Dump Journal

When you hear the word journaling, do you cringe? Do you find it awkward to write out your thoughts and innermost feelings on paper? You are not alone. Journaling is a tool we recommend at Peace Restored. And regularly, I see that same look on someone’s face that says, “I don’t like to journal” OR “I have tried that before” OR “That doesn’t work for me.” The list goes on for all the reasons why NOT to try journaling. So before you stop reading, I challenge you to continue and try this new perspective on journaling. You may find this approach refreshingly different and, hopefully, a helpful tool to add to your arsenal to combat anxiety and worry.
Before we get to the how of Dump Journaling, allow me to expand on the why. When anxiety is high, our brains can be on overload. Our thoughts are racing, and we have no idea what to do next. Mix into racing thoughts, the struggle of anxiety, trauma, grief, or abuse; you now have a strong combination. Your mind may be frozen or flooded with thoughts. At times your brain may be so overwhelmed you cannot move or make a decision. At other times you may be so overwhelmed that you feel frozen. Fear takes over, and you begin to spiral downward until you can “snap” out of it for a while; until the next cycle starts all over again. These thoughts are so pervasive they keep you up at night, sometimes leaving you fatigued and exhausted.
Fear, worry, anxiety are life-controlling issues. We are reminded in Scripture to take every thought captive to make it obedient to Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5). We are to be the controller of our thoughts. Not the other way around. Our thoughts should be submissive to us. Not dictators to our lives. As we work to shift our thoughts, we must also learn how to shift our fear and anxiety. When we work to make this shift, we can then begin to do the more challenging work necessary to step forward in your healing journey.
Learning how to dump journal is one of the simplest tools you can practice. It may seem too simple as a matter of fact. But with practice, it will allow you space to calm your thoughts. All you need is a quiet space (or at least as quiet as you can find), a piece of paper, and a writing utensil. That is all. You do not need a fancy book or a set of colorful pens. Just the basics. This is not meant to a pretty journal. It is just a tool. Not a magic tool. Just a simple tool to help your brain relax.
Here are the steps:
  1. Find a quiet place
  2. Set a timer for 20 minutes
  3. Begin to write every thought you are having.
  4. Don’t worry about punctuation or grammar
  5. Just write until the timer ends.
When your 20 minutes are complete, stop writing. The purpose of this is to allow your brain space to relax and “dump” out all of your thoughts. The good, the bad and the ugly thoughts. When finished, you can choose to keep your page or destroy it. If something came up when you were journaling that surprised you, or you need a space to work it out, make sure to tell your counselor about it. But that is it. Nothing fancy, just writing out all of your thoughts. And I mean ALL of them on paper. Just write your thoughts, even if your mind jumps from one to another. Try out Dump Journaling and let us know how it works for you.
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My Generosity Journey

There are countless examples of generosity in the Bible, and frankly, the opposite. There is nothing sharper than the shock of learning what you’re not supposed to do the hard way. Those lessons we find are valuable and necessary to learn more about Jesus and ourselves. In the process of going over some of those, this story along with some other sentiments bubbled up needing to be told.

With that preface, this isn’t going to be a lovely and touching story about that time when someone was so generous to me that it changed my life forever. I do have those experiences in my adult life. My husband has shockingly lost his job twice in our 16 years together. He is the hardest worker I know, but the world is harsh, and things don’t always go our way. In both of those instances, we have had kind people who reached out and helped our family in ways that I will never forget. I truly saw the love of Jesus through those who helped and I am forever grateful. What I want to share is about my journey in generosity; the real and raw that comes from honest self-reflection.

A little background about me will help you understand my journey. My parents divorced when I was 3, and I am their only child. I lived with my mother for most of my childhood, where I experienced alcoholism and sexual abuse. It wasn’t all bad, I gained two amazing step-brothers who are now great parents and husbands. But, we were poor in more ways than one and struggled a lot growing up. When I look back, I can’t remember one person who stepped out in generosity towards me. I am sure that there were, but I couldn’t see past the pain and hurt in my situation. If their generosity didn’t make all the craziness end, it didn’t enter into my view. I didn’t realize this until much later in life, so I grew up thinking that there were no generous people in the world. In fact, if there were, I would never know them. I became hard to the world, on people, and on myself.

