Healed Hearts,Whole Minds, Sacred Scars: Living Life After Depression

My battle with depression isn’t something I talk a lot about. Why? I think there are several reasons for it. First, I’ve always wanted to have the appearance of a strong, confident woman. Second, I didn’t want people to go out of their way to see how I was doing when they wouldn’t normally do so. Thirdly, I just didn’t want to be “that” girl. And by that, I mean, I didn’t want to be the girl everyone thought was faking it for attention.

But, depression is a very real thing. And, I think it’s something that needs to be talked about more often in church circles.

Healed Hearts,Whole Minds,Sacred Scars-Living Life After Depression

I started battling with depression when I was in 7th grade. It started out with being very, very hurt by a boy I liked, and then having all 180 kids in school find out about the little candy gift bag I made up for him after Halloween.

The hardest part was this boy told me he really liked me too, and led me on for months before this took place. Then, something flipped, and he showed me his true colors (which, in hindsight, I should have seen before hand).

Then, all through junior and senior high school, I was severely bullied. My allergies made it super easy, as all the kids had to do was bring said allergens around me, and it would make me have severe reactions-in fact, I actually ended up in the hospital several times, and came pretty close to dying on one extremely severe occasion.

Because of this, I had to start homeschooling; something that was completely new to me.

Being a people person, I had a really hard time adjusting to things. I rarely got to see any of my friends, and I became very angry, bitter and depressed towards the people who had forced me to choose between life and public schooling. and even though I did get to go back to public school to graduate in the same school my dad and brother’s graduated in, I still struggled with this depression that would occasionally hang over me.

That summer, I went to my last year of summer camp as a camper, and I had a friend come up to me during chapel and she told me something that I knocked me off my socks. She said “This depression. This weariness. It’s gone. It’s done with. It’s no longer who or what you are,”

It may seem pretty mundane, but the thing is, I had never told her about my struggle with depression. Ever.

I believe that moment started me upon a path to healing. There have still been moments of severe depression-these last couple of weeks was one of them.

Then, last night, I just got so fed up with the heaviness that I cried out to God. I told him “Lord, please take the heaviness, the depression, the weariness, the anxiety, the fatigue and the hurt. I can’t handle it anymore. PLEASE BREAK THESE CHAINS OFF OF ME!” 

That’s when I felt led to a chapter in the Psalms and my eyes fell on one particular verse:

“But the Lord is righteous; he has cut me free from the cords of the wicked”

Psalm 129:4

In that moment, a wave of peace washed over me and a weight was lifted off of me and I felt lighter than I have in a very long time.

Ladies, I want you to know something; Depression isn’t something to be ashamed of. It’s not something to hold in-that only makes it worse (I’ve done it many, many times and it was probably the worst thing I could have done!) and if you need to talk to someone about it, find a good Christian confidant-whether it be a friend, pastor or maybe even a Christian counselor.

Maybe you’re in the spot I was where I thought I was going to have to go on antidepressants because of how bad it is. Sometimes, they’re necessary. Having to go on some kind of medicine for something, doesn’t make you “weak”. In act, in my books, if you’re strong enough to say “I need this” (with your doctor’s approval of course) then you are, in fact, quite strong as many have a hard time admitting they need help through medicine, as it’s often thought that, if you’re on medicine, then you mustn’t have enough faith that God will heal you. I say phooey! God gave the brains to the people who created the medicine for a reason. Sometimes there’s a miraculous, divine healing that takes place, and sometimes, the healing takes place through the medicine the doctor’s have given you.

And the best news of all is God can heal you of it! Sometimes, the healing isn’t all instantaneous. It’s been a two-year healing process for me-and I’m sure there’s still more healing to do before I’m fully healed of it.

But, when you are healed, leave it nailed to the cross. Don’t you dare pick it back up. When it creeps up on you whispering “remember me?” in your ear, you must say “No. I have been healed of this, through the blood of Jesus I have been cleansed and set free!”

There will always be memories. But those memories won’t define you. There may be scars, but let God use those scars as proof of his healing power! I call them ‘sacred scars’. Let them be a sign that you may have been knocked down, you may have struggled, but with God’s help, you got right back up and kept running the race!

Here are a few Bible Verses that have helped me during my battle with depression:

“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28

““For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. ”” Jeremiah 29:11-13

Lean on Jesus. Give all your anxiety, worry and hurts to him. Let him give you the strength you need. Seek his healing. Seek his face. and Praise him, no matter what the outcome may be!

