Category Archives: Greif

Finding Purpose in Pain

I had just laid my newborn baby down to rest and knew I should close my eyes until she needed me again, but I couldn’t resist the overwhelming urge to write the thoughts that were running through my head. It was strange, the words I was hearing were directed to me, not from me. It was  as if the voice of God was thundering a very personal message and I had to capture it.

Once my pen hit the page, the words kept coming faster than I could write.

I knew Rebecca would not live long, the doctors were adamant about  that; and her physical impairments  were obvious, so I felt foolish doubting them,  but it felt so wrong to believe she would die!.  There were so many  questions and such confusion causing fear and anxiety. I needed a “word from God.”

When the student is ready the Teacher speaks.

I can’t help but wonder if this is why God allows difficulties in our lives. It makes us ready to learn. Writing down “God’s Comfort”  empowered me, like the embrace of a warm, soft blanket  in front of a beautiful fire His voice was protecting me from the fierce storm outside. I felt His love and wisdom and it brought certain peace, which is  still hard to explain, even eighteen years later.

Every year around this time, I like to share those words somewhere. On March 5, 1999 (just a few weeks after I wrote them) we shared them–unedited–at our daughter’s funeral. Today, I want to share them with you. My prayer is that you, too, will gain a new perspective on the goodness of the heart of God, even if goodness seems far from your reality. Continue reading Finding Purpose in Pain

The Beauty of Easter

If you have ever had one, you know how all-consuming the pain can be. There are few things that can stop a woman in her tracks like a full-blown migraine. Of course, there are plenty of things that are all-consuming and do slow us down a lot. Like broken relationships, fear, rejection and the big one: any concern–no matter how small–for our children.

Through most of the challenges we face, even when we cannot smile or act as if we are okay, we do our best to keep going. (I may be a emotional mess at times, but seldom will I let my house become one!) Some physical or emotional pain can be pushed through; some pain, however, only intensifies when we try to push ourselves. (When I have a migraine, I don’t even care about the order of my house!)

headache-1428019-639x469Grief is like a migraine.

When any pain becomes so sever that you cannot function, you are wise to stop everything and give yourself some time to recover.

That is what the disciples did when Jesus died. Read through the end of the gospels and you will see how much of a mess they were; and why shouldn’t they be? All their hopes, dreams, beliefs and motives had just been crucified on that cross with the friend they were sure was about to become their king. Their future was now in shambles. Life had abruptly stopped for them. Continue reading The Beauty of Easter

God is Bigger than the challenges we Face

In memory of our Trisomy 18 baby, I offer the words God spoke to me one night before she died in 1999. May these words be an encouragement to you and your’s during whatever trial you face.

God’s Comfort to Our Family and Friends 

by Catrina Welch

Rebecca
Rebecca Welch Feb 9, 1999- March 2, 1999

This child is my gift to you, like a delicate flower.

Do not expect her life to last like that of a carnation.

Her purpose here is a quick and powerful one.

Enjoy each moment.

Do not waste time in meaningless comparison,

And do not get caught in the trap of self-pity,

Or you will miss the blessings I have in store for you.

I love you and long to bear this yoke with you.

I want to ease your pain; I do not want to take it away.

Because if I did, I would take away all the victories, the lessons,

The character being created in you.

I promise, I will never leave you, nor forsake you.

I will bear this load with you, if you just draw near to me.

Trust in me, and tell of the wonders you will see.

There are great riches in store for you,

But if you only look at the pain and sorrow, that is all you will see.

Look unto Me and my Son.

When you want to find comfort in the sympathy of others

When you feel as though no one understands,

When you are tempted to sit and compare your circumstances with others,

Look at the cross, look at the life of my Son.

He understands.

He knows what it is like to anticipate great trials and great pain.

He understands rejection and betrayal.

He knows misunderstandings and false accusations.

He understands what it is like to be raised by a father who is not his own.

He has felt every physical and emotional pain.

He has felt separation from Me,

And I have felt the great pain of losing a child I so dearly loved.

Let me bear this cross with you.

You have honored me as Creator and Master; right now, let me be your “Daddy.”

Climb into my lap, and I will give you rest.

Wait upon me and I will renew your strength.

Trust in Me, and I will provide all your needs.

But if you turn from Me, and blame Me, How can I reach you?

I will wait, and I will welcome you back when you are done with your fight,

But I will not fight back. I am a gentleman.

I will stand at the door and knock, but you must open the door.

Only then will I enter in; and you and I shall dine together.

I will be your God, I will provide for you, protect you, comfort you and counsel you.

I love you and My grace is sufficient for you.

My power is made perfect in weakness.

Give to me your challenges, I find that to be the greatest gift of all.

And you will know my peace.

