Weekly Newsletter

Good morning, Trench Dwellers!

I've been personally encouraged by the last two weeks of stories about anxiety and depression. Usually, my season of anxiousness falls between the months of Eli's birthday and angelversary, but there is something about this winter that has me getting more and more anxious. I've already downloaded the apps that Marcy, Steve, and Carrie suggested; you can read their stories on the blog and check out their recommendations: additional resources on anxiety and additional resources on depression.


This next week, we swing in a different direction—hearing stories of narcissistic parents. Mayo Clinic defines narcissistic personality as "a mental disorder in which people have an inflated sense of their own importance, a deep need for admiration and a lack of empathy for others. But behind this mask of ultraconfidence lies a fragile self-esteem that's vulnerable to the slightest criticism." Marcy and Amelia will share how they have struggled and dealt with their narcissistic parents—during childhood and as adults. I hope you are impressed as I am with the boundaries they have developed. We will have a new message board in our forums if you are struggling as an adult with one or both parents.


We will be highlighted as a local organization at the IF:Gathering 2017 conference in Cary, Illinois, this coming Friday night and Saturday. The IF:Gathering seeks to gather, equip, and unleash this generation of women to live out God's calling on their lives. You can still sign up to attend this IF:Local event in Cary (in McHenry County), and if you do, stop by our table to say hi!


We are currently looking for women to share their trench stories in the upcoming months. You can get started on the Submit a Story page of the website or send me an email if you would like to share but don't know how to write your story.

Also, we are looking for a Social Media Director to oversee our Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts. Our ideal candidate is knowledgeable and enthusiastic about all social media outlets, someone who is creative as well as thoughtful when interacting with online communities and building relationships. The candidate also needs to be compassionate and empathic towards our audience—women who are experiencing the trenches of life and finding healing, support, and encouragement through sharing their stories. If you or someone you know would be a good fit, please email me!

Jen G.
Founder, Stories from the Trenches

Jen's Journal

I am deeply troubled by the climate of our country right now. Politics aside, my concern is the lack of respect and hatred being slung about. I read the book Love Does, by Bob Goff, a few months after Eli passed away, and my stance on loving others shifted to stop talking about love and starting living out love. Then I read Preemptive Love Coalition, by Jeremy Courtney, and jumped on the "love first, ask questions later" bandwagon.

My heart overflows with love for people and clearly a love for broken, struggling women. This love perspective is where my confusion and concern stems from. I just do not understand hatred for a fellow human being, whether or not they share the same beliefs, values, or political stance as you. I'm wrestling with my stance, my own beliefs with the new changes occurring in our country, but I do know I will always be rooted in "Love Anyway."

Featured Forums

This week, we will be hearing stories about the trenches of mental illness, specifically narcissism. But the stories are just the start—continue the support, conversation and encouragement in the blog comments and in the forums:

Recent Stories and Resources

This week, we heard stories from the Abbs family and their on-going journey through the trench of depression (and anxiety)—stories of struggle but also hope. We hope these additional resources offer strength and encouragement to those who are also in this trench, no matter how far along you are. Please feel free to leave additional suggestions in the comments!

Recommendations for Music, Books, and Apps →

Getting Better

It is January 2007. Perhaps February. And I am in pain. Inexplicably, my left knee has bulged up to probably 150% of its normal size. About every second or third step down with my left foot brings a fresh shot of pain up my body. I cannot fully bend my left leg. Going down a set of stairs is a rather comical sight to watch, I’m sure, were it not for the pain. I have to practically slide down one or two steps at a time sideways, my left leg extended and my hands holding onto the railing.

Read More →


Not Alone

I am fifteen years old and a sophomore in high school. I was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) when I was in 4th grade. Now that I’ve covered the basics, let me tell you about my journey through anxiety and depression.

It started when I was in 8th grade, near the beginning of the school year. I thought life was going pretty well, but one day—and I don’t know why or how—something in my brain snapped.

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Knit Back Together

What is it like to be in a house where four people with four distinct personalities suffer from anxiety—and most of us have had depression, too? Let me put it this way: some days, it is really hard, especially when all of us have our anxiety up. It is kind of like living on a melting ice floe—thank goodness that is a rare occurrence.

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