Thursday, February 11, 2016

Email correction for prayer partners

Several of you have notified me that you tried to respond to my email about needed help on my prayer team. I put the wrong email address -- Oops! (I am fully human). I have corrected it on the page but wanted to give you the proper email.

natalie@tearstojoy.org

Please email me if you would like to be a part of the prayer team!

Monday, February 1, 2016

Special Time with your Children -- Do you accept the challenge?

Several years ago, I took a course where I not only learned a great deal about doing therapy, but also gained a few pearls related to being a mom. One of those "pearls" relates to special time. So often, we get so busy that we give our children our leftovers.  What would happen if we would schedule 30 minutes a week when we give our kids our undivided attention and let them choose how to spend the time.

I'm not talking about going on trips or spending money on our kids, but making time in our daily life to be intentional to listen to them, really listen -- not to give advice but to hear their hearts. What if we played a video game with them, watched a silly show while snuggling on the couch, playing a board game or just talk. If you have multiple kids, make sure to give each child their own "special time." If it isn't possible to do this for each child each week, focus on one child per week or give each child 15 minutes.  Just be sure each child gets their time with you.

Personally, I am inclined to doing an unplugged version of this where we turn off all forms of technology including our phones for 30 minutes and spend real, pure quality time together at least once a week.

Will you commit to do this for the month of February? Will you give your children 2 hours of your undivided attention (30 minutes a week) for a month? Comment below and let me know if you accept the challenge. I am eager to hear how you spend the time and the effects from being intentional about showing our kids we care.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Ten Years Ago...

Ten years ago today I experienced the worst day of my life. There was a knock at the door from a man wearing a cleric's collar. I knew before he ever opened his mouth the message he had come to deliver. My husband, the man I loved with all my heart, was gone.

At the time it was difficult to even breathe. So many thoughts raced through my mind...things I needed to do...questions without answers...fury and overwhelming sadness flooded the depths of my being. I felt completely and utterly undone.

Ten years later I sit at my desk amazed at how God not only put the broken pieces of my life back together, but also created a beautiful mosaic that I never would have imagined from all the hurt and pain. On a weekly basis, I am able to offer hope to others whose lives have been touched by suicide. This was not a task I ever wanted, but it's one I am glad to offer.

I want to take a minute and share with anyone reading this who might be contemplating suicide. Many say that suicide is a permanent solution for temporary pain. I want to add something to that. While it may feel like suicide is the only way to end the pain, the pain doesn't stop after the suicide. The pain is transferred to your loved ones for years to come.

While God has brought healing into my life, the scars from the past remain. I still have hurts and at times tears from the pain Michael brought into our lives when he decided to end his. Don't believe the lie that your loved ones will be better off without you. Leaving them only changes the content of their pain. Talk to someone about your hurts. You can call the Georgia Crisis and Access Line 24 hours a day 7 days a week at 1-800-715-4225. You are not alone. There is help available.

I have journeyed a path I never would have chosen, but along the way God has shown me beautiful things I'd never seen otherwise. I have been given a second chance at love (Jeff, you're the best!) and a precious daughter that I adore. I've experienced sacrificial love from the Body of Christ and I've experienced the peace that surpasses understanding.

As I reflect on the past ten years, my feelings are mixed. There are hurts. There are sorrows. There are joys unspeakable. One thing has remained constant -- the peace that surpasses understanding that only Christ can give. I pray that you experience that peace as well.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Prayer Team Needed

Four years ago, a dream came true for me. Tears to Joy, the book describing my journey through my husband’s bipolar disorder and suicide, was finally published. Many of you celebrated with me. It seems like only yesterday.

If all goes well, I will finish my dissertation and graduate with my doctorate in Professional Counseling this year. Knowing the finish line is in sight begs the question – What’s next?

There are so many good things I could do, but I want to be intentional to do what God wants and not what I want. At this time, I plan to continue working as a therapist and as a professor. However, I would also like to spend more time focusing on developing my ministry, Tears to Joy. In order to prepare, I believe the best next step for me is to develop a prayer team to partner with me in this ministry. I am looking for a few select individuals with whom I can share very real prayer requests as I seek God’s direction for this ministry.

God may bring this ministry to your mind and I ask that when He does, you pray for me whether you are a part of the prayer team or not. For those on my prayer team I am asking them to set aside at least 15 minutes twice a week to be intentional about praying for Tears to Joy. I am looking for people with a heart for ministry, particularly for the brokenhearted, that are committed to prayer and fasting, to walk alongside me and seek God’s face on behalf of this ministry.


If you are interested in being a part of my prayer team, please email me at natalie@tearstojoy.org for more information. 

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Favorite psychological movies --- Go!

I love to snuggle in a warm blanket and watch a good psychological movie that portrays mental illness in a real life context. One of my favorites is an old movie I show my Human Growth and Development classes called, The Bad Seed. Also among my favorites are A Beautiful Mind and Shutter Island.

I am looking to expand my library. What are some of your favorites?