Struggle Well

What makes relationships work

Being in a relationship is about finding someone you can struggle well with. If you can’t struggle well, it’s easy to walk away. That’s what I’ve learned watching my Ma and Pa work out 36 years of problems presenting themselves. I witnessed when pain and pride interrupted love with it’s tension, there was always a choice to press in or pull back.

relationships, love, love well, struggle wellAs iron sharpens iron, the collision of two distinctly different mindsets can spark some major fireworks. If done right, the refining process can be a beautiful thing. When both are committed to communicate and learn, the clashes can make a marriage stronger, build character, and deepen faith. It’s a necessary part of life.

To desire a comfortable, stress-free living leaves relationships at the surface. And our faith too. How we live with others is a mirror of our marriage with the Bridegroom above. To avoid the difficult parts only holds back what can be developed on the inside; spiritual maturity. There’s no promise for protection from problems. Only the potential to grow or run away.

Life will never stop handing us struggles. It is a daily reality of our faith. Holding back won’t heal the the pain. My folks taught me that communicating the struggles is what seasons life; marriage can flavor with a mouthful of salt and sweet at the same time.

For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 2 Corinthians 4:17

In the tension, trials and soul-felt tears, there must be an accompaniment of understanding, patience, love, openness, and the willingness to remain vulnerable. Otherwise, struggling can turn into an emotional response and in this moment of weakness, personal attacks and criticism come crawling out of the grave.

A thief comes in the darkest of hours to steal our joy. Just because two people stay married doesn’t mean they act married. They might be wed and wear rings for the world to notice but apathy can’t change the heart. In these moments, difficult marriages either grow or surrender.

A good marriage is not something you find; it’s something you work for. And coasting through can’t do this. Only struggles that crucify selfishness, confront pain and confess truths can create relationships of beauty and trust by instilling faithfulness and perseverance to grow.

“The more the flesh is wasted by affliction, so much the more is the spirit strengthened by inward grace.” Thomas a Kempis

When you find someone you can struggle well with, there’s an aroma of grace penetrating these dark places. There’s protruding joy, even in the deep pain. There’s understanding, a ‘leaning in’, a hug waiting when hurt and frustration find their way to the surface. These struggles draw us nearer to God.

When you struggle well, you can live with the questions.

Relationships that don’t struggle well are the ones that end.

Thank you for allowing us to witness what 36 years of struggling well looks like, Mom and Dad. Thank you for pressing in when the pain begged you to pull back. The beauty in your love and growth in your character has shaped my future forever. Happy Anniversary, Ma and Pa.

The Power of Honesty

friendship, trust, vulnerability, joy, laughter, trishakeehn.comThese seasons are shorter looking back from the other side. Don’t let these moments slip away.

Stretch out the sentences with your honesty; it’s a treasure that loses power the longer we wait. Even the tears unlock a vault of vulnerability that acts more like gravity between two hearts.

Unbridle the laughter when life brings you immense joy.

This place of surrender and trust is the shortest path between two people. This is how we love.

Holding Space With People

We live in a ‘me too’ community. It feels good to connect with someone who shares our struggles and experiences life like us. But when we’re hurting, ‘me too’ isn’t what we want to hear. Good intentions may be behind the phrases we use with hurting people. However, in a place of excruciating pain, good intentions are not welcome.

A few weeks ago my younger sister came to me with her struggles. The sadness and frustration she was experiencing moved my tears and emotions to say things I thought would heal the wounds. Instead, it hurt her heart.

How often do you try to step in and speak while someone is sharing a story of sickness and strife?

In the midst of turmoil, words will do more damage to a vulnerable soul than your own silence.

No matter what you sprinkle into the content that comes out of your lips, a troubled heart can’t hear the humanity in it when their focus is on the heartache. And that’s where many of us go wrong with our words when we try to talk to hurting people.

“Healer” is not your job title.holding space,

Our desire to feel close and connect with people may even find a story to artificially join in with ‘me too’ experience here. This is merely a self-centered strategy to shift the focus and create a shared conversation.

The reality is we can never fully understand someone else’s pain. It is physically impossible for you to experience their story in it’s entirety, no matter how similar the situations may be.

We have to step out of this tendency to view someone else’s struggle through the lens of our own evaluation. We operate out of what we want versus understanding what a distressed heart needs.

Healing happens when we hold space with people.

Compassion helps us lean in with our ears and get comfortable with the dead air.

