Category Archives: Greif

Helplessly Helpful

With so much neglect, abuse and addiction running ramped in our society, what do you do when you want to help someone you really care about but you just don’t know how to help?

imagesUndoubtedly, every one of us has faced an emotional, spiritual or physical difficulties that we can be confident that others will survive. After all, we did. But helping a friend with something that we have no understanding of can truly be a challenge. The people we love do not deserve inadequate assistance–not on their good days and certainly not when their need is exposed and vulnerable. Half-hearted counsel from someone who cannot relate to the crisis at hand is a bit like offering them a squirt gun to put out their house fire.

I’ve been on the receiving end of that kind of help during my grief. “Don’t worry, you can always have another child.” “At least you don’t have a lot of memories with your daughter.” Logic doesn’t always help. I get it, because I tried that method of helping for many years but I have leaned now that true compassion respects other people’s boundaries and that includes their emotions and their will. You and I cannot fix every problem and unfortunately, letting other people make their own choices can be a lot harder than taking control. It’s also very difficult when they are ready for help and we don’t know what to do. In that situation I am learning to follow the example of Jesus’ disciples.

Act 3:2-8 Now a man who was lame from birth was being carried to the temple gate called Beautiful, where he was put every day to beg from those going into the temple courts. When he saw Peter and John about to enter, he asked them for money. Peter looked straight at him, as did John. Then Peter said, “Look at us!” So the man gave them his attention, expecting to get something from them.

Then Peter said, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.” Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up, and instantly the man’s feet and ankles became strong. He jumped to his feet and began to walk. Then he went with them into the temple courts, walking and jumping, and praising God.

If you are trying to help someone with circumstances that are far out of your league of understanding, don’t try to forge up feelings of empathy or fix it with advice you’ve never had to take; instead simply direct them to the One who is able to really help.

*****

Catrina Welch is an image- and life-coach whose message is not as much “what not to wear” as it is, “Know Who You Are,” which is the title of her book of guidelines for your personal image identity. Catrina has also written a Bible study to help women overcome their confidence conflicts; it is titled Supreme MakeOver: a Rich and Refreshing Devotional Experience. Her other books include Footprints Through the Sand: a Consolidation of Life-altering stories about Loving and Losing our Trisomy-18 Baby and Confident Beauty: Reflecting the One Who Made You with the Images in Your Mirror and Your Soul, which will be available in book stores this spring. All of these books are available now at www.CatrinaWelch.com

 

 

Mourning Turned to Eternal Joy

1427832-3-the-butterfly-quoteThis weekend marks the anniversary of our daughter’s death. Rebecca was a Trisomy 18 baby who’s three weeks of life far exceeded the doctor’s expectations. If you have ever lost a child, you know there are many questions that torment you throughout the grieving process. For me, one of the hardest ones was, “would she remain a baby in Heaven or would she grow up there?” Before I could move on with my life, I needed to know if I would recognize her when I reached Eternity myself. I searched the Bible tenaciously until I finally found my answer.

When Jesus returned to His disciples after His resurrection, they did not recognize Him until He showed them His scars. It seems to me that a resurrected body is healed and whole–but it is the same body. My heart has settled on the idea that maybe Rebecca will remain a “baby” for eternity (though I am sure that she will not be held back by any physical or mental ailments). This brings me great comfort because I cannot think of anything that contends with the joy of holding a baby, and I feel as though I see a glimpse of a bigger picture.

Right after Rebecca’s death I lost my business partner to lung cancer. Janice never had children. I can’t help but wonder if God wants babies in Heaven to complete His family there and bless those who missed out here. I do not claim to understand it all, but one thing I believe with all my heart: Some things we just cannot understand because we do not have the whole picture, but we can trust the One who does. Maybe the things that break our hearts while we live here on Earth were actually designed to bring us great joy for all eternity.

God, would you help us with the things we just cannot get our head around? There is so much we don’t know, but we thank you that we can put our confidence in You and Your character. Amen.

