All posts filed under: Self-Care

Quieted By Love

Over the woodlands brown and bare, Over the harvest-fields forsaken, Silent, and soft, and slow Descends the snow. -Henry Wadsworth Longfellow I have learned to appreciate a good snow fall. I grew up in the Bay Area of California, so my understanding of seasonal weather conditions is severely jaded. When my husband and I moved to Ohio for three years, my lack of experience with climate extremes became strikingly apparent. I was blissfully unaware that there were so many diverse forms water can take as it falls, that trees may get so encased with ice they fracture from the weight, or that every wintery blue moon, it gets so cold that a once-bustling city can give the impression that it has been frozen. A civilization covered in layers of white and stillness. Here, I find an earthly picture of the quiet spirit I long for. Instead of highways buzzing, to-do list conquering, and my mind racing, I hear God speak softly because all other voices have been swept away by winter’s kiss. When ice and snow blanket …

What No One Tells You About Going Into the Hospital

After two and a half decades on this earth, I found myself strapped to a stretcher, my legs pinned down to keep me from kicking the cute EMT.  Maybe an hour before that, I was in the emergency room, hurling my guts into a trashcan while precious Nurse Marco wrapped me in warm blankets and filled my IV with the medicine I so desperately need.  Maybe four hours after the stretcher incident, I awoke to find one of my oldest Florida friends right by my side, tagging in for another friend who had previous obligations.  For the first time in my life, I was admitted into a hospital. And my family was states away.  But in those hours that are all now blurred together, I came out on the other side, incredibly grateful for surprising things, things no one ever told me about being in the hospital.  1. Make sure your undergarments are comfy and breathable. I once heard you should always wear cute underwear because you never know when a firefighter will have to …

What Rob and Harry Taught Me About the Power of my Words

Every relationship I’ve ever been in grew from a seed of curiosity. An irresistible, dangerous curiosity that calls you to it like siren song. I think too much and often find myself turning past romantic encounters over and over in my mind. Just as river currents smooth out the rough edges of a rock as it turns it in its midst, it’s as if I think that if I reflect on them enough, perhaps the power of my mind can smooth out the unforgiving, snagging edges of my memories and make them into something neat and digestible. I reflect on them and think and think and then think some more, but I rarely speak about them out loud. My therapist Jill once told me that healthy doesn’t attract unhealthy, only unhealthy does. “Hurting, broken people attract others just like them,” was the way she put it. I saw in my mind a parade of broken, passionate albeit responsible men I’ve loved throughout my story and wondered what it meant. In the past few weeks, I’ve …

3 Signs of Spiritual Abuse in Dating

I recently counseled a young woman about a romantic relationship she was in. She’s told me over time many red flags that all led me to believe that she was in an emotionally abusive relationship yet she wouldn’t have exactly described it that way. What she said was, “He just cares so much about my walk that he doesn’t want to see me stumble.” Many sin-driven Christian guys twist God’s design for romantic relationships before then using it to justify controlling, emotionally abusive behavior.  “Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior.  Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.” Ephesians 5:22-24  Because of all the confusion about what these verses mean, Christian women I meet with who are in these situations find themselves feeling confused about what’s abuse and what’s not. A young woman can become convinced that an abusive …

Biblical Womanhood: When You Feel Like You Don’t Fit the Mold

A few months ago, I went on a second date with a guy who called me “cool.” We sat in the dim lighting of a local restaurant and he said, “You’re the kind of girl my friends would love. You’re a pretty cool chick.” I smiled and laughed; after all, it was a compliment. Yet, I couldn’t help but mull this compliment over and I found myself obsessively dissecting it in my brain. Since becoming a Christian, I’ve often found myself struggling with my identity. “Sure, I’m cutting away at sin in my life, but am I biblical?” I ask. “Do I have a good reputation in my church family? Am I perceived as Godly?” In the world of evangelical Christianity, there is usually a mold. There is a prescription for what it means to be a woman in the church outlined in the biblical womanhood podcasts and Proverb 31 bible study workbooks. In many ways, I fit it. I’d consider myself to have very traditional values and interests. I love baking, I throw down in the kitchen, …

