Tag Archives: sarah young

Friday Faves: Dealing with Bummed-Outness Edition

9 Sep

Since I’m going to a Women of Faith conference (full story) this weekend, you’d think I’d be in a great mood.  I mean, what a great opportunity to commune with the people of God, right?  Absolutely!  And I feel the need for it now more than ever.  Looking for a church in the area is taking its toll on me.  So is the pressure of leading a weekly small group.  I’m giving out, but not filling up.   The rainy weather doesn’t help.  Even the local schools are closed due to flooding.  (Is it even safe to go out there?  Should I invest in a house boat?)  Really, I’m just plain ol’ bummed out.

I don’t know what to do for this depression (and anxiety) except to walk through it and know it, too, will pass.  I spend more time praying, thinking, talking to God and less time social networking, hanging out, and uh, showering.  Hopefully, the Women of Faith weekend will kick start my spirit.  Until then, here are some “faves” that help me get through the murky times.

*Bebo Norman is my go-to guy for hard times.  Whether I’m about to have a panic attack or cry my eyes out, I pop in a Bebo album and I feel immediate relief.  It reminds me of when David played his harp for King Saul when Saul was overcome with bouts of madness.  Bebo’s music is a gentle reminder that someone’s been in the depths, made it out, and that God is still very much present.  Lately, I’ve also listened to Jason Gray and Andrew Peterson, and of course, my old stand-bys–Rich Mullins and Fernando Ortega.  I used have specific playlists on my iPod for “sad times” and “mad times” and “happy times,” but they somehow got deleted.  Another song that resonates with me is “Hold My Heart” by Tenth Avenue North.  While I enjoy artists like Tenth Avenue North and Josh Wilson, when I’m down and out, their upbeat songs feel like salt rubbed into an raging wound.

*The Book of Psalms is an inspiration for many, and when nothing else makes sense, the psalms usually do.  I particularly love Psalms 42 and 46.  I also turn to the book of Hosea, which may sound like a strange choice, until you consider this passage from Hosea 3: 19-20,

“I will betroth you to me forever;
I will betroth you in righteousness and justice,
in love and compassion.
I will betroth you in faithfulness,
and you will acknowledge the LORD.”

As cliche as it sounds, the Bible is an amazing source of comfort in its prose, stories (Elijah, for one), and guidance.

*One day someone who is very dear to me gave me a copy of Henri Nouwen’s The Inner Voice of Love as a present.  She told me to read it, but not all at once, just bit by bit.  So I did, and still do.  In Nouwen’s most personal work, he shares his journal entries from a time when he underwent extreme hardship (some may call it a “nervous breakdown”).  At the urging of his friends, Nouwen published this book.  I rarely read an entry without bursting into tears. I also read Jesus Calling by Sarah Young (read review), which is great for use in small groups or for personal devotions.

*It may sound silly, but online games like Gnome Town and Words With Friends (both on Facebook) provide needed distraction.  I cannot always live in the pain, focus on the hurt, feel the depression, deal with the anxiety.  So, instead, I build a world of friendly forest creatures and get my butt kicked by high school kids who know more words than me.

*Since I’m a writer, it should come as no surprise that words at a healing balm to my soul.  In his song “The Cure for Pain,” Jon Foreman sings, “So blood is fire pulsing through our veins.  We’re either writers or fools behind the reigns.  I’ve spent ten years trying to sing it all away.  But the water keeps on falling from my tries.”  Like Foreman, I keep trying to write, not sing, it all away.  Still, I keep my journal close by and consider my notebooks full of scribbles among my most treasured possessions.  One of these days, I’m going to get a nice leather or mole skin journal (usually, I get them for 50% off at Barnes & Noble or as gifts from friends).

*Dogs, not diamonds, are a girl’s best friend.  Lonely days seem a little less lonely because of my two dogs–Cassie the Peekapoo (left) and Maddy the Shih Tzu (right).  They sense my mood and cuddle with me more often when I am down.  My bird, Kylie the Cockatiel, chirps praises to God when my spirit feels faint.  Animals are truly a gift from God.  And so are friends and family, who are willing to listen, even they don’t understand or don’t know what to do.

