Dena Johnson Martin Christian Blog and Commentary

Life Update

Can you believe Thanksgiving is next week? I have no idea what has happened to this year.

I have actually been taking a little break from my blogging as I try to take a deep breath and get my feet underneath me again. I am beyond exhausted. And dry. And burned out. I feel like the weight of life has really gotten me down, and I'm just coasting through life right now.

Have you ever felt that way?

I can't pinpoint any one thing. I do know I haven't had any measurable time off work in nearly two years since Covid hit. I have changed jobs a couple of times and simply haven't been able to build up any vacation time. That takes a toll on one's mental state.

It's also been an incredible time of transition. Both of my boys graduated high school. My daughter is now a senior in high school. What we assumed our lives would look like right now is nothing what our lives actually look like. Doesn't God have a sense of humor?

My oldest moved back in when Covid hit and his college shut down. We expected it to be a few months, but we are going on nearly two years. He actually decided to forgo his senior year of college and go to flight school. He is officially a private pilot and expects to have a commercial certification and be a flight instructor by May. How cool is that?!?! And it has been so much fun to watch him find something he loves and really pursue his dreams.

My younger son was actually a 2020 graduate. Yes, Covid robbed us of the end of his senior year, graduation, and so many special moments. But, it has been so much fun watching him find his passion! He had scholarship offers from across the nation for his work in livestock judging, and he decided to forgo college to become a firefighter. He has earned his Advanced EMT and feels like he has found a job that gives purpose to his life!

My baby girl sings. A lot. And really well! She just earned All-State honors for the third time making her the first three time all-state from her school in the history of forever. We are waiting for the results from the National Honor Choir and are hopeful she will be a two-time national honor choir member (Covid means only two years because it was canceled last year). I am truly trying to savor every single minute with her before she moves off to college next year.

It's funny because I assumed she would be the only child at home right now. Instead, we have all three living at home! There is absolutely no complaining from us, but it's funny that it's certainly not what we expected. I have this overwhelming feeling that next summer we will go to an empty nest overnight.

Life is funny that way. It may not look how we expected, but it is good. Really good if we have the right mindset.

And can I tell you about my sweet hubby? It's been over four years since we married, and he is still as wonderful as ever. Maybe even more wonderful. He is kind. Compassionate. Caring. He loves deeply and he loves well. He serves with all his heart. For those of you who have been burned by someone who hurt you, let me just assure you that there are still good people out there. There are no words to describe what it is to be loved as Christ loved the church.

I guess I say all of that to say that life is busy. And full. And overwhelming sometimes. And exhausting.

In the midst of beauty and savoring every moment, I also feel like I am losing part of myself.


Burned out.





Pick your adjective. They all describe me right now. I would give just about anything to win the lottery so I could just step back and focus on my Savior. Unfortunately, I don't think that will happen (especially since I rarely am willing to part with the few dollars it requires to play the lottery).

So what now? How do I move from where I am to where I want to be--alive and thriving again, intimately connected with my Father, relishing every moment of this journey called life?

It's a really good question. I know scripture encourages us to throw off everything that hinders us (Hebrews 12:1). How do we do that when the things hindering us are necessary for life? Like every responsibility  entails.

That's the question I face right now. Am I alone in this exhausting marathon? Are there others who are facing the same struggle? I certainly hope I'm not alone. Maybe it's time we lock arms and journey together to a place of connection with one another and the Father. Maybe we should create some group where we can come together and honestly share the struggles of wanting to live intimately with our Father when there are so many hindrances.

For me, I look back at the time when I was closest to my Father. There were a few things that characterized my life: Release, Rest, Tribe (ugh, I tried to find a synonym for "friend" that starts with the letter R?).

Release - Running was my release. I had to have a spinal fusion a couple of years ago and am now unable to run. I miss the solitude.

Rest - I used to work three long days a week instead of the normal 5 days each week. I miss the extra days off and taking time to play with my kids.

Tribe - My community is different, and Covid had a huge impact! I know we need to develop some close friends to do life with, friends who have the same heart for God. It's so hard when you are either busy or exhausted. Either way, a tribe that walks the Christian journey with us is essential.

Will you hold me accountable? Accountable to finding a new release for the stress? A new way of finding solitude and connection with the Father? Accountable to find ways to play, to create moments of joy within in our lives? Will you be my tribe, encouraging one another on this journey? I firmly believe we need each other, that God never intended for us to do life alone?

Or maybe you have some other ideas. How do you find the connection, the energy, to keep on keeping on in this life? I would love to hear how you keep your life alive!