How to Be Thankful When You’re Feeling Blue

The last few weeks I’ve been preparing for the holidays. Mentally, that is.

Just this week my state registered a 39% positivity rate for COVID-19. Illness in my community is so widespread that the Department of Health developed an entirely new category of measurement.

As our cases surged, my heart sank. A “critically high” spread meant I would be home for the holidays. It meant more confinement. Less gathering.

Maybe you can relate. Across the country, cities are mandating that families forgo the festivities and guests this season. For most of us, this holiday promises to be different. Complex. Confusing and discouraging. 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

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

Quarantine Emotion #8-9: Navigating Fear and Uncertainty

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.

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Quarantine Emotion #7: Navigating Loneliness

Social distancing while being homebound may be a new experience for many. But for us, this quarantine has been more of the same.

Every year when the weather begins to chill, I give a half-hearted wave to the world and tuck myself in for a long winter nap. I spend the majority of cold and flu season in self-induced hibernation; maintaining distance, vigilantly washing hands, wearing masks in clinics, reluctantly canceling plans with friends. For six months out of the year, being immune-compromised means that my world mostly exists within the four walls of my home.

It can get very lonely. And maybe you’re feeling lonely right now too.   Continue reading

Quarantine Emotion #6: Navigating Survivor’s Guilt

Sometimes I feel like I’m in a lifeboat watching the Titanic sink. Thousands have died and lives continue to be disrupted while I sit safe inside my home.

My heart breaks for those who have suffered the most from this pandemic. Our family members in the New York area have surely witnessed and experienced things that are far removed for our experience here in the remote north.

Knowing that others are suffering and grieving while I’m relatively okay overwhelms me with a sense of guilt. Continue reading

Quarantine Emotion #4-5: Navigating Anger and Blame

Adversity, loss and grief are a part of life. And so is getting mad.

Chances are high that you’ll experience anger before this crisis is done. And far too often, anger gets a bad rap. It can be easily mishandled or misunderstood.

Growing up, I believed it was better to “be nice” than to be angry. I thought that expressing any kind of anger was automatically wrong and harmful. So when I was bullied by kids at school, I never confronted them or stood up for myself. Over time I learned to suppress my anger with good behavior and a happy face.

Continue reading

Quarantine Emotion #2: Navigating Confusion

Society is clamoring to get back to normal but there are conflicting opinions about when and how that will happen. When will we reopen? How long will it take? Will it be safe to go back to work? How will we know? 

The blend of true and false information online clouds any clarity with doubt, suspicion and fear. Suddenly everyone on social media is an expert, adding to the mass hysteria and hype.

If you’re experiencing the harsher side of this pandemic, other kinds of confusion can arise. Why did this happen to me? Is it my fault? Does God still love me? Is He even good, in control or safe? Continue reading