Today, Anna speaks to us about discernment, the fact that nothing behind you disqualifies you from being used by God, and the ties between guilt and anxiety, and the book helping her push past her anxiety. Thank you, Anna, for your vulnerability.
Inspiring biblical passage of the moment: “This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9
This passage has been such a blessing to me. It’s not only helping me overcome my struggle with anxiety, but it’s also shedding light on the fact that I need to follow God boldly in what He’s called me to do. This verse is a promise that we’re not alone and can be confident in our Creator!
Spiritual growth focus at the moment: I’ve struggled with having constant anxiety for most of my life. I’m in the middle of reading Max Lucado’s Anxious for Nothing and it’s opened my eyes to the lies of the enemy… lies that I’ve bought into for as long as I can remember.
Lucado goes over the idea that oftentimes, our anxiety can be traced back to unresolved guilt. Now, I’ve known for many years that I still struggle with feeling a sense of guilt for things that I’ve done in my past, but I’d never heard that the guilt could be a source of my anxiety.
I’m focusing with everything in me to rejoice in my Savior and reject the lies that I’ve been believing about myself. The song “Who You Say I Am” by Hillsong Worship has the lines “I am chosen, not forsaken. I am who You say I am. You are for me, not against me. I am who You say I am,” and I find myself singing that often as a reminder to myself!
Profession: Branch Ops Manager at a mortgage company! I’ve been in the mortgage industry for 10 years now. I’ve done everything from processing, to sales, to now helping our loan officer’s manage their pipelines. If I’m being honest, I’m not sure that there’s a single gift that I have that flows into working with numbers all day (like I do), but I’ve become intentional about creating time outside of work to be creative! I’m currently working on a blog that I’ll be launching this spring called “Lukewarm Lies”, so stay tuned for that! Note from MW: (We can’t wait!)
A one sentence bio of yourself: A Jesus-loving wife who is obsessed with her two rat terriers!
When did you first encounter God and how did you encounter Him? This question is tricky for me to answer because I remember talking to God as a child, but as I got older, I was certainly not following Christ with the way that I was living! I would say that I finally came back to Jesus in the beginning of 2014, when I decided that I was tired of running from Him and living in sin. I was in such a broken place, as I already had a divorce as well as an abusive relationship under my belt (and that was at 21 years old). I felt God tugging on my heart trying to show me that only He was ever going to fill the void that I was attempting to fill with relationships. September 21st, 2014 is when I got baptized and publicly re-dedicated my life to Jesus! Coming home to Him has given me a peace and purpose that I’ve always longed for.
“Coming home to Him has given me a peace and purpose that I’ve always longed for.”
What has helped you grow spiritually in this season? I’m in what my church calls a “Transformation Group” (which is essentially an accountability group) with three other women. The truth that these women are always speaking into my life makes me constantly strive to better align my heart with Christ! If you’re not already plugged into Christian community, I would SO recommend that you get involved. God designed us to be in community– it can be such a healthy and fruitful environment.
Just read/currently reading (and what has it taught you?): Anxious for Nothing by Max Lucado. This book had opened by eyes to the root of my anxiety and has encouraged me to truly “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” (Philippians 4:4). If anyone struggles with even a hint of anxiety, I’m telling you… you’ve GOT to read this book! As someone who’s tried years of counseling, has suffered panic attacks, and has been on anti-anxiety meds, I can say that if you read this book and truly put the advice into motion, the lies that have been tormenting you, will be replaced with God’s goodness and peace!
Top three essentials: Amazing Grass Green SuperFood Energy Drink with Watermelon Flavor (I’ve replaced my coffee with this for now), a study Bible, and a good amount of concealer!
How did God speak to you recently? For a little over a year now, I’ve known that God has been telling me to honor Him with my writing. I felt so unbelievably unqualified to jot my thoughts down & share them on social media, but I chose to be obedient and started writing and posting. I feel that recently, He’s been telling me that my blog needs to be released (since my OCD tendencies have me perfecting every little detail…which has pushed back releasing it). I’m realizing more and more that when we follow Him, there’s a supernatural peace that follows. I’m currently choosing to lay my life (and all of the insecurities in me) down at His feet, so He can use me however He sees fit– I’m just happy to be along for the ride!
“I’m realizing more and more that when we follow Him, there’s a supernatural peace that follows.”
Hobby: Cuddling with my pups (does that count? Probably not *laughs*). I enjoy writing, shopping for tropical plants (I’m OBSESSED with giant bird’s of paradise… they’re my very favorite), and going on walks or hikes!
Top three practical tips for staying spiritually strong: Read your Bible DAILY (even when you don’t feel like it), join a small group at your church (& then lead a small group at your church), & find a ministry to serve in at your church!
Favorite person in scripture? Well, Jesus is certainly my very favorite (for obvious reasons), but my second favorite would be Paul. There’s such comfort in reading his story and seeing that his unspeakable past didn’t disqualify him from being used by God in a significant way!
As someone that was very promiscuous and even committed adultery (in my first marriage–before I committed my life to Christ), I became an expert in letting guilt consume me. I felt that I was useless and had strayed too far, for too long. I feel like God has bought me back to Paul’s story many times to serve as a reminder that nothing behind you (that you’ve repented for) can hold you back from bringing glory to God!
“I want them to learn that they can always make the choice to reject the sin in their lives and live a life that honors Christ.”
How do you leave your mark on your community? My husband and I are intentional to serve at our wonderful church every week. I serve with him on the “First Impressions” team most weekends and then I also serve in our Special Needs ministry room, when I’m needed! We also lead a small group at our home every Tuesday! We feel so honored to be surrounded by such a precious community!
Favorite holiday? Christmas! I begin decorating for Christmas in late October! I don’t decorate for Halloween, so I just get a running start on Christmas. My sweet husband tends to resist letting me decorate this early at first, but once everything is up, he’s a happy camper!
A dream you have? I have a dream of someday getting to work for myself in a capacity that inspires people to not just be churchgoers, but to be dedicated Christ followers.
A special tradition you and your family engage in or keep: This is a super weird/silly one, but it’s my favorite tradition that my husband and I have right now! I have a slight obsession with older records that my husband and I collect, and every Tuesday night before our small group arrives at our house, we dance in our living room to Benny Goodman’s “Moonglow.” It always puts us both in a good mood with each other and gets us ready to host!
“[E]very Tuesday night before our small group arrives at our house, we dance in our living room to Benny Goodman’s ‘Moonglow.'”
Question you will ask when you get to heaven? “Did I serve you well?” and “Can you please show me where my family and dogs are?” (haha–as silly as that sounds, I can picture that being one of my first questions).
Thing you want to raise awareness about: I would love to see Christians strive for a better sense of biblical discernment. I think with the way that our culture is moving, we need more Christ followers that are less easily swayed by false prophets.
“I would love to see Christians strive for a better sense of biblical discernment.”
What do you usually do before 9 a.m.? I’m up at 5 a.m. every morning, so I can fit as much in as I can before I have to leave for work at 8:00 a.m. My morning routine is: take care of my two pups, read my Bible, do some yoga and/or pilates, make and eat breakfast, make my husband coffee, and then get myself ready for work!
What is on your nightstand? I’m not a fan of clutter, so just my lamp, a faux orchid, and a sound machine (that my husband and I can’t sleep without)!
Define Christianity in a sentence: Dying to ourselves and choosing to live our lives wholeheartedly for Christ.