Make Good Use of Your Soul Wounds

Make Good Use of Your Soul Wounds

“I’m afraid,” the tearful young woman told me as we sat in my car. “I know I should be grateful we were able to get pregnant, and I am. But I’m terrified I’m going to be a terrible mother.”

I knew her story; how her childhood in a single parent home was marked by neglect and verbal abuse. I met her when she was eighteen and beginning to embrace a fully surrendered relationship with Christ. She chose to believe God’s truth when He said He loved her. That was enough. He was enough. She was enough. It was beautiful to see the transformation.

Ellie reminded me of a golden sunflower, the way she flourished during her college years. None of her friends were surprised when the man she married said that the first time he saw her he was drawn to her beautiful heart. He said her sense of calm confidence was irresistible.

And it still is.

That’s why it was a surprise when she and I were leaving her baby shower and she tearfully confessed her fear to me. She told me she was so frightened that her heart hurt.

My car was filled with gifts for her baby girl, and around us echoed the many blessings that had been spoken over her. To everyone else that evening she had appeared radiant and ready to step into the next season of her life. None of them would have guessed that deep inside, she was hiding a soul wound.

“A soul wound?” she repeated when I suggested that was the source of her pain. “What do you mean?”

“I think we all have soul wounds from times in our lives when the enemy tries to destroy us.”

I parked in front of her apartment, and we sat together in the stillness of the warm night with the windows open. The only sound was the rustling of the palm trees.

“Some soul wounds heal quickly,” I told her. “Others flare up when triggered, the way fear triggered yours tonight. Those fiery darts, aimed at your heart, need to be removed.”

She turned to me with tears still welling in her eyes.

“I want God to do that. I know He doesn’t give us a spirit of fear. He didn’t shoot the fiery darts at me. I want it to be gone. I want to heal completely.”

I reached for her hand. “Then tell Him.”

We prayed, and there was no doubt that God’s Spirit had done an important work in that moment. He removed the lies. He touched her tender heart, and the healing began. Fear was stripped of its power to torment her over the wounds from her childhood.

“How did you know that was what I needed?” she asked.

“I’ve been where you are. For many years I tried to hide the wounds from my childhood.”

She looked surprised. “I always thought you must have had an ideal childhood. You’re such a good mom. You and your daughter are so close.”

“The closeness I have with my children is the opposite of what I experienced while I was growing up. I was shamed for what I said or did or how I acted. Some awful things happened to me in my teen years, and I never told anyone. I knew I couldn’t say anything to my mom.”

“But you’re like a mom now to so many young women. How did you get there?”

I grinned. “I guess I made good use of my soul wound. I became the mom to my daughter that I always wished I’d had. You’ll do the same. Your relationship with your daughter will be completely different than what you experienced.”

The dim glow of the streetlight seemed to add warmth to our conversation as Ellie leaned against the headrest. We talked about how God gives us beauty for ashes and how He uses the difficult experiences in our lives to strengthen us on the inside so that we can be a help and encouragement to others who go through the same hurts.

Ellie isn’t the only young woman I’ve had this sort of conversation with. I noticed that many of them wanted to talk about the moment in their preteen years when they realized their body was changing. The way their mom did or didn’t come alongside them at the onset of puberty had a deep and lasting effect on how they viewed themselves and their bodies.

One woman in her 50s told me she knew the exact moment when she disconnected from her mom emotionally. It was the morning she woke up and found she’d started her period. She told her mom, and instead of a hug and some help, she was given a five-dollar bill and told to ride her bike to the store for supplies and bring back the change.

“From then on, I figured everything out for myself,” she said. “It took a long time before I let my mother know any of the important things that were happening in my life.”

Another woman told me she had thought she had cancer. I nodded and shared that cancer was my conclusion too. I was ten and had no idea why I was bleeding. When I told my mom, she said, “Don’t you know what that is?” The shame kept me in isolation.

“I felt isolated too,” The woman told me. “I kept my cycle a secret for months because I was so frightened. A girl at school finally told me what was happening, and she and her friends laughed at me for not knowing. After that, I felt I couldn’t trust my mother to protect me or be my go-to source for necessary life information.”

After hearing many similar stories, I decided to be preemptive when my daughter was nine. I set up a special party for the two of us to celebrate that her body would soon do what God created it to do. I explained just enough for her to understand and answered all her curious questions.

When she pulled the tissue paper from her gift bag, she found all the supplies she’d need along with her favorite chocolate, lip gloss, and a few other girly treats.

Our simple afternoon party allowed me to be the one who welcomed my daughter into womanhood. She and I still value that sacred moment. That was the day she leaned into me as her haven. I became the safe place she could always come to.

The pain I carried for so long from my own coming-of-age isolation was healed. Jesus did that. Is the scar still there? Yes. But I no longer feel the hurt.

What about you? Is it time for you to ask God to remove those fiery darts from where the enemy tried to take you down and let the healing begin? You will be amazed at what can happen when you begin to make good use of your soul wounds.

Robin Jones Gunn is the bestselling author of nearly one hundred books with more than 5.5 million copies sold worldwide. Her popular Christy Miller novels continue in the Christy & Todd: The Baby Years series. Robin’s passion for storytelling has taken her around the world—she’s been a keynote speaker in Africa, Brazil, Europe, and Australia as well as in Canada and the US. Among Robin’s nonfiction titles are Victim of Grace and Spoken For, which she coauthored with Alyssa Joy Bethke.

How to Break Up With Comparison

How to Break Up With Comparison

“Stop comparing yourself to other women; including your younger self – she’s another woman.”

These loving words from my husband were spoken as I was crying, yet again, about being unable to lose weight. I was doing “all the right things,” yet the weight refused to budge. And my body shame was just as stubborn.

