Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Diving into the Unknown



Lauren Gaskill offers insight
to overcoming fear and anxiety
to live a life of courageous faith

When Lauren Gaskill started feeling pain in her shoulders while she was in high school, she attributed it to her swim team workouts. In college, as her health issues continued to escalate, she began to feel lost in a sea of anxiety, depression and unexplained chronic pain that was ripping apart her faith. Every week she would hear sermons about a God who delivers his people from their problems, but words only left her more frustrated and confused.


Gaskill admits she somehow missed the explanation that following Jesus doesn’t guarantee sunny skies and smooth sailing. In fact, the waters of life are often tumultuous, crashing over us. Sometimes we can feel we’re drowning in a sea of confusion, division, frustration, complacency, or disillusionment. We need more than a shallow faith to survive these deep waters. In her new book, Into the Deep: Diving Into a Life of Courageous Faith (Abingdon Press), Gaskill invites readers to dive headfirst into a life of courageous faith.

With endearing warmth and authenticity audiences find through her She Found Joy podcast and at She Found Joy events around the country, Lauren Gaskill shares how faith is not the absence of fear but the presence of courage. She tells stories of how she and others have learned to swim with Jesus in the deep waters of life—facing challenges such as anxiety, depression, and chronic illness—only to discover a more authentic, enduring faith that cannot be shaken by circumstances.

“I believe words have immeasurable power. That’s why I’m a writer. That’s why I strive to think long and hard about the words I choose before I write or say them. That’s why I fight daily to speak life, love, hope, and truth over myself in order to drown out the cruel, untruthful things others have spoken over me. Words are powerful no matter what we are going through, but they are even more powerful when our faith is tested,” Gaskill writes. “I wish I could forget some of the things people said to me when the waves of life came crashing in. ‘You’re never going to get over this,’ they told me. ‘This is going to haunt you for the rest of your life.’ Or my personal favorite, ‘Do you have unresolved sin in your life? Maybe God is punishing you for something.’”

She believes that many readers can relate to hearing such words from someone who entered into their struggle and, instead of giving a helping hand, shoved them further into the undercurrent. Whatever lies they may have been told, Gaskill offers truths that helped her get through her crisis of faith and continues to help her navigate the deep with God each day.
  • God is not punishing you.
  • You are not alone.
  • You are going to be OK
  • Darkness does not define.
  • You were made for the deep.
  • God’s love will carry you.

Into the Deep is divided into two parts: Out of the Undertow and Swimming with Jesus. Gaskill asks readers to think of each section as a progression in the faith journey. She explains that before we can swim with Jesus and go deeper in our faith, we first must break any chains that are binding us and keeping us wrapped in the undertow. “Then once we’ve learned to reach out in faith for the saving hand of Jesus, we are ready to become a true warrior of the deep: a strong, courageous, victorious conqueror and overcomer of the waves of this life.”

Each chapter ends with questions for personal reflection and journaling or small-group study as well as a prayer prompt.

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Lauren Gaskill is an author, speaker and host of the She Found Joy podcast and She Found Joy Ladies Night Out events. After being diagnosed with an incurable connective tissue disorder, Lauren made it her life mission to encourage others to fight for faith and find joy — no matter what life’s circumstances might bring.

Gaskill is a storyteller who believes stories are powerful and loves how God uses them for His good. She writes and speaks to motivate and inspire others to experience abundant life in Christ. She is particularly passionate about encouraging women to fight for faith and go deeper in their relationship with Jesus. Gaskill also writes and speaks about what it looks like to walk with Jesus through pain and suffering. Into the Deep: Diving Into a Life of Courageous Faith is her first book.

She lives in Raleigh, NC with her husband and Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.


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