One Amazing Thing You Can Do to Heal a Broken Heart

After my daughter died, you could say the world ended. It was that simple. My life had come to the lowest point ever imagined. I was surrounded by complete darkness.There was no purpose, no meaning left, so why continue living?   She was only five. Suddenly, nothing mattered anymore.  I had failed. Failed to protect my most prized possession. Failed horribly as a mother.  I was at the bottom of the food chain.  My future had been destroyed, or so I believed.

And now, for the rest of my life, I will be a grieving mother. A frightening thought and a tough pill to swallow.

Over the last ten years, I have gained wisdom far beyond my years. I was forced to grow up before my time, facing my fears and tragedies head on.  Diving deep into my faith was the only answer. No one could help me or give me the magic potion to fix this pain, despite my longing to do so.  My eyes were opened to a whole new world that I never knew existed. I was desperate to fast forward through this horrifying heartbreak.

What You Should Know About Grief

Grief.  It was real and so very debilitating in the first few years, causing physical ailments and poor self-worth. Yet as time went on, it presented me with an incredible sense of humility and oddly, breathed new life into me.

I was different.  Different than before the accident happened and ever so different than my friends whom I had known for years.  I now attended support group meetings for bereaved parents, a foreign land, however, I found comfort knowing that these mothers understood what I was going through. We gained our strength together by sharing our stories and our children, both the happy and the sad, the good and the bad. They had been there.  They got it. They appeared so strong but were also weak like me.  And for the first time, I felt a tiny shimmer of hope igniting inside me.

This is where things began to change.

It had been eighteen months since my daughter Lydia had passed away and I was asked to join the board of my local chapter of The Compassionate Friends. Exploring ways to encourage and support our members, every week I saw new hurting parents join our table, revealing their own loss and heartbreak.  Little did I know, this is where my heart would remain for the next five years.

It ignited in me an unyielding passion to serve others, and soon I found myself hosting birthday parties for underprivileged children, feeding the homeless under the bridge and volunteering at church. It was amazing.

The darker the night, the brighter the stars,
The deeper the grief, the closer is God!
― Fyodor Dostoyevsky

I hadn’t really volunteered much before except at my children’s school, and in college at the fire department. What I didn’t know is that volunteering not only produces a positive impact on others, but it impacts you, by transforming your heart and mind.  Any type of volunteering when you are giving of yourself and your time, helping others and your community, can’t help sow seeds of love and kindness.

One Amazing Thing You Can Do to Heal a Broken Heart

Here are a few ways that volunteering helped heal my broken heart and can help you too.

Volunteering helped me take my mind off my own circumstances. Grief is sneaky, it likes to haunt you and keep you feeling down and hopeless.  However, volunteering kept me occupied and made my heart empathize with others going through life challenges, realizing we are all in this together.   All the while, it quietly boosted my confidence and stirred up joy that was buried in my heart.

Volunteering gives perspective. When we are in the deep throes of hurt and sorrow, we feel like we have experienced the end of the world.  When in all reality, life could always be worse. Not to diminish the pain and tragedy we all go through, however, seeing the struggles of others, makes one understand that everyone suffers in life, some more than others and makes you thankful for what you do have.

Volunteering makes you focus on what really matters in life. It can help you view life in an eternal perspective, reaching far beyond this life on earth and help you see where and how you can make a difference.  It provides you a sense of your purpose. You are living and doing to make others feel loved. To let them know they matter.  From helping feed the homeless to impromptu conversations at the hospital with strangers or in the grocery line, there are others who could use a little hope and encouragement. And you are placed in their path for a reason.  Live in awareness and don’t miss an opportunity to be a blessing to others.

Volunteering unites people.  We are all unique individuals, emotional beings with tender hearts. It’s important for us to emotionally connect with others and let them know they are not alone.  Forming new friendships also helps boost your own moral and aids in depleting that feeling of loneliness accompanied by grief.  Giving back makes you feel part of something bigger than you.