XoXo,

~Kristen~

When the Devil Tries To Take You Down

When the Devil Tries To Take You Down

Recently, I’ve been on the cusp of making some big decisions about Unfading Beauty Ministries. Everything ranging from projects to events and writing and everything in between.

Making decisions has never been my strong suit. What I mean by that is, I am an incredibly indecisive individual. So, when I make up my mind to follow something that is heavy on y heart, it often comes with a lot of spiritual attacks.Most recently, I made the decision to ask my pastor if I could use the church for Unfading Beauty Ministries first ever young women’s conference. I’ve had this dream in my heart since I was sixteen.

On March 12th 2017, I finally made the decision to talk to him about it. 

Thus enters the where the devil decided to start attacking me and trying to take me down.

It took place in the form of a horribly nasty message over Facebook-something that put me out of sorts for several days. Then, come Wednesday, I woke up with one thought on my mind “Today’s the day I’m going to ask,” So I set up a coffee meeting with my pastor, and we talked and he gave me the go-ahead that I was praying for. 

Fast forward to the weekend, and I got in fight after fight with family members-however, I’ll admit, I was partially to blame-but through these fights crept in anxiety, fear and a thoughts like “How can I talk to young women about something, when I so royally mess up in that area myself?”

Just as I thought that, I came upon an article by Joy Pedrow about how the Devil likes to use thoughts about being unworthy, unqualified and incapable to pull us down. This is when I realized that this is exactly what had been happening to me. 

Ladies, we have the ability to either raise our self or raze ourselves.

The enemy loves to make us think twice about what we are called to. He knows that God created us for a very special purpose. He gave us the incredible ability to have compassion and empathy in ways men have a hard time doing. Our emotions, our love, our concern and our automatic need to nurture and care for others are all God-given gifts to women.

But, when we mess up, when we let our emotions go out of check for a moment, when we fail to care for someone who needs to be loved or when we fail to be the helping hand someone needs, we start to beat ourselves up and question our self.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve most certainly had thoughts like “there is no way I can (fill in the blank) after what I’ve just done (or failed to do)” And I beat myself up and I start to get so emotionally, spiritually or mentally drained to the point I just want to lay in bed all day. 

Or maybe, it came in the form of a harsh word from someone after making a mistake of some kind.

Personally, I can’t even begin to count the times I’ve been told “you write all these things on your blog and then you act like this? You’re nothing but a hypocrite,”

As I read what Joy wrote, it reminded me of something: 

NO ONE IS PERFECT.

Everyone makes mistakes. Many of the mighty men of the Bible messed up in big ways-yet God still used them in ways that were even bigger than how they messed up…

Abraham lied about Sarah.
Moses stuttered.
Noah was a drunk.
Jacob was a liar.
Joseph was abused by his brothers.
Rahab was a prostitute.
Jeremiah was said to be too young.
David had an affair.
Elijah was suicidal.
The Samaritan woman had multiple divorces.
Jonah ran away from God.
Peter denied Jesus.
The disciples fell asleep while praying.
And there are more examples found all over scripture”

(Excerpt from Joy’s article. Link Below)

http://joypedrow.com/2014/06/im-not-qualified/

Ladies, don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do what God has called you to do.

So often we let the enemy win us over to the side of “can’t”. It’s so easy to let ourselves get pushed down and dragged, but it’s when the devil tries to drag us when we have to put on our spiritual armor and fight the only way that will defeat the enemy: With prayer, worship and praise. Pray like a warrior fights. Worship like a warrior yells. Praise like a warrior celebrating his victory.

Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm.” Ephesians 6:11-13 (NLT)

So, put on the armor of God and let us fight this war as we were meant to: with the Unfading Beauty of the Warrior Princesses God has made us to be. Let us strive to do good, and when we mess up, let us remember, that it doesn’t make us unqualified or unworthy. Let us learn from our mistakes and grow to be even stronger warriors for the Kingdom of God!

XoXo,

~Kristen~

P.S.  In regards to the Unfading Beauty Ministries Young Women’s Conference I briefly wrote about, stay tuned. When I have more information that I can give you, you can be sure I will!  

Four!

four

Four. That’s how many years Unfading Beauty Ministries has been operating! FOUR!

Yep, today is Unfading Beauty Ministries’ birthday, and I am so excited about it! 

Last year, on our third birthday, I gave you the back story of Unfading Beauty Ministries. This year, I’m going to reflect on this past year-more specifically, the last 10 months.

As many of you know, I went to Montana for an internship this last summer. One of the big things that God was speaking into my life about is about taking Faith-Steps. 

