When Life Screeches to a Halt …

Contentment (or lack thereof)
It’s been discussed recently on several blogs … and referenced in books I’ve been reading … and talked about on the radio.  It’s come up in conversations with friends.  It affects people of all ages.  I don’t think it has a middle ground; we’re either content … or we’re not.


Some say that to be content means to be satisfied or happy.  While there are certainly aspects of both in my view of contentment, I like the definition that includes “ease of mind.”  That evokes a sense of inner peace, don’t you think?

As I’ve seen and heard the topic discussed, it’s been in one of two contexts …

I’m learning that all the “stuff” I thought was important really isn’t, and I’m becoming more comfortable letting it go.  I’m less stressed now that I’ve rearranged my priorities and lost some of the mental (and sometimes physical) clutter.


I feel like I’m “behind on life.”  The family, education, career isn’t turning out the way I thought it would, and things keep getting in the way.  I only wish ____ would happen so I could start living.

The second attitude makes me sad because it takes such a “defeatist” approach to life.  In fact, it scares me just a little … because I’ve been there in the past, and it’s not a good feeling … and it hurts to watch people wishing their life away, waiting for Tomorrow.

Tomorrow doesn’t always turn out the way we envision it either.

The devastation. 

Tornado-ravaged communities across the U.S. midsection … laid to waste.


The details. 
Dozens of people … gone in an instant
Near-death miracles
Thanksgiving for family … when all else was lost


The senseless tragedy.
U.S. military personnel in Afghanistan murdered … laid to rest.

The rest of the story: One was the brother-in-law of our niece.  Lieutenant Colonel John Darin Loftis, 866th Air Expeditionary Squadron, was deployed in support of OPERATION Enduring Freedom and working in the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan Ministry of the Interior.  Doing a job he loved and caring about the families of Afghanistan … while separated from his own wife and two young daughters.

The diagnoses.
Liver cancer … already in the lymph nodes.
Breast cancer, now a brain tumor … inoperable.

The truth.
Two women I know … looking for hope.

One day you’re rocking along, planning your future, and the next … everything screeches to a halt.  Life as you knew it (whether you liked it or not) is OVER.  No warning … just OVER.

It’s in those “screech to a halt” times that we learn a lot about ourselves.  Some people break down, and give up.  Some people get angry and blame everyone, including God.  Some people grow stronger, drawing on their faith in the Creator of the universe, recognizing that there is much they don’t understand, digging deep within themselves to trust … and start again.  Experiencing peace in spite of their grieving, devastated spirit.

As I sat alone in my basement last Friday night listening to the virtually non-stop squawking of the Emergency Address System and waiting out the storms all around me, I wondered what Tomorrow would hold.  I thought about the “stuff” that is important to me.  Even in my year of de-cluttering, I wondered what it would be like if everything were gone.  I thought about priorities … and family … and faith.

I am so thankful that through my life’s many “screech to a halt” moments, my faith has grown stronger.  I’m thankful that when I was a young child I had parents who told me about God’s love … and lived it in front of me … and still do.  I’m thankful that Jesus loves me enough to die for me — and for you — when we’ve done nothing to deserve such a lavish gift.
He’s amazingly generous like that …

Through countless stories in the Bible, Jesus never asked “have you sinned?” or stated “You’re going to hell for that.”  Instead, Jesus exposed peoples sicknesses, sins, and flaws so that they would know He was the Messiah, the Son of God. Jesus doesn’t want you to hide your sin from him, He doesn’t want you to be ashamed of your mistakes. Rather, Jesus wants you to expose your sins to Him, so that He can cleanse them with just a touch of His hand or a drop of His blood He sacrificed for you on the cross. Jesus wasn’t looking for how much good people were doing; He was looking for the people that wanted something more and would allow themselves to be used by Him.  (Eric Savage)

Hmmm …  Jesus was looking for people who wanted something more and would allow themselves to be used by Him.
I wonder … Are you content, at peace with life … or do you feel like you’re “on hold” … like something’s missing?  Are you looking for that “something more?”  Are you going through each day just waiting … gambling that everything will be better Tomorrow?  If so, there’s hope — and I know the secret of contentment.  It’s nothing new,
but it may be new to you …

… I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.

