are created in hope to be redeemed; each at the proper time.

How do you say goodbye in the face of tragedy? How do you find peace?

Each must answer on their own.

And those of us standing near?

We may not know what to say, and that’s okay. Words may never reach the depths of certain loss, but being there and showing you care will matter more than doing nothing at all. Show you care with gentleness and compassion.

Stand with them, cry with em, sit silently when the crowds are gone and help pick up pieces.

Love them where they’re at. All the while keeping your own gaze on Jesus.

Below is a book my friend Eric Elder, a gifted writer, wrote after his wife Lana went to be with Jesus.

It may be helpful to someone you know whose recently lost a loved one.

Making the Most of Darkness

No matter the circumstances, there is no better place then, in His grip!

Are You Put To the Test?

WarNinG!  Going into business with your spouse may1440543874313 put your marriage to the test.

After 28 years of marriage, Brad and I sold our house, most of our belongings, bought a franchise business and moved from Texas to Colorado.

We made it thru some really tough challenges in early marriage, so 3 kids and 28 years later we considered ourselves perfectly suited to go into business together. After all, we share the same goals and values. We have fun being together and we were mutually excited to make a difference in the lives of others.

We were worn out before we even began.

I really believed that once we got started everything would begin to fall in place.

Hmmm. Months later…

Here we are in Colorado, a full day’s drive from Texas. The mountains are beautiful and the weather is ridiculously aMAZing. We haven’t weathered winter yet, but so far we love it.

Even so, we don’t have those dear old close friends to drop by, have a cry and get a squeeze of the shoulder reminding us, “God’s got your back –and so do I.”

I may have given up entirely at the beginning if I had known it would be so tough.

Our friends, family and church community were a HUGE part of our lives. They helped shape who we’ve become.

I know they’re still there for us, but…. It is different.

Trying to find a new church home is exhausting. It’s just not home. Home is where the people are who you’ve invested your life in.

Did we make a mistake?

I don’t believe so. There were too many doors that opened and others that closed.

This is the hardest thing I’ve had to do. My marriage has been put to the test far more than any time before.

Brad and I get along great, but we are with each other 24/7.

We’re committed to one another with God at the center continuously pulling us upward together.

But we’re back to relearning the basics; communication, forgiveness, sacrifice, flexibility, forbearance.

We have too.

When we “go home” it’s the same person we’ve been with all day. You can’t say, “You’ll never believe what Brad did at the office today.”

At the end of the day, I need to exert energy to clear my head. A vigorous hike renews my mindset.

Brad prefers to chill and enjoy a break from all the “doing”.  Give him time to sit and rest or watch a favorite show and he’s happy.

While I could run him ragged and he could make me stir crazy, we are learning how to meet each other in the middle.

Communication is essential.

We need it as we uncover issues that got swept away in preoccupations of raising children and separate occupations.

Are we there?  No.

Are we working on it? Daily.  Hourly.

Sometimes the hardest things in life prove to be the things that grow us most.

Whether you’re going in to business with your spouse –moving cross country -facing physical hardship –or taking some leap of faith that feels like a dismal fall; circumstances will put you to the test.

Keep in mind; some seasons are just tough. Life gets messy and it’s not always pretty.

I’d like to wrap up this post with a catchy phrase or a nice quote.

I don’t have one today.

The best I have to offer is the best I have to offer: Jesus.

No matter what; -Jesus.

Just look to Jesus.

You can’t go wrong when you turn to Him.

Your situation may not change right away (probably won’t). It could even get tougher!

But your eyes will see the only thing you really need to see to give you the perspective you need –in any season. Jesus.



In Due Season

Horse Play

In due season …in due time?!  Ahh! ‘Wait‘ is such a “four letter word”!

Maybe you can you relate?

I have to cool my jets though when I hear something like what Joshua Harris (Author “I Kissed Dating Goodbye”) says, “The right thing at the wrong time is the wrong thing.”

It’s so true. Sometimes we catch vision of what we’re called to do or be. But, our vision and our will aren’t always in sync with our preparedness.

And God’s timing is always perfect.

Don’t dismiss your dreams and ‘bigger’ purpose with doubt just because it’s not the right time. Stay the course, keep your eyes fixed on the Source -Jesus, and do what you’re called to do today with a vision to tomorrow.


