Blog: Overcoming Struggles

Learning To Live Alone-by Heidi McLaughlin

Posted: October 7, 2019

Living alone is hard, especially if you’ve always had someone by your side for a long time. Your body is jarred when your heart is exploding with joy and no one at home to share it with. Or, an unexpected bill arrives in the mail and now it’s up to you to handle it. You need to turn on the irrigation but don’t know where the knobs are, or you need to learn how to barbecue or change the filter in the furnace. In the almost three years of living alone, I’ve overcome all those frustrations and solitary adventures, but the aloneness is always there. I’m facilitating a group called Grief Share, where once again I’m confronted with the reality of people learning how to live alone. Some for the first time after fifty or sixty years. I ache for them and cry for them because this is hard. Now…

Posted in: alone, ask God, Christ, companionship, decisions, empty chair, Encouragement, Expectations, feeling good, friends, Friendship, happiness, havens, homes, hospitality, laughter, loneliness, Overcoming Struggles, pray, recapture your joy, relationships

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Three Lies that cause Unnecessary Suffering-by Heidi McLaughlin

Posted: February 12, 2019

I know you can relate when I tell you I’ve caused myself a lot of unnecessary suffering because of lies I believe. For example: Lying awake at night because I made a mistake, did something where I didn’t measure up, said the wrong thing again or misinterpreted a comment.  Imagine what joyful and fruitful lives we could experience by overcoming some of the daily, debilitating lies. We know all our shortcomings and foibles so it’s easy to condemn ourselves.  God’s truth seems so perfect and unreachable. The reality is that we live in a world of truth and lies The list of lies is endless but I will tackle three. This is my personality. Really? Your personality was shaped through all the imperfect script, images, information and your environment. Yes, a large portion of it was passed through your family genes, but God is in the people transformation business. You’re…

Posted in: adversity, angry, ask God, Beauty from the Inside Out, Christ, decisions, disappointment, disappointments, Expectations, Faith, False Belief Systems, faulty thinking, feeling bad, Freedom, God's love, grief, happiness, healing, joy, lies, love, messes, needs, Overcoming Struggles, pain, personalities, pray, self worth, self-esteem, suffering, temporary, Valued

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How To Feel Good When You’re Feeling Bad-by Heidi McLaughlin

Posted: December 9, 2018

We’re a generation that’s not good with feeling bad.  Yet there are those days or seasons where life just feels bad.  I’m not talking about a depression or severe anxiety that needs tender loving counselling or therapy; it’s the dailyness and sometimes ruggedness of a certain season. Like sadness or loss of something precious and valuable, or the month of December known as…Christmas. Christmas is difficult for many people.   Christmas is the season where you are supposed to feel good. We all want our life portrayed like the magical Holiday movies of people skating at Rockefeller Center, houses covered in lights and Christmas presents with huge, perfect bows. It’s the magic and pleasure we all hope to experience.  But sadness or grief confuses our expectations and priorities. On one hand we want all that goodness and fun, yet somehow it seems wrong and too much work. Both my husbands…

Posted in: adversity, alone, Beauty from the Inside Out, care, Christ, Christmas, could, death, decisions, Encouragement, Expectations, Faith, feeling bad, feeling good, Freedom from Busyness, gifts, God's love, grace, grief, happy, Hope, joy, Laughter, Overcoming Struggles, presents, shoud, should, trust

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Everything in Life is Temporary-by Heidi McLaughlin

Posted: September 30, 2018

A place I worked in for twenty-one years is being torn and shredded until it is non-existent. Gone. The office and people to which I dedicated those years have gone on with their lives, and so have I. It’s hard to accept that this successful and fulfilling era of my life was only temporary. If you don’t agree that everything in life is temporary, just pull out an old photo album. This year I’ve started almost every day saying: “Today is the very best day I’m going to have.”  It doesn’t always turn out that way, but if I have dedicated that day to God, then everything happened the way it was designed to unfold. Again, if you’re not sure today is your very best day, look at a photo of yourself 15 years ago, and you’ll probably agree: “Hey today is pretty good!” Today is the very best day…

Posted in: Encouragement, God's promises, grief, heart of God, Hope, Jesus, joy, loneliness, love, momentary trouble, Overcoming Struggles, pain, temporary, thankful, trouble, weeping

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What Do You REALLY Want?-by Heidi McLaughlin

Posted: May 27, 2018

My three-year-old grandson Austin was bored and hungry. He opened the pantry door and with a perplexed look stared at all the tempting food. “Sweetie,” I said, “what do you want?” He kept staring and responded: “I want what I want.” “What is it you want?” I repeated. He kept repeating: “I want what I want.” I recognized his craving; he wanted something to make him feel better, happier but he wasn’t sure what that would be. Isn’t that like most of us? We wake up in the morning and we want something to make us happier. We want what we want but not exactly sure what that would look like. Just something to make us feel better. More sleep, a better job, more money, happier children, a more attentive husband, a new Michael Kors bag, a pedicure. Anything to fill that gnawing in our soul. I understand. I looked…

