A Disrupted Life

A Disrupted Life

I was in 5th grade when my dad decided to leave. I came home from school and my parents sat my sister and me on the stairs that led to our bedrooms and broke the news.

My world, from that day on, wouldn’t be the same. And yes, having to figure out how to step on the bus the next morning as a kid from a broken home was hard. Deciding whether to tell my friends at lunch when I knew this news would make me different from them made my shoulders sag.

But that’s not what I’m talking about. The disruption that happened a few steps away from the door to my pretty pink bedroom was much bigger than the new “every other weekend at my dad’s house” routine. The tilt to my little world’s axis was ultimately, “Who can I trust now?”  

That disruption caused me to look higher and deeper than the things I could see. That disruption started my path to Jesus. The shift in my heart that happened that year altered the course of my entire life, from the uncertainty of 5th grade feet on a playground to the certainty of stepping off of a plane many years later with my own family in tow to serve and love and disrupt the lives of others with the love of Jesus.

Why are we so afraid of disruptions to our lives? Because when we get right down to it, Jesus disrupted lives. Those who were lucky enough to have heard the actual vibrations of his words enter their own ears, those whose brains were fortunate enough to turn those words into meaning, were those whose hearts sped up with the life altering realization of the impact those words were meant to have on everything…forever. 

The woman caught in adultery could not turn away from the stones laying lifeless at her feet and be unchanged. As the air felt cool on the tears that still clung to her cheeks, her brain was processing, “Then neither do I condemn you, go now and leave your life of sin”. Where would her feet take her? My guess is not down the well-worn path they were used to traveling. Her life was disrupted that day and it wouldn’t be the same.

The rich young ruler on his knees before Jesus, preparing to receive the only thing he felt he lacked, the surety of eternal life, was completely disoriented by the unexpected words, “Sell everything you have and give to the poor.” I imagine his confidence draining as he stumbled away down a familiar path, facing a life disrupted by the encounter with the Savior.

As I drag my finger across the pages of my Bible, I see a Savior who left a path of disrupted lives in his wake and I realize something. I have been spending a lot of time, no matter what continent I am on, trying to create a disruption free zone around my life. Safety, routine, structure, guards, walls, bank accounts, and furlough savings.

“Welcome to the world I have built! It is excessively safe. Because feeling safe is the god that I worship”. And that’s fine and dandy because safety makes sense… if you’re not a Christian.  But I am. And while feeling safe and avoiding disruption isn’t wrong, if we aren’t careful it can easily slip into first place in our heart.

And welcome 2020…the year of disruption. The year where we can’t stop saying “I can’t wait to get back to normal.”

But what if we didn’t. What if we asked ourselves “What is God doing in my life through this disruption? Where is he turning my feet? What am I learning, believing, being asked to love or leave during this time?”

What if we began to feel uncomfortable in the calm…because Jesus brings disruption? Are we inching farther from Him to be closer to the calm? Is the draw to normal so strong that we miss what he is doing?

So if you find yourself sitting on the stairs facing disruption, perhaps consider leaning in. Just maybe this disruption is his invitation to something more.

What are you learning in the disruptions of this year?

Photo by Simon Maage on Unsplash


  1. Stephanie Clarke September 7, 2020

    Thank you for this refreshing perspective, Denise! I can relate somewhat to your childhood experience as my dad passed away when I was 11. Being a daddy’s girl, his passing disrupted my entire world – and that is putting it very mildly. But instead of sitting on the step, I spent a lot of time sitting in nature, by the little creek next to my childhood home, trying to process It all. And here we are in this year of utter disruption and I find myself spending more time in nature again. Except this time, I’m sitting on a rock near the cliff overlooking the vast Atlantic next to the place I call home in this overseas life. I do believe that the disruption of 2020 is a turning point, but in what way, I continue to pray that the Lord would reveal.

    1. Denise September 8, 2020

      I love the connection you make to the places we go when God calls us to disruption. The places that help us sort through and lean into it. Thanks so much!

  2. Vanessa September 7, 2020

    Thank you for encouraging us not to be afraid of disruptions. I have been struggling with that this year as I have been dealing with a lot of change. Seeing disruptions as something God can use for good really changes my perspective.

    1. Denise September 8, 2020

      I am right there with you! There is a peace in knowing he is not far from the disruption and perhaps is in it with us.

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