PW Blog 06.18.20 Anxiety

 
06/18/20
P.W. Blog-Anxiety and Depression
Hi everyone! I’d like to start my blog by saying thank you for the words of encouragement and prayers for me! I feel each and every one. The last two weeks I have felt much more grounded and like myself again. 😊
Lately, I’ve seen numerous posts and articles on anxiety and depression. It is literally everywhere and for good reason. Our world is filled with unknowns right now and a LOT of fear and anxiety presents itself with fear of the unknown. Now, I am caveating right now that I have no degree in mental health or counseling. I do not ascribe to be a professional by any stretch of the imagination. I know there are many, many people who have chemical imbalances, hormonal imbalances, genetics, etc. that effects their mental health. This is not a blog against whatever you choose to do to deal with your mental health. This IS a blog to discuss what we see in the word of God and how it affects us.
I have dealt with depression, anxiety, panic attacks and being so stressed out that my body literally started breaking down. During these times I have scoured the bible on the topic of fear, anxiety, and depression. You know something that really stood out to me while studying the word? I am NOT alone. Psalms, Ecclesiastes, and Job are just a few of the examples where we definitely see some major emotional distress. When we look at individuals in the word, it is astounding how many examples there are. Most of these examples are strong people of God. I believe with all of my heart that we have these examples to encourage us and remind us that we are not going through these issues alone. When you ask most people in the depths of depression what one of their biggest struggles is, they will say that they feel alone or that no one understands. The bible reminds us that nothing could be further from the truth. I encourage you to study these examples for yourselves and pray it would give you hope.
The other thing that speaks to me is that the bible states that the mindset of the flesh is death but the mindset of the Spirit is life and peace (Romans 8:6). My flesh is weak, at its core it desires to be self-absorbed and sinful. However, with Christ I have freedom from this and with the Spirit dwelling within me I do not have to be ruled by my sin. I believe the key here is a constant yielding to the Spirit and the hard truth is we make it SO hard. I know that I do. Do I stay connected daily through prayer and the word, do I let go of all control, do I look to my salvation as freedom from bondage? Do I cast all my cares on Him? Do I let Him have His way with me? The sad answer is not nearly as much as I should. I know that even though I have the Holy Spirit of the living God and all His power within me, I do not accept it like I should. It should be so easy to experience that peace that passes ALL understanding; all I have to do is accept it.
Lastly, the bible pretty much promises us that we will have hardships and trials. This in turn should make us cling to Jesus all the harder. It helps us have compassion for others when they go through the same things and prepares us to be a voice to the hurting. As we grow in our relationship with Christ and the sanctification process takes place, God is going to work out deep roots from our past, incorrect doctrine and ideology, things we are in bondage to. The process of growth in itself can be painful and cause us to experience anxiety, stress and depression. There is freedom on the other side, of this I am assured!
In my own personal experiences, the things that helped the most were talking to others that understood and had been in my shoes, staying in the word and connected to Jesus through prayer, and journaling my thoughts (much like David does in Psalms). Remember more than anything else that you are NOT alone. We were meant to do life together, encouraging one another and building one another up.
Your Sister in Christ,
Nichole
 


6.4.20 Identity

 
 
P.W. Blog- 6.4.20
Identity
I apologize for my severe tardiness in getting this blog out! Maybe it is that this one is tough for me to write and I’ve overthought, fretted, gone back and forth, (you get the picture) on writing it.  I will go ahead and apologize now for the length of this. 🙂
In an effort to be open and honest though I feel like I must share my struggles with others. I am always reminded that I am not alone on this journey and there are surely others who are going or have gone through the same things as me.
So many thoughts have consumed me regarding work throughout the years. I have pretty much always had to work. After years of floating around and never sticking to one thing the Lord literally dumped a career path in my lap. Something I would have NEVER chosen for myself to be honest. However, I took to it and excelled and worked extremely hard to get to a point where I was a director in my company. I loved what I did, and I hated it as well. Working from home puts you in a unique situation when you have children at home. It is not the rainbows and butterflies that people dream of. My job was VERY demanding at times and I juggled multiple hats, and it required intense concentration. Now add in small children and babies crying for you constantly and you never really being to give your all to them. Older children telling you how much they hated your computer and all it represented. The thing is, I got it. I felt consumed with guilt ALL THE TIME and it felt like torture at the worst of times. It is emotionally exhausting being pulled in so many directions. Yet for many years, I was the main provider. I was the one that kept our family afloat. I was working so that Jess could pursue what the Lord had put on our hearts. Plus, I had worked super hard to get to where I was in my career and I made great money. You can see where the love/hate relationship comes in. I am sad to say that my poor husband had to endure years of my bi-polar attitude when it came to my job.
Now fast-forward to 2020. I was completely burnt out with my career; Jess finally had the job we had prayed for and dreamt of and I wanted to be a bigger part of that. I was beyond ready to quit but quite honestly terrified. We could still use the income it brought in and on my bad days, what would I do ALL day? Work has been such a huge part of my identity, and a security blanket for me. We were poor when I was growing up and I determined that I was NOT going to go through that nor my own kids when I was an adult. I have always struggled with making work/money an idol. But I just had nothing left in my tank and finally Jess pretty much demanded (which I needed) that I quit. I was miserable and I was making everyone else around me miserable. He assured me and reminded me that God has ALWAYS provided for us and we would be fine. We had always felt the Lord calling me to assist with ministry as well and he reminded me that we would finally be able to do ministry together! We agreed that I would take a summer break and hopefully find something part-time in the fall.
These past few months have been a rollercoaster ride for me and for my husband. I have good days but a lot of bad days. On good days, I am so grateful for this chance to not have the burden of a job for once in my life. I can do so many things that I have never had time for, spend time with our kids, and most importantly support Jess since he has been quite busy. On my bad days, I wonder what my purpose is, tell myself no one really needs me anymore, feel bored and restless. I wonder who the heck am I without work, without providing for my family?! I KNOW God is working this out through me, and I am learning a lot about myself. As I mentioned in my last blog, taking thoughts captive is a battle. Boy, has it been a battle! Right when I think I am slowly getting past the worst of it, the devil will throw me a curveball!
So, pray for me. That I will remember that my identity is in Christ but also that God has given me the privilege of being a wife, and a mom, and a friend. There is definitely plenty of purpose in all of that! Prayers for digging out the destructive roots and planting in some strong roots in their place.
So many of you encourage me with your honesty and perseverance! Vulnerability keeps us humble but it also keeps us relatable. It reminds us that we aren’t alone on this journey. For us believers it reminds us that while the sanctification process can be extremely painful at times, we see survivors that have come out on the other side and it gives us hope.
Let us continue to be an open door so that our testimonies will ultimately give God all the glory.
Your sister in Christ,
Nichole
 