Posted in: ask God, desires, Encouragement, Expectations, gifts, God's love, happiness, happy, Overcoming Struggles, Peace, troubles, want or need

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When the Lights Go Out-Heidi McLaughlin

Posted: October 15, 2017

“Let’s look at it like an adventure,” my daughter Michelle and I said to each other. The freakish Southern Alberta snowstorm that shut down the highways, lost all electricity and closed the schools soon turned the experience from grins to groans. We made the best of no school, no heat, no showers and no dishwasher for almost three days. There was plenty of wood for the fireplace, a gas top stove to heat up food and lots of snow for forts and snow angels. It was all good; until it got dark. Yes there were plenty of candles, story telling and laughter but it all felt different, strange and unfamiliar. Darkness feels different and unfamiliar. Walls felt closer, steps steeper and hallways longer. I thought I knew the distance from the bedroom to the bathroom or the length of the family room. But in the dark everything feels distorted and…

Posted in: darkness, Faith, Jesus, light, Overcoming Struggles, Prayer, trauma

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7 Ways to Prepare for Trouble

Posted: July 30, 2017

Two weeks ago I had the privilege of having a conversation with Don Piper, the author of the book and movie, 90 MINUTES ON HEAVEN. His gentle and kind words comforted me, gave me wisdom and put a smile on my face. His trouble came on a bridge, when his car collided with a semi-tractor truck and Don was pronounced dead. Ninety minutes later someone prayed over him, started singing a song, and soon Don sang along with him. His recovery was dreadfully painful and in the first year he had thirty-four surgeries.   We will all face trouble, and sometimes within seconds we feel helpless when our lives change. The Bible says, “In this world you will have trouble” (John 16:33). My latest trouble came last November when my darling Jack, my second husband, dropped dead going for a cup of coffee. We don’t have a checklist on how…

Posted in: community, crisis, death, decisions, Faith, finances, grief, Hope, Jesus, love, Making Wise Choices, Overcoming Struggles, relationships, troubles, Uncategorized

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UNOPENED GIFT BOXES

Posted: May 28, 2017

Imagine a room filled with gift boxes of every shape, colour and size. What would you hope to find that would make you happy beyond reason? Perhaps a new car, the latest TV screen, latest version of I-phone, a promotion, a new puppy or a luxury vacation? Or maybe you need a good night’s sleep, less stress, be able to get pregnant or stop the neighbour’s dog from barking late at night. I know those are all good desires that would bring a smile to your face and ease in your life. As Christians we have access to a room filled with gift boxes that hold everything we need to feel rich and fulfilled. But we won’t recognize our need for different boxes until a phone call, conversation or tragic incident throws our world out of balance. How do we find the kind of gifts we need during this dark…

Posted in: ask God, desires, friends, happy, Hope, i-phone, joy, Laughter, Making Wise Choices, Overcoming Struggles, pain, Prayer, purpose, rest, trauma

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5 Ways to Exit our Comfort Zone

Posted: October 27, 2016

We love the comfort zone of habits. Sitting in our usual church pews, visiting with the same friends, eating at our favourite restaurant and travelling the same route to work each morning take the guesswork out of our complicated life. It’s easier to stay home and watch Netflix series, lounge around in our P.J’s and converse through Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. Staying within our comfort zone is like a security blanket that keeps us from worrying or looking stupid. But it can also make us predictable and boring. We need to know when it’s time to let go and move into a new season. Yesterday on my walk I came across a pear orchard, splendid in its brilliant harvest colours. I was busy clicking pictures when I noticed a single pear hanging on for dear life. I could almost hear it saying: “I like it here. Leave me alone, I’m…

Posted in: Balancing life, Beauty Unleashed, Boring marriage, comfort zones, Encouragement, Freedom, Friendship, fulfillment, Good Marriage, happiness, joy, Making Wise Choices, Overcoming Struggles, patterns, weeping

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K.I.S.S. MARRIAGE-Untangle the Tinsel

Posted: December 14, 2015

I realize when I talk about tinsel on Christmas trees it’s in the same category as VHS and Pac man. Tinsel holds a special place in my heart because in our home the execution of tinsel had to be done perfectly. No more than three or four strands on the end of each branch, and if you don’t have the patience for that; well then go and finish your apple cider. But we had a dog. A big dog named Brutus! I can’t recall the many times we came home from an event to find our magnificent tree on the floor. A tangled mess of bulbs, candy canes, lights and oh the tangled tinsel. Trying to untangle tinsel left our family frustrated and snapping at each other. “Who left the dog on the house anyway?” “Who is going to clean up this mess?” “Come on you guys, everyone has to…

Posted in: adversity, Balancing life, Christmas, Conflict, Expectations, Good Marriage, happy, Laughter, Making Wise Choices, Overcoming Struggles, Peace, Pleasure, Simple, smart, Tension, untangle

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