Tag Archives: hope

A Deafening Silence

13 Aug

Silence can be deafening.

It can fill a whole room, a whole body, a whole heart.

It’s a lonely, depressing ache that goes on and on.  How I wish for the breath to say something, to find words, to hear my voice.

The silence is emptiness and emptiness is deadly, dark and meaningless.

Silence, for me, was a way of coping.  As long as I remained quiet, as long as I pretended I had it all together, then maybe I would be OK.  Or at least people would think I was OK.

But I wasn’t OK.  I was falling apart.

My secrets ripped me apart, caused me to hide in the shadows, and question my existence.  Did I deserve to take up space, resources, air?  The thoughts were loud and angry.  The train whistle cut through the silence several times a day.  There was life somewhere outside of my apartment.

It’s hard to imagine someone like Robin Williams, who has the resources to access the best doctors, best medicines, and best therapy could fall into the deafening silence.  There’s a cruel irony in entertaining the masses, yet dying inside.  Tears of a clown or something like that.

Those of us who have been there or are there or live with constant battle against the darkness know what it’s like.  The silence only makes the illness more pronounced because the angry thoughts swirl around, the clichés become tormenting (“Why don’t you…?” “Someone has it worse.” “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” “Trust in the Lord”), and it’s a sad, lonely place.

If someone like Robin Williams couldn’t make it through the pestilence of mental illness, specifically depression, what hope is there for the rest of us?  We swallow our pills, see our therapists, practice using our coping skills, and hope against hope we’ll make it.

We hope and pray that we won’t end up like Robin Williams all the while wondering if we will.

There’s a choice in suicide.  There’s always a choice.  It’s just hard to make sense of what’s up and what’s down in mental illness, which doesn’t make sense at all.  Yet everyone seems to have an opinion on depression, anxiety, PTSD, and so forth.  Just like week someone told me I couldn’t possibly have PTSD because I’ve never been in combat.  Oh, yes, I’ve seen combat, just not in the military.  The world is its own battlefield.

The reason why I’m alive, the reason why I didn’t tighten the noose around my neck or jump in front of that train was this—hope.  No matter how small, God placed that hope in my heart when I was a little girl.  Though I had run away, battered and bruised from the Church, His hope kept me alive.

It may sound overly simplistic, but maybe it is that simple.  Maybe hope really is an anchor to my soul—an anchor firmly rooted in Christ Himself.  Christ died every possible death so that I could live.  Through the brokenness of my life, He shines forth.  Into the deafening silence, His voice speaks.

Into the deafening silence, His voice speaks the words of hope I desperately need to hear.  His soft whisper drowns out the angry thoughts.  His truth slices through well-intentioned, but ill-timed clichés.

In a world that judges, God accepts me just as I am and uses me despite my weakness.  Because of God, I have meaning and I don’t have to be silent anymore.  I can speak out of my weakness because He has made me a display of splendor.

In the deafening silence, His sure whisper can be heard.  Perhaps it’s in silence, God can be best heard.

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Worn

8 Aug

“I’m tired.  I’m worn.  My heart is heavy from the work it takes to keep on breathing…”

The lyrics to Tenth Avenue North’s latest radio single, “Worn,” seemed alien to me a week ago.

What a difference a week makes.

The thread holding me together unraveled when my foot doctor told me that I would have to wear my walking boot for another 3-4 weeks.  It didn’t come completely undone until I was fitted with a new walking boot because the one that was guarding my left foot was falling apart.  Tufts of stuffing were sticking out from the places where the fabric wore thin.  The heel wasn’t quite so high and there were visible scraps from where my boot fought the sidewalk.  The copper permanent marker declaring me as “LOVED” was fading from the front toe bed and the velcro straps didn’t hold like they used to.

The boots were only made to last 6-8 weeks, my doctor explained, as I stared at her in disbelief.  My boo t had lasted me for 12 weeks, and it simply wouldn’t not hold out for another month.  Instead of ridding myself of the old boot, I was given a brand new boot.  Then the technician who fitted me with the boot threw my old boot in the trash bin.  I wanted to pull it out.  I’m not sure why.  Was it a sentimental attachment?  After all, we had spent the past 12 weeks together.  Was it a rejection of the new boot?

I left it in the trash can and hobbled to the car.

