All posts filed under: Emotional health

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Deep Calls to Deep

There are times when ‘life happens’ for all of us. We find ourselves stranded in deep waters where waves of trouble and trials crash over us again and again. Our emotions are in turmoil. Many times, I have found myself in a place where words could not be spoken. The heart cry of my sadness and grief echoed out over the waters of my despair. But during these times God reaches out to us: “Deep calleth unto deep at the voice of thy waterspouts; all thy waves and billows are gone over me. Yet the Lord will command his lovingkindess in the day time and in the night his song shall be with me, and my prayer unto the God of my life. I will say unto God my rock why has thou forgotten me? (Psalm 42:7 KJV) This is also the only place in the Bible that refers to waterspouts. Waterspouts are created during ocean storms when funnels touch the water connecting the ocean with the heavens. It speaks of the connection that God …

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It’s time to re-calibrate! You don’t have to save the world

It’s easy to lose ourselves in the spinning and twirling events of our daily lives. Often, we burn out when we give all our time and energy for a worthy cause or in meeting the needs of those around us. I am learning that I am not indispensable and that the world can do very well without me for a while. The harsh reality is that we often become “indispensable” in our own eyes. We get lost in the illusion that the world can’t make it without us. We must step away and take a good look at who we have become. My ego loves the attention and the “need to be needed.” I call it my “save the world mentality.” My husband can attest to the many times I have asked him to remind me that “I don’t have to save the world.” Because that mentality has ruined my health, run me into the ground, hurt my most valued relationships (husband and kids) as I ran off to save the world, leaving them and …

Flamenco dance, Seville, Spain Credit: Laurence Vagner/Flickr/Creative Commons

The Dance of Life

These past few weeks my eyes have been opened to my need for love, respect and acceptance from others. I tend to accuse others of being uncaring when they dismiss my plans and ideas. I demand from others what I am lacking in myself and make others responsible for the way I feel. When I quit blaming others for the way I am feeling (angry, hurt, rejected), only then can I see what the real problem is — my lack of self-esteem mostly. I needed to ask ‘why’ am I blaming someone else for my lack of self-worth and insecurities. Why do I so badly need to be right? Resentment and anger are dis-empowering. They debilitate and cripple us, yet we unknowingly lean on them like crutches to get the emotional support and love that we so badly need. When we seek love without giving it to ourselves first, (embracing our value and worth in God and believing that) we will never be satisfied with what we get from people.  We will find ourselves continually …

Blame: The Ultimate Cop-out

Lately, I found myself repeating an old pattern in my life. It’s the one where I suddenly don’t feel good enough or I feel shame about something or an unpleasant memory pops up and I blame someone else for the problem. I recognize in those moments, I have chosen to become a victim and end up dumping my emotional garbage on my unsuspecting husband. He gets to take the garbage out! In a moment, my own personal trash is transferred to him and for a few seconds “I feel better.” But, the “rush” does not last long and soon those sick emotions return. I realize now why many of us like to blame others. It provides a temporary rush that numbs our senses and makes us feel better. But like all addictions, drugs, alcohol or gambling, the problem is not solved. It returns with a vengeance and we need to dump our frustration, anger and unchecked feelings again and again. Blaming someone else becomes our temporary fix. We become addicted to it because of the …

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Surviving a winter season

As I enter the last half of January, I find myself bracing for the emotional challenges these months have brought in past years. It involves a slow descent into darkness. I often feel trapped, restless and revisit old issues that I thought were healed. Depression and feelings of worthlessness can overtake me as the days get shorter and the cold settles in. But not this year! I am putting  my best foot forward as we descend into the shadows of winter. I am like the groundhog who hibernates and waits for the right conditions to resurface. Actually, in a spiritual sense, it’s the perfect season to ‘exercise grace’. What does ‘exercising grace’ mean?  For me, it’s the  full release of my ‘doing mentality’ that has been known to drive me and others in my family to utter insanity. In other words cease trying to make things happen. It means that over these next couple months I choose to embrace knowing that it is ok to ‘just be’ and that ‘I am enough.’ It’s about accepting …

