When I was six months pregnant, I spent an afternoon in the ER. Not because of any sort of complications from the pregnancy, but because I’d called up my physician’s office that morning in tears saying I hadn’t slept in two days and was having thoughts of harming myself. Since they wanted to keep me on the phone, they were trying to call my husband to get him to take me there, and he wasn’t answering, so they eventually called a very nice police officer to drive me there in the back of his car (ironically the only time I’ve actually been in a police car). While I was there, they would not let me have my cell phone, and it was unclear if or when I’d be allowed to leave. Meanwhile, no one was answering their phones when I tried to call from the hospital phone, I didn’t know AJ’s work number or my doctor’s number off the top of my head, and they just left me in the waiting room for hours as ERs are wont to do. I’d never felt so alone, un-cared for, and unloved.

But thinking back now, it’s so clear to me that this whole situation could have been avoided. This was the climax of the story I’d been writing my entire life: the story where I’m constantly the one battling and defeating myself. What brought me to this point was anxiety, fear of the future, of this baby growing inside me that I had not come to accept, bond with, or much less, love. And do you know what that fear was? Baseless. As soon as I saw Declan and held him to my breast, all I knew was the purest form of love. Being a mother is not something I needed to fear, and in fact the worst part of it has been the anxiety that has plagued me at every step about the future. What if I can’t breastfeed? What if he never sleeps without being held? What if his father lets him cry when I would have picked him up sooner? What if he hates his new daycare? What if? What if?

What if I realized that all of the things I worried about have turned out fine? When we reached each bridge, by golly, we crossed it! In each moment, things may not have gone as we’d planned, but we did what we had to do to get by. Most importantly, though there were moments of failure, sadness, and anger, we haven’t lost who we are in the duties of parenthood. We still have time for fun, and we’ve discovered a whole new world of joy in watching our child become his own individual.

As I look back on my life to this point, I realize that the darkest, most painful memories are not the things I feared would happen, but what happened when I gave in to fear. In fact, the only lasting damage that my soul has sustained has been self-inflicted. Circumstances may cause momentary pain, but what we fail to realize is that what we’ll remember on the other side is the sense of accomplishment at getting through them. Conversely, when we let anxiety paralyze us, this is when we descend into the depths of despair, and at least for me, these are the dark places in my life that have stuck with me.

Jesus asks a poignant question in Matthew 6:27: “Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?” I say, no, of course not! Quite the opposite: worrying wastes your life and even shortens it. Some people are so afraid that life will be terrible that they even take their own lives. I know: I’ve been there; I’ve had those thoughts.  

Later on in that chapter in verse 34, Jesus concludes, “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.” Why couldn’t I have seen it before? Again and again, by the grace of God, I’ve made it through the struggles and mistakes of life. Why would I expect the next time to be different? 


On February 3, 2016, my grandmother, Janet Dignon, passed away after a battle with lung cancer. She celebrated her 93rd birthday the week before, and just a year ago we all thought she would see 100. She was the tough, forceful, persevering type who never seems to age, always cooking and playing hostess even when she was a guest. Though at times it seemed she found it hard to communicate her love for her family, she showed it through these myriad acts of service. Family was everything to her: living frugally to save up as much as possible for the generations to come, trying to make sure we made good choices about life and education.


Ever young at heart, she would always claim that she was 16 when one of her young grandkids asked how old she was, and I think maybe deep down she kind of believed it. Maybe that was the key to her longevity: as with most 16-year-olds she believed in her own immortality. Certainly there are better things to do with one’s life than to be consumed with thoughts or fears of death, but it is a reality of our existence, and we really shouldn’t go around in denial of it either.

Paul says in Philippians 1:21-23.:

21For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. 22But if I am to live on in the flesh, this will mean fruitful labor for me; and I do not know which to choose. 23But I am hard-pressed from both directions, having the desire to depart and be with Christ, for that is very much better;

I pray that God would give all of us the faith this man had: not only the confidence that we are bound for a better place and eternal life with Jesus, but also the knowledge that our lives exist to glorify Christ and do His work.

