Torn: When Life Tears Us Apart

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

There are those days—those seasons—when it feels like life tears me apart. Not in the big “I have cancer,” or “my husband’s leaving me,” kind of ways.

It’s more in those ways of the daily challenges, the struggles that rip away small pieces of me. Those days when a boy in-my-face defies me repeatedly.

And I react.

When those things that were supposed to work out a certain way go terribly wrong.

 

When we discover a boy needs surgery.

When Hubs has to leave on an unexpected trip.

It’s not only the big scary things of life that tear us apart.

Often, it’s the constant rip of smaller things that shred pieces of us away.

Sometimes it’s in the constant doing that we become tattered. It’s in the seasons—where there’s no time for a break, no opportunity for rest—when we come undone. When there are more to-dos than time to do them.

 

How do we piece ourselves back together?

I’ve learned through trying that I can’t fix myself in my own strength. And fixing never, ever happens in a moment.

Rather, mending happens as I spend time connecting. We were not made to walk our days alone.

Although at times it seems easier.

God designed us to live in community with others. And the thing is? Sometimes Community hurts. And other times those connections offer healing. And rest. And refreshment.

It’s when, after the boy’s anger is spent and sanity returns, we sit in his room. His head on my lap. And we talk. I stroke his hair. And we talk. We both sk forgiveness and offer it.

We connect.

 

Connection happens when hubs and I sit at the table, or in our bedroom, and rehash all that’s happened in each of our lives—separately and together. Holding hands. Perhaps me leaning on his shoulder. Finding strength in his presence.

The mending comes in reaching out to trusted friends to beg for prayer. For the big things and the small.

Mending strengthens us when there is a circle around us who lift us up in the crazy seasons.

Who will speak life to our battered spirits when death wants to prevail.

 

Oftentimes, those scattered pieces of who we are can be taped back together when our hearts connect with others.

If we’re honest, we—all of us—have times when we come undone. When bits and pieces of who we are drift away on the winds of life.

Sometimes we need others to remind us of who we are. Of who Jesus created us to be.

Always, we need to come back to Jesus, to find ourselves in Him. To trust that He will heal us. He will put our hearts, our selves, back together.

Often, He uses others as His hands and feet when we walk through the dis-membering times. But He’s always with us in those times of hard. And it’s often in those seasons where we most see our need to cling to Him.

 

So in those times when life threatens to rip me apart, I choose to hold on tight to Jesus and to be intentional about keeping connections strong. For it’s in being knit with Jesus and with others that I am held together.

What about you? What holds you together when life tries to tear you apart? How do those around you hold you up in the hard seasons?

Click to Tweet: What holds us together when life tears us apart?

Today I’m linking up with Holly Barrett’s Testimony Tuesday and Kelly Balarie’s #RaRaLinkup

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23 thoughts on “Torn: When Life Tears Us Apart

  1. Brilliant essay, Jeanne. You really connected solidly on this one.

    Currently being torn apart by things large and small, I find that the mantra “it don’t mean nuthin'” helps a great deal.

    While it may sound nihilistic, what it really means is that “I’ve seen worse…I can bury this hurt so deep that it will never surface again.”

    It sounds like a shibboleth, but one can bury things in the unreachable places in the soul. It does come with a price, because that kind of interment requires a deadening of feeling, and something of an amputation of empathy. Some injures, however, can be handled in no other way.

    http://blessed-are-the-pure-of-heart.blogspot.com/2017/04/your-dying-spouse-292-caregiver-and.html

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    • Interesting thoughts, Andrew. I’m not sure we can ever completely bury hurts to the point that they never surface again. I’ve tried to bury my hurts, but they always have a way of rising to the surface . . . most often, for me, this looks like how I react in a future based on a trigger that got pressed by someone’s words or actions.

      I’ve never been in some of the situations you’ve faced, though. I can see how you might need to bury those hurts deeply so they don’t impact the work you had to do. And, I imagine some of those hurts were incredibly painful . .. I’ve been praying for you.

