Posted in Christian, Depression, God, guest writer, happiness, longreads, motherhood, parenting, Uncategorized

Thanksgiving Thoughts

I had no idea 2 years ago when I started diving deep into my Bible journaling and studying what the next 18 months had in store for me. Marriage struggles (we’re good now), financial problems (also good), parenting challenges (still doing our best), depression dive (I’m in my comeback!), deaths close to us, sickness around us, and struggles for people we love. I have been through hard times before but 2018 and 2019 may have been the hardest years on my heart to date.

I came across many verses which continue to help me when I struggle and I am still finding new ones all the time. Even new meanings in old ones as I read them again. However, in 2017 I found two in Colossians and Thessalonians which speak to my heart so strongly here in 2019 that I wanted to share them with you. Both are really great books to read this time of the year, in my opinion;  full of beauty, hope, thankfulness, and truth. A little like me. 

Colossians 3:15 “And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace and always be thankful.”

I look around the world, my state, my town, my office, my church, my family and I can find people I agree with fully. People who stand for what I do and stand up to what I do also. I love those people. They are easy to get along with, to be thankful for, and to work closely with. They fill my heart. 

I can also find plenty of people in each of these places I do not agree with at all. I find their stances to be unfair to many, hurtful, based in exclusion, omission, and rejection. Hearing them talk makes me want to cry for the world and apologize to my children. Sometimes, I actually do. I struggle to work with them and be thankful for their work in the world. They break my heart. 

There are also many people who walk the fine line between filling and breaking my heart. These are the people I love so dearly and support in so many ways, yet cannot understand how their heart sees the world’s issues how they are. I am roughly 50-75% thankful for these people at a glance, depending on if they are doing what I like or not in a given moment. They confuse my heart. 

Colossians 3:15 was an epic wake up call for me (also, if you really want to think about the body of Christ idea, check out this sermon from my church recently!). We are all different. We are not all the same parts, which can lead to some issues, but need to live in peace. We need to be thankful for the people around us. I do not agree on many things with a friend who spends a lot of time volunteering at a veteran’s hospital. He’s doing good, even all of his work isn’t what I want. People I wish would open their eyes to causes around the world volunteer at their churches to help the hungry. I’m thankful for that. 

We don’t have to agree to be thankful for one another. 

Thessalonians 5:18 “Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.” 

How hard is this one? I stared at this one for a long time when I first came upon it. It’s hard to be grateful in hard times. I think its only human to see the bad at face value. It’s easy to get lost in the sadness, hopelessness, and darkness surrounding hard times. If you’re anything like me, the easy path is the preferred one whenever possible. Life is hard enough without volunteering yourself for more, right?

In this case, that couldn’t be more wrong. Being down, brings you down further. Letting the sadness get too far, lets the depression sneak in and take over. Losing sight of the goodness and being thankful makes life a long, miserable sentence. Even in the hard times, there is something good in each day. 

Every night for as long as I can remember, I ask my daughter at bedtime “What was something kind someone did for you? And what is something kid you did for someone?”. Some nights she’s got more than one answer for each question queued up for me. Some nights she bursts into tears and we need to talk a bit to come up with two answers together. Some days are better than others. 

The point of this verse and the point I’m trying to make to her is this: there is something good in every day. Sometimes we have to look harder than others, but it’s there. Find it. Don’t let the hard times or sad times win. 

There are so many more, I could go on, but go find them for yourself. This year? I’m thankful for you, for healing, for my family, my friends, my job, my health, my cat, and all the hard things I have been able to overcome. I’m ready for whatever is next.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Posted in books, Christian, guest writer, Uncategorized, What I'm Reading

What I’m Reading – November 2019

Another month, another list! Check out dinner of my favorite books and PLEASE let me know what I should check out next!

The Bible – by various authors

Ok, this is a bit of a “gimme” and stretch for my reading list. I get that. However, November is a month I really focus on taking the time to read and journal my Bible each year. I started this a few years back and have really learned a lot about myself with this method. You can follow a devotional, select a specific book, or find a guided study plan online (check my Pinterest board for lots of great ones!). Generally speaking, I read a few verses and jot down my thoughts. Some days I’m all done in 5 minutes. Other days I wind up writing pages for myself and digging way deeper into the chapter than I planned to. What you find will not disappoint you and I am excited to be doing this again. 

