Life in the Blender
Dena Johnson MartinDena Johnson is a former single mom to three amazing kids: Blake, Cole, and Cassie and wife to her high school friend, Roy. She strives to follow Christ each day and to lead her children to do the same. She delights in taking the every day experiences of life and turning them into biblical lessons for her children. Dena's daily prayer is simple: Lord, my life is yours. Live through me. Love through me. Parent through me. Let me decrease that you might increase. Dena is the founder of Dena Johnson Ministries, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping people find beauty through the brokenness of this life. Her heart's desire is to use her own pain to point others to the power of God who redeems every hurt, every pain. You can contact Dena at Dena@denajohnson.com. You can also find her blog at Dena Johnson Ministries.
- 2017 Sep 28
Several years ago, I was stressed…Really, really stressed.
One evening I came home from work and told my kids that as soon as dinner was over, I was going to my room. I expected them to take care of themselves and allow me the evening to relax…alone…with no interruptions…in my room…my sanctuary.
As I was cooking dinner, I noticed Cole walking out of my room while slipping something into his pocket. That turkey had gone into my room and retrieved the key to my bedroom door!
“I dare you,” I began with daggers shooting from my eyes as I stared at him and the key he was trying to hide.
“Why?” he asked.
“Because I am going into my room, stripping down naked, and sitting in the middle of my bed with absolutely no clothes on. If you use that key, you WILL see me naked.”
“You wouldn’t,” he stammered, eyes bulging out of his head.
“Try me,” I bluntly stated.
Needless to say, I had an evening in my sanctuary with no interruptions, an evening to simply unwind and recover from the stress of life.
My sanctuary is currently nothing more than a figment of my imagination…
Roy and I were married and ran off for a week. A week of solitude. A week of doing whatever we wanted without any pressure. A week with no kids. A week of simply spending time with one another and learning more about one another.
And then we came home.
Home to a house full of kids—five to be exact. A house full of activity and homework and non-stop responsibility. We came home to a house of seven and all that goes along with it—laundry and dishes and meals and grocery shopping and chauffeuring and voice lessons and guitar lessons and sheep to feed and football games and FFA trips and Everything. Else. You. Can. Possibly. Imagine.
Take seven people from two distinct families and throw them into one small house with only three rooms and mix at high speed.
That’s currently our life. Our life in the blender.
As I speak, we have children tucked into every corner of this home. My kids are safely tucked into their rooms, rooms that always seem to look as if a tornado just blew through.
Roy’s son is currently sleeping on the couch in the living room. He’s a welcome visitor with absolutely no place of his own.
Roy’s daughter is sleeping on an air mattress in our room. She typically goes to bed around 7:00 each evening. After we tuck her in, we must do our best to avoid going into the room until she is soundly asleep.
I have no sanctuary.
I have no place to escape.
I have no place to soak in the solitude that is so important to me.
The blender is running at high speed, tossing and turning and chopping and blending.
Chaos is running rampant in this household.
There are clothes tucked into every spare corner.
Personal belongings seem to be reproducing in my kitchen and my living room.
I crave the order and peace that are essential to my sanity.
Every time I pass through a room, I find myself picking stuff up, filling the trash can, straightening up one more time.
I’ve run the vacuum almost daily in an effort to make it seem this house is cleaner than it is.
I’ve cleaned off the table more times than I can count.
I’ve washed more loads of towels in the last three weeks than I have in the last three years.
I’ve run the dishwasher more times than I can even remember.
Yet the blender just keeps running, mixing, chopping, blending.
Have you ever noticed things just don’t go as planned? We had planned to add onto this house, to have it ready before the wedding. Instead, we are frantically hunting for a house big enough to hold seven people.
We had planned to have his special needs daughter prepared, ready to move in and become one big happy family. No matter how hard we tried, she is not adjusting the way we had hoped.
We had planned to move in and live happily ever after. Instead, we are learning to adjust and put up with each other’s quirks.
We are learning we will be living in the blender for a long time.
But we are also learning that life in the blender is filled with beauty. It’s filled with the joy of getting to know someone deeper and more intimately. It’s filled with the laughter of five teenagers living life to the fullest. It’s filled with the peace of knowing you are known fully and loved completely. It’s filled with the sense of gratitude for someone who longs to make your life easier by serving you.
Our first few weeks have been filled with challenges you can’t even start to imagine. Challenges neither of us expected. Challenges that have pushed us to the edge and almost forced us over the cliff.
But we cling. We cling to each other. We cling to God. We trust that He knew what He was doing when He put us together, and we trust Him to carry us through. We trust Him to provide the house that will become a home for this perfectly imperfect life. We trust Him to provide financially for the many unexpected needs that seem to be popping up at every turn. We trust Him to control the buttons on this blender, mixing us and churning us until we have reached the perfect texture.
Where this journey leads, I don’t know. What He does in us and through us, I don’t know. How he overcomes the many obstacles staring us in the face, I don’t know.
But He knows. And we will choose to trust Him.