Navigating Loss: Community and Comfort in Church | Kaitlyn Fiedler

Show Notes

In this episode of Faithfully Engaged, guest Kaitlyn Fiedler opens up about her journey of finding renewed faith and purpose after experiencing an unimaginable loss. Join us as Kaitlyn shares her deeply personal story of navigating through grief and how her faith has been a guiding light in her healing process.

She emphasizes the vital role of church support in providing comfort and understanding to those who are grieving. From community programs to the power of genuine empathetic listening, Kaitlyn sheds light on the impactful ways churches can help individuals through their healing journeys.

Her profound insights and experiences offer valuable guidance to anyone seeking hope and understanding in the face of loss. Discover the significance of embracing emotions, finding solace in community, and the transformative power of faith. Tune in for this meaningful conversation that extends an invitation to heal, connect, and have faith amid grief.

In this episode, you will be able to:

  • Explore the intersection of grief and faith to find solace and strength in spiritual beliefs.
  • Discover the healing power of community as a crucial element in navigating the journey of grief and loss.
  • Uncover the valuable support and resources that churches offer to individuals coping with grief.
  • Hear uplifting stories of healing and resilience from those who have experienced grief, offering hope and inspiration.
  • Embrace the significance of honoring and processing grief as a natural and essential part of the healing process.

Kaitlyn’s Links

Book: What Now: Finding Renewed Life in Christ After Loss- https://amzn.to/3GqxAtx

Website: https://www.abeautifulbelonging.com/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/kaitlyn_fiedler

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/abeautifulbelonging

North Arrow Coffee Support Babies and Great Coffee!: https://northarrowcoffee.co/MvL3lH

Podmatch: Want to be a podcast guest? Have your own podcast and want to find guests? Use podmatch! https://www.joinpodmatch.com/faithfullyengaged

Faithfully Engaged Links

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*This description contains affiliate links. These links add no cost to you and help support the show.*

Transcript

00:00:09
Hello, everyone, and welcome back to another episode of Faithfully Engaged. Today my guest name is Kaitlyn. So, Kayla, why don’t you tell the audience a little bit about yourself. Yes, thank you so much for having me, Johnny. It’s great to be here.

00:00:26
I am Kaitlyn, I live right outside of Greenville, South Carolina with my husband of eight years, Jordan, and I have a three year old son, Taylor, and a six month old little girl, Aline. I just published a book in April called What Now finding Renewed Life in Christ After Loss. And it’s my story of a traumatic loss I experienced at age eight the loss of six family members, four siblings, and also my parents in a car accident. And I can get more into that, but yeah, wrote this book just to share my story of healing and how God has just completely redeemed my story and my life and brought me to where I am now. So I want to share it just to help others who may also be going through something difficult of their own.

00:01:27
Yes, well, thanks so much for being on and I’m excited to talk about this just because grief going through a traumatic event like that is something that I don’t think the church always does a great job of talking about. We might say, I’ll pray for you and then that’s just kind of then we end there and I think having more discussion on this is really important. So kind of just go into your story a little bit. How old were you when this happened? And yeah, just kind of walk the audience a little bit of what was the precipice of the story.

00:02:05
Yeah, so I was born into I’ll give you a little context of my childhood because that is important to know about my story first and then I’ll share about the loss. But I was born into a family of six kids. I was the second to youngest and my dad was in the Christian camp field, worked for Young Life camps and then he was working at the Billy Graham Training Center in Asheville, North Carolina later on. And so my mom homeschooled, all of us, we were very tight knit family, just did everything together. We had all of our meals together every night.

00:02:47
We spent just tons and tons of time together. And the most important thing, not just what we did together, but my parents were believers and they really walked the walk. They showed us that example as kids. Like, I remember really early years of my childhood just noticing their intentionality to lead family devotionals and read the Bible with us at night, pray the way they just loved each other and little things like they would tell us they were sorry and ask for forgiveness when they knew they had messed up or sinned against us. And every time they disciplined us or spanked us, they would explain the reason why they’re disciplining us and how god disciplines us and how he loves us.

