Posted in Devotion

New Year, New Me?

So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new! All of this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation.

2 Corinthians 5:17-18

The time leading up to the New Year is filled with reflecting on the past year and planning on making the New Year even better by creating resolutions. We think resolutions to eat healthy, work-out more, or declutter our lives will create a new us. However, most of these plans fail before January ends.

This review of the past can also be dangerous. Focusing on the past does not allow for us to be in the present moment. We are not able to see what God is doing in the here and now because we are focusing on what God has or has not done in the last year.

The past can be improved. The story is yours to write. However, this can be done at any point. We do not need the New Year to decide to do what is best for ourselves. There is no New Year, New Me. The way we become new is not the hours between December 31st and January 1st.

We become new in Jesus. In our relationship with Jesus, we are reconciled with God. The old versions of ourselves pass away and we become new in Christ Jesus. There is no need for resolutions or unmet goals. There is only a need for preparing room in our hearts.

As the New Year greets us, do you have room in your heart for Jesus?

Posted in Devotion

The Prince of Peace

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end.

Isaiah 9:6-7

Christmas is not all joyful and stress free for everyone. The stress of seeing family, of having money for the best presents, the anxiety the day brings and so much more cause this day to be less than joyful. However, unto us a child is born, a child who will be called Prince of Peace.

Peace. Christmas doesn’t seem so peaceful all the time. But peace is not a promise that things will be good all the time. Peace is knowing that even admits the bad that there will be good that comes later.

As you celebrate with your families and friends this holiday season I hope you are able to have peace. A feeling that no matter how this season plays out that good is coming. God is with each and every single one of you! God is never going to leave you.

The Prince of Peace has been given to you to remember to accept this peace into your hearts. Do you have peace in your hearts this holiday season?

Prayer: Almighty God, we thank you for the Son that you have given us on that first Christmas night. That you didn’t want to be without us, so you made sure you never were. Grant us peace this Christmas season and the days to come. In Jesus name, Amen.

Posted in Uncategorized

Thanksgiving Chaos

And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him

Colossians 3:17

We have made it to the beginning of the craziness of the Holiday season. Some may have already been traveling or had various events, but tomorrow is the first of the two holidays that end the year.

Gathering as family, friends, strangers in thankfulness. Or at least we are supposed to. Lots of times, these gatherings bring together broken families in fragmented ways, create spaces of fighting and anxiety, or can be the most dreaded times.

This year as the gatherings take place, I invite you to take care of yourself. Set the boundaries you need to set. Ignore the questions that everyone asks every year that make you grind your teeth.

Please know you are not alone this holiday season as you begin to sink down the spiral of mental health struggles. If you need to reach out, please comment on here or reach out to your support system.

I am rooting you on as you conquer this holiday season. Please do take time to enjoy something from the day! The food, seeing someone you haven’t seen in forever, a conversation, getting rest.

My prayer for you: Lord. Holidays can be rough. We go through them every year but sometimes the struggles get to be too much. The people we’ve lost this year, the people we try to protect ourselves from, the food that everyone expects us to eat. Lord I ask that You be with each and every person that struggles on the holidays. Let Your presence be what draws them through. We are thankful for You Lord. Amen.

Posted in Awards

Sunshine Blogger Award

I was nominated by Beverley. Beverley was one of the first followers way back when Anxious Devotions for Anxious Christians was just a baby and I had no idea what I was doing. She has stayed for the long haul and that makes this nomination so much more meaningful!

If you have not read anything over at Becoming the Oil and Wine, I definitely recommend it! The love of God and power of her words will have you growing in your faith.

Thanks again for this nomination.

What is the Sunshine Blogger Award?

“The Blogosphere community holds several awards that bloggers use to nominate a blog in appreciation for its creative, inspiring, or motivational content.”

“The award also helps other bloggers receive recognition and free exposure for their blogs.”

Award’s Rules

There are some basic rules to follow if you decide to participate:

  • Thank the blogger who nominated you and link their blog so everyone can visit.
  • Answer the 11 questions asked by the blogger who nominated you.
  • Nominate 11 other bloggers and ask them 11 new questions.
  • Notify the nominees by commenting on their blog post.
  • List the rules and display the Award logo on your blog post.

