Whatever Gets You Through the Day

meredithI was talking with someone recently who went through a difficult divorce about a year ago and something he shared with me stuck with me so powerfully, I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it since. He said that during the awful, heart-wrenching time right after his divorce, he was held together by whiskey and Zoloft. Not by friends, or family, or his church, or even God Himself. What kept him going was whiskey and Zoloft. And as a person of faith, it surprised me how much I could relate to the “Where was God in all this?” sentiment.

Why would I relate so much to that feeling? Perhaps because I, myself, have felt abandoned by people…and yes, even by God, at various times in my life? And why does it feel scary to type those words? I mean, the Israelites felt abandoned by God. David regularly felt abandoned by God. Jesus Himself even felt abandoned by God on the cross! So why is it so uncomfortable for me to see it written in black and white that I have? Why is it hard for me to acknowledge that there have been times in my life when I fell apart only to be put back together by things other than God?

There was the time after a bad breakup that I was held together by the show Lost. This was before Netflix, so I drove to Blockbuster every other day or so to rent the next season. It was literally the only thing that got me through. There was my massive life crash in my mid-20’s when I was was held together by therapy and antidepressants and anti-anxiety meds. There’ve been times when I’ve been held together by friends…by food…by my family…by self-help books. Even my writing has often been my saving grace.

And yes…there have also been times when the only thing that gathered the pieces of my life and heart back together…was God. Particularly the season my family and I went through right after my brother-in-law’s accident in March that cost him his leg. I could tell you story after story of God’s divine grace that fell on my family during that time. It was a bittersweet season of great loss met with great compassion and love and mercy. Every day I’m filled with massive gratitude that although the accident took Kevin’s leg, God spared Kevin’s life.

But that hasn’t always been the case for me. And I’m guessing for a lot of you. And it’s okay to admit that.

God doesn’t always spare the marriage. Or the leg. Or the life. I can’t answer why. There are endless things about God that I don’t understand and may never understand this side of heaven. But what I do know with great certainty is that sometimes, when God feels like He’s a million miles away, survival is simply about whatever gets you through the day. Sometimes you just have to patch yourself back up with whatever tools you have at your disposal in that moment.

I’m probably going to get pushback on this post. I can already feel it. And that’s okay. I’m not afraid to admit to the world that I have some questions for God. That sometimes I don’t sense His presence or understand His people or trust His power. That I get frustrated that He doesn’t talk to me audibly when I really need answers. That I have been known to turn to other things and people to glue me back together when His hands feel far removed from me.

There’s a rather cliche quote that says something along the lines of: “If God feels far away from you, guess who moved?” I find this quote to be extremely patronizing and judgey. Who was ever comforted or uplifted by that quote? You’re already feeling distant from God, and then someone comes along and instead of offering words of encouragement or understanding, they tell you it’s your fault that you feel distant from God. And maybe it is.

But then again, maybe it’s not.

Perhaps if God removed His presence from some of our greatest biblical heroes, He also sometimes removes His presence from me and from you. And when that happens, it’s okay to not immediately pull ourselves up by the bootstraps or look for the lesson or celebrate the tough times that are “producing character.” It’s okay to mourn and scream and doubt and cry and question everything. And it’s okay to tape yourself back together with the scotch tape of your choice. (Within reason, of course. This is not in any way me condoning illegal behaviors, so please don’t email me a stern admonishment.)

Life is hard. Tough times are going to come. Heartbreak is going to hit you. Loss is going to leave you reeling. People are going to abandon you. God might even turn His face from you. And when this happens, sometimes all you can do is hold on for dear life and SURVIVE. And maybe try and show yourself a little compassion and understanding through the process.

Because sometimes survival is about whatever gets you through the day. Whatever helps you put one foot in front of the other.

Whatever holds you together when everything else falls apart.

Sometimes what holds you together is whiskey and Zoloft.

And that’s okay.

51 Responses to “ Whatever Gets You Through the Day ”

  1. Stacy
    October 13, 2016

    I love everything about this post and it was exactly what I needed to hear right now. I’m struggling with “where is God in all of this?” And why isn’t he answering me? I guess time will tell. And faith and trust in knowing his plan is better than mine- even though the heartache. Thank you !