I have compared my body to the bodies of other girls/women for most of my life. I still remember my third-grade P.E. coach yelling my weight out loud during a “weigh-in” event. I hung my head in shame as I walked back to my seat, mortified because my number was much higher than those of my snickering classmates.

An unspoken competition over weight and appearance drove a wedge between my girlfriends and me for years. (Maybe you’ve been there, too.) Over the years, I’ve learned that body shame, comparison and insecurity are an almost universal experience for women.

During graduate school for my degree in Marriage & Family Therapy, I researched the topic of body image. I conducted a ten-question survey with 138 women, ages 22 to 26, who identified as Christian.

When asked, “Do you like the way your body looks?” 99.98% of the women responded “No”.

The survey also asked women to identify the most significant influence on their view of their bodies. I was sure the top influence would be culture. Yet, although culture did appear on some surveys, the single response shared by almost every respondent was the influence of mothers, aunts, and sisters.

Nearly every respondent had heard moms or other female family members describe how they hated their bodies, needed to lose weight, or were on a new fad diet. One participant summarized how female relatives’ struggles with body image had impacted her: “Comparison is my greatest memory.”

We’ve all contributed to this cycle of body shaming and comparison, haven’t we? We’ve done the best we knew how, so let’s extend grace to ourselves and the other women in our lives. And, beginning today, let’s step into a better way of seeing, valuing and talking about our bodies.

Body comparison is harmful in three distinct ways:

  1. Comparison robs us of joy. When we are busy comparing ourselves to others, we fail to see who God created us to be.
  2. Comparison steals our peace. Ecclesiastes 4:4 says; “Then I observed that most people are motivated to success because they envy their neighbors. But this, too, is meaningless—like chasing the wind” (NLT). When we spend time comparing our appearance with others, including on social media, we are chasing the wind. We go nowhere and end up both dissatisfied and exhausted.
  3. Comparison builds a barrier between us and others. If you’ve ever had a friendship end and you didn’t know why, or you just can’t seem to get close to certain people, it might be due to your (or their) imaginary yardstick. I call this a Comparison Yardstick.

In high school, I constantly compared my body to a particular friend’s body because we were built almost identically. If she lost five pounds, I would lose six, and vice versa. That comparison yardstick kept us from growing close because it fueled jealousy, pride, shame, and insecurity. In order to go deeper with the friend, that faulty yardstick needed to be broken.

How to break your Comparison Yardstick:

Recognize: Awareness is the first step to healing. If we aren’t aware of our comparison yardstick, we can’t break free from it. Ask God to reveal the comparison traps you’ve fallen into with others, especially in the area of comparing your body to other women’s bodies.

This checklist of body comparison symptoms may spark awareness:

  • You body-check yourself against others.
  • You are motivated to change your appearance by looking at photos of fitness models or friends.
  • You have a hard time getting close in relationships due to jealousy and insecurity.
  • You compare yourself to a younger or different version of yourself.
  • You feel bitterness in your heart toward others and are tempted to gossip about them.
  • You have an unhealthy idea of your ideal weight or clothing size.

Repent: The result of comparison is death and destruction. We see comparison creep into the garden when Satan tempted Eve (Gen. 3:2–6). Satan had already “fallen” by comparing himself to God, and now he tempted Eve to desire and take what wasn’t intended for her. Eve was vulnerable because she forgot that she already had everything she needed.

Comparison fuels envy, pride, shame and insecurity. But we can ask for forgiveness from God as well as anyone we have harmed. You’ll discover that your Comparison Yardstick loses its power once you identify your real Enemy and remember that Christ has provided all you need.

Rejoice: Both Eve and Jesus wrestled with temptation in a garden. Eve’s garden moment ended in sin and shame. Jesus’ garden moment ended in the defeat of the Enemy and in victory. And Jesus’ victory on the cross empowers us to resist envy and comparison in all areas of life.

In our own strength, we might never find victory over body comparison, but through Christ all things are possible. Nothing stops comparison more quickly than thanking God for how He made each of our bodies uniquely. Next time you notice comparison sneaking in, stop and pray a blessing over that person.

Rejoicing releases pride, restores our joy, and blesses our friends.

Embracing the body you actually have begins with recognizing you are made in the image of God. This fact doesn’t change with seasons, sizes, or shapes!

Remember how my husband invited me to stop comparing my current body to my younger self? He helped me realize I was comparing my current body, which had borne children, undergone surgery and run marathons, to the body I had at age 15. That impossible Comparison Yardstick was robbing me of the joy of my current season. It was blinding me to the amazing things my body had done over the past decade. It also drove a wedge between me and the other women in my life.

Today, I am letting go of comparison and embracing the one and only body I will ever call home. I am praying that you will too, dear sister. Regardless of size or shape or season of life, may you experience your body as a uniquely good gift from a loving God.

When my graduate-school survey asked women, “Do you believe you were made in God’s image?”, an astounding 99 percent answered yes. Yet most followed it with a statement like, “I know it in my head, but I want to believe it in my heart.” If you struggle with truly believing you are made in God’s image, I invite you to try this Mirror gratitude technique I use in group therapy for body image.

