Dispelling Shadows

Light gives of itself freely, filling all available space. It does not seek anything in return; it asks not whether you are friend or foe. It gives of itself and is not thereby diminished.  -Michael Strassfeld

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Are You In?

God is in the slums, in the cardboard boxes where the poor play house.

God is in the silence of a mother who has infected her child with a virus that will end both of their lives.

God is in the cries heard under the rubble of war.

God is in the debris of wasted opportunity and lives, and

God is with us if we are with them.

Bono, Lead Singer, U2

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Second Chances

Second chances offer us an opportunity to start over, to reconcile, redeem, or restore things that aren’t quite what they could be, or could’ve been. A second chance may be related to a relationship, a new way of seeing, believing, or being; or it may be connected to a renewed goal or a dream.

Whatever it is, it’s an opportunity. It is unexpected grace, maybe even mercy, this ability to begin again. If we look for them, we can see second chances all around us. By respecting them and showing our gratitude, it’s as if we become alive or renewed again. Second chances are a gift. We can’t take them for granted, because nothing in this life is guaranteed. They may never cross our path again. By our attitudes and behaviors, we show how we value the gift. When we “awaken” to find that unexpected key in our hand, it is there for a reason. Unlock the door while the gift of the second chance is available. You’ll be humbled as you discover (or rediscover) what you once thought was lost. Here’s to second chances in the new year!

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Hold On, Pain Does Not Last Forever

We can endure much more than we think we can; all human experience testifies to that. All we need to do is learn not to be afraid of pain. Grit your teeth and let it hurt. Don’t deny it, don’t be overwhelmed by it. It will not last forever. One day, the pain will be gone and you will still be there. -Harold Kushner

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Depression: Walking From Darkness Into the Dawn

Women experience twice the rate of depression as men. -The National Alliance on Mental Health

Depression is crippling. It has the power to change the course of people’s lives, their relationships, opportunities, and futures. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, when people suffer with depression it interferes with daily life and causes pain not only to the sufferer, but those who care about them. Though depression is common, it is a serious illness. From the outside looking in, it’s hard to imagine that nearly 1 million people “end their journey of isolation and hope by taking their own life” every year.

Depression is Debilitating

I saw a brilliant man who was tormented with his own demons. Tormented with self doubt, self-hate. I did not fully understand what was happening to him, and that is when I realized he had been hiding his darkness. –Katrina

Depression: Walking From Darkness Into the Dawn is part of the Hope for the Heart series authored by June Hunt. Hunt is a popular speaker, radio host, and counselor known for offering biblical hope and practical help at pivotal times in people’s lives. She writes, “Those who struggle in the darkness of depression have difficulty seeing the good in their circumstances and especially in themselves.” Hunt helps people understand where depression originates, why it keeps them stuck, and how to walk out of the darkness and into the light.

“In wearing masks, we try to protect our hearts and hide who we really are and what we don’t want to face.”

Understanding the Basics

Readers will learn:

Definitions of Depression: Including psychological depression, classic types of depression and specific definitions of mood disorders.

Characteristics of Depression: Including normal depression, masked depression, neurotic depression, and psychotic depression.

Causes of Depression: Including physical, emotional and spiritual-related depression.

Steps to Solution: Including “taking off masks”; creating a personal timeline of meaningful events to help in assessing roots and causes; Do’s and Don’ts for Family and Friends; and, How You Can Help sections.

Connecting the Dots

“Depressed people see life through a black filter, feeling hatred toward themselves, hopeless about their situations and hopeless over their future.”

Depression affects the whole person. In her book, Hunt speaks to the emotional connection with depression including repressed anger and bitterness; a physical connection including hormonal imbalances, genetic vulnerabilities and healthy lifestyle choices; and a spiritual connection including suppressed fears (abandonment, rejection, failure) and internalized stress (relationships, finances, responsibilities).

Getting Help

Readers will learn what it means for their heart to be in a “state of depression”; how life events (rejection, abuse, divorce, death); medications; and negative or destructive thought patterns can contribute to depression.

After establishing the “what” and “whys” of depression, the author offers positive and empowering counsel on how to begin walking out of the darkness of depression. A common and critical theme throughout the booklet is the importance of replacing dark thoughts with truth (reality). She suggests writing a Thanksgiving List, getting outside of yourself by helping others, allowing for healthy grieving and healing when appropriate, and more. She also lists related scripture verses and a Q&A section; and encourages readers to seek professional medical help as needed.

