letting (some of) it spill out

I don’t really blog much anymore. It kind of sucks.

But it’s kind of okay too.

Gabe told me the other day, “I think you need to start blogging again.”

I looked up at him under raised eyebrows. “Um, what? You live here too, right? You know what our lives are like, right?”

“Yeah, but you don’t have to blog about that. You can blog about other stuff.”

“You know I’m not good at–and don’t want to–pretend like things are all happy so I can write about books and homeschooling and the weather and whatever, like everything is fine here and all that.”


So, how are things going right this very moment?

Good. Well. Can’t complain. Wouldn’t if I could.

This has been the hardest six months of our lives. We’ve been pretty much broken. Sifted like wheat, like Peter once was. Lots (and lots and lots) of days where I said, “Okay. That’s it. I’m done. I can’t do this anymore. Not for one more minute.”

And then? New mercies.

Right this moment? Two of our kiddos are at a friend’s house. One isn’t feeling well and is playing games on Daddy’s computer. Gabe is at a doctor’s appointment and then heading to the gym to work out.

And I feel full–FULL–of hope.

We had our second counseling appointment yesterday. Gabe went a handful of times and then stopped, and now we’re going together.

Best move ever.

It’s going to be so good for us. It already has been. And the devil hates it, because he attacks Gabe almost immediately after each session. (EDIT: I had written, “He’s so smart and creative” here, sarcastically referring to the devil’s lame schemes of doing the same thing over and over and over and over. Two people commented on it though, so my sarcasm must not have come through. New sentence(s): the devil is so lame. And a jerk. And will not defeat us, amen.)

We’ve been praying for our daily bread, and holy cow, is God giving it to us. It’s manna in every way. Just enough for today with not a flake to spare for tomorrow. It’s pure craziness. And dare I say, fun?

And yes, a little bit exhausting.

We’re gearing up to start homeschooling in 2 weeks. Holy cow. And the girls are plotting ways to get a small aquarium and some fish.

A friend of ours died unexpectedly Saturday. He was 35. Kim, his wife, is a dear friend of mine and cuts my hair (and the girls’). They live right behind our house in the next neighborhood over. We chat with them at the pool. They have a teenage son and 2 young daughters. My heart is breaking. The viewing is tomorrow.

I leave Friday morning for a retreat in Wisconsin. It’s been planned for over a year, before my husband had a heart attack and anxiety and doesn’t like me to be gone for more than 2 hours at a time.

Gabe’s mom is coming to stay with him and the girls from Friday to Sunday. I’m eternally grateful to her.

I’m nervous about the retreat. I feel emotionally unstable, in no position to speak into women’s lives about marriage and sex and being awesome.

I should know by now that God does his best work in me when I’m at my crappiest. Go God!

In a span of about 2 days last week, I had 4 random people tell me almost the exact same words. “Your faith is so strong.” I thanked them and said, “Funny you should say that when I’ve never felt like my faith was so weak.”

It was an encouragement. We’ve gotten lots of encouragement lately.

And some not-so-encouragement.

And some pity, which I don’t deal well with. I’m so thankful for people in our lives who are so good at loving us so well without pitying us.

Thank you, people.

My heart is in Cambodia today. It spends a lot of time there. I’m so thankful that my prayers can reach across the globe when I can’t. I’m so thankful for people I love who are doing good, good work in the name of Jesus in a hurting country.

My friend Melissa leaves for Zimbabwe next week, and my mother-in-law goes to Kenya in October. Another friend is working on her application to be a missionary in Papua New Guinea. We met for lunch this week to talk about it. Great people being used by God in foreign lands. I’m so thankful.

I’m so proud of my husband. Just like God didn’t take away Paul’s thorn in the flesh, he’s not taking away Gabe’s chest pains. But Gabe is trusting him and taking steps in faith. Exercising, working, praying anyway. Doing what he can while he waits for God to move.

It’s an honor to be married to him.

