Tag Archives: anxiety

You Are Free

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Be who you already are. Be Free– because you already are free. Your enemy is dead–so silence the lies in your head. No enemy can imprison you–because your Savior empowers you. Nothing can hold you in bondage–because you are held by him. Not one thing can hold you back– because his arms are holding you.

The greatest lie of the pit is that you have to prove yourself.

The greatest truth of Christ’s reality is that you are free– so live free. Be who you already are.

You are always free from something–to become free for something.

This is what the realest love does–it frees you from slavery and frees you for serving. From slavery to the dark to serving in the kingdom of light! From slavery to meaningless pain–to serving for the most meaningful purpose.”  Ann Voskamp (foreward in You Are Free)

These last few months, God has taken me on a journey.  A journey of walking in freedom. A journey of discovering my calling. A journey of exploring my weaknesses and strengths. A journey of healing from years of shame. A journey of leaning hard into His strength.

Continue reading You Are Free

Wednesday Whispers #10

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The Anxious or Depressed Spouse: Tommy Nelson 

Heather MacFayden (Don’t Mom Alone) interviews pastor Tommy Nelson on her podcast. He shares some very insightful information about his own struggle with anxiety and depression . . . and offers help to those who may be struggling or have spouses who need encouragement.

ABC Scripture Cards

Each morning on the way to school, my younger kids and I review some sort of Scripture verse, theology concept, or character development. It’s a great way to invest Jesus into their hearts in the short morning commute. I’m looking forward to using these cards in the near future!

Lego Nativity Set Instructions

I’m not sure about you, but we have TONS of lego pieces around our house! My kids are presently working on this Lego Christmas project to build. I plan to keep them busy with these other Lego holiday projects as well!

Church, You Must Do Better 

“I wanted to say this: Church, you must do better. Don’t make your pastor’s life harder than it has to be . . . Come alongside them and work with them so they know they’re not alone. Many of them have left all family and support to live in your community. You’re their family now. Don’t fight them at every turn . . . pray for them daily.” Glenna Marshall

Jotham’s Journey: A Storybook for Advent

For the past six years, we have read one of the books from this Advent series with our children in the month of December. It’s become one of our family traditions! In our experience, the readings do take a little time (at least 10 minutes or more) and are best received by children ages 5+. Our children thoroughly enjoy these stories! Jotham’s Journey is the first book in the series.

Happy Wednesday, friends!

Wednesday Whispers #3

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Opportunity vs. Disruption: Paul David Tripp podcast

I’ll never forget the first time I read a book by Paul David Tripp and then attended a parenting seminar with Paul . . . his words left me with a burning desire to know more of God and to give my children a huge view of our awesome God! I have such admiration for this man of God who lives and teaches the Gospel. Parents, you are missing out if you’ve never met this guy!

How to Teach Your Child Obedience (without Raising a Legalist)

“As we are the ones teaching our children about God, we especially need to ensure that as we teach them obedience it does not get confused with legalism. I have too many friends that grew up in households that were so focused only on behavior modification that they grew up thinking God only wanted good works from them.

. . . As we teach obedience we can’t avoid talking about the actual acts we expect of our children, nor should we, but there are certain things we can do as parents to teach obedience without it leading to legalism or the belief that they can earn salvation and acceptance from God by being “good” or performing. Here are seven ways we can do just that.”  Christina Patterson

Be Held (Lullabies for the Beloved) Christy Nockels

This music album is a favorite in our house! I’ve often given this CD as a baby gift. These lullabies remind me to rest in Christ . . . to be held by His unending love and grace. Elysabeth often requests to hear “River of Grace.” It’s her favorite!

What to Do When You Worry Too Much: A Kid’s Guide to Overcoming Anxiety Dawn Huebner

Last school year, I found myself sitting in a professional Christian counseling office. One of my children was struggling with anxiety about school. The constant headaches, lack of appetite for breakfast, intermittent nightmares, tears, and the struggle to sleep had taken a toll on both of us. One of the tools that she suggested was this workbook designed for children. God greatly used this book to give my child language for her struggles and tools to help her overcome much of the anxiety!

Carrot Casserole . . . a family favorite!

My kids ALWAYS request this dish for holidays . . . and often throughout other times of the year. It’s delish!

