The Lord has called us, asking “Do you want to be well?” this Lent. During these past 40 days, we conducted a course on women’s emotional wellness, allowing the Lord to speak truth and healing into our lives.
This course came to be from our founder, Lisa Martinez, and moved into development with help from new/old friend and life coach, Christina Brown. We wanted to create a course for women to learn more about different areas of emotional wellness while also having a faith filled community to reflect and engage with. The two worked to outline the first-ever Christ-centered Women’s Emotional Wellness Holistic Course.
“Now there is in Jerusalem at the Sheep [Gate] a pool called in Hebrew Bethesda, with five porticoes. In these lay a large number of ill, blind, lame, and crippled.
One man was there who had been ill for thirty-eight years.
When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had been ill for a long time, he said to him, ‘Do you want to be well?’”John 5:2-6
Christ asked us, along with our fasting, praying, and almsgiving, to also give ourselves to Him for Lent, so that He could to heal us. Have you ever struggled with negative self-defeating talk, constant worry, feelings of helplessness and/or hopelessness, often feeling overwhelmed, difficulty focusing, struggling with prayer, fatigue, or exhaustion? This course was created for you.
While the course is officially concluded, there are developments underway to be able to bring this content to you, should you wish to undergo this journey. Until then, you can read the summaries and reflections below about each of the topic’s we offered.
Do You Want to Be Well?
How did this whole wellness journey start? Lisa and Christy start by introducing the course and all it will entail. Lisa has been undergoing her own wellness journey for a few years, and had been wanting to give back to women who may also be on a similar path. She shares in her post, A Lenten Journey: Holistic Women’s Wellness, the purpose of this course:
“A few months ago, the Holy Spirit woke me up in the middle of the night with that same question: “Do you want to be well?” And as I pondered it, God started revealing much more to me. For example, this Lent, what if instead of giving up sweets, you gave up self-defeating thoughts? Or in lieu of skipping soda, you gained tools to effectively help manage your anxiety? Or rather than just giving up alcohol, you actually spent time working on the underlying reasons why you’ve been using it to self-medicate. What would happen if you stopped putting your well-being on the back burner long enough to begin creating new neural pathways in your brain? And what if you surround yourself with people who could support and teach you how to transform your mindset in a holistic way that addresses your body, mind, and spirit?”Lisa Martinez
During each week, an expert in the wellness field of discussion would speak and teach us on that form of wellness. Each speaker was accompanied by one of our own Little With Great Love contributors who have had experiences and struggles in that area of wellness, and who share their own reflection about their personal journey.
For me, I was thrilled to join this program not only as a contributor but as a participant. I feel as though the Lord has prompted me, and I believe a lot of the women on their wellness journey as well, to be open to be healed. As Lisa stated, “If we can address the way we think about how we feel in view of the whole person—our mind, body, and spirit—it will be one of greatest investments we ever make in our wellbeing.”
Mental Health Wellness
Our first stop on our wellness journey is learning and reflecting on mental health. Dr. Sherri, of Thriving Thoughts Global, spoke with us on her own mental health journey giving expert insights using her own story as an example.
She inspired us with Bible verse from Psalm 139:
“Search me, God, and know my heart; Put me to the test and know my anxious thoughts; And see if there is any hurtful way in me, And lead me in the everlasting way.”Psalm 139:23-24
Accompanying Dr. Sherri was me (hello there), and I was able to share my own reflection on my mental health journey. You can read my story here in “Reflecting on My Mental Health Journey”, where I describe areas of mental health I have been working on healing.
“My struggle with worry and anxiety has made it hard for me to be present in my daily life and relationships. I would always worry about what I had to do next, or let the anxiety of having to do something or go somewhere new take over my thoughts. While I have learned to better combat it and utilize methods, like the Monk Manual, to help manage my worry, I still feel this anxiety in my life.”Alyssa Sanchez
Physical Health Wellness
Physical health was an area of wellness many of our participants were eager to improve. We heard talk about our physical bodies from expert Julie Mouton, a licensed clinical social worker and owner of Life Support Services LLC, who shared how our bodies, minds, and souls are connected.
She inspired us with Philippians 1:20.