    • Lisa
      October 14, 2016

      I love this post. Thanks Mandy. I feel this way a lot. I believe that God with me sometimes and other times I do not believe. I think most of use our typical coping mechanisms at time and that’s ok. We can strive to keep our faith in God and to trust and at the same time do what we need to do to “get through”.

  2. Carrie
    October 13, 2016

    Thank you for saying this! I left an abusive marriage, but didn’t know it until 2 years after the divorce. And I can’t tell you what got me through that time. I went back to school about a year after my divorce, that has gotten me through.. the obligation of getting up, the doing, the showing up. But, what I appreciate most about your post is the statement … Sometimes God doesn’t spare the marriage. I am so tired of being shamed for being divorced. There is very little social support for people who are divorced. Thank you for relieving the pressure of being single so gracefully.

  3. Jeanne Bilbo
    October 13, 2016

    Mandy, God is big enough to handle all of our questions and doubts.

    • Mandy Hale
      October 13, 2016

      I agree 🙂

  4. Andrea
    October 13, 2016

    Thank you for this honesty! I have been single for a little over 2 years after ending a 22 yr marriage due to his infidelity. Less than 2 weeks ago my 1st relationship since the divorce ended. I am devastated!! Your writing has given me comfort as I walk a new path of healing. God bless you for your insight and hard-earned wisdom.

  5. Jo
    October 13, 2016

    A very realistic view. You have to have been in it to know what the writer is talking about and identify with her.

  6. Michelle
    October 13, 2016

    Omg! Thank you for being so real! I’m tired of having to put on this happy face all the time when in reality I’m not perfect. I go through tough times where I don’t feel God. I sometimes look to other things to get me through. Im so thankful that I’m not alone and that I don’t have to feel bad when I go through these times.

  7. C
    October 13, 2016

    Mandy Mandy Mandy… I absolutely love you. This post is just so true! Your books held me together, this blog held me together, your inspirational posts that always seemed to pop up at the right time held me together… Jane the Virgin held me together. Its OK to fall apart sometimes, thanks so much for saying this.

  8. candice
    October 13, 2016

    This is by far best post i have read on this matter.. Went thru awful divorce he just up and left after 13 yrs and two kids… and is no remarried witha new baby.. I have had a lot of things get me thru the days and not always God..sometimes the wine and wellbutrine .. thank you

  9. Suzanne
    October 13, 2016

    Thank you once again for your oh-so-timely post Mandy… I’m definitely in a season of “whatever gets me through the day”…. and I’m just as ready for this season to be over as inam this ridiculously long hot summer in TN…. I’m just so….drained…..

  10. October 13, 2016

    Mandy, this is absolutely beautiful, so fresh, so honest. I have a lot that I can say but I won’t. Thank you for being so raw.

  11. Ann Dowers
    October 14, 2016

    Wow such a good read and so true God can feel so far away its like falling into a hole unable to climb back up.feeling abandoned and feel like why be alive . But the saying always came to me God gives life for a reason. It’s not our place to end it.God calls us when its His time.It would be a insult to God to end our own life.

  12. Valencia
    October 14, 2016

    This is exactly what I needed to hear right now. You’re posts are always right on time and help me out so much. Thank you for being so motivating and inspiring.

  13. Omolara Hephzibah
    October 14, 2016

    Yeah Sis. I feel you. I’m going through hell right now and sometimes I wonder where God is. But what keeps me going is His word. I’m just hanging in there. God bless you for this post. I know I’m not alone. God bless.

  14. Queeny
    October 14, 2016

    Thank you for this Post Mandy . Your timing is always good. I always ask God & my friends the same question : as in ” why am i getting so many attacks & so much hate , what is it that i do that pisses people off ” , is it ever going to end ? Its a battle after a battle Mandy most of it comes from people who wants to be in my space or were once closer to me . I always have to shrink so people can feel big , starting with bosses at work, to friends in disguise , not to mention perverts & predators. I ‘m always hoping that one day God will tell me why because im getting really scared now . But i will tell you one thing : something big out there is waiting for me whatever it is, I will find it . I’m destined for greatness.

  15. Sonia
    October 14, 2016

    It took me three years to the day to get myself finally together after a ugly divorce that lasted over two years after 26 year marriage. I binged watched Netflix, drank wine and cried but I made it. I love the new me!

  16. Ninja
    October 14, 2016

    Mandy,

    Thanks for the generous dose of creative compassion.

    You’re a gifted writer with a heart of service for God & others. We are so blessed by you.

