Thursday, March 6, 2008

RX for an anxious heart

Welcome if you followed the link from my devotion running today with Proverbs 31 Ministries. I talked about feeling frustrated from the get-go the other day and struggling to get a grip on my emotions. That particular day it was frustration and disappointment (laced with a little selfishness I'm sure). Other days it has been guilt, or sadness, or envy, or anger, or just plain feeling emotionally hurt by someone.

In a Gallup poll a few years ago, 90% of respondents described women as "emotional." And according to the National Academy of Sciences, they're right. The Academy says, "Women's brains are wired to both feel and recall emotions more keenly than the brains of men."

Furthermore, an article in Scientific American warns that, "Women who hold back feelings of anger may end up more irate in the long run. According to new research, women experience a rebound effect when they suppress angry emotions, which can result in greater feelings of fury."

You're probably thinking, tell me something I don't know!

So what can we do when we feel our emotions getting the best of us?

Number one on my list of responses is PRAYER. Take those seemingly unruly feelings to the One who can handle them. There have been times I've grieved so deeply over the loss of my mother I could scarcely get a line of prayer out admit my uncontrollable sobbing, only to have God answer that prayer for peace and completely calm my heart in the span of a single second. He is the God of all Comfort, the Prince of Peace, and the Author of a sound mind.

Also on my list is READ the Bible. This is the one I turned to the day I wrote the "Feeling Emotional" devotion. I can renew my mind with the Words of truth, replacing my overly emotional - often irrational - thoughts with eternal reality from the Reality Maker Himself.

This next one may make some of us groan with disgust, but its proven that EXERCISE can calm our stress and get us thinking clearly again. Some time on my treadmill with upbeat music playing does me a lot of good (once I get myself there). I think Elle Woods in the movie Legally Blonde explained this one quite well when she said, "Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people don't kill their husbands. They just don't." :)

Which leads me to the next one, HUMOR. Everybody needs somebody who can make them laugh out loud. Laughter not only makes us feel better, but its good for our health according to Proverbs 17:22, and it can stimulate our problem-solving abilities as well.

Sometimes I just have to WRITE. Spilling my feelings onto the page of a journal can unburden my mind. And writing a letter to someone who hurt me can unburden my heart. Most of the time I decide never to send the letter, but that's ok because it served its purpose in the moment to help me think things through and calm down. Years later I still have some of those letters saved on my computer. Somehow I feel better knowing that I could send them if I decided I really needed to.

And last but certainly not least, is STARBUCKS. There's few things better than a soy latte to steady my hormones ... except maybe a vanilla soy latte and some dark CHOCOLATE. You didn't really think I could write a post on dealing with women's emotions without mentioning food did you?

If you've got any (food or non-food) solutions for reigning in your emotions on days when they're flying - please do share. Meanwhile, here's wishing us both an emotionally peaceful day.

Now that I've had my Starbucks, I'm off to pray while walking on my treadmill (just for preventative measures) ...

53 comments:

  1. Good morning Rachel, I just wanted you to know that you have truly blessed my heart this morning. I too sometimes tend to become frustrated easily. I began my walk with GOD not long ago and everyday things get a little easier to handle Im more peaceful than I ever was! Sometimes I still get down and try to do eveything on my own then I just make a big mess of things. Ive learned that when you give it to GOD (no matter what it is) he works them out for you sometimes even INSTANTLY!! He's so awesome!! Thank you for the encouraging words and BE BLESSED throughout your day!!
    Newhope74

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  2. People refer to their faith as "my walk with the Lord". I do just that when overly emotional... go for a walk with the Lord! God and I have put alot of miles (and prayers) on these shoes! (Walking is a good time to pray and memorize scripture, so keep some small verse cards handy to take with you.)

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  4. Hi Rachel
    good blog today!
    As women, we all go through those emotions. However, if we tend to have those emotions of anger, worthlessness, overly tired, etc..it could be depression. Please contact your pastor and doctor to be evaluated and get support and help if you think you could be experiencing depression.
    Blessings~Alyce

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  5. Rachel,
    Thank you for your words. As my son is facing an MRI today in his long journey with cancer, I definitely needed your inspiration! As a matter of fact, I am going to get out and take a walk in a bit and have some good prayer time with God! You encouraged me! I hope I get to meet you in June! I'll be at the conference! Much love, respect, admiration, and thanks to you! Love, Tammy

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  6. Rachel,
    God used your devotion this morning to answer a desperate prayer I prayed not 5 minutes ago...to focus on HIM today. With His help, that is what I will do. Thank you for the reminder.