2 lb. fresh carrots (peeled and washed)

½ c. onion, chopped 

1 c. grated cheese

½ t. salt

2/3 c. mayo

1 T. sugar

1 stick butter

1 tube Ritz crackers

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Peel and wash the carrots. Cut the carrots into small circles. Finely dice/chop the onion. Boil the carrots and onions together until soft then drain. (You don’t want the carrots to be too mushy.) Mix the cheese, salt, mayo, and sugar into a bowl. Add the carrots and onions into the sauce. Pour mixture into a casserole dish.  Crush crackers and spread over casserole. Melt butter and pour over the crackers. Bake at 350 degrees until bubbly. Enjoy!!

Happy Wednesday, friends!

 

 

Navigating Change

In less than 2 weeks, our family will drive away from this house and enter another season of change. You would think that I’m used to change by now. Truthfully, I feel like my life has been a roller coaster or ups and downs every since we moved to SC. But NO. I’m still not used to change. . .nor do I necessarily like it. . .nor is it easy!

I cried myself to sleep Sunday night. I woke up sobbing Monday morning. I cried driving through town on Monday afternoon. I’m just so emotional these days! A million crazy thoughts jumble up my mind and heart. “Are we crazy?” “Can we survive a cross-country move?” “Does God have good plans ahead?”

I struggle. I pour out my tears and heart to the Lord. . . just like I have so very often these past several years. I tell Him all of my fears, frustrations, and feelings. I’ve found He is the only one who truly understands and can bring peace to my chaotic thoughts and fearful heart.

Very gently and quietly, He reminds me of His goodness and grace. He begins to flood my memories with answered prayers, with enduring promises of Scripture, and kind whispers of grace. He holds me close and assures me that “Sometimes God allows change in our lives so we can have His presence like never before.” (Kristen Strong in her book Girl Meets Change) Continue reading Navigating Change

Joy in the Heaviness

This time of year gets hard for me.  For the past five years, when my birthday rolls around in mid-November, I can begin to feel the shift. I described it a few weeks ago to my husband as this- “There’s just this deep ache within my soul that feels heavy. I’m not depressed. I’m not anxious. Yet, I feel as if there is something sitting on my chest and it’s not going away.”

I’ve learned that this deep ache is GRIEF. With the holiday season there comes a longing. . .a longing for the way things used to be. A longing for what I had hoped always would be. Continue reading Joy in the Heaviness

My Place of Safety

Life is hard. Overwhelmingly difficult at times. I want to give up. I want to cry. I want to run away and find a safe place.

A place of calm. A place of rest. A place of security. A place of safety.

I have found myself constantly searching for my place of safety during these last several months. (Really it’s been the past several years!) It’s been a real struggle to find joy on many days. I’m exhausted. My heart is weary. My strength seems to be sapped so easily. I’ve been discouraged. I’ve questioned God’s ways. I can’t seem to understand why my life has been full of heartache and stress…heart attacks, ministry/job changes, death of loved ones, burns, anxiety, friendship changes, and parenting struggles to name a few. During the past few weeks, I’ve been asking the Lord to teach me new truths and reveal to my heart what He wants me to understand through this tough season of life. Continue reading My Place of Safety

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Surely Goodness and Mercy

 

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life. . .” Psalm 23:6a

It was 12:30 am, December 12, 2016, when God’s Spirit reminded me of these verses.  As I was trying to calm my body and mind, I began to quietly quote Psalm 23. My earlier evening had been spent at the hospital beside Jason’s bed . . . watching him breathe and constantly reading bedside monitors. Never would I have imagined that my 38 year old husband would suffer a life-threatening cardiac arrest and miraculously survive! (You can read his story here.) Continue reading Surely Goodness and Mercy

Fighting for Joy Physically

 

Sweet friends,

As I mentioned in a previous post , I’ve spent the last few months fighting for the JOY of the Lord! I have come to know that fighting for joy is not exclusive to fighting only spiritually. Fighting for His joy has meant that I must fight physically, emotionally, relationally, and spiritually. As I give attention to my whole being, I am able to more effectively war in the fight for joy.