If you or someone you know is struggling with depression, help is available and relief is possible. This biblical-based booklet will provide a quick overview with both practical and spiritual help for individuals or counselors.

Author June Hunt

About the Author

June Hunt is a biblical counselor whose award-winning radio program “Hope for the Heart” is heard on nearly 900 radio outlets around the world. She is a sought-after public speaker on topics such as crisis counseling, child abuse, forgiveness and self-worth. Her “Hope for the Heart” booklets have been translated into 27 languages.

Additional Resources:

National Alliance on Mental Health: Women and Depression

Mayo Clinic: Depression in Women: Understanding the Gender Gap

National Suicide Prevention Hotline

Join me on Twitter @DestinysWomen

Note: Rose Publishing provided me with an advanced reader copy of this booklet.

(c) By April McCallum, Destiny’s Women™–”Championing the Life, Freedom & Destiny of Women”

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15 Quotes about Suicide

Life ebbs and flows, and is forever changing. When darkness, pain, or despair feel like permanent companions, it’s important to remember, nothing ever remains the same forever. Darkness can lift. We can find relief from pain and sadness. And hope, though it may seem buried and no longer within reach, is still very much alive whether we feel it or not. Hold on because there are people that love you, dreams to chase, experiences and joys yet to be discovered, and most of all, because your life is a gift to you and the world, and it really does matter. Take courage… Choose life.

People never forget a friend or loved one who has succeeded in suicide. We carry it every day, not in the back of our minds, but in the center of our broken hearts. -Candace

Suicide is a desperate attempt to get out of what seems to be an intolerable situation. It appears to be a way of escape from the pain of living. -June Hunt

No one teaches you how to do this. How do you let go of someone who you love so much? -Kathy

When people kill themselves, they think they’re ending the pain, but all they’re doing is passing it on to those they leave behind. -Jeanette Walls

But in the end one needs more courage to live than to kill himself. -Albert Camus

I feel as though the carpet had been ripped right out from under me, and I have been left to pick up the pieces of a dream that would never be fulfilled. -Katrina

Sometimes even to live, is an act of courage. -Seneca

It’s hell. But it is survivable. You have to understand that and take ownership of it: suicidal feelings and behavior are survivable. -Suicide Survivor

To have him gone forever is a pain that will never go away. -Bethany

Those struggling with life-threatening thoughts do not feel connected to others. They feel all alone— even alone in the midst of a crowd. -June Hunt

I’m the girl nobody knows until she commits suicide. Then suddenly everyone had a class with her. -Tom Leveen

Did you really want to die?
No one commits suicide because they want to die.
Then why do they do it?
Because they want to stop the pain.
-Tiffanie DeBartolo

She will never know how much she is loved. -Desiree

When people are suicidal, their thinking is paralyzed, their options appear spare or nonexistent, their mood is despairing, and hopelessness permeates their entire mental domain. The future cannot be separated from the present, and the present is painful beyond solace. ‘This is my last experiment,’ wrote a young chemist in his suicide note. ‘If there is any eternal torment worse than mine I’ll have to be shown’. -Kay Redfield Jamison

At the split second I hit freefall, I didn’t want to die. What did I just do? The voices were gone. I was right there, facing ultimate death… I said God, please let me live. –Kevin Hines

Psychologist, Dr. Sheldon Solomon says: We all have the capacity to create meaning and to lead rich lives. This is a possibility that defies nationality, class, and culture. We can all get through dark times; we can choose life, and we can come out stronger in the process.

Resources:

For help, contact the Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) anytime 24/7, to be connected with a skilled, trained counselor at a crisis center in your area.

Learn More: American Foundation for Suicide Prevention

Suicide Prevention Tools that Can Help Save Lives (by Lisa Firestone, ph.D.)

Join me on Twitter @DestinysWomen

(c) By April McCallum, Destiny’s Women™–”Championing the Life, Freedom & Destiny of Women”

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She Will Never Know…

Desiree’s friend died in a suicide pact with her boyfriend.  She was only 17.

She will never know the number of people she has hurt.
She will never know the damage she has done.
She will never know how many people she touched with her vibrant spirit.
She will never know how much she will be missed.
She will never know how much she is loved. –Desiree

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Suicide Prevention: Hope When Life Seems Hopeless

“Suicide is a desperate attempt to get out of what seems to be an intolerable situation. It appears to be a way of escape from the pain of living.” –June Hunt

According to the World Health Organization, approximately one million people die by suicide annually. Suffering suicide is a deliberate act of killing oneself while in an extreme state of despair. In Latin, sui means “oneself” and cide means “to kill.”

