When We Are Given More Than We Can Handle


 “I’m tired of being afraid
I’m wondering how I got this way
I’m trying to remember what life was like before
Panic moved in without even knocking on the door

Have mercy on me
I’m not who I used to be
Have mercy on me
Jesus, please…”
Have Mercy on Me lyrics, -JJ Heller

I remember so clearly, as though it was only yesterday and not nearly three years in my past, those overwhelming feelings of panic that would run through my veins every minute of every day and night for what seemed to be months on end.

I can close my eyes and instantly recall the constant unrest that would swirl around within my mind, and the tears…the most sincere and heartfelt tears I think I may have ever cried in my whole life, that would fall day after day after day.
Night after night after night.

I felt my soul being robbed, my laughter being choked, and my days became a battleground filled with fear and trembling. Yet I remained rooted in the word and constant in prayer as though my life depended on it.

Because truthfully, it did.

I remember the kind words and helpful quotes that people would offer so as to bring me hope and comfort when it seemed so far beyond my reach. The one I remember most often repeated was, “The Lord will never give you more than you can handle…so know that He must really believe that you are incredibly strong!”

Only, I didn’t feel so strong.
In fact, I was weak and defeated and there truly wasn’t even an ounce of “strong woman, hear me roar” left within me.
And on top of already experiencing a little bit of what felt like hell must be like, I also began to feel as though I was letting the Lord down because I couldn’t live up to the strength he apparently felt I should possess.

And while I know we mean well when we say these things, what I’ve come to understand of Gods word, is that He does, in fact, give us FAR beyond what we can ever handle.

Anxiety. Death. Cancer. Abandonment. Depression. Illness. Pain. Poverty. Hunger.

The list goes on and on and on…

But there is good news my sweet friends, and it’s the truth that got me through those very dark days, and it’s the truth that gets me through the tough times even now.
And that hope is not in that God thinks you’re strong enough to handle all that life may bring to you.

2 Corinthians 1: 8-10

…For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God. He delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will deliver us again.

I don’t know what many troubles you may be struggling with right now, and I can’t pretend to know how long God will allow you to be in the midst of them, but what I do know is that God’s power and strength and comfort and love never fail. They never run out.

And so I urge you to look to Him. Run to Him. Abide in Him. Rest in Him. Make everything you have, everything you do, everything you walk through, about Him.

Because where we are weak, HE IS STRONG.

Blessings, S

Summer Saldana

The Stories I Never Thought I Would Write

photo copy 2

There are moments in life that shape us and change who we are. But what happens when you take those moments and transform them into words? They are words that tell a story, but it is not just my story. My story represents many stories. It is a voice for the woman who sits in her hospital bed, confused by the baby looking up at her. The little life she holds is not what she expected.

Words have turned into pages, and pages into a book. It is a reminder to the mother who buries her thoughts in guilt. She longs to find joy in the days that feel like a mess.

The day I wept for my lost plans was the day my life became more complete. The loss I felt in the pit of my stomach was actually breathtaking beauty in disguise. I am grateful for the heartache I went through because it has changed my perspective on life. I want to love the unloved. I want to find joy when it seems so difficult to find. I want to speak of hope when everything feels hopeless. 

For three years I have been writing bittersweet vignettes of motherhood. Times of devastation, like when I found out my son had Down syndrome. Or that time I knelt on the bathroom floor and cried in agony as I said goodbye to another unborn baby. The days of joy as I found humor from my children. The unexplainable moment when I delivered my daughter in the shower. It’s all here. I am learning to trust in the brush strokes of the Maker. When parts of the painting look awkward, I have to remember that there is a bigger picture. I ask him to help me find beauty in what I don’t understand.

You can read The Mural & The Maker as an ebook or PDF, which are free! Or you can purchase the print version. I hope you find encouragement and joy as you read moments covered in grace.

With Love, Natalie Falls at nataliefalls.com


Grieving Together, Differently


A lot of writers keep journals. I’m not one of them. I haven’t kept one since junior high.

Well, with one exception.

It was the spring my husband Ted and I had to process our obstetrician’s words, “I’m sorry.” The spring when a new life within me unexpectedly died, rather than flourished.

I felt helpless. There was nothing I could do about it. So I bought a blue and white journal at Barnes and Nobles. And I wrote. And wrote. And wrote.