    Debbie Przybylski from IHOP provides biblical support to those of us who struggle/desire to genuinely sharing our pain, frustration, sadness and hurt with our Heavenly Father. As well as a helpful process for breakthrough.
    Pouring Out Your Heart in Lament to God – http://www.crosswalk.com/faith/prayer/pouring-out-your-heart-in-lament-to-god.html

    Oh, LOST…I miss you! =( It is my favorite show of all time!

    A couple of things that have gotten me through:
    * My men’s group! Can’t say enough about the care and company of godly brother’s in Christ.
    * Amazing church with great worship & teaching
    * Reading (Please Understand Me II, The Reason for God)

    What besides my Jesus and His peeps has helped??

    ZUMBA!! Hahaha!

    I started Zumba a few months ago and I LOVE it! I’ve always loved to dance and now I can do it to Latin sounds and not have to wait for the weekend!

    Thanks for keepin it real, Mandy! =)

  17. Gina C
    October 14, 2016

    Beautifully and truly written. Most of all show yourself some compassion, we forget that to often. Thank you Mandy for your insight and inspiration

  18. Gina
    October 14, 2016

    Thank you for just being so real!! You are totally right about saying that sometimes there are other things that get you through the day…whatever that might be!! I know God is always right there with me, and even though I might be suffering, he has a reason for giving me difficult times, because I also know he will get me through those difficult times as well. Thank you again for being so real and really just saying it how it is…this post was perfect and I agree, no need to beat ourselves up when things aren’t going our way or when it seems like God has left us.

  19. Michelle
    October 14, 2016

    Mandy, I found your blog a few years back, then bought your book the Single Woman….and it inspired me to through a huge party for my 35th bday and embrace being almost 40 with no husband…..3 years and a break up (to the person, that I determined was my husband) later I am back on your post and realizing that YOU totally get it! And it means so much to know that I’m not as crazy as I feel that I am. I want medication because sometimes, I truly question if God hears my prayers and how does he comfort? Because I don’t feel comforted, I feel like giving up due to most of what ppl have said or are saying that hasn’t come to pass….HE has a plan for you….really? What could it possibly be to see how much disappointment I can handle! Then there’s the infamous, “your greater is coming”……hmm lost my parents as a teen, been a single mom for 14 yrs and I’m almost 40 and can’t seem to reach my goals, haven’t figured out his plan for me and I was full fledge planning a wedding w/ someone who didn’t really love me (still trying to answer that). But, I said all that to say I GET IT and it feels good to share & understand that others are struggling too (and not afraid to talk about….in a world full of pretenders), BUT they’re making it through……and so can I by any means necessary (and yes nothing illegal, of course) THANKS AGAIN!!!

  20. Shannon
    October 14, 2016

    Oh my gosh Mandy, it’s like you know my thoughts! Lol I can’t say how much I absolutely love this post. I too can relate to the thought of feeling abandoned by God even though I know that He loves me with His entire being. I admittedly have turned to ungodly things to “keep myself together”. Thank you so much for this post and speaking so much raw honesty that others have felt and can relate to.

  21. Terry
    October 14, 2016

    Yes, yes, yes. It’s so nice to know that others feel the same way, that I am not alone in my thinking. I have been very hurt and felt abandoned by the church when trying to get help. The answer that many of them give is to pray. Well in the meantime how do I cope, where is my support, it would be nice to just have a friend in the darkest moments.

  22. Eunice
    October 14, 2016

    Amen, sister, amen! You are always such a breath of fresh air. And I too am finding that it’s ok to not be ok and that there’s nothing to be ashamed of. Authenticity is better than having to put on a front. Keep being the amazing you! Thank you for your encouragements through your posts.

  23. Kathy
    October 14, 2016

    Absolutely brilliant Mandy. Thank you for your candor, honesty and vocalizing what so many of us feel/have felt, but are afraid to say. Well done. You are a voice for so many of us.

  24. D
    October 14, 2016

    Thank you for your honesty. We can all relate, I certainly can. I believe all those things are what makes us human. It’s ok to fear, doubt, worry and lose hope at times because life is hard and He falls silent at times. We are left to figure out a way to survive until better times surface. What I do know is that only in retrospect can we see what He was trying to teach us with the crisis. He truly is the master even when we can’t understand His ways. But yes in the meantime we must do whatever works to get us through the hard testing times.