 


5/8/20 PW Blog-Taking Thoughts Captive

5/8/20
PW Blog
One night as my little sister and I were laying in bed, she expressed frustration that she “couldn’t talk in her head”. 😊 I explained that it was not actual talking per se but that one day thinking would make sense to her. I’m sure as an adult there are days, she would prefer to go back to those “thought-free” days as many of us would. haha
I recently did a bible study on toxic thoughts. It spoke to me so much that I decided I wanted to do it with my girls (we just wrapped up) and I wanted to share a few pieces of it with you. After all, thoughts are SO powerful. They truly do dictate how we behave, respond, and act. We have on average 60,000-80,000 thoughts a day!! This leaves no doubt in my mind, that our thoughts dictate our lives.
 
Romans tells us to not conform to the patterns of the world but to be transformed by the renewing of our minds. Another word for renewing here is renovation. If you are like me then you recognize there are days, months, etc.. that I need a complete overhaul/renovation when it comes to my thought processes. Some days I can be stuck in a vicious loop of defeatist, negative, and damaging thoughts and I just can’t seem to get out of my own head. Boy, I hate those days! So, how do we combat these toxic thoughts? I’m glad you asked! 😊 There are several verses that talk about thoughts but for this study we are focusing on Philippians 4:8 which says “Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” So, I ask myself if my thoughts line up with what this verse says.
 
If you have children who constantly complain or are always negative help them to memorize this verse or pieces of it. Then when they start in with negative behavior remind them of this verse; ask them if what they are thinking is right, true or how they should act? Even young kids understand this! It works wonders. It also gives you the opportunity to help them combat the negativity with thankfulness, gratitude etc..
 
When my thoughts don’t line up with Philippians 4:8 then I take them captive. Priscilla Shirer says, “Taking thoughts captive means controlling them instead of letting them control you.” Powerful, right?! Now, I know this is not easy, in fact it’s a constant battle. However, it is a battle worth fighting, and the key word here is battle. We do NOT give in, we keep fighting! We remember that we are not alone. If we are believers’ then we have the power of the Holy Spirit within us. I can’t begin to express how much He helps us; we SO often take this for granted! We can also get accountability partners so that we can encourage one another! Don’t be shy, ask someone to do this with you, it’s life-changing having someone not only hold you accountable but to encourage you in this thing called life.
Lord, help me to set my thoughts on you, on others, and on being thankful. Help me to break the cycle of toxic thoughts and to form a healthy habit of taking those thoughts captive. I don’t want to give the enemy any footholds in my life! I can overcome ANYTHING with you by my side!
 
In Christ,
Nichole
P.S. (If you are interested in doing this bible devotion it is on the Bible app and called “Reset your mind: Overhauling Toxic Thoughts) All excerpts are from this study.
 


PW Blog – April 28, 2020 – Mourning

Hi everyone,

Long time no see to many of you. I miss seeing your sweet faces so much!  The church just seems so lonely right now. I constantly remind myself that God is sovereign, and I trust that in the midst of this uncertainty He is in control.  He ALWAYS takes care of us; of this I am confident.

I’ve been feeling the Lord guiding me to have some type of blog on our church website for women.  I’m going to attempt to have something available weekly.  It will have a broad range; from being a message God has put on my heart via text or video, something light and humorous, my own challenges/or ways I’ve overcome, and lastly maybe even a recipe or craft.  I’d love to hear from you guys and welcome feedback!  I’m really excited about starting this and hope it’s a way we can connect. 

This week I feel led to share what God has been putting on my heart over the last two weeks. Almost every day I read or Jesse tells me the statistics of how many people have contracted the virus, how many people have died and how many cases do we have in our area.  One day I was reading a FB post on a group I follow, and a pastor had passed away and his wife was fighting for her life from this horrific virus. Guys, I wanted to bawl. In that moment I felt like I have been living in a bubble but all around me people are dying, people are losing loved ones and sometimes more than one loved one.  People are fighting for their lives! THIS IS REAL! I feel a deep sense of mourning and have been moved to tears for the tragic losses occurring all over the world. I hope that we would see this as a “time or season to mourn like Ecclesiastes says. Let us not have hardened hearts like the world but be sensitive to the many, many people that are being impacted by this disease. We should be praying for comfort for our fellow man and praying like never before that people would have open hearts and turn to God. It should lead us to be even more grateful that we are in an area that has only mildly been impacted (at this time). 

Dear Lord,

Help me to feel your pain for the loss of your people. I pray that I would be sensitive to what is going on around me. I pray that hearts would turn towards you and that those that have lost loved ones would feel your presence. Keep my heart soft always.  Amen

In Christ’s Love,

Nichole



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