Tuesday, April 30, 2024

Tuesday Truth

Prayer for depression

Father God,

Depression feels like a heavy weight pressing consistently down on my head, my mind, my body, my heart, my thoughts, my breath. It’s a pressure that just won’t lift. I can’t get relief. And yet I know I may be feeling pressure from every side, but I am not crushed, I may feel alone, but I have not been abandoned. I may feel down, but I am not destroyed.

I’m exhausted physically, but You say You will renew my strength because I put my hope in You.

My thoughts are filled with negativity, the worst that could happen. Unrestrained A.N.T.s (automatic negative thoughts) are swarming uncontrollably. But You say I can take captive every thought and make it obedient to Christ.

Hopelessness is the season I’m drowning in, but You say You have a special future planned just for me.

So no matter how I feel I know Your truth. I know my mind and my body are weak and allowing these negative thoughts and despair to invade but Your Grace is sufficient. My weakness makes room for Your power.

So I will keep moving forward. Taking one day, one moment at a time. Knowing that if I keep my eyes on You, You will help me, because You love me.

And because I love You, you will work all things out for my good.

Thank you Father. I will be joyful because I still have hope, patient through this affliction and continue to pray to You in faith.

In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.


Taken fromLoved + Blessed 

Loved + Blessed 

Friday, April 26, 2024

What if ...

 ... the Lord is preparing you for such a time as this.

I don't think there is always purpose in our pain. I think sometimes pain is just PAIN. It sucks. It is one thing to say "put this at the cross" or "praise God during the storm." 

It's another thing to be IN the storm.

And I do think sometimes there may be a purpose. 

I'm in pain right now. It comes in waves, and I am having some good days mingled in there. But I am grieving a lot of things that I pushed down and away for a long time. I didn't do this on purpose. I didn't know I was doing it. Often we push things away until we are better able to handle them. I couldn't afford to do this when my kids were small. Now is the time. It's time to not push away and bring these things to the forefront.

I have been gifted with some AMAZING women in my life who are STANDING IN THIS WITH ME. One of them is my cousin. She battled depression for many years. Way longer than I can imagine. She is not there anymore. And so she has the ability to be with me during this time of low.

She has decided to be in this pit with me. She isn't actually of course. The pain is not on top of her. But she's texting me everyday. She's calling me. She's letting me cry with her. She's not getting tired of me. She's saying "I'll cry with you." That is so ... unrequired and ... nice.

And do you want to know part of the reason that I, in my weakness, can allow her to do this with me?

It's because she has made herself intentional in her life. Purposeful. She says "no" when she can't handle something. She says "I can't" when it just isn't possible. 

And that means that when she says "yes" I know she really means "yes." 

She can't promise what tomorrow holds, but for right now, the Lord has given her the strength to walk with me step-by-step. It is truly one of the most amazing gifts I have ever been given. More than people who stood alongside me in other times of my life because this valley is SO SO dark sometimes. 

And my cousin isn't the only one. I have five other women who have made themselves available to me as well. And I have many others who would be there for me if I asked them to be. Or they are there for me every couple days or weeks for some encouragement.

It is hard when you are the needy one. When you can't give much and can only take. 

But it is so nice to have people who are willing to give.

Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Tuesday Truth



This statement above is SO true. But SO hard. It's one thing to say things like Billy Graham did: "Mountaintops are for views and inspiration, but fruit is grown in the valleys." The reality of this is PAINFUL. 

I want so badly to be all the way THROUGH this trial. I know I am getting better and better. Saturday and nearly all of Sunday, I completely felt like myself. But Monday and today, I've been battling some of the sadness that comes with depression. I know depression cycles like this. I know that I'm on an "upward spiral trajectory." But every time I get down, it feels like I will stay in this valley. It doesn't feel like I am growing. It feels YUCKY. My lows aren't as low as they were, but it is still SO hard to be out on the other side.

Oh the growth! I see the growth! I see how it will make me a better person. A freer person. A less obligated person. Already I can feel my "need to keep people happy" decreasing tremendously. Small things that I would normally take upon myself, I am not putting on my shoulders. I can see that. But right now, where I am, I just want this to be over. 

Newsies is over. That is a mixed bag of relief and sadness. It was a very fun time and a stinkin' amazing show. But our family is grateful for the break in our stress-level. 

Man, the weather is beautiful right now. I've made a point to be in the hammock during a lot of my rest times. Tennessee this time of year can be freezing or even HOT but today, it's a beautiful 69 degrees and the sun is out. 

I'm just ready for the sun to be out .... more than now and then ... in my own life as well. I'm getting there. Ride the waves.

Sunday, April 21, 2024

My Thank You Post (to Newsies peeps)

With Eliza Girton. I got to teach her in middle school English/History this year at co-op and have been at Heritage with their family since 2015!

Cousin Gabe (with a little Joni squished in)

Me with Isaac; he plays numerous characters through this production including Darcy, a scab, and a Brooklyn Newsie.

Amelie! Amelie is a friend from church/ballet. She has ALWAYS wanted to be in Newsies and landed her dream role. 

Our friend Bailee Price (her mom Jessica disappeared!)

