You Don't Look Depressed

I can’t tell you how often this scene plays out in my head when I share with someone that I battle depression.

“You don’t look like you battle depression”

“Its this darn sense of humor! I can’t show the ‘appropriate’ emotions for a depressed person.”

It seems to make sense that  a depressed person would appear sad or downtrodden. So, how is it that I have this battle with depression in conjunction with a gift of joy? It confuses people. Heck, it confuses me!

I spent a lot of my earlier years of this journey trying to manipulate my emotions to align with my self imposed expectations. I fought back laughter or smiling for fear of people disbelieving my struggle, or thinking that I was inauthentic. Ironically, for all my concerns, I was living a big fat lie.

I wrestle with depression. Sometimes, the days get so dark I forget what light even feels like. This is true of me, but what is also true of me is that God has placed in my heart an unexplainable joy. It's something I feel weird even talking about, since it almost sounds like the thing I’m supposed to say because I’m a Christian. 

Maybe it IS the thing I should say, but its also true. It doesn’t make any more sense to me than the people I share it with, but here is the little bit I do know: 

It's NOT a joy that removes the sorrow. What I mean by that is, when you see the joy in me, it doesn’t mean I’m not in a dark place. 

It's NOT a fake joy. Even though the darkness may be overwhelming, if you are seeing joy in me, than we are both experiencing this crazy culmination of joy and sorrow both present at the same moment. Weird? I know.

It's NOT something I can conjure up. I have many dark moments full of joy, and I still have dark moments that joy seems nowhere to be found. I don’t get to control that most times. (there are times I make poor decisions that feed my depression and starve my joy) Most times, I can be doing the same things as always, but this time the laughter is replaced with tears. These are the moments I choose to own my feelings (depression sucks, and I hate this!!) but then claim the truth. (“Sorrow may last for a night, but joy comes in the morning” / "His mercies are NEW every morning” / "It's ok to NOT be ok.”) 

Bottom line: time has taught me there is no “appropriate” response to my depression. It's ok to embrace the joy within the sorrow, even if it confuses people who know you battle depression, and its ok to not be ok even if that confuses people who know you as a joyful person.

Serving on Sundays

Sometimes I miss going to church. I find myself daydreaming about enjoying a hot cup of coffee with the smell of bacon wafting through a quiet house. I imagine my kids freshly bathed and dressed to match (coordinating outfits, not actual matching outfits). I wonder what it would be to enter the church, gather my bulletin, and find a seat. To close my eyes and raise my hands without concern for the order of service of how many greeters were also able to take up the offering. To stay in my seat and soak in the beauty of God’s presence I often feel after worshiping with my church family. Brutal honesty, sometimes I miss ‘just going’ to church.  

There is sacrifice in serving. I sense we are only supposed to talk about the blessings in our call, but I have never been one to say what is supposed to be said.     

Six years ago,  God called me into full time church ministry. Director of Student Ministries would be my title, but as most New England church staff knows, it was a flexible job description from the start. I have gotten to take part in Welcome Team Ministry, Worship Team Ministry, Building Decor/Design Ministry, Kids ministry (it was a short stint I know the kids are grateful is over), and have led dozens of mission’s trips, camps, and retreats. Church ministry is full and you’re really only hindered by your ability to say ‘no’. 

I somewhat anticipated the weekly change to my schedule, from stay at home mom to office hours and staff meetings, but I didn’t grasp how much church would change for me once I came on staff. Church would become my place of employment, and with that role would come responsibilities and sacrifices. 

While other families might enjoy traditions of Sunday breakfasts, or Sunday afternoon naps, I would be committed to drive through breakfast and Sunday evening programs. My Sundays would no longer be my Sabbath since I would be spending them running between the Welcome Table, morning announcements, and teaching the student class. I would have to become intentional to set aside another day for Sabbath and rest. Friendships with church friends would take a lot more planning since Sunday morning fellowship time would be spent with guests and students.  

Sundays may never be what they used to be and there are moments when I will miss just going to church, but then a volunteer steps into my office to deliver the coffee he gifts me EVERY TIME he leads worship. I look up to see all of the people who serve in our church every Sunday, in addition to their other full time jobs and family responsibilities. People who give their Sundays without a paycheck or a title. Suddenly perspective punches me in the face, and I begin to see things with greater clarity. I get to!  While I might still have selfish dreams about coming and going from second service in ripped jeans, I can honestly say I am grateful that God let’s me serve in my church that I love!


"What are you passionate about? Do that."

This has sounded like solid advice when I’ve given it, but recently, when the answer was not easily found, I began to see the loopholes in this philosophy. 

First, my passions are constantly changing. If I chose to act solely out of those things that I am passionate about, I would never stick with anything. I’m sure the ADD adventurer would enjoy this ride, at least for a while, but what about those I committedto along the way? I picture a trail of disappointed people, who felt used and abandoned by me, as I followed my passions onward. Not exactly the legacy of faithfulness I read about in heroes of old.