Click here for my Pinterest board to get YOUR start on an easy daily plan – FOR FREE!

Seasons in Hell – by Ed Vulliamy

Honestly, this book is not one I would classify as light, pleasurable reading. It’s dark, scary, intense, and horrifying. Worst of all? It’s all true. I remember hearing about violence and a war raging in Bosnia as a teen, but to be honest I never really gave it much thought. When you are 14 and something is happening on the other side of the world, it doesn’t exactly become important to you. Especially not before social media (because I’m that old). 

Fast forward 25 years and I work side-by-side with a survivor of this nation’s infighting. As I’ve watched scenes from our nation and others unfold on the news, I can’t help but see how lucky I am to live where I do – even if I’m not a fan of everything going on here. Furthermore, I grew up here. I have no idea what it’s like to fear for my life and see guns on the street – PRAISE THE LORD. I wanted to know more about where he is from and he recommended this book. 

Whether you read this book or another, I believe reading books about other cultures, places, religions, and nations is important for us all. We try to blend together and work together, but we all have different backgrounds that impact how we interact with the world. Taking a moment to glean some understanding about the people and world around us is the first step to being a part of a more unified world.

Transforming Your Thought Life: Christian Meditation in Focus by Sarah Geringer

I love meditation, mindfulness, and Jesus – this book helped strengthen my meditations in a Christian manner. If you have questions or are unsure about how this practice can be useful to Christians because of its Eastern religion books, you need this book. Sarah guides you through how to incorporate this practice in your day, step-by-step. 

And Riley Runs by N. Annette Knight 

Great news! This one is a short story. Which is great because is an addicting story that will pull you in. A teen separated from her class trip, a mother frantic to save her, and a dark figure lurking close by. 

Definitely the best deal on Amazon! You won’t regret your evening spent with Riley!

My list is slowly shrinking… whaaaat should I read next? BONUS POINTS for a Christmas Book recommendation! 

Posted in Christian, God, kids, longreads, moms, motherhood, parenting, school, Uncategorized

The Best Back to School Bible Verses – SheProclaims.com

The best Back to School Bible Verses to get you through the start of the year! Whether you’re missing summer vacation already (that’s me!) or sighing with relief as the school bus pulls away – these verses are perfect reminders for you AND your kids to get through the days! By no means is it a complete list but here are the best back to school Bible verses I like to lean on!

Isaiah 30:21 “Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”

Have a little faith, mommas. You’re raising great kids with great hearts. They know right from wrong. They will make make you proud. These lessons will carry on throughout their school days and lives. Keep up the good work

Joshua 1:9 “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

As long as there is school, kids will face hurdles. Bombing a test, not making the team, or being left out will hurt and leave them feeling discouraged. It’s hard on your momma heart to watch them struggle, but remember the growth they are going through (you too!).

Proverbs 4:23 “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. Keep your mouth free of perversity; keep corrupt talk far from your lips. Let your eyes look straight ahead; fix your gaze directly before you.”

Don’t gossip or bully. Never let the world harden your heart or take you off track. Find your passion, find your goal, and chase after it. 

Deuteronomy 31:6 “Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.”

Starting anything new, even if it’s something as routine as school, can be scary. So can navigating friends, hard classes, and the unavoidable struggles that come with the territory. Remind your kids they aren’t alone and they will be ok, even if they’re sitting solo on a bus or at a lunch table. Remind yourself also they will be ok even without you by their side. They aren’t alone.

Galatians 5:22-23 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.”

Be a good person. Do good things. Be in control of yourself. 

Luke 6:31 “And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.”

Be the nice kid. Be the good you want to see. Easy peasy.

Proverbs 15:5  “A fool spurns a parent’s discipline, but whoever heeds correction shows prudence.”

Parents are stupid. Mine were when I was a kid and now, it appears, I am equally as stupid to my kids some days. I think that’s just the way of the world in most cases. However, I wish I’d listened more – they did know what they were talking about – and I try to remind my kids daily I’ve been where they are and can save them some struggles if they listen to my words or wisdom (or stories of epic failure – just learn from me!).

Proverbs 22:6  “Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.”

If you’re like me, the idea of sending your kids out into the world without you can be scary at times. I’m struggling extra with the middle school kid right now – that age is weird, this world is scary, and I just can’t even yet!!! I just remind myself they’re good people and will stick to that path we’ve started them on!

