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Anxiety & Depression

In a Nutshell: Mental Health is a complex struggle that affects us physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Some of the early signs can be sleeping too much or not enough; overeating or forgetting to eat; mind racing with no relief. Addressing these issues requires a wholistic approach. Stewarding your body well, seeking counsel, and sometimes medication can bring healing. The church needs to be looking for those who may be struggling and listen to those who want to share. Like Job's friends who were willing to sit in silence and solidarity with him for seven days, we need to be present with our hurting sisters and not minimize their pain. 

Takeaways: One in three women struggle with either anxiety or depression (or both).

Anxiety is the feeling that you can't stop while depression often feels like you can't get started. 

Exercising can help. Start small; try walking two times a week. Also assess your sleeping and eating. The body and mind/emotions are interconnected. 

If someone shares their struggles surrounding anxiety or depression with you, practice being a good listener and not trying to "fix" them. Quoting a Bible verse or a quick piece of advice can be hurtful. 

Resources: The Cry of the Soul by Allender & Longman

Strong Women, Soft Hearts by Paula Rinehart

Choosing Rest by Sally Breedlove

Emotionally Healthy Spirituality by Peter Scazzero

When Life Goes Dark by Richard Winter

Depression, A stubborn Darkness by Ed Welch

Why Christian Love Matters in Depression

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Singleness

In a Nutshell: Singles (of every age/stage) need to be reminded of who they are and what they have in Christ. They need to be served a gracious dose of truth in love, that even if marriage came their way, it would not satisfy their deepest longings. If any burdens are carried on behalf of a single believer, it should be these deeper encumbrances and the need to learn to value Christ above anything this world has to offer.

Takeaways: Singles are not half of a person.

Singles don’t always want to catch the bouquet at a wedding.

On holidays it’s hard for singles to walk into church alone when everyone is with their families.

When singles are seen as projects to “fix”, the subtle message underlying the matchmaking attempts is that they are somehow incomplete or missing out.

Resources: Not Yet Married by Marshall Segal

Avoiding Assumptions and Caring for Christian Singles in the Church

The Sacred Search by Gary Thomas

Meanwhile: What to do While You Wait by Amanda Grace Caldwell

Who is Picking Me Up From the Airport Cindy Johnson

How to Get a Date Worth Keeping by Henry Cloud

PODCASTS: The Refined Women, The Heart of Dating, Journeywomen: Episode 38 Becca Harris

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Forgiveness

In a Nutshell: Forgiveness is releasing the offender to God and letting go of anger, resentment and ideas of vengeance. We forgive others because God has commanded us to forgive. He wants us to find healing and be spiritually healthy. When we hold a grudge, it makes us bitter, which is like a cancer. We are able to forgive by totally surrendering ourselves to God. It is important to own our mistakes with God and those we’ve hurt; otherwise, Satan will continue to trick us into shame and guilt. That is not what God wants for us. Spending time with Jesus allows us to know him better. Knowing him better allows us to receive his forgiveness and redemption, stirring our hearts to thankfulness. 

Takeaways: Unforgiveness is like serving a lifetime sentence for someone else's crime.

We are able to forgive others when we come face to face with how much Christ has forgiven us. 

Surround yourself with people who you can be honest with. Sisters in Christ who will walk with you through the good and the bad and who are not afraid to speak the truth in love to you during challenging seasons.

Prayer gets our hearts in a place where we can forgive, and helps us to continue to choose forgiveness. Forgiveness is not a one time thing.  

"Satan says look at your sin, but God says, look at my SON."    Tony Evans

Resources: Unpacking Forgiveness: Biblical Answers for Complex Questions and Deep Wounds by Chris Brauns

The Thing We Don't Do by Andrée Seu Peterson

As We Forgive: Stories of Reconciliation from Rwanda by Catherine Claire Larson

PODCAST: Journeywomen Episode 01 on Forgiveness with Carrie Langenmier

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#MeToo

In a Nutshell: Over the last years, the issue of sexual abuse has gained a voice through the #MeToo movement. Many women have shared their stories. As Christian women, we need be ready to bring the truth of the gospel to bear on the shame surrounding sexual brokenness. This can start by talking about the body and sexuality in positive ways to our children and teens, giving them a healthy perspective on sex and also language to use if they have been violated. We need to be safe people for hurting women to share with--listening, believing, and loving them as they talk about the pain they have experienced. And for those of us who have walked though sexual brokenness, the gospel gives us the freedom to face the shame attached and seek healing by coming forward with our story and submitting it all to Christ. With such a sensitive subject, we need to be patient and gentle with others and ourselves as we process the past and be prayerful in all of our responses.  

Takeaways: One in six women have been a victim of a attempted or completed rape. 

In a post-Christian world, we want the kingdom without the king. Movements like #MeToo want the justice, love, and dignity that the gospel brings without submitting to Christ. #MeToo dethrones the sexual abuse perpetrators but instead of putting Jesus on the throne, the temptation is to put the victim there. 

Even if we do not feel qualified to counsel someone through their sexual brokenness, we can stay with them as they seek counsel. If a person felt enough safe to tell you their story, honor them by staying present and not simply passing them off to someone more qualified. 

We have forgotten how to lament. We can use the Psalms as a tool to begin the practice of lamenting with those who are hurting.

Resources: The Wounded Heart by Dan Allender

God’s Design for Sex Series by Brenna Jones

Women and Gender Resource Center

Ministering to Women in a #MeToo World

PODCAST: Journeywomen: Episode 60 Shame with Abbey Wedgeworth

 

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Working Women

In a Nutshell: It is important for all of us to view our current work situation as an opportunity to be on mission and to influence others. We can witness to the world not only by sharing the gospel in word, but by treating everyone with respect and dignity. Work is good; Proverbs 31 shows a successful business women. However, one of the biggest challenges for women in the workplace is coming to terms with the fact that we cannot do it all or at least do it all well. Embracing the season God has you in and learning how to say no brings freedom. Working women need to see the opportunities for service where God has placed them not just "out there."

Takeaways: Do not be oblivious to the circumstances of others. Whether you are working full time or staying at home (or somewhere in between), acknowledge the struggles of others.

People don't care how much you know until they know how much you care. 

As a church, we need to keep the working schedule in mind when planning events, not only in our start times but also in respecting the value of  time through punctuality and efficiency. 

The church provides an intergenerational community for all women to encourage and pray for each other whatever our circumstances. What a gift!

Setting clear boundaries for technology when we are outside of work is healthy and needed. 

Resources: Every Good Endeavor by Tim Killer

This is Why You Don't SUCCEED by Simon Sinek

PODCAST: Finding Freedom in Christ as a Working Mom Risen Motherhood

 

 

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