From Surviving to Thriving

**This is a sneak peek of the first in our From Surviving to Thriving devotional series over at Some Comfort and Joy. Be sure to subscribe here to receive the entire series free in your inbox this fall!

“O Lord, you have searched me and known me.

You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from far away.” 

-Psalm 139:1-2

When my mother-in-law received a terminal diagnosis, my enneagram one self began to make lists. I efficiently packed our family for weekend visits. I carefully scheduled our hours together trying to squeeze in all the help, conversations and memory-making we could. 

And I was exhausted. 

And frustrated. 

So I resumed counseling and spiritual direction, and I realized I can only do my work. 

No matter how thoughtfully I planned or prepared, it would not change the outcome. I could not protect us from the pain of loss, nor could I control how others processed the experience. 

While I still made lists, I began to release my expectations and instead supported my mother-in-law’s priorities and preferences, allowing her to do the work only she could do, in the ways she knew how. 

Our life experiences, wounds and dreams shape how we show up. Just as the Psalmist reminds us that God knows us intimately, being in touch with our own needs and desires, and tending to those, is the greatest gift we can give our communities.

God, open my eyes to what is mine to do, and tenderly teach me to release the things that are the work for others. Amen.


Some Comfort and Joy was developed as a devotional resource that follows the rhythms and seasons of the liturgical year from an Anabaptist-Mennonite perspective. If you enjoyed this post, subscribe at Some Comfort and Joy to receive the whole series. You can also check out our previous devotional series.

Published by shergerber

Pastor, momma & home baker in the Shenandoah Valley

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