Friday, November 13, 2009

Life Is Uncertain

"These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation: but be of good cheer. I have overcome the world" John 16:33
(words of Jesus)

For the next several weeks I plan on writing and videoing about Robert's newly released book, "Leaning Into God When Life Is Pushing You Away." As of this past week it is available where they sell books across America or on After some thought I decided that the forward alone contained a very significant life message and so I am starting there.
My husband writes that at the time he began writing this book life was fairly predictable and routine. He was the senior pastor of the worldwide church, The Crystal Cathedral and he was filling shoes that had been picked out for him long ago. He assumed that he would lead that church well into the future, at least until he reached retirement age. Then came that fateful day of July 9, 2008 when decisions were made and everything he thought of as certain and predictable came crashing down. My intention here is not to revisit what happened but rather to discuss the realities of life. "Stuff Happens" (as the bumper sticker so eloquently states!) It's how we react to the 'stuff' that can either cause us to become better, wiser people or angry, bitter people.

I am guessing that many of you (if not all of you) can think back at a time when you were going about your business living your life and "pow" in a flash things changed for you. Maybe it was a diagnosis of a serious health situation? Or perhaps it was the sudden ending of a relationship that you thought was a forever thing? Possibly it was a terrible accident that left you lost and wondering why?
I can still remember the color of the sky, feel the temperature, and smell the scents in the air, and the people present in my house when I experienced my first run-in with how uncertain life can be. At just 13 years old my mom awoke me and my 10 year old brother very early on a Saturday morning. She sat us down and through her tears she shared with us that my father had been killed in a car accident the night before. One minute he was healthy and happy, the next he was gone. He was only 40 years old. Needless to say this tragedy altered the direction of our lives forever and through my pain I had to choose between leaning into God or running away. I chose the later. I reacted to my suffering in a way Robert mentions in his book. I felt hurt and angry and I internalized that I must have done something wrong or God wouldn't have taken my dad away from me. I remember the non-stop messages that ran through my head for what seemed like years. "If only I had not been so selfish hanging out with my friends and instead spent time with him that Friday night, he wouldn't have been in the accident." Or..."Maybe he isn't really dead but he is so brain-injured that no one wants to tell me the truth." These are just a couple of the things I told myself over and over but both of these were lies because of my lack of trust in a God who loved me. I just didn't have a mature enough relationship with God to allow Him to help me through so I created more suffering for myself instead of leaning into Him as my comforter.

How many of you have had a similar response to something tragic in your life? Did you lean into God or did you(like me)run away? Consider sharing how you handled your pain and if you didn't what did you do and how have you learned to trust God and lean into Him today? My prayer and my desire is to have your stories offer hope to those in need of some encouragement. Whether or not we respond to one another isn't important. There are many people who read this that we will never know but God knows who needs a note of hope today.
We all have "stuff" happen, there's no avoiding it. When adversity strikes, and it will, we can learn from our experiences and move forward. We can become great examples of how God's unfailing love can and will get us through anything.
In your laughter and in your tears, God is blessing you, Donna


  1. My first big reality check was when arthritis destroyed my hands so I could no longer work. God's bleessing in that instance was making me available to adopt my oldest son since doctors said I couldn't get pregnant, they were wrong, I went on to have another son. My second life changing milestone was the death of my dad followed by the breakup of my marriage 3 months later. I have realized that God's plan for me has had many rough roads but life is still good and I'm thankful for what I do have. Robert baptized both my boys so I know they are protected by God's love too, even if they don't realize it yet.

  2. Dear Candace,
    Thank you for sharing. You are a great testimony to the love of God. You are a wonderful mother. You are loved and blessed. Donna

  3. Candace, an inspiring story as you were blessed with your adopted son who needed a family and then you conceived afterall!

    I noticed you did not overly dwell here on your arthritic hands and the loss of ability to work as a consequence nor your later marriage breakdown shortly after your Dad's death. You have had a lot to bear and you are an inspiration! Thank you for telling us your story.

    Donna, the story of your Dad's death at such an early age and how you reacted also is inspiring as, here you are, helping all of us with your site!! That is a great testimony in itself for me.

    I have posted comments before on the sudden death of my Grandson at age 2 1/2 and my later sudden illness eventually diagnosed as Primary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis at age 50.

    I think those times left me in such shock or disbelief of the what happened, I was not really leaning into or away from God at the time. I was just so numb from it all for a long time.