How to Dress for Tragedies, Trials and Temptations

You have come to the top of a mountain peek; the only way to continue on your journey is to navigate your way down the steep slope and over to the next lift. You have three choices:

  1. Just do it.
  2. Take off your skis, walk back to the last lift and risk your life trying to get back on the chair that was designed to only be exited.
  3. Stand there in fear until you find the courage to choose 1 or 2.

This is much like the feeling we get whenever we face a major transition in our lives. I felt this way as a kid each time my family moved to a new location where I  had no friends. I felt it again during the my divorce and single-motherhood as well as throughout my son’s drug addiction and the death of my trisomy 18 baby. Continue reading How to Dress for Tragedies, Trials and Temptations

Building Confidence by Keeping Christmas Unfair

“I just have to get this for little Tommy, he will just love it! Now I need to get something more for Suzzie or he will have more than she does.”

My parents didn’t keep Christmas fair for their five children. I’m sure they were tempted to, and I’m sure there were times when our complaints about the sibling who got the most gifts made them feel bad, but instead of giving into our (and society’s) pressure they responded with a non-apologetic, practical answer. “He needed the bike. You all already have bikes. This is his big year.” As children, we may not have known it, but we were learning powerful life-lessons from this response.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI will never forget my junior year of high school, when my parents made that Christmas my “big year.” I felt extremely humbled as I opened the beautiful ring they bought me. I knew we were in a very difficult season financially and I couldn’t believe they spent the money on me. The only thing I remember my brothers opening was sox! I don’t know how my siblings felt toward me that year, but I do know that if they felt it was “unfair,” they didn’t show it. Instead they Continue reading Building Confidence by Keeping Christmas Unfair

When Words Crush Your Spirit

“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.”

Injuries can crush the body.

When someone strikes us, we hurt. The stronger our physical body, the less likely the damage, of course, but there is no question that sticks and stones can break our bones. And when we are injured, no one ever questions our need to take care of ourselves or to get the help we need. In fact, even strangers may jump up to assist the wounded with something that is obviously challenging (like opening a door for someone on crutches). Good people don’t treat an injured person like a weakling or misfit. They see our cast, bandage or sling and it’s obvious  we have been hurt, but seldom will they label us a “reject,” “basket case,” “disturbed,” or “emo” like they do when words (or actions) inflict our heart and leaves us  emotionally wounded.

Broken bones seldom become a person’s identity because we all know these injuries don’t last forever. Emotional wounds, however can easily become our identity because we are less apt to nurture them into healing properly and they become an intricate part of who we are.

It is foolish to keep doing things that intensify any injury (or sickness), whether it is physical or emotional. Yet most of us tend to care for a physical wound with love and attention while we dismiss emotional wounds as if they are shallow, immature or self-centered. Any wound  that is well cared for will heal far better than one neglected or provoked, yet we easily accept our broken heart as our new identification.

When I broke my back in 1999 I had two small children at home and often felt it was “necessary” to do what the doctor had ordered me not to (like lifting my toddler), and when I did, it set back my healing. That’s the thing with a physical injury: it doesn’t go away, it “speaks up” and makes us deal with it no matter how hard we try to deny that it hurts.

Emotional wounds “speak up,” too.

My physical injury happened only six weeks after my daughter’s death. I had not healed from the emotional injury that grief had inflicted on my heart. For awhile I was pretty much bedridden and dependent on others. It was very difficult to be so needy, but the physical rest was part of my emotional healing. Instead of staying busy and avoiding the issues of my heart I was restricted with lots of time to think, cry and pray. My physical neediness also gave others reason to come and help me and that, too, brought healing to my heart.

Words can crush the spirit.

Emotional wounds aren’t always as intense as grief (just as physical wounds may be as simple as a paper cut) but they still need to be dealt with. Perhaps you have been called fat, ugly, stupid, slow, (or whatever!) and you feel embarrassed that such a simple thing hurt you.

Even small insults, like paper cuts, need to be washed, or they may get infected.

IMG_1563.JPGWhen someone hurts us as children we run to mom and cry on her shoulder. She hugs us and tells us the words are wrong and that she loves us just the way we are. And she means it, because we are a part of her. So we believe her words over the insults and our heart survives. Of course, if she does not have a healthy self-image, she may not be capable of helping us with our’s and if we have no one to help us wash the wound, we may accept those words as truth.

My mom helped me a lot in 1999 as did all of my (and my husband’s) family of origin as well as our family of faith. They made meals, did errands, changed diapers and, most of all, they cared. Even when their words were awkward, their actions helped me believe the Word of God, and that was the key to the survival of my crushed spirit.

