Strategic Warfare: How to Thrive on the Battleground

Okay, it’s not a secret in my house, so I might as well share it with you: I hate almost all bugs. God has a purpose for all living things . . . I know that.

Woman_cleaning_toilets
By Emergency Brake [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

However, I find it quite rude when vermin sneak around my house, bite or sting at will, and then mosey back to their little hideaways.

I also hate bacteria and viruses because they are invisible to the naked eye. How well can we fight something potentially deadly that we can’t even see?

An Agent of Change in a Suffering World

Ten minutes and her life was forever changed. It was a beautiful morning as my friend headed out the door for work. She called her husband to wish him a good day as she walked to her car.

Change
(Image from Unsplash)

During the phone call, she heard a sound behind her and looked to see what it was. She was being ambushed. A surge of “fight or flight” chemicals flooded her body just as the first punch smashed her jaw.

Learning to Wait in the Waiting Room

There is a place I used to call my second home: the waiting room. I’ll never forget the hours I spent with my special-needs son in waiting rooms—rooms with tattered magazines, crying children, and tired-looking people who were staring at smudged, blandly painted walls.

Waiting Room
photo credit: jeffk The Cruel Waiting Room via photopin (license)

If there were windows, I watched the outside world whirl by—beautiful women out and about, men in pressed suits connected to cell phones.

I would get stuck in my thoughts . . . somewhere between envious and anxious, weary and worried. I wondered when the waiting would end.

What Does “Trusting God” Mean?

Trust is not one of my strong suits. I could try to blame my struggle on not knowing enough trustworthy people, but I know the problem is rooted in me . . . in my desire to protect myself and in my fear of getting hurt or let down.

Trust
(Image from Unsplash)

I know that not trusting others is one of my defense mechanisms. Whenever I’m faced with an issue requiring trust, I skip right over it and jump into evaluation mode.

I think to myself,

Captive Audience

If you could travel anywhere in the world, with anyone you love, without any financial worry, where would you go? Perhaps a cozy cabin in Canada’s Banff National Park or a reprieve in one of England’s rustic cottages?

Traveling
(Image from Unsplash)

Or imagine roving around Rome’s ancient ruins, adventuring on an African safari, or traveling through Brazil’s rainforests draped with waterfalls.

Such imaginary journeys are endless. I’ve found that time away, regardless the destination, is good for the soul, because time away often leads to contentment.

Paul’s letter to the Philippians was drenched with tones of kindness, contentment, and joy. Repeatedly, Paul used words such as . . .

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Healing

I often wonder what it would be like to get through one day without a jolt of terror running through my veins. One day without experiencing an off-the-chart startled response would be heavenly.

PTSD
(Image from Pixabay)

A soft knock on my office door or my husband’s gentle kiss to wake me in the morning can cause me to jump a mile high and send my heart rate into orbit.

People cannot understand the pervasive power of PTSD and its effects on the body and mind unless they have endured hard trauma. Hard trauma is defined as an event, experience, or ongoing circumstance that is or appears to be life-threatening.

Hard trauma cuts through a person’s ability to cope or process the traumatic event constructively.

The term has become more common due to studies of war veterans. However, an overwhelming number of people with PTSD are not war veterans; they are people we see every day:

An Interview with Michael Hyatt

Life is so . . . daily. Just as one problem is solved, another one surfaces. We clock in and clock out of work, and eventually life itself becomes robotic and routine.

Michael Hyatt Headshot
Michael Hyatt

It doesn’t take long for our dreams to diminish into a cloud of dust, leaving us to wonder Is this all there is? or Where did the time go?

The truth is, we don’t have to live this way—allowing life to just happen as we drift along. We have choices. In this interview, I talk with Michael about how to discover the life we want, make a plan, and live life on purpose.

If you are sick of being stuck, longing for direction, care about how you want to be remembered . . . this interview will fill you with help and hope.

How to End Your Tortured Life

I hadn’t been to church in weeks. Illness, traveling, family needs, life. You get it. Last Sunday, we actually got to church. I’m always amazed at how no one at church looks like they are facing something impossible.

Tortured Life
(Image from Unsplash)

Everyone looks so pretty and polished; fresh and clean. However, how we look on the outside does not usually reveal what’s on the inside.

Because I wear my heart on my sleeve, it doesn’t take long for the sermon to press into the places where I’m struggling and remind me that I need a fresh reminder of the power of Christ’s cross.

But that was not how things started out last Sunday. The music didn’t really move me like it used to . . . the silence felt more irritating than peaceful . . . I was restless. The sermon was from Matthew 18. Here’s a taste:

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 . . .