*****

Catrina Welch is an image- and life-coach whose message is not as much “what not to wear” as it is, “Know Who You Are,” which is the title of her book of guidelines for your personal image identity. Catrina has also written a Bible study to help women overcome their confidence conflicts; it is titled Supreme MakeOver: a Rich and Refreshing Devotional Experience. Her other books include Footprints Through the Sand: a Consolidation of Life-altering stories about Loving and Losing our Trisomy-18 Baby and Confident Beauty: Reflecting the One Who Made You with the Images in Your Mirror and Your Soul, which will be available in book stores this spring. All of these books are available now at www.CatrinaWelch.com

Acceptance with Joy

…for He makes His sun rise on the evil and good, and sends rain on the just and unjust. Matthew 5:45b

I could reason with this scripture before the downpour in my own life. After losing my baby girl I had a choice to make: could I still trust the goodness of the One who had given her to me and then taken her back so quickly?

images

It had been about 5 weeks since Rebecca’s death when my husband and I took our boys away for some time together as a family. We chose to escape to the desert of New Mexico and visit Ron’s dad where there was few people and many amazing terrains. Quiet, lonely places that are full of beauty have a way of allowing the human heart to hear God’s voice; and that is what we needed. Desperately.

One day we set out on a hike as a family and found ourselves alone as a couple. We were standing at the edge of a dry gorge in awe of it’s depth and beauty. Rushing waters had once run through this dry place–like the joy that had once filled our hearts–but both were all dried up now. Knowing our boys were enjoying their Gandpa-time, we took a moment to share our hearts as grieving parents. We were both feeling dry and empty like the canyon below us. We both desperately wanted to feel joy again–at least for our boys’ sake. We whispered a little prayer requesting strength to go on. As we turned to return to our precious responsibilities, I noticed a little flower at my feet and bust into tears.

I had been reading Hinds Feet in High Places and was feeling a lot like the character, Much-Afraid, who also found a flower in the dessert place named Acceptance-with-Joy. I knew God was whispering to my heart. “Will you accept your circumstances as they are and trust Me to make it beautiful in my time?” It was as though the only speck of color in the bounty of sand was challenging me to accept the pain we were enduring like we would accept a flower. As I explained my tears to my husband, he picked the flower for me and suddenly we both felt a sweet and subtle blossom break way in the dry soil of our hearts–Acceptance-with-Joy.

*****

Catrina Welch is an image- and life-coach whose message is not as much “what not to wear” as it is, “Know Who You Are,” which is the title of her book of guidelines for your personal image identity. Catrina has also written a Bible study to help women overcome their confidence conflicts; it is titled Supreme MakeOver: a Rich and Refreshing Devotional Experience. Her other books include Footprints Through the Sand: a Consolidation of Life-altering stories about Loving and Losing a Trisomy-18 Baby and Confident Beauty: Reflecting the One Who Made You with the Images in Your Mirror and Your Soul, which will be available in book stores this spring. All of these books are available now at www.CatrinaWelch.com

 

 

 

Silent Night

 

Silent Night, Holy Night; all is calm, all is bright

‘Round yon virgin, mother and child

Holy infant so tender and mild

Sleep in heavenly peace, sleep in heavenly peace

 We’ve all heard the song. We sing it with reverence as we think about Baby Jesus sleeping soundly in a manger while His sweet young mother adores Him. Often we close our candlelight services on Christmas Eve with it’s soothing tempo, and it brings great warmth and comfort, no matter how difficult the season can sometimes be.

Life wasn’t really all that calm and bright that Christmas Day, though. In fact there must have been chaos all ‘round that mother and child. After all, the nursery was a barn, with animals bleating and sharing their aromatic pleasures with the people everywhere. Remember there was no room for Mary and Joseph at the Inn because there was a major census going on. This was a large family reunion. Everyone had to come; Aunt Martha’s tiff with her sister was not going to excuse her from this one.