  25. Malissa
    October 14, 2016

    Mandy I totally agree with everything in your post, except the part regarding the quote and God removing his presence. You can feel abandoned by God, certainly most Christians have at many times, but that does not mean that God has indeed abandoned you. I have turned to other things as well during times of hardship when I should have turned to God, but I always know that God will be right there when I’m ready to turn back. It’s always my choice. And you are so right that we shouldn’t judge ourselves or be harsh when we choose whiskey and zoloft – I like to think that God understands that. But when the whiskey has run dry and the zoloft has worn off, God will be right there with arms open wide for all of his children! 🙂

  26. Kai
    October 14, 2016

    Amen…

  27. Stef Fuller
    October 14, 2016

    Thank you so much for writing this. Words I needed to hear to stop exhausting myself and beating myself up for not putting it in God’s hands. Sometimes God feels silent, and sometimes for entire seasons. I know he is there and is still God but it’s not what gets me through right now. So thank you for giving me also me sense of hope that I’m not a “bad” Christian for that.

  28. Amanda Sahli
    October 14, 2016

    Thank you for this and for having the guts to post it even though there might be push back. Those of us who have experienced this fully understand what you are talking about. I appreciate the validation and acknowledgment that there’s nothing wrong with me for feeling this way. I’ve used food to cope for most of my life. A year ago my boyfriend and I split after almost 13 years. It was the first time I turned to God for help and His Grace was bountiful. But, I’m struggling a year later to cope with my singleness. Your blog helps. Other things I’m reading help. Being involved with my church helps too. But the questions still linger. I think that’s okay. He made us to think and have questions.

  29. Brenda
    October 14, 2016

    Mandy, you are absolutely a woman after my own heart. I admire your transparency and vulnerability. So many times I have felt guilty for questioning if God is near me because I don’t feel Him sometimes, it’s refreshing to hear that I’m not the only one, /’d in fact there are so many amazing God fearing women that have felt the same. Everything I’ve been sent or have read today has gotten me through the current “desert” I’m in, I don’t believe in coincidence. I strongly encourage all of you to read “Play with Fire” by Bianca Juarez Olthoff, it’s an amazing read so far, and only getting better. Mandy, I pray that I will meet you someday.

  30. October 14, 2016

    Thank you Mandy for your honesty. I’m not offended by your post at all. I too felt distant from God, after my sister died (13years ago now) I didn’t want to pray or read my bible during that time. I wrote poetry that was basically aimed at God but somehow it felt safe away from God (as if God can’t read ). Ultimately distancing myself from God is what brought me closer to Him in the process.

  31. YOLANDA FAE MABRY
    October 14, 2016

    This was great and so authentic. The world needs to know there are real Christians in it and we struggle to believe in God too when life sucks. Thank you!

  32. Rachel
    October 14, 2016

    I love this . Having marathons of tv shows like Family Ties, the Golden Girls and ER has gotten me through hard times. I used to feel left out since I’m single without kids, but now I realize the people who leave me out aren’t my people and I can’t look to them or expect them to understand how I feel. They’re just not my people.

  33. Rachel
    October 14, 2016

    And I loved Lost, too!

  34. Katie
    October 14, 2016

    Mandy,

    Your posts always seem to come at the right time. In the last few weeks, I have had several of these “Where’s God?” moments. And to be perfectly honest, it has carried over into this week. At one point all I could do was cry, scream, and pout. I felt like hitting something, but there was nothing to hit (I did invest in a small punching bag for future reference…..and exercise). I know God has a plan, but I am having a hard time understanding it at the moment. Thankfully, I am currently being held together by good friends and chocolate, because otherwise, I’d be more of a wreck than I am now.k

  35. Tiffany
    October 15, 2016

    This is a great post. I think God loves us wherever we are at. Also, we live life forward and learn backwards. We don’t do better until we know better. God is with us always, especially when we are messiest. Who’s to say there is a perfect way to tread through a storm? God’s love is unconditional and so much bigger than what people give him credit for… LOVE THIS!

  36. Dena
    October 15, 2016

    Mandy, Thank you for this post..this speaks to my heart and is truth..

  37. Becky Schaefer
    October 17, 2016

    Thanks for your honesty Mandy, its so refreshing to hear such realness. I completly agree.