Lest you think we are the most amazing married couple in the universe, you might want to peek inside my journal. I’ve always wanted to write a memoir of my life but knew it just wasn’t raw enough, not enough trauma/drama.


That has changed.

I’ll let you know when my memoir is published.

So, that’s kind of where we are. It’s not all of it, but it’s enough for today. The girls are doing well. They’re so resilient. We all are. What an amazing Creator we have.

I miss you guys.

How are you doing today (in less than 850 words)?

50 thoughts on “letting (some of) it spill out

  1. Melissa

    Hey Marla,
    I was at the retreat you spoke at this weekend and I have to say – thank you so, so, so very much. I know you felt like you had no idea what you could say or do or any of that, but having you speak to us was awesome and amazing and I felt like I did grow and will continue to grow. You’re awesome and you will be in my prayers.

  2. Danielle

    Sweet friend, thanks for sharing your heart. I’ve fallen out of bloggy world too; sometimes life is just too overwhelming for me to put into words. I miss you too! I’ll be praying for this weekend, that God will use you mightily, and strengthen Gabe in your absence.

    Honestly, I’m a wreck, but I feel like everyone around me expects me to keep it all together. I’m heartbroken over the loss of our daughter through bureaucratic crap and wicked people. I don’t understand why God put it on our hearts to say yes to this impossible situation. People have asked me when I’m going to move on, as if the pain of losing the child God placed in my heart to love just goes away. Anger and bitterness are growing in my husband’s heart, which just makes me miss the kind, gentle man I fell in love with. God has blessed us in huge ways in other areas of life, but my heart just keeps coming back to my lost daughter. I would give it all up to know that she is safe.

    1. Marla Taviano

      I love you, friend, and I’ve been praying for you three every single day. I know God isn’t finished with your story yet. I’m holding onto hope and praying God shows you and J little glimpses of it soon. xoxoxo

  3. Andrea

    THANK YOU! I find there is not enough sharing of the junk so when I end up going through or feeling it myself, I feel alone. I have never had it together and never want others to think I do. I really value sharing the muck (recently wrote my own post to that affect) and have found that the sharing of my own junk has been so amazing in connecting with non or young believers. They need to know we don’t have it all together! We also need to be reminded that other believers do not have it all together. I think it is such great encouragement, in an odd sort of way.

  4. Linda Bingham

    Marla, Let’s GET REAL!!!! For the past couple of years my husband and I have been going through a transition “Empty Nest” and right smack dab in the middle of that my mother-in-law was put on hospice, a breast cancer scare personally, our son leaving for marine bootcamp only to break his hip the last 40 hours of becoming a marine and then be stuck in CA for 15 months before the marines retired him and sent him home, to having my grandmother be put on hospice 2 weeks before my mother in law passed away July 2011, then Dec 30, 2011 my great aunt died, March 2011 my great grandmother died, and then a couple weeks ago my grandmother lost her battle with lung cancer, and it was rough, tough, emotional, and well down right HARD couple years! Most days seemed to be a struggle emotionally and sometimes I felt depressed. In the midst of our storm one thing remained the same God is faithful. So I said all this to say this let is spill out let it flow. Over the past 2 years I have wanted to blog but felt to empty to even form words and in the past week I did it I began blogging God has really laid it on my heart to “GET REAL” (His words not mine) and you are a blessing to so many who can’t find the strength to make it another day. This is my neon flashing light moment from God during yesterdays bible study 2 Corinthians 9:2 “your zeal has stirred up the majority”

    Big Hugs!

  5. ellen

    hey girl — you know you are doing sooo much better than you think — and so is Gabe — and … Pauls thorn in the flesh wasn’t sickness or affliction – it was people.
    You are preparing for the next step in life — and the lame devil is helping you without even knowing it !!!
    love you

      1. ellen

        I’m on it — got to get my references together — you’ll be shocked — cause sickness isn’t from God — and isn’t good for us 🙂

  6. Sharon

    Glad to hear an honest update. Miss hearing from you more, but understand. My husband is on vacation so we are having fun family time. And we successfully potty trained our toddler so life is pretty good at this moment.