“I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death.”Philippians 1:20
Bridget accompanied Julie with her own reflection of her physical health journey. You can read more of her reflection here in her post “Simple Does Not Mean Easy: Learning to Embrace Our Physical Bodies”.
“In learning to care for my emotional self, I slowly began to care for my physical self. In honoring the desire of my heart to be whole, I realized that the physical was a component of that. It was still very difficult to look at my image in the mirror and see any beauty in it, but I knew that I could care for my internal self. I could choose to eat less processed food, drink water instead of soda, and consciously be aware of what calories I am consuming.”Bridget Holtz
Our journey of spiritual wellness comes from our desire to become closer to the Lord and strengthen our relationship with Him. This week’s expert, Decon Peter Znika, who serves at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton in the Diocese of Gary Indiana, taught us how we should slow down and seek solitude to be more in tune with the Lord.
He inspired us with Romans 12:2
“Do not conform yourselves to this age but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing and perfect.”Romans 12:2
Learning how to surrender to the Lord, Caitlyn shares her spiritual wellness journey in her post “Surrendered to the Sacred Heart”.
“His wounds are my refuge. His wounded, pierced heart is where I go to be healed. I can’t cling to the bread or the wine of my life. I have to let it go. I have to let Him transform the ordinary, the worldly, the simple. It’s only in my act of surrender that those things become holy. It’s only in handing over my life to God that I can allow Him to transform me into the person He made me to be.”Caitlyn Pszonka
Stress is present in all our lives. We can feel stress from the simplest to the largest tasks. Helping us understand where stress comes from and how we can take steps to alleviate it, Dr. Bob McCarty is the expert insight for our stress management talk.
“Do not fear: I am with you; do not be anxious: I am your God. I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my victorious right hand.”Isaiah 41:10
Kelli accompanied Bob with her history with stress management and what inspires her to work towards being better at keeping her stress in check. Read some of her points in her blog post “How to Manage Stress Like a Champ”
Living Your Purpose
In learning to live our purpose, expert Lisa Mladinich, CliftonStrengths® Coach & Professional Certified Coach, shares how by knowing our own strengths we can better live out our purpose. She reminds us how we are made in His image and how we all are given gifts to share with the world.
She inspires us with this verse from Psalm 139:
“I praise you, because I am wonderfully made; wonderful are your works! My very self you know.”Psalm 139:14
Sharing her own journey about discovering and living her purpose, Tammi shares in her blog post “Using God’s Gifts to Find Your Purpose in Life” her struggles and breakthroughs in learning who she is and what her purpose is.
“I love learning about people. I love learning about who people are and what their story is. God says that I’m a speaker, podcaster, blogger, and storyteller.Gift of Connection: Brene Brown says “Vulnerability begets connection.” People joke around that when I would ask how they were doing, they thought that I could “see into their souls.” I would ask people how they were doing, and they would say, “I don’t know why I feel like I’m supposed to share this with you. I love connecting with people and being able to help them.”Tammi McCarthy
Growing in Holiness & Wholeness
To help wrap up all we learned, Fr. Joe O’Connor, Pastor of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton church in the Diocese of Syracuse New York, shares how we can continue to grow in holiness and wholeness. Becoming holy and whole requires a balance of being and doing, a willingness to be molded by the Lord and allow Him to chisel away what we don’t need in our lives.
He inspires us with the story of the annunciation (Luke 1:26-38), focusing on verse 38:
“Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.”Luke 1:38
Tati humbly shares her struggles with holiness and her relationship with the Lord, and how she is learning to become who the Lord has created her to be. She shares her reflection in her blog “I am a Beloved Work in Progress”:
“Since my personal encounter with God around that same time, He’s been healing those misconceptions I grew up with—He’s been chiseling away to form me into who He made me to be since He first loved me.”Citlalin Ossio
Journey With Us
After this 8-week course, the women who have joined us have been able to become more aware of their wellness and have learned how to better work towards their overall emotional wellness.
This Lent journey of wellness does not need to only occur during Lent. We can better ourselves, work towards our wellness, each day of our lives. We are so excited to work on packaging this course to be able to offer it to other women who are interested in pursuing this journey. Stay tuned. Until then we are always here for you to help you on whatever journey you are on. We love you and are praying for you!