If you feel wounded or crushed, I encourage you to take some time to heal. You are not alone. Let others help you and let their concern (even if it’s awkward) speak to your heart. Most of all, cast all your cares on the One who cares for you. Tell God how you feel and ask Him what He thinks of you. Don’t get distracted by the “necessary” until you have heard His answer and then believe His Word over anyone else’s because you were created in His image and there is no greater love than His. 

Don’t Get Sucked Down the Drain of Depression

Physical pain is an infliction on the psyche as much as it is a debilitation to the lifestyle. Disappointment in one’s own restricted abilities can create an internal confidence conflict that is hard to shake. I’m sure you have had an experience where an injury not only kept you from doing something, but also nag at you with thoughts of inadequacy with each painful move.

Recently I had to retire from my first love: cosmetology. I’ve developed tendinosis, a degeneration of the tendons in my right shoulder and arm. Sharp, gnawing pain has been chanting the lyrics of one of my dad’s silly song in my mind repeatedly. Have I really become “old, tiered, bent and busted”?

I try to make my weakness no big deal. I’m just injured. Maybe it’s simply time I focus more on my new love: writing and speaking. The thing is, my pain put me in an emotional funk, making it hard to focus at all. I allowed my discouragement to rule my thoughts. When your body is screaming at you to focus on pain, you do.

That may be a logical requirement for healing, but I was battling that logic. To some of us women, it feels more like selfishness to care for ourselves than it does to become discouraged and needy. This confusion can send us on an emotional spiral–like the water being sucked down a drain–into a deep depression.

Don't get sucked down the drain of depression

If there is anything I learned with the loss of my daughter, it is:

Stop the spiral, quick!

 

Which, of course, is a lot easier said than done. In fact, I cannot even imagine how to plug the drain of depression without either shutting off all emotion or getting help. For me and my husband, it was only by the power of prayer and the support of each other that we learned to redirect our thinking in order to stay away from the drain. Grief has its challenges because the thoughts that begin to “suck you in” are often beautiful memories and changing them feels like disloyalty to the one we love. I guess that’s where our faith came in. We believe God cares and that His plan is perfect even though we do not understand, which makes it easier for us to turn our memories toward thankfulness instead of bitterness. But that’s a blog for another day.

basin-248640_640

 

When it comes to injury and pain management, it’s a different ball game–or shall I say: sink.

 

You may remember from the blog about my embarrassing fall, that I am learning the balance between being desolate and demanding. I don’t want to be the girl who doesn’t care for herself at all; disrespect of self only breeds rejection. Neither do I want to be the girl (ok, getting-old-lady…) who expects everyone else to understand, care about and meet my needs and desires. I am responsible to take care of myself and when there are times I need assistance with what I cannot do, then I need to to request (and allow!) help without whining, manipulating or demanding; this breeds respect. 

The thing is, I’m still learning to take responsibility for my emotions as well as my physical needs.

Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life. Proverbs 4:23

Last night I threw a party for my girlfriends. I found this great new line of cosmetics, and I wanted them to experience the fiber lashes. Our time together totally lifted my heart out of the drain. My injury hadn’t only caused my early retirement, it also changed my 30-year identity, took my spending money and worst of all: my girlfriend time! No wonder I have been in such a funk.

I know some of us (typically Dramatics, Ingénues and Gamines) need social events more than others (Romantics, Naturals, Classics) but we all need girlfriend time! 

If you are feeling down and drained today, explore your heart and consider what you may need to fell joy again. Perhaps you, too, need to throw a party and focus on spoiling others for a change. Or maybe it’s time you spoil yourself. If you find respite in a walk on the beach, excitement in a competitive game, satisfaction in creating something beautiful, or fulfillment in simply being heard, then make the time to care for your needs–emotionally and physically. Remember:

If mamma’ ain’t happpy, ain’t nobody happy!

Taking care of you is actually selfless and makes you will be better able to take care of those who need you.

for more information, visit me at www.CatrinaWelch.com

God’s Comfort to Our Family and Friends

This child is my gift to you, like a delicate flower.

Do not expect her life to last like that of a carnation.

Her purpose here is a quick and powerful one.

Enjoy each moment.

Do not waste time in meaningless comparison,

And do not get caught in the trap of self-pity,

Or you will miss the blessings I have in store for you.

I love you and long to bear this yoke with you.

I want to ease your pain; I do not want to take it away.

Because if I did, I would take away all the victories, the lessons,

The character being created in you.

I promise, I will never leave you, nor forsake you.

I will bear this load with you, if you just draw near to me.

Trust in me, and tell of the wonders you will see.

There are great riches in store for you,

But if you only look at the pain and sorrow, that is all you will see.

Look unto Me and my Son.

When you want to find comfort in the sympathy of others

When you feel as though no one understands,

When you are tempted to sit and compare your circumstances with others,

Look at the cross, look at the life of my Son.