For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end—it will not lie. If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay. Habakkuk 2:3

But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:31

Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord. Psalm 27:14

For there is a time and a way for everything. Although man’s trouble lies heavy on him. Ecc 8:6

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven. Ecc 3:1

And let us not grow weary of doing good, for IN DUE SEASON we will reap, if we do not give up. Galatians 6:9

Climb On and Finish Strong

Recently, I listened to Michael Hyatt’s webinar, “The Busy Person’s Guide to Writing a Book” (highly informative, and rich with practical tips, and encouragement).

His final point encouraged listeners to, “Recognize that fear, uncertainty, and doubt are just part of the process.”

I thought back to the prior year when I told others I planned on writing a book.imagesLQ1A23IP

As soon as I began, I felt like I’d signed up to climb Mount Everest.

Was I really doing this? Was I capable? What about my weaknesses, inabilities and inexperience?

Who was I kidding?

Living at the front range of the Colorado Rockies, there are ample opportunities to face “mountainous” challenges.

As Michael spoke, I went into a mental rewind replaying scenes of both my recent mountain experiences and writing challenges.

He cautioned to “know your enemy; resistance”; that invisible force that holds you back from pursuing what you are called to. He addressed 3 contributors to resistance as well as their countermeasures.

It seemed as though Michael had been in my backpack days prior;

At the trailhead.

At the trailhead.


“Seriously? That mountain is steep and the path is rocky.  Umm. No way!”


“I have no writing experience or education. People will laugh at my writings. Forget it.”

*Countermeasure: Start

“I know I can make it to the tree line.”


“I can blog. I have a story. The chapters are outlined and started.”

Uncertainty.  (Overthinking)

From a ledge, I look down. “This is not safe. This is difficult and crazy. I could die!

(My head spins, I loose my lunch and pitifully consider crawling back to safer ground.)


“I write sooo slow. Maybe I’m wasting time.

Too often, we get in our head and out of our hearts.

Barely sitting on an overlook. The height just freaks me out.

(Barely) sitting on an overlook. The height just FREAKS me out!

*Countermeasure: Focus

“Okay if I put my foot here, then I can step on that rock, and then…”

Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.

“So this page pretty much sucked. (DELETE). But, I have 3 more hours experience.”


I wrestled with doubt a quarter mile from the summit after a six mile ascent. (?!)

Clouds threatened lightening on the other side of the summit, my legs felt like jello, and my nerves were SHOT.

I whined to my daughter, “I just don’t think I can do this Anna.”

There was no foot path; only giant boulders piled against one another leading to the summit.

Anna –“Come on mom. We’re almost there. We can’t stop now.”

My fearless Anna!

My fearless Anna!

I looked at the steep drop below us. “I just don’t know if I can!”

(And I’m supposed to set an example for my daughter. ?!)

A book? Me?”

*Countermeasure: Finish

“Okay Anna, but I’m going slow.” – “That’s okay mom.”

This writing thing takes time and sacrifice.” But I’ve got another chapter.

Others will be impacted by the things you do or don’t do!

I thought reaching Pike’s Peak was the goal.

Maybe it was more about my daughter seeing that fear can either bind, or be overcome.

Starting, staying focused and finishing will take you where you wouldn’t otherwise go.

I look at the mountain now, knowing our footsteps trailed it.

And, I’m happy to say, “Yes, I’m still working on my book.”summit

You won’t regret finishing, but you may regret giving up.

And always, With God, nothing is impossible.”   Luke 1:37

One thing.

one thing - CopyOne thing I have asked from the Lord, that I shall seek:
That I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life,
To behold the beauty of the Lord
And to meditate in His temple.
For in the day of trouble He will conceal me in His tabernacle;
In the secret place of His tent He will hide me;
He will lift me up on a rock.
And now my head will be lifted up above my enemies around me,
And I will offer in His tent sacrifices with shouts of joy;
I will sing, yes, I will sing praises to the Lord.

Hear, O Lord, when I cry with my voice,
And be gracious to me and answer me.
When You said, “Seek My face,” my heart said to You,
Your face, O Lord, I shall seek.”
Do not hide Your face from me,
Do not turn Your servant away in anger;
You have been my help;
Do not abandon me nor forsake me,
O God of my salvation!….

Teach me Your way, O Lord,
And lead me in a level path

I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord
In the land of the living.
Wait for the Lord;
Be strong and let your heart take courage;
Yes, wait for the Lord.