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Clouds of Emotion

Is there a message in the madness when our emotions are out of control and things are not going the way you hoped? Of course it’s about them, the other people, who don’t understand or ‘get it’. It becomes so frustrating as we repeatedly circle the situation with increasing intensity. The light dims as we are encompassed by thickening clouds that become darker and more controlling. We start to lose our reason and perspective. I must admit that I was being swallowed up by clouds of emotion that were surfacing in my life. My elderly parents are resisting the inevitable changes that are coming for them. I have been trying to help them navigate this transition and they have been fighting it. This has been emotionally draining as I watch them struggle in this season of life.  Anger, tears and overwhelming concern for them caught me up in whirling and intensifying emotions.  It was a brewing storm cloud in my life. Often in these difficult times, we want to blame others and I was blaming …

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Bent, but not broken

There are people whom I can’t help because they are not able to receive or believe words of encouragement or hope spoken to them. But I was no different. Deep down I didn’t feel that I was worthy of the attention or the possible good that could happen. An underlying root of unbelief grew deep into my heart. Because of fear of what the unearthing might expose, I stubbornly stood in the way and for a long time prevented this root from being pulled up. I felt safe in the damp, dark dirt of the past. I allowed some digging and uprooting but when the tangled roots got close to the surface I shrunk back.  The light revealed too much. The fear of unearthing and acknowledging the past in order to heal can be difficult to handle. There has been too much trauma and any further emotional upheaval in the present is almost unbearable. I so appreciate this verse in Isaiah that helps me take a gracious and loving approach to those like myself who …

Painting by Frederick Carl Frieseke (1874-1939) Credit: Museum of Fine Arts, Houston/Wikipedia

The invisible woman

Do you sometimes feel invisible to the people you interact with during the day.  Even if acknowledged it often doesn’t feel sincere enough to satisfy you. I felt that way for many years. I believed I wasn’t significant enough to be acknowledged and seen for who I really was. People didn’t really know me. I have learned after all these years that the way I was feeling (insignificant in the eyes of others) was a mirror reflection of the way I really felt about myself. I had to dive deep into my emotions and my  past  to find the source of my  invisibility pattern.  So much of what I was mirroring to others was directly related to things that happened to me 10, 15 or 20 years ago. In other words, in my own eyes I was invisible and felt unworthy of the attention and significance that came from wholesome relationships that I really longed for. Often women are stuck in ‘old stories’, experiences and unpleasant memories that leave us struggling in our everyday interaction …

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Human ‘being’ or human ‘doer’

A few weeks ago my husband and daughter noticed that I was tired and sleeping more than usual. Immediately, I became angry and defensively opened my calendar to recount every thing I had done over the past two weeks that justified my tiredness. My husband said to me, “it’s not about how much you have done or are doing.  Maybe, you need to go to the doctor and make sure it’s not your heart.  Your mother has heart disease.” His concern for my health interrupted my rant and how much I had done (with proof written in my calendar). I thanked him for caring enough to say something.  He was not questioning my ‘doer’ abilities but was genuinely concerned about my health. I was later moved to tears when I realized my Heavenly Father tries in the same way to push aside my “doing mindset” and convince me that “I am enough.” God loves and accepts us just the way we are. There is nothing we can do to prove ourselves to our Heavenly Father. …

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Letting go of your unrealistic expectations of others

For three days I battled with the expectations I had put on a particular person in our church. I would relinquish the expectation and then take it back. I fought with this expectation for three days and equally long nights. I was practically foaming at the mouth. By the end I was frazzled and worn out. My expectations were a weight on my mind and I was unable to release them.  A heaviness fell on me making it almost impossible to relinquish them. It was a tug-a-war of letting go and then pulling back, over and over in my mind. I had to put an end to this struggle and the hopes, fears and expectations that had become tangled up in my mind. I had become a prisoner of the expectations I had put on someone else. Selena C. Snow, a Clinical psychologist in Rockvileed, MD, says expectations are potentially damaging because they set us and others up for failure. She adds that “unrealistic expectations assume a level of control, that we don’t actually have …

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Are you a people-pleaser?

