The rhythms of life that we’ve all grown so accustomed to have found themselves turned upside-down. What does it look like to find a new rhythm? Join me for a quick look at what it means for us, so far as well as what to expect in the near future.
In a time when everything feels a little less than certain, it’s easy to become overwhelmed by anxiety. Today, I sit down and talk with Caris Snider, author of “Anxiety Elephants: A 31-Day Devotional to Help Stomp Out Your Anxiety.”
As a business owner, speaker, worship leader, wife, and mom, Caris looked like she had it all together. But like so many, she found herself at the end of the road, realizing she had two options: Give up or look up. Fortunately, Caris bravely faced the unknown with the help of her doctors, family, and friends and learned how to contend with her anxiety.
It was an honor to have a conversation with Caris about her own journey through anxiety, especially as the entire world is facing with these topsy-turvy times in the midst of a global pandemic. Caris’ story offers hope and encouragement as she learned what it means to carry one another’s burdens and rest in God.
In these uncertain times, it’s more important than ever to rest in God’s word. This week, we find ourselves in Psalm 33 and 34 with verses such as these:
“Our soul waits for the Lord; He is our help and our shield. For our heart rejoices in Him, because we trust in His holy name. Let Your lovingkindness, O Lord, be upon us, according as we have hoped in You.” (Ps. 33:20-22)
“The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” (Ps. 34:18)
Friends, our God is bigger than any virus. This did not take him by surprise. We can be assured that God is still God and He is still good, even as we face these weird days of uncertainty. One thing remains: God is faithful to accomplish all that He’s established.
Today, Matt and I have a long-distance conversation about some of the ways we can not only take comfort in the promises of God during this time, but also very specific activities (or, as our daughter has dubbed them “quarantivities”) to fill our time wisely and with fun!
It must be said that in the less than 24 hours since recording this, things have changed here in the US and also with me, Brandy. While much of our conversation is focused on dealing with anxiety, I rather ironically, have been feeling my fair share of it. That being said, I remembered this conversation and took a dose of my own advice (“listen to music” and “turn off the news for a minute”) and am feeling markedly better.
This isn’t just lip service. This advice is practical and beneficial. I hope you take it and share it with people you love.
Self-Care and Activities During Quarantine:
2. Read the Bible: Psalms are great – try Psalm 23
4. Write letters and send them to loved ones
5. Listen to music you love
6. Spend time with your kids: Conversations, shooting hoops, video games, reading books, crafts, etc…
7. Go for a walk: fresh air + Vitamin D = good for ya!
8. Jigsaw puzzles
9. Complete your To-Do List: or at least knock it down – all those projects that you’re saving for “someday”
10. Work on a dream project: write the book, learn the instrument, read the series…
Things to Avoid:
1. Steady stream of news: Stay informed, but don’t only feed on a media diet of the news
2. Hours of Social Media: See above…
3. Binging on Netflix for the entire time: Give yourself limits and keep your body and brain active
Your mental health is just as important as your physical health during this time, so don’t neglect it!
If you’re struggling with depression or thoughts of self-harm, please contact the
At a time when there is so much to say about women’s empowerment and what it means, all I can think of is the message I want my own daughter to take into the world with her when she leaves the safety of this nest. I hope it resonates with you, too. Feel free to share it if it does.
Dear Sweet Girl,
I wanted to take a moment to tell you something: You are valuable.
I know, I say that a lot. But here’s the thing: you’re soon going to be out in the world on your own and I won’t be there to buffer you from the messages that it will send to you, which will likely be very different.
The world will tell you that sex sells, that in order to climb the ladder, get ahead, reach your pinnacle of success, you must compromise your standards and use your sexuality to help you advance.
I say to you, you have been created with a brain that is beautiful and bright and full of curiosity and good thinking skills. You are creative and smart. You are able to problem-solve and research ideas and work with others to bring together something that is good and beneficial. You have deep and profound thoughts that sometimes blow my socks off because, at 17, you are so much smarter than I was.
The world will tell you that sex is the most important aspect of a relationship, that if you want to know your compatibility with a person you must give up the one thing that you can only give away once, your virginity.
I say to you that sex…is amazing. And scary. And sometimes, heartbreaking. The act of sex is about so much more than two naked bodies. Sex is intimacy at it’s deepest. It is giving your whole self to another person – your mind, your heart, and your body. It is a connection that will leave you inextricably connected with whoever you partner with for as long as you live. You don’t need to have great sex in order to have a good relationship. You need to have a great relationship that can withstand even the difficult times in your sex life, because those times will come, no matter who you are or who you’re with.
The world will tell you that you are too young, too small, too insignificant to listen to. Or that you are too much – too loud, too bossy, too emotional.
