Sunday, June 30, 2013

"People will never satisfy your deepest longings."

Most of us would instinctively agree with this statement, but only because we know we should agree with it. However, the truth of the human condition is that we tend to seek satisfaction from other human beings. As my pastor puts it, "we're like a bunch of ticks trying to feed off each other when what we actually need is a host who can meet our needs." 

There is no person, not even a group of people, who can meet your every need in this life. Neither can you meet all of your own needs. The only way I know to get my needs met is through my faith, not that I've got it down pat, either. See, in order to get your needs met, by anyone, you have to trust. It's hard enough to trust people, who you can harass and badger into compliance (although it's clearly not recommended). It's even harder to trust a God who you can't see. Still, if you can trust, even just a little, you'll find that, ultimately, your needs will be met. After all, as Jesus says in John 6:35, "'I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.'" 

How do you do that, though? 

I can only share what has worked for me. I am certainly no expert in trust, but I am working on it. Remember - faith is like fitness in that you can always get better!

Tip #1 - Learn to wait. God doesn't work on your timetable, but neither do other people, so this shouldn't be a shock. When I think I can't take it anymore, I tell myself to just make it through one more week, day, hour, minute, whatever the situation calls for. Try not to get so impatient that you begin grumbling and stop looking for the good.

Tip #2 - Learn to take action. I know, this seems like a contradiction. I've seen far too many people, myself included, who are waiting on the Lord's guidance and refuse to make any decisions in the meantime. For example, if you're waiting on guidance in a relationship, that does not mean that you shouldn't be exploring job options, ministry options, etc. In fact, sometimes guidance for situation A may come through situation B. 

Tip #3 - Stay in touch with God. So many times I've gotten frustrated with waiting for guidance and I've stopped praying or spending time in the Bible. HUGE mistake. How can you get guidance from someone you're not speaking to? So yeah, this shouldn't need to be a tip, but I'm guessing some of you do stupid things like this sometimes, too.

Tip #4 - Consult trusted, faithful people. God can and does speak through Godly people. This is not to say that you should do everything the people you trust tell you to do. Always test their advice against scripture and your own conversations with God. But also don't overlook those people as mouthpieces of God's wisdom.

Hope this is helpful. Leave me some feedback or questions in the comments or click here to email me a Love y'all!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Blind Trust

I babysat for a friend the other day. The baby, we'll call her Abby, is two months old, and she is adorable. Once Mama left, little Abby sat happily on my lap. I read my daily devotion on true beauty to her and changed her diaper with no fuss. Only when she began fighting sleep did she get fussy, and even that was easily remedied by simply walking around the house with her until she fell asleep.

I marveled at her complete trust in me, a virtual stranger who had no kids and precious little experience with them. I marveled even more at at her mother's trust in me - she left the house with no further instructions than "the diapers are there and there's a bottle in the fridge," and she knew I lacked any qualifications. These were two people who trusted me completely with absolutely no reason to do so. Abby trusted me to meet her needs in the absence of her mother, and her mother trusted me to, well, keep Abby alive until she got home.

Abby and her mother painted a very clear picture for me of Proverbs 3:5-6, which says, "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight."

I can't speak for you, but when I trust someone, it's usually more the "Of course I trust you, I just have to do this one little thing to make it easier for you!" brand of trust. You know the kind, where you don't really trust the person, but you need their help? Yeah. Full on, complete, blind trust is hard for me. But, I think we all need at least two relationships like that in our lives. Hear me out.

First, let's start with the one I know applies to all of my readers, regardless of faith: a friend or family member you can trust completely. This is not only a person you can open up to, but someone you could leave alone to care for your pets, kids, siblings, whatever, and feel completely confident that things would go well. You wouldn't need to call and check up on them periodically, you'd just know everything was fine. Do you have a friend like that? I do. She lives a long ways away now (boo!!), but I'd trust her with my life. It's an awesome thing. Seek this out, if you can, but don't jeopardize your mental safety to do so. I will say, though, that having this kind of friend when you have mental health issues is a Godsend. I frequently call on this friend to help me communicate my thoughts to people, to make me take breaks to talk to her when I'm overly stressed, etc.

Next, the most important one that I pray will someday apply to all of my readers, even if it doesn't currently: God. When I "trust" God, it's often the same way I "trust" people - only as far as I'm forced to by the circumstances, if that. However, my relationship with God should look more like my relationship with my best friend. I should be able to just leave things in his hands to deal with and know that it'll get taken care of in the best way possible. The problem is that I think I know best, even in those situations where I'm not sure which way is up. It's a daily struggle for me to trust as I should. So, I'm not saying I have it down pat, I'm just saying you should give it a try. Tell Him all about the situation; vent, rant, tell Him what you want to happen, tell Him what you don't want to happen, talk your heart out, and then leave it there. Don't worry about it the rest of the day. Or the rest of the hour. Whatever you need to do to babystep yourself to trust.