    In time however I learned a lot about myself and how we all react in our own way. Then I slowly realised how much closer to me HE was and had always been! I am not sure that we find Him or whether He just knows our pain and so He slowly comes to us to quietly help and we hopefully open our hearts and accept.

    As you wrote, Donna,

    In your laughter and in your tears, God is blessing (us)

  4. Hello to everybody. I have had
    some health issues to cope with too. I have been on medication for epilepsy since I was about
    16 years old and now I am in my
    late 60s. I am still on the
    medication so I have been on it for about 50 years. I haven't had a seizure for about 20 years. I thank God for this.
    Earlier this year it was discovered that I had breast
    cancer. I KNEW that because I
    have accepted the epilepsy that
    BREAST CANCER. I lost my left
    breast but the type of breast
    cancer that I have had/got is caused by a particular hormone
    The way that I am being treated
    is to take a tablet every day
    to stop my body from producing
    a particular hormone I saw my
    specialist about 3 weeks ago
    The area where I was operated on has healed up. I don't need
    to see her again till April
    next year. I was told by this
    specialist that I had healed up
    so quickly from the operation
    because of my attitude ie Positive not negative. Before
    the operation I wouldn't let anybody speak to me in a negative fashion.

    God bless you all.
    Barbie Maple Brisbane Australia

  5. Yea Donna, the part in the forward let me think a lot. Being so sure about evering is going right and then...?! - It's with me the same. First of all last week I got out of the blue a cold and yesterday evening I lost my voice, only wispering is possible, after I came home from 3 wonderful confereces wih USA Pastor Joyce Meyers and Hillsong, London; over 9'000 people in the hall and infont. - I do not question me, why me. Everybody is the same for God. It can happen to everybody. I lean into God that he helps me out of this desease. I get in conversation with him. But years ago I would have been depressed and angry without having much convidence in God. Now I tray to be as calm as possible. Blessings, Rosemarie

  6. I am so excited to get started reading the new book. I've been down with a bad, bad cold so I have not been able to get out and get the book.

    I think most people have something happen in their lives and they either grow stronger and rely on God or they run away. There have been moments in my life that I have just had to trust God and believe that what happened was for the best. When I first got married (23 years ago in Sepbember) I was feeling like nothing horrible could ever touch my life. In a flash my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer and a few months later my favorite Uncle died. What shook me about all this I was not sure if my mom would make it through, the doctors had told my dad they did not think she would, and I was so sure that my Uncle's heart surgery would be a breeze. My mother after months of treatment survived and is doing well to this day and my Uncle died on the operating table.

    Trusting in God is what got me through all the pain and uncertainty. I know there were days when I felt so hopeless and looking to God always helped ease the pain, fear, loneliness. I often wonder how people who do not believe make it through dark or hard times. I know without God in my life, my life would be pretty dreary!


  7. To Donna & All of You. I have read Donna your Blog twice and the comments. As yesterday we just had the celebration of Life for My Dear Brother. It was beautifull. The church was overflowing . And everyone was so nice. My son did very well . But to-day I feel like I am in space.and I am definitly Leaning in to God. If we don,t my son and I will be lost. I know he is with us and I am trying not to question anything. I feel that in time the pain will ease. And I know no one can take memories away. It is like a piece of tapastry. On earth you just see all the knots. But when we get to heaven we will see the beautifull pattern and why there was knots in the road. And Robert he had his signed ticket to heaven in his wallet. I have not got the book yet but I have ordered it. And you all have helped with your stories. I do know there are people with things happening to them that are worse and they do not have the Lord. God Bless You All

  8. Hi everyone,
    Life has not been easy for me. I mentioned this
    in one of my earlier comments.
    For years I had to deal with health problems. I didn't know then, that this was caused by a serious food allergy. This I still have. I also had to deal with the loss of loved ones. First I lost a beloved sister, she died at a young age of breastcancer. This tragedy has changed my life completely. While still grieving for my sister, my brother suddenly died in his sleep, I had a very close relationship with him. One year later a very dear sister died of breastcancer, 3 months after her death I lost my mom at the age of 95.

    A very anxious period in my life was when our 19 year old son nearly deceased to meningitis.