In her book, Suicide Prevention: Hope When Life Seems Hopeless, June Hunt addresses faulty assumptions: “My future holds no promise;” “My wrongs won’t be forgiven;” “My dreams won’t come true;” saying, “so goes the fatalistic thinking of the hopeless.” Suicide Prevention: Hope When Life Seems Hopeless is part of the Hope for the Heart series authored by June Hunt. She is a popular speaker, radio host, and counselor known for offering biblical hope and practical help at pivotal times in peoples lives.

Living with Hopelessness

How sad it is that there are people around us who find the idea of exiting life early a welcome solution to their seemingly untangleable unending/unresolvable torment. They are convinced that death will rescue and relieve them from suffering the heavy burden of overwhelming pain. They are without hope.

God created everyone with an inner need to feel significant, yet the desire to live slowly burns out within a heart that no longer sees a reason to live. As the candle of hope is extinguished, that inner sense of purpose is snuffed out by overwhelming despair.”

Hunt speaks to the power of haunting trauma, mocking shame, suffocating secrecy, engulfing agony, a victimizer’s power, crushing emotional burdens, tormenting self-hatred, and the catalysts that push sufferers over the edge. Those who entertain suicidal thoughts are often surrounded by feelings of smallness (powerless over their tormenting internal or external accusers), darkness, coldness… hopelessness.

Her acrostic (that spells the word escape) gives clues to issues that often attend suicide: Excessive Loss, Social Isolation, Critical Illness/Impairment, Abusive Background, Psychological Disorders, Excessive Guilt.

You’re Not Alone

When we lose our capacity for hope, darkness takes advantage and begins to seep into our thinking. It fools us into believing the worst, isolating us, and making us believe we are the only ones experiencing this inner hell.

  • Do you ever think that life is not worth living?
  • Do you ever wish you could fall asleep and not wake up?
  • Are you thinking of harming yourself?
  • What do you fear the most?

When you’re in the darkest depths of despair, when you feel emotionally trapped with no way out, remember, you’re not alone. Countless thousands all around the world are experiencing the same feelings of hopelessness. Did you know that over 90% of people who die by suicide have a mental disorder, or that untreated depression can significantly increase the risk for suicide? She writes, “Those struggling with life-threatening thoughts do not feel connected to others. They feel all alone–even alone in the midst of a crowd.” What we need to know about people obsessed with or considering suicide is this:

People don’t want to die—what they really want is for their pain to end.

That means they want hope. They want a reason to hope. But they need something more powerful than themselves to lead them out of the darkness that deceives them into thinking and believing that death is the answer, and into the light.

Getting Help

The author outlines three stages for observers to be aware of in the case of potential suicide (associated thinking/behaviors/attitudes); characteristics of suicidal teens; and various questions you can ask a suicidal spouse, child, or friend. Readers will also learn definitions, characteristics, causes, and most importantly, steps to solutions. The booklet offers a run-through of personal spiritual history, medical history, thought patterns, and family suicidal history that can be used as an assessment aid; plus a practical checklist with examples of ways to alleviate suicidal obsession.

There is also a special section for parents, educators and coaches dedicated to “bully-cide.” (Bully-cide refers to a person who dies of suicide because of the torment, fear, and humiliation associated with being bullied.)

If you are plagued with suicidal thoughts, or suspect someone you know might be, this booklet provides a quick overview with both practical and spiritual help. It is also wise to share with a trusted friend, advisor, medical and/or mental health professional.

In reestablishing hope for the heart, the author leads readers back to God’s desire: to restore lives through his love, to give comfort, and compassion. He wants to make broken lives and shattered hearts whole again–to alleviate pain, heal hearts, and restore hope.

Author June Hunt

About the Author June Hunt is a biblical counselor whose award-winning radio program “Hope for the Heart” is heard on nearly 900 radio outlets around the world. She is a sought-after public speaker on topics such as crisis counseling, child abuse, forgiveness and self-worth. Her “Hope for the Heart” booklets have been translated into 27 languages.

Additional Resources:

National Suicide Prevention Hotline (or call 1-800-273-8255)

Alliance of Hope for Suicide Survivors

How to Help Someone Who is Suicidal

Join me on Twitter @DestinysWomen

Note: Rose Publishing provided me with an advanced reader copy of this booklet.

