Your Story is Worth Sharing

Everyone has a story. We could all benefit from sharing our stories with each other.

Sharing your story

SHARING YOUR STORY

A few years ago, I stood up to tell a group of women about the depression I went through during the worst of my Lyme disease. Through my story I shared how worship made a difference in changing my focus and became a stepping stone toward healing. I received applause and words of encouragement, yet felt embarrassed and withdrawn afterward.

I imagined words that hadn’t been expressed and worried about other people’s opinions. In trying to encourage, how was it that I felt obnoxious and egotistical?

When a friend reached out to thank me for what I shared, I admitted I felt foolish and had been fighting off panic attacks all afternoon.

She called out the lies in my head and redirected my thoughts to the truth: If I have something good to say about Jesus, God’s voice is not the one telling me to stop.

Her reminder directed me towards the words in the Bible that spoke of how God interacts with his children. If you are struggling with discerning between God’s push toward spiritual growth and Satan’s discouragement, ask yourself: How are the words in my head sounding?

Are they gentle or harsh? Do they come in a whisper or a shout? Do they cause you to act or to retreat? Is the focus on glorifying God or yourself? Do you find yourself looking for more opportunities for growth in life or simply going through the motions?

Sharing your story

WHAT’S KEEPING YOU FROM TELLING YOUR STORY?

Everyone has a story. I didn’t realize how true this was until I started sharing mine. And in sharing, I continue to get affirmation and healing for the parts of me that are still wounded.

Sharing encourages those around you to open up and let you in on their lives as well. In becoming more vulnerable, I have learned of friends who have overcome infertility, abortion, abusive relationships, addictions, disease, betrayals, death, loss of faith, depression, and infidelity.

It sounds like a cry fest–it’s not. It’s a support system. It’s a way of spreading hope and encouragement to others. Sharing your story helps people know they’re not alone in their struggles. It teaches them how to deal with hard situations and live with focus and direction. Sharing inspires. And in my case, sharing has given me new friendships, more meaningful relationships and a stronger marriage.

Your story matters. Don’t think that it doesn’t.

How can you share your story with someone who needs it? Don’t be discouraged, friend! Be bold, be joyful and be encouraging! Great things await you!

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Why You Need to Discover Your Hobby

Learn why finding a hobby is not only good for passing the time, but is good for your mental well-being.

STUCK IN SURVIVAL MODE

I called my husband once again, this time laying down in the middle of the hallway. “I need you to come home.”

He raced home and tucked me into bed with some Advil and a heating pad. Sitting down and looking straight into my tear-filled eyes, he said, “I know you think you can, but you can’t do this anymore. We have to get some help.” I knew he was right. I just was having a hard time admitting I was no longer in control.

Getting a nanny/care-taker was the best decision we made up to that point with my illness. The more I pushed through the disease and ignored it instead of taking care of my body, the worse I became. Over the course of the next two years we hired two 19 year old girls excited for the possibilities ahead of them, and each head over heels in love with their boyfriends.

They reminded me of my younger self: full of joy and life and creativity. One girl was ahead on her college credits and working on big life goals, living out her future exactly as she planned it. The other was more of a fly-by-the-seat of her pants adventure type, jumping from one creative endeavor to the next.

I was inspired both by the girl who knew exactly what she wanted out of life and the spontaneity of the other. They didn’t just let life happen to them, they lived it. If they wanted to travel, they traveled. If they wanted to double major, or do hair for a living or get a tattoo, they went for it.

I hadn’t done much besides obsess about pill schedules and plan doctor appointments for the past four years, so I had no plan–my plan was to survive.

hobby supplies

REMEMBERING THE PAST

One day my nanny was working on a school project and asked if I had some glue. “What kind do you need?” I asked, and opened the guest room door. I pulled out a big box filled with tacky glue, glue guns, Elmer’s glue, glue dots, fabric glue and glue strips. Her eyes lit up as she peered into the closet, bulging with rows of fabric, paintbrushes, ribbon, glass jars, wooden signs, buttons and sewing machines.

“I didn’t know you had all this in here!” she said. I pointed to the other side of the room, where stacks of bins were labeled with more arts and crafts supplies. There were stacks of books on how to knit, sew and start your own craft business. Another shelf had embroidery thread, rings, yarn balls, hooks and looms.

“Do you know how to do all this?” she asked. I hadn’t thought about these hobbies and treasures since I’d been sick. Over the next few days, I showed her how to create her own custom embroidery by hand and gave her a few paint tubes and instructions on how to make her own coffee table tray.

Later when she was taking the kids to their swim and gymnastics lessons, she said to me, “Hey you are doing so much better, why don’t you go out and take some of your own classes?”