Living with a hard heart worked for me until I became a parent. Having kids changed my point of view. I didn’t want to have a hard heart, especially to my children. I wanted to be sweet and kind and tender. My children deserved to have a mom who was a break in the generational chain of dysfunction. I wanted them to be kind and generous people, but how can I teach them without doing it myself?

Let me tell you, I am wired to be selfish. In some ways, we all are, but with my beginnings and the anger I had about my childhood, I couldn’t be who I wanted to be. In my heart, I wanted to be generous, but I was afraid, not a little afraid, a lot afraid. It makes me vulnerable with my heart, my mind, my time, and my finances. With my previous experiences, I thought for sure I would be taken advantage of.

Where do I start with all of this?

Luke 6:38 NIV “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”

Counseling! Because I had to get to the source of the issue. I won’t go into great detail about this since we are focusing on generosity, but know that this is often the place to start, and Peace Restored can help! I needed to reanalyze my relationship with Jesus, other people, and myself.

My counselor taught me generosity doesn’t have to come straight from me. Generosity comes from experiencing the generosity of Jesus. His forgiveness, grace, mercy, love, and understanding that provides me with what is necessary for me to be the kind of person I want to be and who my children deserve. If I relied on myself only, for a pool of generosity to draw from, I would come up empty every time. This is one of the many gifts that Jesus has given me! When you feel that unconditional pure love, your desire for others to feel it too becomes a reality. This is the core of generosity.

There are still times that I should have been more generous than I was. I am a work in progress. Being generous with your time and money takes trust. Trust that God is a part of our world and that your gift isn’t in vain. It takes learning to listen to the Holy Spirit and the gentle way he communicates with us. These both are learned habits just as generosity for some of us, is a learned habit.

This is sincere encouragement from myself to you. Examine what you do and where your finances go. Are they different from what you want it to be? Take the first step in changing that by reengaging with Jesus. Work on your relationship with Him and trust Him! Listen to the Holy Spirit’s gentleness in your life, in your head, and through others. There is a special place just for you, where your time and finances can make the biggest difference. And when you fall back from it, don’t beat yourself up, just restart the process. I love you big, and myself big, because Jesus loves us all BIG!

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A Counselor on Widowhood

“He’s in a better place,”

“Oh honey, everything happens for a reason,”

“God needed another angel,” and last but not least

“Aren’t you over him yet, he’s been gone for a while?”

Most people have the best intentions when using these phrases but these words for the woman, who lost the one she chose to go through life with, often lead to isolation and more despair. Losing a spouse is one of the hardest things we endure in this lifetime. Research reveals that spousal bereavement can open the door to problems such as depression, chronic stress and anxiety, and even a reduced life expectancy if not dealt with in a healthy manner.

We have come to know this devastation as grief. Unfortunately, it leaves widows with difficult and dark emotions that never asked permission to be invited into their lives. Many books have been written on the stages of grief. A popular theory is from Elisabeth Kübler-Ross’s Stages of Grieving, where one goes through each step of denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Yet these stages were never meant to take the plight of emotions in a well-organized scheduled manner. Emotions from grief are messy and often leave the widower crippled with pain. We become angry at the person leaving us, mad at ourselves as we could have done things differently, or even angry with God because He could have done something to intervene. We bargain, promising to do things differently in return for easing the pain. All the while, sadness, guilt, and even depression creeps in steeling our mere existence.

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.

I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
Isaiah 41:10

There’s a famous saying in the grief community, “Grief is like a tunnel, to come out of it you must first enter.” Grief requires us to sit with our pain. It asks us to put one foot in front of the other, trusting that this incredible sadness will someday open doors to a new meaning and purpose for this lifetime. Yet so often, we want to hurry the process and numb the pain. Why wouldn’t we? The grief process is laborious, and we have jobs to get back to, children to be healthy for, the list goes on. Yet over time, those feelings accumulate, and if we do not deal with them, they usually have a way of reentering at the most inopportune times.
Significant transformations come in those baby steps, and before you know it, those hundreds of steps bring you to the other side of the tunnel. In the therapeutic world, this is called acceptance. You get to call it what seems most appropriate to you.

But the most important thing to remember is that this is your story and your story matters. Healing comes when we engage in our story. God is coauthoring your epic storyline.

We at Peace Restored would love to hear it!

