Not destroyed

Precarious, but breathtaking: hikers pause to enjoy the Blue Ridge vistas, November 2011

Precarious, but breathtaking: hikers pause to enjoy the Blue Ridge vistas, November 2011

“We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.”
2 Corinthians 4:8-9 (NIV)

It’s a bit frightening, being this close to the edge of suffering and death.  It’s not territory we chose to explore, but even from here, the view is sometimes more beautiful than seems reasonable.   I imagine that you, too, have been (or will be) in places you never sought, or situations you hadn’t planned.  I hope you are able to hang on– perhaps gaining a new perspective that will illuminate your less dramatic pathways, and underscore your joy in happier times that surely lie in your future.

One year ago today:

It’s the heart


  1. One year ago, today, Sherry’s comment was simply, “Truly Inspiring”. Though the photos were, by one perspective, polar opposites; today’s post is almost equally inspiring. Thanks!

    • Thank you, I had not thought about how opposite the photos are, but the contrast is striking, now that you mention it. One looks sheltered and green, the other I can almost hear the wind. But what a view!

  2. Susan

    It’s amazing that you can find words to express this. I thank you, for helping me to understand a little bit. Love to you, and prayers for peace and comfort.

    • Thanks so much Susan, for being here with us! One blessing of the past year is, there has not been a single day when we have felt alone. The love, support, prayers and good wishes of so many people have surrounded us with “peace that passes understanding.” We appreciate it so much.

  3. The title and the quote reminded me of this beautiful song :

    As I am typing this I am listening to the song once again after a few weeks.

    • Wow, what a beautiful song! I know it will be running through my head now, and I will play it often. I let Jeff listen to it too. We had never heard it before. Thanks so much for posting the link. I loved the line “through the crowd, patchwork souls move closer.” It reminded me of the way I feel when I read the comments on this blog.

      • Rene

        That was a beautiful song! My favorite lyric: “Not broken…just loose at the seams.”

        • Yes! and to quote from another song, a longtime favorite of mine, “Don’t mind if I fall apart, there’s more room in a broken heart…” (Carly Simon)

  4. What a view. Keeping you in my prayers and hoping that you are soon backing away from the precipice. Love you very much. A

    • I hope so too, Amy…but that cable you’ve always had hooked to my belt is strong enough to keep me from blowing away! See you at the picnic table later on.

  5. Linda Blackford

    Julia, I just read your update on the Upper Room site, and wanted you to know that you, Jeff, Matt and your entire family are in my prayers and will continue to be during this week of Thanksgiving. Your faith and hope in the midst of life’s challenges are an inspiration to me. God bless you all!

    • Linda, thank you so much. We feel truly fortified by the love, warm wishes and prayers of so many people we have never met. What an amazing blessing! Thank you for being among them.

  6. Ann

    Another beautiful photograph and message. Last year’s was special too.

    Hope you have beautiful weather today, maybe you and Jeff can take a stroll together.

    • Thanks, Ann. It is a beautiful day today, though too cold and windy for a walk. But the sunshine is lovely to see. We are enjoying it through the windows! Glad you liked the posts today.

  7. Sending heartfelt hugs and prayers to you all, especially this week. xo

    • Thank you so much! We need and appreciate them! 🙂

  8. Michael

    “Perplexed but not in despair.” It is perplexing when bad things happen to good people. And there is no good explanation. And there is an element of mystery. Praying for you and family.

    • Thank you, Michael. The good wishes and prayers will be a comfort to us this week, as they already are.

  9. MaryAnn

    The hanging on part, of which you speak, is only possible for us because we KNOW Who is holding the “rope”! Thank you for showing us again & again through your words, the personification of hanging on in unplanned situations.
    Prayers are w/ you, Jeff, Matt…

    • Thanks so much, Mary Ann! We love you!

  10. Rene

    I read your post over at the Upper Room and something that struck me was the way that you and Jeff are on the same page, working together to take care of things before his surgery, what a blessing! Whatever the outcome, I hope that you will cherish the memories of working side by side. You are on my page-a-day calendar for a dayful of prayers tomorrow. Have a beautiful Sunday, Denton Family!

    • Rene, thanks so much. I am honored that we are on your prayer calendar! The past weeks when Jeff has been feeling relatively well have indeed been cherished by both of us, and always will be. We appreciate so much the concern, kind words and prayers – they have given us strength to get through this!

  11. Julia, I just wanted you to know that I will be praying for you and your family this week. Hang in there. You are being covered by a blanket of prayer.

