Letting God Reshape What’s Shattered

by Lisa Appelo June 2, 2022
“I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” John 10:10b (ESV)

I hate my life.

With my hands wrist-deep in sudsy dishwater, I couldn’t believe I’d let that admission bubble to the top of my thoughts. The house had quieted with my kids tucked in upstairs for the night, and now, alone with my thoughts, my honest confession startled me.

Months before, I had gone to bed happily married and woken up the next morning a widow. On the pillow next to mine, my husband was taking his last breaths as I slept. Though his strange breathing had awakened me, neither my efforts at CPR nor my prayers for God’s mercy had brought the miracle I desperately wanted.

In the space of one night’s sleep, my life had shattered into a thousand pieces. So much of the life I’d wanted and the life I’d hoped for had been buried with my husband. Now, my days were a mix of brutal grief, single parenting, decision overwhelm and juggling a too-long list of tasks meant for two.

We often tell God: This is not the life I ordered. There are lots of ways a life can shatter in loss.

Maybe for you, it’s been a diagnosis that has upended life as you know it.

Maybe a spouse you should have been able to trust has walked out, or maybe, like mine, your spouse has died far earlier than you ever imagined.

Perhaps you’ve buried a child in an unthinkable turn of events, or maybe miscarriage has forced you to grieve a dream that feels farther and farther away.

What do we do when life doesn’t turn out like we planned? Do we simply consign ourselves to live out the leftovers of the life we wanted?

John 10:10b shows us another way. In our key verse, Jesus tells us He came so that we would “have life and have it abundantly.” That doesn’t mean “life abundant” only when things are going well. Or “life abundant” when we get the outcome we want.

The abundant life Jesus died to give us doesn’t start and stop based on our circumstances.

The night of my honest admission over a sinkful of dishes, I had to let go once more of the life I wanted. As I did, I leaned into the truth that while our circumstances may change, God’s promise of abundant life does not.

Yes, life felt bad. And while this was not my plan, God had allowed it. As such, God had as much abundant life on this side of loss as He did all the time before.

Over the last few years, as I’ve let go of the life I wanted and worked to embrace the life God has given, I can see the fresh beauty and goodness God has for me here. And while life is never perfect, I can honestly say, Thank You, God. I love this life.

God doesn’t give us second best. There are no leftovers in a life with God. When we trust God with the broken pieces of our life, He can reshape what’s shattered.

Lord, we anchor to You today as our only hope when life implodes in loss. Open our eyes to see Your goodness and all the ways Your immense love spills over for us. Thank You that, no matter our circumstances, Your promise of life abundant holds true. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.


If you’re navigating shattering loss or a life you didn’t sign up for, get a copy of Lisa Appelo’s book Life Can Be Good Again: Putting Your World Back Together After It All Falls Apart. Lisa provides compassionate, biblical insight to help you find your footing, process raw emotion and anchor your threadbare hope to see that you will not merely survive this but that life can be good again.


Click here to download the free guide “7 Days of Hope for Your Shattered Heart.” And connect with Lisa on Instagram for more encouragement in deep grief and shattering loss.

Enter to WIN your very own copy of Life Can Be Good Again by Lisa Appelo. To celebrate this book, Lisa’s publisher will give away 5 copies! Enter to win by leaving a comment here. {We’ll randomly select 5 winners and then notify each one in the comments section by Monday, June 6, 2022.}


Psalm 84:11, “For the LORD God is a sun and shield; the LORD bestows favor and honor. No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly.” (ESV)

How does loss or disappointment make us believe God is withholding something good from us? Share in the comments and then take a moment to thank God for the abundant life He’s given you.

© 2022 by Lisa Appelo. All rights reserved.

Proverbs 31 Ministries thanks Bethany House Publishers for their sponsorship of today’s devotion.

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