I was worn.  Worn out.  Worn down.  Worn to the very fiber of being.

A few days have passed, but the feeling of being worn still lingers around me.  It’s not that I doubt God will heal my foot; I know He can and He will.  My faith isn’t lacking and I don’t believe God isn’t in control of this detail.  I know He will use this for my good and His glory.  I know it is better for my foot to heal in this boot if that’s what it needs, even if it’s not what I want.  I KNOW all this.

I am just worn.  I’m tired of hobbling around with a walker or cane.  I’m tired that going out of my apartment requires extra planning.  I want to go shopping at places other than Walmart and Target because they have the riding shopping carts and I don’t want to ask Sarah to put the heavy transport wheelchair.  I don’t want to sit alone in the narthex of the church during the 9:15 AM service while the rest of the praise team chats outside at Lemonade on the Lawn.   I want to take my dog for a walk or just be able to walk to the mailbox.

Instead of getting closer to these goals, I feel like I’m trudging along the same path.  I want to be grateful that my right foot is finally healed or that I have the ability to drive and get out on my own.  I want to be thankful for medical treatment for my broken bones.  I want to sing “Blessed be the Name of the Lord” without tears streaming down my cheeks.  I know God is good; I know He is.  Some days, like days when I’m worn, it’s harder to feel like I believe it.

Even though I feel worn, I am making a conscious effort to remember that in my weakness, God is my strength.  I can’t do it anymore, and really, that’s a beautiful thing because this is something only God can do.  To Him be the glory.

On my own, I am worn out, dried out, and hopeless.  Yet God promises to never leave me, never to forsake me, and to renew me.

When I got home from the doctor, I found my copper Sharpie and began to adorn my new boot with words including Habakkuk 3:19, “He makes my feet like the hind’s and enable me to go to the high places.”  The Amplified Bible says it like this: “The Lord God is my Strength, my personal bravery, and my invincible army; He makes my feet like hinds’ feet and will make me to walk [not to stand still in terror, but to walk] and make [spiritual] progress upon my high places [of trouble, suffering, or responsibility]!”

I may be worn, but God is not.  Blessed be the Name of the Lord.

Sometimes Hope Comes in Cardboard

13 Dec

Today I’m a mess of tears and self-pity.  I miss my dog and my mom.  (Note: my dog, Cassie, died.  My mom didn’t die, but she did get married and move an hour away.)  My foot aches so I’m “resting” it.  There are boxes scattered all over the living room–stuff to get rid of, sell, store, or just throw away.  These boxes have followed me for years–toys from my childhood for the kids I hoped to one day, a box of shells–all that I have left from my dad’s deceased father’s “estate,” the remnants of a bead business and art projects that didn’t work out, and boxes of things I hold on to for no apparent reason.  I just can’t let go.

And I so need to let go.

Of what?  What is there possibly left to lose?  I feel like I lost a lot this year, and yet I know God is calling me to lose more—to lose my inhibitions for the sake of the Gospel, to boldly follow Him no matter the cross I bear, to throw away my “church” masks for authentic Christian life.

The raw life is hard.  I think a “raw life” is to be real in a world full of mask-wearing phonies (said without condemnation).  I’m the woman that bravely smiles when I sing before a Holy God and cries my heart out in the Narthex when I’m done–I’m one in the same.  

I’m struggling with the desire to be a mask-wearing phony and be a real woman who loves God and feels deeply.  It’s easier (and harder) to wear a mask. Well, maybe not easier, just safer.  That’s what I learned leading a study using Emily P. Freeman’s book Grace For the Good Girl. A mask is more like a shield, and if I just “fine” my way through life, I won’t have to hear unwelcome advice and Christian catch phrases.  Most people mean well.  They truly want to help, but their “advice” twists in my gut as if I ate razor blades for breakfast.

Just focus on God.  (My inner thought life screams, “Why aren’t you focus on God, you pitiful Christian?  If you focused on God, you’d be just fine.”)

Trust God. (“You’re not trusting God.  If you did, you wouldn’t feel this way!”)

Pray. (“Pray harder.  Pray better.  Pray more.”)

If God brings you to it, He’ll bring you through it. (“But what if He doesn’t?  What if I just fall apart?  Does that mean He didn’t bring me through it?”)

When God closes a door, He opens a window. (“To jump out of?!”)