    Lookng Up Today

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  7. Thank you for allowing your heart to be spilled out and transparent today. I have been battling anxiety for several weeks now and could completely relate to what you were saying. Thank you for speaking exactly what I needed for today.

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  8. Sorry, I was referring to the Proverbs 31 devotional. :)
    Lori

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  9. Thank you very much for that devotion! I really needed it today. My week has just be blah -- you know, just existing for the sake of existing! I feel like I would rather spend the week on the couch watching TV and not care about what is going on around me. I have had many signs today to tell me to get up and get out of it. There have been songs on the radio, songs my children have been listening to on CDs and now your devotional from P31! Thank you very much! I am going to get off the computer, put on some music and get on my knees. Then I am going to call a friend and see if they can't walk with me tonight and then talk about what is happening to me and then maybe, with Jesus' help, I can be refreshed to take on my family with a happy heart!

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  10. As always, God's timing for me to read your latest P31 devotion was just genius. My hubby is gone on business this whole week. And he's in a time zone that has made it very difficult to communicate with him via the phone, which is usually the lifeline for my kids when dad is gone. One night I was up with a faux-sick kid (he never actually got sick, just kept us running to the bathroom for three hours during which we should have been sleeping). Another night, another child climbed in my bed following a nightmare. And the third child has taken to exclaiming pathetically, "Nothing has gone right for me since dad left." And then he bursts into tears. Yesterday morning beat it all and I almost skipped Bible Study Fellowship because of one kid's bad behavior. But we went. And then afterwards my son earned a spanking by running away from me in the parking lot while all the ladies were leaving in their cars. I couldn't chase him because of my other child. Prayer does work because we all survived the day! But those emotions in me yesterday were churning like crazy. Thanks for the reminder that being stressed is not preventable, but how I handle it is in my hands and something I don't have to do alone.

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  11. Rachel,
    Thank you so much for your devotional today. We are in the midst of moving and as I walked through the house I whispered "Lord, please help me today. I am feeling overwhelmed." I walked to my computer and there at the top of my email was the "Feeling Emotional" devotional. I have a lot to get done today, but I'm taking your advice and going to pray and read my bible right now. Thanks again,
    Sherri

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  12. Hi Rachel,
    Great devo on P31 & follow up post!
    I'd have to say just talking with Jesus & listening.
    Also an at home SPA helps me rewind.
    Have a great day!
    Lelia

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  13. Rachel,
    I thank you for your devotion this morning. I am working really hard this week on controling my emotions. As parents we can easily get frustrated with our kids in the decisions they make in life. You always want the best for them but in some cases they have to learn lessons on their own. Our son has resently gotten into trouble with the law and instead of me getting angry and showing my upset emotions I have decided to sit back and watch what God is going to do in his life. When we first heard the news Sunday morning that our son was in jail I wanted to cry and get angry but than I remembered I had been praying for my son to get back into church and God reminded me of a verse "Be Still and know that I am God" Psa 46:10. Maybe this is Gods way of getting his attenton. So when I finally seen my son I did not show my angre and yell all I said was I love you. I think sitting in the jail for 5 hours spoke louder words than I ever could have. We are moving him back home from living at college for the time being and he will have to drive back and forth to class. This is going to be a long drawn out case battle with lawyers and court cases but I'm being quiet and watching Gods hand at work. I ask for your prayers. Thank you for your encouraging words. Our God is truely a awesome God.

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  14. Thank you for your encouragement. It is just what I needed this morning. I have gone through major illnesses in my life after mother passed away 2 years ago. So, my life has been full of uncertainty and anxiety... plus, depression. I am dealing with all of these things, with the promise of God, knowing He is always with me & will never forsake me. Romans 8:28 is written on my heart too!
    Thank you for your encouragement & witness for our Savior.
    Blessings,
    lily

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  15. Thank you Rachel for those encouraging, spot on words from God!

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  16. If I'm in the car, I make everyone stop talking and put in some scripture set to music. There are a series of albums called "Word of God Speak," that I always drive around with. I can't tell you how many times those scripture-songs have changed my emotions from negative to positive.

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  17. Awesome! And so ture. It's funny my sweet husband and I just had a mini-date last week and laughed through Legally Blonde! I'm with Elle Woods on that one too. Exercise is awesome. Of course, exercising His word is too. ;) Hope your little one feels better. Our January was like that. Spring is coming!

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  18. Rachel,

    Your blog provides hope...I'm so glad I came across it this morning. It's not an easy thing to give up control...I've struggled with it for years....and I know that the Lord wants us to let go and let Him handle things...with Him all things are possible.

