Life Update – Dena Johnson Martin Christian Blog


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

In fact, I took a little break from my blog as I try to take a deep breath and get my feet back under me. I am more than exhausted. And dry. And burnt. I feel like the weight of life has really brought me down, and I’m coasting through life right now.

Have you ever felt this?

I cannot identify a single thing. I know I haven’t had a measurable time off in almost two years since Covid hit. I changed jobs several times and just couldn’t earn a vacation. It has an impact on the mental state.

It has also been an incredible transition period. My two boys graduated from high school. My daughter is now in her final year of high school. What we assumed our lives would look like right now is nothing what our lives really look like. Doesn’t God have a sense of humor?

My oldest came back when Covid hit and his university closed. We expected it to be a few months, but we continue for almost two years. He actually decided to give up his last year of college and go to flight school. He is officially a private pilot and hopes to have commercial certification and be a flight instructor by May. How cool is that?!?! And it was so much fun watching him find something that he love and really pursue his dreams.

My youngest 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 was so much fun watching him find his passion! He received scholarship offers from across the country for his work in cattle assessment and he decided to drop out of college to become a firefighter. He got his advanced EMT and feels like he has found a job that makes his life meaningful!

My little girl is singing. A lot. And really good! She has just won all-state honors for the third time, making her her school’s first three times in the history of eternity. We are awaiting the results of the National Honorary Choir and hope that she will be a two-time member of the National Honorary Choir (Covid only means two years as it was canceled last year). I really try to savor every minute with her before she leaves for college next year.

It’s funny because I assumed she would be there alone child at home right now. Instead we have all three live at home! There is absolutely nothing to complain about from us, but it’s funny that it certainly wasn’t what we expected. I have this overwhelming feeling that next summer we will go to an empty nest overnight.

Life is funny like that. It might not sound like what we expected, but it’s fine. Really good if we have the right frame of mind.

And can I tell you about my sweet husband? It’s been over four years since we got married, and he’s still so wonderful. Maybe even more wonderful. He is nice. Compassionate. Kindness. 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 assure you that there are still some good people out there. There are no words to describe what it is to be loved as Christ loved the church.

I guess I’m saying all of this to say life is busy. And full. And sometimes upsetting. And exhausting.

Amidst the beauty and savoring every moment, I also feel like I’m losing a part of myself.



To dry.




Choose your adjective. They’re all describing 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’m rarely willing to part with the few bucks it takes to play the lottery).

And now ? How do I get from where I am to where I want to be – alive and prosperous again, intimately linked to my Father, savoring every moment of this journey called life?

That’s a very good question. I know the scriptures encourage us to reject anything that hinders us (Hebrews 12: 1). How do we do this when the things that bother us are necessary for life? As all responsibility implies.

This is the question I am facing right now. Am I alone in this exhausting marathon? Are there others who face the same struggle? I of course hope that I am not alone. Maybe it’s time to embrace and travel together to a place of connection with one another and with the Father. Maybe we should create a group where we can come together and honestly share the struggles of wanting to live intimately with our Father when there are so many obstacles.

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

Exit – Running was my release. I had to have a spinal fusion a few years ago and am now unable to run. I miss loneliness.

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 take the time to to play with my children.

Tribe – My community is different, and the Covid has had a huge impact! I know we need to develop close friends to live with, like-hearted friends for God. It is so difficult when you are busy or exhausted. In any case, a tribe that walks with us on the Christian path is essential.

Will you hold me responsible? Responsible for finding a new version for stress? A new way to find solitude and connection with the Father? Responsible for finding ways to play, to create moments of joy in our lives? Will you be my tribe, cheering each other on on this journey? I firmly believe that we need each other, that God never wanted us to live alone?

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

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