• freedom stories

    When the battle stands for more than food – Jana’s Story

    One of my favorite things about the Freedom Stories series is getting to know the hearts of sisters in Christ from all over the country (and a few from Canada!). I’m recognizing that no two stories are the same, but something amazing happens when we open up vulnerably and share about how Christ transforms our lives.  Even though Jana is from Kansas, we’ve never met in real life and our struggles look different, I’m so thankful that I connected with her through this project. I think you’ll love her transparency and the chance to cheer her on in what God is doing in her life. Here is Jana’s Freedom Story.…

  • control,  faith in action,  intentional living,  weekly prayers

    When we just don’t know how to “be still”

    Recently, God has been placing reminders on my heart to slow down. This summer, I finally recognized my own addiction to busyness but my schedule still looks quite the same. This fall, He whispered to my heart that in order to heal through grief and forgiveness, I need to make space for my body to breathe. I haven’t quite found that space in full.  I continue to try to make room in my week to celebrate the Sabbath, but I still struggle with giving Him my time and my rest, uninterrupted from other focuses and commitments.  The truth is, I struggle to “be still” because I still try to be…

  • freedom stories

    Uncharted Freedom- Jena’s Story

    Have you ever had a plan in mind that didn’t quite go exactly as you’d hoped? Sometimes the greatest adventure in trust comes when God leads to uncharted territory. Jena’s story is a beautiful picture of learning to trust an unchanging God in the midst of uncertain circumstances. Her words remind me to ask the questions, “Do I really trust that God knows what’s best for me? Will I let Him lead?” Here is Jena’s Freedom Story.  – – –   Going back home never felt like the right choice, but how could that be possible when every commonsense reason to return home stared at me in the face? We’d…

  • freedom stories

    Free to be Carried in Grief- Rachel’s Story

    Y’all. Rachel’s heart is beautiful. She is one of those people I feel like I know already, even though we’ve never met in real life. The way she invites us into her journey is so warm, gentle, and compassionate. She creates space through her words to let others know that their stories matter too, and her approach to grief reminds us that we are not alone in whatever hard things we are facing. Here is Rachel’s Freedom Story.  Self-help, independence, and productivity are the values our culture esteems, but what if I told you interdependence, vulnerability, and rest were more powerful?  We’re not made to do this alone. We need one…

  • freedom stories

    Shattering the Mirrors- Heather’s Story

    When the voices of comparison and lies from the enemy grow loud, we have to fight for the Truth of who God is and who we are in Him. My fellow writer, Heather, shares beautifully, bravely, and vulnerably about her own struggles with her weight, self-image, and how God met her in her suffering in this piece. I’m so grateful to share her words with you today. Here is Heather Kristine’s Freedom Story.   I’ve struggled with poor self-esteem most of my life. Every time I walked into a room I looked around and ranked myself in comparison to everyone else. My ranking was largely based on weight. Am I the…

  • faith in action,  fear,  intentional living

    Is it possible to stand firm when your life is in chaos?

    “Close your eyes. Plant your feet, shoulder-width apart. Relax your arms and let them rest by your sides. Breathe in deeply through your nose, and slowly expand your stomach, your core. Fill it all the way. Picture a string pulling directly through the crown of your head up through the ceiling. Lengthen your spine. Keep your feet rooted to the ground.” I grew up participating in community children’s theatre. Through middle school, high school, college, and my young adult life, musical theatre was a huge part of my schedule, my dreams, my passion, and my identity. During warm-ups and exercises, we often heard instructions like the ones above. We had…

  • freedom stories

    Branded: Found and Freed in a Wild World – Kate’s Story

    I love Kate’s story so much. When she sent it to me, tears filled my eyes- THIS was exactly my vision for the Freedom Stories series. Kate’s story is one of motherhood, and of postpartum depression, yes, but even more than that it’s about finding a sense of belonging that is lasting amidst all of life’s changes. Her words are strikingly beautiful and honest. I’m so grateful for the opportunity to share them here.  Here is Kate’s Freedom Story. I lost my way for a long time. About 3 years after my son was born, maybe a little longer. I left my career to stay at home, a blessing to be…

  • anxiety,  control,  forgiveness,  freedom

    Shame Spirals and Learning to Let Go

    Shame Spirals Since January, I’ve been learning how to play piano. It’s slow going, but it brings me a lot of joy to be able to play and sing worship music (even in the comfort of my own home). Sometimes I play in front of others, but mostly it’s just me and Jesus in my dining room. On Monday nights I’m the worship leader for a group at church, which usually means coordinating the song selection, facilitating practice, and leading vocally on some of the songs. Occasionally, as needed, I also jump in and play keyboard. It’s clunky and a little awkward and I often apologize for my piano skills…

  • freedom stories

    My True Idol- A Mother’s Story

    This story from a fellow Hope*Writer and mother resonates with me on a deep level. A loved one’s struggle with substance abuse changed the course of my life, and I so appreciate my friend’s willingness to share her story about walking through that as a mother. I am so thankful for this friend’s vulnerability and courage to share here.  Here is a mother’s Freedom Story.      “You shall have no other gods before me,” (Exodus 20:3 NASB) “You shall not worship their gods, nor serve them…..but you shall utterly overthrow them and break their sacred pillars in pieces,” (Exo 23:24 NASB) I cannot remember a time in my life when I…

  • grief,  healing from wounds,  rest

    A letter to my body and its grief

    My body holds memories of its grief. Sometimes it manifests as anxiety, bubbling up as a slow simmer. Sometimes it is triggered by the news, or hearing someone else’s story that brushes up against mine. That is the pain that feels sharpest. Sometimes it comes out as anger, when I haven’t taken time to just feel sad and I’ve pushed it down and down and down and then it lashes out with an angry tongue. But more often than not, it is an unexpected wave that comes over me–a surprising sadness on an otherwise normal day or week. And then I look at the calendar and I realize what is…