Ellie and I just got back from a trip to Houston where I was asked to come back and speak for the second time to the MOPS (Mother’s of Pre-School) Copperfield group. Shout out to those lovely ladies. You are amazing and I appreciate how loved and welcome you’ve always made me feel. Thank you for having me back!
Since this speaking event was actually in state, I thought it would be a good experience for my daughter, Ellie, to come with me to see what I do.
I choked up a few times looking at her in the audience while I was speaking, especially when I was showing the documentary of her and her daddy playing together in his hospital bed.
So many emotions came up for me, and yet I felt more grounded, centered, and connected than ever before. I asked myself why I was feeling this way and that’s when I realized that with time and experience comes maturity, confidence, and growth.
I’d started speaking a month after Andrew passed away and I was just in the beginning stages of grief. I had so much to learn and so many stages to go through.
As time went by and I experienced and worked through my grief, I found the process actually transformed me. This was a huge “a-ha” moment for me. When I was in the middle of going through some really dark times I felt like I was digressing, but the truth is that all of it mattered and all of it worked together to help me come into my own.
In Copperfield, it felt good to be connected to the audience. For the longest time, when I would speak, I would sometimes feel like I was on autopilot, with this fog of grief surrounding me, keeping me protected from actually feeling something. It was almost like I was telling someone else’s story— there was a disconnect, which stemmed from denial.
It took me time to work through my own pain. It was messy and scary and some days I thought I’d feel depressed forever.
But as I allowed the feelings to come naturally and pass through me, I found over time that the fog began to lift, allowing me to really see others again and feel connected to them.
When grief moved into my life I found myself in complete survival mode, unable to fully give of my time and attention the way I used to. I was forgetful and probably seemed withdrawn, but the truth is I was just plain overwhelmed by life and all the new responsibilities I was taking on for my family.
It was really hard for me to learn to let go of my old expectations for myself, but I could no longer keep up. Giving myself permission to “fail” my own unrealistic expectations, or what I thought were others’ expectations of me, was grueling and I had to learn that it’s not the end of the world if someone becomes upset with or disappointed in me.
Going through my own grieving process gives me so much empathy and compassion for others who are going through their own grief.
This speaking event was a full-circle moment for me because it was the first time I’d realized the struggles I went through over the past few years have been for a greater purpose. They’ve created something inside of me I’m really grateful for and proud of, and I realized I’m going to be OK. Where I am at is a great foundation to build upon.
So, my friend, I say to you, don’t get discouraged when things aren’t moving as fast as you’d like them to. Maybe there is some work inside of you that is still working itself out.
Allow that process to flow through you, be a participant, and know when it’s hard and uncomfortable it doesn’t mean you’re going backwards—you’re actually growing and it’s creating something inside of you that’s beautiful and important.
Don’t give up, keep putting one foot in front of the other, and trust God is working all things together for the good of those who love Him, who’ve been called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28).
With Love and Gratitude,