I’m not going to apologize for my less-than-chipper mood because it is my goal to be real, rather than entertaining.  Ideally, I like to be both, but real trumps entertaining.  Pray for me and I will pray for you!

How can I be praying for you right now?  What do you do when you feel bummed out?  Do you suffer from clinical depression and/or anxiety?  What kind of pets do you have?  Do you journal and/or blog to relieve your stress?


I Trust You, Jesus

4 Feb

I try to trust Jesus, especially when it's spooky.

A lot of times I review a book, throw it on my shelf, and move on to the next book. Not so with Jesus Calling by Sarah Young, which I reviewed last year (read review).  Written as though God is directly talking to the reader (to me), Jesus Calling is a 365 day devotional that has changed me.  I began using Jesus Calling at my ladies Bible study as a way to usher us out of our hectic lives and into a holy conversation with God.  It was amazing how each reading seemed to touch everyone in the room…and somehow address every circumstance with which we were dealing.

For 2011, I made the commitment to take my time with God more seriously, making the study of Scripture a priority.  I also started to read Jesus Calling every day.  The book is helping me to see my faith in new ways and it challenges the status quo of what has become a stagnant love relationship with God.

One passage read that in all situation God wants out first reaction to be one of trust.  It read (paraphrased): “When trouble arises, immediately I want you to say, ‘I trust you, Jesus.'”  Such a simple statement, yet so profound.    I’ll say I trust Jesus or God to get me through, but really I trust myself and God.  We make a great team.  Here’s the thing with God–He’s all about His glory.  I often get in His way because I want to do things my highly imperfect way.

Really I have two choices–to trust God or not to trust God.  Therefore, it could save me a lot of pain to trust God, to immediately respond with “I trust you, Jesus.”  And then five minutes later I have to say, “I trust you, Jesus,” again.  And so on and so forth.  As I sink into unbelief, I must quickly pull myself out by reaffirming my trust in Jesus.  My prayer goes something like this, “I believe; help me overcome my unbelief.  I trust you, God. I trust you, Jesus.”  What it lacks in eloquence, it makes up for in sincerity.

Lately I’ve found myself saying, “I trust you, Jesus” in a lot of situations–driving through a foot of snow to get my mom to the hospital by 5 AM for her hip replacement surgery, sitting through the surgery, dealing with my own health and mental health issues, financial problems (my Sallie Mae loan drama), and even simple tasks like interviewing my friend, Josh Wilson.  Sometimes I have to say it 50 times, sometimes more, yet somehow it’s getting easier to have my first reaction to be one of trust.  It doesn’t mean I don’t freak out, cry, get scared and all that other jazz.  Instead I cry as someone who has hope and trusts that her Abba will work in the situation.  I know that in my own strength I will fail, yet I have the hope that God will carry me through.

Book Review:: Jesus Calling by Sarah Young (Deluxe Edition)

1 Jul

Jesus Calling: Enjoying Peace in His Presence by Sarah Young (Thomas Nelson) is a masterpiece!  The new deluxe edition is encased in a lovely leather cover, which adds to the appeal of this 365 day devotional.  Unlike other devotionals, Young records thoughts she receives from God in a personal format, so each devotional is like a little message from God that aims directly for the heart.

After reading just a few entries of Jesus Calling, I wept.  This book massaged my weary heart and panicked spirit into rightful submission to a loving God.  What makes this book so wonderful?  The simply meditations are daily reminders that God is with us, for us, and above all, He is still God and He is still on His throne.  Our lives are filled with worry, depression, disbelief, and unfaithfulness.  Jesus Calling fights our human tendencies to stray from God and brings to mind His intent to have a relationship with His creation.

Another thing I love about Jesus Calling is that it is easy to add a reading into daily devotions.  But a quick read right after the lunch hour at work or while the children are down for their afternoon naps can also energize a weary believer.  Really, this is an any-time book—any time we need to remember who we are in Christ (which for me, is quite often!)  I love this book and know it will be a popular gift item for my loved ones in the future.

If you want a devotion that will rip apart your pride and bring you face-to-face with a God who loves you, then Jesus Calling is for you.  Actually, it’s a devotional for everyone.

Amy’s Score: 5

*I received this book for review from Thomas Nelson’s BookSneeze program*

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