Colossians 3:20  “Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord.”

I know some of your classes are boring and the homework is stupid. Bedtime is lame and dinner is disgusting. I had all the same issues when I was your age going to school, so I totally get it. But have a little faith and trust me. I do it in your best interest just like grandma did it in mine. 

1 Timothy 4:12 Let no one look down on your youthfulness, but rather in speech, conduct, love, faith and purity, show yourself an example of those who believe.

Oh my sweet children. I see so much goodness in you. If more adults looked at the world through your eyes and with your heart, it would be a better place. Please don’t lose that and don’t let anyone tell you you’re too young or don’t know enough to make a difference. Keep living your awesome lives so you can show the world what is possible with kindness!

What are your Best Back to School Bible verses for your kids or your momma heart?

Posted in Christian, Depression, God, happiness, motherhood, parenting, prayer, Uncategorized

God Delights When Truth Reigns – find yours here!

“God delights when truth reigns in our inmost being.” – Psalm 51:6

Recognizing this truth in your life is freeing. I have been struggling with this for a long time, but now in my 40th year (still only 39 though!) I am starting to understand. .
Discover what makes your heart happy and do it. Do you feel you alone, not enough, or unfulfilled? I do. But its fading thanks to one simple realization:
Live a life you love.

Everyone is not your friend

You want to be accepted and loved – I get it. I do too, but sometimes, its just not possible and we need to accept that. We are not for everyone.
That’s ok.
Not everyone is for us.
That’s ok too.

There are over 7.53 billion on this planet, we would all need way bigger porches if all these people were all our people. Thank you God for not asking me to host that Thanksgiving meal – thinking of the menu is giving me hives.

Why do we try to make everyone “our people” even if it means changing who we are? It doesn’t make sense. Its a lie. Living a lie will never fill your heart. You will never find peace or happiness. God delights when truth reigns over our decisions.

You do you.

I know not all people like my writing – that’s ok. I mean, they’re crazy because I’m awesome, but its their loss, not mine. They roll their eyes, whisper remarks, and straight up talk crap – it happens. It used to cut me deep, still does sometimes, until I stopped worrying about them and focused on loving me.
Seek the things and dreams that make you happy.
Discern the voices that matter, discard those that don’t.
Reveal your heart and happiness to the world.
Diminish other’s control over your life by focusing on what feels true and honest to you.

Live your life loved and authentically for you. God delights when truth reigns in your life. No one else has the right to decide who you are.

Posted in Christian, coffee, Depression, God, kids, longreads, moms, motherhood, parenting

Stay Strong Sister.

Dear tired travel softball mom,

Stay strong sister. When we spread our blanket on the beach near you at the end of a difficult day, I had no idea how happy you would make me.

We were on the last day of a family vacation. A vacation where I told my kids over and over to stop. “Stop what?” they asked. All of it. I needed them to stop it all.

Stop poking, hitting, and shoving each other. Quit yelling in my ear while wwre driving in the van – its Mario Kart not the Indy 500. Stop being full after five bites of lunch then begging me for snacks all afternoon. Quit announcing you are bored on tours you asked to go on. Playing hide-and-seek in the museums, and getting mad at me for not getting you out of a 350′ deep mine tour fast enough all needs to stop too.

We went to the beach that evening with one goal: wear these lunatics out so they go to bed without me losing my shit. They hit in the water and their land shenanigans carried on in the water.

“Quit going past the swim buoy”, “don’t hold each other under water”, “quit throwing rocks” and “you’re out too deep again” all came spewing from my mouth from my place on the warm sand. I could feel the dark, heavy weight of failure sitting on me like a wet blanket.

That’s when you turned in your chair, saw your son had buried himself to his bellybutton and you told him to “stop it and go rinse off!” in an all too familiar tone.

Our eyes met under huge sunglasses, you smiled, and I held up a fist yelling “stay strong sister!” From there, conversation flowed like the salve my battered mom heart needed so badly after a particularly draining week.

You were also hoping swimming would wear your son out. You cannot vacation without melatonin on hand, just like me. You needed to explain to a child how to rinse off in the water repeatedly as if this was a new concept. We agreed children are why wine was invented.