These words lit a fire under me. I hadn’t considered doing something fun for myself in a long time. I was just trying to make sure the kids were living a normal-ish life while I got better.

It had been over 12 years since I switched majors, leaving behind my dreams of becoming an art teacher after one of my college professors discouraged me during his figure drawing class.

EMBRACING A NEW FUTURE

Having survived the misery of the past few years, I was blessed with a new outlook on life and signed up for a weekly adult art class. I stocked up on fresh paints and new brushes and a cloth roll to store them in. Over the next few weeks, I explored different drawing materials and papers and tested out new techniques.

Later, I discovered online art courses I worked on with my son. After dinner, both of us got ready to go with paper on clipboards, a set of drawing pencils and erasers.

I was working on art every night.

Eventually, I had trouble keeping up with my assignments because there were so many projects I wanted to do! Each night, I would lay everything out on the dining room table, start the videos, and do my best not to rinse my paintbrush in my coffee cup.

And suddenly, I realized I was no longer “sick Amy”, I was once again “Amy the artist”. I learned how much I missed drawing and creating on a daily basis.

In that moment, I didn’t need a professor telling me I was terrible at figure drawing. What I needed was the encouragement of a young girl reminding me how to find my joy and in turn, my life again.

hobby painting

LOCAL PLACES TO TRY A NEW HOBBY

Prefer an in-person experience? Try these venues in your city to discover your hobby:

  • Local Art Classes
  • Recreation Centers
  • YMCA
  • Library Classes
  • Arts & Craft Stores
  • Craft Fairs
  • Writer’s Conferences
  • Group Painting Venues
  • Community College Courses
  • Church Classes

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If you prioritize time for the those hobbies that make you come alive, I promise you will discover joy in your day to day. Feeling lost in the monotony of your day to day? I’ve created a NEW Goal Setting Workbook to help you out of survival mode. You can grab yours in my shop:

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You’ve got this!

WANT TO LIVE YOUR DAYS WITH MORE INTENTION? SIGN UP HERE TO GET INSTANT ACCESS TO MY FREE PRINTABLES: 

Looking for the Silver Lining During Difficult Times

Difficult seasons make it hard to find purpose in the pain, but stay hopeful and look for your own silver lining in the trial.

WHEN THINGS DON’T GO YOUR WAY

When I was 18 years old, I thought I knew what the rest of my life would look like. I would go to college in Texas, graduate with a degree as an Art Teacher and move home to Virginia.

I didn’t plan on meeting the man I was going to marry 48 hours after I arrived at college, and spend the rest of my life as a Texan. Or that my professors would discourage me and I’d drop out of the art program two years in.

I certainly didn’t know that my husband and I would go through the trials that lay ahead of us, dealing with a death in the family and a chronic illness that left me bedridden. I didn’t plan on needing a nanny to take care of my kids while I got better or being a plane ride away from my family, but it happened.

And if I had continued to choose to be bitter and angry about all the times I didn’t get my way or when life just seemed to be plain rough, I would have written another new future for myself: a sad, lonely, pity party of a life.

FINDING THE SILVER LINING

In the early years of our marriage, I was sad and uncertain about staying in Texas far away from my family. But when my mother-in-law got sick and my husband needed to be with her every weekend, I felt purpose in staying. And when my first child was born three weeks after her death, I knew my son was here to be a comfort to my father-in-law.

As a 2nd grade teacher, I was disappointed about not pursuing my art degree. But two years in a row I had a student who lost their parent during the year. I felt purpose, a strange coincidence that I was the teacher to help both kids through it.

Then as a mother, my second child came easily, but my body didn’t follow suit and I ended up with a chronic illness. I wondered, why now, when I wanted to be able to snuggle with my children. I wanted to be the one to take them to and from school. It wasn’t until almost five years later, that I saw purpose in that pain. I see the impact I’m making on others struggling with their own hardships when I train myself to see the good in difficult situations. That very-much-needed silver lining.

CHOOSE JOY

We have the option to choose our mindset in every moment of every day. Yes, it is work. It is a discipline to guard your thoughts and choose positive ones, but well worth the trouble.

So many blessings are waiting for you if you have the eyes to see them.

Don’t be afraid! Your hardship may be filling you with fear and anxiety. Focus on what is good and what is true. What is hopeful and brings peace to others. Find your silver lining.

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Let me encourage you as you go through your own trials in my Fear + Anxiety Workbook. It’s Bible-based and walks you through verse studies on fear, peace, trials and mindset. It also includes verse coloring pages! You can order it in my shop:

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You’ve got this friend!

WANT TO LIVE YOUR DAYS WITH MORE INTENTION? SIGN UP HERE TO GET INSTANT ACCESS TO MY FREE PRINTABLES: