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trauma

098: Ashley LeMieux

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Super excited to welcome Ashley LeMieux to Thriving Beyond Belief this week!

Ashley’s story is a messy and complicated one, but one that she feel like is her privilege to share to help you go through your own.

Included here is an amazing article by her sweet hubby!

3 Steps to Turn Your Life Right Side Up by Mike LeMieux

My wife Ashley and I in our home in Arizona; May, 2017.

On April 22, 2013, my wife Ashley and I (pictured above) became parents over night to a 4 and 6 year old.

Up to that point we’d never thought about having kids.

We were asked to raise them and felt like it was the right thing to do —so we did.

We picked them up and brought them home to our house — I was now a dad.

A few years into everything, we wanted to make things more permanent and stable for the kids so we filed to adopt them.

It was unexpectedly and heavily contested.

We fought for them in a very heated legal battle for a year and a half.

We spent a large sum of money on attorney’s fees, attended a dozen court hearings, were deposed, and were drained of every ounce of mental and spiritual energy we had.

After 4 years of being a dad, my time was over.

Our kids went back to live with their biological family.

My wife and I and our families were devastated.

I stopped caring about life.

Nothing mattered to me anymore — work, what I ate, etc. I didn’t care.

For months, I cried every day because I missed them so much.

But several months ago something changed in me.

I realized what was happening to me and wanted to MAKE A CHANGE in my life.

I knew I needed to let myself grieve, but I was sick and tired of not being happy anymore.

I decided to live intentionally, every day.

I decided to work on things that filled me up.

I decided to surround myself with people who are happy.

I DECIDED to take my life back.

FIRST

Set Intentions For The Day, Every Day

Fill out a planner, write on a white board, create a Google calendar… whatever you need to do in order to stay on track with what you want to do.

When you write down what you want to do each day, you’re more likely to do it.

If you don’t write anything down, you’re not going to do anything you want. You’ll do what everyone else wants you to do.

You’ll be tossed to and fro like a bobber in the water

You’ll be aimless and tired all the time, “working”, but not getting anything done.

Start your day by writing out, physically or digitally, your intentions for the day and stick to them until your day is done!

SECOND

Let Yourself Feel Different Emotions

After we’d lost our kids, I had so many emotions, as you can imagine.

Most of them were anger, grief and sadness. Sometimes I felt despair and loneliness.

When I felt these types of emotions, I wanted to shove them out as fast as possible. They made me feel very uncomfortable.

I realized the more I tried to bury those emotions, the more they resurfaced and the worse I got.

I decided to let myself feel the emotions and just let things happen as they would.

When I did this, miraculous things started happening;

  • I could feel myself heal, literally.
  • I could feel happiness again.
  • I could feel hope.

By letting myself just be, I was myself again.

Not my old self, but my new self. It felt good.

THIRD

Take things one minute at a time

The pictures you see above are the last things we did inside of the home we lived in when we lost the kids.

The house was empty, new people would be moving in a couple days later and we would be moving to the other side of the country to Nashville, Tennessee.

I had felt so overwhelmed by the emotions I’d been having, I didn’t know how to take things even one day at a time.

I started focusing on each minute at a time.

I started recognizing things I still had in my life that brought me joy;

  • My wife.
  • My family and in-laws.
  • My dog.
  • My work.

I’d think about how helpful it would be to be able to sell what we owned and move to Nashville to “start fresh”.

I’d think about these things, one at a time, until I started to feel happy.

When I paid attention to what I had in my life that made me happy, I was happy.

If I did the opposite and focused ONLY on the difficult things, I was miserable.

My mind frame changed and my life started becoming mine again.

I was making choices about how I wanted to live and I was empowering myself.

Day after day of practicing these three habits has allowed me to go from devastated to determined.

When we stop thinking “We are the product of the things that happen to us” and switch our frame of mind to “I get to decide how I live my life and react to what happens to me”, our lives are fixed and we truly thrive

 

LISTEN ON ITUNES

Highlights:

  • She and her husband have been through a very traumatic experience of losing her two children.
  • She is the founder of The Shine Project.
  • It is very important for her to use her pain and her grief to help others.

Related Links:

 

 

066: Christa Black Gifford

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I have Christa Black Gifford with me on this episode of Thriving Beyond Belief, and I could not be more thrilled!

Christa is an author, wife, and mother who shows true vulnerability in all areas of her life.

On this episode, we talk through trauma, performance, loss, reconciliation, hope, and who God is in the midst of all of those things.

Going through trauma at an early age, Christa discusses constant coping from that as she grew up. She tried to find identity in what she could control, and how that manifested itself in her life.

We talk about pain and how our natural inclination is to avoid pain at all costs. We have confused God’s peace with being comfortable. We discuss wounds and the roots of our pasts that affect our actions. But we talk about how God’s goodness is not that we have an easy life, but rather it is that our lives are reconciled to Him.

Christa talks about walking through some difficult life issues and how she has shifted her thinking from “this is happening to me” to “this is happening for me”. It is that shift to see every story can be used and redeemed by the Lord. We discuss what trauma even does to us physically and when you come face-to-face with the trials in your life, it leads to healing.

It was amazing to hear Christa speak of the hope of Jesus in her life. How He has revealed Himself to her in several ways. She discusses those methods of seeing Christ and restoring herself back to His purpose.

I hope you take a listen to this woman’s amazing journey, and how God is redeeming all of us.

 

Tune In

 

Social Media Links

Instagram: @christablackgifford

Website: www.christablackgifford.com

Facebook: @christablackgiffordofficial

 

 

 

045: Katherine Wolf

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Welcome to today’s episode of Thriving Beyond Belief! With me today is Katherine Wolf, who is the cofounder, along with her husband, of the ministry Hope Heals. Katherine and her husband wrote the book “Hope Heals” and the two of them travel around the country speaking about their own journey.

10 years ago, Katherine’s life was completely interrupted when she experienced AVM rupture in her brain from a rare birth defect. Miraculously surviving the trauma, she now is confined to a wheelchair and endures many physical limitations. Katherine speaks with us today about how the Lord has allowed so much healing to take place in her life. She talks about her journey and the miracles she has seen from the Lord despite her severe sufferings.

We take a lot of time on this episode to talk honestly and biblically about going through tremendous trial and suffering and how it brings it such immense growth and hope in the Lord. Katherine even defines thriving as flourishing through constraints. We in this world will experience trial and suffering, but the times we live in feed us the lie that we deserve a lie without constraints or suffering. If we look at our lives through the lens of the Lord, we see that we endure constraints because Christ has proven to be the constraint overcomer! He is the overcomer in each of our stories! We are to take hold of the sufferings and to use those to bring glory to God on earth.

As we talk, we discuss vulnerability and the lack of conversation about suffering in our culture. But Scripture reminds us that the most beautiful things have come out of the hardest moments in our lives.

In this episode, Katherine discusses her own experiences of walking through immense trauma, and how that has affected her marriage. She reminds us beautifully that the battles we face are not against our spouse. The battle is against the outside circumstances that that have come at the marriage. Katherine stresses that there must also be an intense hold on Jesus. The Lord is never surprised by the trials that hit a marriage, and therefore He knows that that marriage can not only survive, but thrive through difficult times.

Katherine discusses fears she faces now because of her disabilities and how she often looks back on her life to see how the Lord has been faithful every step of the way to spur her ahead. She encourages each of us to dwell on and process our own stories so that they can be used for His glory as well as bring healing to our own lives.

The world will tell you that darkness is the end of your story. But Katherine reminds us that Scripture says the opposite- the Lord bestows a treasure specifically for those who suffer. The light is sweeter because we have walked through darkness. He will uphold us!

Please take some time to listen to this incredible story– you won’t want to miss it!

 

Tune In

 

Social Media Links

Instagram: @hopeheals

Website: www.hopeheals.com

Facebook: @hopeheals

Book: Hope Heals

Blog: http://www.hopeheals.com/blog

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