9 Tools to Survive a Crisis

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Marty's Musings shares her personal story and 9 tools to survive a crisis. From taking care of yourself to knowing when to ask for help, there is hope! 

Do you remember the movie Groundhog Day? 

Phil (Bill Murray), a weatherman, is set to cover the yearly emergence of the groundhog from its hole. He gets caught in a blizzard that he didn’t predict and finds himself trapped in a time warp. He is doomed to relive the same day over and over again until he gets it right.

Right now my life feels like the movie.

Eleven years after our oldest adopted daughter went into a residential facility for sexually abused children, we are facing a similar scenario for our youngest adopted son. He was adopted at 15 months and even though I believe we’ve done everything possible to love and nurture him, it is his wish to no longer live with us. Because of his recent actions an out of home placement in a residential facility is what we are seeking.

Our hearts break at the familiarity, unwanted decisions and brokenness in our situation.

Healing is In Your Hand from Marty's Musings

Many years ago the family therapist that has worked with our adopted kids for eleven years asked me a disconcerting question. 

“What if your life will always be in crisis because it’s God’s will for you? What if your ministry is to help others who are suffering in the same way?”

She stopped me dead in my tracks with thoughts I didn’t want to face. Yet God knows my heart’s desire has always been to help others find hope in the pain. The idea that I might always be in crisis scared me half to death.

I’m glad to say there have been seasons of rest in between yet we are again facing a family crisis.

No one goes through life unscathed. Whether you’re experiencing a family death, job loss, unwanted health news or struggling with depression, you are not alone. Your experience is not unique to this world and my prayer is that somehow I can encourage you to walk through your trial with a few tools to help you survive a crisis. 

It Is well with my soul - Marty's Musings

Pray

It seems people always say, “I can’t do anything else but pray.” As a woman of faith, this should be my go to tool for coping in the midst of stress and strife. Even when I can’t find the words to say I know “the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.” (Romans 8:26)

Recently we drew strength from like minded believers and friends gathering around us providing a hedge of prayer as we spent 2 1/2 days wondering where our teenaged son had gone. By God’s grace he returned unharmed.

 9 Tools to Survive a Crisis - Marty's Musings

Breathe

When our son was in the ER undergoing a thorough psychiatric evaluation I literally felt like my chest was so heavy I couldn’t breathe. Since heart disease runs in my family I was already scheduled for an echo stress test just to make sure my heart is healthy and strong. Unfortunately I had to cancel it. While all the recent stress hasn’t been easy, I figured if I did have a heart attack, at least I was at the right place!

Breathing techniques and clearing your mind for even a few moments can help with feelings of panic and fear.

Hillsong Worship song "Stronger" video and devotion from Marty's Musings

Take care of yourself

You can’t fill someone else’s cup when yours is empty. Many times on this parenting journey I have had to choose to walk away from a need when I had nothing left to give. 

I had to go to the source of my true strength, and that was my faith in God and His plan for my life.

I had to CHOOSE  to let go of some things and activities that were overwhelming.

Make life as simple as you can.

Ask for help and accept it

We have always taught our kids that a smart person asks for help. Fear of rejection and judgment can keep us from reaching out.

During our crisis I reached out on Facebook for help finding our son and was overwhelmed by the response.

A blogger friend sent us a tray of sandwiches from a local restaurant.

An anonymous adoptive mom sent me a note and a gift card.

A company I’m building a relationship with sent me beautiful orchids and blew me away with their generosity and compassion.

Have courage and let others know specifically how they can help.

I Am Not Alone worship video by Kari Jobe reminds us that even in the midst of the darkest night God gives us hope and strength for each new day.

Talk about your feelings

If there are any men out there I’m sure I just lost them with this step! I certainly don’t want to pigeonhole an entire population but the men in my life struggle to express their feelings during difficult times. As my husband and I have worked through issues in our marriage he is learning to express “I feel” statements.

IT IS NOT EASY for him. Me? I could talk all day about them! I’ve been therapeutically parenting my adopted children for years and helping them through this process. I totally see how hard it is for others, but I also know firsthand the relief when those feelings are allowed to be set free. 