You get the idea.  Well-meaning advice given to a woman whose thoughts run wild.  Pray for me, love me, and hug me.  When in doubt, just ask what I need to hear, know, or what you can do.  I’ll tell you. Just don’t let me wear my iron mask.  It’s been a lot of work to pry it off of my face.

So I sit ruminating in my thoughts checking in on Twitter and Facebook for signs of life outside my apartment.  In this place, a Tweet from one of my fave photogs, Jeremy Cowart, comes to light.  He mentions an inspiring video—the most inspiring video of 2012, he says.  Maybe, maybe not.  But I check it out anyway.

Here’s the video:

 

Caine’s Arcade.  It has me in tears and not the delicate, pretty kind. It’s a full-on snot fest following by a salty flood of tears.  Yet this is the good kind of soul-cleansing crying.  I’m touched by Caine’s story and inspired by his creativity, and yes, I’m happy for his happy ending.  Hope is reborn in my heart—all because of a boy with some cardboard, tape, and an abundance of hope.

When you’re filled with Caine’s spirit—the faith and hope of a child—you don’t have time to ruminate or worry or bemoan the circumstances you’re in.  Perhaps I could use some of my energy to engage in creativity and dream God-given dreams, maybe my bittersweet  present is a future blessing in disguise.  Time will tell and hope will keep the dream alive.

Open your ears to Wes Pickering’s Hope with music video!

17 Nov

Earlier this month indie singer/songwriter Wes Pickering released his fifth studio album simply titled Hope.  Spending much of 2011 working on the songs for his album, Hope is the best yet from this artist!  You can learn more about Wes, find out about tour information (he’s currently on a Christmas tour with Josh Wilson), and buy the new album at his Internet base, WesPickering.com

As soon as Wes shared the music video for “Open My Heart” with me, I knew I had to share it with y’all.  Watch the video below and then I’m going to let Wes to tell you a little more about the song, co-written with Andrew Osenga

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Dig deeper into “Open My Heart” with Wes

“Open My Heart” was one of the first songs written for my new album Hope.  Andrew Osenga and I gathered at his studio and began discussing things that were on our hearts.  Both of us wanted to write a song about the contrasts between faith and doubt.  As with many of the other songs on Hope, Mark 9:24 was a verse that played over and over again in our minds: “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” 

It’s rare to find such a bold proclamation of faith that, at the same time, acknowledges the presence of serious doubt.  We wanted to capture that sentiment: “God, open our eyes when we don’t see you.”  It’s faith, but it’s also the admission that surrender is a difficult thing to do when we don’t have all the answers.  I think that’s where we find ourselves closest to God, the place where we are completely vulnerable to His will.

I can’t begin to tell you how blessed I feel to get to write with a musician like Andrew Osenga.  He has such an ear for melody, and writing lyrics just comes easily to him.  We never seem to get stuck when we write together because he always has new ideas to get us over the humps. 

We finished the song within a couple of hours, but I didn’t record it for over a year. When I finally began tracking for Hope, “Open My Heart” was the first song I worked on.  The plan for most of the album was to use a lot of electric guitar, but for “Open My Heart,” I had this idea of making a rock song completely with acoustic instruments.  Sometimes if you set limits on yourself, you force yourself to become more creative.  So I played acoustic guitar, mandolin, piano, and I found fun ways to make drum sounds with things like an empty guitar case.  My friend Scott Gypson came over and recorded this great upright bass track.  The result is this wonderfully big sound, like a rock band playing an unplugged show in your living room. 

I’m really excited about this song.  It’s a great way to start the new album, which dives even further into the themes of doubt, faith, and hope.  My prayer is that people who listen to Hope with find encouragement to dig deeper in their faith in spite of any circumstance they face.– Wes Pickering

Pretty cool video, eh?  What do you think of all the instruments Wes is playing?  How many instruments do you know how to play?  What do you think of the song, album, video?  Share all your thoughts below! (And I bet we can even get Wes to respond to some of ’em.)

Book Review:: Permission to Speak Freely by Anne Jackson

7 Sep

“What is one thing you feel you can’t say in church?”  It’s a question author Anne Jackson posed on her blog, receiving a worldwide response.  Readers mailed hundreds of confessions, some artistic, some simply written on index cards to Jackson who cataloged the responses on PermissionToSpeakFreely.com.  Jackson uses these artistic avowals along with essays and poetry in her astounding new book, Permission to Speak Freely.