Giving and pleasing look exactly the same on the outside but they both come from a different place or motivation of the heart. They even feel different because giving comes from a positive space and people-pleasing comes from a negative one. Stacey Martino, a relationship expert, refers to people-pleasing as ‘the kiss of death’ because we are giving from a place of insecurity (our need for approval and to be valued).  We are doing it for the wrong reasons and this creates resentment. People-pleasing drains you emotionally because you really didn’t want to do it in the first place. You just did it to please someone. And if we experience rejection it magnifies our resentment. An internal explosion is not to far away. Giving comes from a positive place of optimism hopefulness, passion, gratitude, joy and desire to bless. People-pleasing comes from a place of insecurity, doubt, worry, jealousy, disappointment, blame or boredom. Ultimately, people-pleasing stems from our need to be loved and valued. It is rooted in insecurity.  We don’t know our true worth …

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Are You living in the present?

“Don’t worry about tomorrow sufficient for the day is the evil [trouble thereof]. (Matthew 6:34) It has become clear the root of my worry stems from trying to plan for what may or may not happen the next day or even the weekend. Every angle is covered. With my worry I try to control the next day and the day after that. Elliot’s Commentary has an interesting spin on this verse, when he interprets “don’t worry about tomorrow” as “make most of the present.” Staying rooted and grounded firmly in the present day and moment will change your life. It allows us to get the most out of today. I remember one author stating that it is important to stay in the present for ourselves. I immediately discarded the thought. It would be so selfish. But after prayerful consideration, I changed my mind. When I am in the present for myself, I am able to discern the voice of God in my life. I am a much better person to live with and able to …

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My open heart

Some days, I have to work hard to keep my heart open to people around me. I am reminded of a butterfly opening itself up as it pushes its beautiful wings back and exposing its fragile center and the warmth of its colorful wings. Somedays, I am the butterfly, pushing  back my comparisons, criticisms and expectations of those around me to keep my heart open despite how vulnerable I feel.  These decisions propel me forward and enable me to embrace those around me with more kindness and tolerance. I am learning not to take things so personally. It seems the more sure and secure I become of my identity and value in Christ, the less I need to judge or define others as arrogant, insensitive or rude. I am at peace with myself. I am good with me. “Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself.  I am the Lord.” (Leviticus 19:18) It is my own insecurities, fears and sometimes victim mentality that creates …

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The river of life

I remember five years ago, when I deliberately chose once and for all to forgive those who had wounded me over the years. It involved people I regularly interacted with at church and work. In my mind’s eye, I dumped it all on a garbage heap and burned it. When I looked back there was nothing left but smoke. Every time, I was reminded of the incident and was tempted to look back, I only saw blackened earth. There was nothing left to remember or react to. On my journey to wholeness over the past few years, I have learned that offense throws me completely off course and away from the purpose and plans God has for my life. Unforgiveness, and its children anger and resentment, created a current in my life that pulled me backwards and worked against the moving of the Holy Spirit. It was an extra weight in my boat as I navigated up the river of life.  I was not gaining ground spiritually and my boat was sinking. Unforgiveness attracted the …

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Changing your story

We all have a story to tell and often people read our story before we actually get to tell it. I have learned that we often give people evidence about ourselves by our words and actions. My insecurities have spoken for themselves and my perception of myself and life has shone through. Literally, I have handed over my story to others by the way I talk about myself, present myself and perceive life. In a matter of moments, people will take what I present and form an opinion of me. We are an open book to this world. So the question is what story am I telling? Is it one of hardship, struggle and pain, a perpetual victim-hood that never ends or is it one of a victor — a person who is overcoming each and everyday? And if it isn’t the latter, do I want to change my story? Our struggles, our pain, our disharmony with life, circumstances and people are opportunities for growth. They provide the platform to dive into the depths of …

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Do you have enough oil?

