When You're the One in Crisis

Last week I shared what I had learned about helping others in “crisis mode.” (You can read that post here.) So many of you commented on what people did for you, or you wish they had done while you were going through a difficult time. I was so encouraged by your feedback and was also given some ideas as well. Thank you!

But today I want to talk about the flip side.  What if you aren’t on the helping end?  What if you are the one in "Crisis Mode?" All of us, at one time or another are going to go through trials that are insanely difficult. If you are a child of God, He uses them to grow us and stretch us. His goal is to make us look more like Him.

Does that make it any easier humanly speaking? No. It doesn’t. But how we respond will make all the difference. Our response in the midst of a difficult situation will dictate whether the situation will make us bitter or better.

At one point in my life I asked the big question that we hear so often...“Why me?”

It was after Lydia was diagnosed with complex heart defects and her future was very uncertain. I hate to think about it but for a while I was angry with the Lord.

I just couldn’t understand “What I did to deserve this.” I mean, here I had just graduated from Bible college, my husband still had two years to go, and all we wanted to do was serve the Lord with our lives. We were faithful to church, walking with the Lord, living right….none of this made sense. Why would God do this to someone like us??

For a little while I viewed it almost as a punishment of some sort. Or like God was a giant mad scientist in the sky and I was His lab rat. He was just trying to see how much I could take. And it just wasn’t fair.

Did you ever swim in a lake, river or the ocean? If so, I’m sure you were taught about currents, right? How that if you get caught in one, you should never try to swim against it? If you do, you’ll end up utterly exhausted and perhaps drown. It won’t do you any good. But that’s our first reaction, fight it for survival.

And sadly, isn't that what we do with God? We feel the current….things are not going as we planned. His plan isn't taking us where we want to be. Instead it’s actually carrying us away from what we thought was best for us. And so we fight. We struggle. We wrestle. We don’t want to submit to what’s happening to us. We read in the Bible that God’s in control and hear it preached from the pulpit….but how in the world could this be best for us?

Writhing in distrust, we question.  And far too often we end up bitter.  

During this time when I was fighting and struggling with bitterness, a sweet woman in our church who also had had a child with birth defects sent me a letter with encouragement to memorize Psalm 139. I’m forever thankful for this sister in Christ and how she helped me!

So I started reading and memorizing. I “knew” God had made my daughter, I had been taught those truths my whole life. But as I read and re-read and memorized, those words finally penetrated my soul and God’s Word began to change me.

Lydia's defects weren't just a "fluke" as the doctors kept saying. She was his beautiful creation and He had made her unique for a purpose!

But could I accept that this was His plan for us? That this was plan A and His very best for my life?

I learned something that helped me and will help you. Very simple yet also profound: When God’s plan is different from yours, you just have to accept it.

Will you ever understand the why?? Probably not. The Bible says His ways are not our ways and His thoughts are not our thoughts. In fact it says they are “higher.” He sees the big picture and we don’t. (Isaiah 55:8-9)

Our life is like a canvas and God is the master painter. He knows what to put where in order to make it beautiful. He keeps working on us until we, like an artist's masterpiece, look how He, the master, had known we could look all along.

Whatever the trial or problem, you must accept it as God’s best for your life. Now does life become hard sometimes because of our own dumb choices and we are just facing the consequences? Definitely. But even in that, when you face consequences, you still need to accept it as God’s best for you. He’s a loving Father that doesn’t want you to continue to make bad choices and mess up your life! If you don’t accept it, you’ll become bitter.

And you don’t want to become bitter, friend. Sadly, as a pastor’s wife I’ve seen it way too much. Bitterness takes sweet people and turns them into the crankiest person you could imagine. Their every comment is like acid rain falling on those around them, burning and scarring. The Bible says that many are “defiled” by bitterness. (Heb. 12:15) It destroys them from the inside out and yet they don’t see it. That little root of bitterness is like a parasitic plant that feeds on them, destroying them little by little.