He understands.

He knows what it is like to anticipate great trials and great pain.

He understands rejection and betrayal.

He knows misunderstandings and false accusations.

He understands what it is like to be raised by a father who is not his own.

He has felt every physical and emotional pain.

He has felt separation from Me,

And I have felt the great pain of losing a child I so dearly loved.

Let me bear this cross with you.

You have honored me as Creator and Master; right now, let me be your “Daddy.”

Climb into my lap, and I will give you rest.

Wait upon me and I will renew your strength.

Trust in Me, and I will provide all your needs.

But if you turn from Me, and blame Me, How can I reach you?

I will wait, and I will welcome you back when you are done with your fight,

But I will not fight back. I am a gentleman.

I will stand at the door and knock, but you must open the door.

Only then will I enter in; and you and I shall dine together.

I will be your God, I will provide for you, protect you, comfort you and counsel you.

I love you and My grace is sufficient for you.

My power is made perfect in weakness.

Give to me your challenges, I find that to be the greatest gift of all.

And you will know my peace.

Comfort for all Seasons

Rebecca close upRebecca went to be with Jesus when she was three weeks old. It feels a bit disloyalty to imagine her growing up because in my heart she will always be a baby. Don’t get me wrong, as much as I wish I were planning a sweet 16 party for her this week, I’ve found it easier to cherish the past and embrace reality than it is to torment myself with “woulda, coulda, shouldas.”

The heartache we suffered because of our loss taught us many things, and without a doubt there is still much to learn, but in times like these–when a part of me would really like to wallow in my sorrow–I hold onto that which I have learned and received and heard and saw (Philippians 4, vs. 9) and I choose to rejoice in the Lord always (vs 4).

As a tribute to my daughter’s memory and to the God of all Comfort (2 Corinthians 1) I share the words (poem) He gave me during her quick and powerful life. May they be a comfort to you, whatever season you are facing.  We shared this poem at Rebecca’s funeral; to read it, click this link: God’s comfort to our friends & family. To learn more about Rebecca, or her chromosome disorder click the topic Trisomy 18.

*****

Catrina Welch is an inspirational author and speaker whose personal experience with overcoming rejection, betrayal and loss–as well as her expertise as a cosmetologist, image consultant and Biblical life-coach–is empowering women to BE and LET BE.

Her latest book, CONFIDENT BEAUTY: Reflecting the One Who Made You, with the Images in your Mirror and in your Soul, is now available in your favorite bookstores. Autographed copies of all her books are available on her website at www.CatrinaWelch.com

5 Ways Memories Build Confidence

Why do you celebrate Memorial Day?

US_Navy_110530-N-HW977-025_Capt._Jay_Kadowaki_places_flags_at_the_grave_of_his_uncle,_U.S._Army_Spc._Robert_Kadowaki,_who_served_during_the_VietnamCape Cod there is buzzing with restaurants re-opening, “snow-birds” returning and tourists arriving. Summer is coming at last! It almost seems counter-productive to slow down and enjoy a holiday, but remembering those who died for our freedom is important for many reasons.

After losing our daughter, my husband and I held a Valentines gala to raise funds for a scholarship fund in her memory. Over the 13 years that we did this it became very apparent that not everyone understood the power of a memorial. Celebrating memories is not about wallowing in past sorrows; it’s about moving on with hope.

Like looking in a rear-view mirror, our memories are meant to give us proper perspective of where we have been and who is following us so that we can forge ahead and not hold back those we lead. We would be a fool to focus in the rear view mirror while traveling full-speed-ahead. We would also be a fool to never glance back. There are times, like this weekend, when what is in the past, is worthy of pulling over for. Why? Because memories build confidence.

  • By sharing in each other’s lives–past, present and future–we build powerful bonds that should be enjoyed.
  • Recalling the good that came out of the bad reminds us that there is something worth living for and gives a purpose to our pain.
  • Sharing a stories of lessons learned in trial encourages others to find strength in their difficulties.
  • Celebrating victories is what gives us energy to continue.
  • Most of all, when we honor the courage of those who died on our behalf, we show the next generation that there is something worth fighting for.

If you are struggling with memories you want to forget or ones you can’t let go of, maybe it’s time to share your story with someone and then celebrate the good that came out of it. 

*****

Catrina Welch is an inspirational author and speaker whose personal experience with rejection, betrayal and loss–as well as her expertise as a cosmetologist, image consultant and Biblical life-coach–is empowering women to BE and LET BE.

Her latest book, CONFIDENT BEAUTY: Reflecting the One Who Made You, with the Images in your Mirror and in your Soul, is now available in your favorite bookstores. Autographed copies of all her books are available on her website at www.CatrinaWelch.com