I can do everything through Him who gives me strength.”  Philippians 4: 11-13 NIV
You can claim that, you know. Why wait?

Please watch this video. You know I very rarely include them …
I’m here for you.


I’ll be linking to Between Naps on the Porch for Metamorphosis Monday and At the Picket Fence for Inspiration Friday.


  1. Susan, You spoke so honestly here about things that others are often afraid to talk about. Contentment! Acceptance! Glorifying God! Inner Peace! Knowledge beyond our Earthly understanding.

    God bless you. I try to be always content with the moment I am in. It is not always easy and I often find that I have failed to rely on the Lord and turn my burdens over to Him at the end of the day…but I keep on trying to be as perfect as I can in this highly imperfect world.

    Great post. I will be praying for your two friends. xo Diana

  2. I haven’t watched the video yet. I’m going to click it after this comment. I just know I’ll love it.

    My heart just breaks for your niece and her family. You know how much I “get” this one. It breaks for the sweet women who heard news similar to some I heard from an IRL friend just last week. Nothing quite like the words, “We’re sorry. We found some more…”

    Yes, heart stopping moments happen, and they generally happen in a heartbeat. I stand with you in praise of the One who lays his hands on our hearts in the middle of it all and takes that flat line places we never knew it could go. I’ve lived it, and I bear witness.

    This is a very beautiful post this morning, Susan.

  3. Very thought provoking and true. I attended the funeral of a 24-year old Christian girl yesterday who died from colon cancer, and it brought all of that home. There is something about funerals to help you realize what is really important in life. To make the “things” of life seem trivial. What a testimony to her life to hear of her faith in Christ, her kindness and constant smile. Made me realize that is all that I want to be remembered for.

  4. Awesome video. Awesome!! I want to include it on the weekly e-mailer I send to my class.

    And that deleted comment was because I have not had enough coffee this morning and spelled like a third grader. Ha!

  5. Amen, Amen………..and the song is wonderful. This was a discussion my husband and I had this weekend. So sorry for the loss and even today a woman just told me she had lost two sister-in-laws in thirty days…one was 55! She just couldn’t believe it…no we aren’t promised tomorrow, but we do know the one who has numbered our days…and we are to be the Light, which was my video on Sunday.

    Blessings to you and your family…I am praying for you all right now before I leave your post.

  6. Your post has been my heart this week. Much like you… as I look around me life is fragile. My nephew has been in the hospital since Friday (he has been out of school sick for the last month). Meanwhile, his mom, my sister has been sick herself and doctors have yet to figure out why…. She has 4 other kids (another that is deemed terminal with heart conditions. My Mom takes care of both of my grandmas. One of my grandmas has never recovered from some major strokes and is much like a 90+ baby…. and she is getting weaker by the day. My mom’s brother just had surgery for throat cancer and her sister is struggling with her son’s up and leaving his family to live and work in France. Another friend just learn last week that her husband lost his job, just months after they relocated and signed a contract to build a new house. Thankfully… we are all Christians and strive to see God’s hand in all of this…
    thank you for writing this post and sharing it with others, I admire your courage and your love. You are a Light! My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.
    dee dee

  7. What a wonderful post! So true. I needed to be reminded of this today. In fact, I sort of already reminded myself in devotion this morning. We can’t live for tomorrow. As a quote goes, life is what happens when you’re waiting on tomorrow. Beautiful video song!
    Come check out my giveaway!

  8. Susan, thanks for this sobering post. My heart has been heavy for the storm victims. It’s just heartbreaking what has happened and the lives that were lost, as well as homes and all the things they owned in the world. And then the senseless deaths in Afghanistan, and all of those fighting deadly diseases … I’m so thankful to know that my hope is not in this world, for our world can come to a screeching halt in one split second. I never taky my life for granted, but am grateful to God every day for the gift of the present. Thanks again for this post. It touched my heart. The video is beautiful.