Do you find yourself facing circumstances that are too much to handle? Maybe you’re grieving a loss, dealing with a diagnosis, or parenting a child who’s difficult. Maybe you’re navigating a life you never saw coming. Whatever circumstances you’re facing, know that God has a plan. Read more as Lisa Appelo shares how to make it through when circumstances are too much to handle.
Lisa was also interviewed on a recent episode of Your Hope-Filled Perspective podcast. We talked about how to hang onto threadbare hope when our circumstances are too hard to handle. Lisa shared how her husband died suddenly, and she was left to walk herself and her seven children through loss and grief. Visit the show notes here and listen to the episode: How To Hang On to Threadbare Hope – Episode 156.
Lisa also wrote a new book about her experiences that releases on 4-19-22. It’s available now for pre-order. She’s giving away a free copy so read to the end to find out how to enter the contest.
When Circumstances are Too Much to Handle
There’s a popular meme that often comes across my Instagram feed that reads “She believed she could. So she did.”
It’s a message that says, You’ve got this, girl. If you believe in yourself enough and work hard enough, you can do it.
Listen, I’m a plucky girl with a lot of grit (some would say hard-headed), but I don’t buy the words of that meme. Because I have very much encountered circumstances too much to handle.
Life can dish out some hard things. And maybe, like me, you’ve found yourself navigating a life you never saw coming or facing a future you’d rather trade in.
Several years ago, I went to bed happily married to my high school sweetheart and woke up a widow and single mom to seven children. My life before my husband’s death hadn’t been perfect. We’d had our share of struggles in marriage, challenges in raising kids and difficulties in finances. But even with those imperfections, it was the life I wanted. The life I would have chosen over and over again.
My grief included so much more than the death of my husband. Anyone who’s walked shattering loss understands the reverberations it sends through life as you know it. Expectations for the future, dreams we held, the normal rhythms of family and household were all gone and would never be again. Friendships shifted, single parenting felt vulnerable and my finances based on Dan’s now-gone income felt precarious.
I was in decision overwhelm dealing with estate paperwork, household issues and children ranging from preschool to college. I was reeling from grueling emotions and trying to shepherd my children through theirs. Fear of an unfathomable future threatened to paralyze me and in the midst of it all, I sensed the enemy working overtime to get his foot into our little family and finish off the devastation we felt.
Life can give us far too much to handle.
How Elijah faced circumstances that were too much to handle
Maybe you’re facing circumstances that are too much to handle. Maybe you’re grieving a loss that’s too hard, dealing with a diagnosis that seems daunting or parenting a child who’s difficult.
Elijah the prophet faced circumstances that were too hard. Elijah was no featherweight. He was a bold and courageous prophet in Israel during the time when wicked King Ahab and his wicked wife, Jezebel, ruled.
Elijah challenged 800 prophets of Baal on the summit of Mount Carmel to prove God was the true God. After the prophets of Baal sacrificed a bull, chanted and cut themselves without any response from their god, Elijah built an altar to God. He drenched it with water till a moat surrounded the altar and then prayed. God immediately sent fire, consuming the sacrifice and licking up the water.
Then with no clouds on the horizon, Elijah prayed for rain and, filled with the power of God, tucked up his cloak running ahead of the rain and King Ahab’s chariots—a distance between seventeen and thirty miles. Elijah was no featherweight indeed.
And yet, days later, when his life was threatened, Elijah cowered in the wilderness. There, sitting alone under a broom tree, Elijah prayed: “I have had enough, LORD,” he said. “Take my life.” (1 King 19:4, NIV)
Elijah had come to a place where circumstances were too hard to handle.
God didn’t shake his head at Elijah with a tsk, tsk, tsk. He didn’t rebuke him or tell him to get himself together. Instead, God sent His presence to Elijah.
What do you do when circumstances are too much to handle?
Despite what the memes may tell us, God didn’t design us to be able to handle everything life can dish up alone. He didn’t create us to walk in our own strength.
God designed us to be utterly dependent on Him. It’s one of the last thing Jesus told his apostles just before His crucifixion.
“As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:4-5, ESV, emphasis added)
Circumstances that stretch us far past our own strength remind us God intends us to lean on Him.
Trying harder or pushing through or digging down for internal fortitude will always fall short when God designed us to look to Him to do what we cannot.
So when circumstances are too much for us to handle, I suggest a different meme. Let’s rest in our relationship with our all-powerful God and tell our soul these words instead: “She believed she couldn’t, but she trusted that God who called her to it, would equip her for it.”
We’d love to hear what you do to cope when circumstances are too much to handle, in the comments below.
About Lisa Appelo
Lisa Appelo is an author and speaker inspiring women to cultivate faith in life’s storms. Ten years ago, Lisa became a sudden widow and single mom to 7. She’s published at many sites including Proverbs 31 Ministries, (in)courage, and Risen Motherhood, and her book Life Can Be Good Again: Putting Your World Back Together After It All Falls Apart releases April, 2022.
As a former litigating attorney, Lisa is passionate about rich Bible teaching. Get your free copy of 7 Days of Hope for Your Shattered Heart at LisaAppelo.com and connect with Lisa on Instagram @lisaappelo.