As we (Peace Restored) continue discussing the topic of widowhood, we want to offer another
a resource to those who may find themselves grieving:
A book titled, “From One Widow to Another” By Miriam Neff.
From one widow to another or from one story to another, we believe this book is filled with practical help and encouragement in the face of profound loss.
Here’s the link if you or a friend could use this: https://amzn.to/2USuSWF

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Depressed Belief


I’m depressed. I say that as a way to help someone understand that depression is hard, it’s debilitating. Depression has made me not want to accept what’s ahead for my life; it’s caused me to halt. I’m unable to do things I did because fear has crippled me. Thankfully, this has started to change, and I’ve started to settle into a new normal. The roots of depression entangle me on more occasions than I care to admit.

Someone close to me became ill in the last few years, and I’ve had to adjust to a new normal of the routine they need and caring for them while still trying to take care of myself. Since this began, I have struggled with purpose, not my intention but Gods’. I have often wondered, what is the point of all this sickness? It seemed as conditions worsened; all I heard were painful stories from others. I started to question the Lord, is your plan perfect? If your plan is perfect, how could this be happening? How can I feel this way? But even in my questioning, I never stopped believing in God; He saved me, and I can’t forget that.

I began to cry out, asking God to lift the sickness and the depression. I pray these things with the understanding that He may not, and that’s scary. Sometimes, I think, maybe I’m praying the wrong thing. I want to pray Gods’ will be done, and at the same time, that prayer is terrifying for my current reality. I know I should trust the Lord, but this depression over me has started to overtake what I feel, everything I think becomes corrupted by this. It makes me question trusting our Sovereign Lord, and that scares me! When I sit and think about these things, I get lost in how I feel. I know how blessed I am, and I feel so guilty for feeling my feelings. When the Lord first saved my life, all I wanted was to be with Him! When the sickness began, my attitude and relationships changed. I desperately wanted normal again. But God has changed my routine, and I’m reluctantly learning to accept that.

I thought it would help me to adjust if I developed a better understanding of His purpose. To do so, I turned to trusted friends and some family. If I’m honest, reaching out to them made me feel as if I were a burden. I repeated the same mantra of caretaker and depression. I irritated myself by discussing it too much or not enough. Every time I shared my struggle, I became reassured that I wasn’t a burden, and I wasn’t sharing too much or not enough; it was what I needed. These people made me feel as if sharing was okay. I needed that reassurance each time to keep going, and I’m thankful for people who don’t write you off when you’re not over your circumstance. These trusted friends gave useful and encouraging advice on caring for that person and walking with Jesus. The advice didn’t lift the depression, but it made everything a little lighter, the burden a little less, and forced me to think about what those encouragers said. I often thought about, how I could serve the ill person in my life more, what is something I could make myself do for a sense of normalcy, and what is something positive I can be doing? Of course, these weren’t end-all solutions; the depression still entangles me.

The depression may still have a hold on me, but God lovingly calls me out on my motives. Are my reasons for serving this person to make myself feel better, or are they indeed with love? He continually reminds me to do these things with trust and love for Him. Sometimes, doing these things with the right motivations is all the energy I have, it’s hard and scary. It’s been hard to adjust to life with depression and becoming a caretaker to someone so close to me. My depression has a root cause so that I can pinpoint the source. Knowing the source doesn’t make it easier. As someone who believes in Jesus, I fight the battle almost daily between depression and clinging to the truths of God. On any given day, either side can win. Sometimes, the depression side wins so often, I feel hopeless, but God always rescues me, no matter how many times I lose in my daily battle.

The writer of this post wishes to remain anonymous

 

This Pandemic!

COVID-19, CoronaVirus, Pandemic.

It is all over, everywhere you go. Whether you’re working from home or marching into a space, you see signs of a pandemic happening!
It’s startling and unsettling.

We see it all over the place, and I strongly feel the need to address this with Peace Restored.

I want to share what Peace Restored is doing to keep our clients, staff, and volunteers safe, which may directly affect some people as well as share some tools to get through this time. Everything seems to change day by day, so follow us on our social media platforms for the latest updates! On that note, Peace Restored is staying open but doing our best to comply with the CDC and governing recommendations. We feel abiding by those regulations as much as we can is a beneficial way to serve our clients.