Let me share a few ways that I am fighting for joy in physical ways-

  1. Exercising- Our bodies are designed to move! Research shows that endorphins (those little things that make you happy) are released when we exercise. Many days I do not want to exercise or necessarily have the time to exercise. . .but I know the value of exercise and what it does for my body and mind. In the past few months, I have been walking the neighborhood in the early mornings with a friend.  Having an accountability partner and friend makes a huge difference for me! Recently, our family has joined the local YMCA and plans to utilize the many options for classes, equipment, and accountability found there. I’m loving the Yoga class! Getting started with exercise is by far the hardest part! Yet I can’t tell you how I’ve benefitted in multiple ways from my choice to exercise. Consistent exercise really does help in the fight for joy. . .exercise helps me avoid depression, anxiety, and other health issues.
  2. Eating healthy- Making wise food choices directly affects my overall well-being. Limiting sweets, processed foods, and gluten continues to be a challenge for me in this fight for joy. However, I have learned that my body functions in a more healthy way when I say “NO” to these triggers. God designed our bodies to need healthy nourishment to function at our best capacity. It’s my goal to serve my family and others with energy, joy, and kindness. Eating healthy helps me accomplish my goals.
  3. Sleeping– I’m a girl who needs a solid 8 hours of sleep to function at my best level! My husband, on the other hand, is a grump when he gets too much sleep. His body doesn’t seem to require the same amount of sleep that I do! Learning what your body needs is very important. Getting my 8 hours of sleep is a priority to me. I work hard to get into bed on time so I can get up on time. Often, this means putting aside some “work” that needs to be done, setting aside housechores that can wait, and putting down my phone or computer in the evening. It takes discipline to get to bed on time! Again, God designed our bodies to need rest. I will say that getting quality sleep during the past few years has been quite a challenge for me. Throughout the grief journey and many changes that I’ve walked through, my body has gone “on strike” many nights. Insomnia, stress, and anxiety have robbed many nights of good sleep! Yet, I have practiced many effective habits for getting a better night’s rest. Deep breathing, essential oils, massage, a hot bath, Bach’s Rescue Remedy, and Unisom are some of my best friends! Find what works for you and don’t hesitate to do what’s necessary to ensure a night of quality sleep! A well-rested body fights for joy much more effectively!
  4. Crying- When I release the pent-up emotions from struggling in the fight for joy, a sweet peace always floods my body and soul. Tears are very healing. Tears also bring me humbly to my knees in dependence on Christ. So I thank God for tears. Don’t be afraid to cry. Jesus understands the language of tears. Tears are a sweet gift from the Father.
  5. Playing with my children– Whether it’s chasing kids around the house, kicking a soccer ball outdoors, taking a neighborhood hike, pushing a swing, or simply tickling a child on the living room floor. . .all of these things release stress from my physical body. I’ll admit that it is hard for me to take a break from the daily motherhood chores and simply play with my children. But I always am glad that I made the choice to PLAY! My kids love for me to play with them, and they benefit from having play-time with mom. I also benefit in so many ways! I challenge you to engage in some type of physical activity with your children today. The stress will lighten and your heart will feel glad!
  6. Taking vitamins and supplements- I’m thankful for the extra help I’ve found in natural supplements and vitamins. Magnesium, B vitamins, and a good multi-vitamin have greatly helped my body during stressful times.
  7. Working around my house- During times of stress or grief, it’s very easy to be lazy. To sit on the couch, to binge watch on Netflix, to sleep the day away. I remember my mom often quoting from Elisabeth Elliot, “Do the next thing.” My next thing is to take care of the normal household chores.  With a family of 7, there is always work to be done. I’ve found that embracing the responsibilities of work that God has given me and getting the work done brings a certain joy into my own heart. When my work is done, it’s easier to rest and enjoy my family. What is the work God has given you?
  8. Singing- The Scriptures talk often about praising the Lord with our song. Most every day in my home there is music playing throughout the house. And very often, you will find me singing along with the worship tunes! Singing to the Lord lifts my spirits and puts my focus on Him. . .not on my lack of sleep, lack of energy, or lack of motivation to do the chores. Most recently, I’m enjoying the music of Chris Tomlin, Ellie Holcomb, Laura Story, Audrey Assad, JJ Heller, and Christy Nockels.
  9. Getting outdoors- Our bodies need sunshine and fresh air! Many days when I am struggling and feeling a little blue, I take a walk around my house outdoors. Smelling the flowers, seeing blue skies, hearing a bird sing, watching a butterfly, and feeling the fresh breeze on my skin is invigorating! My spirits are always lifted from spending a few minutes outside! Even better is when I do a physical activity outside–watering my flowers, raking a few leaves, sweeping my front porch, or swinging a child! Taking a nature walk is one of my favorite things to do as well. God always reminds me that He is our Creator and loves beautiful things. I’m reminded to simply trust the Maker of all things.

This list is by no means exhaustive. I’m sure you could add your own things that help you fight for joy physically! Paying attention to your physical body is just so important in the fight for joy. We are whole beings. . .therefore, we must give attention to the different facets of our whole selves. I do not believe we can neglect our physical bodies and fight effectively for His joy!

Please comment below with the ways that you have found effective in fighting for joy physically! I’m always on the hunt for new and effective strategies! Remember, as brothers and sisters in Christ, we are fighting together for His glory!