Use these prompts to create your own masterpiece:

  • What do you see when you look in the mirror? Write all the things that come to mind on your mirror.
  • Strike through any negative attributes, and ask God what He sees instead.
  • Highlight or circle any positive attributes. Ask God to show you why He designed you that way.
  • Do you see Jesus reflected in your image?
  • Meditate on the following verses to embrace how God sees you.
    • “Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting but a woman who fears the Lord is to be greatly praised.” (Prov. 31:30)
    • “The unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit … is of great worth in God’s sight.” (1 Pet. 3:4)
    • “Outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.” (2 Cor. 4:16)
    • “The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God endures forever.” (Isa. 40:8)
    • “People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” (1 Sam. 16:7)
    • “He has made everything beautiful in its time.” (Eccl. 3:11)
    • Your new self is being renewed in the image of your Creator. (Col. 3:10)

Rachael Gilbert, MMFT, is a trauma-informed therapist, the author of Image Restored: Tear Down Shame and Insecurity to Experience a Body Image Renovation, and the podcast host of Real Talk with Rachael. Rachael combines her clinical expertise and personal experience to help women overcome fear and insecurity to walk confidently in their God-given dreams. Rachael and her husband Matt are the owners of BBC Health. They live near Dallas, TX, with their three children. www.rachaelgilbert.com

How to Survive Heartbreak

How to Survive Heartbreak

Last week, I had the privilege of sitting down with Mattie Jackson Selecman on the WTG podcast and I could not be more excited to share that conversation with you today! As many of you might know, Mattie is the daughter of Alan Jackson. She wrote the book “Lemons on Friday” and it is an incredible story of the way God has moved in her life. A few questions the book answers are “how did I get here?”, “will this always hurt?”, “who am I now?” and “how do I move forward?” and some of you may be asking similar questions in your life right now. So, let’s dive into the conversation with Mattie. I truly believe it’s going to meet you where you’re at.

We kicked off this episode with the question of the podcast: What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given? Mattie said, the piece of advice that has stuck with her most through the years came to her when she graduated college. She studied creative writing at the University of Tennessee and had always wanted to be a writer. Her dad wrote songs and her mom was an author herself. So, naturally, Mattie gravitated toward writing. Once she graduated, her dad said to her, “Sugar, I think you have this gift, but you need to live your life and you’ll end up writing about your life itself.” At that point, she didn’t understand what he meant. She also felt like all the jobs she had been working in her twenties were just wasting her time. “Lemons on Friday” is not the story Mattie hoped to be her first to write about. But she remembers thinking back on her dad’s advice and how he was right. There’s so much in his advice that anyone can learn from, especially people early in life or transitioning into a new season.

Mattie is such a goal oriented and to-do list person, and the advice that her dad offered gave her permission to not know exactly what lies ahead. It encouraged her to follow the way God was leading her heart and work hard where she is knowing that God will weave the pieces together. She realized that not having a plan is sometimes okay.

I love that mentality. So many people have the mindset of believing God will eventually do something, so they sit back and don’t do anything in the waiting process. But we need to get up and work while we wait. Because normally it’s what you’re working on while you wait that’s preparing you for what’s to come. That’s exactly what was happening in Mattie’s story. It’s really cool to note that Mattie was passionate about and extremely gifted in writing. A lot of people end up having these crazy experiences they end up writing about in a book, and the writing might not be just amazing, but it’s a great story. But Mattie’s is unique because her story is very powerful and her writing is incredibly powerful. That’s why I think this book is a great read.

With that being said, I asked Mattie a bit about her life and the journey to where she’s at now. She began by mentioning that she grew up in Nashville in the country music environment, as her dad was heavily involved in it. Looking back at how her dad managed his career put a little seed in Mattie’s heart that she wanted to do something different. She always had a dream of being creative, which doesn’t always offer a ton of job opportunities after college. Even though she had a writing degree, she still needed a job that would pay the bills. So, at 22 years old, she started working in restaurants. Well, by way of that experience, she got a lot of exposure to wine and fell in love with it. Her parents didn’t really drink wine growing up, but Mattie loved that the world of wine wrapped up all things food, culture, and so forth. Her twenties were spent in the food and wine industry. She studied and got certifications in it, worked for an importer, and began doing all the things that she was passionate about.

As a result, she ended up moving back to Nashville and opening a restaurant there. In the process of getting her restaurant up and running, she met her husband, Ben, and fell in love quickly. They eventually got married and a couple weeks prior to their first anniversary, something tragic happened.

Mattie began to share about that time in her life and how it resulted in Mattie writing “Lemons on Friday.” The Labor Day weekend of the year following their wedding, they’d taken a trip to Florida with some friends. When getting on the boat, Ben slipped and hit his head on the concrete dock. Mattie rushed over to make sure everything was okay, but wasn’t too worried at that point. She figured at the most, he might have had a concussion. Thankfully, some EMTs were nearby and after checking him out, told Mattie to take Ben to the emergency room. Ben was in the hospital for 12 days, having multiple brain surgeries, all while being in a medically induced coma. The 12th day, Mattie received a phone call informing her that Ben’s heart was failing, and that she’d need to say her goodbye to him. This was three weeks before their first anniversary.

I’m so thankful that Mattie chose to share her story, because I know there are plenty of people who can relate. Many of you reading this now can probably relate. I asked Mattie how she got through all the “why” questions and coped with the fact that sometimes life plays out differently than how we’d like it to. She responded with some timely wisdom. She began by reminding us that although life is not guaranteed, when instances like death do occur, it’s common for us to have huge questions of faith. This is what “Lemons on Friday” is all about. Mattie said she’d never experienced a tragedy prior to Ben’s death. She had no idea how to manage grief or even what it would feel like. All she knew to do at that point was be honest about the questions she had for God. So, she wrote them down in a journal.

Her biggest question was, “How do I accept that God is good and sovereign, but He didn’t choose to intervene for me?” Mattie had to come to the realization that God didn’t cause Ben’s death to happen. He didn’t long for Mattie to suffer. But if she believed in a God who is good and sovereign, she had to accept that He allowed it.

Mattie said that after all her questions, she felt God ask her, “If I gave you all the answers, what would it change?” She realized that it wouldn’t change her circumstances. At that point, she had to choose trust over understanding.

I love how Mattie took the time to actually wrestle with God. I think so many people are a bit falsely naïve to things and don’t want to talk about the bad. But you also have to understand and acknowledge that bad things do happen, all while seeing God even in the midst of the bad.