Volunteering humbles you. It has made me tremendously grateful. Volunteering showed me the things in life I had taken for granted while offering me understanding and presented me with a renewed compassion for others. Serving others also provides an opportunity for self-reflection and meaning.  With this, I learned to appreciate each new day and all the gifts I had been given in life, realizing that I was not more important that anyone else in life.  That we are all equal.

Volunteering is a rewarding venture that provides fulfillment like nothing else.  It gives you an internal change. A transformation of the heart.  Giving back fills a void and satisfies that deep hunger for life that is hidden inside us.


Thank you to HavingTime for publishing my writing.



Confronting Worry While Digging Deeper In Peace

It was late at night, last week when I received the call that my dad had been taken by ambulance, and was in the emergency room, unresponsive and feverish.

It was over a three-hour drive for me to the hospital.  I couldn’t wait to get there but needed to delay until morning to leave.  I laid by the phone all night, anticipating updates from my brother who was with him. Feeling helpless so far away, I prayed with all my heart in Jesus name for my dad to be healed from whatever ailed him.

When I arrived the next day, dad was still in the ER waiting for a vacant bed at a local hospital. There was talk about flying him to Portland if one didn’t open up soon.  Let me just say that seeing your parent in the hospital, looking frail and not present, instantly brings tears.  He wasn’t laughing, complaining, or telling jokes as usual. He was quiet and still.  I didn’t like it.

Seeing our parents age and witnessing their declining health is extremely difficult.  In my mind, I still live in my childhood and see them when they were strong and independent.

Surely there was something doctors could do to help him. My dad has been on dialysis now for two years, which is another story all its own, but has contributed to his weakness and fragile state.  After an MRI, CT scan, multiple blood tests, doctors finally speculated that he had a form of sepsis due to an infection from dialysis.   Scary.  I didn’t know much about sepsis other than what fellow bereaved mother Melissa Mead had gone through with her son William. (@amotherwithout) And so very thankful for all she has done to raise awareness. As a result, I knew it was serious wasn’t something to dismiss.

A bed had opened up and Dad was transported to the hospital in a neighboring town.  I was nervous as I was about to experience another first since Lydia died.  It had been ten years since I was last in this particular hospital. My mother was having surgery for thyroid cancer and Lydia and I had gone to visit her.

My husband and I walked in the front doors and it all came flooding back. It seemed like yesterday. We continued on and visited the cafeteria to sit down to eat while Dad was getting situated in his room.  I looked over to my left and pictured the last time I was there, Lydia and I had sat at the sunny table by the window, talking and eating while she drew pictures for her grandma.  Ahh. My heart felt full.  I wasn’t sad or happy but felt at peace. I smiled to myself and embraced those memories as they came rushing back.  What a blessing.

Thinking about how much my life has changed in ten years makes me absolutely speechless.  It’s really unfathomable, what has happened and how different things are now. However, it is clearly evident how God has been at work in my life.

Being in the hospital, not knowing if my dad would recuperate, made me look at the meaning of life again and refreshed my mind about the fragility of our existence. It was a needed reminder that life is not about me but about Him and I wondered if I was doing right with my life.

Suddenly, nothing else mattered to me except the big picture.

Why are we here? What purpose does my life have? What is God’s will for me? Deep questions that penetrated my heart relentlessly.

There once was a time when I was living and competing with the flesh of the world. It took losing my daughter to make me understand, none of that matters.

We need to see the bigger picture and live with eternity in mind, finding that much needed perspective.  And how wonderful that we all get to look forward to an eternity in heaven. No pain, no tears, no sorrow but a place of abundant joy and blessings.

So this is my challenge for you all.  Give your strife to the Lord. We don’t need to bear all this stress on our own.  When life gets overwhelming, and our problems seem insurmountable, go to God.

No matter the struggles we are facing, we need to turn that glass half full instead of half empty. Serve others and be a blessings every chance you get.  Say five positive things to every one negative. Focus on perspective.