I say you are just right. You have been created by God for a purpose and He has given you talents and gifts and passions to fulfill that purpose. There will be roadblocks along the way, but you can overcome. Because your youth has fire in its belly. Your size gives you swiftness and grace to adapt. Your words carry compassion and empathy and wisdom. Your volume is needed in a world that wants to close its ears to the plight of so many who have no voice. Your ability to lead and point others toward their gifts is a strength, not bossiness. And those feelings…those deep, deep feelings, when you hurt for those who hurt and you celebrate the victories of others, those are a reflection of Jesus.
The world will do it’s best to box you in. To say that as a woman, your value is found between your legs and in your willingness to compromise what you believe and know to be true about who you are and Whose you are.
I say, don’t ever forget, my sweet child that you are a masterpiece, created by God. You are the apple of His eye. He rejoices over you with singing and dancing because His love for you knows no depths. There is no end to His affection for you.
I wish that I could protect you from all that life will throw at you. There will be great loss and sadness in your life. There will be days you think you can’t breathe, much less get out of bed. There will be times when it feels like everything and everyone is doing it’s best to crush you. Know this, my girl, in the words of author Kathryn Stockett, “You is kind. You is smart. You is important.” And none of that is to be taken lightly.
Go bravely into the world. Be the empowered woman that you are.
How often does it feel like the whole world is not only against you but reveling in your defeat? The psalmist, David, understood those feelings but also knew and declared the truth of who God is and who God says we are meant to be.
This year’s Super Bowl halftime show was nothing if not controversial! People from all walks of life, backgrounds in faith, genders and sexual identities fell on both sides of the fence when it came to answering the question: was this performance empowering or degrading to women?
Enter Brandi Voth, the woman behind The Power Project who is working to bring empowerment to women and men alike. She is a podcaster, author, and volunteer working with people in after-care who have been sexually exploited and trafficked.
In this episode, Brandi and I sit down and talk about what the commercial sex trade industry looks like, who is targeted for sex trafficking, how the church can better come alongside those who’ve been exploited, and what women’s empowerment looks like.
Brandi dropped some hard truths about what drives the sex industry and opened my eyes to the prevalence it has not only in our nation but even in our small towns.
Table of Contents:
:05The Road Home to You website 2:55 Welcome Brandi Voth; The Power Project – empowering people to live purposeful lives 5:00 Awareness to sex trafficking industry in Melbourne, Australia 9:10 A21 “Walk for Freedom” 10:40 What sex trafficking really looks like and where it is 13:54 The grooming process happens in social media apps and chat rooms 15:15 bark.us app and Tik Tok 17:10 Be where your kids and their friends are spending time online 18:20 Predators in public places 20:00 Red flags that someone is endangered 23:59 The Church’s response to help the exploited 28:10 Testimony from after-care client 31:59 Seeing the hurting and being the hands and feet of Jesus 32:57 Super Bowl halftime show re-cap and conflict 36:07 Female empowerment and the messages sent to boys/men 37:40 Empowerment vs. Sexual Objectification 39:15 Strip club and pornography – exploitation and consumption 40:39 Super Bowl is the single largest event for sex trafficking 41:35 Take a stand against the demand 43:00 The message sent to girls/women 45:28 Early exposure to pornography and the cycle of addiction 48:00 Defining empowerment 48:43 Finding your voice and using it 52:05 Signs you’re not in a safe relationship 53:19 Resources and Hotlines 53:52 Bottom line – You’re worth it 54:37 Thank you, Brandy 55:15 Brandi’s information: The Power Project and Power Hat Co.
Don’t forget to check out this week’s all-new episode on recovery. We’ll be dropping full episodes every Tuesday full of great content about mental health in the context of faith. We’ll continue our rest stops every Friday, as we set the activities of the week aside and spend some time unwinding from the busyness of life.
“The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong at the broken places.” – Ernest Hemingway
The simple fact is this: we’re all a little broken.
It isn’t a pretty truth and certainly not one that most people like to cling to, but it is a fact, none-the-less. We’ve all been hurt by someone as a small child, whether with words or fists. We’ve all seen horrible things happen. We’ve all got some form of addiction – turning even a good thing into The Thing we need in order to numb out from the daily toll of life.
We’ve all heard the old adage, “Hurt people hurt people.” We’ve likely even seen this played out in our lives, when someone who’s having a horrible, no good, rotten kind of day turns around and berates us for the smallest thing. They didn’t mean to lash out, but their words hurt all the same.
So what do we do with all that? How do we move forward in life recognizing that sure, maybe we’re not quite as well put together as we’d like to believe and that, yeah, we can even recognize how we’ve hurt people we care about without even meaning to?
It seems to me like we have a couple of different options.