There were also uninvited guests. I don’t know, were the shepherds even part of the census? They weren’t in the city when the angles appeared to them, and after they found the baby they told everyone about what they had heard and seen. Luke says the people marveled about it; surely crowds went rushing in to see Jesus for themselves. I imagine everyone there at least knew about the new mom who put her baby in a feeding troth.

I’m not sure Jesus really slept with all that going on. I know He was an infant, but don’t forget, He was Holy; yes, He was tender and mild, but He was still the Lord of all creation. He came to that manger to seek and save the lost, but as a newborn baby He couldn’t do that. Man, it must have been hard knowing the hearts and hurts of all those around Him, but having to wait until the time was right before He could act.

This year, with all the hurting hearts around us, let us do our best to be tender and mild and know our place. Sometimes there is nothing we can do for those around us, except be the sure and steady security that they need. When it is not right to act, ask Jesus to help you to sleep in heavenly peace like He did, and I believe when the right time comes, the victory will come as well.

Merry Christmas, my friends. May God bless you with sweet peace and fill you with great joy.

*****

Catrina Welch is an image- and life-coach whose message is not as much “what not to wear” as it is, “Know Who You Are,” which is the title of her book of guidelines for your personal image identity. Catrina has also written a Bible study to help women overcome their confidence conflicts; it is titled Supreme MakeOver: a Rich and Refreshing Devotional Experience. Her other books include Footprints Through the Sand: a Consolidation of Life-altering stories about Loving and Losing a Trisomy-18 Baby and Confident Beauty: Reflecting the One Who Made You with the Images in Your Mirror and Your Soul, which will be available in book stores this spring. All of these books are available now at www.CatrinaWelch.com

If you are interested in having Catrina come speak to your friends, colleagues or ministry you can contact her on facebook or by email at catrina@catrinawelch.com.

 

 

Needing Others

When a child suffers or dies, caring people are affected. It doesn’t have to be your child, or your family member for you to feel the grief. If you care, you hurt. Of course the pain is far more substantial for the parents and those who love the one afflicted, but somehow difficult stories become public and even strangers hurt.

DownloadedFileWhen I lost my daughter, the publicity was difficult at first. I didn’t want to be the subject of strangers’ conversations or the charity case for their meal drives. I wanted people to leave me alone and let me deal with this myself. I felt as though people were using their knowledge of me as their bragging rights to my story or their generosity.

It was a friend of a friend who brought me to a breaking point. She walked into my house with her beautiful meal in hand all in a huff. She was overwhelmed with her own life and adding another family to her meal plan and finding the time to run it two towns over to me was no easy task for her–and she made me very aware of her great sacrifice.

I tried to enjoy her guilt offering that night, but I couldn’t suppress the frustrations of being a burden to my community. My family and I are independent people! We take responsibility for our own needs, we like to be the ones helping, not the ones needing!

I have an amazing husband who shows more grace than anyone I know. This wasn’t easy for him either; he is a very generous man who would give the shirt off his back to his enemy without a thought of himself, but he knew that with giving comes pride and being needy is the best antidote for that. As I shared my frustrations with him, he taught me to submit to the condition we were in, and allow others to help us, that this was simply a season and we should let people be part of it because they care, even if they do and say things that are way out of line. We need to look at people’s hearts, not their actions or words. Child-loss is a huge challenge and no one knows what to do or say. And really, one day certain words or actions might be helpful, another day they may be hurtful. It’s no ones fault that our emotions are irrational; it’s life.

We are all human, we mess up, but more often than not we do not intend to. I know I have said the wrong thing to another grieving mom, and I’ve been there–I should know what helps! I can only hope that when my words or actions hurt others, that they too have learned that we each have a choice: we can take things personally and let our offenses rob what strength we have left to get through our challenges, or we can look at the heart of our offender and believe that they care and do want to help, they just are struggling with their own issues and don’t know how to do it well.

After all, that’s what Christ does for us.

 

2 Peter 3:14-18  So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him. Bear in mind that our Lord’s patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him. He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction.