    Going through all of this, did I then lean into God?
    I don't think so!!!
    As Jan Michael experienced, I also was so numb from it all for a long time.
    Now I ask myself, was God testing my faith in Him? Than I must confess, I have failed in this.
    You all know that I recently lost my job.
    How do I deal with this loss and have I learned to trust God completely now?
    Yes, I can say that I have learned from the past.
    Even though I wasn't fully aware of it, God always helped me through and in His wisdom He brought me so much closer to Him. I'm learning to trust God more and more now.
    It is wonderful to have a close relationship with the Lord, in good times and sad times.

    God bless you all


  9. Dear Friends,
    I can see and feel God at work through these beautiful, yet sometimes tragic testimonies from you all. I believe with all my heart that through the pain we have all become stronger and wiser people. Once the numbness wore (wears) off, you have all learned to "lean into God" and I know that those around you see your strength and your determination through your painful experiences. You are fulfilling a great calling and purpose by opening up and sharing with others the future of hope you so brightly display through your lives. Thank you for that. You are loved.
    God is blessing you, Donna

  10. Happy Thanksgiving to all in the U.S.A.!
    I am taking off for ten days in just a little while but I will continue to blog while I am gone.
    Love and God's continued blessings to all!
    He is blessing you! Donna

  11. Happy Thanksgiving Donna and a safe journey!

    I will be thinking of you and the first broadcast of "Everyday Life with Robert Schuller" on Thanksgiving Sunday Nov 29th.

    Such an appropriate weekend to launch the first episode! I will be watching for the reviews though in Canada we do not get ALN.

    I have a google alert for reviews that may be published in newspapers. I am sure it will be a wonderful program. With Robert, Chris Wyatt and Aaron Norris as Executive Producer, along with the prayers and support of so many; well it cannot fail to be anything but wonderfully successful and it will inspire all who see it.

    With His Blessing and my best wishes
    Jan-Michael (Toronto, Canada)

  12. Donna, this time the right size of the turkey in your luggage (your book)? Blessings, Rosemarie

  13. Happy Thanksgiving Day to all who
    read this message that live in the USA. Donna and Robert God bless you both, help, guide
    and guard you on your trip

    God bless you all

  14. Happy Thankgiving to all of you also in the U.S.A. I to will be seaching and watching for news on Roberts program. As J.M. says we do not receive ALN in Canada. But I am so thankfull we have youe Blog Donna so we can keep in touch . And each of you who write on here always help me through the good times and bad times. I look forward each day to check this blog. My Boy and I are finding it hard right now as we do all the legal things that need to be done and sort through my brothers things. But God seems to have the right little message each day if you take the time to listen or watch for it. So lets just be thankful for each other and each day. We never know what surprise God has for us.
    God Bless You All. Cysradill

  15. Hi Donna and everyone,

    Thanks, Donna, for another great blog.

    My mom is in the hospital for a while after her lung surgery and then will be in a nursing home. She has advanced lung cancer and will need chemo and radiation.

    This is a life altering situation for all the family. I could not have managed the home front without the help of my new, dear hubby Bob. We are doing a "marathon" cleaning of mom's apartment that has about 12 years of junk accumulated. Its good to just toss all the junk out. (literally and spiritually/emotionally) :)

    My surgery is still on Dec 2nd for my hysterectony. My pastor and ladies from our women's Bible study have helped me with godly counsel and a strong shoulder to cry on when needed.

    Keep the great blogs coming.

    love you!

  16. Dear Marcianne, I am sorry to hear that you will be having an
    operation soon and that your mother is in hospital too

    Thinking of you
    God bless both you and your mother
    Love and God bless
    Barbie M

  17. Dear Marcianne: I have been thinking about you and your Mom. What a hard time it is for you. I am glad you have your pastor and ladies for support. The waiting is the hardest . I pray some how we will know how you made out. Each day I will praying and thinking of you and your Mom. And we must pray for husband Bob. Sounds like God was good to you when he gave you Bob. So keep strong and keep your faith. Love and God Bless you all. Hear from you soon.

  18. Dear Marciannne,

    Please keep looking up Marcianne, God is close to you and your mom!!
    I'll be praying for you.

    Love Ria

  19. I needed the "root" story today ;)

  20. Amazing post and amazing comments! My heart aches for all these hardships but rejoices in how God provides strength and endurance to His children. Thank you for this very moving and powerful post!


Thank you for taking the time to comment on my blog. Please try to stay on the topic and remember also that there are many who are struggling through all kinds of challenges. Let's all be kind and thoughtful with our comments please! :D