Finding Peace Amongst the Chaos

I’ve had the opportunity to visit New York City several times and I am amazed each time. The towering buildings, bustling streets and endless nightlife make the city very unique. I love to watch the people who appear to be locals and wonder what it must be like to live or work in such a busy city. I marvel at the beautiful women walking quickly on 5th Avenue in their high  heels and wonder if their feet hurt. I watch the men in business suits hustling from cabs into buildings and wonder how they keep the pace. The noise and lights of Times Square is exhilarating to the senses. Restaurants, shops and entertainment line the streets of this “city that never sleeps.” It’s full of so many distractions, I wonder how anyone gets anything accomplished! But nothing amazes me as much as Central Park. An oasis in the middle of a concrete jungle, it offers green grass, water, and peace to those who visit. Each time I visit I wonder how often the people who …

I Want To Talk About Mourning Your Story

I cried at work. The ugly kind of cry that makes it hard to breathe and sends mascara running in black rivers down your face.  My boss described it as sudden, almost manifesting out of thin air. “I understand you’ve been going through a challenging time,” he said, his green eyes bright and shimmering with concern, “but it’s like it suddenly came to the surface all at once.” He then gave me time to compose myself in the women’s bathroom. “I can’t have you crying all over the Warhol,” he said. He was half-joking, yet entirely serious. A few weeks ago, Andrew told me he was worried, “You’ve always felt things deeply and had this sense of sadness around you, but I’ve never seen you with this much of it.” He’s known me for almost ten years and within that decade, he’s been witness to all the times I dropped a plate because I was suddenly overtaken by sobbing while doing the dishes. He knows all of the restless nights spent staring at the ceiling; …

A Prayer for Orlando

I was on my way to church when I saw the news. My feet pounded the pavement as I weaved through the skyscrapers that surrounded me with their various shades of endless grey. Orlando. The breaking of my heart wasn’t instant; it lingered in the temporary sphere of disbelief and denial, still recovering from the last violent rupture that had occurred too recently, too close to this one. It’s not possible, not again, I’d told myself. My inner dialogue of self-reassurance was frantic, running along before the reality hit me all at once, all at the same time. My soul collapsed under the weight of that instant grief. On the feed of my Twitter, I saw that the deadliest mass shooting in American history had occurred the night before while I’d rested quietly at home, oblivious. The afternoon before it happened, I’d met up with my friend, Kevin, at a conference for the LGBTQ+ community. “This is just the most accepting and open-minded place,” he’d told me; the excitement he’d felt about the love that …

Redeemed Weekend – May 21, 2016

A few nights ago, a friend asked me, “So, how do you get all of your ideas?” The truth is that almost every idea I’ve ever gotten has hit me suddenly, manifesting out of nothing. My mind is always running, so it makes sense. The idea for Redeemed Weekend came about in the exact same way – suddenly – and I immediately sent our Head Editor, Kristina, a message about it. Every Saturday morning, we will prepare a devotional and quiet time playlist for you. Our prayer is that we will bless your weekend and your walk with the Lord. Please enjoy the first Redeemed Weekend. Nina xo *** Devotional: Anxious For Nothing “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. — Philippians 4:6, 7 NKJV (emphasis added) This passage has become a part of my daily walk in recent months. As someone who has …

The Mess of Healing Work

I love my therapist. On Friday, the close of one of the worst weeks I can remember, I sat across from her and tried to put my feelings into words while my tears mixed with snot and she looked at me with that loving expression she wears. “You’ve had it rough,” she sighs and shakes her head, “You’ve had it rougher than most women.”  “I can’t help but feel like even when nothing bad is happening, there’s always SOMETHING — some sort of pain or sadness,” my words lingered in the air between us. “You are healing and overcoming a lot,” she stated, “It stings to clean and heal wounds that are cut that deep.” Healing is often viewed as gentle and therapy as therapeutic. The image we see in our minds is a process that lessens the pain more and more or a journey that gets easier and easier, but I’ve found that this isn’t really the case. I used to think that when I did everything by the book, showing up for therapy …