Two CBT girls (Katy and Grace) who did a LOT of dance in the show.

A special young woman in my life: Katy Higgins.

Owen was OUTSTANDING. He attends Towering Oaks Christian School and was simply AMAZING. This is Katy and her mom with him. 

Here is the note I posted on the Facebook page for Tusculum's Newsies Cast & Crew. This was where all the parents (and kids -- who mostly used their parent's Facebook account since Facebook isn't really a thing the young people do as much as the old people) communicated about the show.

I wanted to take this opportunity to say thank you. There are so many people to thank ...

Most of you know, I’m an athlete. A jock. I haven’t the slightest idea about theatre or music or the arts. Like, seriously, I’m a nincompoop when it comes to anything not involving athletics.
But God, in his great sense of humor, made 3 of my 4 children with a love for dance and theatre and all things musical and the arts. (The fourth likes nature — not sports either!)
While we discovered Isaac had a knack for music when he started piano lessons years ago, we never saw theatre coming. Had he not taken Kristin Girton’s homeschool theatre class just two year ago, I’m not sure we’d have known. And then Gracie Weems directed his first show and encouraged him beyond measure. He was hooked.
Not one of my children play a ball sport (alas!) but last night, while I watched the show for the third time, I thought THIS is teaching even more than a ball sport ever taught me.
The kindness and encouragement and friendship and camaraderie among this group of humans has blown my socks off. Both my husband John Kitsteiner and I feel so incredibly fortunate to have Isaac learning so much from so many different teachers of all ages. We are very protective parents, but we know this group is safe and has his back.
Steve Schultz, I almost tear up everytime I see you because, as someone who coached and taught, I know what this show has taken from you in time and energy and LIFE. It’s huge. And it matters. It matters to the confidence and poise and lessons and all the things my son has learned. And he’s just 1 of dozens and dozens! (And Erin Hensley Schultz … this goes equally for you!)
So, while a thank you is just a thank you … this is a BIG one. Truly. Blown away. Blessed beyond measure. Thankful to God for Greeneville and surprises I never saw coming.

Wednesday, April 17, 2024



A small example

I met with Kim again today. We meet virtually, and it works out so great to have that easy convenience. Here's what I was reminded of: my body is healing. It's healing from tons and tons of stuff that I have shoved away or pushed down or not allowed myself to feel. Nearly every person in the world probably has done the same. This isn't unique to me. It's just that my "stuff" boiled up to the surface, and I've got to look at it.

Who wants to look at their old "stuff"? No one really does. We'd rather "just not think about it." And you may choose to do that. And it may work for you. You may be one of those people who can manage to push it away. But many cannot. The things we push away have to be dealt with in some form or fashion. Maybe we deal with them through medication or through medicating ourselves (with alcohol or drugs for example.) Maybe we are a work-a-holic. Maybe we people-please (like I did). But we come up with some way of coping. And the coping works. Until it doesn't work anymore. 

I am having to rest more than I have EVER rested. It feels exorbitant. But I'm listening to my body. I'm saying "no" when I need to say "no." 

 A small example. 

I had big days on Friday and Saturday so I prepared to maybe skip the Newsies show on Sunday. But this meant I might need to let my nephew Gabe down. He was coming because I was there. But, I texted him anyways and said, "I may not make it to Sunday's show." I didn't like doing this, and sure, maybe Gabe would be disappointed. But taking care of myself has become TOP LEVEL importance. If I don't take care of me, I can't function. And if I can't function, then our house will really come to a halt. So I need to make sure I have the bandwidth to do what is being asked of me. 

I want to be through with this. I want to be healed and done and processed and moved on. But I'm not. Yet. So I keep working and dealing and learning and striving and trying. I am not getting it all right. But I'm getting some of this figured out!

Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Newsies Prom

Most of the Newsies cast had to miss their prom to be in the snow. So the cast party this year was a prom for them! One weekend of the show down (all sold out) and one weekend to go (the shows just sold out for this next weekend too!) 

Truly, this is the best thing I have ever seen in Greeneville. It is amazing!

Friday, April 12, 2024

Healing #1

Kim asked me: "What activities do you enjoy?" and I really couldn't name one. I like teaching. I like writing. I like coloring. I like being active. But honestly? Since I had my first baby in 2008, my job has been to "do the things." 

And I did them. Willingly. And I still do. I consider being a mother to truly be one of the greatest vocations in life, and I am honored to get to be one. I honestly don't often think: "I have to take my kid to such and such a place, and I don't want to." I just think: this is my job. And I'm a mom. 

I almost wasn't one. 

And I haven't forgotten that. 

But in the meantime, while I am healing from this ... sort of ... breakdown that I have gone through, what are things I enjoy? 

Well, I enjoy writing. I do. It has been my companion since I was a small girl. Some of my earliest memories involve a typewriter -- an old manual one perched on a desk in the den of my parents' mobile home. From there I moved to a typewriter in typing class, and my dad's word processor in his office as athletic director. Typing. Writing. My second grade teacher says she remembers my long stories written way back then. 

But I realize, unless I am honest about what I am going through ... I can't write. My Blog is empty because what I am going through is too private to share. I could write it in a journal. But I don't. 