00:03:48
And so that’s what they were modeling. And so just very intentional parenting. And just the way they centered their whole life was around what they believed about who god was and the things that were important. They really had their priorities in line. And so I was just so grateful to be able to witness that as a child and just kind of see how that played out in their parenting and in their marriage.

00:04:18
So when I was eight years old, one of the cool things about them, too, was that they often had foreign exchange students or like refugee people into our home to live with us. So on top of having six kids at home, they were open, just an open door to allowing any other people who needed a place to stay for a time being just to come stay with us. And so the summer of 2000, we had a girl who was here from belarus through a relief program. She was one of about 600 other students who were all spread across the US. Staying with different families.

00:05:05
It was a christian program. So while they were here getting medical attention and help, they would learn about the goal was for them to learn about the gospel and learn about jesus. And so we had a girl staying with us, and we found out that she had never been to the beach before, so my parents were going to take her to the beach for the first time. And so we all loaded up in the car, and she actually brought a friend with her as well on that trip. So there were ten of us in the car.

00:05:39
It was my parents, six kids, and the two girls who were staying with us that summer. So we were on our way to the beach from asheville, north carolina, to the coast of south carolina, and we were hit by a cargo van or cargo truck who blew a tire and lost control of the steering and happened to cross over the grassy median in between the two highways. And our car was in his path. And so that accident took the lives of my parents and four of my siblings and one of the girls who was also staying with us and also the driver of the truck. So myself, my older brother abel, and one of the other girls who was here on the relief program were the only survivors of the accident.

00:06:38
That was in 2000, so many years ago. I was eight years old at the time, and I was asleep when the accident happened. So I woke up in the hospital. I was put into a medical induced coma and then woke up a few days later in the hospital and heard the news of what happened.

00:07:05
When you’re awoken, obviously incredibly confused, I would imagine. What’s going through your head? How does a child process through that in that moment. Yeah. Initially I just didn’t believe it was real.

00:07:25
In that moment I was kind of drifted in and out of sleep, didn’t really understand where I was. I had never been in a hospital before. Just really confused and I really thought I was dreaming or having a nightmare, really. And honestly, for months after, I still thought I was just in a really long nightmare that I was going to wake up from. Eventually I was in complete shock and just didn’t believe any of it was actually true.

00:08:02
Yeah. And I would be surprised to think really adults would do too much better, but especially for a child and just all this confusion going on and for months afterwards said, it’s a bad dream, it’s not really real.

00:08:21
Incredibly difficult for those next few months, what happened not immediately after in the hospital, but when you are able to go home. What was living arrangements like? What did life look like after that? My brother and I went to live with our aunt and uncle. My uncle was my mom’s brother and we moved from Asheville, North Carolina to Greenville, South Carolina.

00:08:53
So he was eight years older, he was 16 at the time of the accident. And my aunt uncle had two daughters of their own. So we moved in with them, gained two new sisters and new parents. So those early years, everything in my life was complete upheaval. Everything that I knew.

00:09:18
It was like my whole life before was gone. And I had to start over really with a whole new life. And so new family, new home, started school for the first time, started going to a new church, had to make new friends even. There were new pets in the home and just a new lifestyle, new stores that I went shopping at, just different surroundings and different lifestyle there. So during those early years, the most important part of my story is that I accepted Christ into my heart when I was six years old through the example of my parents and my older siblings had made that decision.

00:10:12
And so it was just kind of when we got to a certain age, everybody at different ages, but my parents would explain what that meant and how to read the Bible and what that decision was, and that it was a big important decision to make. So when I was six years old, I made that decision and immediately started reading the Bible, learning about the Bible, just really learning the basics of right and wrong and to apologize when I sinned or lied or dishonored my parents, things like that. When you’re little. And so the seed was planted. At six years old, I feel like I began just knowing and began understanding and learning the basics of what it meant to live your life for Jesus and who God even was.

00:11:07
And so then when the accident happened two years later, I really had that foundation that had started to grow for two years of faith. And it’s so unbelievable when I look back, because at that early age of eight, I just depended on God so much in those months and years to follow in a way that I can’t even explain or verbalize that well now. But it was just he was there for me, and I knew he was there. And although everything else had changed and nothing looked different around me, I knew God was the same. I knew that he hadn’t changed or hadn’t gone anywhere, and he didn’t abandon me and he wasn’t leaving me.

00:12:09
And so he was really the only thing in my life that was constant, that never changed. And I’m so thankful and just amazed at how he showed up in all different ways for me. When I didn’t want to cry in front of other people, I knew I could cry to God and that he was there and that he would hear me and listen to me. And there was a few times where I almost tangibly felt like an embrace of his arms wrapped around me. And that just so comforted.

00:12:56
And so it was just like such a childlike faith that I didn’t know that much about God. I didn’t know theology or didn’t have any answers, but I knew that he was real and that he was with me. And that’s all I knew. And just clinging to that really is what saved me and how I got through those early years.

00:13:29
I think that’s just, for one, an incredible testimony of goodness.

00:13:37
Like you said, your life is just completely upside down. Kids that kind of really taken a backseat here for a little bit. Kids in general, I have young kids, and in general, we’ll say they don’t like structure. I want to stay up late, eat ice cream all day. And they’ll say that and to a degree that they want that, but they really don’t.

00:14:02
After I get done with this interview, actually, we’re going to go visit my grandma. And while that’s great and we love it, it’s out of their routine. And by that end of that weekend, we’re kind of ready to get back home because then we get back on that sleeping routine. And there’s that consistency, there’s that schedule. Kids actually do thrive in that.

00:14:25
They enjoy knowing what to expect. And kind of like you’re talking about with God, he’s unchanging. Kids like that structure, even though they may complain about it, they really do need it and thrive in it. And for you, you didn’t just have a weekend at Grandma’s where you stayed up late. This was completely life altering things that are incredibly difficult for an adult to experience, much less a child that’s growing up and is not only growing up, but is dependent on these people that are gone.

00:14:59
They are dead and not coming back. That is some rough, rough stuff. So for you to have that faith, to know that, yeah, my life circumstances here on Earth, yeah, they’re changed and they’re never going to be the same again. But you, Lord, you are the same. You don’t change.

00:15:18
What a powerful testimony for a young child or for anybody to have to have confidence that even though what’s around me right now is not the same God you are, I would imagine that in those years afterwards, that your faith probably, like you said, saved you, but was also probably strengthened through that because of the trials you went through. Yeah, exactly. And I think it definitely was throughout the years. Since then, like everyone’s faith journey, it’s been ups and downs and times of feeling distant and closer. But I’ve always been able just to remember back to those days and kind of point back to his faithfulness throughout the years, no matter what else I would go through or what else I might experience because of the relationship that he gave me and just the ways that he showed Himself there for me.

00:16:21
So clearly, that has carried on throughout the years so that I’ve always whenever I have felt distant or angry or new troubles, new things have come. I just remember his faithfulness in those early years and it’s been so just my strength, really. Yeah. And I can just remember he gave me such encouragement that he shares such a special place or a special piece of him and his character with those who are hurting and grieving. And so that lesson is something that I’m just so thankful for.

00:17:13
I think.

00:17:18
I’ve really just been recently learning a lot about how grief is good and how to feel that and to let ourselves feel that and to go to those hard places and to allow it, because I think so much of our culture, it doesn’t feel good to be sad. So we want to just be happy and do things that make us feel good and be happy and fix ourselves all the time and just go through life that way, just kind of masking our hurt and our pain and our grief. But that valuable lesson that he showed me then has stuck with me all this time, that it was through the hurt and through the grief and through going to Him and crying out to Him and getting angry and asking Him, I’m confused. What’s going on? God, why would you take them?

00:18:19
Why do I have to go through this? Just showing all the hurt and the pain and the grief and just laying it all out there. It wasn’t fun and it’s never fun. But I’m thankful for the closeness that I felt and just the reality of accepting those things, that that’s life, that that’s a part of life. And I shouldn’t just keep it in because for so long I really did.

