Tag Archives: Grief

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

Is there an Elephant in the Room?

I was really enjoying our budding friendship when suddenly it came to a holt.

We were spending hours together waiting for our boys’ baseball practice while we pushed our little girls on the swings. Then the elephant appeared.

“Did you know this playground was named after a little girl who died? I can’t imagine losing a child,” she said.
She wasn’t prepared for my reply.
“I can; I did. Her name was Rebecca, too.”
Silence.
My new friend’s sudden need to leave the park was an obvious indication to me that she was uncomfortable talking about matters of the heart. This wasn’t the first time the knowledge of my loss had created an awkward moment in a conversation. But this time our entire relationship dropped. For the remainder of the ball season, the most she would say to me was, “Hello, I can’t stay today.”

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Most people would rather avoid emotional discussions–unless they are the one who needs to talk it out.
At that point I still needed support with my grief. And making myself vulnerable only to be shut down so abruptly reinforced my fear of vulnerability. I’m sure that fear is also what drove the baseball mom away, because I have been on the side of not knowing what to say as well.
Like when another friend was coming out of addiction rehab. I thought it was most helpful to act as if she had never gone away for help. I thought talking about it might make her feel shame, so I never acknowledged her challenge in re-entering her world. My fears only made her feel estranged from me.

We all have feelings of inadequacy when we want to fix, control, or even understand other people’s problems, but really, our  attempts are only insulting anyway, don’t you think? I think we would have less awkward moments if we would just let go of our fears and focus on each other’s needs. Women shouldn’t be afraid of emotions. After all, tears are the glue that bonds our hearts together.

“Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.” Romans 12:15

If you are facing some awkward moments and are feeling inadequate to help a friend, I want to encourage you to be brave enough to ask about the elephant in the room and let her share her heart. You don’t have to understand it or fix it and you have no right to control it. Perhaps it’s time to leave the problems in God’s hands and simply validate the challenge and offer support. When we believe in someone facing a challenge we show them two things: respect and the assurance that they are not alone.

*****

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

Community Builds Confidence

This week, while I was away with my family, there was a number of drug overdoses back home, two of them within my circles of life.  Addiction has become a dreadful epidemic that deeply affects so many of us. This may seem a bit off-topic for my typical blog, but in actuality it is not at all. Obviously drugs are attractive somehow, and isn’t it the chemically enhanced confidence that makes them so addictive?

It’s not just the high that kids crave; it’s the sense of belonging.

The drug community offers that. It is tight. These kids cover for each other, they understand each other, they work together to buy and sell what they need or want. While so many are making these destructive and disturbing choices without understanding the consequences, I want to assure you that not everyone is “going to hell in a hand basket.”

IMG_4464Our family trip was to see my daughter perform at a Christian national fine arts festival and youth conference. This was an amazing opportunity for her to pursue her dream and build her confidence. So we packed up our RV and headed across the country to hang out with more than 10,000 teenagers for the week.

Before you pity me or consider me a martyr, let me assure you that my life was enriched by being around so many amazing and talented teens! It wasn’t just their giftedness in the arts; it was their acceptance and encouragement of each other that amazed me. In a society where so many taunt and tease the extraordinary, in a generation of intimidation and bullying, it was truly refreshing to watch kids flock to each other’s performances and cheer each other on.

The arts reveal the heart, and I witnessed a generation that is not naive to the pressures and temptations they face, but they desire to BE the influencers of good instead of the followers of wrong. I think most kids feel that way deep inside, but it’s hard for them to be strong when they feel alone in their convictions.

These kids need to know that they can still have fun without chemical influences.

Thousands of teens from all over the nation learned that this week. They were having a blast pursuing their passions, sharing their heart, and empowering each other with the knowledge that they are not alone. Talk about building confidence!

And the most beautiful part: the relationships they built and the feelings they had won’t wear off like a hit does!

If you are struggling to help your teens find themselves, I encourage you to lead them to a place of good and wholesome fun and believe in them. They do want to make a difference in their world. Help them see how they can. 

Ephesians 5:7-9 Don’t participate in the things these people do. For once you were full of darkness, but now you have light from the Lord. So live as people of light! For this light within you produces only what is good and right and true.