Let me know how that experiment goes! As always, I love to hear from you so leave me comments or shoot me an email at

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Strength Training

I realized something during my Bible time today: I haven't had the urge to self-injure or commit suicide for a while now. (Brief pause for a pat on the back.) However, I also know that now is the time to strengthen myself, because those temptations will likely return. Primarily, I've been digging into my faith, but also spending time with my friends and their babies and crafting.

So, whether you're experiencing a period of relief from temptation, as I am, or you're struggling with an eating disorder, self-injury, suicide, anxiety, you name it, try these ideas to strengthen yourself against those thoughts in the future. (Family and friends, these tips could be useful for you, too, as you try to help your loved one.)

  1. Dig into your faith. This means finding community with others who share your beliefs, reading the scriptures, praying, etc. You'll find that most faiths have something to offer for your struggle, but, frankly, I find my Christian faith the most helpful (and I explored quite a lot). Let me know if you have questions about that - I'm happy to chat with you!
  2. Share your triggers (anything that makes your struggle more difficult) with a few close friends who can help you avoid those triggers and deal with them when they happen.
  3. Make a plan for dealing with tough situations. This means making a list of people and organizations you can contact if you're feeling tempted to do something you know you shouldn't. It also means making and constantly updating a list of activities that are helpful for you when you're tempted. For me, that list includes running, painting, cleaning, writing, and simply changing locations.
  4. Make a playlist of music that makes you happy and/or reminds you of the good things in life. That way, you at least have a chance to easily play music that won't make things worse.
  5. Use the times when you are strong to evaluate your life for things that make your struggles unnecessarily harder. Now, be careful with this. I am not telling you to quit school because it stresses you out. I am, however, telling you to stop doing all of your homework on one day a week. I am also not telling you to cut out everyone who makes you mad. I am, however, telling you to draw firm boundaries for those people who frequently add drama or stress to your life. Drawing boundaries is hard, and should never be done when you're emotional (that only leads to drawing boundaries you later regret).
  6. Most of all, use the good times to hang out with friends. I know full well that, when you're depressed, anxious, or trying to starve yourself, you tend to isolate yourself as well. So spend time with friends. Make sure they understand that you do care for them, and let them know what issues you're dealing with so that they can help you, or at least understand why you might not always come around.

Got any tips to share? Leave them in the comments or click here to shoot me an email at

Thursday, June 20, 2013

When it isn't all sunshine and lollipops

I've been praying, lately, for sustained hope. See, I've been doing great lately, but I fear that I'll forget or lose that hope. Let's be honest, we all have ups and downs, or "seasons" as my friend calls them (which inexplicably annoys me). It is to be expected that there will be times when we struggle to see hope in this life and times when hope is so abundant that we don't understand how others don't see it.

The question, then, becomes how to deal with those down times. (The up times seem to be easier, but if you want me to address that, let me know.) I'm no expert. I mean, I've had plenty of down times. Some have been dealt with better than others, to say the least, but here are some things I try to keep in mind that have worked in the past:
  1. There will be better days. Now, I know you've heard this before. It became real to me for two reasons
    1. I saw it happen many, many times.
    2. I read Psalm 27, which ends like this:
      I remain confident of this:  I will see the goodness of the Lord   in the land of the living. 
      Wait for the Lord;    be strong and take heart    and wait for the Lord.Note the bolded sections (my emphasis). We don't have to wait for death or, for some of us, hasten it in order to get to the good part. The good part starts here. So take a deep breath and try to wait it out with patience.
  2. There is nothing exceptionally bad about you. When I'm in a faith/life/mood slump, I often believe the worst about myself, but it's not true - of me or you! Try to acknowledge the truth. For instance, I am overweight, but I am not the most disgusting person on earth. I am not the smartest person I know, but neither am I stupid. You get the idea.
  3. Good things still happen, even in the darkest of times. Make a list of things that happen each day that were good or that you can be thankful for. During hospitalization of a family member, for instance, you might be thankful for a sweet nurse, a reliable car, or simply that it's not as bad as that family clearly receiving bad news down the hall. 

What helps you get through? Leave it in the comments or click here to email me at
Are you having trouble right now? Write to me and tell me what topics or questions you need me to address!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

We Have this Hope

Yesterday, I decided to read in the book of Matthew, for a change of pace. Remember that hope I said I was looking for? I found it!