Through the hardship God changed me. Big time. And soon I realized what an incredible blessing it was that I was chosen to be Lydia’s mom. My loathing “why me?” turned into a “why me?” of thanksgiving.

“Why Lord did you choose to bless me with this child? Why did I get to be her mother? Of all the people in this world, why did You trust me enough to care for her?”

There’s a song on one of our Patch the Pirate CD’s that has these words….

Bitter to better, just one little letter, makes the change in every trial. 
Trusting my Savior will change my behavior as I grow to be like Him...

And it’s so true, isn’t it? 

But this thing of trust.  Wow...it can be hard!  But the Bible commands us to "Trust in the Lord with all thine heart and lean not unto thine own understanding.  In all they ways acknowledge Him and he shall direct they path."  (Proverbs 3:5-6)  

Trusting the Lord in everything will change your attitude.  When you trust that God knows best for you, you can accept whatever circumstances He sends your way.

I don’t know what you’re going through today, friend. But as I’ve looked around and seen so many hurting lately, I feel with them, because I too have hurt so many times before. My heart breaks for their pain, but at the same time I am comforted knowing that God is working in them for their good and His glory.

So when you’re the one in “crisis mode”, what should you do? 

First, stop asking “Why?”, and instead ask “What?”….“What are you trying to teach me, Lord? What do I need to change in my life?

 You must submit to the trial, accept it as God’s best for your life, and let the Lord make you better instead of getting bitter. 

When you do, I know you’ll be able to look back, see the blessings, and rejoice in what God did in your life!

Linking up to Imparting Grace


  1. I loved everything you said and completely understand the bitterness and the "why me". I still struggle with it. Because in my circumstances I carried my firstborn, only to have him premature, and lose him two days after he was born to a brain hemorrhage.I never got to take him home, hold him, and love him. And this trial did change me, but not in a good way. I have struggled with my relationship with God ever since.

    1. Dear Friend,

      My heart aches to hear of your loss. I don't know the pain you have been through as the only loss of a child I have experienced was a miscarriage, and I don't believe it even compares.

      I am truly sorry and wish I could give you a hug right now! You will be in my prayers. And if you ever want to talk further, you can find my email on the contact page of this blog.

      God bless you!


  2. Laine--such wise & good but hard words.

    Anonymous (above), I am praying for you right now. We just walked through something similar with our youth pastor and his wife. Blessings on you.

    "Hinds Feet on High Places" by Hannah Hurnard is always a precious but hard (but so worth it) read for me when things are tough. (I do not recommend her other books, though.)

    liz in PA

    1. Liz,

      Thank you as always for yet another encouraging comment. I always look forward to what you have to say! I have heard of the book you mentioned but have never read it. I will have to look into it!


  3. I love you, Laine! I know I don't know you greatly, but the times I've spent with you I have always seen Jesus in you! This post was a blessing. A few years ago I struggled with the why until The Lord directed me to something far better by asking Him what He wanted through that time. I failed for sure, but it sure made the crisis bearable. What a joy to one day look back at all those times and see just how god used them. Thank you for your honesty and willingness to encourage even if it involves stepping on toes

  4. Great post, Laine. It made me remember all the wonderful things the Lord has done in my life through trials. The day I brought my new son home from the hospital my husband walked out. I was suddenly a single mom to a newborn and our 3 year old daughter. My first reaction was, "Lord, I won't make it through this without you", but for me the real test was if that was going to last. The Lord taught me that if I was going to trust that He was in control in the beginning then I had to trust that He was in control down the road when things got even tougher. The Lord has been so good and now my children and I are blessed with a very unique prospective that others don't have. My kids have compassionate hearts because they know what it means to hurt and they have been able to reach out to others. The Lord has given me opportunities to help people that others might know are hurting just because I've been there and recognize the "masks" that people sometimes put over their pain. Thanks for the reminder that we have a wonderfully, compassionate God who always has the best planned for us.

  5. What an encouraging post, Laine! Thank you for sharing your situation and allowing it to be a blessing and encouragement to others...


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