Therefore, dear friends, since you have been forewarned, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of the lawless and fall from your secure position. But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen.

*****

Catrina Welch is an image- and life-coach whose message is not as much “what not to wear” as it is, “Know Who You Are,” which is the title of her book of guidelines for your personal image identity. Catrina has also written a Bible study to help women overcome their confidence conflicts; it is titled Supreme MakeOver: a Rich and Refreshing Devotional Experience. Her other books include Footprints Through the Sand: a Consolidation of Life-altering stories about Loving and Losing a Trisomy-18 Baby and Confident Beauty: Reflecting the One Who Made You with the Images in Your Mirror and Your Soul, which will be available in book stores this spring. All of these books are available now at www.CatrinaWelch.com

If you are interested in having Catrina come speak to your friends, colleagues or ministry you can contact her on facebook or by email at catrina@catrinawelch.com.

Let Them Stare!


And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28

Rebecca w ron's fingerI was pregnant with Rebecca when the doctors were trying to count her fingers and thought maybe she didn’t have them all because she held them so tight and they overlapped. Rebecca was my first girl and I was looking forward to the day I would hold those hands in mine and give her her first manicure. But they were telling me that the number of digits she had was the least of my worries.

You don’t hear of Trisomy 18 too often because most babies with this condition are aborted or stillborn; and those that do survive birth do not usually live longer than five days.

Rebecca lived three weeks before she passed away. During those three weeks, and the many, many long ones to follow, we had to wrestle out this stuff with God: Why is life unfair, and what do we do with all the people staring at us?

It wasn’t just our daughter’s uncommon beauty that people stared at.

Losing a child is out of the norm, and it makes people uncomfortable. Many times I’ve had conversations suddenly become awkward after I spoke of my loss; suddenly I became “different” to the one I was conversing with, and unless they had dealt with grief themselves, they no longer knew what to do or say around me; they stepped back and just stared.

Some things just don’t make sense in life, and we just have to choose to trust God or not. It’s not an easy decision, but I can tell you from experience that it is easier to give it all to Him than to become bitter toward Him. My husband and I figured out that if we could not trust God, there was no one we could trust, and we would be completely alone in our battle.

We chose to cast all our cares on Him, and He carried us through … not that the battle is over, but He promises to give us strength to handle whatever comes our way. We look at it like this: If there were nothing “unfair” and we had no weaknesses or challenges, then our lives might be easier, but they would be empty and meaningless.

As they say, “nothing good in life comes easy.” Having confidence in who you are and what your purpose is may not be easy, but it is good!

If you struggle with life being unfair to you, or you are tortured with thoughts about who you are–or who you are not–wrestle it out with God. Tell Him how you feel about it. Ask Him to help you deal with it. Perhaps that is the very purpose for Him allowing it: to draw you closer to Him.

He knows you better than you know yourself. Maybe He wants to use you the way He is using my husband and me. We have come to believe it is an honor and a privilege that others stare at us because of our loss. You see, if we were just like everyone else, no one would really get drawn to God by us.

Is there something about you that makes others stare at you? Let them look! And let God use you! I believe that is why He put your imperfection there; it captures others. Think about it: He trusts you to show His glory far more than the average girl who blends into the crowd.

.********

Catrina Welch is an image- and life-coach whose message is not as much “what not to wear” as it is, “Know Who You Are,” which is the title of her book of guidelines for your personal image identity. Catrina has also written a Bible study to help women overcome their image issues. It is titled Supreme MakeOver: a Rich and Refreshing Devotional Experience. Her other books include Footprints Through the Sand: a Consolidation of Life-altering stories about Loving and Loosing a Trisomy-18 Baby and Confident Beauty: Reflecting the One Who Made You with the Images in Your Mirror and Your Soul, which will be available soon.

If you are interested in getting these books or having Catrina come speak at your event, you can contact her at www.CatrinaWelch.com or on facebook.