I read chapter one, which, honestly, I have often skipped in the past because it's the genealogy of Jesus and, well, if you know your Bible you know how Jesus came to be. Or do you? See, I had decided to study the scripture, to really dig in and ask questions, like I would of any other piece of literature. (Of course, the Bible is much more than a piece of literature, this is just a study technique.) It occurred to me that, while the people of the time would have been accustomed to hearing the men's names in the genealogy, and probably didn't even give a second thought to who they were beyond identifying where their own lineage factored in, the mention of five women would have been highly unusual. The people would have paused there to remember the story of that woman's life. Let's take a quick look at these women:

Tamar - pretended to be a prostitute so that her father-in-law would get her pregnant, since her husband was dead and her father-in-law refused to marry her to his next son, as was the custom.
Rahab - prostitute who helped Joshua defeat Jericho by sheltering his men during their recon mission.
Ruth - entered the threshing floor (scandalous at the time!) to seek marriage to Boaz
Wife of Uriah (Bathsheba) - King David committed adultery with her and subsequently had her husband killed. In my opinion, she is referred to by her husband's name because her presence in the genealogy is more to point out David's transgression than to shine a light on her.
Mary - found to be pregnant before marriage, thus bringing shame on herself, her family, and her betrothed (Joseph).

I found that I had an inordinate amount of hope after reading and researching this genealogy. You see, none of these women (or the men, for that matter) were perfect. Many of them had HUGE character flaws, enormous sin issues, and enough personal problems to last a lifetime. Yet God used them to bring about his plan. God blessed them. In many cases, God used their weaknesses, their flaws, their sins, for good. Their weaknesses became the reason they were able to be included in the genealogy of Jesus and, for some, the reason they were able to minister.

Now, I have this hope (well, I've had it for awhile, but now it's stronger) that God will use me out of all of this mess that is my life. It's a vague hope, in that I'm not 100% certain how he will use me yet, but, as my therapist says, "Vague hope is better than clear guilt." Amen!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Honesty Hour

Tonight, I went to Bible study for the first time in awhile, thanks to a crazy summer travel schedule. We were discussing the need to read the Bible on a regular basis. Then, our leader pointed out that, according to Romans 15:4, "For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope." See, spending time reading Scripture is supposed to inspire hope.

This got me thinking. Reading the scriptures lately only inspires a bleak hopelessness because I see the restrictions, and no promise of happiness or pleasure in this lifetime. Moreover, when I have spoken to church leaders about this, I'm simply told that I am not promised that this life will be anything positive, but that I will find happiness, pleasure, health, etc in the next life. I am simply expected to endure, cheerfully, what I am going through.

Here's the thing: I would love to be able to cheerfully endure. However, I do not find an outlook that only makes me wish to die healthy. That is not the intention of the Christians who tell me that this life will suck, but the next one will be good, but that is what those of us who struggle with depression and suicide hear. I also do not believe that God sent us here only to suffer. There will be suffering, absolutely, but that is not meant to be our entire life.

So, this is my confession: I do not currently enjoy spending time in the Word. However, I am attempting to intentionally spend more time reading and meditating over it. Eventually, I hope that the hope will return. In the meantime, I'm praying for hope for myself and for all of you.

Please leave a comment below or shoot me an email at
Love y'all!

Sunday, June 16, 2013


This Father's Day, I want to take a moment to acknowledge that I was raised by an incredible, Godly man. When it came to me, he was always slow to anger, a constant source of support, but also willing to let me be independent. Dad gave me my first cup of coffee, my first pig, my first horse, my first book, and my first Bible. He is truly an inspiration to me, and I love him more than any other man in this world. I often say that I have such high standards for my husband because my dad was so great.

Still, even with all of these wonderful qualities, my dad does not understand the marital, emotional, and psychological issues I currently face. It is not his fault; he has simply not experienced what I am experiencing. This has been a hard pill for me to swallow. Dad does not pretend I'm not suffering because he wants to be mean, but because he simply doesn't know how to help me not to suffer.

This Father's Day, consider the positives about your father, and cut him some slack for those weak spots. Remember, we all have weaknesses; your dad included.

Happy Father's Day, y'all!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Stop Pretending

Wow - consistent blog posting is difficult in the summer! Sorry, y'all! Please know that, even if I don't post every day, you can always leave a comment on one of my posts or click here to shoot me an email.

Tonight, I write to you having just recovered from a panic attack. During the attack, I rocked back and forth and tried to breathe deeply. I asked a couple of friends for ideas on how to stop the attack, in the short bursts during which I could type. But I didn't tell my husband, and he didn't notice. Instead, I tried to pretend things were okay.