Despite it all, I am thankful to report that after several days in the hospital, my dad is on the mend and improving.   For now, I will treasure each day and be grateful for lessons learned.

Where Will Your Passion Lead You in 2018?

About three weeks ago, I woke up early in the morning a little big on the cranky side you could say.  I found myself crunched up on my child’s twin bed with two afghans covering me, the window open just wasn’t quite doing it for me.  It had been a restless night. I was cold and tremendously uncomfortable.

My heavy eyelids, stuffy nose and pounding headache tried to lure me back to sleep, however, I knew my long commute to work awaited me.

On my drive to work, my heightened nerves were telling me I had had enough. I was fed up and tired. Tired of my job, tired of my career, this wasn’t the life I was supposed to be living, among other things.

Needless to say, I had a mini meltdown in the car. It only lasted about a minute, but it brought me to a place where I knew change was imminent.  I had what was certain to be, an epiphany driving down the main street in between stop lights. There was no mistaking it. God stirred my heart at this very moment and I felt it, without a doubt. Something had changed. I knew I had come to a crossroad in my life and it was time.  I hadn’t been living the life I was supposed to.   God surely has more in store for my life than this day to day “stuff I had been doing.”  I couldn’t continue on the present path and desperately needed to find my direction, my passion and purpose, as I wasn’t fulfilled or satisfied. I was not where I felt I was supposed to be.  Exhausted and tired of the mundane, I was the busy mom, trapped by her routine career, putting her ambitions on hold, hiding in her bedroom desperate to grasp a few moments of quiet time to think and to write.  But then it struck me. What was I waiting for? What if everyone had the courage to follow their dreams and passions?   What an incredible world that would be.

You know when you feel empty and you are just kind of going through the motions? That has been me. I feel like I’m missing out on a greater purpose in life.

Instantly, I called my husband and told him what I wanted to do, that I needed to sell my business and refocus on what feels right to me and what feels like God was putting on my heart, and  follow the steps of faith I need to be taking to fulfill my dreams.

You see, I’ve been in this phase the past few weeks, a phase of the blahs, tired of the mediocrity. I had had enough of the status quo. Feeling burned out, I wasn’t moving forward in my career, and actually bored with what I have been doing the past 19 years of my life. My time was done here.

I prayed for God to show me my purpose in life since I wasn’t feeling it. There just had to be more that the just “getting by” I was presently engaged in. I have not felt the fulfillment I need.  Don’t get me wrong, I have so many blessings in my life, but deep inside I knew I was made for more.  I love taking care of my family, my animals, the laundry, dishes and never ending housework as much as anyone, however, I believe there is more. That I was meant to make a difference.

Through heavy prayer, I hope 2018 brings me just that. I am certain I will gain His wisdom and have the urge and confidence to go forth with some new endeavors and not let fear of failure hold me back and to complete those unfinished works that are dear to my heart.

Gods plan image

So, I have decided that my focus on the New Year is going to be determination, which can be defined by Webster’s as (having made a firm decision and being resolved not to change it.)  I’ve always scoffed at those who pick some random word for their theme for the upcoming year. Really, in what perfect world can someone commit to a single word and make their life all about that?  Don’t they always fizzle out after a few months anyway?  The idea has always seemed silly to me. However, the intent behind it has caught my attention recently.

In 2018, I am committed. Personal growth and fulfillment have become a priority.  Instead of being confined to my comfort zone, I hope to be guided and filled with inspiration and motivation, enhancing and improving myself and while serving others.  In addition, I hope to gain complete confidence and direction, to reach out and pursue my goals. I feel that God doesn’t want me to waste my pain but to provide His hope and healing to others experiencing grief and loss, in a bigger way.  So what am I waiting for? There is nothing like growing closer to God and stepping out courageously in faith.   I am ready.

In my own reflection, I encourage you all to ponder what’s in your heart.  If money and fear were no object, what would you do?  Make this the year to step out in faith and pursue those dreams and passions.  You can do it!

~On this journey with you