00:18:51
I kept it in and to other people, but to God, he was always there, and I always was able to show that to him. And so I don’t know if that makes any sense, but it’s really helped me a lot to this day, just knowing that I can at any point share all of it with Him, even if I don’t sometimes have that community of support or those people physically to talk with, which is super important too. But he longs for us to go to Him, and he longs for us to be he wants to be that person for us to show our grief to, and he can hold it and carry it and grieve with us as well.

00:19:39
What you just brought up there, I’ve actually addressed with several different clients that I’ve worked with over the years, because grief is not there’s no sugar coating there. That’s not fun. It’s not fun to lose somebody or to have some type of illness or lose a job, whatever it may be. That’s not fun. And nobody feels happy going through that grieving process.

00:20:06
It’s difficult, however, when we’re bringing in the faith component, especially if I just say, well, okay, I’m a Christian, so we’re supposed to be joyful, right? So I can’t feel sad or anything. I need to be happy all the time because I’m a Christian. So first off, yeah, we do need to be joyful. I think that’s important.

00:20:32
But part of my response back to that is God made us. And if we believe that, that we were designed for a certain reason, he also designed us to have these emotions. And these emotions are not meant to just be ignored, act like they don’t matter. Now, we don’t necessarily want them to control us, but we do have them, and we need to acknowledge them because that’s part of our design. And you bring out an incredibly important piece there that it’s not just about throwing my anger out at everybody or taking it out on people or just crying for the sake of crying, but who are we going to with those emotions?

00:21:16
God tells us to cast our anxieties onto Him. So sometimes when I keep it all in and this is a tough thing when I keep it all in, it may not be my intention, but I’m essentially communicating to God that he can’t handle this. I can’t let Him deal with this grief that I’m dealing with. That’s not true. And then I love the fact that even at that young age, you were able to do that, to go to Him to not mask your feelings, say, God, I’m angry, I’m confused, I’m sad.

00:21:51
I don’t like this. But you trusted Him to handle that at any point in your journey, and I’m not expecting that. You were perfect throughout it all. I’m sure there were many struggles, but did you feel your faith at any point really waver or throughout it all, did you feel like your faith kept strong throughout it?

00:22:18
It did waver for sure. So those early years, God showed me such just kindness and not I think because I was so young, I really didn’t have the and just my personality as well. I didn’t have behavioral problems, wasn’t super angry or like that kind of kid, I was very easy going and timid, quiet kind of personality. And so those early years I didn’t show any anger or rebellion, things like that, but in doing so, I really kept it in around other people. So because of my personality and my nature, I didn’t really want to ruffle any feathers or stir the pot in any way around.

00:23:20
I hated conflict and so my coping mechanism was to just keep the peace as much as I can. And internally too, like not show that I was upset, not show that I needed, not show that I was super sad or angry or anything like that to other people. So I really just did whatever I had to do to make it through and I really kept it all in and I was just a peacemaker like I said. So that looked like going through life the best I could like any other kid. So doing well in school, going to school, I played sports, I made friends and actually really great friends that I still have to this day, which is so amazing.

00:24:19
But from the outside I really lived like a normal I looked like any other kid, like a normal middle school, high school girl, went to church, involved in youth group. I was appearing on the outside like nothing had ever happened, that I didn’t actually go through such a traumatic loss. And so that really continued for all of middle school and high school and most of college as well. But then like grief does, no matter what age you are, it will stay with you until it has to come out and it will eventually. And so for me that was in about halfway through college and then continuing on after college as well.

00:25:14
I just came to a point where it was kind of like a crossroads, and I was like, I knew or I realized that I could continue on the way I was doing, kind of masking it and acting like I was okay and just not going there, not wanting to talk about or process anything. But that was making me pretty miserable. Or I could face it and get real and get the help that I needed to go through life. And I knew that it would be really hard and I didn’t want to, but it was kind of like that was the only way to move forward in life for me because I knew I couldn’t stay where I was. And so that came through many different things around me.