I’ll confess that  I’ve yet to come to the place where I eagerly await the time when I’ll depart this earth and join my Father and my Savior in heaven. I struggle with the images my feeble human brain tries to contrive of this utopic and eternal place, and I know it’s because somewhere deep down my heart questions whether Jesus is really enough. In this life or the next, is He the only purpose I need? Do I really want to live forever if all the fights are already won? This human trait of striving and working hard to achieve and create must serve some purpose in His eternal kingdom! I can only speculate, and the not knowing is so hard!

All we can do is pray again for the faith to get to the where place Paul, even with his intellectual mind, finds himself: at complete peace with the idea of both death and life.


Not Loving It

John 12:

23 Jesus replied, “Now the time has come for the Son of Man to enter into his glory. 24 I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat is planted in the soil and dies, it remains alone. But its death will produce many new kernels—a plentiful harvest of new lives. 25 Those who love their life in this world will lose it. Those who care nothing for their life in this world will keep it for eternity. 26 Anyone who wants to serve me must follow me, because my servants must be where I am. And the Father will honor anyone who serves me.

After a particularly bad day, you might expect that I would come back to this verse thinking that at least I have the “not loving my life” part down. When my mind travels down the well-worn paths that all seem to lead to the same dark place, when it seems like I will never stop hurting the ones I love, when it seems like every apology is stale and insincere and every act of love is rote, those are the times I think the world would be better off without me. Stuck in those ruts, I obsess over the hurt I cause and the imagined judgments of others, and ultimately, I’m really doing the opposite of caring nothing for my life.

Whether I obsess over how great life is or over how great I think it should be (and isn’t), the fact remains that I’m still obsessing. And more to the point, in those moments I’m really putting my hope in this world or some alternate version of it where I imagine I would be content. It all adds up to a lot of chasing and pining after some idealized picture of life in this world, and not a lot of following after Jesus.

I had an epiphany the other day when I realized that the more I try to hold on to this world, the more I end up withdrawing from it and from my mission as the image of Christ. The more I try to find the place where everyone likes me and where I belong, the more I find myself walled off.

Oh, if only I could just let go! I pray, God, let me invest in You at the expense of everything else, even life itself. Let me decrease, that You would increase in my thoughts and heart. I want to be rid of this constant self-consciousness,  because it is the antithesis of God-consciousness. I pray for a vision of life where I truly care nothing for myself and what others think of me, but see only Jesus and His work, His glory, and His boundless love for others.

Welcome to My Blog

Greetings to all my friends out there! This New Year, I resolved to get my blog off the ground for real, and I wanted to start with a little about me, just the major details.

Above all, I’m a Christian (a follower of Christ) which is the reason I started this blog. One of the areas I struggle with most is communicating verbally with others, especially about my faith, as it can be a quite controversial topic in some circles, and I’m non-confrontational to the extreme. Fortunately, God has gifted me with the ability to express myself through writing what I lack in speaking skills, and it’s recently become clear to me that I can’t hoard that gift or let it wither away in the busyness and exhaustion of life.

This blog isn’t about politics or my opinions or about proving anyone right or wrong. It seems that there are plenty of people out there on the internet better–or louder–at arguing than me. Nor do I consider myself uniquely insightful, that I would try to use some irrefutable logic to bring you over to my point of view. I won’t tell you that my life is great and you should all be like me–I believe that I’m a sinner like everyone else, and I’m not here to pretend I’ve got it together. This blog strives to be thoroughly testimonial: showing what Jesus has done and is doing in my life, how He has saved me and is daily sanctifying me.

Which brings me to my next bullet points about me. At the time of this entry, I’m 27 years old, I’ve been married to AJ since June 7, 2008, and we have one son, 15-month-old Declan.henderson xmas 2015I work full time overnights at Albany Medical Center hospital in the clinical chemistry lab. Before I was a mom, I enjoyed Tae Kwon Do and online gaming (mostly World of Warcraft), but recently most of my “free time” is spent sleeping, changing diapers, and watching my toddler undo any work I try to do around the house. I’ve dabbled with trying to write a few novels over the years, but haven’t finished any yet. I’ve battled with depression and anxiety for much of my life, especially social anxiety, as I alluded to before, which makes me shy and extremely introverted, but once I’m really comfortable with you, I can be one the the goofiest people you will ever meet.

But anyway, that’s enough about me to get you started.

Danielle Henderson's Blog