“At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish and five were wise. The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. The wise ones, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps.” (Matthew 25:1-2) Women are like oil lamps, when the oil runs dry, you can’t get fire. For years I resigned myself to ‘life by default’ where I went through the motions of dealing with whatever life handed me that day. There was never enough time to just rest, relax or enjoy a good book. Over the years, people-pleasing burned a lot of oil from my personal lamp. And, although it looked nice on the outside, I learned that it really was a way to avoid dealing with unresolved issues in my life. I ignored my emotions and what was going on inside and tried to make myself feel better by giving my attention and energy to things …

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Reigning it in

Smoke billowed upstairs and I ran down to see what was going on.  Something was left to slowly cook on a stove burner and no one was paying attention to the build up of smoke until it filled our nostrils and we couldn’t see through the haze. When I am angry my emotions build up in the same way until I am filled with its fumes and can’t see what is really happening. I want to blame someone, anyone except myself. At these moments, there is so much unleashed power at my fingertips and what happens next is up to me. I find it challenging to bring my anger to an immediate full stop. It’s like reigning in a team of runaway horses and slowly bringing them under control. You can’t bring them to an immediate full stop. It takes time and I am learning to slowly lead my anger away from a destructive end where a loved takes the brunt of my pent-up frustration. The Apostle Paul talks about taking our thoughts captive and …

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He makes my feet secure like hind’s feet

“He makes my feet like hinds’ feet (able to stand firmly or make progress on the dangerous heights of testing and trouble; He sets me securely upon my high places.” (Psalm 18:33 AMP) Events beyond my control left me numb from the inside out and feeling like I was the worst person on earth. I took it all so personally. I shouldn’t have but I did. This traumatic event was a trigger revealing that the perception I had of myself (my identity and self-worth) was pretty much reliant on the approval and opinions of my peers. The fear of man ruled my life. All kinds of unresolved issues surfaced during this  time.  It was all out on the table and not a pretty sight. I was desperate to be free of these insecurities and their wounding effect on me emotionally, physically and spiritually. I was open and surrendered myself to the process of inner emotional healing. Over these past years, wise counsel, God’s word and sound principles brought me to a place of confidence and …

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Fill my cup

‘’Chronically depleted’ is a term I have been running across lately describing the way women are functioning these days. It was a wake up call for me. I use a sleep machine at night.  I was not getting enough oxygen while sleeping and as a result I woke up many times during the night and  wasn’t even aware of it.  I would wake up in the morning fatigued.  It’s called ‘Sleep Apnea.’ My husband and I were traveling recently and I got out of the habit of using my machine. When we returned home, I continued the practice of not using it, even though it was within my reach on the dresser right beside my bed.  I just had to apply the mask to my face, place the strap around my head and press the button. Instead, I ignored it and even though it seemed that I was sleeping, I really wasn’t. The last few weeks without the machine slowly brought me to a place of fatigue and exhaustion. I was barely functioning. It was …

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The dance of the butterfly

As much as I struggled and fought with winter this year, I have learned that it is just as important as all the other seasons. To be honest, I felt trapped this winter. It’s been hard and I found the days long and the shortage of sun emotionally draining. One day my mood was up (the sun was out) and the next day it would be down (cloudy skies). I missed my flowers and the sunshine. Through this I was reminded of the butterfly and its various stage of cocooning. Some refer to the butterfly’s incubation time as a “holding space” where it completes its remarkable transformation from a caterpillar to a butterfly. The Bible talks about a similar “holding space” for Christians: “Cease striving and know that I am God. ” (Psalm 46:10) I can picture the caterpillar becoming frustrated by the lack of light as the layers slowly envelope its tiny form.  But, it needs to surrender to the cocooning and its time of incubation. I am beginning to understand that this cocooning …