  7. Jan

    Thanks for sharing!! It’s so nice to know that i’m not the only one that has things that just don’t go right 🙂 sometimes it just feels that way.
    Praying for you this weekend. I know you will do great!!
    This week has been a little difficult (internally) I’m really missing my mom. I haven’t told anyone because sometimes I think people get tired of hearing that. I just pray that I can be a great mom like mine was!! It’s so hard because I don’t have mine to ask questions to! Anyway!! thanks again!!!

    1. Sharon


      I don’t know you, but I’m praying for you. Mom’s are the best ever and I truly feel for those who have lost theirs.

      1. jan

        Thank You Sharon! She’s been gone almost 3 years and I’m a 30yr old mom of a 7yr old and a 5 yr old. I sure could use bet advise and mom support! I’m an only child so that don’t help either. My husbands parents are not active in our lives so at times I feel as if my kids are missing out on so much and then I feel guilty! Anyway ……thank u for yr prayers!

  8. Carla

    Thanks for being real! I started crying when you wrote that your heart is in Cambodia. I’ve been back from Rwanda for almost 6 weeks now and still can’t coherently talk about it much less blog about it. How do we just come back to our lives after seeing what we have seen?

    I am currently fantasizing about bringing a 12 year old girl home from Rwanda when the country reopens their doors for adoptions and researching student visas.

    Prayers to you and your family!

  9. Ali

    When I close my eyes I see my family visiting your family, and we’re all laughing and sharing and praising God and breaking bread and reminiscing about the ol’ days.

    And we’re in Cambodia.

    Won’t it be grand?!

  10. Beth

    I can relate to your “that’s it – I can’t take this one more minute” thoughts. And yet, somehow, I always do. Because of God. I still don’t know what He has in store for our family, whether we will move or whether we will stay. But He is constantly with us and for that I am thankful. I’m thankful to hear how you all are doing too, and I know that you will be stronger for this because you are constantly choosing to turn TO God instead of away. Thank you for sharing your life, even when it’s not-so-perfect.

  11. k

    *hugs to you* love you…here’s what’s going on for us so you know you’re not alone…i’m dealing with anxiety/depression, we’re going thru some very difficult times in our marriage (and going to an absolute AMAZING christian counselor in springfield to work thru all that (let us know if you want to try him out…he said it’s half the price of counselors in columbus)), we’ve moved 180 miles from our church and all our friends to live near our families that have loads of issues, we’re trying to raise a toddler while fighting all the time with each other, and we started a new business and dealt with infertility all in the last 10 months. most weeks we have $3 to our name. the older i get the more i realize that everyone seems to have issues, big issues, that they’re facing all the time and it’s interesting to see what happens as all these real ppl with real problems interact. it sometimes gets messy. but if our hearts are in the right place and we’re trusting God and showing grace to one another, things will be ok. hang in there!

    1. Marla Taviano

      Thank you, friend. In the midst of all our hospital bills, our insurance (now COBRA) has miraculously paid for 100% of our counselor appointments. God is so good. Hugs right back at you!!

  12. Rachelle

    Today I am thankful for the opportunity to say “thank you”. It’s often we don’t take the time or opportunity to reflect on what someone has meant to us.

    Thank you Marla for sharing your heart.