In the introduction, Jackson outlines her purpose for putting together Permission to Speak Freely; she wants to let others know they are not alone in their secrets.  She is also clear that her intention is not to malign the church, but rather to allow broken hearts to express their woundedness.  In the end, the author desires readers to find the irresistible hope rooted in God.

Since Anne Jackson is one of my favorite bloggers, it was with eager expectation I began to read Permission to Speak Freely, which is also like an essay-guided PostSecret book, but better!  Incorporating telling art and poetry into her lush writing, Jackson produces her own mosaic masterpiece with the glass shards of her own story.  Admitting her past and present struggles with mental illness, pornography, and drug addiction, Jackson offers the readers freedom to admit their own shameful secrets, first in their minds and then to close friends, small groups, or even PermissionToSpeakFreely.com.

While this book could have easily fallen into an art niche or essay niche, it’s not that kind of book.  In fact, the infusion of Scripture, art, essay, and poetry make this a book that is a treasure, both visually and intellectually.  At times, this book is challenging because readers are meant to wrestle with this book.

Permission to Speak Freely has changed me as a person.  So many books about Christian freedom come from the perspective of male authors, the fact that Anne Jackson is a woman immediately made me more receptive to her message.  And because she is a woman, I believe that her struggles resonate with me in a deeper way, which is not to say that she is not massively appealing to both genders.  Her book is for everyone and really should be read by everyone.  And I do mean everyone, though I fear some may not be ready for the freedom Jackson offers Christians.

Thank you, Anne, for having the chutzpah to write this marvelous book!

Amy’s Grade:: A

**Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”**

Book Review:: Blind Hope by Kim Meeder and Laurie Sacher + Giveaway!

22 Jul

While well-written, Blind Hope: An Unwanted Dog & the Woman She Rescued by Kim Meeder and Laurie Sacher was, well, typical.  The book amounts to a “Christian Soup for the Soul” story about a woman who adopted an emaciated Australian Shepherd mix.  The bits about the dog, Mia, and her relationship with owner Laurie were interesting, heartwarming, and beautiful.  However, the story was broken up by written conversations between Meeder and Sacher which ruined the flow of the tale.

I imagine the detailed accounts of these heart-to-heart talks between the two authors were supposed show the audience how much Laurie was learning about her relationship with God through her relationship with her dog, Mia.  Honestly, my biggest problem was that there was nothing new or fresh about this dog tale.

Because I’m a dog lover, I wanted to love this book.  Though the tale is touching, the story was too simplistic to hold my interest.  But maybe this book is for you, which is why I’m giving away not one, but TWO copies of Blind Hope.

Amy’s Grade: D

To enter to win one of my TWO copies of Blind Hope, leave a comment below telling me the name of your dog (or if you don’t have a dog, what you would name your dog.)  Contest ends June 29 at 11:59 PM EST. Be sure to leave a valid e-mail address so I can contact you if you win!

*With thanks to Waterbook Multnomah for my review and giveaway copies!*

Take 5 with The Glorious Unseen

24 Aug

On a day of heavily anticipated new releases, The Glorious Unseen’s sophomore project, The Hope That Lies In You (BEC Recordings) could easily be overlooked, which is precisely why Backseat Writer is choosing to highlight this amazing album.  The Glorious Unseen’s music can technically be defined as worship, but it doesn’t let loose with the same lame hooks and rhythms.  Lead singer Ben Crist makes sure to provide original material with heartfelt lyrics that rightly reflect upon God’s glory.  Plus, The Glorious Unseen’s musical component is intriguing, sometimes melancholy, but always fresh. Because he’s awesome, Ben kindly agreed to “Take 5” with Backseat Writer.

The Glorious Unseen isn’t like most worship bands I’ve heard.  What makes your band fresh and unique?

The thing I always hear from people is that it’s the lyrics that primarily set it apart from other stuff.  There’s just a real vulnerability and honesty in the lyrics. I’m just writing from my personal experiences. I’m not exactly trying to write worship songs – but that’s usually how it turns out. I’m just putting myself into my art, and wanting to convey what’s on my heart. The lyrics definitely set it apart from most modern worship. The music does as well for sure; it’s all around pretty unique. For this reason, it has taken a bit longer to really “catch on” in that Christian market – because it is so unique. But it is definitely filling the void in the Christian music scene, so I feel that it will continue to gain momentum.