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The ‘new’ normal

The stun gun effect that I have been feeling these past few months had a lot  to do with the lack of sunshine this winter and not being able to get outside as much.  I miss my flowers and sun! Feeling uncomfortable in my body, sluggish and unmotivated forced me to stretch myself outside my comfort zone physically. I signed up for a couple of exercise classes and started walking in the malls with my husband because walking outside in the cold, snow and ice wasn’t an option. Movement became key and the more I stretched and moved my body beyond its limitations the better I felt. It has also felt like an incubation time where thoughts and feelings, unpleasant and pleasant, have rolled around inside me allowing the real root of the emotions and thoughts to surface. Even Jesus learned through times of struggle. “Although He was a Son, He learned (active, special) obedience through what he suffered.” (Hebrews 5:8) I exercised my mind and dove deep into my thoughts and emotions. They were …

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Whose voice are you listening to?

“For the Lord your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With His love, He will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs. (Zephaniah 3:17 NLT) These wonderful words speak of God’s very personal and deep love for each one of us. As I read them, I realize how often I have not translated these verses and made them personal in my everyday experience. There are times I find myself stepping on the slippery slope of chastisement when I make a simple mistake such as drop an egg on the floor or spill water all over the counter. Statements like I am never going to get it right. I’m so stupid. What’s wrong with me? Such remarks are way over the top for such minor things. Most importantly, this is not how our heavenly Father speaks to us. He would not chastise us for such simple, common errors. But, we do! Hammering ourselves with harsh words breaks the heart …

Every morning you must decide how you will walk your road that day. Credit: Julie Falk/Flickr/Creative Commons

Out of sorts?

My husband had just taken three days off work so we could paint our family room.  We accomplished a lot the first two days and by the third day had the job done. So I thought, now let’s go out for coffee and do a little Christmas shopping. I knew that in the long-term we would  both be better off by letting him have some time to himself.  So, I caught myself before I put on a little performance and a few sighs, to let him know  I  really wanted him to go out with me. I released him from the expectation of joining me that afternoon.  I knew he needed a break. Lately, I have been  purposely releasing myself, family  and friends from  unnecessary and sometimes unrealistic expectations.  It has, in the long run, created better communication and released tension in my relationships. But, recently,  I started feeling out of sorts.   I was  angry most of the time.  It didn’t seem to matter what anyone said or did, it still elicited an angry response …

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Has your church offended you?

As I look back over the past 30 years of our Church life, I realize how much happier my husband and I could have been, if we had only known then what we know now. But like many, we learned the hard way. One of the keys is learning not to be offended by your church. So, how does one protect and guard themselves from getting hurt in church? Reflecting on our spiritual journey this one truth comes back to me over and over again.  Avoid developing unreasonable expectations of the church and its leaders. I am reminded of a time years ago when my husband struggled with personal identity issues in his life.  So much of it was wrapped up in how well he performed at work and he became a workaholic of sorts. I was not perfect during this period and kept heaping unrealistic expectations on him — what he should be doing around the house and even at church. He just couldn’t handle it! These unreasonable expectations were putting distance between him …

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Do we need to love ourselves?

“The second is: ‘You must love others as much as yourself.’ No other commandments are greater than these.” (Mark 12:3) According to Matthew Henry’s commentary, loving yourself from a biblical perspective refers to loving the image of God in you and the way He created you. This is not referring to a conceited, prideful, self-worship type of love. Loving yourself and embracing your significance as a Christian is vital. We need to love and value ourselves in the same way God does. Low self-esteem, beating ourselves up emotionally and physically (body image), defining ourselves through past mistakes and failures are all signs that we are not loving ourselves in the same way God loves us. We can be bitter and unforgiving towards others. But we can also be bitter and unforgiving towards ourselves and God because of the way we perceive ourselves  through our body image or  the way things turned out for us in life. I am learning that it  is just as important to forgive myself  as it is to forgive others. Understanding …

Who do you blame for the storms in your life? Photo: 5oulscape/Flickr/Creative Commons

So what’s really bothering you?

