Letting the Shepherd Lead During Difficult Times

Psalm 23

The LORD is my shepherd,
I shall not want.
2 He makes me lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside quiet waters.
3 He restores my soul;
He guides me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.
4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I fear no evil, for You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You have anointed my head with oil;
My cup overflows.
6 Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life, And I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.

In 2004 I was told that my unborn child would surely die.

In 2009 I was told the same news about my husband.

My unborn child suffered a stroke in utero and five years later his father was diagnosed with a brain tumor. Continue reading “Letting the Shepherd Lead During Difficult Times”

Unleash Sheets: The Soul Care Tool Born Out of Adversity

I’m so honored to have Jolene Underwood as a guest author on the blog today.  Jolene is the creative force behind a healing tool called the Unleash Sheets that Ryan and I have found extremely beneficial over the difficult summer months. These sheets helped to unpack what exactly we were feeling, why we were feeling it and how to begin to heal from the trauma and pain.  These sheets can be as simple or as complicated as you want to be.  We’ve even found them useful when addressing conflict with some of our children as they assist them in getting to the heart of the matter – their feelings – and how to process them in the light of God’s word. 

Ryan and I also did a Blended Live session on Saturday where we offered a giveaway to one lucky listener for an Unleash package valued at $35.00.  Make sure you check out that video to enter because we’ll be drawing a winner next Tuesday (9/18).  

Alrighty, here’s Jolene. 

I couldn’t write anymore.

Words wouldn’t form. Thoughts wouldn’t connect. Everything I said and did came out jumbled with confused purpose when stress took over my brain again. It had been two years since coming home from the place that sparked intense trauma. Two years of fighting for healing while our marriage struggled.

In 2012, we moved to a ranch owned by a foster agency where we would care for many hurting children. We had up to twelve in our home and endured more stress than I thought was possible in a lifetime. When our time was done, and we returned in 2013, reading and writing became part of my healing process. These steps were hard to take but they kept my brain moving. It gave me something to enjoy.

Eventually, my husband and I were in our second separation and we would spend Christmas apart. In my sister’s home, I couldn’t write anything worthwhile. Creativity welled up inside of me without a way to express it. I surmised it would be easier to create a planner. Because running a business while healing from PTSD is an obvious choice. Or not.

As I thought about the kind of planner I would want, I kept writing down questions for soul exploration. These were essential components of what I wanted to create. Eventually, those questions became something else entirely.

A tool for dealing with life’s challenges and connecting with God was created out of heartache, pain, and an inability to handle overwhelming thoughts and feelings.

When it began, I had no idea what was being shaped or how God would use this new thing. Not just for me, but for hundreds of others as well. I didn’t realize that some of the concepts in this tool align with teachings from numerous other psychologists, Christian counselors, and pastors.

God always knows the things we don’t, and He invites us to partake with Him in the journey.

That’s what Unleash: Heart & Soul Care Sheets have been from the inception and it’s how they are used by participants. They are a guided way of partaking with God in our unique journeys. By sitting down to work out the events of our lives, getting honest about our thoughts, and identifying our feelings, we bring awareness to what the Lord wants to touch.

He wants to be involved in helping us renew our minds.

‘Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. ‘ ~ Romans 12:2 ESV

He never left us to do this on our own strength.
‘And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you. “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. ‘ ~ John 14:16-18 ESV

He wants to help us live with redemptive purpose where thoughts, emotions, and choices are concerned.

God’s way is a way of transforming and it doesn’t all happen at the point of salvation. It’s a process that occurs over time and it requires surrender and active steps with Him regularly.

I believe Unleash Sheets are an effective tool for facilitating spiritual growth, emotional health, and soul-level transformation. Not because the tool is all that great in and of itself, but because of how God works through an intentional process when we make ourselves available to Him then respond to what He has to say.

We all need help when it comes to hearing from God and then choosing what to put into practice.

I sure do.

God has used this tool over the last few years to help me hear His voice, receive His healing touch, and to take tough steps when faced with intense opposition and spiritual battles.

It has been used by teens as well as adults and men as well as women. It’s fostered awareness for hidden feelings which opened the door to receiving greater peace, joy, and freedom. It’s also helped many know God’s presence in powerful ways.

The work happens between you and God. The tool provides a way to experience it.

There are many ways this can happen, but I’m grateful for the ways it happens through regular time with God and intentionally pursuing His heart and revelation for me.

Today, I still use the tool regularly. It’s been helpful for enhancing work done with my counselor and for continuing my healing journey too.

I am also working on future courses and content that will take expand the work done through this tool. These will help users identify unhealthy beliefs, face unexpressed emotions, deal with unhealed hurts, and repent from unconfessed sins. Other topics may include: codependency, anxiety, feelings and emotions, and more.
In addition, my YouTube channel includes a growing playlist to help users benefit from this versatile tool. It also includes curated playlists from various experts that touch on the topics above and other content related to emotional health and spiritual growth.

Got questions? Let me know!

To order your own set of Unleash Sheets, check out the favorites tab on my home page or click on this link.

https://go.ahtrack.com/?pid=f033ab37c30201f73f142449d037028d&aid=11738

 

(Disclaimer, this is an affiliate link and I will be paid a commission if you choose to purchase through this link)

 

Jolene Underwood is an emotional health warrior and soul care mentor. She draws upon her personal journey towards emotional health, her psychology background, and passion for counseling to help others cultivate a life well-lived no matter the circumstance. She also leads a community called Rise Up Writers where she helps to equip and encourage Christian communicators.

Connect with her online via YouTube/Facebook/Twitter/Instagram/Pinterest at @theJoleneU or via the Cultivated Life Newsletter.

When the Almighty Flips Your Page – Holding on During Difficult Times

Last night I rummaged through our attic and came across this old calendar from 2010. Flipping through its pages I paused when I arrived at August – August 2010 – the most difficult month of my life, a tumultuous month full of overwhelming obligations and demands: work, Luke’s birthday, family pictures, doctors appointments, four children farmed out on a daily basis to anyone and everyone, the arrival of hospice equipment, nursing staff in and out, important phone calls determining life or death decisions, and ultimately goodbyes whispered and a funeral prepared for a young husband and father.

This morning, eight years later, I bask in the warmth of the Tennessee sun, a beautiful fall day spent watching my rambunctious one year old daughter fill her little, red wagon with dry, autumn leaves as I hang freshly laundered clothing on the line. A day I could not have imagined in my wildest dreams in August of 2010. A day seeping with redemption, warmth, and joy.

The moral of the story? Circumstances can change in an instant. You may currently find yourself in the midst of an unimaginable hell, but hear me with this truth, hold on with every ounce of your being, hold on to him who is greater than he who is in the world, hold on to that last shred of faith in your soul no matter how unraveled or mangled or beat to crap it may seem, HOLD ON for goodness sake and for every other sake in the world for you have absolutely no idea what’s around the bend. You have no idea what may be in store for you when the Almighty flips your page, and you have no idea the blessing he may bestow when you “fight the good fight and finish the race.” You will have your peace again, you will have your joy; you will rise and have the crown of life bestowed upon your weary head, and you will hear those coveted words, “Well done good and faithful servant.” I promise – your faithfulness will win in this life or the next.

Just keep livin!

For Health and Beauty! My Latest Endeavor

Introducing Pure Haven – My latest endeavor!

Because, as you all know, I just don’t have enough on my plate yet.  But really, I have repeatedly debated about signing on with Pure Haven for years, and I finally took the plunge.

Y’all, I am not easily swayed nor do I believe the hype or false advertising of most companies when they make promises of toxic free or all natural but #purehaven is the real deal. I am so convinced of this company’s message of clean, pure, and toxic free that I had to be involved.  I already use many of the products, and I get to encourage the rest of the world to vote with their dollars by choosing non toxic, organic, clean options. Every vote for clean is a vote to change the current system of carcinogenic crap that currently sits on our store shelves.

You can’t put a price on health, and if you buy the junk that the corner drug store offers, you’re basically buying poison and that poison seeps into the biggest organ on your body – your skin – and to put poison on your skin is potentially worse than if you ingested it. Not only are you spending money on poison but you’re decreasing your immune system’s ability in the long run to fight off disease every time you slather many of the mainstream products on your body. Europe has banned over 1300 chemicals for use in personal care products that are bad for our health and oftentimes carcinogenic.  The U.S. has banned 11.  There’s something really not right about this fact. For more info check out this link. https://www.beautybyearth.com/over-1000-toxic-ingredients-banned-in-europe-but-not-in-us/

I should preface, these products are different because they are chemical free and will feel different initially. When I first tried the tinted facial moisturizer I didn’t like it! It felt so clean on my face and didn’t have that normal, caked on makeup feel, but within a week I was declaring my undying love, and I have now exclusively used this product for two years.

I didn’t become a consultant to get rich (although that wouldn’t be bad either) I’m doing this because our American culture needs to become educated and wise about what we put on our bodies or we will all perish – or get really sick –  from ignorance.

Some of my favorites include:

  1. The tinted moisturizer is awesome.  I wear only this product along with a little concealer every day.
  2. The toothpaste – kids and adults.
  3. The laundry detergent.
  4. The baby cream – which I use every night before I go to bed.

For more information, check out this link http://www.purehaven.com/jessplusthemess

The Link is also under the favorites tab on my homepage. I would be happy to send a catalog or more information as well.  Message me at jessplusthemess@gmail.com

AND – LIMITED TIME ONLY –

I’m  passing along my entire discount – 30% –  to anyone who wants to give these amazing products a try through the end of this month – AUGUST 31 TO BE EXACT – but you’ll have to message me your order for me to pass along my discount.

That’s it!  I hope you give these amazing products a try and say no to harsh chemical and yes to health and beauty.

Just keep livin!