    • You know, I really, truly do feel that we are covered in that blanket on this cold day. You will all be with me in my thoughts during the coming week. Thanks so much for being here!

  12. raynard

    Julia I use to go hiking while stationed in Hawaii and even visited the empire state building. You know what? I’m not too crazy about heights or knives or this the part where I start singing Diana Ross and the Supremes Ain’t no mountain high enough lol .you and your family will be at the top of my prayer list this week. Knowing you if I said something like “When you reach the end of your rope,I can see you pulling a Mcguiver and reaching for some duct tape ,bubble gum and a swiss army Keep your head up(besides we can’t be wallflowers no more looking at the tops of our shoes…lol be blessed

    • Hey Reynard, one of the first things Jeff gave me years ago was a (tiny, feminine) Swiss Army Knife! He is never without his handy pocket knife! As for the gum, I’m smacking away obnoxiously as I write this. The great thing about online is that nobody can hear me. Thanks so much for the prayers and kind thoughts – I will be thinking of all of you during these long days and hours of waiting!

      • Sheila

        Julia, there are so many emotions here today. I choose to think the earlier surgeries in May were the preparation that will hopefully make this week go smoother. There is a light that shines mighty bright tonight in the form of hope and love. Prayer is strong! I’m so thankful to to share this time with you, along with this support group. With many prayers, Sheila

        • Thank you, Sheila! I make the same choice. I am torn between a dread bordering on terror, and the excitement of a kid at Christmas who believes this may be the turning point. I choose to go with the second emotion unless and until I am forced to do otherwise. At the same time, I realize that’s easy for me to do since I will not be the one enduring the physical suffering. So I’m also praying that Jeff will have an easier time of it this time, aside from the outcome. YES the lights shining here are bright indeed! John 1:5 – “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”

  13. John M.

    Whatever else I might know, I certainly know this: this too shall pass. That’s a comfort when despair sets in, a burden when I’m joyful, but what a beautiful lesson I’ve learned that how I feel right now is not the final word. May peace and joy surprise you during this difficult week…prayers and thanks for the gift of your writing and you.

    • John, thank you so much! Years ago, Jeff’s aunt (who is one of my best friends, not much older than I am) wrote to us during a difficult time words very similar to what you’ve said, and I never forgot it. She said “This too shall pass…a blessing and a curse, which will become more apparent as time goes on.” I am so happy you like the blog, and we very much appreciate and need your prayers.

      • Carly Simon? Isn’t she the one, before Tattoos became so popular, had a large tattoo of a sailing ship on her chest?

        • That “tattoo” was an act of vandalism, perpetrated by an older brother who read one too many Mad Magazines. What most cracked the younger brother up was how the older brother kept saying, “Wasn’t that a great ship I drew?” as if he seriously meant it. That album is still extant, BTW.

  14. Debbie

    You and Jeff will be in my prayers this week. Holidays spent in hospitals are not the best, but when they bring good results they are worth it. Over the last 18 years someone in our family has been in the hospital half of the time, the worst having my Dad have brain surgery on Christmas day. My husband is on call for Christmas again this year. I try and have something for him to take to each patient he visits early Christmas morning.Remember I will be praying for you both this Thanksgiving and everyone will be home by Christmas.

    • Debbie, thanks so much! Wow, you have certainly “been around the block” when it comes to hospitals. I hope that your Dad is doing well now. How lovely of you to have something for your husband to give the patients on Christmas! I will remember with gratitude that you are praying for us. I really appreciate your visits here, and your comment.

  15. I guess life has a way of showing us beauty even though it’s sometimes hard gained. Like your stunning photo. Reminds me of something I was told once, “it’s a steep hill ahead, but wait till you see the view from the top”. I was going thru a divorce at the time. Am I richer for the experience? I think in some ways. It made me realize it wasn’t fatal to be independent. It cemented life long friendships with good hearted neighbours that helped me thru the worst of it. I think I also gained some an important perspective on what was really important to me in a partnership and marriage. I think your quote this day perfectly summed up the whole experience 😀

    • I am glad you emerged with some extra wisdom and appreciation! There are some things we have to learn the hard way, but it does tend to help us recognize what’s truly beautiful and right about life – no easy task with all the mixed and unreliable messages we get from every direction. Driving up Pike’s Peak scared me to death, but the way back down was made so much easier by the breathtaking views. I guess life is sort of like that too.

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