One aspect I wrote about was how Ted and I didn’t grieve in the same way or at the same pace. Just as we brought differences to the way we cooked, drove, and parented, we brought differences to our loss and the way we processed it.

It was hard to figure out how to grieve together when we grieved so differently. But we slowly – and often clumsily – navigated it. And, as we did, we continued to grow together, rather than allow the loss to tear us apart. How did we do this? One way was by allowing the other to grieve as they needed to, even if it wasn’t how we preferred.

If you and your husband are currently grieving differently and you’re frustrated or discouraged by it, here are three things to remember that helped us.

1. We’re Wired Differently

Not only do Ted and I have different personalities that influenced our response to loss, the simple fact that he’s a man and I’m a woman affected how we grieved.

In the midst of personal pain, it’s easy to forget that men and women aren’t just wired differently physically, but also mentally and emotionally. And, as frustrating as that can be at times, according to God, that’s a good thing. He didn’t design us to respond to everything identically.

When as a wife I realize and anticipate that Ted is by nature going to respond differently, sometimes even in ways I can’t comprehend, it prepares my heart to be more understanding. More patient. More gracious.

2. We Have Different Vantage Points

While Ted did mourn the death of our preborn baby Noah, he didn’t feel it as intensely as I did. Some of this had to do with his vantage point, or the position from which he experienced it.

I physically carried Noah those 10 weeks. As a result, I felt a deeper connection to her. Ted was more removed, especially that early in the pregnancy. My body also experienced the physical loss of her. Ted’s didn’t. His body wasn’t a constant reminder to him of death. These differences had a tremendous effect on the way we came through the loss of a baby.

3. Different Isn’t the Same as Alone

Even though Ted and I experienced grief differently, we still attempted to walk through it together. To confide in and listen to each other, even if we didn’t understand the way the other was wired or what things looked like from their vantage point. Remembering that our differences didn’t have to isolate us kept us united. We were still companions and confidants on what C.S. Lewis likened to a “long valley, a winding valley.”

It’s been four years since I wrote in that blue and white journal. Four years since Ted and I first discovered that we grieve differently. But you know what? Four years later our marriage is stronger not only because we managed to grow together through the grief, but because we gave each other space to mourn, differently.


A Permission Slip For The Mom Who Has Suffered Loss

sad young woman crossed  fingers  for her  face in crisis moment

Recently I have had several friends suffer loss in their families. Because I have grieved as a mother, I understand a little of their feelings. I say, “a little,” because I would never claim to say, “I know how you feel.” Every loss suffered by every mother is different.

But still, I get it – a little.

One thing I understand – that I was surprised to learn about my own loss – is how many “should’s” there are.

After the dust settles, after the bleeding stops or the meals stop or the memories become more distant, you often “feel” like you should be feeling/doing/thinking something different. Maybe something more, maybe something less, just something different.

It is a huge burden to carry, these “should’s”, especially with the ones you’re already carrying.

So this, dear mom who is grieving, is your permission slip. Before you read it, take a long, deep breath.

Really. Do it.

This is your permission slip to still be dealing with it. Even after it’s been however long. Even after you’ve had another child, or married again, or been to counseling, or put “enough” time (whatever that is) between you and the loss. You can still be grieving.

This is your permission slip to be tired. So tired. Tired for “no” reason, after long night’s sleep. Grief is exhausting.

This is your permission slip to struggle in your marriage. Grief is messy. It brings out the worst (though also at times the best) in relationships.

This is your permission slip to feel worried about lots of things. I’ve often talked about how anxiety and depression are so closely linked.

This is your permission slip to doubt – doubt yourself, your spouse, your abilities, your purpose. Grief can shake you at the core.

This is your permission slip to spend money healing. To see a counselor, to go on dates with your husband, to order take-out, to hire a house cleaner. I’m not advocating ridiculous, unwise spending, but what I am saying is: healing and self-care are a valid use of our money, and it should be okay to make them a priority when needed.

This is your permission slip to suffer in whatever way your body is suffering. There is no rush. God works in the clouds and the darkness of our hearts, and He is not impatient with you. Draw near to Him. Rest in Him. Ask Him what He would have you do in this time. Trust him with the hearts of your children and your husband. Hold his hand in the darkness – He is there; He has promised He would be.

Dear mom who is grieving, my prayer for you is this today:

3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.

Blessings to you today,


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