Thursday, September 24, 2015

White Pumpkins & Lattes

It's here. That most wonderful time of the year. Bring out the flannels, booties, and over-sized sweaters. There's something very nostalgic about this season for me. Maybe it's because it reminds me of packing up the motor home and traveling through New England and Canada for weeks at a time with my family while Dad shadowed various pulpits. Or maybe it's the memories of hayrides and corn mazes that I shared with childhood friends. Or perhaps it's when I finally realized I was falling in love. Maybe it's my lovely November wedding I shared with that same man on the lawn in front of that antebellum home.

This morning I made myself a pumpkin pie latte sprinkled with cinnamon while I read on the couch. It's moments like these that I sit and thank God for His many blessings. I look forward to apple-picking, enjoying my mom's homemade wassail, catching old episodes of Felicity and Gilmore Girls, and camping with the family. It's moments like these that make that very special time of year so wonderful. 

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

New Morning

One of my favorite movies of all time is Gone With the Wind. Yeah, the ending is super depressing but that moment when Rhett leaves Scarlett on the doorstep after losing one of her best friends to death, recently losing a child, and now seeing her marriage slipping from her right when she finally realizes it's everything to her, courageously pronounce, "After all, tomorrow is another day!" is a pretty epic scene.

I like hope. I mean, without it, what would be the point of living, right? I like second chances because let's face it...we are all hopelessly flawed and human and sometimes really really mess up. I like hope because I can be a pretty pessimistic person. Sometimes I get tired of waiting on certain things to happen and just tend to throw in the towel and get super frustrated and think, "What's the point?".

I was reminded this morning from Lamentations 3:22-24, Through the Lord's mercies we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. "The Lord is my portion," says my soul. "Therefore I hope in him!" 

Today is a new day, a new beginning. Whatever you are going through right now, be assured that you have hope. Hope that He is there. He is our rock. And nothing that we encounter today will take Him by surprise. 

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Therapy for our Hearts

I just wanted to take a moment here and be really honest. I struggle with anxiety. I have for years. Some months it's worse than others but it always seems to be there, lurking in the darkness, and it seizes opportunities to rear it's ugly head. At times I have anxiety just thinking of my struggle with anxiety. For some reason, usually fall triggers it again. Don't get me wrong, I am the same as every other white girl and love the season, but with the changing leaves and crisp weather comes a change in my moods. I understand that this is a struggle that is very real for a lot of women so I wanted to be raw and share my struggles in the hopes that it may encourage someone else out there. 

Currently I am reading You Can Change by Tim Chester. It has been so convicting but it's also been an encouraging read as well. I wanted to share some of my favorite paragraphs that I have read recently. They really uplifted me and reminded me to stop listening to my thoughts and speak truth to myself.

Chester writes, "Martyn Lloyd-Jones said, "Have you realized that most of your unhappiness in life is due to the fact that you are listening to yourself instead of talking to yourself?" We need to take every thought captive (2 Corinthians 10:3-5). Our problem, says Sinclair Ferguson, is that "we think with our feelings." We don't always feel joy in God, but by faith we can tell ourselves that he is our joy. When we find ourselves tempted to engage in sinful behavior, or when we find that our emotions are getting the better of us, we need to speak truth to our hearts. Say the truth to yourself repeatedly so that it sinks in: "God is all I need." Say it slowly: "" Say it out loud. Say it back to him: "You are all I need." C.S. Lewis says, "The moment you wake up each morning, all your wishes and hopes for the day rush at you like wild animals. And the first job of each morning consists of shoving them all back; in listening to that other voice, taking that other point of view, letting that other, larger, stronger, quieter life come flowing in."

Chester goes on to add some key thoughts to remember:

1. God is great - so we do not have to be in control. 
2. God is glorious - so we do not have to fear others. 
3. God is good - so we do not have to look elsewhere.
4. God is gracious - so we do not have to prove ourselves. 

Some other books that have really lifted my heart in dark times outside Scripture, are The Discipline of Grace by Jerry Bridges, Loving God with All Your Mind by Elizabeth George, and Calm My Anxious Heart by Linda Dillow. I strongly recommend any and all of these books for anyone that struggles with anxiety and depression.

If you are battling with this very thing at the moment please know you are not alone. I am praying for you as you read this that God will draw very near to you in your dark season. There is hope and everything will be ok. I know at the moment when you are in it everything seems hopeless but that's a lie. So much of our struggle, yes yours and mine, has to do with the mind. That's why it's so pivotal that we stay connected in scripture and prayer. We need to be filling our minds with truth about God and truth about our ever-changing emotions and feelings.

Lastly, I leave you with one of my favorite verses. My mom would quote this to me time and time again when I would go to her for counsel and still does. I have even hung it in my bedroom so I can be reminded of it everyday.