Pivoting With Courage When Life Unravels

Pivoting With Courage When Life Unravels

By Monet Carpenter

This is the latest post in a series where guest bloggers share how God has shown up in the stories they never expected to live. May these stories stir you toward hope and give you a glimpse of God’s goodness. Read previously published stories here.

I wept.

To my husband. To God. In the silence of the morning. And in the dark of night as I tucked our babies down for bed.

God was allowing it to happen again. The uprooting, breaking, and stretching. 

In the summer of 2016, my husband Josh and I packed up our home in rural Pennsylvania and moved 800 miles south to the hottest hot that my poor, ill prepared make-up had ever known. Central Alabama was now where we called home—with its humidity, bugs larger in size than what I deemed acceptable, and bright, sunshiny days that never seemed to quit.

Shortly after moving across cultures and time zones, Josh was rear ended on his way to work. It was a multi-car pile up in which he had the unfortunate luck of being sandwiched in between. By the grace of God, his injuries didn’t leave him paralyzed. But the accident was an open door cascade into the next two years of physical therapy, spinal steroid shots, lawyer visits, job loss, and surgery.

If you’re reading this, then I know I’ve found a kindred sister, one who’s endured her own trials and has fully succumbed to this painful, yet freeing truth: this world is not our home. 

You know the bitterness of broken dreams, unmet expectations, and lost opportunities. You’ve lived through the dark pit of void—one so deep you eventually determine you’ll either lie there in exile the remainder of your days, or you’ll grow in your resolve to fight your way out—even if it’s on your knees, bruised from praying, and a face unashamedly covered in snot and tears.

Mustering up courage for life’s pivots isn’t pretty. It’s not built in the circumstances of comfort or smooth trajectories of what we once imagined life to be. No. Mustering up courage is a holy reordering and unraveling of what we think we are made of and God’s re-shaping of who we were made for.

Pivoting with Courage, Again

After years of pressing and stretching, our family endured another monumental shift. As we rang in 2020, God took me out of my stay-at-home mom role and sent me back to work as a Registered Nurse—a mere 12 weeks before the COVID-19 pandemic ensued. Even weirder was that  God saw fit to send Josh home as a stay at home dad. To say neither of us were prepared for this  shift is an understatement.

In this new and uncharted territory, Josh and I learned to re-navigate parenting roles, exchanged responsibilities at home, and found out just how much communication matters in a partnership. Instead of putting the kids to bed on time, Josh and the kids met me in the driveway after a twelve hour shift with ice cream under the summer night sky. When I was unable to attend field trips or doctor visits with the kids, it was our church community who stepped in to support us. When I had to take a step back from women’s ministry, Josh was able to lean further into youth group activities, and hosted a summer Bible study for kids desperate for fellowship amidst a pandemic. When we felt broken and stretched, God showed us what we were broken for.

In the ache of yielding to our own desires, God met us in our weaknesses and doubts to secure our feet fast to his unmovable and unchanging love. Amidst our deep sorrow, God remained ever-present. When we were more than weak in faith and spirit, God remained steadfast and loyal in his love for us. He never ceased to pour in love even though we felt like life was recklessly dumping it out.

I know we’d all prefer to define God’s love in mere human terms instead of getting frustrated when our idea of what love “should be” fails to fit into God’s expression of what it truly is. For reasons we won’t grasp this side of Heaven, God allowed even his own Son to be taunted, challenged, humiliated, beaten, and crucified. Philippians 2:5-8 says—

“Adopt the same attitude as that of Christ Jesus, who, existing in the form of God, did not consider equality with God as something to be exploited. Instead he emptied himself by assuming the form of a servant, taking on the likeness of humanity. And when he had come as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death —even to death on a cross.” (CSB‬‬)

Jesus himself chose to be a willing testament to this kind of sacrificial love. And as such, His obedience and selflessness earned for him the highest level of exaltation (Philippians 2:9-11). 

"There’s no question life’s unexpected twists leave us struggling with feelings of abandonment. But God is faithful to hold our questions, resistance, grief, and even our doubts." - Monet Carpenter, Pivoting with Courage when Life Unravels

You see, life’s pivots don’t disqualify us from God’s faithful and abounding love. Instead, they qualify us as beloved daughters who get to share in the same inheritance that awaited Christ Jesus. We bend low in obedience before being raised high in the radiance of His glory!

So, what pivot is God moving you through in this season? What realities must you face that you’re desperately shoving away? 

There’s no question life’s unexpected twists leave us struggling with feelings of abandonment. But God is faithful to hold our questions, resistance, grief, and even our doubts.

In fact, He is the only one capable of holding both loss and beauty in tandem. He is more than capable of lifting you out of grief and into His glorious inheritance.

Today, if you’re leaning in feels a bit shaky and maybe even filled with undertones of doubt, that’s ok. And if you’re feeling flat out resistant to your pivot, God can work with that too.

In the pressing, my prayer for us both is this: 

Father, you know that we are hesitant to trust that your plans for us are full of mercy and love. Please mend the unwilling parts of our Spirits, even if it means more breaking and more stretching. Build up our courage and fill us with the same endurance and mindset as that of Christ Jesus. God, we know that the darkness won’t last forever, and we thank you for showing us the radiance of your Light—that sustains, protects, and saves! Help us to pivot with courage. Amen.

About the Author

Monet lives in Alabama with her best friend and husband, Josh. Together they’re raising two kiddos in a house full of lots of noise, crumbs, and many baskets of clean, but unfolded laundry. Monet lives the messy, unspoken parts of life openly to encourage other women that they too can embrace wholeness despite brokenness. Learn more at livingandlovingwhole.com and find Monet on Instagram at @monet.carpenter. Download a free copy of Monet’s interactive guide, Growing in Spiritual Nourishment.

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