Eleven Questions from Beverley

1. How old is your blog now?

A little under two years old. We hit two years in March 2020.

2. What do you enjoy most about blogging?

I love being able to connect with other people. I love that my writing is able to touch others and still have impact on myself as well. I love watching other people’s blog develop as well!

3. How important do you think Social Media is for the success of a blog?

I just recently made sure that my blog had social media presence on all the major social media platforms, and I have definitely seen an increase on my blog traffic already. However, it doesn’t change the fact that I had a very stable set of followers before I had any social media presence.

4. How would you define a successful blog? In other words, what do think a successful blog looks like? 

For me, I think that a successful blog looks like having a stable set of followers or a community that is able to give each other feedback and support. There is no number that defines this. I am thankful for those that fall into that area for me.

5. Describe your feelings when you received your first blogging award nomination.

I received my first blogging award nomination less than a month after starting my blog. I was so honored to think that in such a short amount of time that someone felt that my blog was worthy of a nomination. It really affirmed my calling to be a voice for others in the form of a blog. As does this nomination.

6. Have you ever thought about monetizing your blog?

I have kind of thought about it but not in depth. I really want my blog to continue being accessible to as many people as possible, and I don’t think that I need to earn money for what I am saying in my blog. I am not doing it for money I guess is what I am saying.

7. If so, what do you think is the best method of monetizing? 

For me, I am using my blog for inspiration in the devotional that I am currently working on which will be out middle of next year.

8. What kind of post do you find easiest or most enjoyable to write?

I love writing the weekly devotionals. Wrestling with the text, finding how to make it resonate with the most people, and sharing it for others is a very enjoyable process for me.

9. What do you think is best, long or short posts?

I try to fall somewhere in between. I find that with short posts people are left wanting more, but with long posts it can be difficult to keep people’s interest the whole way to the end. I also think it depends on the content of the post as well.

10. Funny/Weird Question: What is the weirdest thing you have ever eaten?

The weirdest thing that I have ever eaten is a bug in Australia. It kind of tasted like a sour lemon candy thing, but it also made my mouth kind of go numb. (Do not worry, our tour guide told me it was safe before I ate it… I don’t just pick up bugs and eat them hoping for the best, haha!)

11. What is your favourite way to unwind after a hectic day?

My favorite way to unwind after a hectic day is to make some hot tea, grab my weighted-blanket, and sit on the couch watching whatever show I am currently binge watching on Netflix or read whatever book I am currently obsessed with.

My Nominations:

1. Just My Thoughts

2. Mental Health @ Home

3. Bournemouth Girl

4.  I’m With Him

5.  Beckie’s Mental Mess

6.  Living With Mental Health

7. Pure Glory

8. Michelle

9. The Talking Bloggerac

10. The Godly Chic Diaries

11.A blonde in the crowd

These bloggers’ posts are encouraging and I am blessed by them.

Congratulations to the new nominees!

My Questions for the Nominees:

  1. What was your inspiration to start blogging?
  2. When did you start blogging?
  3. From when you started blogging till now, how has your blog changed?
  4. Do you have a favorite of your own posts?
  5. Where do you want your blog to be in 5 years?
  6. Where is one place in the world you want to travel to?
  7. What does your writing process look like?
  8. What is your favorite part of blogging?
  9. Do you have someone you look up to in the blogging world? (if not outside of the blogging world)
  10. How do you practice self-care?
  11. If you had the time and resources to do anything right now… what would it be?

Thanks again to Beverley for the nomination! Thank you all for reading! I hope you all check out all the linked blogs in this post!

To my nominees, keep up the great work!

Posted in Mental Health Awareness

November 13, 2019 “Working on Us” Week #23 Mental Health Blogging Community-Mental Health Series, Topic: Medications

Becky’s Mental Mess Original Post!

