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    Theology of Self-Care

    Is self-care selfish or unspiritual? Some churches and Christian circles say “yes.” And while today’s popular self-care strategies may have a bent toward self-serving interests, a biblical perspective of self-care is holistic, worshipful, and others-centered. Self-Care Involves All Aspects of Ourselves God designed us as complex, whole persons (Ps. 139:13–16). We do not—like a computer or machine—consist of parts, but encompass spiritual, physical, mental, emotional, psychological, and relational aspects in our intricate design. When we take care of ourselves, we can’t just target one aspect of ourselves. We need take a holistic approach to self-care. After my husband and I married, I moved from Lubbock to Dallas. In Lubbock, I…

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    Self-Care for the Whole Person

    “Read your Bible and pray more,” I heard over and over again growing up in the church. And I did. It helped fill my mind with truth and connect me with God. But it didn’t stop me from becoming depressed during my senior year of college. When my doctor diagnosed me with depression, I first thought, “No way. Not me. Christians don’t get depressed.” As if she could read my thoughts, my doctor, who knew I called myself a Christian, said, “Depression doesn’t mean you don’t pray enough or love God enough. Depression involves physical, chemical imbalances in the brain, and it commonly creeps up in busy, stressful periods of…

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    What CAN I Do?

    Many of us have experienced seasons of illness and injury––either our own or someone we love. Often these excruciating times of pain, fear, and doubt engulf us like a suffocating suffering. We wake up every morning in painful uncertainty and lay down each night in the same state. Daily we withstand a raging storm––everything circles around but nothing is clear. Movement requires pushing against unyielding barriers. We want to hope for complete healing. We want to throw off the heavy chains encasing us. We want to be released from physical and emotional burdens so we can regain strength and enjoy life again. But sometimes the hope we cling to feels…

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    The Keys to Emotional Healing: Part 1

    After seeing God bring about major transformation of emotional healing in a number of broken people, I asked Him what was happening when He healed people’s hearts. I wanted to understand the process. His answer was simple and profound, but never easy: “grieving and forgiving.” Both of these emotional disciplines are necessary to move from the place of sustaining a wound to the soul, to the place where that wound no longer controls and diminishes us—because it has been transformed into a healed scar. Grieving means moving pain and anger from the inside to the outside. Tears are God’s lubricant for that process, and what a gift of grace tears…

  • Prayer Guide
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    Fighting the Burden of Mental Illness Through Prayer

    Our wise, experienced family doctor asked me an unexpected question during a wellness checkup: “You live with two depressed men (my husband and my son, both of whom have been open about their struggle with depression). What are you doing to protect yourself? Depression is contagious.” I told her, “Well, actually, not long ago I got off a cruise ship with my joy-filled sister where we had five days together with nothing but fun and laughter, and it completely filled my tank.” “Great!” she nodded. You need to do that more often.” As soon as I left her office, I called my sister. “You’ll never believe what my doctor just…

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    On Suicide

    In the wake of two celebrity suicides last week (designer Kate Spade and foodie Anthony Bourdain), the topic of suicide is back in the limelight. I wrote this post in April 2013.  Over the weekend, Rick Warren (pastor of Saddleback Church in California, author of The Purpose Driven Life) and his wife Kay revealed that their son Matthew had taken his life after a lifelong struggle with mental illness. In an email to his church, Pastor Warren wrote, “[O]nly those closest knew that he struggled from birth with mental illness, dark holes of depression, and even suicidal thoughts. In spite of America’s best doctors, meds, counselors, and prayers for healing,…

  • Heartprints

    TAKING TIME TO WORSHIP

    How is it possible that the day of the year set aside as a Holy Day to celebrate the greatest gift ever given usually finds us exhausted, stressed, and even at times depressed? Our children wake up all excited in anticipation of presents that in the end may or may not be what they expected. Spirits tend to dwindle as we move through the day ending up tired, over sugared, and overwhelmed ready to fall into bed exhausted.   We all have a desire to focus on the Lord. As believers. we usually plan to do our best to make the season one that is about worship and gratitude. Honestly, how…

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    Evangelicals and The “Happy” Imperative

           Some grow up convinced that feeling unhappy, uneasy, and uncertain is unnatural. American media promotes that being uninvited, unattractive and unintelligent is unnecessary. Even some evangelical circles will contend that feeling unwanted, unworthy, unlovable, and remaining unmarried is unacceptable.        Expectations for happiness run high for many evangelicals. Some even believe a marriage that does not offer a lifetime of bliss has no purpose. Well-meaning Christians sometimes nudge unhappy spouses towards divorce in the name of, “God wants Christians to have happy marriages.” But in Sacred Marriage, Gary Thomas contests that God intended marriage to cultivate holiness more than happiness.        But some…

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    This is Your Brain…On Stress

    Those who grew up in the 80’s can’t forget this gem of a Public Service Announcement: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dk9XY8Nrs0A While the war on drugs continues to rage on, another battle happens almost every day in traffic jams, breakrooms, and around dinner tables: the battle within the brain as it deals with stress. According to the American Psychological Association, the stress situation in America is “chronic.” That’s putting it mildly. Many would say modern-day Americans are the most collectively stressed-out population in history.

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    The Crazed Creation is under the Curse

                “Pain is a blessing in disguise.” Really?             Today, many Christian women seek psychotherapy. Surprised? Because Christians shouldn’t feel angry or depressed.                 I have struggled with doubt and loneliness due to infertility. With the Christianese platitudes that ensued, the sense that people in church disapproved of my struggle was hard to miss. As a Bible study leader, I wasn’t supposed to struggle.             Some of us feel uptight about pain. So we rush others through their pain. We try to fix it instead of letting God fix it, all in the name of Fake Happy. But the plastic church smile only perpetuates…