The beautiful thing about a public and epic failure is that you cannot hide it.  To have your darkest day exposed for all to see is very painful and it is very freeing.  It opens up the door of opportunity for others to walk alongside you, to show support and compassion.  For most of us our failures are more private. They take place behind closed doors, in small ways and in intimate relationships.  They never make headlines and are often never even shared.

I almost never posted my letter to Anna.  I almost never started my blog at all.  I have always wanted to be a writer, but never committed to writing.  This fall I am on a sabbatical.  It’s complicated; basically I’m on sabbatical from having a plan, from having it all figured out, and from knowing what is next.  Over the past few weeks I have felt a nudge to write down some of my thoughts and share my story.  Lacking motivation, I let this nudge linger without acting on it.  It grew and grew, alongside the sick feeling of fear in my gut.  What if I share my thoughts and no one reads them?  What if I open my heart and it gets rejected?  What if my story is ridiculed?  After my marriage blew-up it felt like I walked around with no skin. I was vulnerable and tender; sometimes I still am. Am I able to handle putting myself out there and risk failure? When the news broke about the Ashley Madison hack my heart sank.  I can imagine the pain and wreckage that is swallowing up so many marriages. My desire to share an encouraging word with another traveler grew.

The details of my story aren’t pretty.  The life that I used to have exploded almost overnight, in November of 2013.  My future plans, my broken dreams, my marriage; all of it got swept into a huge mangled pile of wreckage. This past week I started dreaming that maybe that mess could become something. Maybe it could be used for someone else’s benefit.  Maybe my pain and agony is not for nothing. Maybe that is the fine line between hopelessness and hope. A pile of carnage containing my life’s dreams; that looks hopeless to me. That same pile of trash molded into some thing that benefits someone else, now I see hope.

You have your own piles of trash, we all do. What are the difficult experiences, losses, broken dreams, mistakes, secrets, or hurt feelings that you have sitting in your trash pile?  What have you been through that you could courageously share with others? We hide these things so well.  We want everything to appear “fine” on the outside, even if it’s not. What if you decided to turn your trash into gifts; gifts of hope, encouragement, empathy, compassion?

My pile of trash is not going to go to waste.

How about yours?

Will you share with me?

P.S. I am amazed at the outpouring of kindness and encouragement that has come from my last blog post. You have blown me away. Somewhere in between the words of my heart and the blog post on your screens, we connected in an awesome way.


15 thoughts on “NOTHING IS WASTED

  1. I am a fellow traveler. Married at the age of 17 to escape an emotionally abusive home I thought I have figured out the solution. At the 3 month mark of my marriage I physically caught my husband with a prostitute while he was working out of town. I realized that this type of activity had been going on even before we were married. I was in between a rock and a hard place. Do I go back to the home where I felt unwanted or stay in a marriegr that was terribly broken. I chose to stay. After 5 years of marriage and a ten month old baby, I realized that my husbands activity had never stopped. I left. I raised my baby alone. I know now that it was the best choice.


  2. I was very touched by your open letter to Anna! I can’t imagine what she is going through and my heart is broken for her and all those affected. Life is hard, messy and broken. But I know there is Hope in Jesus Christ and as you said, none of this pain will be waisted if we set our broken pieces at Jesus’ feet for healing.


  3. Anna’s story, and your own resonate with so many of us…..

    Marriage is sacred, and while many of us marry…..marital relationships are unique. I appreciated your take on it, Dana. Anna is strong, worthy, and beautiful. Whether she remains in her marriage or not she will always be those things. No one can take them from her. They are gifts from above and she will learn how to use them in new and ever increasing ways, just as you yourself are.

    I read an author once that said that she makes it a point to ‘wish every marriage well, and never to have an opinion when a marriage fails. For who can understand the intricacies of such a relationship.’ (Paraphrased)

    Who can say what God has in store? It was a full year before the Lord laid a decision on my heart regarding the future of my marriage. I spent nearly everyday of that year circling the rubble of my life, and praying. I waited on Him not trusting myself to make a decision. It was during that time that I recognized that the “self-reliance” I had always thought to be my strength was actually my Achilles heel, and He had no use for it. It was a sweet, albeit the hardest time of my life. The point is to learn to trust Him in everything. Don’t try to understand or figure it out. You can’t. It makes no sense. It is not fair. We need to allow Him to be “creative” with us (as Oswald Chambers says). God will reveal Himself and His plan in all of this. Nothing is ever wasted. (Romans 8:28). And peace will return…..

    A sister in Christ praying for all the other sisters this morning…..


  4. Nobody is reading!? I am reading! We are all reading. I never knew you had this talent – only that you had a gorgeous family. I don’t know the details of your recent trauma but I am rooting for you and reading your story and celebrating your bravery. Keep going – you are inspiring a lot of people Dana!


  5. Dana, I cannot tell you how proud I am of the courage you’ve shown in being vulnerable enough to let others into your healing journey while it’s still in process. And, I love that you are taking a sabbatical from trying to have it all figured out. Boy, don’t more of us need to give ourselves that kind of grace.

    I’ve been working through my own healing journey and sifting through the rubble of some mistakes, failures and losses of my own. There have been times I’ve been so buried in shame from it all that I wasn’t sure if I would ever recover. Thankfully, God is so much bigger than my mistakes and the messes I make and He, as usual, has brought more beauty and freedom into my life through the wreckage and the things that have had to die than I ever could have imagined and never knew how much I needed.

    Praying that you sense Him with you each step of your journey and that one day when you look back you will be in awe of what God’s goodness has established in your life, even in the midst of the unmaking of what once was. It’s been an honor to have some glimpses into the beautiful work He is doing in you and I want you to know I am cheering you on with every step!


  6. My world changed when I discovered my son was doing drugs. The bright light of his spirit had dimmed into a stranger I no longer knew. It has taken me a long time to realize that his choices do not reflect my parenting or mistakes that I made. We do not condemn Adam and Eve for the murder committed by Cain. I have learned that I can only do my best and then return my child back to the care of his Father in Heaven . Please continue to share your words of hope and inspiration. We are all a team helping each other.


    • Patti, I cannot begin to imagine how difficult that must be. You are right that it is not a reflection of you or your mistakes. We often blame ourselves for other peoples choices that are out of our control. I will be praying for you, and your son. Take care.


  7. Thank you for allowing the Lord to use you: 2 Cor. 1:4 “He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.” I too became a part of “that club” in which my marriage and the life I knew blew up in my face almost overnight this past June. So much pain and tears and suffering. The Lord has been my comfort-His word and prayer have been life sustaining, my breath, my daily bread, as well as sisters in the Lord. The Lord meets us in the depths of our suffering with such peace and comfort when we surrender it all at Jesus’ feet.


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