So, in September, I decided to take that faith-step I had been getting nudged about. I changed the name from Unfading Beauty to Unfading Beauty Ministries and then upgraded the blog address and started to become more serious about everything. I created an Instagram account, Facebook account and YouTube channel for the ministry.

I then embarked upon writing the Unfading Beauty Book and started planning the Heart of Modesty project (more to come on that within the net month!)

In my personal life, I’ve been getting ready to head to college in the Autumn-which is both exciting and a little scary! 

All in all, I can’t believe it’s been four years

This ministry started as such a little thing-and I truly never thought it would grow to what it has! 

As I write, there is a Bible verse that comes to mind:

“If you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones…” Luke 16:10

So, as we celebrate this milestone, I would like to encourage all of you, no matter how little the task God has given you seems, do well in it. Give it your all! If you aren’t a faithful steward of the little bit God has given you, how can you be faithful in the much?

Finally, to celebrate, let me know how Unfading Beauty Ministries has touched your life! 

XoXo,

~Kristen~

What Do You Do When God Changes The Desires of Your Heart?

hearts-desire

Lately, I’ve been noticing a lot of changes in me. More specifically, changes in my heart’s desires. 

Recently, I had a very part-time, very temporary job as a cook/dishwasher at local diner. On my second last day, I had a thought that came out of nowhere, “I think I’m ready to be okay with the idea of being a house wife/stay-at-home mom if that’s what God calls me to,” 

or me, this thought represents a big shift in the desires of my heart-as well as my thinking. For many, many years I’ve wanted nothing to do with staying at home full time-no matter whom it was for. I always equated it with being like a caged bird. That I wouldn’t get to go out and be free to have “me-time”. The thing is, as Christians, we are called to lives of surrender, sacrifice and selflessness-a life of servanthood.

Another thing that God has been changing my heart about is where I live. For as long as I can remember, I’ve always wanted to move-to leave the small town I’ve grown up in. Then. one day this last week, I woke up with one prayer in my heart, “Lord, I’ll go-or stay-wherever you want me to be,” 

Lastly, one other area God has been transforming my heart’s desires is in the area o my future husband–whomever he may be. For the majority of my teenage-and now into my twenties-I’ve had a long list of “necessary qualifications” my future husband must meet. But recently, I realized that I was starting to think that many of these qualifications on my list seemed frivolous and unnecessary. In the end, I have realized that there are only 2 necessary qualifications that I desire:

  1. He must love Jesus above all else
  2. He loves Me (and our future children) in the way the Bible calls him to

“Delight Yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4

This is a verse that is referred to so often in Christian circles-and we even pray it over our lives-but then when God actually starts transforming and replacing our desires with his, we are at a loss as to what to do and how to handle it.

I don’t know about you, but when I realized all the shifts  and changes in my heart’s desires, it scared me. Part of me felt like I was losing an integral part of myself. I’ve invested so much time and energy into these dreams. I mean, they’re my desires. My wishes. Things that I want. Then it hit me, my plans and dreams and wishes pale in comparison to what He wants for my life.

” “For my thoughts are not your thoughts and neither are your ways my ways.” Declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth; so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” ” Isaiah 55:8-9

So, how does one handle God changing the desires of your heart? 

I think it comes down to two things: First is Faith and Trust. We need to trust that God is doing a good thing in us. that we are living life out according to what he is calling us to-even thought it may be something that we didn’t want at first. Second is spending time in his presence. Reading his word.

Change is an inevitable part of life, but, I think it can be even harder when the change is occuring in a place as sacred and deep as the heart. A place where we invest so much emotion and time.

When we want to live out our lives according to God’s will;  when we ask for him to give us the desires of our heart, we better be prepared for him to do just that. And sometimes, that means being willing to let him transform our desires to things that we may not have desired before.

transform-our-desires

I recently read a story about a woman who didn’t want to have kids, but her husband did. She was afraid for a myriad of reasons, so, after much prayer and asking God to give her heart his desires rather than hers, she realized one day, that she was ready to try to have children.

Maybe you are fearful of the desires God might place in your hearts. And that’s okay. Fear causes us to lean less on ourselves and our own devices and more on Christ. It’s the living in fear rather than surrendering it and leaning on Jesus for strength that will cause heartache. Leaning on fear and holding it closely to our chest causes anxiety and stress. Leaning on Jesus in the midst of fear causes us to trust him more. And, the more we trust him, the more faith we have to let him transform us into the person he wants us to be.

I’ll leave you with this verse-of which is my prayer for all of you.

“I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope he has given to those he called—his holy people who are his rich and glorious inheritance.” Ephesians 1:18

XoXo,

~Kristen~