“You can tell yours are siblings, they’re doing normal sibling stuff” was one of the kindest things I’ve ever heard. All week they looked like heathens compared to the other kids and campers we encountered. The looks we acquired from the Judey McJudgersons made want to crawl under a rock.

The other families on the beach were laughing and playing together like I wish we were, but you didn’t seem to notice those people. Or care. Whatever.

Your shared misery, warm acceptance, and friendly commiseration pulled the heavy failure blanket from me.

This is what motherhood should be. Support, love, friendship, and laughter while we all stumble through the jungle of parenthood. Thank you for that reminder and refueling my heart.

Love,

Exhausted, but not failing, vacation mom

Posted in Christian, Depression, God, longreads, Mantras, prayer, selfcare, Uncategorized

Bible Verses for Depression: My top 5 favorites – SheProclaims.com

I want to share some of my favorite Bible verses for depression with you today. Living with and working through depression is hard no matter who you are. I know from first hand experience. You can see and acknowledge good things going on all around you but you cannot feel them. You are numb to the warmth and peace the good parts bring, which is both frustrating and infuriating at the same time. It certainly doesn’t help you to feel “better” (whatever that term means). 

Living as a Chistian mom with depression comes with its own unique challenges. Our religion is cemented in the faith that someone good (God/Jesus/Holy Spirit) loves us and is taking care of us, even when life doesn’t appear that way. Short of the Bibles containing the words that remind us, though, we have nothing concrete to cling to in order to feel that love and keep our faith. Christiantiy is a religion of feelings – love, trust, faith, gratefulness,mercy, forgiveness – but what happens when we can’t feel all our feelings? 

Bible verses for Depression

These Bible verses for depression help me through my darkest times. Are they perfect? No. Do I feel better as soon as I read them over once? Not even close. But they do give me something to focus on that is constant and unchanging. The are promises made thousands of years ago and to billions of people. Surely, they apply to you and me too. 

Philippians 4:8

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy, think about such things. 

Normally, when someone’s well-meaning but overly simple advice to “look on the bright side” is given to me, it makes me want to puke. I get that its well meaning, but it’s not that simple. Sometimes, there is no bright side to a situation. Sometimes the only bright side is that the struggle will end, but there’s no guarantee it will be a good ending.

Thankfully, Paul isn’t telling us to look for the bright side. He just wants us to think about anything from any time to keep our minds and actions pure. That is doable. Today may be hard, but at some point in life, there was a good day or place. Think about it quietly for a few minutes. Write about it. Draw it. Tell a friend about it. Look at pictures of it. You will not be removed from your difficult situation, but you can get a little break from it. Little breaks and reminders life is good are invaluable gifts. 

Psalm 40:1-2

I waited patiently for the Lord; He turned to me and heard me cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; He set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.

You are not the first, nor will you be the last, to go through difficult times. David reminds us that there is no time limit on how short or long a cold season in life will last in this verse. We just need to remember we must be patient and talk to God. When it is time, He will take us from the most disgusting, deep, dark, and difficult places and get us back on our feet. We are not being left in the pit forever. 

The world is full of normal people like you and I overcoming huge obstacles and very deep pits in their lives. They are not Prophets from the Bible, they are real people existing in our real world who have lived Psalm 40 completely. Google some for inspiration (you know how much I love Google). They were all pulled from the pits and placed back on solid ground. They were not alone. It happens. All the time. It will happen for you when the time is right. Just be patient. 

If that’s not enough or a little hard, read a little farther into Psalm 40:11-17 for an honest prayer you can say or remember in your pit.

Matthew 11:28 

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”

This is my go-to, easy to remember Bible verse for depression for those late nights when the gears in my mind are turning at record speed and sleep evades me at every turn. My brain likes to replay my day at bedtime, but not as a highlight reel of everything good that happened. Somehow, those things never make the cut and instead I end up watching the world’s longest blooper reel looping through my mind. It’s like the worst Blockbuster store ever, playing the same awful movie on replay until every bit of the movie lodges into memory forever. 

It’s easy to get lost in these thoughts and let them take over, I know because I’ve done that more times that I care to admit, but it’s also in those times when Matthew’s words comfort me. I am tired, I am worried, I want rest – so I start talking. My prayers are not pretty, they’re somewhat informal, like we’re best friends almost, but I think that’s ok. As I talk to God, my worries fade and the next thing I know – I have found my rest and it is morning.