  13. Dorian

    Hi Marla,
    When you say “He’s so smart and creative,” I think you are referring to satan? (I refuse to capitalize satan, btw) Gabe also preceeds the pronoun, so I’m not sure. If you mean Gabe, I agree with you! 🙂 If you mean satan, I couldn’t disagree with you more. He is neither smart nor creative. He is in HELL after all, so he’s not smart. And he attacks us over and over again with the same stuff. It’s not creative. It’s boring. “satan is defeated by the blood of Jesus Christ and the word of our testimony!” Rev 12:11 IS defeated, not will be, IS. satan had it all and puked it away…smart and creative? No, dumb and damned. Love you tons. D

      1. Dorian

        Wow. Had no idea you meant it sarcasticly. 🙂 That’s actually a testament to how far Jesus has brought me. I was raised in a very sarcastic home and started praying at 19 that I would stop using sarcasm. I often don’t “get” sarcasm now and have been told that neither do my children – because they haven’t been raised with it. For that, I am thankful. 🙂 Love you bunches. D

  14. Daniel Berman

    Thank you Marla for being willing to step out. Its been a good year for Stephanie and I, but a challenging year. I can’t of a better person to talk to the ladies at the retreat, and I am looking forward to seeing how God moves through this event. I know speakers are “supposed” to have it all together, but the 1-2 gals I have met in person from the CFPN honestly just want a real person who loves the Lord, and who’s been a step or two ahead of them. You fit the bill perfectly for that.

    –God Bless

      1. Daniel Berman

        Yes I am. Now that I know what I am allergic to, I know what to avoid. Going gluten free and egg free isn’t easy but it gets me eating less processed foods which is always a good thing.

  15. Addie

    thank you for being so vulnerable… I think we forget that it is in our weakest state that God shines through most clearly – even though the world teaches different… big hugs to you (and maybe you should stop giving the devil so much credit through your words – even if they are sarcastic, like I think they are, there is still power there)

    How am I? Its been kind of a crazy week as its the first week of school here with 3 small children and my husband is a teacher… looking forward to when the routine is real… 🙂

  16. Deborah

    There is a whole heap of difficult in my world and the worlds of people I love. A friend posted this Tony Evans quote today (and I can SO hear him saying it…) “Sometimes in life God allows you to experience a bigger-than-life Goliath in order to experience a bigger-than-Goliath God.” And I am counting on that Bigger Than Goliath God because there is no other Hope. Praying that you continue to see Him, too.

  17. Jen Griffin

    Praying for you when God brings you all to mind. I am glad you are getting counseling together! That is wonderful! I think having the girls home is awesome, especially with all you have going on in your lives. They need you guys! Praying God binds up your wounds and heals both of your hurts.

    Read this this morning and I think it fits well.

    “If you’re a child of God, the ordeal you’re undergoing, however wrong or unfair, in His providence and skillful hands will be used to take you deeper to a place of greater dependence and trust.”
    -Nancy Leigh DeMoss, from the book Choosing Forgiveness

  18. Meghan

    Dearest Marla. I’m sitting here with tears in my eyes. I’ve thought about you a lot recently and am glad you got on to do a little update. And it’s an update God used to encourage me. We’ve had some big hiccups in our lives. Lots of hurt. Lots of anger. Lots of emotion. After spending some time with God this morning, I opened up your post. And God used some very specific things you wrote in here to help me. To encourage me and to remind me that He’s all in this mess with us. And that although we are broken, He can still use us. And wants to. Thank you, dear Marla. Peace of the Lord be with you.

  19. Kathi

    It was nice to see an update link on Facebook this morning. I totally get the it-is-hard-to-blog-when-everthing-seems-to-just-suck-right-now thing. I stopped around the time that we lost our house and a couple of months of unemployment creeped into a year+ of unemployment, because I could not see any options other than chit-chat or saying exactly what I was thinking, which was not alway pretty.

    It is okay to step back to process; You have had a lot happen. Your bloggy community will wait for you 🙂

  20. StraightUpAndrea

    I applaud you for being real. For offering yourself. For trusting that even though you are far from perfect, you are most certainly good enough. keep on keeping on….

  21. Julie

    Thank you for sharing and thank Gabe for prodding you to do so. It helps to see the real life ugly and all when you are going through the fearful, anxious, do I have enough faith for today God moments. Thanks again.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *