Isn’t It Over Yet?

Day 251 –

Shouldn’t the pandemic be over yet? I forgot to write. It hasn’t been because I have gone without anxiety during the past few months of this pandemic. I wish this had been the case, but no. Instead, I have been busy moving forward despite my anxiety in hopes this pandemic would just seem to go away.

After learning to sit still on my porch swing and process new things, I got up and started attempting to fix somethings. First, I wrote the governor an email. I had never done that before. I decided just talking about problems doesn’t create solutions. I didn’t hear back from the governor’s office. I didn’t need to. I was content knowing I did something.

Next, I spoke up to our school board, then joined the school board. Although being on a board was a bucket list item, I hadn’t planned on joining one in this season. I did though, so anxiety has a new name and a new object for it’s time.

Following this, I’be been forcing myself to hold financial needs more loosely since, like most of us during this, life hasn’t looked the same. In the past I have been anxious even when the money has been there and when it hasn’t. I need to daily let it go. I tried gripping it again today. My heart rate was up and my mood was down. The book I am listening to, “The Me I Want to Be”, John Ortberg writes to take a concrete item which represents our worry (like a bill), and pray over it. I did this today. I prayed over a bill and moved on.

Social and racial justice have been constantly on my mind for the past months. I have felt inadequate to blog because I have little perspective on the big issues at hand. I like to be knowledgeable and these important topics have definitely brought me down a few notches, which I am so grateful for. I have consumed more books in the past bit than I did in the few years before. This is a season for listening, not speaking. My anxiety, although important to work on, pales in comparison to the deep-seated issues in need of reconciliation. I am humbled and grieved and grateful all at the same time. These feelings are still being processed.

Just when I thought I was getting ahead of my anxiety today, I got word tonight my girls and in-laws were in a car accident. They are all fine. My youngest slept right on through it all. But, once I knew they were okay, my stress was over the fact that I wasn’t there. I was working and was miles away. I had no control. It is hard to be out-of-control. Maybe, this is where my anxiety stems from — the need for control. I am sure this is the place of anxiety for most of us, but it was quite evident in the moment. I felt it sweep over me. I paused and I prayed. I offered up my need for control. I felt peace. I will be ready to repeat the steps with the cycle of anxiety begins again.

As this storm continues and we feel often out of control, let’s remember to reset, to remind ourselves this is just a season and to strive for something new (whether in our minds or our actions). Keep moving forward, even when it seems like this pandemic will never end.

-ST

The Symptoms of Anxiety

Day 174-

My stomach hurts. My eye twitches. I was determined to overcome it, but my normal anxious feelings distract me. Sometimes I am doing new things and sometimes familiar things. Sure, being anxious about trying new things is normal, but the symptoms of anxiety in my physical body taint my life more often than not. 

Last week I headed to a photoshoot. I am usually not anxious unless, like this shoot, it had been planned for months. The details have been processed and reviewed multiple times. This shoot means hours of thought, as well as hopes and dreams. I know my photography is consistent. I know my work will show itself well. What I offer is what I provide, if not better. Although my mind did not need reassuring, I noticed my body was displaying signs of anxiety.

Here is a list of anxiety symptoms from MayoClinic.Org (https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/anxiety/symptoms-causes/syc-20350961)

  • Feeling nervous, restless or tense
  • Having a sense of impending danger, panic or doom
  • Having an increased heart rate
  • Breathing rapidly (hyperventilation)
  • Sweating
  • Trembling
  • Feeling weak or tired
  • Trouble concentrating or thinking about anything other than the present worry
  • Having trouble sleeping
  • Experiencing gastrointestinal (GI) problems
  • Having difficulty controlling worry
  • Having the urge to avoid things that trigger anxiety

In a pandemic, the fear of coming down with virus symptoms can exacerbate these feelings. If my stomach hurts and I am a bit shaky, I will automatically check my temperature. I never did this before. I know it is from my anxiety, but my symptoms of anxiety (GI symptoms, nervousness, shaky feeling and increased heart rate) can easily be tied to the ever growing list of the current novel virus symptoms. Add a headache and we might be off to the testing facility.

So how do we know if it is anxiousness or a virus? I run through a few exercises. I pause, slow my mind down which is often more anxious about being sick than being worried, and think through what is causing my anxiety. I ask the questions: Do I have reason to be anxious? Is my temperature up? Have I had enough water today or relied only on coffee? I then do a quick inventory of my life situations in that moment. I ask myself what has been hard and what I want to run from. I look at where I am physically headed to evaluate if this is the source of my increased heart rate. 

Once the internal tests are complete, I drink water and refocus my eyes on my Provider. My key verses are on my lips. 

Psalms 139:23 Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts!

Phil 4:6-7 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Worship music interrupts our home’s atmosphere and my hands go up. “I’m going to see a victory” with Brandon Lake is declared around my kitchen. My symptoms begin to subside. This is how I know my symptoms are from anxiety.

God says to write his Words in our hearts so it can be available at a moment’s notice. God told my guy, Joshua, these things.

Joshua 1:8 Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. 

In the past, when I have been sick, my symptoms show up bolder and send me to bed. I am sure my illnesses have often been worsened by my anxiety, but even when my focus is on worship and God’s Word, I have remained unwell. No one wants to be sick, but learning to test the symptoms of nervousness and illness will help calm our spirits more quickly. 

I put my tests into place before my shoot and drove to my session with a refocused mind. I was calm and allowed God’s Word to refresh my mind. My anxiety permeated from wanting to be safe for my clients, to be exceptional in my work and to bring the client’s hopes to fruition. I gave these desires to the Lord and focused on giving Him the glory in advance for the creativity and joy of the work. 

There is so much going on in life right now. So many things to think about, to learn and to process with our families and friends. Anxiety is high and the world around us plays into it. Let’s be committed to settling our hearts first and then move forward in our hearts and in our minds. 

-ST

The Antidote for White Guilt

Day 163-

I believe we are at a crossroad in our country. With the generational patterns of racism being brought to our attention, all people have a responsibility to evaluate how racism has played a role in our own lives and in the lives of those who came before us.  The events and the conversations in past few weeks have brought me to my knees, reduced me to sobs, and induced me to listening to and read about the experiences of black people. This listening, with the intent to understand, requires a diligence of heart and commitment to listen instead of creating conclusions in the moment. I have only begun to scratch the surface of learning. I am not naive to attempt to speak on the subjects where learning is the goal. I do, however, believe I should speak to us, my fellow white people, about white guilt. 

For some of us, in our hast to do something to rectify racism in our own lives or in the past generations, it would be easy to believe we, as white people, need to reside in guilt over being white. Even if we don’t subscribe to white guilt, somehow, we can still experience anxiety over believing we need to have longstanding white guilt. 

If the white guilt has any similarities to other guilt, I have experienced the symptoms of maintaining it. Guilt causes me to feel stuck, as if my feet have sunk into solidified concrete. Guilt is like mosquitos’ bites in the summer. It bites us, leaves us paranoid and irritated from scratching and distracted us from joy. 

Repentance is guilt’s antidote. Repentance changes the way I view myself. It chisels away at the concrete, breaking my feet free. I become free not so I can run and hide, but so I can return to life with new perspective and a softness of heart.  Repentance also allows the anxiety of guilt to subside.

In the Old Testament, when kings died, their sons would take over their kingdoms. Time after time, as recorded in the Chronicles, the son would either do what was right in God’s eyes or not do what was right. If the new king did what was right it usually entailed repentance, a broken heart towards God and then, action. Restoration of God’s house and destruction of idols and the worship places of false gods followed. Consequences for sin can be passed down to other generations, but throughout the Bible, I have never seen God pass on guilt. 

The places of idol worship and false gods were found in “high places”. For me, high places have represented patterns of behavior both in my life or in the lives of the generations before me which need to come under the authority of God. These places must come down in order for me to grow. Repentance is most effective in our lives when we allow the break down these places. Once torn down, there is space for new patterns of our minds, new relationships to be formed, and reconciliation to be cultivated.

Guilt can become a high place for many of us. It is an emotion which we can either try to die by, or we can allow it to trigger our hearts to repentance. Guilt does not need to become our identity. God never instructs us to stay rooted in guilt. Ephesians 3:16-17 says Paul prayed fervently that the church might be strengthened through the Spirit so that Christ could dwell in and through us, and that we may be “rooted and grounded in love”. 

Repentance uproots guilt. Repentance of past sins of racism, both our own and of the generations before us, can bring a salve to this disease. Repenting for sins of previous generations, does not make us accountable for those sins. Repentance of past sins acknowledges that they existed and that we no longer will turn a blind eye. Doing this allows space to be open in our hearts and minds and propels us towards changing the patterns which have integrated our own lives, our own upbringing and our own beliefs. It gives God an opportunity to do His best work, the forgiveness of sins, through His Son, Jesus. Repentance begins the journey to reconciliation.  

During an interview between Dr. Anita Phillips and Pastor Carl Lentz this past weekend through Hillsong East Coast’s on-line service (Check it out on YouTube), they spoke about guilt. Dr. Phillips says “Guilt is a paralytic.” The way to undo the paralysis is through repentance. This can be the first step in replacing guilt with action. She went on to say there are two things we can do after repentance. The second step is to lament. The final step is to know what part we each can play in this cause.

Brothers and sisters, I think we get grieving and guilt mixed up. Lamenting is found in grieving, but residual guilt gets in the way of grieving. We don’t need a human loss to grieve. We are allowed to grieve the loss of relationship, the promise of unity in our country which is missing due to racism and the length of time it has taken for this moment to come. This list goes on. Grieving mends the heart and prepares it for action. Guilt, however, prevents us from moving forward.

I keep going back to the feet of Jesus. I need direction in what to think and how to respond. Each time guilt and anxiety comes out to play, I head right back to Him. He has the power to replace my sadness with forgiveness and peace. As I wait for Him to make my role clear, guilt must not have a grip on my next steps. We must not be paralyzed from doing the next right thing. As white men and women, I believe we cannot be rooted in guilt because our world needs our help building unity, listening to understand and showing up when it is uncomfortable. 

-ST

Porch Swing Ponderings

Day 150-

I was anxious when I woke up yesterday. I can’t pinpoint the reason why exactly. Fit filled dreams and a momentary panic over thinking I was supposed to be at work might have been the cause. As I attempted to calm myself down I started pondering the current state of our world. It might not have been the best idea. I moved on to review my plan for the day and glanced at the clock. Maybe my girls would sleep a little longer. 

My porch swing has become my morning mission. Breakfast for the girls, coffee for me and the app which contains my Bible in a year plan are all prepared before I head to my sacred location. Yesterday, my Bible app lead me through the some of Chronicles and a few verses in the book of John. I breathed deeply as I settled into my swing. John lamented over Jesus’ grief for his friend, Martha and Mary, over the death of their brother. John spoke of Jesus weeping. I journaled and prayed. Does Jesus still wept for the sadness we are going thru as a community, and as a world?

I am a thinker. I wonder if those close to me call me an over-thinker? I’m not sure. It doesn’t matter, I can’t help myself. I have always been a thinker. I really do enjoy processing the significance of moments before they pass too quickly. How do we tackle things when they seem too big to handle? How do we respond with the right words and the right hopes for the future?

My little one comes sauntering to the swing at some point and interrupts my stream of thought. Her eyes twinkle with some sort of mischief. She holds up a little toy and declares “Look what I found!” My simple response of “Great” seems to be enough and she runs off to play with or bother her sister who is not a morning person. 

My porch swing is a safe place to think. My anxiety I felt during my first moments of consciousness seem to have subsided. Or maybe they have just been pushed away with a moment of stillness, of Jesus and of thoughts over my morning agenda. It is time to get the girls going, lunches made for our adventure and my unwilling hair tamed. Quarantine hasn’t been good to my hair apparently, but I will have to deal with this anxiety later. I am sad to leave my swing and promise to return as soon as possible.

Even in this season of slowing down, and being at home, it seems stillness doesn’t just come. I must continue to be intentional. My habit is to increase my busyness when I feel anxious. I accelerate instead of contemplate. I make a to-do list in my mind instead of finding my head in it all. To be still, for me, means enjoying the trees and the light in my backyard. It means texting a friend and finding gratitude in hopes of moving my focus off myself. It means reading and learning about the things I’m contemplating. It means snuggling with my girlies and telling them how much I love them. It all must be intentional.

I think Jesus created me to be a thinker. Perhaps this means, if my mind isn’t right, I am more likely to experience anxiety. If so, I have the opportunity to learn how to manage my mind in a way which allows me joy instead of anxiety. I am also a dreamer. There is a better world which can be achieved. There are better ways which are still yet to be created. There are more causes to fight and more porch swings to sit on while pondering this life. These are all good things. I am compelled to keep thinking, processing and pointing my mind to the Creator to find intentional joy and stillness. 

I am praying you find some stillness and joy in your own space this weekend.

-ST

When Bravery Looks like Anxiety

Day 142-

In the past few weeks I have been more brave than I have been in a long time. My heart races, my palms get sweaty and my investment is palpable. I have spoken up, written my opinion and processed heavy, hearted issues which I have decided matter to me. This has produced a different kind of anxiety.

Growing up with little experience in verbalizing an opinion, I had to learn that I had a voice my freshman year of college. One of my professors asked for opinion paper and I wrote essays with one sentence of opinion. She would circle the sentence and hand it back. “Write an opinion paper around this sentence” she would say. It took guts to rewrite it for a better grade. To be honest, I wanted a better grade, but over the first year I learned I did have an opinion.

A few years ago Brene Brown, one of my mentors as I work through shame and wholehearted living, taught me that the courageous thing thing to do is often the opposite of what I would normally do. I generally go quiet and hide. I would rather just smolder in my own opinion than risk hurting someone else’s feelings. If being courageous is doing the opposite, I am compelled to speak up in the moments where staying silent does more emotional harm than good for my mind, heart and soul.

Bravery, or the feelings around an action, I believe can look like anxiety. My physical reaction can often parallel to my anxiety response. Here is an example, my daughter was nervous to make a decision yesterday. She seemed almost panicked by it. I asked her what she was feeling and she said “I am feeling how I feel right before I would get into the water at my swim meets”. I loved how my 7-years-old could describe what she was feelings. She was making a decision which was for her about being brave and she was weighing the odds.

I read an article this week about children and anxiety. It talked about how parents hope to not impart anxiety or fear into our children’s lives. It dialoged about watching the patterns we parents have so children might carry fewer of those same patterns. When I was a child I heard about “stress” not anxiety, and it was deemed to not play a part in my life since I exposed to fewer of the normal stressors my peers were exposed to. Looking back, I was anxious. I can’t identify that there were patterns developed from my parents. It was just who I was. I do agree with not wanting to pass patterns of anxiety to my children, thus this year’s project to overcome more of my own.

Some anxiety, in the form of bravery, is good. When we decide that speaking up is more doable than staying silent, when we make a decision because not making one is harder to live with, and when we move past disappointment because being disappointed was better than staying where we were, we show up and it’s a win. I believe when we really care about something we can have heightened clinical elements to our physical response. We put up with the feelings and the “stress” because being brave is good and it is right for that time and that place.

Keep being brave, my friends!

-ST

Conversation about Race: a Different Kind of Anxiety

Day 133-

Last year in my work environment I heard that I was often called “the white girl” behind my back. The reactions, “Really”, “Ouch,” and “Seriously?” all went through my mind. It also made me think.  I grew up in a predominately white world. The northwest is not know to have many African Americans living in it. Growing up I had no ideas how dominate our whiteness was. I had the perception all African Americans play sports because students from all over the United States came to play for University of Oregon. There was on black student at the high school I attended, but I’m not sure he played sports. 

Racism was a word I heard about in history books. I assumed the Sunday school song:  “Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world. Red and yellow, black and white, they are all precious in his sight. Jesus loves the little children of the world,” meant Jesus loves the children of other countries like he loves me. I didn’t know there were people of color living in my country. I grew up in white privilege without even knowing it. 

As a freshman in college I made a terrible blunder. My university was seemingly an all white school with a few Hawaiians mixed in. We had one African American professor who had just arrived to teach. My white, female professor had him come to lecture as a guest. I made a statement which was far from the truth. My professor corrected me. My eyes were opened to the reality I had learned very little about race in my nineteen years and I was foolish in light of it. I was too embarrassed to ask more questions. There was so much I had to learn, yet hiding seemed like a better alternative. I wondered how much I had to learn, but finding out seemed worse than staying in the dark.

Bob Goff, author of Everybody, Always, made sense to me when he talked about loving people who are different than us. He pointed out “we should love the people we don’t understand”. I think I am fearful of what I don’t understand. I have a harder time loving correctly because I am naive. I’ve said the wrong things before. I don’t know what to say most of the time so I tend to shy away from people I don’t understand. I think my actions can turn into racism, not because my heart is in the wrong place, but because I avoid what I don’t understand. It’s easier to make judgements about someone when I stay away from knowing them.

In the past year I worked as an outpatient nurse. For the first time I worked in an environment where the nurses were white and the support staff was not. I had amazing relationships with a few of my coworkers and some rough ones with others. For some relationships, our skin color didn’t matter. In one relationship, it obviously did as I was known as “the white girl”. Still naive to racial tensions and issues, I started asking questions.

I sat across from one of my coworkers a few months ago over lunch and started asking some questions. I was humbled to be reminded how everyone is different. Each person comes from different backgrounds and different values. Just because someone has dark skin doesn’t make them the same as someone else with dark skin. My coworker is black, and was raised with a Mexican heritage. Everyone is different. I learned so much over one lunch break because I finally asked questions.

This week, before I learned about the shooting of Mr. Arbery, I was reviewing who the voices of the Corona virus are. The voices are predominately from white males. Why? Why are other voices not present? A year ago I might not have noticed, but I’ve been around new ideas and coworkers who are different from me. I’m understanding the value of more voices. They are missing in the pandemic world we are living in. They are also coming in with great contrast over the Asbery shooting story which has emerged. I am seeing posted statements about Asbery with prayers, judgements about the shooters and discussions about white privilege. I am sad it takes something so terrible to remind us “white girls” to talk about race and to remember there are other voices in our world.. How can we change that? How can we grow in knowledge about race in the predominately white community we live in?

“Jesus talked to His friends a lot about how we should identify ourselves. He said it wouldn’t be what we said we believed or all the good we hoped to do someday. Nope, He said we would identify ourselves simply by how we loved people. It’s tempting to think there is more to it, but there’s not. Love isn’t something we fall into; love is someone we become.” 

― Bob Goff, Everybody, Always: Becoming Love in a World Full of Setbacks and Difficult People

I believe loving someone means asking questions. It means leaning in and being willing to learn especially when it’s uncomfortable. To speak up when the comments and the irrational behavior are present.  I may be afraid of making a blunder again. I may not know what to say, but my silence, out of embarrassment, has become the same for me as saying the wrong thing. 

I was never able to fix my blunder in college. The professor didn’t make it through a second term. After that I was not in locations where I could learn or ask questions. Maybe it’s time to be in locations to learn. Maybe it’s time to forgive what someone has done to us to make us feel uncomfortable and put our privilege away so we can all work towards eliminating the stigmas of race. 

Food for thought, I hope, as I figure out what this means for me. I’m back in a white nurse world where I am not confronted with the discussion of race on a daily basis. No one is going to call me “the white girl” and it won’t remind me how uncomfortable I feel about the race discussion. I think it’s time to start looking for other opportunities to learn. What about you?

—ST

The Eagle Overhead

Day 108-

I’m learning to settle my heart, to do fewer things and to not set my sights on high achievement every day. I feel a little misplaced by the middle of the day. I want to run around to accomplish things or crawl into bed and do nothing. My routine is to meet with Jesus every morning, but sometimes I don’t slow my mind enough to pay attention. In the slowing down, I am more aware of my distraction.

I wonder what it was like for the people of Israel to leave Egypt and their slavery and to enter into the wilderness. I’m sure it was busy at first. Parents would be busy no matter what season they were in if they had little ones. I wonder what kind of busy encompassed their days. They found quail and manna in the morning. They still had a Sabbath as it is the God’s day. I wonder if they struggled with less to do while they were wondering in the wilderness.

Remembering God’s faithfulness has been more quick to come to my mind in this slowing down. There is more space in my schedule more than ever before. God is good to bring reminders of his goodness. He promises new mercies every morning and joy when I look to him. 

Just as I spoke about in my first video blog, the Israelite nation crossed the Jordan river on dry ground. Before the ark of the covenant (representing the presence of God) was removed from the river bed and the water flowed back, God instructed their leader, Joshua, to gather one stone for each of the tribes of Israel from the floor of the river. They set the stones up as a memorial of God’s goodness in bringing the people across dry ground. Joshua 4:1-9

The memorial was set-up immediately upon arrival to the promised land, but this was not the first time they were reminded of God’s faithfulness. Just before the end of Moses’ life and before they came to the Jordan river Moses gave a song to the people to remind them of their story with God. I think this song is timely for us too in this pandemic wilderness. Here is part of it from the Message:

Deuteronomy 32:10-13

He found them out in the wilderness, in an empty, windswept wasteland.

He threw he’s arms around him, lavished attention on him, 

guarding him as the apple of his eye.

He was like an eagle hovering over its nest, overshadowing its young.

Then spreading its wings, lifting them into the air, teaching them to fly.

God alone led him; there was not a foreign god in sight. 

My neighbor eagerly told me she saw an eagle recently in the midst of all this mess. While she stood 10 feet from me, just in case, she told me about her joy in seeing this bald eagle. She said it was in a nearby neighborhood. She had never seen one in town. She talked about its white head and wide wingspan. She spoke of its obvious strength.

