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Survival Mode

Updated: Oct 30, 2020

I had grand plans this week. Plans to recap and lay out how we do offsite work meetings, and how necessary they are for our work lives...and family lives. Plans to share on Instagram and here about how we have developed our yearly rhythm.

Then this happened.

Yeah, I know how gross that is. I'd love for this blog to be beautiful and lovely and a place where you go for inspiration, but God has called me to something higher here. Something more than skin deep.

I have eczema. Acute dermatitis. I've had it for over ten years, but it's not always been this bad. It goes in cycles of every few weeks looking like this, then healing, then back to this. 90% of the time I can function fairly normally. I've learned the products and things I need to stay away from to keep it at a sort of manageable level, and I've tried literally everything to get rid of it, but I'm still dealing with this every few weeks. And when it's this bad, I can't do much. It hurts to type, do the dishes, feed my family, fold laundry, or even get dressed. I have had to have help washing my hair for weeks now.

But this post isn't a poor me about my skin issues. More than skin deep, remember?

Survival mode is uncomfortable. I don't enjoy it at all. And I learned something this week that hasn't occurred to me yet, and it's that sometimes you choose survival mode and sometimes it's chosen for you.

A few weeks ago Josh and I decided to do a She Reads Truth/He Reads Truth bible study together, and he chose Job. That's his go-to when things are hard, possibly because it reminds him it could always be worse? I don't know, but I do know I don't love it. I hoped I'd dig in and realized this skin issue was from Satan or something, but it came to me that I just wanted something (or someone) to blame it on. Someone to be angry at.

Even after my skin has been destroyed, yet I will see God in my flesh. Job 19:26

But sometimes, God allows things to happen in order to show you your lack of ability so that you rely on Him more fully. So I see more of Him and less of me. Um, whoa. I had built myself on being independent and able and a doer, and I was relegated to my comfy chair or our bed, walking my kids through how to make chicken and wild rice soup. I would wake up in the morning and literally cry out to God, asking why this was happening to me. Survival mode.

This morning I woke up and my hands were slightly better. And I knew I could think about things besides my health today. I could probably write a blog post. I could look at my focus wheel today and take a step towards a goal on it. And I decided to not choose survival mode for myself again. I know I'd put myself there before, especially back when I loved to be angry, I'd plant myself in survival mode for a day and just be angry, unable to do anything, probably less able than when I'm dealing with eczema.

And today, I'm able to see some things that have brought me closer to Him and shown me His grace in this mess. I have a new connection with my kids, and they have displayed new hearts for serving others that I haven't noticed before. Adair is always aware of when an ice pack might help. Coy will offer to carry things for me. Oak is always up for a snuggle. Lily is super capable in the kitchen. I can see an appreciate this today, and I'm writing this so that I can remember what we're all learning during this season.

What is something you're learning this season? Maybe you're putting off goals for more pressing matters. Maybe you're in survival mode like me, chosen or chosen for you. How do you keep going forward when you're in survival mode?

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Emily Frenzen
Emily Frenzen

SARA, your realness in this post is so beautiful. So much truth in your words that these trials make us rely on God more! We get to learn that HE is faithful and good and sovereign.

He has you and He has this!! CANNOT imagine what this feels like for you but sister, I also cannot what to see what you continue to learn through this.


As a self diagnosed control freak 2020 has been a big deal for me. I like to be in the drivers seat. I like a plan and a checklist and I like to get stuff done. I don't like when something gets in my way. Typically any road block I am very prone to plow right through, often times to my own detriment and to the detriment of those around me. Of course when COVID hit I tried to keep on plowing, but we knew that wasn't an option. We closed our office (broke my heart and scared me to death) and sat home for 6 weeks. I tried to see the best and enjoy the moments, but I was…

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