*****

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

3 Choices when Facing Confidence Conflicts

I always thought of myself as someone strong in morals and in faith. But when my first husband left me while pregnant, I felt like an immoral, throw-away-wife. My faith was severely tested as I began to question my convictions against divorce.

imageBefore that time I didn’t like grouchy, discouraged people.

During that time I became one.

Like most women, my life centered around my marriage and with my husband’s betrayal I lost my purpose and I found it very hard to even think of anything except myself and my horrible situation. I became the epitome of self-consciousness: I wasn’t aware of anything else going on around me.

I wanted to return to my former naive, bubbly and optimistic self, but I couldn’t find my way. I now knew life’s pain and it was hard to believe things could be good again. I remember having to massage my chin and literally pull the frown off my face because I couldn’t find my smile. I knew I was dragging others down and I knew how much I used to hate being around people like myself.

In physiology, there is something called “self-concept dislocation.” Betrayal and rejection are just part of what causes a woman in my former situation to question who she is and what she believes. Yes, the fact that someone you loved and trusted leaves you hurts badly, but there are other repercussions that are equally effective in “dislocating” your self-conception.

No one wants to think of herself as sad and despondent, so when our emotions get the best of us and we cannot shake our sorrow or anger in our own strength we struggle with a new conception of our own weakness. The belief that we are strong is dislocated.

When this happens, we have three choices: deny it and cast the blame to someone else, stuff it and do our best to fake our strength, or accept our weaknesses and give ourselves grace. No option is easy, but only one of them brings healing.

If you find yourself in a place of self-consciousness and self-contempt, I encourage you to find your strength in knowing that when you are weak, God can be your strength. Let Him help you. Life may not be fair, but He is good and He is the only One who can make a difference in so many of the challenges you face. He is willing to forgive you, maybe you should be too.

Jesus, help me to stop focusing on myself and my problems and start focusing on you. Be the lifter of my head, the healer of my heart, the One who gives me strength to go on. Please forgive me and help me forgive myself and others. Amen

*****

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

When Mother’s Day is Painful

footprints
photo by April Bentley of Eastham, Ma

My daughter was near her final days when I picked up my pen to write down what I felt God speaking to me.

These words–straight from my heart–were handed out at Rebecca’s funeral. Today I dedicate them to all the men and women who find Mother’s Day painful.

To those of you whose heart is full of regret or sorrow, when memories haunt you or longings taunt you, may you find comfort in knowing there is Someone who understands and cares. May you find a purpose for your pain, and the strength to continue.

God’s Comfort to Our Family and Friends by Catrina Welch

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 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

 

 

 

What’s so Good About This Friday?

sundays cominThere is a common saying amongst Christians who believe the message of Easter: “It may be Friday, but Sunday’s-a-coming!”


Good Friday marks the day Jesus died to pay for the sin for all mankind. We call it “good” because He took the punishment that we each deserve. But on that particular day the Christ-followers couldn’t see the good at all. How could they? They had put all their hope in the rabbi that was just brutally killed before their very eyes.

It makes me think of the day my daughter died. Excruciating pain. Heart-wrenching fear. Unfathomable confusion and anxiety. There is not much good in grief.

But Sunday came.

Jesus returned from the dead and joined His disciples as they were walking home trying to console one another. They didn’t recognize Him as they shared their woes about what happened. When Jesus explained how the prophecies were actually fulfilled, they appreciated His wisdom but they were so caught up in their sorrow that they didn’t even realize it was Him.

That’s where I was, too, that dreary day in March 1999.

But Sunday came.

When Jesus broke the bread to serve the disciples, their eyes were opened to His presence.

“We are not human beings in a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings in a human experience.”

When I heard those words my eyes were opened. My pastor had come to help my family while we waited for the funeral home to take my baby away. He knelt at my side and held my hand as I rocked my little girl one last time. “I know it’s scary, but think of death as winter. If you didn’t know that spring was coming, the dry and grey landscape would be scary, too. But there is life after death. Trust God like you do His creation and He will carry you through this pain.”

God did help me just as He did the disciples.

If you are dealing with a difficult season in your life, hold on.

Sunday’s-a-comin!

*****

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

 

 

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