00:26:09
And I would say in that period also faith wise was when I felt like furthest from God of just trying to do things on my own, trying to just keep it all in control. Everything, like my future, my plans, relationships I was in. I was just trying to live the way I wanted to live. And it all came to this kind of crux, and I was like I felt just pretty miserable. And I knew that something had to change.

00:26:47
And so many different things led to that point of wanting to heal. I think it was the more I shared with safe people, like little by little, each step led me to share more. So up until that point, I hadn’t talked about it with anyone very rarely for years. I just didn’t want to go there. But then I would have, like, a five minute conversation with my college ministry director about the accident and my family and how I was feeling.

00:27:26
And his response of a safe person and a safe place empowered me to share more and share with others. And so I really just had to find those people in that community where I felt encouraged to talk about it. So it was hearing other people’s stories of my peers, other things that other hard things that people had gone through. And hearing their stories encouraged me to share mine as well. College ministers, I found a great church community with a community group, people that I could share with, pastors, just little by little, mentors women that I met.

00:28:22
Just all these people started coming into my life that God brought at just the right times where they would be interested and they would ask questions and they would want to know and kind of like, pull it out of me. And so I would say the past ten years really have just been a journey of healing after 20 years or 15 to 20 years of stuffing it in. And a part of that was Christian counseling for sure. It was a huge part of my life. So I went when I was little, right after the accident, for about six sessions, I believe, and saw a play therapist, and it just wasn’t long enough.

00:29:14
It wasn’t what I really needed or to the depth that I really needed. And so I went again, self admitted, I guess, to counseling once more in college for the first time since I was little. And since then, I’ve seen many different counselors, and each one have been so amazing and just another piece of the healing journey for me where they’ve given me insight to something that I didn’t see in myself before, or they’ve encouraged me in different places, they’ve taught me different things, they’ve pointed me towards God in different areas. And so just the community and the support, the counselors, the mentors, prayer warriors, I could go on and on about just all the different ways that God has given me that healing through him. I think what’s neat hearing your story is again, not only were you a child in just your physical body, but also in your faith.

00:30:27
You’re very kind of green Christian at that point and just had everything just turned upside down. So you had that and that was almost like that lifesaver that kept you just afloat and as to be expected, I mean, there’s a lot of other things that forget all of the rough things you had to go through, the trauma you endured. Just being a teenager in general has all sorts of curves that kids have to go through. So a little bit of that rocky season in there, but that maturation there of your own faith that we know as Christians, like, yes, we do have that personal relationship with God and to be able to trust that he’s unchanging and that he is there for me, but he also made us to have community. There’s a reason why we have the church that we’re not supposed to do life completely on our own.

00:31:26
And that seems like that was that next kind of part of your healing journey, was to realize, no, it’s not just me. I can do some things to help myself, but I need to lean and trust on some other people. And that’s hard. That’s not easy to do. And I know you didn’t just snap your fingers and start to trust people.

00:31:48
It was this process. So that’s really neat to see kind of that second wave there of your healing, of allowing other people in in that journey.

00:32:03
Yeah, absolutely. I love how you describe that, of just it being a process. And the process looks so different for everyone who’s experienced not just loss, but any hard time, any big change or any feelings of aloneness, things like that of some sort. But what you said reminds me of I just listened to a podcast by it’s called The Place We Find Ourselves. I don’t know if you’re familiar with that.

00:32:43
I’ve heard of it. I haven’t listened to it. Okay, well, he’s a Christian counselor as well, and it’s a series on grief that he was doing. And he was talking about just how when we do feel alone, like we’re going through something, we feel like we’re the only one we’re afraid to talk about it. How we need a family of people, a community of people around us who we can just be completely ourselves with and just let it all down and grieve and to know that it’s safe and it’s okay.

00:33:24
And how we were created to be in community with people in that way where we’re there for each other and there’s no judgment. There’s no button it all up, zip it all up, act like you’re fine and just look fine on the outside and everything, but how we can just be ourselves and how that’s good and that’s, like, God given. God gave us the community to be able to do that. And so just him describing that, I think it’s just made me realize the importance of that in our culture today of people who feel alone and feel like they’re looking around them in the world. Like, who is there for me?