It’s difficult. Sometimes I don’t see the ‘right’ in it. Then Jesus gives a little nudge. This isn’t about me. This is about my friend. What does she need?

Let me squeeze into this crawl space with her and see the circumstances from where she sits. Instead of calling her out of this place, I just need to climb in.

As you read this, maybe a friend came to mind who has been struggling through some desperate times. Go there. Climb into the darkness with her instead of calling her out.

Perhaps there’s a sting in your soul where you have fallen short of being a compassionate friend, like me. The conclusion to this story is that I went back to that place with my sister and used my knees to find her. Using less words and more tears this time, I admitted my wrongs and asked if I could join her. “So with a final breath in this quiet space, I want you to know that I am comfortable with dead air,” I whispered.

This post, Holding Space With People by Trisha Keehn, appeared first on

Do You Believe In Soulmates?

Loving hard with our hearts and hands, and then even harder with our feet,

Asking, caring and wildly serving each other when the world wants our time,

Understanding when the words still bring tears,

Forgiving when the pain is yet fresh,

Humbly accepting failures, even if it’s out of empathy,

Adjusting the words and the way we walk because we have compassion,

relationship, trishakeehn, God made life to be about relationshipLeaning in to the difficult conversations when it’s easier to pull back…

These are character attributes of commitment that simple chemistry and compatibility can’t execute.

No amount of charisma can put Christ in the center or keep Him first.

Being comfortable with someone doesn’t mean it won’t get complicated or have tension at times.

“So do you believe in soul mates?” He wanted to know.

“Well, I guess if I did, I wouldn’t believe in what it takes to make marriage work,” I replied.

Life is more than romance. It’s about relationship.

Long-winded answers like this may keep me single but I’m not willing to settle.

Fools Rush In

Wait For Your Mate

The heartbreak of being lonely temporarily is far less painful than the heartbreak of giving your heart to someone permanently and then discovering they didn’t deserve it, leaving you broken and left to start over again.valentine decorations, Target decorations

You don’t even have to walk down the aisles filled with chocolate covered hearts to see that Valentine’s Day is around the corner; the heart-shaped balloons rise above the shelves while splashes of red and pink spill out over the endcaps and shout out with offers in checkout lanes.

If you’re single, the temptation is label your quiet nights as loneliness and exchange the peace in this place where God has you for the romanticized role the rest of the world plays during this time of year.

I want to challenge you to change your pout into praise.

He sees your pain but it’s His love that is keeping you out of the wrong relationship. It is His favor that is telling you ‘no’. He loves you too much. It’s His grace that is protecting you. He is saving you some time if you’ll wait and listen.

God has a significant plan for your life.

His love for you is specific and exclusive to you. He loves you too much to get caught up in writing your story the same as those surrounding you.

He’s working behind the scenes moving some things out of your life right now.

exclusive love, love of GodWhen we hurt, it’s easy to someone into the deep cracks of our heart because their smooth words soothe the aches. But here’s the problem. One day we may realize that the pain is still there and their words were just words, with no substance to hold us as we heal.

Hurting hearts attract other hurting hearts. If you’re hurting, here is your destiny.

A healthy heart attracts the reflection of healing and wholeness.

So let the Creator mend those broken places and bring the right one to you, in the right time.

Taking it one step further; be careful not to let this ‘loneliness’ lure you into platonic relationships that don’t hold you to being a better version of yourself.

You want someone who is encouraging but who also isn’t shy to ask the challenging questions. A friend who will sit with you in the slums of life but who also doesn’t let you stay there.

Every relationship needs filtering through the voice of God and the Word of God over your life. If they don’t fit, they don’t need to remain. Do you trust the Lord, your Provider, to bring you the right team in the right time?

Get direction from God on who’s in your life. Sometimes we forget that even Jesus had to pray about who He surrounded himself with.

Do you want to please people at the expense of your own destiny?

Hold your ground in trusting the Lord to work it all out in His perfect timing.