I often deal with my frustration by blaming my husband. He is an easy target. And because he is often conveniently close by, I can throw my personal frustrations at him. Yes, he knows something is wrong but has no idea what.  He is not a mind reader as much as I would like him to be. I have begun to look at my frustrations, anger and resentments as signals that the problem is not with the person I am blaming. Often, we blame our partner for the way we feel about our day or even the past. We cast ourselves as the victim and our partner as the villain. Relationship experts Katie and Gay Hendricks describe it this way: “If you feel you are being wronged  and want things to change in your relationship, BEING THE VICTIM NEVER WORKS!” Denying my emotions and the real reason for my frustration (anger, resentment) by blaming an unsuspecting family member creates a vicious cycle that keeps building up inside until it explodes. Though I feel better blaming …

Alone. Photo: Stefano Bertolotti/Flickr/Creative Commons

Praying for connection

I am sitting in my living room in my new home. I am grateful for my life at this moment and for moving and setting up a new residence outside a small city where we have lived for almost two years. This place and space my husband and I have created is pretty good. Although, this phase of retirement living in a new place is very quiet these days. There are days and weeks where life and people I knew are just a blurred  memory.  Other days the memories are more vivid. These past two years have been a time of rest for me.  The Lord  has led me beside still waters, refreshed my soul and breathed new life and hope into me. Creating a new circle of friends is difficult. Yet, I know that God created us with a need for relationship.  From past experience, I know that it takes time and often years to find friends that you have a connection with. Stepping out of my comfort zone and extending myself to others …

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Grief and time

I stood at the counter and watched as the cashier carefully wrapped my Willow Tree ornaments. I had purchased four of these ornaments for each of my immediate family. The statue is called “brothers.” The younger  brother is on the ground looking up at the standing older brother who is looking down. It was the first Christmas in my grief. Losing my oldest boy a year earlier made the holiday painful. The clerk looked at me as she wrapped the ornaments.  She asked me if these were for someone who lost a loved one. I said, yes, I lost my son. “Well,” she stated, “if this is your first year, the second year is just as painful.” “However, the third year is a little better.” she added, “and then by five years you will find it so much better.” Wow! A complete stranger had just made my world open to a possible future I could hope for. What a gift! In grief sharing with others who have lost a loved one, I have mentioned this …

God want to heal our brokeness. Photo: Howard Hall/Flickr/Creative Commons

Circle of Love

It had been a year since I lost my son to suicide and I was invited to join a new women’s group at church. I wanted to stay home and not risk baring my heart to anyone. God knew I needed this group of women and gently pushed me out the door of my comfort zone. To be honest, I was angry with my son for choosing to leave us the way he did. I am a resilient person and found myself able to move forward in my life despite our loss.  My resiliency, though, left me unable to express myself and release my grief. There were five women in this group and each of us had our own pain and grief to deal with. Some of us were angry with God for the circumstances we were facing.  Others, like myself, were angry at our loved one for the choice they had made. We were all here to release the pain and guilt of poor choices made and we began to realize that we needed …

What we think of ourselves, affects who we are.

Be nice to yourself

My mind can be my best friend or worst enemy depending on what I choose to believe about myself. In other words, my body responds to messages I send it via my thoughts. Many times, while trying on clothes in a store, I have stood in front of the mirror and criticized myself for being fat. There is, undeniably, a mind-body connection and statements like “I am fat” affect our mental, emotional and physical well-being. I have shut myself down many times because of my negative thinking and the demeaning language that followed. Waking up and feeling gloomy because the sun isn’t shining often sets the mood and tone of my day and this in turn determines how productive it will be as well. The Bible tells us that our thoughts dictate who we become. The mind of a man reflects who he really is, not just his actions or words . “Above all else, guard your heart for everything you do flows from it.” (Proverbs 4:23) Guarding the heart really means the inner core of …

Jesus wants to bring emotional healing. Photo: Olaf Meyer/Flickr/Creative Commons