The source of the panic attack is also pretending things were okay. I processed an event with my therapist today which I had previously not confronted, in part because I thought it wasn't a big deal. As a result, I'm now trying to face it head on long after the fact, which is not easy.

I imagine lots of you pretend things are okay, too. When your mom or dad or close friend asks how you're doing, you don't mention the fact that you've been suicidal, haven't eaten in days, or just recovered from a panic attack. Now, I'm not saying you should complain all the time or even tell them every bad thing that happens. However, I'm discovering that there's merit to being open about your struggles. Somehow, it helps to remove their power over you. You no longer have to struggle in secret.

So I challenge you to stop pretending it's okay, stop pasting a fake smile on your face, with just one person. Make it someone you really trust, and make sure they know you aren't asking them to solve your problems; you're just looking for someone to confide in.

Leave me a comment or send me an email to to let me know how opening up goes!

Friday, June 7, 2013


I'm writing to you from a women's retreat tonight. As y'all know, I'm currently evaluating my faith. What is it that I actually believe as opposed to what I want to believe? What false beliefs do I hold that cause me to beat myself up using my religion? What is hindering my faith?

Today, I've gained some insight. Our speaker asked us to identify what things make us unfit, in the world's eyes, to be a vessel of God. For me, the list included my depression, suicide attempt, cutting, etc. Then, she told us that "we are weak and frail on purpose," because we are not truly weak, we are "God's opportunity" to work through us in others. Then, we identified ways to strengthen ourselves. (I'm still working on that part.)

So what makes you "unfit" in the eyes of this world to be a minister, a vessel, or maybe even just a Christian?

No matter what you just thought of, here's the real treasure, taken from 2 Corinthians 4:9b (The Message version): "we've been thrown down, but not broken."

Did you catch that? NOT BROKEN. I don't know about you, but I and many of my friends who suffer from depression, self-injury, eating disorders, anxiety, and other mental health issues often refer to ourselves as "broken." But it's not true. So long as you are here, you are not broken. Wounded, perhaps, but not dead.

I'm excited to keep posting more as I hear from these amazing women and from God this weekend. Stay tuned! As always, leave me a comment or shoot me an email if you'd like to chat. Email:

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Impossible Standards?

Today, my therapist made an observation about me that makes a lot of sense, even though I hadn't considered it before. Using examples, he pointed out that, while I'm willing to make allowances for others, I use the Bible to beat myself up.

For example, I often allow others to take advantage of me, but when asked why I don't take a stand, I will quote a Bible verse. The example used today happened to come from my marriage, so my therapist responded by saying, "'Husbands, love your wives as Christ loved the Church.' See, I have a verse, too." Point taken. I am not the only one who should be living up to certain standards.

He also pointed out, though, that I let faith tell me who I should be (living up to standards) rather than letting faith tell me who I am. So, his goal over the next few weeks is to "get that cross-shaped baseball bat" out of my hands so I'll stop beating myself with it.

I'm fascinated by this process, because I believe most of us have something we use to beat ourselves up. This is especially true of those of us struggling with anxiety, depression, self injury, eating disorders, etc. What do you beat yourself up with? The approval of others? The expectations of your faith? Societal standards?

I encourage you to identify what you beat yourself with. If you're not sure, consult a therapist or a trusted friend. Then, lay it aside, even if only for a moment. I have no doubt that it will take constant conscious decisions in order to stop beating ourselves. However, when I imagine feeling free again, it seems worth it.

Leave a comment or click to shoot me an email. I'd love to hear your thoughts and stories.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

I'm Back!

Wow, I've been a terrible blog host. Sorry! I went on a week's vacation and forgot to queue up some posts for y'all. But, now that I'm back, let's get back in the game.

I've just returned from a blissful vacation on which I did not have to worry about money, schedules, homework, work, etc. If I could stay in "vacation mode" forever, life would be pretty great. However, I can't. And even if I could, it wouldn't be good for me. As painful as returning to real life has been, it was necessary.

Let me give you a clearer example (since returning from vacation is a bit difficult to conceptualize as a good thing). While on vacation, my husband got a pretty bad sunburn. We had some ointment with us that we had discovered sped healing by a few days, at least. However, it formed a crunchy, strange-feeling layer on top of the skin while it did so. As a result, my husband refused to use the ointment, preferring to complain about the burn and endure the extra pain it caused rather than spend even an hour with "crunchy" skin.

Healing is never pleasant, but sometimes there are ways to fast-track healing. This leaves me wondering if I'm ignoring the fast-track to healing. Are you?

Leave me comments or click here to shoot me an email. Love y'all!