When Others Stare

One of my favorite topics to speak to women about is the Image Issues and Confidence Conflicts that come with exceptional beauty and unusual beauty.

No one really wants to look like the average girl, yet we can become so uncomfortable when our image is outstanding-be that good or bad- it is simply an “issue” when others stare.

Your beauty has a purpose to draw others toward you, to reflect to them the heart of the One who made you. It does not require perfection. Just as the moon reflects the glory of the sun though it has many blotches, is far dimmer than the sun, and is even a different color, it brings forth light to the world. The moon is not bright and beautiful because of it’s own glory, but because of the glory it reflects. A woman’s beauty is the same way.

If you are drawing others to your Creator, you are beautiful!

Rebecca close upYou may know, my husband and I had a Trisomy 18 baby who is now with Jesus. Rebecca had one more of chromosome number 18 than you and I have, which is why she had so many deformities (apparent ones, and ones unseen; including five major heart defects.) I do not believe that any of these irregularities came as a surprise to her Designer. I believe He chose each chromosome for her, just as He does for each of us.

I remember the day of Rebecca’s dedication. During the service I was holding her tiny body in my arms just staring at her delicate deformities, completely in awe how different she was. As we began singing “I sing for Joy at the works of your hands, forever I’ll love you, forever I’ll stand. Nothing compares to the promise I have in You” I realized I was holding in my arms a great work of the hands of a Mighty God. This child was not a mistake; she was a special design of a very creative Father.

Our baby was absolutely beautiful to me and to her daddy, and certainly to the One who created her. His Word says it, I believe it, and that is something that forever I will stand on. Why do I tell you this? Because I want you to know that you are beautiful to your Father in Heaven too; no matter what your imperfections may be, compare them only to the promises you have in Him.

.********

Catrina Welch is an image- and life-coach whose message is not as much “what not to wear” as it is, “Know Who You Are,” which is the title of her book of guidelines for your personal image identity. Catrina has also written a Bible study to help women overcome their image issues. It is titled Supreme MakeOver: a Rich and Refreshing Devotional Experience. Her other books include Footprints Through the Sand: a Consolidation of Life-altering stories about Loving and Loosing a Trisomy-18 Baby and Confident Beauty: Reflecting the One Who Made You with the Images in Your Mirror and Your Soul, which will be available soon.

If you are interested in getting these books or having Catrina come speak at your event, you can contact her at www.CatrinaWelch.com or on facebook.

 

Leaving Impressions

A couple years ago I consolidated and published some short stories I had written after loosing my daughter; I titled it Footprints Through the Sand. I feel that often the challenges we face are part of our life’s purpose in leaving an imprint for someone else to follow.

I’m sure you have read the poem Footprints, where the author looks back through her life’s journey to see only one set of prints during her most difficult times. She questions why God had left her alone when she needed Him most. He explains that the impressions left in the sand were His, because those were the times he carried her.

When I was walking through the difficult times of Rebecca’s death, I didn’t question God’s presence much. I was keenly aware of it. His loving arms carried me every step of the way. Friends often told me that I was “handling things beautifully,” but I knew I wasn’t “handling things” at all. Their words felt more like a cop out for not knowing how to help me than they did an encouragement, but I didn’t blame them for not knowing what to say; honestly, I didn’t have the strength to be offended, instead I just kept looking to my Comforter to help me.

When I look back now I understand that they were impressed with my Savior’s footprints, not mine.

****

Catrina Welch is an image- and life-coach whose message is not as much “what not to wear” as it is, “Know Who You Are,” which is the title of her book of guidelines for your personal image identity. Catrina has also written a Bible study to help women overcome their image issues. It is titled Supreme MakeOver: a Rich and Refreshing Devotional Experience. Her other books include Footprints Through the Sand: a Consolidation of Life-altering stories about Loving and Loosing a Trisomy-18 Baby and Confident Beauty: Reflecting the One Who Made You with the Images in Your Mirror and Your Soul, which will be available soon.

