How to Function When Life Falls Apart

A few weeks ago I posted about our daughter, Kristina, and her current battle with the rare cancer Clear Cell Sarcoma. If you missed it, you can read it here.

There are so many things we are learning through this difficult time in our lives, and so many we still have yet to learn. But one thing is for sure, our God is teaching us how to function when life seems to just fall apart. And I’d like to share these things with you with hopes that it could help you, too.

Kristina’s story isn’t a story about sadness and pain. It’s a story about God helping us function when there is pain. We have no guarantees that life will be easy, even as believers in Jesus. However, we do have guarantees from Him that life can be abundant in joy even during the most painful times. The question is, “How?”

Here’s what we are learning:

  • God’s grace is definitely sufficient! I used to think that meant His grace was just enough to take the next step–just enough oxygen to take a little breath. While some days feel this way, the truth is His grace is perfect. It’s enough to experience a joy that permeates through our pain. It’s sufficient enough for life to be full. We constantly remind ourselves of this truth. (2 Cor. 12:9)
  • I can choose what to believe. During those first few months, I realized I was preparing myself for the worst. Then it came to me, “How can a parent prepare himself for his child’s death?” And Philippians 4:8-9 reminded me that I am to think on whatever is true, noble, praiseworthy, etc. I have a choice to believe the worst or the best. I choose daily to believe the best and let God handle the rest. After all, He is the Great Healer! I choose to believe He will heal Kristina. And this belief brings me out of despair and into peace.
  • Helplessness does not equal hopelessness. There is nothing guaranteed I can do to cure my daughter’s cancer. I research a lot, talk with doctors, study alternative therapies, and more. But I can’t save her. We are helpless. And that’s just where God wants us to be. If we can trust in Him for our daughter’s life, then we can trust in Him for anything. With God, nothing is hopeless. With God, we are full of hope. And this is a hope that does not disappoint. He wants us to trust Him.
  • Our future is perfect! Pain only lasts a while. There is nothing but goodness and pleasure awaiting those who are trusting in Jesus. This helps me look ahead and not behind. It also keeps me from being stuck in a funk. We have something incredible to look forward to–an eternity with our Creator God.
  • God is always good. This is truth at its finest. There is nothing throughout the whole Bible that would lead me to believe He isn’t good. And since He is also all-powerful and all-loving, then everything He does is for my good. God has my best interest at the center of His heart.

I dare not say we’ve got all these down perfectly. Sometimes, when we feel like we’ve learned one lesson well, we realize we forget another one. Other times, we totally fall. Wrong thoughts lead to negative emotions. It’s a lack of trust. But when we do fall, we fall into a bed of grace.

Today, Kristina is doing well. She has 9 tumors in her lungs. They are too small to cause any problems, and they haven’t grown in 18 months! Her prognosis is “very poor.” But her God is very capable! (Go ahead, click that. You know you want to.)

This is how God’s children function. His power doesn’t enable us to barely get by. His strength in us enables us to function at full capacity even when life seems to fall apart. We just have to dwell on these things. God is that good.

It’s just how He rolls!


Telling our story of Kristina and her cancer has helped many people rekindle their faith in our God Who is bigger. It would be my honor to share with your church or organization what God is teaching us through having a daughter battle cancer. My heart’s desire is to bring God glory through our ordeal.

If you are interested, please click here.

God bless, Chad

(14) Comments

  • Phylis
    23 Feb 2012

    Such a great lesson & so wonderfully expressed. Passing this on. Love ya Chad!

  • Amy LaMar
    23 Feb 2012

    Love the line “but when we fall, we fall in a bed of grace.” I needed to hear that Chad, thank you!! 🙂 <3 ya brother!!

    • J. Chad Barrett
      24 Feb 2012

      I love that line, too. Got it from a song I heard a long time ago. Can’t remember who. blessings!

  • Angela Barrett
    23 Feb 2012

    as your mom…I fall in that bed of grace with you all! as your joint heir with Christ Jesus….I stand with you in awe of His goodness! I love you Chad.

  • Cora Mitchell
    24 Feb 2012

    Life is hard at times, thank you for reminding me that we are not alone and that “when we fall, we fall into a bed of grace.” I know your Dad and Mom and I know about your Kristina. My Prayers are with all of you. Every time I see your parents I am reminded about GOD’s love, grace and mercy. Love them MUCH! <3 Thank you for sharing your insight and for sharing your faith. GOD BLESS YOU ALL 🙂 Cora Mitchell Grace Bible Church, Leesville, La.

  • Ruth Earnshaw
    24 Feb 2012

    At the end of the day – God is still good! It is always heartbreaking for me to hear of any child that is suffering. We lost our son in 2008 in Australia he was working with Youth With a Mission, it was Father’s Day and we had just spoken to him. He was down at the beach with a friend on the rocks climbing as a 23 year old would and a freak wave washed him in and was never found. Here is our story and how God has touch many through Jeremy’s life. I feel your pain and will be praying.

    • J. Chad Barrett
      24 Feb 2012

      Thanks so much, Ruth, for sharing Jeremy’s story! It encourages me to hear you continue to stand on the truth that God is good. Thank you!

  • Glenda Jansson
    24 Feb 2012

    my experiences have begun teaching me those lessons….your family’s experiences are growing them…Thank you, OUR BIG GOD, for community in which we can learn and grow together – even through pain

  • authenticbeliever
    25 Feb 2012

    Amazing post Chad!! I hope it serves to comfort others who are struggling….

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