The Parts of My Chronic Illness You Don’t See

(The first time I posted this, it was shared on Medium.com, but I wanted to be sure to get it up on the blog as well.)

It’s easy to be a person on the outside, making assumptions. I get it. I’ve been there and am still there to some extent. We see what’s in front of us and formulate our beliefs based on our observations. It makes logical sense.However, when we judge the surface without understanding what’s going on inside, we fail to grasp the full picture.

Emily and Jonathan
One of the happiest times I had at the beginning of treatment! My boyfriend, Jonathan, came over and we ate dinner on the patio. I was feeling good as the antibiotics and supplements were kicking in right away — still had some physical pain, but was feeling great emotionally! What you don’t see is that just a few days later I was in deep depression and was about to give up on everything. Those who saw the happy picture on social media probably thought I was better, but in reality it was just a small moment of feeling better amidst a sea of hard days.

EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. I have other people make observations about how I look and then formulate opinions about how I must feel.

They then go on to tell me how I must be feeling based on my appearance. Some days, they are correct, but a majority of the time my outer shell doesn’t begin to express the pain beneath it.

Because I truly believe that most people are well-meaning, I try to brush it off. But, it’s not that simple. The neurological symptoms of Lyme have left me with crippling anxiety and depression. I get so anxious about what other people will think that I sometimes lie to myself and to them; I tell them I’m feeling well because those are the words they already put in my mouth. I submit to their opinions because I don’t want to be judged for still being sick.

This eats me up inside as I face other guilt because as a person of faith, I believe in honesty. I don’t want to pretend, but it feels like those around me want to put me into a box — a box I cannot seem to escape.

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Emily Lofgren’s heart beats for authenticity. She craves true connection where we can be real about our struggles and find hope together. Emily became a Christian in college and since then has had a passion for writing in a way that helps others encounter life. Grab your free copy of her eBook Finding Hope Through the Fog.

An Open Letter to the Friends I Didn’t Text Back

An Open Letter to the Friends I Didn't Text Back

Dear Wonderful Friends of Mine,

I think of you a lot. Often times I’ll catch myself reminiscing about the fun times we’ve had together. We may have been travel buddies, study partners, or teammates. We may have had regular coffee dates throughout college where we’d try to squeeze in a little homework or Bible reading but would end up spending most of the time talking and laughing.

You may be someone I could turn to when depression would get bad and I needed to hang out with someone who was lighthearted.

Because you’re my friend, I appreciate you. No matter what point of life we walked through together, I treasure your friendship and the times we shared.

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Emily Lofgren’s heart beats for authenticity. She craves true connection where we can be real about our struggles and find hope together. Emily became a Christian in college and since then has had a passion for writing in a way that helps others encounter life. Grab your free copy of her eBook Finding Hope Through the Fog.

Being Thankful in the Most Difficult Times

Being Thankful during hard times

It’s Thanksgiving morning.

I’m sitting alone in my apartment.

I’m propped up in bed with a heating pad on my back and my Bible and journal sitting to my left. Multiple blankets cover the lower half of my body and my laptop sits atop them as I type.

I wasn’t planning to write on the blog today. I opened my journal to begin pouring out some thoughts, but after some prayer and scripture reading I felt like I needed to get this into a blog post. So, here I am. Raw and real.

Being Thanksgiving and all, I know that I should be reflecting on what I’m thankful for right now. So, I’m thinking through some things – a lot of things.

I truly am thankful for the way God has worked in my life. He has provided during some of my weakest times.

I know God is good. I really do. But, at the same time I often find my mind dwelling on all that’s wrong in my life right now. I’m grieving the loss of how I thought my life would look.

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Emily Lofgren’s heart beats for authenticity. She craves true connection where we can be real about our struggles and find hope together. Emily became a Christian in college and since then has had a passion for writing in a way that helps others encounter life. Grab your free copy of her eBook Finding Hope Through the Fog.

When Your Dreams Aren’t Coming True

**This post contains some affiliate links for your convenience. Click here to read my full disclosure policy.**

The Year 2016 has gone nothing like I thought it would.

I had high hopes.

I always have high hopes.

That’s how things go when you’re a dreamer – when you’re someone who won’t settle for just okay, but wants to live a life that’s real and full of purpose.

Dreams

I spent my New Year’s Day encouraged. This was going to be the year that things would fall into place.

I had finished college and had spent the prior couple of years working a number of different jobs, including living overseas teaching in China. All of the transitions were a lot of fun, but I was ready for some stability. I craved stability. I finally had a full-time job in communications and had my own apartment with new furniture that I had picked out myself. I felt accomplished, like I was on the right track.

It wasn’t just about the material things, though. My goal was to budget and plan so that I could give more away. After reading David Platt’s Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream and Francis Chan’s Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God, I was excited about living out my faith by being a good steward of all God had given me.

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Emily Lofgren’s heart beats for authenticity. She craves true connection where we can be real about our struggles and find hope together. Emily became a Christian in college and since then has had a passion for writing in a way that helps others encounter life. Grab your free copy of her eBook Finding Hope Through the Fog.

Why Hasn’t He Proposed Yet?

{Full Disclosure: Jonathan gave me permission to share this with you}

I went into my relationship with Jonathan believing that he was the one – the one I was going to marry. Our story is quite different than the average dating story.

We didn’t just meet each other, exchange numbers, text a lot, hang out, and then decide we should probably make it official. He didn’t go the more traditional route of asking me on a date to see how we interacted, either. In fact, Jonathan didn’t tell me that he liked me until I had moved back to China – halfway around the world. Not exactly an easy distance to travel to see one another…

Why hasn't he proposed yet?

We began to fall for each other while attending a Bible study at his church, which has now also become my church. Jonathan and I knew of each other back in high school but we weren’t friends. In fact, at one point I even had a friend who crushed on him and I remember saying something like, “He’s fine, I guess…” in response to her telling me about the crush. I never imagined that just a few short years later I’d find myself with feelings I couldn’t shake.

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Emily Lofgren’s heart beats for authenticity. She craves true connection where we can be real about our struggles and find hope together. Emily became a Christian in college and since then has had a passion for writing in a way that helps others encounter life. Grab your free copy of her eBook Finding Hope Through the Fog.