Deuteronomy 31:8 

“The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”

This has been one of my all time favorite verses for many situations; but these words feel like a verse about depression to help keep us going. I feel alone a lot, like no one understands how I feel (myself included). It is a scary place to feel so lost and unsure, but I find a lot of comfort in knowing that I am not alone. 

The author hints life can be scary or hard, but we should not be afraid or discouraged. Easier said than done? Absolutely. However, keeping this around to read or repeat to myself in the hardest times has been a life saver for me. I recommend keeping this nearby in your purse or on your phone. Something you can peek at when you’re feeling down easily.

Isaiah 41:10 

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous hand.”

Teaching my kids how to ride two-wheel bikes without training wheels was no simple task. The looks of terror on their faces communicated they thought they were not ready, struggling with the concept, and certain great bodily harm was in their future. I knew they were big enough, strong enough, and ready for this big step. They just needed hear I would stay by them, to feel my hand on their backs, and see me running next to them at first; until they got the hang of it. I am proud to say they both ride bikes brilliantly today. 

I think that’s exactly what this Bible verse for depression says for us all. We may not feel we are capable or ready to face whatever is pulling us down, but we are not alone. God will stay by us, with his hand on our backs even if we can’t feel it, and run beside us. Or walk if we’re talking about me, because as God or anyone I know will tell you – I don’t do running. The point is, He will meet you where you are, stay by you, and give you the strength you need to move on. The only thing you need to do is show up and believe in his loving words. 

Fill your war chest

There are a million other Bible verses for depression worth reading but these are my absolute favorites. My “war chest” of verses for the really big battle days. Reading these verses about depression reminds me these feelings are not new or only known to me. People have struggled with similar feelings since we left Eden. Feeling less alone makes it so much easier to keep going. 

Do you have any favorite Bible verses for depression or books that help you through? Feel free to share them! I would love to check them out and build up the war chest!

Posted in Christian, God, longreads, prayer

Trust in the Lord – Proverbs for difficult times in life – SheProclaims.com

PROVERBS: The O.G.

Trust in the Lord like you do Google

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding.” Proverbs 3:5

I love Google. I have no idea how people navigated work, raising children, and adult life before Google was invented. Hats off to those who did, thank you Jesus that I didn’t have to. I rely on Google as far more than just an internet search – its like a trusted friend I can turn to for help any time of the day without judgement. 

Actual things I have “Googled”:

“Why is my sewing machine thread bunching up?” Answer: it was a tension issue and Google walked me through step-by-step how to fix with like a patient teacher. 

“How can I get the cat to eat her vitamin?” Answer: like a true Doctor Dolittle, Google gave me a list of ways to try – we found hiding it in her normal food works great. 

“Do cats have belly buttons?” Answer: they do. Shoutout to Google for making me look intelligent to my 8 year old. I even showed her a picture from Google since our cat wasn’t in a cooperative mood that day.

“How can I make a million dollars?” Answer: Google told me all about jobs, college, owning my own business, and investing. Obviously, there’s no easy way, but Google clearly believes in me and knows I can do it if I put my mind to it. Thanks Google.

I love Google so much for its ability to help me out with random questions, worries, needs, and information no matter the time of the day or not. 

Those are also the same reasons I love the book of Proverbs more than any other. I’m not sure we’re supposed to play favorites with books of the Bible, they’re all great and have their purpose, but Proverbs? Proverbs is my jam. Proverbs is the OG (Original Google). While Google can help me get through many tasks I face in life, Proverbs gets me through the living parts. The love, sadness, scared, worried, lonely, happy, how to be a good person parts. Proverbs reminds me to trust in the Lord.

Trust in the Lord for help

Actual things I have “Proverbed” (that’s a word now, I just made it):

“How I can live a good life?” Answer: Proverbs 22

“How can I have a good marriage?” Answer: Proverbs 5 (I feel this one goes both ways).

“Why should I keep going to work?” Answer: Proverbs 6.

“Why should I forgive people who are total jerks to me?” Answer: Proverbs 10.

“How am I supposed to get through this?” Answer: Proverbs 17.