If you are interested in getting these books or having Catrina come speak at your event, you can contact her at www.CatrinaWelch.com or on facebook.

Women’s Issues

I have heard many sermons about the woman with the issue of blood. Usually the preacher awkwardly explains her 12-year ailment the best he can, and effectively gives an encouraging Word for anyone listening–male or female; but it seems to me that this is a topic for us girls to really dive into.

  Proverbs 14:10 

The heart knows its own bitterness,
 and a stranger does not share its joy.

A woman’s heart lends itself to different issues than a man’s does. This doesn’t make any man’s preaching less valuable to those of us of the opposite gender, but it is a factor. I imagine it was a huge factor for this woman found in Matthew 9, Mark 5 and Luke 8. She had spent all her money trying to get the help she needed, but her health was only deteriorating further. It seems everyone had given up on her.

Jewish people were commanded to separate themselves from anyone or anything “unclean,” and a woman’s menses made her and anything she touched “unclean.” If anyone touched her, or something she had touched (like her seat or bed) that person became unclean as well. This term didn’t mean that she needed to wash her hands or that others should wear rubber gloves around her. It meant they had to take a full bath and do their laundry. Then they had to wait seven days and go to the temple to make a sacrifice for their impurity. (You can find all this in Leviticus 15)

DownloadedFile

Understanding this custom brings depth to this woman’s “issue”–it wasn’t just pain and sickness, this woman was suffering from twelve years of being an untouchable outcast.

Have you ever been in that kind of a place, where you felt helpless, hopeless and unwanted? Shame comes in all sorts of packages. It may be brought on by a habbit you have, something you did, or something that you were born with or was done to you–but generally shame makes you feel disqualified for society. Maybe you have sought help for your “issues” from doctors, rehab or therapy, but you only find yourself getting worse and worse. Glean from the experience of this woman who sought out Jesus for her healing.

It is often said, “check the fruit on the tree” before taking advice from someone. That’s just good wisdom, right? If a man is stressed out and in horrible debt, it may be better to leave his financial advice on the table. If a woman has never lost a child, it may be best not to take offense to her clueless console. This doesn’t mean that if a pastor has never had a period he cannot preach on it, nor does it mean that if he has never lost a child he cannot help you (Trust me on that one!). It does mean, however, that if the people all around you make you feel outcast and ashamed and all the help they have to offer you only drains and discourages you, then maybe it’s time to use what little strength you have left to crawl through the muck and mire to get to the One who can heal you–inside and out.

Jesus didn’t have a menstrual cycle, but He understood exactly what this nameless woman needed–physically, spiritually and emotionally. She was bleeding internally and externally and He cared very much about both sides of that. Read all three accounts of the story and you will see that after she touched His robe, He sought her out and had her speak about her problem. I don’t believe His questions were a casual concern for where His power went. I believe He not only cared deeply, but He knew she needed to be heard. She needed to speak. Too often we try to fix our own problems; we seek help from professionals or priests, but we don’t expose it all–we hide the details of our shame. We keep our issues silent. Perhaps we fear more rejection or no validation or that the one we are sharing with will not come through for us. We guard our hearts and try to pretend it is no big deal. But it is.

And Jesus cares about your issues.

He might not have suffered the same way you do, after all, He never fall into the shame that comes with addictions and sin–but He felt the weight of it when He hung on the cross to set us free from ours. He certainly knows the shame that comes with someone else’s sin. Maybe He wasn’t raped–but He was betrayed with a kiss, His clothes were ripped off of Him and He was beaten badly and then put in a parade for all to gaze at His shame. Yea, He has fruit on the tree, and He welcomes you to partake of it freely. The woman with the issue of blood did, and after twelve years of suffering, she was healed instantly. Instantly.

Sometimes it just takes a word from the Master to be set free from our issues. Take time today to listen for that life-altering Voice.

 ***

Jesus, you understand my issues. Please help me with them. Others have let me down, but I believe you can set me free. Speak to my heart and show me what I need to share with you. I don’t even know what I’m feeling sometimes, but you do. I am so glad I don’t have to find all the words because you know the depth of what little I do say. God, this is what I’m feeling right now…. 