Tell me about the album’s title track, “The Hope That Lies In You.” What’s the underlying message of this song?  And is it the message that runs through the entire album? (Side note: Whenever I listen to this song, tears well up in my eyes. I love it.)

Yes, this is the overall message of the whole album – that despite what is going on in the world around us, there is a hope that lies within each one of us – and mainly in God. We don’t have any hope in ourselves apart from God. So, with God, there is a hope that lies within us – through God. This is kind of a “battle-cry” to modern day Christians that may be struggling with apathy and depression. We need to get up and go out and have an impact. We need to be reminded of this hope we have in Christ.  No more sitting around and being depressed – time for action.

The album’s first single, “Heavyhearted,” talks about God’s grace in the midst of wandering and shame. Would you please share about a time when you’ve felt heavyhearted and how you worked through it?

Ummm – today? Yesterday?  Every day?  Haha. Yeah, I mean there are times every day where I’m struggling with some feelings of being disconnected from God’s presence. Certainly, there are times when I feel this more than other times, but really, the deal is that God wants to pour our His love for me at every moment. He always wants to take me back in the midst of my struggle – in the midst of my shame – He wants to call me back to him right now!!! Even as I am typing this, He is calling me to his heart!! He is constant; he has no end. His love is totally huge and bigger than anything we have ever experienced.

There are so many amazing songs on The Hope That Lies In You.  Tell me about a couple of your faves, please!

It’s hard to pull one out right now because they’re all so new and exciting to sing right now!! I’m so stoked to start playing “Falling Into You,” “We Can Be Renewed,” and “Awakening.”  Man, I can’t wait to sing those lyrics.  They’re even more honest than the lyrics on the last record.  People have told me that the new lyrics are more serious even then the last record. I’m so stoked to get into those songs. It’s gonna be intense. There are some hardcore issues that we are dealing with in these new lyric–depression, separation, addiction, hope, pain, spiritual warfare. I expect these shows coming up to be intense.

Let’s move on to a lighter question—what’s one of the funniest things that happened while you were recording this album?

Hmmm… Probably the appearance of Trevor “The Phoenix” Mitchell. If you don’t know what that is – go watch our studio video blog.  That’s one of our producer’s pseudo personalities.

Maybe We’re All Depressed

18 Jan

While politicians like to talk of big things like terrorist attacks and global warming and where to put the rest of the $350 gazillion of bailout money, my friends and loved ones seem to talk of something else–depression.  Since I’m been open about my battles with that and anxiety the past few weeks, others have been telling me that they’re struggling, too.  I don’t know if seasonal affect disorder has gone amuck, but we could all use some rays of sunshine it seems.

My one friend just got out of rehab to a less-than-supportive family, save for her sister, my other good friend.  Another friend lost his job and his family is looking for direction.  A woman I know has been working a couple of part-time jobs to make ends meet and was dumped by a romantic interest who “just wants to be friends.”  Others like me are apprehensive about the directions of our lives and trying to make it through the day.  There are various factors at play in the psyche of the nation and people are just so danged down.

A lot of people are placing their hope in soon-to-be President Obama, like he’s some sort of messiah for the United States.  If he’s unable to turn our frowns upsidedown, will we “crucify” him?  It seems like an awfully tall order for one man, who isn’t even God-incarnate.  Even though I support McCain, I am hopeful that Obama can do some good things for our nation.  I want him to succeed and am proud for this country to have its first black President.

However, hope placed in a man is still hope that is misplaced.  In Jeremiah 29:11, God talks about the plans for He has for His people–plans to give them a hope and a future (my friend Alyssa named her blog, Plans for Hope, after this verse).  I don’t think this verse is JUST for the Israelites of old, but it’s for us today.  Despite all the stuff around us that compress our hearts, keep us awake at night with worry, and cause so much pain, God has plans for hope in our lives.  It’s just surviving on the tiny bit of faith we can muster–faith of a mustard seed.

I don’t think we’re going to become magically undepressed (or unanxious) because of my blog post, but through mutual understand and prayer and Bible reading and other inspiration, I think we can make it through this together.  Who knows how long this season of our lives will last?  But at least winter will be over towards the end of March.