Jesus came to heal the ‘shivering’ heart

According to researchers from Denmark’s Aarhus University, human grief can literally cause heart problems. The research team looked at the medical data for about one million Danes and discovered that people who experience the loss of a partner had a 41% increased chance of an irregular heartbeat. Called atrial fibrillation or arrhythmia, it takes place when there is a breakdown in the heart’s electrical system causing the heart’s chambers to flutter or beat very fast. It can result in increased risk of heart attacks, strokes and even death. The risk was even higher when the death was unexpected resulting in a 57% increased risk of atrial fibrillation. They also discovered this was happening to people who up to this point had never experienced an irregular heart beat. In the study, the researchers found that of the 88,612 who were diagnosed with atrial fibrillation for the first time, 17,478 had experienced the loss of a loved one within the previous year. In a Los Angeles Times article, Simon Graff, one of the study leaders, said: “Stress …

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It doesn’t have to be a life sentence

I lost my eldest son Graham in 2004 to suicide. Six years later my grief took me to a five-day seminar to help deal with the emotional upheaval in my life due to his death. I had filled out their forms, answered questions, shared my story and the reasons why I wanted to attend the seminar. On the first day, we all received a name tag. One facilitator came up to me and gave me mine. I glanced at it as I took it from her hand. The words “life sentence” we’re neatly printed on it.  It caught me completely off guard.  It took a few days into the seminar to face the cold hard facts. As  judge, juror and prosecutor, I had sentenced myself to a life-time of guilt and shame  for the death of my son. Death from suicide carries a stigma with it and the grieving is more complex. I could not understand why my son took this drastic measure. He willingly left us. I did something wrong. My husband and I …

Photo of the Heart shaped leaf that fell at Laura's feet as she meditated on God's love for her.

Struggling to believe God’s love?

[by Laura Fauchon] For many years I struggled to understand God’s love. The unsettling events of my life (sexual and physical abuse ) often kept me awake at night. I would cry myself to sleep asking God to help me and take the pain away. How could a loving God be so absent and seemingly distant during these times? Although I grew up being taught that God loved me and died on the cross for my sins and that He heard my prayers, I felt He did not care. I would struggle with being told God is a very present help in times of trouble. If this was true, then where was He? A wise and godly woman years ago helped me on my journey to healing.  It was through her mentoring and fellowship that I began to heal from the hurt and pain I endured. Coming to the realization that this abuse was not my fault was a stepping stone to my healing.  Then, by the grace of God, I was able to forgive …

A time to weep and a time to laugh; A time to mourn and a time to dance. Ecclesiastes 3:4

A safe place to grieve

My first-born son, Graham, died when he was eighteen years old. He took his life while stranded on a country road in his vehicle. A few months after he passed away my grief counselor advised me to find a place where I could go and “let it all out and cry hard to release my painful emotions.” At that time I was not able to speak about my son’s tragic death to anyone.  My heart felt like it was frozen. Even when I was alone the tears would not come. I didn’t trust myself or anyone else enough to talk about it and expose my raw emotions. I was too hurt to do that. I have always found great comfort in writing.  It was easy for me to pour out my thoughts and feelings on paper. I missed my son terribly so I wrote him a letter to tell him things about myself and how his family was coping. I wanted to share it with him! “And God will wipe away every tear from their …

Dealing with the pain of grief.

How grief tilted my world

My first-born son, Graham, died on January 15, 2004. He was 18 years old.  He took his own life while stranded on a country road in his own vehicle. My world took a serious tilt. My perspective on life shifted to the dark side. Everything and everyone changed as I viewed them through the eyes of grief. I didn’t know what to do with the people who surrounded me and engaged in life with me. I was terrified to talk about the loss of my son. Not feeling free to share feelings and thoughts hindered my grieving process.  I read the Bible and books on grief and suicide hoping this would help me deal with people’s questions and comments. Nothing could prepare me though. I had to face it alone and walk through the unknown waters of grief and let the waves splash over me. People meant well and out of the uncertainty of what to say their comments sometimes came across the wrong way — like my son’s suicide was probably for the best …