****

Catrina Welch is an image- and life-coach whose message is not as much “what not to wear” as it is, “Know Who You Are,” which is the title of her book of guidelines for your personal image identity. Catrina has also written a Bible study to help women overcome their image issues. It is titled Supreme MakeOver: a Rich and Refreshing Devotional Experience. Her other books include Footprints Through the Sand: a Consolidation of Life-altering stories about Loving and Loosing a Trisomy-18 Baby and Confident Beauty: Reflecting the One Who Made You with the Images in Your Mirror and Your Soul, which will be available soon.

If you are interested in getting these books or having Catrina come speak at your event, you can contact her at www.CatrinaWelch.com or on facebook.

 

God’s Comfort to our Friends and Family

 What an honor it was to be interviewed by talk show host Kellie Peterson of  Everyday Wisdom for Families this morning. Whether you got to hear it or not, I’d love to share with you the poem I read to her listeners.

This is a word God gave to me one night after laying Rebecca down to sleep. We shared it at her funeral less than three weeks later. Please feel free to print it and share it with someone you know who may be going through a difficult season. 

The Joy of the Lord is our strength.

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.

****

Catrina Welch is an image- and life-coach whose message is not as much “what not to wear” as it is, “Know Who You Are,” which is the title of her book of guidelines for your personal image identity. Catrina has also written a Bible study to help women overcome their image issues. It is titled Supreme MakeOver: a Rich and Refreshing Devotional Experience. Her other books include Footprints Through the Sand: a Consolidation of Life-altering stories about Loving and Loosing a Trisomy-18 Baby and Confident Beauty: Reflecting the One Who Made You with the Images in Your Mirror and Your Soul, which will be available soon.

If you are interested in getting these books or having Catrina come speak at your event, you can contact her at www.CatrinaWelch.com or on facebook.

Inconsiderate Anniversaries

Anniversaries are inconsiderate; especially the sad ones.

If you’ve ever lost someone, you know what I mean. Greif is such a sporadic mix of emotions it is simply unfair that the calendar even attempt to dictate which ones to feel when.

All year long we attempt to keep our focus on whatsoever things are good, noble, just, pure, lovely and of good report. (Philippians 4:8) When memories bombard us, we look for any thing praiseworthy, and do our best to focus on that. But on the day of our loved one’s death, (or birth, or any special day we had with them!) there is a certain shame on us as poor parents/children/friends/spouse if we do not focus on those memories and shed a tear or two.

Last night I went to bed feeling the traditional guilt that comes when happiness dominates the sorrow a day should bring. March 1,1999 had a number of memories that could have brought me down into depression had I let them; but I didn’t. Instead I spent some time praying for others who are presently overwhelmed, like I had been, with all the pressures involved in managing the house, job, family and special needs of their sick children. The hardest part of loosing Rebecca was that I had let the stress I was under rob my time with her, especially that last day. Thirteen years ago today, March 2nd, we woke up to find our beautiful baby girl lifeless.

Yesterday’s lack of emotion was replaced this morning with vivid flashbacks and a raging sea of sorrow, fear, frustration, anger… I even snapped at my husband. I think I wanted him to feel as I did. Now I feel foolish that I’m still a basket case so many years later.

 

Maybe grief is simply a game that can’t be won. I’m not sure, but one thing I do know: it’s wrong to even want someone else to feel the same way I do! Especially the one I vowed to love through better and worse.

I’m sorry, Ronny, one of the greatest tools we have found through all this pain is our commitment to each other that we will not compare or judge one another’s feelings, but to help each other survive one crashing wave at a time.

What ever you are feeling today, cast your cares on the One who does feel them with you, and may the joy of the Lord be your strength.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Winds of Emotions


King David’s life speaks deeply to my spirit, especially this year. I love the story of the celebration he throws after a difficult battle of confusion and grief. It has given me strength to throw one more valentine’s gala in memory of our little girl.

