If you were following along this summer, I wrote a series for See Hear Love about making the most of your summer. It was about food and family and fun. I planned on doing a lot of that. We have a house in Nova Scotia and that, my friends, is God’s country. We are right on the ocean and it’s gorgeous there. And I had planned to have a perfect summer.

Instead, our dog died and our water system totally failed. Things did not turn out as planned.

I always want God to be like a fairy godmother or Santa Claus. I want to come up with a wish list through prayer and have it delivered immediately, like something from J. Crew or Amazon.

I’d put in my order with God for a perfect summer. And I deserve it, because I’m a super good person after all! And instead my wonderful dog died and I was unable to quench my thirst.


How to you bounce back when you life does not go as planned? How do you let it not destroy your faith?

I turned to the words of Ann Voskamp for help. Her book, The Broken Way, is an absolute must read.

She wrestles with the big questions of why there is suffering. As she puts it so beautifully: “’My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’ The movement of a life of faith is always toward answering that singular question.”

Voskamp is no stranger to grief. Her sister died when she was young, leaving her family torn by grief.

Living on a farm and observing the planting and harvesting of the grain, she has become attuned to God’s ways and believes that we are created through brokenness:

“For a seed to come fully into its own, it must become wholly undone. The shell must break open, its insides must come out, and everything must change. If you didn’t understand what life looks like, you might mistake it for complete destruction.”

Isn’t that powerful? It’s certainly consistent with God’s upside down kingdom as lived out by Jesus Christ.

If we think of breaking as growth instead of destruction, how different does the world look? It reminds me of this quote by CS Lewis:

“If you think of this world as a place simply intended for our happiness, you find it quite intolerable: think of it as a place for training and correction and it’s not so bad.”

What if this whole thing is not about our comfort but about gaining experience?

What if we viewed suffering as a gift? What if we threw out the health and wealth, law of attraction, happiness focus and looked at our life as a training ground? What if we welcomed suffering and the lessons it gave?

How much easier would hardship be if others viewed suffering like that?

What if our fellow Christians saw suffering not as evidence of some past sin but as a stamp of approval from God. “He must think a lot of you to give you this much!”

I love this passage from Regina Brett’s book, God Never Blinks.

“Author Edwidge Danticat describes a group of people in Guinea who carry the sky on their heads. … she tells the tale of a people who are powerful enough to bear all things. Their Creator designed them to carry more than others.”

Within the church body, there is sometimes this notion that the sun shines on the righteous and we need to hide our broken parts. But what if that was turned upside down? How different would life be if we leaned into the brokenness instead of running from it?

What if we saw suffering as an anointing?

For me, this is the way that we bounce back. Not through smiling all the time, or looking on the bright side, or applying red lipstick – although these things certainly can help. For me, we bounce by seeing our hardship as a lesson and leaning into it to see what we can learn. We do it by developing empathy to help others through their pain.  

And we do it when we lean into the beatitudes and remember the promises of Jesus in Matthew 5:

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

And in heaven we all bounce back.