Your Influence Changes Lives

who are you influencing, influence, setting hearts on fire, the love of God grips us, trishakeehn.comI wonder what the flame looks like when a changed heart passes the torch and sets another on fire, and another and another…
All because the love of God gripped your heart and you weren’t willing to let up. I just wonder what it would look like…
In the fifth grade, a pastor and his wife offered me a ride to church every Sunday and Thursday. We’d pick up other kids too. There was a lot of love, and joy and usually some kind of adventure along the way. These quickly became my favorite days of the week.
Summer camp came, and this couple urged me to come; the church paid for my week there. This is where Jesus became more than a bible story and I felt His spirit stirring. One night I surrendered my life around those campfire flames.
Returning home, this couple took that Holy Spirit spark and started to fan the flame by asking me to help out with the children’s programs in town and around more campfires.
The love of God gripped their hearts and they weren’t letting up.
Larry and Peggy Nilson encouraged me in strengths that I didn’t see there. They filled my heart with flavors of hope I’d never tasted before. This kindness, the joy and crazy love showed me what the grace of God looks like.
What if you gave someone a ride to church today? What if you encouraged someone in their strengths?
I wonder what these campfire flames look like from Heaven when even just one life is being changed forever?
All because the love of God gripped your heart and you weren’t willing to let up. I just wonder what it would look like…

Love A Friend Today

love a friend, valentines day is for loving everyone, let someone know you love themGo next door and say hello.

Write a letter; “Hey friend, I want you to hear this from me… I’m a better person because of your beautiful soul in my life’.

Make a phone call and splurge on the anytime minutes just to share a breath together.

Find a cheap plane ticket, buy one and show up.

Open your heart to the possibilities of what love can do and wrap your arms around someone who means the world to you today.

There is only one thing we live for – to share with others the love of Christ. It’s the only thing that will bear fruit in our lives. And it will always leave the mark of God’s power.

You can only share the love that is in your heart so ask the Lord to draw you in a little closer and thrill your soul a little deeper with His love so that the overflow will spill out and flood the places you land. May the Lord infuse your words and actions with the expression of His grace today, and allow you to soak up the experience of it all.

It’s a great day to get up and step into the adventure of loving a friend lavishly!

The Luckiest

lucky people, grateful life practice, lucky people meet people, be open to chance encounters, be open to meeting new people. be open, be available, embrace the chaos, Bob Miglani

Lucky people are open to meeting anyone, anytime.

They smile and engage —

opening up their minds to

chance meetings with strangers

where one thing can lead to another.

Bob Miglani, ‘Embrace the Chaos’

Comfortable Keeps You From God

prayer changes things, prayer heals, prayer is an invitation, prayer is powerful, www.trishakeehn.comMark: You prayed and believed your whole life. Never done anything wrong. And here you are. You’re the nicest person I know. I am the meanest. You have dementia. My life is perfect. Explain that to me!

Mina’s Mother: Sometimes the devil allows people to live a life free of trouble because he doesn’t want them turning to God. Their sin is like a jail cell, except it is all nice and comfy and there doesn’t seem to be any reason to leave. The door’s wide open. Till one day, time runs out, and the cell door slams shut, and suddenly it’s too late.

(Movie Quote from “God’s Not Dead”)

More than a quote though, that’s the honest truth. Whatever you’re facing, draw even closer to God. This wasn’t meant for you to brave alone. It’s an invitation to lean on something more powerful than you and watch a story of His glory be told. Sometimes what brings Him the greatest glory won’t be in healing you, but it may come from drawing in just one more witness to the hand of God being leaned on and lifted up.

How to get through the holidays

We’re still a couple days away from Christmas and I have yet to board a plane to be with family, yet somehow we’ve already found the short fuses and tension stretching patience with each other.

Can you relate?

forgiveness, love, love because that's who you areThe problems may have nothing to do with you except that you’re within proximity of the resentful responses and it’s pulling on your patience to stay present with people like this.

I’m paddling in this boat with you, my friend.

The enemy just needs to get us wrapped up in anger and bitterness to steal the show from what this holiday is all about. He wants you to be a bitter soul behind a beautiful face, crippled by the offenses this Christmas.

Maybe you’re coming to the table feeling resentment because your family could never completely understand how your own rejections feel. Yours are seemingly impossible to forgive.

Unforgiveness is the devil’s design to keep you bruised and bleeding and long-term angry. He can use even the lightest offense to do it. You’re not the victim of offense. You’ve been targeted by the devil with anger and he’s been strategizing how to suck all the power out of your life.

Forgive. Because what you have now is not freedom but bitterness. Your forgiveness doesn’t benefit the other person… it’s for you to feel whole and complete. Genuine freedom is waiting for you on the other side of forgiveness. Release your friends, your family… and the ticket agent juggling ten jobs to get you home for Christmas.

My prayer is for God to pull out all the stops and give you the strength to release others from what they owe you. May the Lord shift your thinking from the same old broken roads to a path of peace with each other and focus on the purpose of coming together. ‪#‎fervent‬

Don’t let the people you love determine how you’re going to love.