You can read the verses for yourself if you’re looking for info on those things. The beauty of Proverbs is that is has the best advice and we all take away what we need from it. Proverbs is a book of lessons, not instructions, left to us by Solomon on how to trust in the Lord. I think of Solomon as my really cool, patient, wise uncle who has the best advice for me. I love Uncle Sol. He tells it like he sees is, even if I don’t like what he has to say, I know that he is giving me the best advice from the very bottom of his heart. God put that knowledge in Uncle Sol and gave Uncle Sol to all of us so we would have someone to turn to. I like to visit with him. Uncle Sol’s place is a total judgement-free zone. 

I have been feeling Proverbs 3:5 quit a bit in the last few years. On one hand, I feel like it can be a really easy way to explain away everything bad that’s happening to us. Kind of a “this too shall pass” sort of response to anything that makes us uncomfortable, but that’s not how I see it. 

We know life isn’t going to be easy, we were literally told things were going to get hard waaaaay back after the whole “serpent and the fruit” incident. We were told to our faces that things would be hard. Straight up. No misunderstanding it. I appreciate that level of honest candor. I think that’s when candor was invented, which also makes it very cool. It also makes it hard sometimes to trust in the Lord when life seems extra hard.

However, to me, it reminds us that even if everything around us is awful and feels like its crashing down we need to know that God really is doing everything out of total love for us. Like a parent. We might not understand, there are plenty of times we will not understand, but we have to know that He loves us even when it feels like he doesn’t. 

My kids do not understand why I enforce bedtimes, screen limits, or make them brush their teeth. They fight me on those things, along with close to a bazillion others, because they just don’t understand why some things are good or necessary for them. They think I’m mean, which I am ok with since I know they don’t understand, but I promise you I do all of these things from the purest, most love-filled part of my heart. 

Uncle Sol points this out in Proverbs. At first, I rolled my eyes and thought that I’d finally gotten the old man! Finally, I was able to stump him and had proven myself to be an exception to thousands years of his advice. I had examples in my life where situations were clearly done without an ounce of love for me. Nothing but spite or indifference could have allowed these to happen. I wrote down a few with every intention of telling people about the handful of times Proverbs had been wrong for me.

Times I thought Uncle Sol was wrong:

When people I loved walked away and left me feeling alone. 

When we were faced with a horrific school situation and forced to pull our kids from the school we’d fought to get into. 

When I lost my job, apartment, and had to file for bankruptcy all within the same month. 

When I had to watch someone I loved deeply suffer and die. 

I stared at the list for awhile and thought back to those times. I thought back to how hurt I’d been, how alone I’d felt, and how sad I was. I remembered feeling I could not get through any single one of those events, let alone all of them, in the course of one life. I also know there are many, many more that I could share. Life isn’t easy. 

I started looking back and comparing where I was to where I am now with each of these events. I was so glad to be so far away from those places of despair, I was proud to see how I had managed to overcome all of these and rebuild wonderful things in my life. That’s when Uncle Sol’s words started creeping back into my mind – trust God and don’t rely on your own understanding. Then I wrote out the rest of these stories. 

Times I thought Uncle Sol was wrong but it turns out he wasn’t:

When people I loved walked away and left me feeling alone. I learned to trust in the Lord and make family with the people around me who do love me. I learned how not to treat other people. I learned how to forgive and move forward without bitterness in my heart. I value my kind of loyal people so much more.

When we were faced with a horrific school situation and forced to pull our kids from the school we’d fought to get into. My kids are actually both in insanely better places now. Places I never would have considered if I hadn’t been forced to. My heart was broken leaving the “good” school, but I am overjoyed to say we put our trust in the Lord and ended up at the “better” school. I never would have thought it. Better friends, better teachers, better experiences, better parents…everything is better for us. I value the people in my children’s lives so much more.

When I lost my job, apartment, and had to file for bankruptcy all within the same month. I got to move back to my hometown. It was a move I had wanted to make but had convinced myself was out of my reach. Funny how necessity changes things. I got to spend tons of time with my two year old, that’s worth everything. I got to spend lots of time with my boyfriend (now husband), and I got to start over. Every debt and struggle was left behind with a bad marriage – I had a clean slate to build back up. It was all scary but the push I needed. My trust in the Lord kept me going. I value all I have so much more.