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  19. Did you have a camera at my house yesterday? Just wondering after reading your devo and blog today. Yesterday I let those emotions get all reved up, but today I started with prayer. What a difference! I think I'll treat myself with some Starbucks!

    Amy

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  20. Dear Rachel,
    Thank you for your openness and transparency today. Your words today confirmed what the Lord spoke to my heart this morning - that those feelings of anxiousness that I was feeling about the future was not of Him. I needed to be reminded to trust Him when everything is unclear, to trust Him when there seems to be only darkness surrounding me. Your blog pointed again to Him. Thank you so much. The Lord bless you.
    Kim

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  21. Rachael-your Proverbs 31 devotion really hit home for me this morning. My girls were bickering with each other and it really got under my skin. I'm afraid I did not reflect Jesus this morning....ouch. Should have thrown their attitudes back to Him and trusted He could overcome it for me.
    In His Graces~Pamela

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  22. Sometimes a good cry on Jesus' shoulder does a world of good.

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  23. Rachel
    Your devotions really touched my heart today. I have had a rough week, a friend passed away and my son needs a CT scan tomorrow to check for pressure on his brain. I got up early to pray and then made myself go and exercise. Thank you for your encouragement today and reminding me to lean on God!

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  24. Oh my, emotional rollercoasters...I am 49 and have the emotions of a teenager right now....my husband says, please take a walk!! He knows what helps me get my focus back on the Lord..walking and praying till His spirit changes me....always, always works, also, calms me when anxiety for no good reason strikes...just those pesky hormones!!

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  25. Oh my gosh, you have no idea how much today's devotional blessed me! I have been terribly burdened about something I have to do next Thursday and the dread and worry has been eating me alive. Even after my quiet time I was like "What's up Lord?! What happened to ask, seek, knock?" And He completely just spoke to me and calmed my fears through your devotional. He is SO good! Seriously, HE IS SOOOOOO GOOD! Praise HIM!

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  26. Hi Rachel: Thank you for today's devotion. I've been ill for the last 6 months & unable to go for my walks. That makes dealing w/ my emotions more difficult. God reminded me of a chart He had me make 25 years ago! One side listed the fruits of the Spirit. The other side listed the "fruits" of my flesh (emotions). When my emotions got out of hand, God would remind me to look at the chart & see who was in control. It was a quick way to see that I was trying to handle the situation on my own, instead of going to God. One of my favorite Sriptures is found in Romans 8:6...but "The mind controlled by the Spirit brings life and peace." It's been a battle these past months, but God has been so faithful to help me get my mind back on Him, so I can have the life & peace Jesus desires for me, even in the midst of trials.

    Thanks for sharing your heart!

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  27. HI RACHAEL , IT WAS NICE TO SEE SOME INSPIRATION IVE GOT ALOT OF THINGS BRINGING ME DOWN LATELY IM BIPOLAR, AN ADDICT AND HAVE NO MEDICAL DUE TO RECEIVEING SSD THEY SAY IM NOT ELIGABLE BUT WITH MEDICATION,DOCTORS I NEED TO SEE THE COST OF LIVING THE CK JUST DOES NOT CUT IT BUT ANYWAY GOD BLESS AND THANK YOU

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  28. HI RACHAEL , IT WAS NICE TO SEE SOME INSPIRATION IVE GOT ALOT OF THINGS BRINGING ME DOWN LATELY IM BIPOLAR, AN ADDICT AND HAVE NO MEDICAL DUE TO RECEIVEING SSD THEY SAY IM NOT ELIGABLE BUT WITH MEDICATION,DOCTORS I NEED TO SEE THE COST OF LIVING THE CK JUST DOES NOT CUT IT BUT ANYWAY GOD BLESS AND THANK YOU

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  29. It is a great morning Rachel and thanks to your encouraging words and even better day lies ahead. I have four children 18, 16 6, and 14months, and I too, know the frustration of motherhood. It's true that excercise make happy people. I pray and talk with God everyday and quite often, several times a day, it helps to calm me and focus. I've never been to this site and thanks to my very best friend Shannon, she lives in cal. and I'm in Las Vegas,sent this page to me, knows me so well. I shall read your blog tomorrow for somemore "soul food"
    Teisha36

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  30. Thanks for the article, on "Feeling Emotional".

    It is a good and an encouraging piece for me. I shared them with all my friends and email contacts for their blessing.

    May our Lord bless your work, time and effort.

