• 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…

  • freedom stories

    The Muddy Middle- Thelma’s Story

    wrestle- || wres*tle (verb): : to move, maneuver, or force with difficulty;  to combat an opposing tendency or force; to engage in deep thought, consideration, or debate || Friends, if you have ever wrestled through darkness, depression, anxiety, or questions about your faith, you’ll likely recognize the thoughts and feelings in the story below. My friend Thelma does a beautiful job of sharing how she found freedom through her wrestling, and I pray her words will bring hope to you if you find yourself in the midst of the mud right now.  Here is Thelma’s Freedom Story. I sat on the brown leather loveseat in my counselor’s office, my shoes in a heap on the rug,…

  • faith in action,  intentional living,  meditation

    4 Powerful Ways A Half Marathon Transformed My Prayer Life

    I laced up my sneakers and packed all of the essentials for my longest training run yet- 11 miles. Breathing in deep through my nose, I pushed off against the greenway path and steadied my pace. Mile by mile, I prayed for the individuals whose names were in my pocket on a 3×5 note card. With the rhythm of my feet on the pavement, and the sound of the rushing water with the river next to me, I entered into a time of communion with God. The rest of my week was packed full and overflowing, loud and chaotic, but in those long runs? It was just the Lord, a…