When I had to watch someone I loved deeply suffer and die. I took the time to put someone else first. Her needs were more important than mine. I had conversations that I wish I’d had years before. I said things I’m so grateful I did and put my trust in the Lord. I hated that she suffered but I am so thankful for the warning it gave me. I tell people how important they are to me now. I want them to know while they’re here to appreciate it and before it’s too late. I value time so much more.

There are a lot of other situations in my life and the world that I still can’t see the value of: why do kids get cancer? Why does suicide happen? Why are there wars? Why are there mass shootings? Why do people suffer with Alzheimer’s? Why is addiction a thing? How come ice cream makes me fat (but happy) and celery is stupid? 

Uncle Sol is right. I don’t need to know the answers always. I don’t need to understand. It might take days, years, or a lifetime but eventually the good from every situation will be presented to me. Yes, as you know I am struggling but I will come through this better than before. He didn’t give us an authoritative instruction book of rules. He gave us loving advice like a parent to child, teacher to student, or wise old uncle to trusting niece. We don’t need to understand, we just need to trust and be loved. Even when it’s scary.

Posted in Anxiety, Christian, Depression, guest writer, happiness, longreads, Meditation, moms, motherhood, sad, selfcare, suicide, Uncategorized

Sorry My Depression Makes You Uncomfortable – SheProclaims.com

“It’s just difficult for us when we don’t what your mood will be today. Your depression makes us uncomfortable.”

I am sorry my depression makes you uncomfortable. Want to know why people suffer in silence? Don’t get help? Get lost in the darkness, leaving everyone shaking their heads saying “I had no idea…”? It’s because too often, others make your depression about them. They shame people into feeling small, bothersome, and crazy for struggling when they don’t feel we should.

I have gone over this before, remember this post? But that’s fine. I’m will not going away. I’ll address it until I die.

I’m done with the mask. I will not going to tell you I’m fine, when I’m not. I also won’t breakdown sobbing and unleashing all my problems on you. Instead, I’m going to be quieter than usual when you see me while I work things out. It’s going to get uncomfortable, but I’m ok with that. Uncomfortable is where change begins.

I’m so sorry if my depression is inconvenient for you. Clearly, I am doing this to make you uncomfortable and cause as much disruption to your life as possible. It’s a well known fact that people choose depression and other mental illnesses out of spite most of the time. And for the fame and admiration which comes with being labeled. Right?

I realize that even though it takes a 30 minute pep talk and prayer meeting to will myself out of bed, I am making life your life hard by not being perkier in the mornings.

Even though I am often exhausted from insomnia and constantly talking my anxiety down to a manageable level, you’re right. It’s my responsibility to make sure everyone else is completely at ease around me at all times. Instead of a simple polite smile when you say good morning, I will try to light up like the Griswold family’s Christmas lights and enthusiastically greet you. That won’t feel fake or awkward for anyone.

Its great when you ask what will make me happy. Obviously, I withhold that one thing from myself just to ruin your day. I am thinking of a number between 1 and 100 billion, as soon as we reach that number with the question, I will spill it and we’ll all have a good laugh at this game.

You get bonus points by demanding I tell you what is making me sad. That is definitely going to help – especially if you can raise your voice during the conversation. Maybe…just maybe, you’ll be the one to “set me straight”. Worst case, we’ll be closer to the secret number.

Please keep inviting me to things only to get offended if I politely decline. If I do go, get ready to be irritated when I don’t have as much fun as you think I do. Probably a good time to interrogate me more too. Maybe in front of a group? That might help.

Thank you for telling me about 10 people you know who are in worse positions than me. Nothing pulls one out of depression faster than knowing things can get worse. Make sure to use lots of shame and guilt to hammer that point home. People with depression and mental illness are known for having large amounts of self esteem. Good idea pointing those faults out to bring us all back down to Earth.

Clearly, I choose to struggle with food, sleep, chores, work, socializing, and productivity. All because I want to annoy and inconvenience those around me. I’m a very selfish person as I wake up every day and decide “I’m going to be sad today. Again.”

Actually, I’m sorry I’m not sorry at all.

I’m sorry if me speaking up, speaking out, and asking for help is uncomfortable for you. I’m sorry if its frustrating you or inconvenient for you. I know I’m supposed to suffer in silence out of respect for your comfort level and desired ignorance.

Wait, no I’m not. Not sorry at all. My job isn’t to make you feel good about the world. Your happiness and level of comfort are not my responsibility. Stop trying to make it so. I will not apologize if my depression makes you feel uncomfortable.

