A Living Hope: rediscover the power of Easter

I caught her gaze and she looked at me. She mustered a smile, but her eyes betrayed her. To others, she looked happy. But I knew better.

Her shoulders hunched from the shame she carried; that nagging guilt that told her she was useless, worthless, and a burden to others. The lines etched in her forehead revealed the anxiety and pain that plagued her on a daily basis. Fear of present and future circumstances hovered over her like a dark cloud.

She looked discouraged. Overwhelmed. Burdened. Weary.

Dejected, I tore my gaze away from the mirror. Continue reading

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3 Ways to Follow God When Your Path is Unclear

By the time we rolled into the sleepy town, dusk had turned to dark. We had joined our friends for a weekend getaway up north, where the only grocery store for miles around is named after ol’ man Jim.

We moseyed our way through the national forest, finally pulling to a stop in the middle of the woods. I peered out of the window in confusion. There was no cabin in sight.

Now, I knew our destination was completely off the grid. No electricity. No running water. The bathroom was an outhouse, for goodness sake. The only thing keeping my husband and I cozy that frozen night would be a wood-burning fireplace and heavy flannel blankets.

But no one, NOT ONE soul told me we would be hiking a mile through the woods with our gear strapped to our backs. In the pitch black of night.

Clutching my pillow, I reluctantly vacated the safety of the car. Snow crunched under my feet as the unusual noises of nature kicked my pulse up a notch. Continue reading

6 Questions to Ask Yourself When You Feel Anxious

Terror. Hurricanes. Earthquakes. The ever-looming threat of nuclear war. Just the events in the last month are bound to kick your anxiety up a notch.

And that’s just the global stuff. Add your own busy schedule, work load or family conflict to the mix and there’s plenty to fret about.  In fact, more than 6.8 million Americans suffer every year from general anxiety disorder.

If you’ve been stuck in the worry cycle lately, you’re not alone.

I come from a long line of worry worts; three generations in fact. I know what it’s like to worry over health, family, work, safety and the future. I’ve personally experienced trauma and panic attacks. Many times I’ve expected the worst to happen, feared disaster scenarios, and even found myself anxious about being anxious.

At its core, anxiety is really about fear and control. The more we feel out of control, the more we fear. And the more we fear, the more helpless we feel. Continue reading

3 Cures for Comparison

3 Cures for Comparison how to stop Facebook envyYesterday was a down in the dumps kind of day.

I was tired. Our summer has been full of non-stop activities, busyness, and stress.

I felt overwhelmed. My last few days were engulfed by piles of laundry, chores, work, errands, packing lunches, and scraping together dinners.

I also promised myself that I would accomplish my personal goals for the week. But an upcoming road trip + daily responsibilities left me with a bad case of the blues.

So naturally, I did what any of us would do. I mindlessly thumbed through Facebook.

And then I saw her life. You know the one.

Continue reading

4 Things to Know When Experiencing Hardship

4 things to note about trialsDo you ever wonder why difficulties in your life seem to cycle on repeat?

Like lapsing waves, one hardship rose after the other this month. Each circumstance cued my anxiety like clockwork. But when the pressure didn’t let up, it got me thinking. Why does each struggle feel so eerily similar to the last one? Continue reading

3 Ways to Defeat Despair

Last week I had a scare. In the span of a few minutes, my world was shaken. Again.Last week I had a scare. In the span of only a few minutes, my world was shaken. Again.It had only been 4 years since my last autoimmune flare. Yet my knee grew twice its size for a second time. Flashbacks of wheelchairs and home confinement flooded my mind, crippling my heart.

This couldn’t be happening. Not again. Not ever. Continue reading