Mattie began to dive into everything she dealt with after the funeral. The last thing Mattie wanted to do was put a scripture band-aid on something that is a gaping wound. She believes that the only way to get through tragedy and grief is to hold onto God’s promises in one hand and in the other hand be honest about how broken you are. If you look at people in scripture, they don’t sugarcoat their circumstances. We cheapen our faith when we don’t invite God in the really hard parts. He wants to be our joy. She encourages us to rest in the fact that difficult seasons strengthen our faith often more than easy seasons do. She reminds us that our doubt doesn’t necessarily undermine our faith. Often, it enriches it.

I asked Mattie to share about hers and Ben’s first anniversary. She said that one of the biggest things she learned throughout this process is that God is so personal. As she was approaching their anniversary, she was flooded with anxiety and grief. Even though she knew it would be brutal, she knew that Ben would want her to be celebrating. So, she planned a small get together with his and her family, but woke up the day of and had no desire to celebrate. As she sat at home that morning, she opened a gift from Ben which he’d planned months in advance for their anniversary. The gift was a bouquet of paper roses made of hymnal pages. Mattie was so comforted in that moment by the fact that God knew she would need Ben’s gift. She saw this as reassurance that God is in the midst of difficult moments.

This reminds me of a verse in Isaiah:

“The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God endures forever.” (Isaiah 40:8)

Most people get real flowers on their anniversary, but God in his kindness gave Mattie flowers that would last forever.

I then asked Mattie to share her thoughts on how to love people well in their heartbreak. I remember when my great grandfather died, I started avoiding my great grandmother because I didn’t know what to say or how to act. But all she wanted was for me to show up. Mattie began to share how her community comforted her during her time of grief. She reminded us that different people need different things. For her, she never wanted to be alone. She said in that time, the words didn’t even matter, just their presence. There were moments she wanted to get lost in listening to someone else’s life because that felt like a bit of normalcy. There were also moments where she just wanted to cry about Ben or tell a funny story and laugh. Her friends were very understanding of this and accommodating.

I loved this advice that Mattie gave. “Just ask.” So many times, we think we need to have all the answers. But a lot of times, asking a question is the best way to go.

Next, I was extremely excited to ask Mattie about a God dream she had during this season. Mattie said that after Ben’s death, many people would call her and tell her about a dream they’d had about Ben. The message of each dream was always that Ben was at home with the Lord. So, she began to pray and ask God for one of these dreams herself. Three months after Ben died, she woke up, threw on a flannel, and immediately wrote down the dream she’d just had. The dream was basically a trip to Heaven. In the dream, Ben was standing near a bunch of shops while talking to friends. Then Ben’s dad ran up and gave him a hug while making conversation. Once Ben saw Mattie, he ran over and brought her shopping with him. He picked out a flannel just like one he had in real life and put it on. Mattie and Ben kept walking and saw a pack of little yellow labs, just like the one they’d gotten a few months before. It’s like Ben was showing Mattie where their life together on Earth and Ben’s life in heaven were intersecting.

In the dream, Ben told Mattie, “I have to go, but you will be okay.” And as he walked away, Mattie saw lots of lashes on his back. She immediately asked him what had happened, and he responded with, “Mattie, it is the coolest story, but you already know it.” In the hospital, Mattie had seen holes all in Ben’s hands from the IVs, markings on his feet, and it looked like he had a crown of thorns on his head because he’d had staples. She remembered looking down and feeling like that was how God saw him, with every scar. He was covered by Christ. Mattie felt as if her dream was confirmation from God that what she saw was true. She realized that the only part of Ben she didn’t see in the hospital was his back. So, when he walked away in the dream, she knew that he had those scars too. It gave her permission to let him go. I love everything about Mattie’s dream. God literally gave her an image of Christ when Ben was laying in the hospital bed.

Mattie then directly encouraged the people who are currently walking through grief. She reminded us that if we ever feel like God is silent, know that He never is. She also encourages us to keep asking for what our heart needs. He wants to give us good things.

Everything was a trigger for Mattie at the beginning. If you’re experiencing grief currently, you may feel the same way. Mattie’s encouragement is to write these things down and try to figure out how to feel the sadness and let it out. With time and faith, these wounds won’t cut as deeply as they might now. When you take the time to respect how painful these things are, they will actually help in your healing. I heard a sermon recently that talked about how Jesus fully felt every emotion and still remained in relationship with the Father. This is confirmation that it’s okay to feel emotions, even if those emotions are sadness and anger. These emotions don’t make you weak, they’re actually a part of making you strong.

Mattie’s book, “Lemons on Friday” is so inspiring and I highly encourage you to give it a read!

How to Stop Breaking Your Own Heart

How to Stop Breaking Your Own Heart

Let me just start by saying, HEARTBREAK SUCKS, but unfortunately it is part of the human experience, and as awful as heartbreak is, it’s important. We need pain as an inner-warning to stay away from things that will and can continue to hurt us, so this blog isn’t about not experiencing heartbreak, but about avoiding unnecessary heartbreak.

Heartbreak is going to happen to you (super positive start I know, but keep reading) whether self-inflicted or an unexpected incident it just is, but it doesn’t have to consume your everyday life. YOU CAN get out of the cycles of constant heartbreak, and step into a full life where you learn, with Jesus, to guard your heart (Proverbs 4:23).

It’s not going to be easy, but I want to help you break up with self-inflicted heartbreak.

Whether you are currently in a season of heartbreak or have recently walked through it, you know that the pain of a broken heart is almost worse than the pain of a broken arm. I believe if we polled the audience right now and asked the question, would you rather have a broken arm or a broken heart? We would get an overwhelming response of people who would take the broken arm.

Why is that? 

I believe it’s because the healing process of a physical injury is more straight-forward than the healing process of an emotional one. 

We want results now, and we definitely don’t want to wander into an unknown healing process with no end date. So, why does my heart break? Am I alone in my heartbreak? How do I stop breaking my own heart? 