2 Samuel records the event. Israel’s new king was on a mission to bring the ark of God into the City of David when the parade was abruptly stopped with the sudden death of Uzzah, who had put out his hand to hold the ark because the oxen had stumbled.

Have you ever faced a tragedy that made you want to simply stop everything?

David became angry because of the Lord’s outbreak against Uzzah; and he called the name of the place Perez Uzzah to this day. David was afraid of the Lord that day and he said, “How can the ark of the Lord come to me?” So David would not move the ark of the Lord with him into the City of David; but David took it aside into the house of Obed-Edom the Gitite.  2 Sam. 6:8-10

When I first lost my daughter I was of the persuasion that I needed to stuff all I was feeling and keep going, which is why I threw my first memorial gala: I wanted to be so busy blessing others that I wouldn’t have time to dwell on my sorrow as I faced the first anniversary of Rebecca’s death. Since then I have realized how wise David was to take a little time to work through his feelings before moving on.

Emotions are not wrong; they are neutral like wind in a sail. Each of us must decide for ourselves which direction we allow the breeze to take us. David may have been angry and confused and even scared to death, but He kept his heart right. He did not concern himself with his reputation, nor did he disguise his vulnerability or confusion, he simply stopped everything and sought direction.

Difficult times arouse strong emotions, and the fiercer the wind, the more cautious we must be that our sails are set correctly, or we could quickly find ourselves shipwrecked. David was washed ashore for three months, but I don’t believe he spent that whole time in a pity party since his response to the news of Obed-Edom’s blessings was to cheerfully continue his mission. Notice that in his second attempt, he had the ark carried  on the priest’s shoulders, according to God’s very specific direction given in Numbers 4 unlike the first time when he had it on a cart pulled by oxen like his enemies, the Philistines,  had done when they returned the ark to God’s people during Saul’s reign.

David had misunderstood what the proper way to transport the ark was, but he was humble enough to reset his sails and try again. Funny thing is, his wife became bitter and hateful toward him for his second parade.

So David and all the house of Israel brought up the ark of the Lord with shouting and with the sound of the trumpet. Now as the ark of the Lord came into the City of David, Michal, Saul’s daughter, looked through a window and saw King David leaping and whirling before the Lord and she despised him in her heart. 2 Samuel 6:15, 16

David stopped everything when it was God correcting him, but he had confidence in what he was doing the second time and nothing was going to stop him from doing what he believed he should, not even his wife.

My first attempts at throwing a memorial gala may have had distorted purposes, but God was merciful with me as he was with David, and each year He has taught me many things about His desire to bring His presence to His people. Over the years there have been times when my loved ones, like Michal, have looked through the window and criticized what I wish they were down on the streets celebrating with me. It is challenging to continue doing what some people see as foolishness, but I echo David’s response to his wife, “It was before the Lord [not people]… therefore I will play music before the Lord. And I will be even more undignified than this, and will be humble in my own sight. 2 Sam 6: 21,22

I’m glad I continued my mission all these years, but now I find myself wondering if it’s time to reset the sails. I’m not sure if there will be a 14th gala or not, but one thing I know without a doubt: for the rest of my life I will continue to celebrate what God has taught me through the turbulent winds of my grief and confusion.

****

Catrina Welch is an image- and life-coach whose message is not as much “what not to wear” as it is, “Know Who You Are,” which is the title of her book of guidelines for your personal image identity. Catrina has also written a Bible study to help women overcome their image issues. It is titled Supreme MakeOver: a Rich and Refreshing Devotional Experience. Her other books include Footprints Through the Sand: a Consolidation of Life-altering stories about Loving and Loosing a Trisomy-18 Baby and Confident Beauty: Reflecting the One Who Made You with the Images in Your Mirror and Your Soul, which will be available soon.

If you are interested in getting these books or having Catrina come speak at your event, you can contact her at www.CatrinaWelch.com or on facebook.