00:34:24
Who will listen, who will hear me and wrap their arms around me and validate my feelings and seek to understand me? And it’s really sad in our culture that that’s how it is, where a lot of times, if it’s not your biological family members or your family members around you, who are those people? Who else can it be? And so people are just like looking for those people. And sometimes it’s not the church either, which I think biblically that family should be the church to be that safe place we can go to.

00:35:08
But we all need that. And it really grieves me to see how our culture is and how everybody’s so busy and fast paced and they have their own things going on, their own busyness, their own schedule, and just not really giving their lives to help those who are hurting and alone and grieving and need that support in community. And so I think there are churches that are amazing at doing that and being that place. But I’m saddened when it’s not, when the churches aren’t those people. Because if you’re listening and you feel alone and you’ve been looking for that community, those people to talk to, you can know that you’re not alone.

00:36:10
Even just hearing me share, I hope that gives you some encouragement to know that you’re not alone. And there are a lot of resources out there and people out there who want to be that family for you. That leads really well into something that I wanted to discuss. But part of my goal for this podcast is to have some type of actionable steps people can take in your situation. I really see it two different ways and I will get to the second way in a little bit.

00:36:53
But the first is especially for the church, that let’s say you haven’t had anything, at least in the time being anything so terrible that’s popped out in your own personal life, but people around you are suffering in some way, shape or form, sometimes it’s going to be very clear. Like if somebody’s in your church and experiences a car wreck like your family did, okay, that one’s pretty apparent that there’s something wrong going on, but other times it’s not quite so apparent. So for church members that maybe are hearing this and maybe are convicted of, oh, I need to be doing more, I need to be looking out for people that are really hurting, especially in my own church, what can they do to make a better impact or a better effort to help people that are suffering around them? MMM, that’s a good question.

00:38:03
I’m not expecting a perfect answer, don’t get me wrong. Do you have any ideas? Well, I think just off the top of my head and kind of through your experiences, there. Is you had people that were asking they were asking questions, they were trying to see how you were doing or giving you that place to share stories and certainly I would love to hear any other perspectives on this, but they gave you some space, but they weren’t just saying, hey, figure it all out. They were there for you, they were present, I think might be a good word, kind of thinking through in your life and the people that have helped you.

00:38:51
Yeah. Can you think of some specific ways those that helped you, why they were able to be so helpful? Yeah, I guess a few different thoughts are coming to mind. One is just the environment that the church creates. So you can walk into a church and feel if it’s welcoming and safe and if they’re showing Christlike love, if they’re preaching the Bible, kind of gauge for if they’re a solid church that is there to help you and to help others.

00:39:27
And so I’m so thankful for all the churches that I’ve been a part of. They really have things in place, like classes, groups, things like that already in place for people who are in hard times. So like for example, my church now has there’s a mom’s group that moms like me with little kids can go to and they’re led by older moms who have been through years ahead of us and can offer wise wisdom and things like that. So there’s a grief group, so they have Grief Share, which is an adult grief program where you go through and it’s a workbook and you’re with other people who have also experienced loss and you can share your stories together and grieve together and learn from each other. And then our church also has a grief program for kids which I serve with and it goes through a workbook as well and different activities to do with kids who have experienced loss.

00:40:43
And we just talk about what that looks like from a biblical perspective. And so that has been just a huge piece of my healing as well. Not only getting the help I needed, but to have that extra piece where I can volunteer through a group to help other kids just like I was going through something themselves. Because when we put ourselves out there and help other people, it’s healing for us too, for sure. And so that’s been huge.

00:41:16
So I think it’s an awesome thing when churches already have those groups in place, but it takes an action step on our part as well. So it’s not easy to do. It takes a lot of strength and energy to make yourself go to a group like that and to engage, especially when you’re grieving. It’s our nature just to want to isolate and stay home and not talk to anybody and it just feels too hard and tiring. But because we’re made for community and we’re made to rely on those people around us and to not isolate ourselves.