    Blessings,
    jasmin

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  31. I must say that our Lord certainly does his good works through your words. What a blessing I found in the Feeling
    Emotional devotional. My son woke up two days ago with his face and eyes swollen and a terrible rash. I am an emotional wreck when my children are sick and often instead of giving it to God and asking for his hand in the situation, I panic and get nervous and I try to handle things on my own. Your devotion was certainly one that I have been in need of hearing for quite some time. If I could only remember "Don't let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God and trust also in me." -- what a changed life I would have.
    Thanks for your Blessed and wonderful words today!! Trish

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  32. Thank you so much for your devo and this blog! I find myself, since the loss of my mom, easily upset and overly emotional...and I lost her back in 2001! My husband calls them "episodes", which is sad, because he and my young son both see me freak out! I'm learning to get better and try to draw closer to the Lord first, instead of letting my emotions just overwhelm me. Thank you for the encouragement that I'm not alone, and that there is help and hope!

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  33. Thank you Rachel, yes, walking is my stress reliever too. I am entering the empty nest with my 4 kids (2 left at home), which I have home-schooled and been with 24/7. Then there is my mom who has Alzheimer's. She lived with us for a year and now is in a Memory Care Facility. I still go get her twice a week for church and hair appointments, but 3- 4 hours with her is emotionally draining. Then I feel guilty and depressed after leaving her.
    Many days I am crying at everything. Missing my kids, my mom, you name it. Frustration enters into everything I try to do that day. Only giving it to God and knowing He has a plan for me gives me peace. I know that walking and talking to God is the best way for me to start my day. :)
    I pass your devotions on to my sister and friends. Thanks for being transparent.

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  34. Hi Rachel...I found out today that I may never be able to get pregnant again. Having another baby was my biggest wish and I have been devastated and emotional since the doctor told me. Your devotional was right on time...and it feels like God tapping me on the shoulder and telling me that no human, dr or otherwise is in control. God is in control, and if it is His will, then I will have another baby. God Bless and thank you.

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  35. Hi Rachel, I have suffered from depression most of my life. I am married and have 4 grown children and 4 grandchildren. I am somewhat handicapped and can't go for walks. I am trying to learn how to go to the Lord and turn my emotions and fears and lonliness over to Him. What you said really helped me. It gave me a start point. I can't excerise or walk, I can just sit and pray, will that work as well? Is walking a big part of it? I really want to walk with the Lord and I feel so lost and alone. I will keep reading on this site and hope to learn. Thank you. Susie Pogo

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  36. Thanks, I have awaked the last several days with emotions on "high alert"...thanks for reminding me as the song says "God is in Control"....and to regain my focus on HIM.... I need to remember that my emotions are not the enemy...but that by the Spirit of God I need to submit them to Him and rule and reign over them by His power.

    Thanks, I needed that! :^)C.J.

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  37. Blessed Rachel,At this point of writing, i'm stii in the office and what a wonderful way to close off the day & week knowing and remembering that our ABBA FATHER is in our emotions and HE is faithful to work all things for our good even when we are so engrossed with our 'self'
    It has been an emotionally challenging week but whenever i get overwhelmed and tears are on the breaking point, i just know to cry out 'JESUS help", and such peace and strength wll just fill me.Truly, as our DADDY GOD has promised to never leave us nor forsake us but also did not leave us comfortless!I have grown from strength to strenghth in experincing JESUS in all HIS loveliness.Thank you Rachel for being a blessing to me with the sharing and to women all over the nation.GOD BLESS YOU!SHALOM.

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  38. Good morning Rachel. Thank you for the devotion this morning, which in fact led me to visit your blog. This is something that has been trying to take over my week. I've been struggling with my emotions. This month I have a very busy schedule, every day is booked except Fridays. I needed to be reminded how to keep control of myself. Oh, and did I mention that I am 7 months pregnant with my first?? God is good, all I need to do is seek Him first...everything else will fall into place. God bless you!

    In Christ,
    Jackie

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  39. Alway reassuring to know you are not alone! While blogs are great, I have found that I feel best when I share my heart with a trusted Christian girlfriend. Allowing others to pray for us is so powerful - for both parties. I have tried wearing the "I have it all together" mask and it's just not healthy. God desires us to not be alone - it's all throughout the Bible. Look for the times that women went to share their hearts or news with other women. In our busy world where we expect so much of ourselves as women, I think we neglect having real girlfriends. I'm working to cultivate as many as I can.
    God bless!