Glad you asked. Let’s dive in. 

Why does my heart break? 

Heartbreak was never a part of God’s original design. In Genesis 1, God created human beings in his image and then He rested and saw that it was all very good. Heartbreak is what happened in Genesis 3, when sin came in and filled the world. Now pain, heartbreak, and trouble is a part of our everyday lives, even though that was never the intent for our human experience. 

Although heartbreak is not a new concept, scientists have recently discovered the connection between emotional and physical pain is greater than originally realized. 

It seems silly to think that that was just now realized when the Bible has said that all along – I mean ask anyone who has been betrayed, lied to, cheated on, I’m guessing 10/10 they will tell you they felt unpleasant physical symptoms from such an awful emotional experience. 

In studying about heartbreak and the connections between emotional and physical pain, I found that Dopamine and Oxytocin are the hormones released when we “feel good”, which then makes us want to repeat certain behaviors to release these hormones over and over again, this is also commonly described as the feeling of “being in love”. On the other hand, when we experience heartbreak, loss, or betrayal, another hormone is released, the stress hormone called cortisol. This is the fight or flight hormone, and too much of this hormone can cause extreme unpleasant physical symptoms such as anxiety, panic, nausea, weight gain, or weight loss. 

The reason I bring all of this to your attention is that we are not helpless in stopping the cycles of heartbreak. Yes, heartbreak is inevitable, but there are ways to avoid self-inflicted heartbreak, and knowing the connection between our emotional experiences and physical symptoms are important in combating and stopping unnecessary heartbreak. 

Am I alone in my heartbreak? 

You are not alone. Unfortunately, every human on this planet experiences heartbreak in some way. It may not all be at the same level, but heartbreak is unavoidable for each person, but taking it further than that – I believe two of the greatest lies the enemy tells us is: you are alone in your heartbreak and no one has ever been as heartbroken as you. 

I’m going to debunk both of those right now:

Lie #1, you are alone in your heartbreak. 

Truth: God is near to you, he’s close to you, he’s close to the brokenhearted, the ones who are crushed by the weight of this world. You read that in Psalm 34:18,

 “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”

In Psalm 56:8 you read another powerful truth, 

“You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book.”

So, the next time the enemy comes at you with “you’re alone in your heartbreak”, come back at him with God is always close to me and not only is He close, He collects my tears and records each one.

Lie #2, No one has ever been as heartbroken as you are right now.

Truth: Many people in scripture have struggled with devastating heartbreak. 

In 1 Samuel 1, Hannah was grieving her heart’s unfulfilled desire to get pregnant, in 2 Samuel 11, Bathsheba had just suffered the sudden loss of her husband who was killed in battle, and many more stories of grief, loss, and heart break flood the Bible.

The enemy knows that when we realize that we aren’t alone and that other people have suffered just as bad if not worse, we then feel a relief, peace, and comfort in our heart break (Revelation 12:11):

“And they have defeated him by the blood of the Lamb and by their testimony.”

That is why sharing your story is not only important for your healing, but important for others to heal.  

Stop believing the lies that you are alone or that no one has experienced pain like you, people in scripture all the way to present day are with you, fighting for you, and have experienced the same things you are currently experiencing. You are not alone.

How To Stop Breaking Your Own Heart. 

We all know we can’t fully control what happens to us, but we can control how we react to it. 

But what if I told you, you had more control of the pain you feel than you think.

Hear this. We are not responsible for the pain, trauma, and heart ache that happens to us, but we are responsible for feeling it, processing it, healing from it, and overcoming our hurts, habits, and hang-ups that lead us back in the arms of the very heart break we hate to experience.

This is in our control.

In the physical sense, if you get in a car accident because you are speeding, the chances of getting in another car accident from speeding go way down, why? Because you felt the pain of the accident, healed, learned and stopped the cycle.

In the emotional sense, it’s different, and you see this a lot: say you get in a relationship with someone emotionally unavailable, they never open up, you feel alone, isolated, and worthless, you end the relationship, feel the pain of heartbreak, then without even another thought and because society tells you, you get right back out there, and what do you know… you meet someone else emotionally unavailable.

But why? Didn’t you just go through that? Yes, but you stopped at step one, the heartbreak.

You didn’t feel it, process it, heal from it and stop, you just covered it up and got right back out there, you wouldn’t do this with a broken arm now would you? You wouldn’t break your arm and go to work the next day like it didn’t happen, so why do we do this with emotional wounds? How can we stop breaking our own hearts? 

#1 Feel. After you experience heart break, feel it. Cry it out. Give yourself an allotted amount of time to just really mourn the loss, betrayal, breakup, etc. Don’t rush the feeling, embrace the pain, and allow the pain to lead you into processing it.

#2 Process. Find the root. Why did that hurt you like it did? Is there something from your childhood that triggers you? Are there insecurities that have creeped back up because of this heart break? Also, it’s hard to process alone. Talk about your heartbreak with trusted others and allow the process to lead you into healing.

#3 Heal. Once you have felt the hurt, processed the hurt, now it’s time to heal from the hurt. Talk to a therapist, find good community, serve at your local church, get into your word, listen to worship music, let God heal you from the areas you now know you need healing. Start with prayer and believe in faith that God can heal the very parts of you that are broken because He can, and after healing, allow that to redirect you to stop the cycle.

#4. Stop. You now have felt what you needed to feel, processed, healed and now it’s time to stop the madness – to stop the cycle. You are healed so walk in your healing. Walk in the faith that God is a God of redirection and new purpose. There is life after heart break and not just a life where you survive, but one where you thrive.

I hope this encourages you to pursue healing and stop the very cycles in your life that are causing you to break your own heart. Heartbreak doesn’t have the final say. Our God does.  

Hello sister and friend! I’m Kayla Nordlum! I was born and raised in Portland, Oregon and recently moved to Phoenix, Arizona, where the sun really never stops shining! 

