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Learning How to Cope When Life Falls Apart  

by Karen Pickering

For many of my friends who’ve been following my Facebook posts and sporadic blogs you’ve no doubt heard about the challenges I’ve faced this past year. From Mark’s stroke last December to his numerous health challenges this year, it’s been a time I’d rather not repeat again.

I could go on about weekly doctor visits, feelings of hopelessness, losing my guy that can fix anything to managing his responsibilities as well as running a small farm, business and caring for him, watching him deteriorate emotionally and physically. There are days I cry a lot and times of simply sitting at my desk wondering how to get started on the mountain of undone tasks. My mind spins with questions: How will I save my business? Will this ever get better?

Yesterday was one of those days. My business is in a place where it needs more attention than usual. I’m so excited to run with some cool ideas that our local college students came up with, finally putting some marketing articles I’ve read to the test. It’s an exciting time for the magazine as we evolve into a new way of existence.

The day started off with two doctor appointments and on to errands. Then, wham, it hit me. The tears started falling for no obvious reason, but I couldn’t stop sobbing. To add to existing challenges, I think I’m starting to go through The Change—lucky me! My moods are all over the place and I go from peeling off clothes to freezing. Really, can anything else happen?

Wendy and me at Red Canyon near Yellowstone
Wendy and me at Red Canyon near Yellowstone

Last night I attended a ladies Bible study called Squadron of Sisters. Frankly, I had no desire to attend this meeting. An emotional wreck, I was exhausted and just wanted to go curl up in a ball. My good friends Duke and Wendy nudged me into going, however, and the lesson hit me between the eyes. I was reminded that I can’t do anything on my own; I need to lean on him. He alone provides rest and comfort in the midst of chaos. I cried through parts of the meeting but left feeling hopeful and armed with an outline of how to manage when times seem impossible.

Wendy had come to my house, cleaned my stalls and fed my horses so I could go. She even prepared something for me to eat before the meeting. She is an unbelievable friend.

Today the stove went out, the microwave died and I’m on my way to the vet with a sick kitten. Instead of freaking out, I’m taking 3 deep breaths, dropping my shoulders and writing down three things I’m thankful for:

1) Genuine Friends
2) Godly counsel
3) Today’s Sunshine

There are those who have it far worse than I and/or have suffered unbelievable tragedy. Gratitude is a practice that helps me see that things are better than I thought.  And, simply put, friends (both earthly and heavenly) will get us through when life falls to pieces.

Today’s quote: There is nothing permanent except change.
~ Heraclitus

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