5 Ways to Hijack Your Stress Response

When you face one crisis after the next, life can become a series of acute emergencies. After two surgeries this Fall, my season in life has been a bit…stressful. Come to think of it, this season has been on repeat a lot lately.

As in the past three years.

When it feels like the world is descending into a tailspin, you don’t have to. Stress can be optional.

Sound crazy? I thought so too. But the more I learn about the way God has wired me to survive, the better I understand the tools He’s given me to relieve the pressure when my body revs up. Continue reading

Trusting Jesus in the Storm: Part 2

He peered over the rim at the churning waves below. Gripping the side of the boat, Peter steadied himself as it fiercely rocked to and fro.

Violent winds had stirred the waters into a foaming frenzy. Despite their rowing efforts, the disciples had made little headway. Six hours of unrelenting stress, exhaustion and willpower had produced only a few miles at best. Their finite strength had paled in comparison to the unpredictable power of nature.

Thunder rippled across the sea and echoed off the mountains in the distance. Peter wiped the salty water from his eyes as he squinted to see the man on the waves. Exhaustion and excitement quickened his heart as he mulled over what he had just heard above the raging wind.

“Come.” Continue reading

How to Survive the Holidays After Losing Someone You Love

I still remember all the firsts. The first vacation. First birthday. Our first Christmas without Dad. That feeling of trying to celebrate the holidays while a piece of our heart and home was missing.

Holidays are naturally a big deal and loss can feel even deeper during those times that magnify our togetherness.

This year, over 300,000 families will wake up Christmas morning without their loved one. Our family will once again experience another first Christmas without someone one we love. This year, the celebration may feel a little less merry and bright.

Grief can be challenging and confusing. Sometimes it feels like you’re drowning, other times like you’re being hollowed out from the inside. Overstimulated, yet numb at the same time. The stages of grief can feel cyclical and repetitive, causing you to wonder if life will ever feel normal again.

Continue reading

Do you worry about your future?

When you think about the future, what emotions bubble to the surface?

I’m pretty sure all my thoughts about the future have resulted in permanent worry lines etched across my forehead. On most occasions the unknown creates anxiety, concern, stress and a host of pleading prayers. Flashes of what could happen combined with a gazillion what if questions flood my mind and threaten to sweep my emotions away with them.

Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she smiles at the future…Proverbs 31:25

Enter, Proverbs 31 woman. She fascinates me, mostly because of this verse. You can bet this woman has seen her fair share of hardship, disease, war and death. But when it comes to the future and her unknowns, she smiles. She can laugh, untroubled. Her brow does not stay furrowed over what may or may not come.

How is she able to do this? We get a sneak peek at the answer only a few verses later: Continue reading

Why “2020 Fatigue” May Be a Good Thing

woman-looking-towards-the-sky-

A few weeks ago, I drove to the park and wept in my car.

Because, 2020.

I’m guessing you can relate. Maybe you’ve had your own moments of hiding in your closet or alone time in your car. Perhaps the stress of this year is wearing on you, too.

I’ll admit, the last 6 months have been a bit much. My aunt died, most of my family got COVID-19, I lost a friend to cancer, my work dwindled, and the chaos of the world flared my chronic illness and PTSD.

In truth, I’ve got a bad case of “2020 Fatigue”. I’m tired of the stress, tired of the mess, tired of waiting for the next shoe to drop. Each new circumstance cues my anxiety like clockwork.

It’s like the world is on fire (oh wait, it is) and someone just keeps turning up the heat. And this girl can only take so much disaster bingo.

So I cried out all the feels in my car. I asked God to just make it stop. I was too weary, too weak, too inept to handle it all.

And perhaps that’s the point.  Continue reading

Navigating Fear and Uncertainty

woman masked on a bus

Don’t be afraid. Easier said than done.

Classified as a mass threat, this pandemic has given us plenty to worry about. And now that communities are reopening, a second wave of uncertainty builds as we brace ourselves for whatever comes next.

When I sat down to write this post I didn’t think it would take me an entire week. What started out as a quick tutorial turned into a personal wrestling match that forced me to examine the source of my own fears.

Fear is often pitted against faith as if they were bitter rivals. Christians who struggle with fear and anxiety during this time can easily feel judged, shamed, dismissed or misunderstood by other believers.

Continue reading

Navigating the Overwhelm

girl with head in books on desk

Losing your routine, sense of normalcy, employment, social life or a family member is a lot to deal with all at once. It’s like trying to drink from a fire hose.

Life-altering events can shatter your familiar assumptions and expectations about the world; the belief that it is relatively predictable and safe (Bessel van der Kolk). Traumatic events may fragment your sense of self or your belief about God and others. These events and the disruption of your internal world can overwhelm your ability to grasp, adapt and cope with what has happened. Continue reading

7 Questions to Help You Process and Survive a Crisis

woman drinking coffee looking out the window

This pandemic getting scary. Many of us are on a roller coaster of emotion as we hear the latest news about loved ones, ICU patients, makeshift morgues, and healthcare workers making life-or-death decisions on the front lines.

When this pandemic hit, I was already neck-deep in trauma recovery. For the last twelve months, I’ve been working through my own post-traumatic stress that had compounded for decades.  Continue reading