My story might be similar to yours, for years life felt empty, confusing and disappointing. Unmet expectations left me stuck and hopeless. I struggled to trust that God had good plans for my future because I constantly replayed the mess I made of my past. BUT GOD.

Through a personal relationship with Jesus I realized it was never about what I did or what I would do, but everything to do with what He could do through me. I decided to fully surrender to the Lord in May of 2020. Through my act of obedience, I watched toxic relationship cycles end and negative mindsets slowly transform. God finally had my FULL heart and life was now EXCITING. I had vision, passion and purpose that I could not come up with on my own. 

In August of 2020, I started a business called Worthy Women Co. (@worthywomenco). A space to remind women to never settle in life, love, or faith + it’s been so amazing to see what God has done and what he is doing with this sweet little community, PLUS I create fun merch, and who doesn’t love that?! 

Writing has always been healing for me, I have journaled almost daily since I was young, but I never felt qualified to write for others (doesn’t God always use those people?) In January of 2021, I got serious about writing my first book (“The One That God Away”) and it’s almost ready to be released! God is so faithful and kind, He really has the best redemptive stories! 

Now more than ever I know that with God THERE IS MORE + I’m super passionate about helping women find the MORE in their stories too.





Courageously Expecting

Courageously Expecting

[vc_row type=”in_container” full_screen_row_position=”middle” column_margin=”default” column_direction=”default” column_direction_tablet=”default” column_direction_phone=”default” scene_position=”center” text_color=”dark” text_align=”left” row_border_radius=”none” row_border_radius_applies=”bg” overlay_strength=”0.3″ gradient_direction=”left_to_right” shape_divider_position=”bottom” bg_image_animation=”none”][vc_column column_padding=”no-extra-padding” column_padding_tablet=”inherit” column_padding_phone=”inherit” column_padding_position=”all” column_element_spacing=”default” background_color_opacity=”1″ background_hover_color_opacity=”1″ column_shadow=”none” column_border_radius=”none” column_link_target=”_self” gradient_direction=”left_to_right” overlay_strength=”0.3″ width=”1/1″ tablet_width_inherit=”default” tablet_text_alignment=”default” phone_text_alignment=”default” bg_image_animation=”none” border_type=”simple” column_border_width=”none” column_border_style=”solid”][vc_column_text]During my pregnancy, there was no shortage of concerns to try and make sense of through the use Google. There was my very first OB appointment in which we couldn’t hear the heartbeat. There was the cervix scare. There was bed rest. There was amniotic sludge. There was conflicting information from my providers. And later on, there was a concern over a possible heart defect (which was monitored until eventually resolving itself).   

I googled most of those things obsessively, searching for articles I had not yet uncovered, for answers I had not yet found. I was constantly seeking that one piece of information that would give me peace by way of certainty that my baby would be born healthy and alive. 

But that never happened.  

Instead of peace, I mostly felt panic as I clicked and typed and scrolled. Because it turns out, Google couldn’t give me the comfort I needed, no matter how much I searched. In fact, the only time I did feel peace, at least temporarily, was when I tuned out the whirling noise inside my head and turned off the noise of my internet browser. It was then that I could still my mind and pray, truly seeking God while remembering the goodness he had lavished on me, even when I couldn’t see or feel it. It was then that I was reminded of the hard places he’d already led me through and could at last focus on what I knew to be true: I was still carrying my baby and God was still carrying me.   

Now, the internet isn’t all bad when it comes to pregnancy after loss. Sometimes it’s a healthy source of information and can provide useful facts. And I haven’t forgotten the few select support groups and nonprofit organizations that were an ongoing source of hope and solidarity. There’s nothing like connecting with others who truly feel your pain and understand the depth of your concerns during pregnancy after loss in a community where the lingering grief and ongoing angst are validated. Where you are surrounded by other people who share similarly difficult circumstances. That’s all good and healthy.  

But obsessively searching for answers online to all of our what-ifs? Reading every heartbreaking story of loss or pregnancy after loss? It will never give us what we need. Because the answers to most, if not all, of our most pressing questions don’t exist this side of heaven. When googling only leaves you paralyzed with fear, it’s time to seek God instead.  

When we enter the presence of God, truth is revealed. And the truth is that our safety is found in God alone.

He will cover you with his feathers, 

and under his wings you will find refuge; 

his faithfulness will be your shield and 

rampart. (Psalm 91:4) 

Google is unreliable. God is not. Google tends to amplify all the hard things we already have too much of: fear, anxiety, hopelessness, unrest. God is a refuge from those things. Google is heavy on speculation and light on truth. God is truth.  

Look, I know you’re not going to promise to stop googling all the things about this much-anticipated but most uncertain pregnancy. I wouldn’t ask you to. But I want you to remember this: Google in moderation, God in excess. Before you get tangled up in the sticky World Wide Web, go to God. He’s listening. In fact, he invites us to come to him when burdens overwhelm us and our hearts are weary. No, he may not reveal to you all of the answers you seek, but he is the only one who actually knows those answers.  

No matter how many times you type “chances of baby surviving after loss” into your search bar, you’re not going to get a good answer because Google doesn’t know you (although the argument can be made that it just might if, like me, you’ve noticed that it seems to be uncomfortably familiar with your life). But you can be certain you are known and loved by a good God. Take your hurt to him. Hand your fear to him. He promises peace and rest. He’s got all the answers—and even if they aren’t the ones you’re hoping for, you can be sure that, in time, he will reveal all you could ever want to know. But until then, you can trust him to hold your weary heart, to speak only truth, and to provide rest. 

God, I am desperate for answers to all my whys and what-ifs. 

I’m desperate for certainty that my pregnancy will have the outcome 

I desire. I’m in such a hard place, and I’ve been seeking 

instant comfort through information available at my fingertips. 