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  40. Rachel:
    I am crying right now...because God is so GOOD! He used your devotion to reassure me...because just what you wrote is what I have been going through also. My daughter brought home strep throat about 4weeks ago, then my mother and I (I am a single parent) came down with the flu and of course it hit my mother harder because she is older and we were all out of commission for more than a week. We couldn't shae it....now earlier this week my daughter started again with the diarrihea and not being able to keep anything in her stomach.....called the doctor and he says stomach virus....and then he tells me its contagious. Sure enough...I get sick and then my mother....and we are not over it yet....so I was feeling terribly frustrated that these VIRUSES keep follwoingus...and that my prayers for health were not being met. And she had missed hoemwork also and yesterday I went to the store and bought everything Clorox to disenfect the house....anyway, your devotion was sooooooo timely and very much appreciated....I am so in awe of God! Thank you!

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  41. Man after reading some of the posted comments I feel a little shamed. Things at my job have been a "little" stressed to say the least here lately. To put it in short we had five RNs and now we are down to me (1). But in reading your devotion and other comments I found that lightening of my heart that comes after doing a sobbing prayer that has come so often here lately. Trusting in God when things are going right is not so hard but when things are going wrong it takes a lot of strength to hold on. I am blessed and I will keep praying and believing. Because as the song goes...God is bigger than anything.........!!

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  42. Thank you so much for your devotion. My husband and I are restoring our marriage.I am still have some emotons which is lingering to emotions such as bitterness, batrayal, and countless of emotions. I have been praying daily and asking the Lord to help me daily. So thank you so much for this outlet.

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  43. Thanks Rachel for allowing God to use you. This devotion really hit home for me. I have been very emotional for the last few months. To be honest it has been depression. I had not felt this depressed in my life for years. I've been so on the edge lately. I've been snapping at my husband and daughter. I've also been very worried about a lot of things. My husband and I have been going through some major issues--almost to the point of divorce. In addition, I am a college student. I have felt like giving up on everything--including my relationship with God. I haven't been happy with anything in my life. The enemy has also been playing with my mind with suicidal thoughts. But the GRACE OF GOD has been keeping me. I have realized that I'm trying to do so much in my own strength instead of totally surrendering to God. I have been trying to figure everything out on my own--wondering if I've made the right decisions--including decisions about my futer. But when I read "Stand Still and Know that I am God." I felt such awh in my spirit. I knew then God was telling me to chill out and that he has me. God has been speaking and telling me to rededicate my mornings to him and to exercise but I've been putting them both off. Your devotion has been a huge confirmation from God. I've set my alarm to get up earlier to spend time with God and to exercise. Thanks A Million

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  44. As I read through the blog I realized that I am not alone when it comes to emotional problems. I just wanted to thank you for your devotional, which opened our eyes to the fact that God is always with us no matter what the situtation may be. Our children are grown and now I am trying to figure out whats next. Not seeing them everyday has been a hard thing to get used to. I know that this to can be handled by God if I will let him. Everyone be blessed in the name of Jesus

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  45. Hi Rachel, may the Lord Continue to bless you, for the last few months my life has been turned upside down, and its so true that it is hard for us as humans to let go when we are hurt, reading today's message gave me a picker upper, My mind just wants to go to the thoughts of hurt from the ones we love and I know that God has a big plan for my life and I am trying to hear his voice and learn to completely trust him...

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  46. Thanks Rachel! It is 5:52 a.m. Georgia time and I found you through the Girl Friends in God site. What a great way to start my morning. I have a little catching up to do; this is my firs lesson.
    Thanks for reminding me to let God have the lead in my life. May I be reminded to wait on God's timing in my life.
    Blessing,
    Robbie

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  47. I found your web site today, what a blessing, thank you for your efforts.

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  48. This is a great idea, I'm just getting started.

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  49. I just started looking into your site so far very interesting. Going thru some serious eemotions

    I have 2 teens 15-20 the 20 year old praise god in college, the 15 year old is a angry girl. Please pray for these two names are Jillian and Sabrina. Will keep reading thanks and God Bless

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  50. Good morning Ladies!!
    Just found this on emotions...perfect timing as I was in the middle of an frustration fit at my husband and starting on a real good mad!!! Talk about deflating a balloon and it feels so good :)!!!!
    God's timing is perfect and it is so awesome that He loves and WANTS me!!
    Lorri

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  51. My friend and I often talk about these feelings. Talking with a good friend can help bring humor into any situation. Also, it is great to walk and talk together when we are able to. Then, we'll go in and have coffee and a little something chocolate!

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  52. I had quadruple bypass surgery five weeks ago. I often have a heavy heart and feel depressed. I find getting out and walking and finding time to talk with God gets me through the those difficult emotions of dealing with heart disease.

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