Tag Archives: Grief

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.

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.

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.

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.

 

 

 

 

 

Don’t Waist Your Pain

Today would have been my baby’s 13th birthday had God granted her the time. He didn’t; He gave her only three quick weeks of life.


Shattered dreams leave deep wounds in our hearts, and the healing is a slow process. It takes time to work through all the pain and confusion; but when we do, we receive beautiful life-changing revelations that should be shared with others. It is easy to become bitter, afraid and recluse, it is more challenging to believe there is good in the midst of bad. Our family has chosen to stand on our belief that God has a plan that we can trust and that He works all things to the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28)

Rebecca was a Trisomy 18 baby with many physical challenges that gave her a 95% chance of being stillborn. I was blessed to hold my baby 21 many more days than other Trisomy moms; how could I complain?

Today I have been preparing our traditional fish dinner and setting out little keepsakes for my three other children to remind them again this year that though I miss their sister, I celebrate them on her birthday. Rebecca’s short life had a big impact on their lives. That is not a bad thing. It is good for them to have a story to tell, especially if it encourages others.

I used to thi

nk that my testimony was nothing to offer because it was so simple and pure. Now I feel the pain I have suffered has brought much value to my story. I wouldn’t trade my sorrows for the world. In many ways I think of my loss as an honor. I do not like being the center of attention, but it seems to me that the difficulties, caused others to watch us, which gives us an opportunity to shine and bring hope and courage to our onlookers – who may not have ever noticed us otherwise. The process of grief has shown me that life isn’t all about me.

I want God to get the glory in all I do, and if it means being humble enough to let others look, and vulnerable enough to share my heart, even at the risk of criticism or pity, then so be it. I don’t want to waist my pain.

 

In order to give others the most beautiful things in life, sometimes we must hold a stem full of thorns.  Let’s do it anyway.

 

****

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.


Dueling Heart

After a powerful and refreshing speaking engagement at a ladies retreat this weekend, I got the news of a dear friend’s loss. Now my heart is in a dual state of joy and sorrow.

I have just experienced the sweet satisfaction of vulnerably sharing with strangers the revelations God has given me and of witnessing many Supreme MakeOvers in these now-friends who seemed eager to learn how our Creator (the Supreme Stylist!) feels about their individual beauty. My excitement is soaring high as I was blessed to also share my 11-year-old daughter with them to minister in song. Victoria’s and my dreams are coming true together; God is so good!


Yet my heart is wrenched as one of my closest friends is enduring one of the fiercest storms of her life – her daughter’s dreams have been shattered by the sudden and unexpected death of her boyfriend. Devastations and disappointments, no matter how big or small, break our hearts but as Beth Moore says in her study on David, “…a heart dropped from 90 feet shatters, splinters, and scatters differently than the one dropped from 10 feet.” This is a 90-footer.

As Christians, we are commanded to “bear one another’s burdens” (Galatians 6:2), and to “Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.” (Romans 12:15) Anyone who has experienced heartbreak knows the enormous mess the scattered pieces leave us with. It’s a cleanup that should be done carefully, and should not be done alone.

Unfortunately, there is a risk that we take in picking up the splintered pieces of a friend’s heart – the sharp glass might pierce us in the process. We may say the wrong thing and look like a fool, we may make her cry, or we may end up feeling her pain so deeply that we cannot handle it ourselves.  Too often our insecurities cause us to turn the other way with a “Thank God that’s not my mess” attitude or an impotent “Lord, help them” prayer.

As a woman who has lost a child, I must be careful not to do this myself, since I tend to guard my heart diligently from stories of loss that bring back my own grief. Yet I know that I need to take that risk, or my pain can be wasted.

We go through winter seasons in life in order to understand the spring and appreciate the summer. How foolish would we be if we never share our revelations with our friends, who are experiencing the dark emptiness and see no evidence of hope; we would be selfish not to show them that the leaves do return and the flowers do wake.

If you know someone grieving today, I encourage you to fight your fears of vulnerability and step out in the strength of the Lord to weep with those who weep, even if your own heart is in a season of rejoicing. I can tell you that when others have done this for me, their sacrifice brought a bonding between us that will never be broken.

****

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.