Help Break The Stigma Surrounding Mental Health

Question Prompt:

  1. When you first were diagnosed with your mental illness/disorder, did it take a while to get used to your medications that were prescribed to you?  If you answer the question, (YES), How did you feel initially? I was first diagnosed with anxiety and depression during my freshman year of college, but wasn’t immediately put on medication. It was during my third year of college that I was started on medication for anxiety and depression and then also diagnosed with PTSD.
  2. Depending on how long you have been on medication, how many times do you think it has been adjusted to make you feel stable? I was very lucky when I first got put on medication, that the original dose was enough to keep me stable for a long time. However, in the recent year, I have had my medications adjusted like 4-5 times just to keep stable.
  3. Have you ever had a bad reaction to medication? Again, I am thankful here, that I have not had a bad reaction to medication.
  4. Have you ever suffered withdrawals from a certain type of medication, and if so… What type was it? I made it very clear in the beginning of starting medication, that I did not ever want to be too attached to medication that I would have these symptoms, so no I have not had withdrawal symptoms.
  5. Do you work closely with your doctor in regards to your medication intake?  (In other words, do you have a good relationship with your doctor?) My Psychiatrist is the one I work closely with in regards to my medication intake. I currently meet with my psychiatrist every week, but have normally met with him every month. So, in other words, I have a really good relationship with my doctor.
  6. Since your diagnosis, have you ever tried to not take medication and see if you can handle your symptoms of mental illness/disorders on your own?  If so, how did that work out for you? I have frequently stopped my medications to see if I can handle it on my own. But what I think is important to mention here is that the reason I feel so ready to battle my anxiety/depression on my own is because my medication has me super stable, so once that medication is out of my system, I go back to not being as stable and quickly realize that I still need to be on my medications.
  7. Tell us briefly how medication has affected your life? I never wanted to be put on medication due to the stigma, but I cannot even put all of the benefits of being on medication in this post without writing way too much. However, it has kept me at a relatively non-anxious state-of-mind. It has lessened the depressive episodes and decreased the length of said episodes. I have been able to start to love myself for who I am and not who I think I should be.

Picture Prompt:

What do you see and how does it make you feel when you see this picture? This picture is kind of sad. It shows the fact that medicine has definitely been a push by the big pharmaceutical companies in order to make more money… This also means that the price of necessary medications go way up.

Mental health image for post

Rules:

  • Write your own post and create a pingback to the original post here.
  • There are no right or wrong answers.  Write in any format you see fit.  (Answer’s, fiction, non-fiction, poetry, poem, short prose…anything, and/or narrative).
  • You can do one or all prompts.
  • You have from November 13th. through November 19th. to submit your entries.

  • Please reblog the original post in order to spread more awareness.
  • ( If you the blogger have a suggestion/question you want to ask in the future weeks, please submit them in the comment section of this post).
  • Let’s see if we can get some men involved in this week’s prompts, your viewpoint/feelings are validated here too!
  • Plus, as an added bonus, whoever responds to the following prompts will automatically be reblogged to promote your blog site and spread more awareness!
Posted in Devotion

Don’t Carry the Burden Alone

“Let them judge the people at all times, and let it be that every major dispute they will bring to you, but every minor dispute they themselves will judge So it will be easier for you, and they will bear the burden with you.” -Exodus 18:22

Let me set the stage of this passage for you. Moses is appointed judge over all his people. At this point, Moses’ father-in-law is coming to visit. This visit doesn’t relieve Moses of his duty as judge. He was sitting as judge all day, by himself.

Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, questioned Moses on why he was doing this huge task alone. Moses answered that his people needed him. Jethro offered Moses some advice. He said that Moses should appoint some of his people as advisers to oversee the small disputes. The large disputes would still be brought to Moses, but he wouldn’t be carrying the burden alone.

What burden are you carrying alone? Are you like Moses and taking on responsibilities that could be delegated? Are you holding on to secrets you feel you can’t share with anyone? Are you finding daily tasks to be your burden?

Whatever the burden is for you, you are not meant to carry it alone. There are people out there that will rejoice in being able to help you. There is a God who is waiting for you to hand it over, so you are not carrying it alone. Start by laying it at the foot of the cross.

I know that reaching out is scary and usually avoided, but there are people out there who will listen to you and love you all the same. I am not saying that everyone is going to accept your story in a non-judgmental way. i wish I could promise you just the opposite, but I can’t.