Not surprisingly, it has failed to satisfy my unquenchable mind. 

Today, I don’t know how this chapter of my story will end. I 

don’t know the number of my baby’s days. But I do know I’m 

still carrying my baby and that my baby is deeply loved. In this 

moment, help me to find peace in the knowledge that you have 

the answers I so desperately seek. That you have a plan for my 

life and the life of my baby. Help me to find the comfort I seek 

in you rather than the internet. God, remind me that Google 

doesn’t fix the problems of this life—you do.

Taken from Courageously Expecting by Jenny Albers Copyright ©2022 by Jenny Albers. Used by permission of Thomas Nelson. https://www.thomasnelson.com/p/courageously-expecting/ 

Jenny Albers is passionate about sharing her own experience with pregnancy loss and life after to encourage other women during their own difficult journey of loss and pregnancy after loss. She is a contributor for Pregnancy After Loss Support, where she writes about these topics. She also contributes to Her View from Home, a site focused on motherhood, marriage, faith, and grief. She calls South Dakota home, where she lives with her husband and two living children.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row type=”in_container” full_screen_row_position=”middle” column_margin=”default” column_direction=”default” column_direction_tablet=”default” column_direction_phone=”default” scene_position=”center” text_color=”dark” text_align=”left” row_border_radius=”none” row_border_radius_applies=”bg” overlay_strength=”0.3″ gradient_direction=”left_to_right” shape_divider_position=”bottom” bg_image_animation=”none”][vc_column column_padding=”no-extra-padding” column_padding_tablet=”inherit” column_padding_phone=”inherit” column_padding_position=”all” column_element_spacing=”default” background_color_opacity=”1″ background_hover_color_opacity=”1″ column_shadow=”none” column_border_radius=”none” column_link_target=”_self” gradient_direction=”left_to_right” overlay_strength=”0.3″ width=”1/1″ tablet_width_inherit=”default” tablet_text_alignment=”default” phone_text_alignment=”default” bg_image_animation=”none” border_type=”simple” column_border_width=”none” column_border_style=”solid”][vc_raw_html]JTNDJTIxLS0lMjAxNjB4NjAwJTIwJTVCYXN5bmMlNUQlMjAtLSUzRSUwQSUzQ3NjcmlwdCUyMHR5cGUlM0QlMjJ0ZXh0JTJGamF2YXNjcmlwdCUyMiUzRWlmJTIwJTI4JTIxd2luZG93LkFkQnV0bGVyJTI5JTdCJTI4ZnVuY3Rpb24lMjglMjklN0J2YXIlMjBzJTIwJTNEJTIwZG9jdW1lbnQuY3JlYXRlRWxlbWVudCUyOCUyMnNjcmlwdCUyMiUyOSUzQiUyMHMuYXN5bmMlMjAlM0QlMjB0cnVlJTNCJTIwcy50eXBlJTIwJTNEJTIwJTIydGV4dCUyRmphdmFzY3JpcHQlMjIlM0JzLnNyYyUyMCUzRCUyMCUyN2h0dHBzJTNBJTJGJTJGc2VydmVkYnlhZGJ1dGxlci5jb20lMkZhcHAuanMlMjclM0J2YXIlMjBuJTIwJTNEJTIwZG9jdW1lbnQuZ2V0RWxlbWVudHNCeVRhZ05hbWUlMjglMjJzY3JpcHQlMjIlMjklNUIwJTVEJTNCJTIwbi5wYXJlbnROb2RlLmluc2VydEJlZm9yZSUyOHMlMkMlMjBuJTI5JTNCJTdEJTI4JTI5JTI5JTNCJTdEJTNDJTJGc2NyaXB0JTNFJTBBJTNDc2NyaXB0JTIwdHlwZSUzRCUyMnRleHQlMkZqYXZhc2NyaXB0JTIyJTNFJTBBdmFyJTIwQWRCdXRsZXIlMjAlM0QlMjBBZEJ1dGxlciUyMCU3QyU3QyUyMCU3QiU3RCUzQiUyMEFkQnV0bGVyLmFkcyUyMCUzRCUyMEFkQnV0bGVyLmFkcyUyMCU3QyU3QyUyMCU1QiU1RCUzQiUwQXZhciUyMGFia3clMjAlM0QlMjB3aW5kb3cuYWJrdyUyMCU3QyU3QyUyMCUyNyUyNyUzQiUwQXZhciUyMHBsYzU1MjMwMCUyMCUzRCUyMHdpbmRvdy5wbGM1NTIzMDAlMjAlN0MlN0MlMjAwJTNCJTBBZG9jdW1lbnQud3JpdGUlMjglMjclM0MlMjclMkIlMjdkaXYlMjBpZCUzRCUyMnBsYWNlbWVudF81NTIzMDBfJTI3JTJCcGxjNTUyMzAwJTJCJTI3JTIyJTNFJTNDJTJGJTI3JTJCJTI3ZGl2JTNFJTI3JTI5JTNCJTBBQWRCdXRsZXIuYWRzLnB1c2glMjglN0JoYW5kbGVyJTNBJTIwZnVuY3Rpb24lMjhvcHQlMjklN0IlMjBBZEJ1dGxlci5yZWdpc3RlciUyODE4MTEzMyUyQyUyMDU1MjMwMCUyQyUyMCU1QjE2MCUyQzYwMCU1RCUyQyUyMCUyN3BsYWNlbWVudF81NTIzMDBfJTI3JTJCb3B0LnBsYWNlJTJDJTIwb3B0JTI5JTNCJTIwJTdEJTJDJTIwb3B0JTNBJTIwJTdCJTIwcGxhY2UlM0ElMjBwbGM1NTIzMDAlMkIlMkIlMkMlMjBrZXl3b3JkcyUzQSUyMGFia3clMkMlMjBkb21haW4lM0ElMjAlMjdzZXJ2ZWRieWFkYnV0bGVyLmNvbSUyNyUyQyUyMGNsaWNrJTNBJTI3JTI1JTI1Q0xJQ0tfVVJMX1VORVNDJTI1JTI1JTI3JTIwJTdEJTdEJTI5JTNCJTBBJTNDJTJGc2NyaXB0JTNF[/vc_raw_html][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Healthy Healing: Body Image

Healthy Healing: Body Image

It did not start out so severe. In high school I used to go weeks where I would set goals about what I would not eat. I was a competitive cheerleader and it always seemed to fall right before a competition where I would have to wear a cropped uniform. “These next two weeks I am not eating sugar at all.” Then I would last about a day or two then eat one thing with sugar in it and feel guilty and end up giving up my “goal.” This began my bad relationship with food.