I hate feeling like this.  You hate feeling like this.  Yet we’re all in this together, despite our separate stories, our journeys have joined us together on this path.  So, take your hand in mine and we’ll trudge through this depression (and anxiety) together.  We’ve no other choice but to believe God’s promises.

The Rugged Path

10 Jan

The other day I blogged about how the day after a long holiday (especially after Christmas/ New Year’s) is gray and mushy; I failed to mention that this time of year is particularly difficult for me in other ways, too.  The past few years I’ve had the after-Christmas/is-the-sun-ever-gonna-shine-again blah’s.  Three years ago, I was given an even bigger reason to detest the first week of January–on Jan. 6, 2006, my grandfather passed away.  I was there with him holding his hand as he died of renal failure, very painful and very difficult to witness.  It’s funny how the “happiest time of the year” can give birth to what I find to be the saddest.

I try to be real about what’s going on because I know someone out there probably feels just as beat down as I do today.  It’s as if the little spark that gives me zestiness and flavor has been extinguished…and I don’t know how to ignite a fire within me once again.  I lie in bed with my journal frantically writing down my thoughts–secrets known only between God and me.  If the depression doesn’t eat me up, surely the anxiety will.

I spend a great deal of time and energy fighting off the fear that courses through my veins.  The hormone adrenalin is already reacting to a non-existent fight-or-flight situation, so my brain races to find a fear.  It doesn’t take too long before I fall back on hypochondria, self-defeat, and other classic stand-bys.  The day has barely started and I’ve already been defeated.

I’m learning to rework my thoughts, to rail against the hormones, and to fight against these diseases that suck so much of my life away.  I pray to my God and find comfort in Him alone, especially when pat answers fall so very short.

When I experience these “flare-ups” (that’s what I like to call them), it’s hard for me to focus on little else.  I turn inward and upward because it’s all I can do to make it through the day.  Believe me, friends,  I am trying and fighting and winning.  The war isn’t won all at once, but by a series of battles.  It’s one of these battles I am fighting now, but I will win the war…or rather the war is won in Christ, yet the battle rages on.  It’s a strange sort of war, fought on so many fronts–personal, emotional, psychological, social, spiritual, and so on.

I don’t want to make it sound too pretty, too messy, or too personal; I merely want to explain what is going on.  I’m not looking for sympathy, attention, or any of that.  But I will humbly accept your prayer and thank you for taking my request to the throne of grace.

At times, the path becomes difficult to tread upon for us all.  Right now, it is difficult for me to walk on this rugged path.  But I will walk it anyway.

Post on Cutting :: Secret Under the Sleeve

26 Aug
I know that cutting isnt limited to teens, but I made this image for an article on Backseat Writer and thought it would be appropriate.

I know that cutting isn't limited to teens, but I made this image for an article on Backseat Writer and thought it would be appropriate.

I haven’t written about one of the topics close to my heart in a while–cutting and self-injury. Truth be told, it’s not a particularly easy topic for me to cover. There’s always that lion of temptation that haunts me even now, so I do have to be careful how much time I devote to writing about cutting (writing, as opposed to talking, is especially tricky because writing is a solitary activity).

Recently, one of my former professors, Dr. Phil Monroe, asked me to write a post about cutting for his blog, Wise Counsel. Since Dr. Monroe encouraged me in my writing while at seminary, I was honored to provide an informative post, which you can check out here– On the Problem of Cutting :: Secret Under the Sleeve.

When I wrote about cutting a few months ago here on Atypical Musings, I had no idea that the post would have such an extraordinary response. “Cutting//Emo//Hope//God” wasn’t a particularly eloquent post, nor do I feel it was one of my best. However, it’s been read more than even my musings on Hannah Montana, imagine that!

It saddens me to know that there are still so many girls (and guys) out there wrestling with razor blades on their wrists. There are a ton of books and websites dedicated to this topic, but a lot of them seem to address the symptom (the cutting) and not the deeper issue (the reason behind the cutting). However, just dealing with cutting on its own and ending self-injurious behavior is a battle. I’d considering ways I can help share my own story with others, be an encouragement, and perhaps put my writing to good use. Please keep this in prayer if you are so inclined, but also pray for the thousands of teens who will cut themselves today–pray that they make the choice to stop and to get help.

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