00:42:01
The church is a great place to go to, to find those people. And just by showing up and engaging with others and letting yourself be known by others, realizing that your story is important to share, we can think nobody’s going to want to hear what I have to say. Like my story is not important, those kinds of things. But when you get to a place where you value your story and that’s when you can share with others. And those things, I would say, are huge.

00:42:52
Because little by little, just taking each of those steps of I’m talking from the perspective of the grieving person now, not the church. But if you aren’t in community or aren’t in church at all, I think the step would be to find a local church that you feel comfortable in and that you can start to make those steps. And then if you maybe are in a church but you don’t feel like you’re really being vulnerable or getting to know people, a further step might be find an area to serve or find a group to join where you can feel like you can share. So it’s just taking little steps by little steps to find safe people who are there for you. But it does take action.

00:43:41
I think rarely somebody’s just going to approach you and say, I want to get together and hear your story and be a mentor for you. We usually have to ask people if they’ll meet us and to be that mentor for us. But when we do, most likely people are very willing and they want to be that person.

00:44:03
So that’s from the perspective of the person who feels alone in their grief. But from the church’s perspective, I would say just being open and aware, like you were saying, of looking for the person, the new person or the person who seems to be quiet, not sharing much or kind of in. The background and giving time to them and meeting them for coffee, giving them an hour just to share their story and their hurt and just hear them. And you could be such a life changing person in someone’s story just by listening to them share.

00:44:53
That part alone is incredibly important. I can think of many times, just in different clients that I’ve talked with that they come to these different conclusions and sit back and like all I really did was listen. It didn’t take that many skills, it just sat back and listened.

00:45:16
That goes such a long way and I think that’s something too. I’ve talked with several people on the podcast too, that have dealt with different types of grieving issues is on the church perspective. Or if you’re a friend or a family member or whoever and you know somebody’s hurting, to not feel like you have to have the answer. There was nobody that could have said, Kaitlyn, if you just do these ten things, then you won’t be sad anymore. No, that didn’t exist.

00:45:50
And sometimes we feel this pressure to just fix it, and then we end up saying and doing things that are actually quite harmful to that person that’s hurting. And that’s not the intention, but because we’re trying to force an answer that’s really not there. So don’t be so pressured, but be present and have, like you said, that listening ear. That just goes such a long way. Because I love what you said earlier of your story matters.

00:46:21
And when you were saying that, I did have a question that kind of came to my mind. Have you had people, like, when you’re sharing your story, that they’re like, oh, well, my story is not that important. I just lost my dad. I only lost my sister. I didn’t lose everybody like you did.

00:46:43
Have you had any of those experiences where people almost feel guilty to share their story because your story is so much worse according to them? Yes, absolutely. I have a lot of times I’ve had that, and it’s really just everyone no person’s story is going to look the same. Everyone’s loss is going to be different, and their relationship with that person is different, and their journey is going to look different. But the reason I share is just so people don’t feel alone in what they’re going through.

00:47:30
Not to be like, this is my overwhelm people with my loss, but just for the people like I share it specifically for the people who may have lost one person, like may have lost a child or may have lost a spouse or a sibling or a grandparent. And just for them to feel like they’re not alone in their grief. And it’s really the exact same. It doesn’t matter how many people you lost or didn’t lost or the way you lost them, but the feelings are the same. And so that’s where we can all relate and join together, because grief feels like grief.

00:48:20
It’s heavy and it takes time, and we need space, and we need somebody to listen through, somebody to walk through it with us. And so no matter what loss someone has had, I hope that they can relate to me, and I know I can relate to them just in those day to day feelings of the reality of what grief looks like. Yeah, go ahead, go ahead. And then I want to hit on one more thing that you said. Yeah.

00:49:00
So I was just going to say something that I like to tell with clients that kind of have that mentality. And I love that you have been cautious and trying to welcome people to share their stories. As I’ll tell people, hey, just because I stubbed my toe and you broke my arm, that doesn’t mean that my toe doesn’t hurt. It’s not a competition. A loss doesn’t have to be higher than the other.

