Getting Back to Normal

Navigating Through the Tough Stuff

Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.~ John 15_13

Getting Back to Normal – Navigating through tough stuff.

What do you do when your world is rocked? How do you get back to normal?

Two weekends ago, my world was definitely rocked. It shifted me off kilter, and I’ve been trying to navigate my way back to normal ever since. Here’s what happened:

My husband, Chris, an experienced kayaker, went out with a group of his buddies to do some winter kayaking for the purpose of a video shoot for some promotional materials. He has been winter kayaking on many occasions and he’s one to focus on safety, so I thought not much of it and waved him off to have fun.

To give a bit more background, Chris is a trained EMT/Firefighter and has been through extensive training in outdoor recreation and rescue situations. He carries rescue gear with him and has been through many different experiences to save lives, but, he’s never been on the receiving end of things.

This time was different.

Something happened and Chris rolled his kayak at the base of a dam in the river. He popped up quick enough, but the churning water at the base of the dam kept pulling him back under. His friend who was closest saw what was happening and attempted to get to him but was unable to maneuver his kayak close enough. He ended up going in the water as well.

Chris fought to get out of the churning water, but was continually pulled back under. Eventually, he was too tired to keep fighting and slipped under, and everything went black.

By God’s grace and mercy, Chris’s body was spit out further down the river, where another friend was frantically trying to get to him. He was able to get him to the shore and a third friend helped to get him on the land.


He wasn’t conscious and he wasn’t breathing but he still had a pulse.

One of his friends, also experienced in rescue procedures began CPR immediately and 911 was called. After three rounds of CPR, Chris came too and began throwing up some of the water that was in his lungs. The next thing was to get him dry and warm.

Life EMS took Chris to the ER and getting his temperature back up to normal was the top priority. I was notified of what had happened when he was enroute to the hospital and met him there. When I arrived, his temperature was at 93 degrees and he was shaking but conscious. Slowly, over the next few hours, his body temperature increased and soon it was back up to normal. He was even able to go home that night!

Because of the fluid in his lungs, he was put on high doses of antibiotics due to the risk of pneumonia. This made him very nauseous and throughout the night he threw up several times. The next day, things turned around and he was able to start eating normally again and although still weak, was almost back to his old self.

God gave us a miracle that day and his good friends put themselves at risk to save his life.


Over the next few days, the outpouring of love and support from friends, family and our church family was overwhelming.

My emotions were all over the place, and I had trouble sleeping. I couldn’t seem to function in my normal capacity. I was so overwhelmed by God’s grace and mercy and love for us in saving Chris. I seemed to be stuck in neutral. I didn’t seem to know what I was supposed to be doing. This confused me. I thought, “This was amazing, we had such an awesome outcome, why is thinking about cooking dinner so difficult?” I didn’t understand why the ordinary routines of life were difficult. I assumed that these types of feelings and experiences shouldn’t be happening to me because it was a good outcome. Silly me.

When we are faced with high stress, trauma or difficult experiences…it throws us for a loop. We can expect to be off kilter for awhile and for our emotions to be more difficult to control. We need to give ourselves grace and be okay with right where we are at. In time, emotions begin to die down, sleep patterns normalize and we can get back to our ordinary daily functioning once again.

If you have had any major stress in your life, you may need to remind yourself of this. Tell yourself it’s okay and just slowly ease your way back into your routines. That’s what I did, and it helped.

A week later, Chris was able to stand in the place where it all happened and thank God he was alive. At first I didn’t know if I could go with him so soon after it happened, but it felt good and we could revel in God’s grace and mercy and love. It was a moment to bring some closure to the stress of the past week and symbolize moving forward.


I recommend that if there is a stressful event that you’ve been through, that doing something like this to bring closure can be very cathartic.

If you’ve faced or are facing tough stuff in your life, I pray that you will find rest and peace.

Blessings to you.



Sometimes I link-up with these other blogs during the week.