My second concern with my “you do you” mentality, is how self focussed it becomes. I cannot tell you the amount of time I have wasted, trying to “discover my calling” whilst I ignored the very work God was doing all around me. My cause became my own call rather than God’s Kingdom, and I unknowingly put limitations and restrictions on what God could ask of me. 

Doing the things I am passionate about will probably always be my favorite pursuit, but if I commit myself to make it my only pursuit, I miss opportunities to see God work outside my box. 

When God’s Kingdom is my cause, He gives me opportunities to work outside my passions and calls me beyond my “strength finder” results. Then, I GET TO see His power at work and His Kingdom advance.

I think I was so weary of the “don’t say you won’t go to Africa” advice, knowing it painted a picture of a "god" who was waiting for every opportunity to do the opposite of what we were passionate about, that I swung my pendulum too far to the right. I created this "god" whose kingdom was built around me and my passions. 

Somewhere in the middle of those lies the Truth. That God who created us purposefully and loves us unconditionally, knows that it will only be through passion AND sacrifice that His Kingdom will be our cause! When His Kingdom becomes our cause, we will follow wherever He leads, in whatever He calls us to, because ultimately HE is our PASSION.

We Are the Body

“For as the body is one and has many parts, and all the parts of that body. though many, are one body-so also is Christ.”

I have been considering this idea of the the church being made up of so many different parts, just like our human bodies. As I have travelled New England it's been a beautiful experience to meet so many different people with different backgrounds, living different lives, playing their part within the body of Christ. 

“If the foot should say, ‘Because I am not a hand, I don’t belong to the body,’ in spite of this it still belongs to the body…But now God has placed the parts, each one of them, in the body just as He wanted them.”

How much of my life have I wasted trying so hard to be a different part of the body than God designed me to be? I would see other members and think that their roles were so much more important or I would desire the confidence they seemed to have over who they were created to be. Meanwhile, as I was admiring everyone else’s part, I was refusing to embrace my own. 

“God, why couldn’t I be the sweet quiet girl that everyone adored?”

“Why God, can’t I be as organized as that person?”

“My daughter, I have chosen your part in the body, just as I wanted.”

So then, I began a journey I am still on today. Discovering each day, the person God has created me to be, and playing the part He chose just for me. Somedays the journey feels more like an uphill battle. In a world of Pinterest perfect examples of what “I should be able to do”, and Instagram posts filled with examples of how I should look doing it all, it can seem impossible to remain content with just being me. 

But, I choose to fight! I choose to return again and again to the only one who can define my purpose and value, my Creator God. And you know what’s been my favorite part of it all?

“So if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it!”

When I am playing my part, embracing the woman God created me to be, I become FREE to celebrate the parts my other brothers and sisters get to play! I don’t have to waste time desiring their part or wishing it was mine, but I can truly and honestly rejoice in the work God is doing through them! 

So friends, who has God created you to be? What part has He given you to play? The body needs you!



What I'm Digging - March 2017 Edition

For all my girlfriends who like sharing favorite things, here are some of my favorite’s:



  • WACO t-shirt I got at Magnolia - I feel like Joanna Gaines when I wear it!
  • Mumbai Earrings by Trades of Hope - they’re big, they’re dangly, they make me feel like a real girl!
  • Mediterranean Strands Necklace from Trades of Hope - ok I’m obsessed with Trade of Hope but it's such an amazing company with beautiful products


Incase this didn’t communicate clearly enough, I am a nerd. I am the kind of nerd that loves getting book recommendations, podcast suggestions, jewelry and clothing gifts mailed to me (too far?;)). Shoot me a message and let me know what your favorite things are these days! 

Light & Darkness

Have you ever been in a place in your life’s journey that the road seemed impossibly dark? The kind of darkness that messes with every one of your senses and you swear you feel things creeping in on you. You immediately begin sliding your feet slowly ahead, rather than keeping your usual pace, so if you do encounter hidden obstacles you will not collide full force. 

This is the best description I can give to the previous two years. Most of my journey includes stories that are not all mine to share, so what I will say, is that I have faced the kind of darkness that made me slow my pace and began sliding my feet where God was leading me to walk. Because of my own hurt and fear, I forgot that my darkness was not darkness to Him at all. What felt like devastating blows were not a surprise to Him, and the tears I shed in those dark places were not hidden from Him. He’s been there all along. He’s not left me in my weakness or rejected me in my doubt, He’s remained faithful.

“He knows what is in the Darkness, and Light dwells in Him” Daniel 2:22

This verse has been powerful for me in recent days, as I have gotten glimpses of the work God has been doing all along when life was too dark for me to see. I have been reminded that He knows, He cares, and He is Faithful! 

Our journeys in this broken world will likely be full of dark paths: Paths where our doubts seem greater than our faith, where our hurt is so deep we wonder if God has forgotten us, and where we question everything we thought we knew. 

I don’t have answers to all my questions and sometimes life hurts so much I avoid mascara for days so my crying is less visible to others. 

Here is what I choose to believe even when my feelings don’t agree: “He knows what is in the Darkness, and Light dwells in Him”.