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Part 1 of an interview with Lauren Gaskill
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Part 1 of an interview with Lauren Gaskill

20 Nov Posted by in Interviews | Comments Off on Part 1 of an interview with Lauren Gaskill
Part 1 of an interview with Lauren Gaskill

Part 1 of an interview with Lauren Gaskill,
Author of Into the Deep

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.

Q: What inspired you to write your new book, Into the Deep: Diving into a Life of Courageous Faith?

I should have drowned years ago. When the waves of anxiety, depression and chronic pain came crashing over me, the “faith” I’d been raised to practice couldn’t keep my head above the waves. But I didn’t drown. I’m still here. Because by God’s grace, in the undertow I discovered a deep faith in Jesus that saved me from sinking into the depths and catapulted me straight into His rescuing arms.

He saved me from drowning, and my hope in writing this book is that He might use my story to help save others who feel like they are drowning too.

Q: You’ve been a swimmer for most of your life. How were you able to relate that experience to the message you wanted to share in this book?

There is something beautiful and mysterious about water. It’s elemental to our existence, but depending on the environment, it can also be a threat. When I was little and didn’t know how to swim, the water terrified me. But once I mastered the strokes, deep waters became a place of freedom and adventure. These experiences on the swim team are very similar to the experiences I’ve lived through in my faith journey, and that’s why I chose the water illustration. Fear can hold us back from learning how to swim, but it can also hinder us from stepping out courageously in faith. There are so many parallels and biblical illustrations (I mean right there in Genesis 1:2), I knew this was the lens I had to write the book through.

Q: In the first chapter, you share your passion for helping people learn how to exercise faith. Have you always felt that way?

No, because I didn’t always realize that faith was the answer — the thing that could and would keep me from drowning. It took a long time for me to finally reach out to Jesus and trust Him to pull me up, but when I did, my life was forever changed. Faith in Jesus saved me from a life of despair, and that’s why I intend to spend the rest of my life helping others fight for faith too. I help others learn how to press on in faith and lead lives of joy through blogging, hosting a bimonthly podcast and speaking at conferences around the country.

Q: When did you first experience bouts of anxiety? What were some of the situations that brought on the feelings of anxiousness?

I started experiencing anxiety in high school, after a traumatic event triggered panic attacks.

Q: You are very open about your struggle with chronic pain and the recurrent anxiety and depression that come along with it. How did your physical issues cause you to lose faith? Tell us about how you’ve learned to overcome these challenges.

Hypermobile Ehlers-Danlos is a nasty disorder — I truly wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy. One day, you can wake up feeling like you’ve been hit by a bag of bricks or two semis. Other days, you can’t move without being in pain or risking injury from loose joints making bones pop out everywhere. Having unstable joints means arthritic pain is a constant companion and makes it hard to do “normal” tasks like lifting bags, exercising or evening cutting vegetables for dinner some days. These difficult physical challenges made it hard to keep faith in the beginning because I didn’t understand why God wasn’t healing me. When I finally opened my heart to the possibility of healing, bad turned to worst, and it made me question everything I believed in.

After years of diving deeper with Jesus, at the end of the day, no matter what pain I experience, I know in the deepest parts of my soul that I will be OK. Not because of who I am, but because of who God is. He is a good, good Father. He is always with us and always for us, just like His Word says He is. He cannot not be faithful and His Spirit — the very hope of Christ — lives in me.

When I think about all of those things, I find everything I need to overcome because the Jesus in me is stronger than the waves of darkness that try to overtake me. In Him, I have nothing to fear.

Q: After college, you sought out the help of a Christian counselor. What did you learn about the connection between your struggles with your faith alongside your battles with anxiety and depression?

I learned that God wasn’t punishing me with anxiety and depression, instead, He was allowing it as an opportunity to deepen my relationship with Him. I also learned that having anxiety and depression didn’t make me any less of a Christian, it just meant I had different areas I had to learn to trust God with. In this case, that involved areas of mental health.

Q: You write that faith is the answer we’re all looking for — the solution to all of our hurts, pain and sorrows. Why do you think women reach for other solutions often before they reach for Jesus?

Faith in Jesus can be a hard thing. It’s like navigating a ship through a high seas storm. The passengers can’t see what lies ahead, they just have to trust the captain knows what he is doing and will get them safely to the other side. If we don’t trust God, that makes it hard to have faith in Him and easy to turn to earthly solutions that are more immediate and absolute.

The other thing we must consider is the world we are living in. Our world is becoming increasingly faithless. We’ve lost faith in the things we can see, so it’s no wonder we’ve lost faith in the things we can’t see.

About the Author
Lauren Gaskill is an author, speaker and host of the Finding Joy podcast and Finding 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.

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

Find her online at LaurenGaskillInspires.com or on Facebook (lauren.gaskill.inspires), Twitter (lauren_inspires) and Instagram (lauren_inspires).  

 

 

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