By which you see all things.

9 Feb

Tragedy has a way of changing the way you see everything.  Not just your current circumstances, but the past, the present, and even the future too.

Sometimes you’re strolling along after tragedy like nothing ever happened and then BAM! out of what seems like no where – you’re bombarded with memories, thoughts, and emotions.

I had a really good week last week. (Hence the crazy excitement in my last post about starting a new ministry and using my terrible, no good, rotten, awful, painful year last year to the glory of God.)

And then, yesterday.

I was just trying to make this collage, what I hoped would fulfill this vision my husband had of a keepsake he wanted, and everything fell apart.  All the progress I made. All the good changes I was making.  All the forward thinking, never looking back, use it for the strengthening of others just crumbled in a pile of tears and I lay on the floor in a worthless heap sobbing.

(Side note, this idea was really good that my husband had – though I didn’t put it together the way he really envisioned it, I think it’ll work none-the-less.  We took the entire family to our first MSU basketball game all together, and my husband wanted a keepsake of the program, tickets, photos and so I came up with this.)


When I print photos, I usually dump my phone of a few months and then print some off and keep them in albums we can go through.  The more technology advances, the less photos make it to the albums, but still – I try to get some printed off a couple times a year.  The kids love these albums, and up until yesterday, I really did too.

As I worked on that collage, and then flipped through 14 years of photos – I was overwhelmed with thoughts.

You see, the thing about tragedy is it gives you a timeline you never wanted.

For example :

This was “Before” such and such.

This was “During” such and such.

This was “After” such and such.

And mine looks a little like this.  As I flipped through those pages all I could do was chase around fleeting phrases that half formed sentences I didn’t want to own.

These little boys, the birth of that sweet girl, the look on our faces, the love in that moment, the touch of that hand, the joy of that experience….

all ended in this one phrase.  “This was all before 2015 when the bottom fell out.”

And then I looked at the ones I just printed from last year.  “The Durings.”  Every smile looked fake, tainted, broken, and I knew they weren’t the same people from the first 13 years. Every thing looked tarnished.

I almost chucked that new collage in the burn pit and lit it on fire. I was tempted to rip down every photo in the house and smash them into a million pieces.

I don’t want before pictures.  And I SURELY don’t want after pictures.  I don’t want to “never be the same again.”

I’ve heard and read countless depictions about haunting memories.

People usually pick one side or the other.

  • They’re Satan’s way of beating you down, holding you in defeat, making you feel helpless, broken, unworthy, unable to move on. They serve no purpose but to destroy – you have to refuse to entertain them.
  • They’re God’s way of never letting you forget.  He forgives and He heals, but He never lets you forget where you’ve been, so you never go back. He wants you to use that pain and brokenness to show His power in your weakness and fuel your testimony in Him.

I’ve felt like both are true.

And honestly, sometimes I just feel numb to either. I don’t want to accept remembering. It destroys me every time. And then it takes days to get up again.

Practical Application:

Have you ever experienced something that became your time line? Death, Sin, An accident?

What do you do with remembering? Resist it and ask the devil to flee?  Run after it and Thank God for sustaining your future?



7 Responses to “By which you see all things.”

  1. Emily C February 9, 2016 at 10:05 pm #

    Yes. 2011 was our year. The dividing line. The separation. The almost divorce. The many ways that unfaithfulness presents itself. The season where the blinders were all ripped off and all of a sudden the previous 13 years seemed tainted and like a lie.

    Finally, more than 4 years later, “the well is dry”. I/we can talk about that season without the heart wrenching emotion that once was. We joke and laugh about the most painful, heartbreaking and traumatic season of our lives. We got through, and we are so much better.

    The only way out was through. I had to go thru the stages of anger and grief. Many, many times over. We had to do our work. Deal with our actions. Deal with each other’s actions. Forgive. But no trite Christian sayings…this was the hardest of the hard stuff. Forgiving things that hurt. Choosing to move on. Choosing to trust God and that somehow he would work it out for his glory. Laying down our lives. The hard stuff.

    As you deal with it, your well runs dry. You accept that “it” happened, acknowledge your emotion, and choose what to do with it. There’s a time to mourn and a time to decide you’ve mourned enough.

    God can and will redeem ANYTHING. If you let him.

    This is my experience.

    • Kayla Gulick February 10, 2016 at 7:15 am #


      I adore this comment. Thank you for your vulnerability to share it. I know that isn’t easy to do sometimes but I appreciate every word of your story and love the ending too.

      This does give me hope, if you and your husband were able to face what you did and come out on the other side stronger – I can find joy from my circumstances one day too. (Even though that seems so unrealistic in the moment.)

      I’m so blessed you shared. I love you sweet friend!!

      • Emily C February 10, 2016 at 2:32 pm #

        If sharing my story can help you, then that’s part of how God can take my junk and use it for good.

        And honestly, we would not be where we are today if it didn’t happen. It was horrible and I don’t wish it on anyone, but I am thankful that going thru there brought us here.

        It still is hard sometimes to look at old pics. We actually have one in our living room… It was the first picture we took when we decided to try it again and he came home for the first time. It’s really hard for me because I remember what was going on at the time. Recently when we were unpacking pictures we happened on it just chilled it to him with a bit of a shudder. He said we should put it up because it represents a time in the place and we were trying. Period and perfectly and there was a lot going wrong at the time but it got us here. So it is proudly displayed in our family room 🙂

        But don’t get me wrong, things will never be the same again.…but that’s ok because whatever you went through brought you to the “it” occurrence. So have peace that it’s good to not go back; instead move forward into better.

        Let me know if you ever need/want to talk. 😊😘

      • Emily C February 10, 2016 at 2:34 pm #

        Sorry – I was using Siri and did not proof before I posted… Hopefully you can read through the mistypes to get the gist of what I was saying 🙂

      • Kayla Gulick February 11, 2016 at 4:30 pm #

        Yes, I could follow! I’d love to chat sometime. Shoot me an email anytime

  2. howsyourlovelife February 16, 2016 at 10:47 am #

    My parents divorced after 42 years of marriage 9 years ago. It was so shocking, it caused me to view our entire family through a different lens, changing perceptions and even memories. I had to go through it, I slept walked for over a year, trying to make sense of things in my sleep and I stared at walls for a few months honestly unable to make decisions or hold up my end of our marriage and family life. I can remember waking up in the night and saying aloud, “they are really divorcing” and then getting physically sick many times.

    Some good has come from it – my Dad and I are closer now than we ever were before. It also taught my guy and me the importance of investing daily into our marriage, no matter how long we had been together, the significance of small daily decisions and the impact of choosing each other over and over. Ultimately we started our marriage ministry as a result of this catalyst, but I wouldn’t wish that season on anyone. What’s that saying, make your mess your ministry? I guess we’ve done that, but I sure wish it hadn’t come at such a high price.

    We’ve had two other instances in our lives over the years where we were impacted by someone else’s decisions to the point of having a before, during and after. I can say from experience that the pain eases over time but can still be reignited years later when the kids start asking questions or show how they were impacted, as well.

    • Kayla Gulick February 18, 2016 at 11:20 am #

      Thank you so much for your honesty. I appreciate that you didn’t try to sugar coat or hide the fact that sometimes, wounds don’t heal quickly, they can be reopened, and timelines are forever altered. I love your openness and heart to share with me!

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