Connect with Lisa: Website / Instagram / Facebook / Pinterest / Twitter
In conjunction with this post and the podcast interview, How To Hang On to Threadbare Hope – Episode 156, Lisa Appelo is giving away a free copy of her book,
Leave a comment below sharing with us one thing you learned about coping with circumstances that are too much to handle and you will be entered into the contest for your chance to win a copy of her book, Life Can Be Good Again: Putting Your World Back Together After It All Falls Apart.
You could also share this blog post on Facebook, Pinterest, or Twitter then comment here to tell us where you shared it and you’ll also be entered into the drawing.
The winner will be selected at random and announced next Monday, April 18, 2022. Continental United States only.
God is perfect in His timing.
Sometimes difficult circumstances are a result of our own bad choices; it requires asking for forgiveness, trying to make amends, and turning to a different way of doing things. This too is extremely difficult and requires prayer.
As I read this post, I am literally sitting at my “precious in-laws’ ” (of 40 yrs) home awaiting my dear FIL’s graduation to GLORY. Oh, our hearts ache for the loss we will soon sustain but we ” do not sorrow as those who have NO hope” because our hope is in THE LORD! Reading Lisa’s post is an encouragement to my soul today and I would LOVE to read her new book. He was diagnosed with Mutiple Myeloma in mid February this year. His earthly body has just deteriorated to a bag of skin on bones in 7 short (yet long to us) weeks. Prayers appreciated!
Such a great message, Lisa and Dr. Michelle! Years ago I was working for a doctor doing hospital visits and my grandmother was in the hospital with tests being run. They thought she had gall bladder issues and it turned out to be Shingles. I was seeing a patient on the other end of the hall when I got summoned to my grandmother’s room. She was supposed to go home the next day so they got her out of bed to walk. She had collapsed and was not breathing. That is how I found her and I was immediately in shock. They tried to resuscitate her but could not bring her back. She was gone. This was something that I could not handle. She was like a mother to me and I loved her dearly but suddenly, she was gone and I had to tell my grandfather what happened. We really did not know what happened but I told him what I knew. I went through that whole funeral service in a fog and for months afterward it was so surreal. I had to take some medication for depression but it was great grief I was dealing with. So thankful for the Lord’s love and care. My hubby was so compassionate and loving too. It took time to deal with her death. This message has brought back the depths of my pain during that time I tried to be strong for my grandfather and with Father’s held I was able to comfort him. Thank you for sharing Lisa your story and thank you Dr. Michelle for your insights and sharing your story too. Lisa’s message so encouraged me as I lose those I love or go through any other traumatic event in my life. I would love to have Lisa’s book.
In 1992, my husband left me and my children, and informed me almost a year later that he was gay. This was devastation in its truest form. It was the death of our marriage, the death of our dreams, of everything that I had believed about our marriage, destroyed in just a few seconds. But I learned to lean into God farther and farther until I felt like I was wrapped in His heart. Out of something that the enemy meant to complete destroy, including me and my children, God turned it into good. Today, I am happily married to a wonderful Christian man, and my children are now responsible and happy adults with their own children.
Lisa, I have to say that I read your first book and was greatly moved by it. I would love to have your upcoming book.
“Circumstances that stretch us far past our own strength remind us God intends for us to lean on Him.” Best place to be.
I have to constantly be in God’s word or I can’t do it.
I practice R.O.C.K. : The night my dad was shot and killed in a pellet gun accident on our family farm, I knew I had to do something to keep myself from falling totally apart. And this is what I came up with right then and there.
R – This is my new reality. My life will never go back to what it was. (my 47 year old dad is dead.) I have to go on somehow, done way.
O – God is the Only One who will see me through. Trusting Him 100%. C – Just minutes before we learned my dad had died, I read Isaiah 26:3 in my Bible – You will keep him in perfect peace, Whose mind is stayed on You, Because he trusts in You. / I knew that focusing on God is the only way to true lasting peace. Trusting Him 100%. Committing myself to Him. It’s Concentrating 100% on Him – through reading His Word and praying. Taking every one of my thoughts (and my turbulent emotions) captive. And I found repeating Isaiah 26:3 and later I added Romans 8:6 when my husband left me and our three small sons for another woman. He started threatening to kill me and kidnap our dons so I loved us to town from our farm for police protection. Also later Philippians 4:19 and Matthew 6:33. K – I was already practicing random acts of Kindness, but when our youngest son Kit died unexpectedly from a blood clot in his sleep, I started deliberately doing not so random acts of Kindness. My mother and I make prayer angels to send to individuals, hospitals and cancer centers. Prayer shawls and prayer clothes. I make custom cancer curler hats. I also mail “hole in my heart “ bookmarks and the poem I wrote to people grieving. All done to encourage others.
I have practiced R.O.C.K. 60+ years, and it works every time! (Sorry my comment is so long, but I felt led to share this with you all.)
Nila, you are the winner of a copy of Lisa’s book. Be on the lookout for an email asking you for further information. 🙂