Tag Archives: healing

Hope & Healing in the Holidays

A week before Thanksgiving, I am noticing many people are writing or sharing posts and articles about ways to find hope and healing in the holidays.

But honestly the holidays are still one of the most difficult moments in my grief.

Our daughters, Caitlin and Brielle, come home – though often not at the same time. They are each married now so we’ve also added two special son-in-laws. But when we are all together we are more aware than ever that Leisha is not among us.

After some earlier losses in life, I could still “manufacture” some of sparkle and gratitude of the holidays. I could still muster it mostly because I’m a positive person and worked hard to at least ‘appear’ happy.

But after Leisha died, it was not possible even pretend to make that happen.

I’m sure I’ve shared this before, but for me grief was a feeling of being in a really dark tunnel where the mud was up past the top of my head and I couldn’t move a finger let alone breathe.

The harder I tried to get out the deeper I got Into the mire, into the mud, into the darkness.

Maybe you are reading this because you are desperate-  I just described how you feel right now. Loss has paralyzed you. You are stuck in this dark, damp tunnel of mud with fist raised.

Is that you?

Or maybe you don’t feel so desperate anymore. But there is still this ache that won’t go away and you wonder if it ever will.

While you want more than anything “Keep living until you feel alive again”,  you also struggle to move past that last connection you had with your loved one.

Which ends up being their death.

Does that sound familiar to you?

Or maybe you are walking with someone you care about. You experienced the same loss, but you don’t feel the loss with the same intensity as your mother does or as much as your spouse or friend does. You know what they are experiencing is very real, but you don’t know what to do – or say.  You don’t know how to help.

Who are you walking with?

But whoever you are look around. You are not alone.

You are not alone In the experience of loss- which sometimes is a comfort of its own.  Grief is a lonely journey in many ways, but misery loves company.

But you are also not alone in the journey through grief.

A book that I highly recommend is called “A Grace Disguised’.  The author, Jerry Sittser lost his wife, his mother and his 4 year old daughter in a tragic accident with a drunk driver.  He writes.

“The experience of loss does not have to be the defining moment in our lives. Instead the defining moment can be our response to the loss. It is not what happens to us that matters so much as what happens in us.” 

Jerry says “It’s not our loss that defines us”,
though many of us feel defined by the day
our Husband died,
our daughter died
we lost the job
Or we got that diagnosis

Those are losses indeed- yet they are things we have very little control over.

But if the defining moment can be how we respond to that loss–
well, that we can do something about.  

What do you think about that?
Can you choose how to respond when you experience a loss?
When you think about your losses in your life, what was your response?

Hope & Healing is in our control as we choose our response Click To Tweet

I’m not saying it is easy. In fact, I’m here to say it sure wasn’t for me.

But how about we take a moment in preparation for these holidays and stop to notice our options –  not just in our response to our loss but as move through our grief.

And also through our holidays.

Tomorrow I’ll share with you an exercise I learned to help me in my response in my loss.  Actually, it has a lot to do with the RED SEA again.

See you tomorrow.

What Happens When a Moment Changes Your Life

In the last post, I talked about the big moments we can recall in vivid detail.  We remember who was with us, what happened, how it felt.  Often, we share how that moment changed our life.

I shared one moment that is talked about a lot in scripture- I call it the RED SEA story -when the children of Israel were caught between death – and death.  It was that moment when God showed up like he had never shown up before and they were saved. (You can read more about that in the post from yesterday)

I’m guessing that even as you read that description, you immediately think of one or more occasions in your own story that changed you.

I wish we could sit over a cup of coffee and share those moments together.  I would love to hear about the moment that changed you in the comments section or via email at kathy@greenhopecoaching.com.

For now, I’ll share my story RED SEA moment with you. It was the day my 15 year old daughter, Leisha, died.

I didn’t know how I was going to survive the grief tunnel any more than the children of Israel knew how they were going to get out of Egypt, or get through the Red Sea.