(c) By April McCallum, Destiny’s Women™–”Championing the Life, Freedom & Destiny of Women”

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Freedom Series: Fear To Courage

Unhealthy fear is a liar. If not stopped, it will always seek to bully us into believing lies about ourselves and about others, ultimately morphing our reality. It is a thief. It robs our peace and joy, and in many cases, the faith and courage to follow our dreams and live healthy fulfilled lives. But the worst part about unhealthy fear is that it can become a slave master. Its single focused goal is to destroy the truth and any potential goodness in our lives by disempowering us and holding us captive.

From Fear to Courage is a 96-page minibook that is part of the Freedom Series created by author and popular women’s speaker, Michelle Borquez. Women desperately want to get to the other side of fear, shame, low self-esteem, hopelessness, or any other issue that keeps them from finding their ultimate freedom in life, but often they don’t know how. The book’s authors use biblical truths to guide readers out of their unhealthy fears into a place of understanding, healing, and freedom.

Have you (or someone you know) kept a secret that has bound you in chains, choked off your voice, drowned your hopes, or silenced your dreams?

In Fear to Courage, Kim Vastine shares her personal story of shame, betrayal, loneliness, and anger brought on by childhood sexual abuse perpetrated by an uncle, someone she “should” have been able to trust. Instead, she was lied to, stolen from, and enslaved to her abuser.  Fear became an unwanted and demanding companion. She uses words like torment, pain, fear, and grief to describe how the abuse made her feel.

Adding fuel to the fire, yet another family member compounded her abuse profile. Speaking of her father’s volatile outbursts that would leave the family, “cowering, sobbing, or desperately striving to seem invisible,” she concluded, “as bad as it was physically, emotionally it was worse.” And just when you wonder how much more a child can endure, she tells of yet another abuse in a place she “should” have felt safe and secure.

The images and memories of abuse branded in her mind helped formulate how she saw the world, God, and herself. My voice was silent, but my heart cried out for justice.” Like flecks of emotional shrapnel searing through the skin, unless extracted, they remain embedded in our minds and spirits. In her case, she learned to mask her negative emotions in deceptive and unhealthy ways.

Paige Henderson writes, “When fear dictates, love is silenced.” This booklet invites women to take the critical journey “moving from life-crushing fear to life-changing courage.” None of us can survive without hope or apart from love. She helps readers put fear into perspective. To understand the awe-inspired “fear” of God and positive healthy choices, as opposed to unhealthy fear that distorts truth, steals our voice, and robs us of our intended destiny. Love is more powerful than fear, but as long as we give fear a place, we give it power.

Then she uses examples from the Bible to show the consistency (predictability) of human nature in our reaction to fear: hiding or running in the opposite direction, and then speaks to trust and identity issues and how they inform us on how we relate to ourselves and the world. The heavy burden of abuse and its fallout are real, but remember, we are not alone in the battle. When childhood abuse occurs, children are left to define their trauma through their own experience and feelings, never grasping what it all means and where they fit in the overall scheme of what has happened to them. (Underscore, to them.)

Abused children typically draw conclusions based on false thinking, and as they mature and advance into adult relationships, they act out what they believe. Although a woman’s body matures and changes, for those who have suffered from childhood trauma, their wounded little girl remains still very much a part of them. That little girl is desperate to be loved, feel worthy, and to be seen and heard. She needs healing.

Henderson talks about the significance of fortifying our lives (how we think, feel, and act) in the way we build our life foundations.  How important it is that we build wisely, and with truth, because eventually, we act on what we believe. We live out our lives, based on what we believe to be true. Using a simple Q&A format, she encourages readers to pause and reflect, and then record their thoughts and feelings. The process helps define the root causes of fear and the difference between healthy and unhealthy fears and their effect.

Armed with a healthy understanding about fear, love, and the importance (and power) of taking personal responsibility for our ultimate wholeness and freedom, Sharon Kay Ball rounds out the book with a section called, “Steps to Freedom.” She discusses the devastation of sexual and emotional abuse including disempowerment and trauma. Readers are then given steps to help in the process of healing those broken places.

Victims of abuse will learn how to un-pack and re-pack, so to speak, their belief systems (about truth, themselves, and others), so they can move from fear to courage, and from victim to survivor. That means taking the power away from the perpetrators, and reclaiming it for ourselves. She reminds us that, “secrets only carry power when they are kept secret.” And discusses how to get past self-blame, the importance of not stuffing bad memories, and how to process anger in a healthy way. She also underscores the value of journaling and working with a professional therapist if necessary.