I wondered if the eagle came out because we have fewer planes and fewer things going on. Then, it struck me. What if the eagle was always there, we just hadn’t taken the time to look up to see it. Just in the same way, I believe God is always there. He is already hovering over his nest, overshadowing us. I just have slowed enough to look up and see him there more often. I have taken the time to remember all the times he has lifted me up and taught me how to fly. No other gods—distractions in my sight.

It may feel like a wilderness, but God says he will lavish his attention on us in the midst of the barren place we might find ourselves. This is good news! It is worth remembering for years to come and to pass on to our children. We can get ready to set up a memorial to the Lord for his goodness as he bringing us out of this wilderness.

Praying for you today as you rest, or grieve, or find a new normal, or rejoice over the good in the midst of this season.

-ST

Good Friday

Day 100 – 

Tomorrow is Good Friday! I was thinking about this weekend’s holidays in terms of our quarantine situation. While Jesus was on earth there were crowds around him all the time. People were said to “push through the crowds” to get to Jesus. One person climbed a tree. Another group of guys shimmed their friend down through a roof to get to Jesus. What would I have done to get to Jesus when he was in my town? Would there be crowds even if we all had masks on?

The other day a friend texted me to ask if I was at the grocery store. “No,” I said, “Why?” She said she thought she saw a ponytail that looked like mine. It was a good laugh while thinking about how much our world has changed. So quickly we have gone to looking for ponytails of people we know instead of our faces.

There is a woman in the Bible (Luke 8) who had an issue with bleeding. She had spent 12 years being “unclean”. She not only had to quarantine because she was unclean, per the custom and rules of her day, but also because she could not touch anyone else. If she touched someone, they would also be unclean. The person she touched would have to be ceremoniously cleansed. In other words they would take the appropriate bath. She could bathe, but would remain “unclean” due to her illness. 

Social distancing has made me feel a little like this lately. My moments of anxiety over being separated from people has left me broken and tearful. I started videoing a friend today and burst into tears. I have done this stay at home thing as well as worked for a few weeks, not years. It has been challenging. I know I am not “unclean”, but I do feel like I am with this distance restriction between myself and friends.

The woman in our story heard Jesus was coming through her town. She covered herself up and hoped she wouldn’t be recognizable. She made her way through the crowd. No one parted 6 feet for her to pass by. Once she made her way to Jesus, she somehow knelt down and grabbed the tassel of his outer garment. Immediately she knew she was healed. 

There is so much symbolism in this story and I encourage you to learn about it. For today, here is the best part. Jesus felt the power go out from him and asked who had touched him. Our woman had began to sneak away. Her shame in being unclean and touching his robe, I would imagine, would be as great being out of her quarantined place. Unable to keep her presence a secret, the woman came forward to confess. Jesus, calling her “Daughter”, told her in front of the crowd that she was healed because of her faith. Jesus took away her shame as well as her illness. Jesus told her to go in peace.

Our perfect Jesus could have let her go unnoticed. The Bible says he came to earth to encounter those who were stuck in their ways of living, in their sin, in their pain, and in their illnesses. Jesus came to call us sons and daughters and to bring us out of our shadows and into His light. He came to give us life and life to the full. He is the Way, the Truth and the Life. (John 14:6)

This is my story. I once was lost and in the shadows. I once strove to earn a spot in Jesus’ love. I was broken and in need of healing. He called me “Daughter” and brought me from darkness into His light. He forgave my sins and made me a new creation. He was broken on a cross, dying for me, so I might have life in Him. As much as this “stay at home” has made me feel physically stuck, I am free and alive in Jesus because of his sacrifice for me. 

This is why we celebrate Jesus’ death on Good Friday and his resurrection on Easter Sunday. Let us celebrate both like never before during this unhurried season. Let us lay our worry, our emotions and our disappointments with our situations at the Lord’s feet. Let’s allow him to call us sons and daughters and worship with glad hearts over his sacrifice. May he encounter us with freedom and joy as we seek him! 

Happy Good Friday and Easter!

-ST

Walking on Dry Ground

Day 94 –

I thought I would figure out how to do a YouTube video. It’s my first one. It’s not perfect, but I hope you can hear my heart in it. We are going through a lot right now. Collectively and yes, with some united fronts, but we are also going through this differently, each one of us. I needed to be reminded of God’s faithfulness in my old mess while walking through this mess with old triggers popping up. Thank you for listening and I hope it blesses you today!

-ST