00:49:25
If it hurts, it hurts and just feel what you have to feel. So I’m glad that you were really cognizant of sharing that for other people, because no matter what type of loss it is, it’s still a loss and you need to share it. Thank you for sharing that. I love that analogy. If it hurts, it hurts.

00:49:45
Yes. So true. Yeah. But I want to go back to one thing you were saying earlier, just to emphasize that point of there’s no step by step like what you said of just nobody could have come to me and said, here’s the ten things you need to do to get through your grief and to move on. And I’m so thankful that nobody did, because grief for everyone is a journey, that it’s a very personal journey that we have to walk through ourselves.

00:50:19
And so I think that is the tendency of a lot of people is to, what do I do? What do I do? I have to help them. I have to fix them. Like I help them get better and tell them the exact things.

00:50:31
But just realizing when you’re helping someone or when you’re going through it yourself, that you have to walk through it yourself because it’s your own personal journey. And as the grieving person, we don’t want to be fixed. We don’t want someone to come to us and tell us, here’s what I would do if I were you, or give us these things. We just want somebody to talk to. And so I think that’s hard to understand as both the grieving person and the person wanting to help, because we want solutions and we want to fix things and make everything look nice and pretty.

00:51:16
But just to what I’ve been learning a lot recently is just this idea of befriending your grief. So walking through life, just kind of carrying it with you and it being okay and just having it like you’re carrying a purse. You don’t have to get rid of it completely, and you’re never going to. We walk through life with our past, with us, and sometimes that means we carry hurt and we carry pain, but we want to do it in a healthy way where it’s not overwhelming us. So, yeah, just that idea of we shouldn’t be over it two years down the road, five years down the road.

00:52:06
We shouldn’t be feeling bad if we’re still feeling it or we shouldn’t feel like I should be moved on by now. But just to honor it and let ourselves feel it when we need to feel it and let ourselves grieve when we need to grieve and share with others when you share with others and just kind of having it as a healthy friend, that it’s a normal emotion and a normal part of life and that we can walk through life with it and for that to be okay and to show it and for that to be okay too. And so that’s comforting to me. And it’s also comforting to know that Jesus didn’t just grieve one time when he was on the cross, but that he also still grieves with us now. And he is a God full of many emotions and many feelings and that’s how he created us in his image as well, with all those different emotions and different feelings.

00:53:13
And so he is close to the broken hearted, he tells us in his word. And so when we grieve, he has just compassion on us and he grieves with us. And that’s all through our lives, knowing that he is right there with us, hearing us and grieving with us. And that brings me a lot of comfort to be able to kind of express that. Yeah, no, absolutely.

00:53:50
That kind of goes back to what we talked about before. Yeah, God created us. He could have created us to experience zero emotions, but he didn’t. And we need to have that trust that we feel this way for a reason and to not have it dictate our lives, but have that form of acceptance, this is here. And I’m going to trust God that he’s going to help me handle it.

00:54:10
And I think that’s a really healthy way to look at an extremely difficult process. So I’m imagining there’s going to be quite a few listeners that for one, are interested in your book and for two, just kind of staying in contact with you. So for those that are listening that want the book or to contact you, how can they get a hold of you? Yeah, thank you. I have a blog called A Beautifulbelonging.com, a Beautiful Belonging and everything is there information about my book, contact, social media, everything like that?

00:54:52
I’m on Instagram at Kaitlynfiedler and my book is available anywhere you get books, amazon, Barnes and Noble ChristianBook.com. And I just recorded the audiobook for it, so that should be coming out really soon too. Great. Well, I’ll have all that linked down in the show notes so you all can find that and definitely check out her book and blog. And it was so great to have you on and be able to chat about a very difficult topic, but I really appreciate your willingness to share the story, not just with our audience today, but just in general of the power of sharing our story and really just handling grief in a healthy and biblical way.

00:55:37
So Kaitlyn, thanks again so much for being on with us today. It was so great to be on. Thank you so much, Johnny. Absolutely. Well, thank you for everyone as well that are listening in today and I hope you all have a great rest of your week and we’ll catch you on the next episode.