God had to show up! And he had to show up differently than he ever had before! Continue reading What Happens When a Moment Changes Your Life

So. Much. Pain.

I’m in the people business
Know people
Care for people
Feel for people

Because of this I have to be very aware of how I take in the emotions & pain of others. It can effect me not only emotionally, but physically as well.

Over the last few days a series of losses took my breathe away.

Death of a 26 year old friend of Leisha’s
Death of a 16 year old friend of a friend
Our friend’s 17 year old fighting for his life

Watching our parents process letting go of strength, while mourning each week the death of another friend or loved one.

Watching the girls navigate life and wondering what’s ahead for them and any future generations.

I’m not trying to take on all this pain but I’m struggling about what to do with my own emotions as I create a bigger picture for ministry I know I am part of
That involves more people
More stories
More pain.

Ah!
There it is!
The truth!

I fear feeling more.
Hurting more.

Then I reflected on the other messages
Continue reading So. Much. Pain.

A Journey to Be!

Below, I am REPOSTING a post from a year a go.  I wrote this during my first ever writer’s conference- TRIBEWRITER’s in Franklin, TN last August 2015.  I remember being scared, excited, sick to my stomach and sure this was my next right/write step. 

Today as I prepare to attend my second Tribewriter conference, I read this post agin.  I am in awe of all that has happened in a year.  

A year ago, I spoke the words “I am a writer” for the first time. A year ago I declared that I would finish writing and publish a book.  

Now it is done.  It took a great deal more to complete this task than I ever dreamed, but I have a book to show to the Jeff Goins as I thank him for helping me own who I am and  for introducing me to Christine Niles and others who inspired and challenged me through this process.

I don’t know what I will learn this year at TRIBEWRITERS, but I’m scared, excited, sick to my stomach and sure this is the next right/write step. Pray for me!

*******

As a child, did you ever wonder what you would be when you grew up?  Journey to Be

I did often.  It had everything to do with being a mom, and working with music and worship in the local church. And if I happened to be married to a pastor, that would be all the better. I never wanted to be anything else.

But today I sat in a room full of people and realized that is not who I am anymore.  I still have the same gifts and abilities.  I still love music and prefer to use it to lead others in worship.  I still have a husband who thinks about ways to teach God’s word and loves to talk about church leadership.

The fact that I am not what I once was used to feel like failure, then just loss.  But today I came to see in fresh ways that all that WAS is part of all that IS.   All that I have learned is part of all that I now share.

From the memories of all that I am from to the discovery of the voice that has always been within me, I am still me.

Only more!

I’m more aware!

I’m more raw!

I’m more real!

And that is good.

Today I came closer to identifying and becoming content with who I am!

I am an entrepreneur.   I own a business.

I am a coach and a speaker.

I am part of a tribe and I am a leader of tribes.

I am also a writer!

It is out of who I am now that I will write.  It might suit you and it might not.  I might speak to the core of your issues and I might not.  I might write out of the suffering more than the healing and I might not.

But I will write because I must. I will continue to explore who I am coming to be because I will not go back.  I will continue to share the truths that I am being taught.

From the memories of all that I am from to the discovery of the voice that has always been… Click To Tweet

I will not count the past as lost, or wasted.  I will see it for the training ground it has been.   I will not fear the present or the future because I have known the hand of God in bringing me to this point.  I will trust it as I continue on.

Today I have seen more of me.

And it’s ok!

So are you!

Who are you today?  What do you need to embrace in this day?

Join me in the journey to be,  won’t you?

A Book to Proof

I was sittting at the Arby’s across from the mall in the area that is all window. People watching at its best.  The sky was clear with the exception of a few, very small, very white clouds slowly drifting by.  What a beautiful day!

Every thing about this moment was life-giving. Even the woman Continue reading A Book to Proof

Lessons from #tribeconf

Before this weekend, I would have told you:

  • I never wanted to be a writer
  • I started writing about 6 months ago.
  • I am still struggling to find my voice.
  • I accepted the title of writer about 8 weeks ago.