Feelings are neither right nor wrong. They are just a barometer of what’s going on inside. 

Hillsong I Surrender devotion and video

Get professional help

There was a point many years ago when I had one parent in rehab (back surgery) and one in the hospital. My parents went from there to a nursing home and I was responsible for all the decision making.

At the same time our oldest adopted daughter made false allegations against us, and CPS, police, social workers, doctors and therapists were trying to decide where the truth was in our situation.

I was being pulled apart like Gumby and thought I would break.

When this current crisis started escalating my body responded in the way it usually does, with migraines. I knew I would need some help beyond the normal remedies and made a doctor’s appointment. This isn’t my “first rodeo” so I’m aware of the long road we have ahead of us. I was on an anti-depressant for about five years during the very worst part of the struggle with our oldest adopted daughter. Knowing the intense level of stress the next few weeks will bring I went ahead and asked for a prescription. I know it’s not weakness to accept professional help but it’s still hard! 

Tim and I are also seeing our family therapist to help us process and survive this latest crisis.

I am no less strong because I recognize I’m not able to carry this burden alone. 

Unafraid - Word for 2015 from Marty's Musings 

Move

No, I don’t mean pack up and head for Hawaii (although that sounds great!) but get up out of your chair and walk around.

Stretch. Let go of those muscles that have been clenched for days. You don’t have to go run a mile. Just move more than you did yesterday. If this seems impossible find a buddy. Take a risk and ask somebody at work to walk on your lunch hour.

Instead of meeting a friend for coffee go to a park and breathe in the beauty of nature. 

5 Practical Tips to Reduce Stress at Christmas - Marty's Musings

Count your blessings

Although it may not seem this way right now, there is someone, somewhere in the world, that has it worse than you. We get tunnel vision when life is so hard and it takes every ounce of will to just get out of bed.

I remember some of the hardest days when I wept in the shower because I didn’t know how I could find the energy to finish and dry myself off.

IT WAS BAD. But I survived and so will you. 

You are dearly loved and cherished because you are a child of God. “Weeping may endure for a night but joy comes in the morning.” (Psalm 30:5)

.The Piano Guys "How Great Thou Art" video and devotion - Marty's Musings

Do something for someone else

I know this is counter to the world’s message of every man for himself. However, when I look for opportunities to serve I find meaning and purpose in the midst of difficult circumstances.

 

Which one of the above suggestions will you do? Pick one and JUST DO IT. There’s no magic wand to fix your life or possibly even avert your crisis, but knowing you are not alone will help. 

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Comments

  1. I haven’t had to deal with all the pain you have, but your tips are right on. I I lost my husband before we celebrated our fifth anniversary, and each of those tips I used at one time or another. Walking, helping others and talking thru it all helped immensely. I would add write/journal your feelings. It’s amazing how the words flow when you are writing for your eyes only. Thank you. Your family will be in my prayers

    • Hi, Ann. I am so very sorry for the loss of your husband. I can’t even imagine that loss. Losing my brother in law at the age of 52 and my sister at the age of 53 were tough enough. The reality of death changes you, doesn’t it? My blog is now my journaling, just with a lot of people looking over my shoulder! I’ve journaled most of my life, with a few breaks when I just didn’t have it in me. My son started this blog so I would stay off his facebook page but God really had other intentions! Who knew? Now I write because God has given me a passion and purpose for the pain. Thank you for being a part of this community!

  2. I feel for you Marty and am so sorry you are going through so this. You have helped so many and your faith is so strong. The last 3 years have been so hard with health issues ( had kidney disease and had to have a transplant) , taking care of my mom and then her death and having to clean out her house. I also take antidepressants and go to therapy, was considering suicide . I have been reading your blog for a long time and have grown in my faith through all my troubles. Your blog has helped me so much and I pray that you find peace .