I believed that if I wanted my body to look good in a uniform I needed to restrict myself. That restriction continued as I became a college cheerleader at Navarro. Not only did I practice everyday in a sports bra but now there were cameras on us at all times. I wanted to be skinny and no matter how much I weighed, I always desired to be skinnier. I began to think that I just needed to not eat any food to look good. I would restrict myself throughout the day, weighing myself frequently, and then when night came around I would be so hungry that I began to binge eat. I would eat so much, stuffing my face until I felt sick. I had no self control because I restricted myself so badly. After some time of this cycle I began to force myself to throw up the food. After dinner, the bathroom was always the next place I went.

The worst part was this was normal. The people that knew I threw up were either also struggling with an eating disorder or though it was normal. I remember one time telling a friend that I was struggling and wanted to stop the cycle and they said “everyone has an eating disorder.” So I began to believe that it was just a part of life. Let me get something clear before going on. Having an eating disorder is not normal. AT ALL. God did not create our bodies for us to despise them. And He definitely did not create our bodies for us to torture them.

Fast forward to a couple months later, I went with a teammate to pick up some dinner to take back to the dorms. I vividly remember ordering a kids corn dog meal. We were eating and I expressed that I wanted to be skinnier and was scared of what I was going to look like in a uniform. “Well maybe you should eat healthier then,” they said. A sucker punch to the gut. The toxic thoughts began, “well if my friend said that then I must be fat.” “I should not have even ordered anything.” Followed by tears and running to the bathroom. I remember crying the silent, gut wrenching, sob as I threw up my dinner. I sat there feeling completely worthless, crying out to God. I prayed that this would be the last time I made myself throw up. It was. The next day I woke up, stopped saying the lies of the devil and started calling them out for what they are. Lies.

Just because I have not forced myself to throw up after this does not mean I haven’t had bad days. In order to believe the truth of who God created me to be I knew I had to choose that every single day. I had to choose to pick up my Bible to fight off the lies. I had to choose to reach out to someone on hard days for prayer or encouragement. I had to choose to be vulnerable in order to heal.

When the thoughts in my head began about my weight or look I would proclaim truth over myself. God created me beautifully and wonderfully. I wrote Godly affirmations on my mirror every morning and repeated them to myself so I filled my mind with the truth.

There were 3 main aspects of my healing…

1. The Bible and Prayer

The Bible is a book that holds the truth of who you are. Reading the Bible fills you with truth that you can use to overcome the lies of the devil. For me reading the Bible every morning sets me up to overcome the lies each day. Consistently reading the Bible is key in every battle you are facing. Time in the Word of God is vital but so is time in prayer. Pray big prayers. When I felt tempted to go back to the eating disorder I simply ran to God. I had a conversation with Him expressing how I felt. This is so comforting knowing the Lord is always waiting with arms wide for you to run to Him.

2. The People and Environment

I walked away from being a college cheerleader and moved home to heal. That was one of the hardest decisions but I knew I needed to be with my family. I knew that in order to heal I needed to seek out a christian counselor who helped me work through it all. I sought out a mentor who I zoomed with every single week. I surrounded myself with friends who encouraged me and prayed for me. Your environment is made up of the people around you. If you are in a place where you constantly feel discouraged or beaten up, search for people who will build you up. A small group at your church is a great place to start.

3. My Beliefs about Food and Exercise

In 1 Corinthians 6:20 we are called to glorify God with our bodies. Our bodies are a gift, a true blessing. Our bodies carry us throughout our days. Instead of torturing my body and fighting against it I started nourishing it. It is time to take the labels off food. There is no good or bad food. Food was given to us to nourish our bodies. Obviously there are more nutrients in vegetables than ice cream or cookies but that does not mean ice cream is a bad food. I am a huge sweets person so instead of telling myself I can not have any sweets I just make sure I get a good balanced meal first. I do not go to bed one night without some type of dessert because I simply enjoy them. Restriction led me to guilt so I stopped restricting myself from certain foods. I used to exercise for hours on hours to simply lose weight. I changed my mindset. Working out is a way to honor God by moving the bodies He gave us. I am not a personal trainer where I encourage others to workout for the right reason. To honor Him. To move and take care of our bodies.

As you see through my testimony it started as one small toxic thought the devil put in my head and it went into a vicious, downward spiral. One lie of the devil can lead to a downward spiral if you let it. Choose to believe THE truth. You are fearfully and wonderfully made (psalm 139:14). You are beautiful. You are worthy. You are so dang loved.

If you are struggling with an eating disorder, please seek professional help. You are so worthy of being healed. Praying for your friend.

Kassidy a personal trainer and owns her own online training business called total transformation fitness where her fiancé and her encourage their clients both physically and spiritually. She gets married in may! She loves trying new food and moving her body is her favorite part of her day! 

About Sadie & Live Original

Sadie Robertson Huff is well known for her engaging smile and energetic personality, but there is a lot more to the 25-year-old star of A&E’s Duck Dynasty and runner up on ABC’s Dancing With the Stars season 19


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