But after the weekend at the first ever TRIBEWRITER’s Conference, (hence #tribeconf) I came to own I have been on this journey of writing most of my life.

Jeff Goins being Superman!
Jeff Goins being Superman!

Jeff Goins, founder and host of the TribeWriter Conference, (Superman in another life) spoke directly to me (though he doesn’t know it) on the very first session.

 

He challenged us to:

  • Let go: of expectations, of fear, of shame (feeling that we Should Have Always Mastered Everything).  Here we go again.  First thing he says and I’m already having to open my hands to what God might be wanting to do here.
  • Embrace the mess:  How did he know I woke up in the middle of the night in a sweat, wondering if I was going to show up and be shown up for the mess that I was?  He asked us to partner with the community regarding the issues we have.  I did! I found great encouragement and accountability in the process.
  • Become a more true version of yourself:
  1. Be you! Not someone else, even if you admire them.
  2. Believe in yourself.  Action follows belief.
  3. Try something new this weekend.  That was easy! Everything had some newness to it.

While the weekend was full of excellent speakers with very practical resources and action steps for us, I probably could have left after the first speaker and felt like I got what I needed.

I have struggled ever since Leisha died feeling like I need to write to finish her book, but have been in a battle to rediscover who I am really not just as a writer, but as a woman. All I thought about myself had been put into question when my daughter died.  I blogged a bit about this during the weekend. You can catch it here.

But Ally Vesterfelt, of Author Launch really spoke to this as she shared her father’s story as he was near death.  As a clinical psychologist and marriage counselor, he had worked with all kinds of people.  But his first article as he fought to live was “Dying is easy, Life is hard to do!”  Yes it is!  I can attest to that!  I never considered that Leisha had the easy road in dying.  The rest of us had to fight to live.

Ally was just getting started with her challenge to me.  Her next thoughts made me know I was going the right direction.

  • We find our voices when we are most likely losing them.
  • One of the most painful things is to lose the sound of your own voice.
  • FIGHT for the truth, the rawness, and the realness of your own voice.
  • Finding your voice starts with finding yourself.20150830_092547 (2)

Wow!  For her to speak directly to the  battle I mentioned earlier means she is familiar with the pain of it.  I have been there for the last 9 years.  Finding my voice by finding myself.  I can identify that it must be truth, it will be raw, and it must feel real or it feels disingenuous to the process of healing.

“More than likely you will find your voice on a path you least wanted to go down. Sometimes the sufferings, not the healings, are the source of greatest transformation of our life.”

She was right! I knew she was!

I was being changed through the sufferings.  I didn’t want to suffer.  I tried to avoid the suffering, but I knew  it when I embraced the ache and walked into the darkness that the greatest transformation occurred.

As I work to finish Leisha’s book, I reconnect with many layers of grief in order to share what I have learned from the last 9 years. That has been part of the mess I have felt recently. But I wouldn’t change the process.  I am much more aware of who I am and what I was meant to say!

I understand that I must find my own voice before I can truly help someone else find theirs. While I hope that the book will be used to change one person’s life in an effort to change the world,  I know that writing this book has and is changing me.

The story I’m getting ready to present to the world in a few months has been in process for most of my life.

I’m a writer! I have been a writer!  I need to write if just to change me!

How’s your story coming?

Jeff & KathyP.S. Thanks Jeff Goins! For letting go, embracing the mess and becoming a more true version of yourself. You have modeled for me and given me courage to do that same.

Thank you Ally Vesterfelt! For sharing out of the raw, real, truth of your own story. I am one who is changed because of it.

Just because I didn’t write life lessons from all the other speakers doesn’t mean I couldn’t have.  I am still just processing the first one.  Thanks to all of you for your time, availability and genuine support.

I’m already signed up for TribeWriter 2016.  Join me?

TW- 20151029- with Christine TW- 20151029-with Jo Higgins Michael TW 20151029-with Jo