  38. Dani
    October 17, 2016

    tearsssssssssssssss

  39. Diane
    October 17, 2016

    We are human, and the ways we cope are often less than ideal. I wish I could say I relied on God through my divorce. But I didn’t. But I did get myself back there- God met me where I was, He loved me through it all. And I found my way back to Him. Thank you Mandy!!!

  40. October 17, 2016

    This perfectly summed up my thoughts, feelings and conclusions. Thank you for making sense of it all for me, Mandy!

  41. Dipti
    October 17, 2016

    This is written so beautifully. At some point in out lives, we’ve all felt this way. At times I’ve wanted to hear God speak to me and it didn’t happen and felt distant from Him. It doesn’t always feel that way but what you’ve written is an emotion a lot of people can relate to.

  42. TM
    October 18, 2016

    I rarely ever post in the comments section, but this post got me good.
    I’ve been feeling guilty about feeling like I was “abandoned” by God – even writing that made me cringe.
    I believe certain words come to you for a reason, in the right time.
    I know now, that it’s ok for me to survive, to just do what I need to do to get from today to tomorrow, and tomorrow after that. So I’m posting a comment on here to let you know that your words have power, you just helped a lonely girl from South Africa – thank you.
    I’m off to watch really bad TV shows because right this moment in my life, that’s what’s helping me through – I know now that I’m not the only one going through a season, key words: GOING THROUGH. There’s an end.
    God bless you for this.

    • Mandy Hale
      October 18, 2016

      Sending you so much love… <3 xo, Mandy

  43. Amanda Birman
    October 26, 2016

    I’ve lost count how many times I keep coming back to this since you posted it. I love everything about it and it speaks to the season I’m in so very well. Thank you for always posting what’s on your heart, using your words to speak to all of us, and showing us we aren’t the only ones who feel this way.

  44. Jeanette
    October 27, 2016

    This is absolutely AMAZING!
    I am currently going through a change and possibly a “loss”.
    I can say that what I have learned from previous losses is that some days it’ having my favorite ice cream, others it’s watching a movie and others it’s being around happy people who’s lives seem to be going great, that encourage and get me through the day. It’s just a reminder that we are not promised tomorrow and so we have to work to sometimes survive a day, while feeling lost, sad and lonely. The important thing to remember is that God IS there even when we can’t feel or seem him and I know I constantly struggle to feel and see him. Thank you for your words, such an inspiration and just a reminder that we are all struggling through similar human conditions.

  45. WWSH
    October 30, 2016

    Mandy, thank you so much for such a real and raw post! So often, people try to pretty up the “getting through” the low times, but it’s not pretty. And it’s definitely not comforting when others try to act as if you’re way of getting through isn’t the right way, simply because they’d do it differently, or have done it differently. Everyone deals with life’s highs and lows in a different way, and sometimes we do feel closer to God during a low time; sometimes we feel so distant. But, it’s life, and we find ways to deal and get through, and we give ourselves grace, just like He does. Again, thank you for this! xx

  46. November 6, 2016

    Oh, girl! I’m behind on my reading of the emails I receive, but this was a divine appointment to read this today! I have felt that way often, and I see parallels with King David but also with Job. Poor ol’ Job sat there in sackcloth and ashes waiting for the Lord to speak, listening to so-called “friends” who told him it had to be Job’s fault that he had encountered so much tragedy. I’m coming off a period in a valley…we had three deaths in our family, and in the midst of this, I quit my job to start my own business and got my heart broken by a man who I truly thought was the one. God has been silent on the relationship aspect of it all. And it’s been so hard. You know what held me together? Bingeing “Once Upon a Time” on Netflix. I could see myself in Mary Margaret aka Snow White and in Emma, the Savior….that tremendous responsibility to and love of family, the desire to save everyone, and hoping that my true love will find me. You hit the nail on the head with this one, Mandy! Thanks for sharing…it makes me feel like I’m not alone. And I needed that. Maybe catching up on my e-mails and reading this post was a sign from the Lord!

  47. January 7, 2017

    Exactly. Sometimes. You need to patch your self up the best you can with what you have.
    Been there over and over just to get by

  48. Kari
    March 23, 2017

    Thank you so much for this post! I admire your strength in writing these words for all of us to read. It was exactly what I needed to read and for the first time, in a long time, I don’t feel alone in this crazy journey. It is comforting to know that other people have and are experiencing the same feelings and emotions.

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