Option 1: Fake It Til You Make It
This is the approach that a whole lot of people take. They white-knuckle their way through life, striving to be disciplined enough, strong enough, smart enough, attractive enough, good enough. These people likely have the “pull yourself up by the bootstraps” mentality. They’ve probably heard this message and others like it throughout their lives, messages including, men don’t cry.
But…what if…after all the faking it, you still don’t quite make it? What if you strive and strain and reach and just…don’t…get…there…?
Honestly, a lot of people are able to go through life with this approach and even do alright. They work hard, have all the right things, look put together enough on the outside, they even seem happy. And maybe some of them are. But maybe not quite as happy as they know they could be.
Option 2: Deny, Deny, Deny
Listen, I am well gifted in this approach. I have been known to quite literally bury myself in a pile of blankets and hide because the checkbook needed to be balanced and I knew it was going to be a big ugly mess caused by me.
Denial seems like such a simple way to make the problems go away. We like to fool ourselves into believing that if time heals all wounds, then surely it will cure the mess that is my life. But that is a lie and every one of us who has lived on our own and seen the credit card bills come in can attest to that. Denial will get you nowhere but further behind your problem. Whether it’s overdue bills, an eating disorder, an undiagnosed lump on our breast, addiction, anxiety, or a wounded relationship it will not correct itself. Our problems only seem to grow as we try desperately to shove them into the closet.
Option 3: Name Your Monster and Face It
This is probably the least popular approach to dealing with the messier side to life, but it is hands-down, my favorite.
I’m assuming that everyone reading this has probably watched a movie or tv show where there are good guys and bad guys. Let’s, for example, look at Harry Potter. Harry, along with his friends, has faced many monsters in his time at Hogwarts. They’ve dealt with Death Eaters, a three-headed dog, a spider the size of Chicago, Bertie Bot’s Every Flavor Beans…you get the point. They’ve fought some very scary foes.
What did they use to fight these adversaries? Well, it’s easy to say they used magic. True. Most of the time, that’s what they used. But more specifically, they used certain types of magic. In fighting Dementors, they used a Patronus. When Harry needed to do reconnaissance work, he wore a cloak that turned him invisible. To disarm another wizard, the spell, expelliarmus was used. The point is: there were different tools used to fight against different opponents.
The same is true for us as we face the issues that are causing us to live in a cyclical pattern of bad choices. Unless we know what “monster” it is we’re fighting, we don’t know how to fight against it.
I can tell you everything you ever wanted to know about alcohol addiction, but if what you’re fighting is grief because your spouse died and you don’t know how to move forward in life without that person, the knowledge you may acquire about addiction isn’t going to do you an ounce of good. It’s important for us to be able to name our monster because then we can be better equipped to overcome it.
This is why recovery matters not just for the “obvious” people – the strung-out junkie or the inebriated raging alcoholic. Recovery is for everyone. Recovery literally means to “return to a normal state of health, mind, or strength” (Oxford Dictionary).
God didn’t create you broken. He made you a masterpiece (Eph. 2:10) and then placed you into a broken world where you experienced hurt and abuse and the ugliness of sin. He wants to return you to the state you belong: whole and complete in Him.
We won’t get there 100% this side of Heaven but we can experience joy more fully, we can find healing and forgiveness for ourselves and others, and we can understand our purpose and the purpose for our pain when we allow God into the broken places of our hearts and begin the transformative work of recovery.
To learn more be sure to check out our website to find links to other episodes.
Be sure to subscribe to The Road Home to You on Google Play, Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, or wherever podcasts are found!
Welcome to the New & Improved The Road Home to You!
We’re going to start off this re-launch with Matt and Brandy in the studio talking about changes you can expect to see as the show moves forward as well as what’s been happening as they’ve been leading Genesis for Change Groups.
:50 Intro to Relaunching The Road Home to You 3:05 Why you should listen to TRHTY 5:45 Talking about mental health is important 6:50 Mental health in the context of faith 10:25 Authentic conversations with real people need to happen 11:41 Name Your Monster 13:00 Structure of show – what to expect moving forward 13:52 Call to Action – Be A Guest! 14:20 Recovery – Genesis Groups 16:25 What is Genesis? 21:10 What is the Limbic System? 23:35 Recovery means being honest & taking risks 26:10 Vulnerability in men and leaders 35:29 Progress of Recovery 45:04 Call to Action – Join a Genesis group 47:41 Upcoming Guests 48:55 Call to Action – Subscribe and Share! 50:10 Thank You’s 51:05 Blooper
The Road Home to You
“Offering hope and faith in Jesus to those wounded by others, stuck in addiction or afflicted by the storms of life.”
The Genesis Process for Change Groups are meant to happen in the context of relationship. You may gain some insight simply by going through the work on your own, but true recovery comes as learn to trust again, which can only happen as we interact with other people. You may be able to find a Genesis group at a local church. If not, feel free to contact Brandy for further information.