And so, I must tear down the walls of pride and protection and just share my heart. 

A big reason I avoid sharing is because my children read (or will read) this Blog. But, alas, they know I have been on a struggle train. They understand that I am healing from some depression. And they honestly don't care that much. Kids are really good at being into their own things. 

Wendi realized that she has been living to please people her whole life. She didn't do this on purpose. Her brain learned to do this. And when it learned, it made connections to keep her safe. And it worked.

Until it didn't work anymore. 

My body said NO MORE. I said yes to people. I just did. Not because I didn't want to. I wanted to. But, while medicating away the anxiety and depression that first reared up its ugly head postpartum after Elijah in 2009, I didn't know that I was pushing past my limits. It felt fine. I was fine. 


Do the thing.


And then, I couldn't do the thing anymore. 

It started with horrendous anxiety. I was panicked continually. Always about people. And then, as that seemed to come under control, the depression reared its ugly head.

This time I decided: I cannot just medicate this away. I am not against medication. I am using it now. But it is a bandaid for the problem. And the bandaid means I am not helping my wound/s heal.

So, I have begun great Christian therapy (with Kim!) and am using meds and making very different life choices in order to heal from the life I thought I was doing just fine. Everyone who saw me would say, "You do too much" or "How are you doing all these things?" but I didn't realize it wasn't the THINGS that were the problem. 

It was the EMOTIONAL labor that I put into so many things. A text message. A look. A glance. A room. People. I was constantly assessing people. Constantly. Are they happy? Are they sad? And what can I do to make them feel better? Because if they feel better, I feel better.

(That last part isn't true but its what I believed.)

How we come to believe these things is a combination of genetics/environment/relationships/experiences. It's partly how we are raised but also how we cope. It's what our parents learned. It's what our grandparents learned. It's what we accidentally learned. It's what we didn't even know we learned. Sometimes these events come from BIG traumas. But honestly, every single human has faced "little" traumas. Little things that didn't go the way they should have and made us have to cope. 

So, I am going to try to write. I am going to try to Blog. I won't link them to any social media. Not now. They will just be here. Those that want to come, can read. Those that don't, won't. 

And it's not designed to hurt any feelings or share any secrets or cause any pain. It's here to help ME heal. God designed us to be protected when we feel pain, hurt or loss. Those events can be too overwhelming to comprehend all at once. So instead, our healthy nervous systems automatically shield us in the moment, compartmentalizing pain, so we can get through hard things. 

The only thing is ... did anyone ever teach you that? Did anyone ever explain that? I didn't know that. The first time my anxiety reared up, I should have gone looking for the REASON it was there. But I didn't know that. So I didn't look. I thought it was just people-pleasing-wendi and it was who I was, and if I could fix the pride and selfishness that lead to the people-pleasing and pray to God the right way, I could fix the anxiety that reared up.

But it was more than that. It was my body's way of taking care of me. I couldn't feel all that fear at once. So it cared for me and protected me. 

Until it said: "I can't do this anymore."

And now, I heal. 

Mental Health and Faith

As I heal, I am reading things that are incredibly encouraging to me. Ann Voskamp has been one of those who has really ministered to me with numerous articles. So often we think that if we had more faith, the worries would go away. But there is MORE TO IT than just God. There is a lot of research and truth and origins that we need to get down deep and FIND. 

Come along with me on this journey if you will!


Matthew West -- Mended


How many times can one heart break?It was never supposed to be this wayLook in the mirror, but you find someone you never thought you'd be
Oh, but I can still recognizeThe one I love in your tear-stained eyesI know you might not see him now, so lift your eyes to me
When you see broken beyond repairI see healing beyond beliefWhen you see too far goneI see one step away from home
When you see nothing but damaged goodsI see something good in the makingI'm not finished yetWhen you see wounded, I see mended
You see your worst mistakeBut I see the price I paidThere's nothing you could ever do, to lose what grace has won
So hold on, it's not the endNo, this is where love's work beginsI'm making all things newAnd I will make a miracle of you
When you see broken beyond repairI see healing beyond beliefWhen you see too far goneI see one step away from home
When you see nothing but damaged goodsI see something good in the makingI'm not finished yetWhen you see wounded, I see mended
I see my child, my belovedThe new creation you're becomingYou see the scars from when you fellBut I see the stories they will tell
You see worthless but I see pricelessYou see pain, but I see a purposeYou see unworthy, undeservingBut I see you through eyes of mercy
When you see broken beyond repairI see healing beyond beliefYou're not too far goneYou're one step away from home
When you see nothing but damaged goodsI see something good in the makingI'm not finished yet, noWhen you see wounded, I see mended
Oh, I see mendedWoah, oh I see mendedI'm not finished yetWhen you see wounded, I see mended

Thursday, April 11, 2024

Newsies opens tomorrow

Newsies opens tomorrow night (Friday!) They have already sold out the first show. As I mentioned previously, the show had to be moved from the 700+ seat Tusculum auditorium to a much smaller one downtown. But it's sold out! So exciting. My friend Kristin G. took a bunch of pictures, and I grabbed any that had Isaac in them to post here.