During COVID-19, Peace Restored has shifted to online one on one counseling options. We want to serve our clients well during this unprecedented time. All group meetings will be transitioning to an online format. All online forms are compliant with HIPPA laws, so privacy is not an issue in these. Upcoming groups are postponed until further notice!

Our decision has been challenging to make, but we believe them to be necessary. We appreciate everyone’s effort and willingness to keep others safe during this time.

As we transition to this format and have to postpone certain events due to the pandemic, we want to acknowledge that Peace Restored does depend on those fundraising events to keep the doors open. So through this, we want to recognize our beautiful donors who regularly give so we can continue to help hurting women. Peace Restored’s primary focus is to serve hurting women through difficult life experiences via counseling, groups, classes, and events. We offer all of these formats for circumstances such as someone experiencing grief for any loss, sexual abuse/assault survivors, domestic violence survivors, and widows. We love serving these women and know what we do is a necessity for some of them to overcome and find hope in Jesus! During this time, we realize everyone is in crisis mode, so we want to ask if you share in our mission and vision and wish to help us at this time in some way, please consider donating to help us move our mission and vision forward!

“IT’S MANDATORY!”

Along with sharing this, I want to share tips that help with what we may be experiencing during this time.

1. Trust in the Lord over fear.

Trusting in the Lord has been a challenge for me but as a believer in Jesus, I have to stand at the front lines of believing God is in total control. While fearing the unknown, fearing the illness itself, fearing for my family who are more likely to have severe effects from it is tempting, I know fear can be detrimental. Fear is not always a good thing. Fear causes us to become irrational, to hoard supplies, to be greedy with what we have, and so many other negative traits.

This kind of fear is from The Enemy, but the Lord is good, and we can put all our trust in Him. He doesn’t ever change. (Hebrews 13:8) He keeps every promise, and something He promises is, He will take care of us, He will supply every need. (Matthew 6:31-33) My suggestion is not to not do certain things to take care of yourself. He doesn’t promise this will happen with magic; we are to work diligently, so don’t sit back and expect God to supply. Work, but remember, what He provides and God taking care of His people is not dependent on what we do. When we have the hope that comes from knowing Jesus literally died and rose from the dead so that we could be delivered from our sins, we don’t have to fear what’s going. We can trust Him, who took care of the most crucial detail in our lives!

2. Grieving what we’ve lost

We wanted to wrap up our grief topic in March but with things the way are, it seems necessary to address this kind of grief. Seniors, jobs, school closures, and sanity (just kidding); people have lost so much during this time. It is okay to grieve those losses, to acknowledge the loss. It’s okay to be sad. It’s okay to wish you had that time to do those things. So, grieve what you’ve lost, and don’t be afraid of that. Let it settle that you had something to lose and that matters. Remember, it is only temporary.

3. Keep Up with your Hygiene

I know, I know. Common sense, right? Maybe but I believe this will help you feel safer. You can only control you, and you can only do what you can do. Something you can be in charge of is your hygiene. It’s terrifying thinking of what other people decide to do or don’t do, but just remember, you can control yourself. At this point, keeping up with hygiene also means following restrictions on going out. Only go out if it’s necessary and don’t dismiss any problematic symptoms right now. Just be careful!

4. Be Still and Enjoy the Rest

It’s tempting to be upset about this time, but let’s take a moment and pause to sit in these moments of serenity. I know it may not be total serenity, but think of how busy we all are most of the time, we’re getting a chance to rest, a mandated chance to rest from busyness. Take the opportunity and be still. Give yourself over to rest. Once you’ve given yourself over to rest and continue doing that while we’re in this situation, ask yourself, what’s something I’ve been wanting to do but haven’t gotten around to doing it? What’s a way I can serve my neighbor? What do others need that I can offer? Take time to check-in, read a book, paint, go for a hike, etc. I just want you to acknowledge that you can take time to rest and don’t feel guilty about it, it’s mandatory!

I know the tips are simple, but whether you’ve never heard them or they refresh your memory, I hope you get to take something useful away from all of these words. Peace Restored aims to be as helpful as possible to others. Without people viewing our site, reading our blogs, donating time and money, sponsoring events, and offering services, Peace Restored wouldn’t be able to operate at all, which includes sharing tips for getting through this pandemic. So, this is a sincere thank you from Peace Restored for every ounce of support we are given!

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