Those people are the minority though. The majority of people want to see you succeed. I want to see you succeed.

What burdens will you be placing down to allow others to help you carry?

Prayer:

God, our strength comes from You. Sometimes we carry burdens that are too heavy for us to carry alone. Give us the strength to ask for help, guide us in reaching out to others, and comfort us in our decisions. Lord, You never meant for us to suffer alone. You never leave us even in the toughest times. Thank You God.

Amen.

© 2019 Kiersten Smeal

Posted in about me

The Next Steps…

It isn’t just about what you love. It’s about what God created you to love so that you can use it to honor Him.

-Unknown

I graduated from Messiah college in May. It’s crazy how fast four years have gone by. I now have a degree in Christian Ministries.

I got a taste of what it’s like to lead my own ministry this summer when I worked in two different state owned campgrounds as a chaplain in the park. I led two services every Sunday. It was an incredible experience to worship in God’s creation every week.

Raystown Lake

When the summer came to an end, I packed up my car and drove down to Texas. I started at SMU Perkins. I’m on my way towards a Masters of Divinity (a pretty pretentious title if you ask me).

Perkins School of Theology

When I arrived in Texas I began doubting everything. I wasn’t sure that I was meant to be here. I felt lost. I attended orientation for school, and everyone seemed so sure that this is where they were meant to be.

I was overwhelmed. I was scared.

I made a quick decision that I wanted to go home. Thankfully, some of the faculty at Perkins stepped up and talked me down. They answered my questions, showed me they actually wanted me to be here. They showed me that they cared about me. Me, a person they didn’t even know.

I spent the weekend praying that I could see that I was on the right path. God took that prayer and opened my eyes.

God showed me that I am surrounded by amazing people. From the students, to the professors, to the faculty. God showed me that I am at a place meant to allow me to flourish. I’m being academically challenged while having the room to be me.

Not even a month went by when I hit a brick wall pretty hard. I had an unfortunate experience. I began to doubt again. I wasn’t sure how that fit into the picture. Plus I was still hanging on to the signs that God wanted me here. However, throughout that experience, God placed people even closer.

Through this experience, I have realized that I am loved here at Perkins. People want me to succeed. The “Perkins Hug” as I call it. I’ve been wrapped into the arms of all those around me.

Now it’s been two months, and I am beyond sure that this is where I am meant to be. God’s plan for me includes being here at Perkins. It’s a wonderful feeling to be back in the known and not lost in the unknown.

I am another step closer to reaching my goals. It has not been a perfect journey in the slightest, but it has been a journey in the arms of our savior and I couldn’t ask for a better journey.

So, friends, that is where I am.

One step closer to the calling I’m discerning daily.

One step closer, and yet onto the next steps…

Posted in Mental Health Awareness

The Bible is Triggering

The Bible is triggering. There is no content warning in the Bible.

All too often we look up a piece of scripture and we are surprised at what we find. We find examples of the very traumas that we have experienced, our friends/family have experienced, or we witnessed happen to someone we may or may not know. Reading these accounts between the front and back covers of the Bible does not make the discovery any less triggering.

Does this mean that we have to stop reading the scriptures? Absolutely not. It just means that we have to change the ways that we read the scriptures. Here are a few ways we can do that:

  1. Before we jump into a passage of scripture, look it up. You will be able to find out what the passage is about without reading the events themselves. This is like looking up the content warning for each passage before we read them.
  2. Read scripture in community. A community of those who have similar experiences or a group of people that have no idea what you’ve been experienced. There is more likely to be a trigger warning when reading in community, and in community you can find support if you are triggered. You won’t be exposed to this trigger in solitude.

Most importantly, do not feel that your faith is lacking or that you are in someway doing something wrong when you find a trigger in scripture.

Please know that you are not alone. Many Christians struggle with the triggers in scriptures. Many non-Christians struggle with the triggers in scriptures. The Bible is triggering, so where is the content warning?

 

What has been helpful for you when dealing with triggers in the Bible? 

© 2019 Kiersten Smeal