“When fear enslaves us, it paralyzes us and keeps us from having the courage to live out our purpose in life.” –Michelle Borquez

This booklet begins with Kim’s story about sexual and other abuses. Maybe your fears have different origins. But the fact remains: fear is a liar and fear is a thief. Eventually, unhealthy fear becomes a slave master, and until we replace it with truth, it will keep us where we don’t want to be, in a perpetual internal prison.

It’s time to let go of fear and claim your freedom. Commit to the process because you are worth it. Give yourself permission to take the journey that will eventually lead you out of the cage and into your freedom.

Purchase the book: Fear to Courage

You may also be interested in:

Fear is a Liar

20 Quotes about Pushing Past Fear

Live Fearless, Live Free.

Join me on Twitter @DestinysWomen

Note: Rose Publishing provided me with an advanced reader copy of this booklet.

(c) By April McCallum, Destiny’s Women™–”Championing the Life, Freedom & Destiny of Women”

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Live Fearless, Live Free.

It has been said that fear is the prison of the heart. Look up, Push forward, keep going, don’t look back, because fear is a liar… and you’ve got better things to do with your life. Don’t give it power, don’t let it hold you down. Keep on dreaming, keep on hoping, keep on praying, keep on believing, keep on living, keep on keeping on, even in the face of fear. Live fearless. Live free. 

The more you are motivated by love, the more fearless and free your actions will be. –Unknown

As fear is a close companion to falsehood, so truth follows fearlessness. –Jawaharlar Nehru

We have to be fearless, we have to take chances. We can’t live just being afraid of what comes next, that’s not what living is about. –Unknown

The thing you fear most has no power. Your fear of it is what has the power. Facing truth really will set you free. –Oprah Winfrey

Courage is never to let your actions be influenced by your fears. –Arthur Koestler

When we love, we are courageous; and courage has nothing to do with being fearless, it’s about being willing to experience fear, even dread, to do what we must, without guarantee of outcome. –Vanna Bonta

Fear cannot take what you do not give it. –Christopher Coan

There is only one you for all time. Fearlessly you. –Anthony Rapp

Courage is fear that has said its prayers. –Dorothy Bernard

Let us not pray to be sheltered from dangers but to to be fearless when facing them. –Rabindranath Tagore

Be fearless, create your own world with courage. –Unknown

I have a lot of things to prove to myself. One is that I can live my life fearlessly. –Oprah Winfrey

The ground of fearlessness is fear. In order to be fearless, you have to stand in the middle of your fear. –Larry Rosenberg

I am afraid yet fearless. For fearlessness is not the absence of fear, but the bravery to do it anyways. –Unknown

Do you think courage means being fearless? Or daring? Courage, real courage, is taking three steps when it terrifies you. –Catherine Anderson

Becoming fearless isn’t the point. That’s impossible. It’s learning how to control your fear, and how to be free from it. –Veronica Roth

Fearless is living in spite of those things that scare you to death. –Taylor Swift 

He who fears something gives it power over him. –Moorish Proverb

The only thing we have to fear is fear itself–nameless, unreasoning, unjustified, terror which paralyzes. –Franklin D. Roosevelt

Fear is a poser masquerading as truth. -April McCallum

The wise man in the storm prays to God, not for safety from danger, but for deliverance from fear. –Ralph Waldo Emerson

Be truthful, gentle, and fearless. –Gandhi

There is much in the world to make us afraid. there is much more in our faith to make us unafraid. –Frederick W. Cropp

It’s not what you are that holds you back, it’s what you think you are not. –Denis Waitley

I have accepted fear as a part of life, specifically the fear of change… I have gone ahead despite the pounding in the heart that says: turn back. –Erica Jong

Courage is being scared to death… and saddling up anyway. –John Wayne

Don’t fear failure so much that you refuse to try new things. The saddest summary of a life contains three descriptions: could have, might have, and should have.Louis E. Boone

Look at hopelessness in the face and say: “We are simply not meant to be together.”  Hold courage’s hand and walk away. –Dodinsky

You were put on this earth to achieve your greatest self, to live out your purpose, and to do it fearlessly. –Steve Maraboli

How we handle our fears will determine where we go with the rest of our lives. –Judy Blume

Here’s to all of you who live bold and brave, not because you aren’t afraid, but because you choose to push past your fears in order to live your life more fully, more freely, more alive.

Join me on Twitter @DestinysWomen

(c) By April McCallum, Destiny’s Women™–”Championing the Life, Freedom & Destiny of Women”

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