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  2. Beautiful and comforting words! I’m in that season where there’s more on my to do list than time to do it. And then something new comes out of the blue! So thankful for the circle I have that mends and sharpens me! Blessings!

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  3. Very nice! And a reminder to stay connected in community. I can disconnect with my to do lists, and being single and working from home mainly adds to the recipe of disconnection! Thankfully God’s faithfulness keeps me connected in community as He knows it reignites my energy.

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    • Lynn, like you, I find it easy to disconnect in order to accomplish to-dos on my list. I think it’s tricky finding the balance between getting things done and making sure I connect deeply with others. Both are essential, and neither should be exclusive. I love how God brings connecting times to me, sometimes, when I’m inundated with tasks. 🙂 That reignites my energy too.

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  4. “Often, it’s the constant rip of smaller things that shred pieces of us away.” YES this! Our life right now it seems…I just have to keep reminding myself that this season will pass. Thanks so much for your transparency and encouragement!

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  5. Thank you for these words today Jeanne! I have faced big struggles but find when the little challenges keep coming at me that I am at my weakest. I love everything about community and I am glad you pointed us to those connections to help us in times when we need a friendly face on our side. Raising kids is always challenging but God promises to provide what we need and to be with us every step of the way. Blessings and hugs!

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    • I would have to agree, Mary. It’s those little challenges that keep coming that wear us down. And, yes. I’m so thankful for the truth that God does provide what we need, and He is with us every step on this journey called life. I’m thankful for you, friend!

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  6. This. I relate so much to your essay. Life’s hardships of grief, depression, and anxiety combined with everyday stresses can be debilitating from time to time. Finding the balance between connection and self reliance can be a challenge. Thank you for sharing your experiences of finding the calm we crave with meaningful connection; something that so many of us are presently needing.

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    • Little Posy, I appreciate your comment. There are times when ev-ery-thing hits and feels debilitating. Overwhelming. I’m so thankful that we can lean on God through those seasons. And I’m grateful He often uses others with skin on to be the ones who uplift us as they point our hearts back to Jesus. Thank you so much for stopping by!

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  7. Jeanne,
    Some times I think that the singular big things are easier to deal with than the barrage of daily tearings one after the other. I’m definitely feeling torn this week and need to take time to reconnect with God and trust the outcome to him. Thanks…much needed…
    Blessings,
    Bev xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • There are times when I’ve agreed with you, Bev. The big things seem easier to deal with (sometimes) because they seem to have a definitive beginning and ending point. It’s the little ones that barrage us over and over again that tear us. I’m sorry it’s a tearing kind of week for you. I’m saying a prayer for you, friend. That you can have some deep connecting time with Him. Thanks for sharing a bit here today. Hugs.

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  8. So true, Jeanne. I’m so glad God is the Fixer of the broken and He gives others with skin on to support us. I’m sorry your son needs surgery. I hope it goes well. That picture of a mended together football award must have a story behind it? May God give you daily strength during these times of raising children! Love and hugs to you!

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    • Trudy, I’m with you . . . so glad God is the fixer of the broken. I am always amazed at how often He chooses to use people to help in the mending. Actually, the surgery was one that took place in February, but at the time, it was one more thing tearing a little bit at me, you know? And you know the need for strength in raising children, I’m sure. Thank you for that little prayer. I’m sending love and hugs your way too. 🙂

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  9. I get strength from my husband’s presence too, Jeanne … after a long day, just sitting together on the loveseat in the living room while the girls do dishes and homework in the kitchen. I totally get the picture of the small things of life being what tears bits of us away … sort of like emotional erosion, I think. But you’re right … a little bit of connection goes a long way to mend those torn spots. I read some of this post through the glaze of tears, my friend, but I loved every word. 🙂

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    • Lois, we are blessed to have men in our lives who give us strength. Yes, emotional erosion is such an apt way to describe how life tears at us sometimes. Maybe that’s why connection seems to be the best tape in those times when we feel so torn. I’m blessed by your words, friend!

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