I Am Renewed

We all struggle (or have struggled) with suffering, and when it comes to real suffering, my friend Michele Cushatt, guest-posting today, understands the struggle firsthand. Without giving away her story (which you can read in her books and watch on my interviews), Michele knows what it’s like to lose her footing and to wonder if she’d ever again be able to stand. She also knows what it’s like to cry out to God for grace and discover the miracle of His presence and His purpose right here, right now.

—Colleen Swindoll Thompson

“I will refresh the weary and satisfy the faint.” —Jeremiah 31:25 NIV Recently, I found out a dear friend is in hospice. After years of fighting breast cancer, she now faces the imminent end of her life. My heart hurts.

Renewed

(Image from Unsplash)

Over the years of our friendship, I’ve watched her face her foe with joy and unwavering belief in God. Her spirit—even in her real moments of struggle—gave me courage when I faced my own life-and-death battle. It gives me strength still.

And yet today, my heart feels only grief.

Exquisite Agony: Becoming a Masterpiece

Without question, he defined what it meant to be a “Renaissance Man.” Michelangelo—born Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni—is remembered as one of the most gifted Italian sculptors, painters, architects, and poets of all time.

Painter
(Image from Unsplash)

In fact, some say his approach to art was almost mystical. It’s been said he would study the blank canvas or chunk of marble and see in its shadows the finished product. Only then would he begin to create works of legendary art.

As with all sculpting and shaping processes, a variety of tools were needed. Some rocky surfaces required . . .

Nineteen (and a Half) Reasons Why Being Broken Is Beautiful

He clung to his phone like a threadbare lifeline. Hearing his laugh is a symphony of joy . . . it’s not the norm for him in life. My son Jon is now 19 and a HALF—that half is desperately important to him.

Broken
(Image from Pixabay)

For his whole life, he’s been in pain:

  • Physically
  • Emotionally
  • Relationally
  • Spiritually

He’s aware he doesn’t fit this world. As his mother, I must say there are very few things more difficult than raising a child who “doesn’t fit.”

The unspoken message rings loud and clear on a daily basis: he regularly receives attention from medical specialists, education teams, or worse, bullies and people who look through him as if he weren’t there.

His loneliness is almost suffocating at times.

For 19 and a HALF years, we have tried almost everything . . .

How to Ignite a Song of Hope When the Whistling Stops

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs . . . who isn’t familiar with those jolly dwarfs whistling while they worked? I still remember the clink-clank of their mining tools, the whistling as they walked home.

disney-world
(Image from Pixabay)

The magic of those old Disney movies stay with us.

But what happens when there is no movie-magic, no joy? What happens when the whistling stops?

Seven Dwarfs That Reflect Real Life

Not long ago I saw a colorful, captivating picture on a doctor’s office wall. It was clearly a parody of Disney’s movie Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.

Snow White
(Image from Pixabay)

Remember those jolly little round, robust fellows who whistled, worked, and walked home singing catchy tunes? Good ol’ Doc . . .

  • Grumpy
  • Happy
  • Sleepy
  • Bashful
  • Sneezy
  • Dopey

They seemed to make life a bit lighter wherever they went.

The picture on the wall was titled “The Seven Dwarfs of Despair.” I read their names:

How to Make Peace with an Unexpected Life

This video was previously aired and represents Michele Cushatt’s testimony to God’s faithfulness prior to her having major surgery.

Cancer. The “C” word . . . it’s supposed to happen to other people. But what happens when a terminal diagnosis invades our lives? Few understand this better than Michele Cushatt.

Michele Cushatt
Michele Cushatt

Michele, a two-time survivor of tongue cancer, who tells her story in her new book: Undone: A Story of Making Peace with an Unexpected Life.

In this interview, we talk of God’s goodness . . . how Michele confronted cancer in the midst of being called to public speaking, how she served as the Women of Faith emcee, how she’s mom to six kids, and how she’s dealing with a new recurrence of tongue cancer.

Michele’s interview was recorded one day before her daunting nine-hour surgery. In the midst of this massive, raging storm, Michele speaks with calmness and clarity about her past, her new book, and what she is learning as she moves forward. This interview is life-changing!

What We Need to Help Us through Trials

When you encounter people who are going through a trial, do you find yourself thinking: I really want to help others who are struggling, but what do they need most?

What We Need to Help Us through Trials
(Photo: By Paul Bica from Toronto. Last rays. CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

As human beings, we all need the following 8 qualities in our lives to help us through our toughest times.

The Best Interviews of 2016

There’s a lot of talk about what is anticipated when a new year rolls around. Let’s not forget the anticipation in the new year. New beginnings . . . new anything is great!

New Year
(Photo Courtesy of Pexels)

Not that I LOVE things, but sometimes new stuff is glorious. For example:

  • A new, soft, cuddly little baby
  • A new, clean house
  • A new, fabulous pair of shoes (my downfall)
  • A new trip somewhere you have never been
  • A new season: football and fall, swimming and summer, winter’s wonderland, and new life in spring popping up with fresh scents and colors

But there’s another truth to new stuff. Our anticipation is often colored with a lot of excitement because we somehow cling to unrecognized expectations.

Here’s the bummer: Typically the “newness” of something wears off when we realize . . .

How to Beat the Burn-Out

TIRED! That was the only word I could think of. Typically, my husband—who leaves for work by 5:20 a.m.—sends me a text asking how the morning routine and getting out the door went.

Stressed Woman
Image from Photodune.

For us, that can be a risky inquiry since, quite often, departing for the day is something just shy of the Exodus.

In spite of appearing quite normal, my son’s global intellectual developmental disabilities (IDD) require a lot of assistance—which isn’t that big of a deal.

The bigger deal is me: the mother who hates mornings, rarely has “anything to wear,” and struggles with ADD and focus challenges.

I kept thinking, all moms juggle morning routines. I’ve been at this for over 20 years. Why is this still such a big deal?

Cutting Out the Christmas Conflict

I don’t think there is any other time of the year when we are faced with intense conflict than at Christmas time. While we sing about it being the most wonderful time of the year, would you say that’s your experience?

Christmas Stress
Image from Photodune.

If it really is the happiest season of all, why do the mental health statistics reveal December has the highest suicide and depression rates than any other month of the year?