    • Hi, Sylvia. I am so very sorry for all you’ve been through. Thank you for having the courage to share this with me. I’m just now responding to all the comments I received. I’ve taken a step back just to be there for my family as we continue to navigate this situation. Do you have friends and family that you can talk to as well? Having a therapist to trust is great as well. We’ve been with ours for 11 years as she was and is a gift from God. Just started on antidepressants for my husband (first time ever) and me as well. Some things are just so overwhelmingly hard that you need help and strength comes from asking for that help. I am honored that my blog has helped and pray your true source of strength comes from God who loves you so very much. Cling to Him and give all your troubles to Him. God bless you today.

  3. Marty,
    I’m sorry you are struggling so much. I can identify to a certain degree as crisis has become a new “norm” in our family as well. I also can agree with the surprise you would have had with the idea of “What if your life will always be in crisis because it’s God’s will for you? What if your ministry is to help others who are suffering in the same way?” This would be a terrifying concept to adjust to…especially when most of us have expectations of a certain level of “normal” non-crisis existence. Someone once said to me…”when you feel like you are getting buried, maybe God is just planting you…” Comforting or not, if it is God’s will, we know His purpose is our ultimate reward. Thank you for sharing. You are a light. And your pain and resolve resonates to those who recognize that we are not exempt. blessings, Aimee

    • Hi, Aimee. Thank you so much for the sweet words of encouragement. Even though I know we are told to shine our light sometimes the easy response is to run and hide it! I have to resolve to be transparent and risk that vulnerability but it is truly hard. Words are my escape but they also wound, and I have to trust God with both mine and the words of others. Thank you for understanding and uplifting me. Bless you! Marty

  4. What courage to share the deep feelings and hurts in your life. You have helped others – including me- by doing this. I pray for God’s comfort, peace and guidance through this trial.

    • Hi, Sue. Thank you so much for letting me know you have been encouraged by our story. Honestly, it’s part of what gets me through, knowing our story helps others. Transparency can be either frightening or empowering. I am choosing the latter! Have a great weekend!

  5. I do not leave many remarks, however after browsing a lot of responses here 9 Tools to
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  6. I wish I could say more than THANK YOU….for your words of wisdom, love, healing and encouragement.
    Starting at the end of 2012 I have been deep in despair and depression. The earthquake (mentioned in one of your previous articles) happen at a time when I “thought” my life couldn’t get any lower. Losing both my full-time & my part-time jobs due to company closings, caused me to become very depressed. To the point of which I could not get out of bed for weeks at a time. Jobless & depressed ended up causing my youngest son & I to become homeless. Forcing him to live with relatives out of state & me couching surfing with other relatives. Then living in my car alone. As my physical health got worse I had to leave the car for a homeless shelter. I was left wondering what did I do wrong? How did I let this happen? Then the earth shook me to the core…My youngest son goes missing, then jail, (2) homeless shelters, the ER Crisis Unit, a full psychiatric evaluation, (2) stays in the hospital then the diagnosis of having a bio-chemical brain disease at the age of 22….Oh, did I mention the extremely abusive ex that was able to locate us during this time as well? Yes he did…after 22+ years! Talk about the world ending…I thought mine was!
    Now during my healing I look back & realize GOD was telling me to STOP & LISTEN to him. To what he wants for me.
    When I did finally STOP & LISTEN to God, I have been able to find peace, trust, strength & hope. Good things are happening now…Healing has replaced despair, Faith & hope now fill my heart. Its not all rainbows & butterflies…
    Hard work & change is a slow process.
    Now I tell myself “Life is ART in progress”. God is an artist, I’m the paint brush & my life is his work of art.
    Thank you again for your words & in sharing your life experiences.
    God bless.

    • Hi, Gini. I’m so glad you reached out and left a comment. What a tremendously difficult journey you’ve had. I know that you can’t understand it unless you’ve walked in someone else’s shoes but your perspective and positive attitude are amazing considering what you’ve been through. Yes, we are all “art” in progress. It’s so hard isn’t it? Sometimes seemingly unbearably hard. Hold tight to your faith no matter what the world tells you. Believe what God says about you. You are beautifully and wonderfully made!

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