Requests that I just be happy, just be fun, smile more, and make others comfortable is ridiculous. I’m going to admit when I’m struggling and need help until everyone can start thinking about how we can help people, instead of how we can try to convince people they should be fine – then hope they hide their pain.

Posted in Christian, Depression, guest writer, longreads, Meditation

Featured Guest Writer on United House Publishing – SheProclaims.com

I am a featured guest writer for United House Publishing on their blog. This is a blog that I first found on Instagram and started following because they share wonderful inspirational quotes each day that make me smile! Find them here on Instagram and show them some love for all the good they’re doing!

It’s no secret that I have struggled as the seasons of my life change – but no matter the struggle, the change ends up for the good. I used to think I was alone with these thoughts and struggles, but I am learning how wrong I am there! Since sharing my honest battle with depression across the web, I have met many amazing women with similar stories to mine.

Click here for the full post!

I love being able to share my experiences and thoughts with others to bring light to subjects that are so important to my heart. This site is one I really love visiting, not only for the amazing blog, but for the help and tips for writers you can find. Thank you for inviting me to be a featured guest writer for United House Publishing! This was a great experience and I would love to come back for another post sometime in the future!

I am always looking for more opportunities to spread my thoughts and messages of hope to anyone in need. Please click share on the link to the blog or contact me directly if your site would be interested in featuring this (or a first run post). I would love to be a featured writer on your blog, site, or publication as well!

By bringing these things into the light, I believe with all of my heart that someday we will defeat them. And always remember that you matter, you have value, we are great, and we will get through all the seasons of life!

Posted in Christian, Depression, God, longreads, prayer, sad, suicide, Uncategorized

When a stranger’s suicide hurts deeply

I didn’t know you personally, but I knew who you were. I’d seen you walking the high school halls with your beaming smile and dimples in the past. You were so beautiful to me. So cool. The kind of girl I hoped I’d be in my own senior year, still four years away.

I didn’t know you personally but as it turns out, you were very special and important to many people in my life. Its clear that your friendly smile touched more than just an awkward freshman girl who never spoke to you.

I didn’t know you but I feel your story so deep. To my core. I understand. Wife, mom, sister, daughter, friend, guide….while walking through a dark fog. One that consumed you. One that overcame you.

I cheered for you (and voted for you!) when you ran for office. I love seeing strong, intelligent women making strides in the world. I love the passion and hope thaty comes weeken people fight for change they believe in whole heartedly. I admire the difference you wanted to make.

I loved seeing you speak out for mental health. You were brave. You made it ok for people like me to get help and speak out. You started hard coversations to end the stigmas and help others come out of the darkness.

Now, as I scroll my Facebook I see your face, still covered with your warm smile and dimples, over and over. Pictures of your beautiful children. Memories being shared by people I love left here hurting.

Walking into chuch, the audible reaction to your passing left tears stinging my eyes. Those who loved you surrounded by love. Enveloped in arms of friendship and family. Every one in disbelief.

I am so sorry the sadness was so deep.

I am so sorry you saw no other way.

I am so sorry that life wasn’t as kind to you as it should have been.

I am so sorry that so many are hurting for you now.

I am so sorry I never said hello in the hallway.

I wish you felt how far your ripples reached. How many hearts you touched, both known and unknown to you. I wish you knew me. The conversations you led, the people you inspired, the struggles you shared that made us feel less alone.

You helped make it ok for people like me to speak up. Sometimes, we all need a little extra help and love. You gave others the courage to ask for it and, more importantly, showed others how to compassionately give it. Even through your loss, many others have been saved by your courage.

The world is a better place because you were in it, just a little bit darker now that you’re gone. Those of us still fighting the battle mourn you, you were like us, but we will fight on through the darkness. For you, for us, and for those we love or don’t even know – we will carry on the mission. You weren’t alone. Neither are we.

“It’s so much darker when a light goes out than it would have been if it had never shone.”

–John Steinbeck, The Winter of Our Discontent

IF YOU ARE STRUGGLING OR HAVING SUICIDAL THOUGHTS – PLEASE REACH OUT TO A LOVED ONE, FRIEND, OR THE NATIONAL SUICIDE PREVENTION HOTLINE:

800-273-8255