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36 thoughts on “Getting Back to Normal

  1. Wow! Praise The Lord that he was able to provide just what your husband needed to be rescued. What a blessing! Thanks for this post. Visiting you from the Making Your Home Sing link-up. God bless you!

    • Thank you so much Liz. One of the things that I was so grateful for was that the article in the paper spoke of faith and pointed to God. So glad He could receive the praises for this day.

  2. Oh how scary! Thank goodness he’s alive and well. I was clicking over from Literacy Musing Mondays and your story really resonated with me. My youngest son (7 at the time) was almost run over by a bass fishing boat while out enjoying the lake last 4th of July… here we are months and months later and I still have nightmares about it. And yet I continually remind myself that he’s alive and well too. Those near misses really show us how fragile life is and why we really should try to take the time to enjoy every moment.

    • So glad you had a good outcome too. It sure does help you remember the fragility of life and to not take any moment for granted. Thanks for your comments and for stopping by.

  3. Wow, what a scary thing to go through. I can see how it would be hard to do ordinary things when you’ve had such an experience. Thank you for sharing it and for helping us realize that when traumatic things happen we shouldn’t be surprised if it takes us awhile to get back to normal, even if the outcome was good. I’m visiting from #LMMLinkup!

  4. Wow! Thank you for sharing your husband’s story. God is indeed good. I am praising God for the community that gathered around you and your family. Blessed to be your neighbor at Testimony Tuesday this week. Praying for you and your family as you move forward.

  5. So thankful things worked out so well, Judy! It is amazing how good and bad major events can put so far off kilter, thanks for the reminder. God is definitely in the business of putting us in places that keep us running back to Him for sure, I’m glad it is in rejoicing for you in this season!

  6. Wow Judy, I’m a first time visitor to your site. Praise God for the joy-filled ending to your story. And you are absolutely right after any trauma (and this was a big one) it takes time to readjust. Would you consider sharing this at the Faith ‘n Friends Blog Hop at Counting My Blessings on Friday. I know your story would bless many of my readers. God’s blessings to you!

    • Thanks so much Deb. I would love to share it there. Please let me know what I need to do in order to make it happen. Thanks for your encouragement!

  7. What a wonderfully exciting, full of grace and mercy story! I am so happy that everything turned out ok! Bless your heart! I have experienced the same thing after going through a life altering ordeal, even if the outcome is positive. It is hard to function through even the most normal tasks. It usually takes a few days to get back to normal. Doing something to bring closure is a wonderful suggestion. Blessings to you and your family! (Stopping by from #SittingAmongFriends)

  8. Judy, I am so glad that your husband is safe and sound. I can only imagine the relief you felt and how thankful you must be. Thank you so much for using this scary situation to glorify God and share it with us.

    I joined you from Sitting Among Friends Linkup and would love to come back and visit again. Wishing you blessings!

  9. Thank God he’s doing fine .That’s so scary. When you’re in a situation like that it makes you realize how precious life is. And I agree with you, we need to give ourselves grace and be OK with not being OK for a while. Rejoicing with you Judy!

  10. Hi Judy!
    What a powerful story! I am so blessed to hear of God’s mercy, care, and provision for you and Chris in this as well as the outpouring of so many. I especially appreciate the important counsel you share about the impact of a traumatic event and healthy ways to care for yourself afterwards, even when the result is a good one. Very well told and illustrated.
    God’s best to you both! Visiting as your neighbor on the Messy Marriage Linkup.

  11. When you go through a life-threatening event with a loved one, you can still suffer from Post Traumatic Disorder Syndrome. It takes a while to feel normal again. I will pray for you. I know you are grateful that your husband survived. Thank God. He gave you a miracle. My thoughts and prayers will be with you today.

  12. Wow. Thank you for sharing your story! I know exactly what you mean by being thrown off kilter even when the outcome of a crazy situation is good. My husband was injured in a terrorist attack a few years ago — he’s totally fine now (just has a few pieces of shrapnel in his back), but it took me a WHILE to get back to normal after that. Yes – that feeling of even cooking dinner feeling like such a difficult thing. And you’re right — it’s so good to get some closure.