Ep 80: How to Find Hope After Grief: One Woman’s Powerful Story! Transcript

All right, ladies, welcome to this episode of The she is extraordinary podcast. Today I’m talking with a new friend, Christina rice singer. And she and I chatted, I guess about a week or so ago, and I just fell in love with her. And her story is incredibly powerful. Christina is an extraordinary woman of God. She’s an author. She is the host of the faith breathed hope podcast, and she is a coach. So let’s say hello to Christina.

Hey, Judy, how are you? Thank you for having me. Oh, my goodness, we are so blessed to have you. So why don’t we right out of the gate? Can you tell the ladies about you know, your background? And what really led you to where you are today with your podcast and with your coaching?
Yeah, sure. So my actual background has nothing to do with what I do now my educational background, I have, well, I have a degree in communications in theater, and then I taught for seven years.

So going back to school, I was going back for addictions counseling. And then in 2016, my husband and I had our fourth child Isabella, and she was diagnosed with something called trisomy 18. So trisomy 18, is considered incompatible with life. And, you know, we were not knowing what we were getting into. But there was no choice for us as far as termination. My husband and I both agreed that we were going to have her and we prayed for her the entire pregnancy, even though we had been told many times that she would not be born going into the or for my C section with her. And the neonatologist even told us that she was probably not going to be born alive. And sorry
about this before, but in dogs, I apologize, guys.

So she was born. And you know, she did live for 10 and a half months, we were in the neck you for five and a half of that she had a couple of different surgeries that were there to save her life and continue to help her have some time. And you know, of course it was was our prayer that she would not only survive, because I am not the Heartless mother that some I think sometimes people look at if a terminal illness and if you want your loved one to survive that. Maybe you know you you’re wanting them to be here. Yeah, and then they suffer. And that was not it. Because my strong belief in the Lord I knew that he was capable of healing her. So I didn’t want her just to survive, but I wanted her to actually be healed because but that was not the Lord’s plans for her or us.

And in December of 2015.
She went home to be with Jesus. And so we have just
what that looks like ever since.
As far as what I do now.

Um, you know, it really brought me to this place where I everything changes. If you lose somebody you really love, a mother who loses a child, it’s very difficult, we don’t compare and grief. But it is something that definitely has a profound effect
on your life. And it changes your perspective. So I started doing all the things I am a type A personality, and I jumped into writing a blog, and I thought I was going to be a health and wellness company after I had been staying home with my children for several years.

And what it really did was it turned out to be a place of healing for me the blog was not a place of business, it was just a place for me to get out my emotions and my feelings and hopefully allow other women who had lost children to know. You know that there is life after loss in that actually turned into my book that I launched in 2019, which is life after losing a loved one.

And then a month after that, I guess I just decided that I wanted to be a grief coach. Um, you know, and it was more of a felt like a calling us first and really a desire. I mean, because who, who comes you know, who wakes up in the morning and says, You know, I want to coach in grief. I want to help you through your loss.

Yeah, and can I just pause right there. Let me just say that. I as a mother, I just feel for you and for those that have lost their Children because and I get emotional because I’m an emotional person. That is like, the worst thing that could ever happen to me. And so I just so respect the fact that you that you say like you peeled from that. And what you’ve written to me is, this is where I learned to love much deeper. And so I just applaud you, you’re a woman of strength, you’re a strong woman of God, to have turned that tragic situation into an honorarium for Isabella.

And now you’re doing something that is just so important, because I’ve connected with mutual people, that mutual friends on Facebook, and there are more women out there that have suffered a similar loss, then then if you’ve never had that, then you don’t go into those circles, and you really don’t realize that it happens, you know, quite a bit, even if it happens before birth, you know, like, this carriage that is a loss that is hard. So, before we go deeper into that, I’m gonna ask a really real question, which is, your work is emotionally fueled. Right? I mean, how do you how do you handle that? Is it just going to God and saying, not justice is powerful, right, but but going to God and say, Lord, strengthen me, because I have hard work to do. I mean, just just walk us through that if you would.

Yeah, actually, that is just it, it is really being able a to, to know to take care of myself, self care is very important. And that is one of the things that I tell other people too, but you know, you’re not only dealing with your own personal loss, but then you hear about all the losses of other people. And it is heartbreaking to hear you know, as many as I’ve heard, it’s heartbreaking to hear another mother say that she is screaming out in pain because she’s lost her child, or, you know, other losses as well.

But I often go to the Lord and I say, every time I speak to somebody, learn, I want you to give me the words I want. Not let let them see you in me, basically, you know, I don’t have the words of the human being, you know, God has given me gifts. And, but the thing is, is that I need to be able to speak to somebody what they need to hear. And that’s not coming from me that’s coming from the Lord. So it’s a lot of prayer. It’s a lot of constant reminders for myself to be submissive, to constantly not think that I have this, and humbling myself.

Wow, that’s so good. That is just so good. Because I like in that I like and what you’re doing to like, I’m a therapist, which can be hard, you know, or divorce attorney or realtor. I know, I used to be a realtor. And a lot of times you get hit with emotions there. You know, it’s not easy, right? It can be very heavy. So I love with your book, how to turn grief into hope, strength and purpose. And you talk about learning how to release your pain. And for our ladies that are listening, if they’ve experienced this, what advice can you give them in that regard to get to the healing and release that pain?

Well, the first thing I would say is that, you know, I talk to people on a regular basis about grief. And the first thing I think we can all agree about is that you have to feel the pain before you can get rid of the pain. You can’t just skip over it and say, Oh, I’m I’m good. And I don’t know that I would never use the word as healed per se as it’s a journey. You know, I feel that God has given me his piece. But people kind of mistake that sometimes is saying, Oh, well, you’re good. Well, yes, I am good. Yes. Other people can be good. Yes, you can enjoy, have joy again. However, there are still going to be those moments where you Fall on your knees because you’re so sad. You have these waves and it doesn’t just happen in the first year. It’s different for everybody.

So I would say that a you shouldn’t compare yourself to anybody else’s grave. So many people will be like, Oh, well, I had this loss. But my goodness, look at your loss, I can’t even imagine. And I find myself coming to that space as well sometimes and you just have to remember, we grieve because we love and and when you had mentioned before what I said about learning how to love deeper. It was because that grief eventually for me at least it turned into the capability of understanding that I am grieving because I loved her so deeply. And I didn’t know that I thought I had a big heart before Isabella came.

But I had to love even deeper because now not only did I have this baby this child that was dependent upon me, like any baby would be for a mother for food and nourishment, and, you know, guidance and things like that, but also for medical intervention, and being able to make the correct decisions for her life into make the constant prayer, and all that kind of stuff. So, you know, just not knowing a lot of people don’t know that they could take care of a child with special needs.

And it really opens up your heart to know that you can love even deeper than, than you think you originally could. Yeah, not sure that I answered your question. I mean, no, that’s good. You know, I think I always say that parenting is sanctifying work. And I know there’s other laws other than children, but I just want to stay on parenting for one moment, I really think parenting is really sanctifying work. I know that I came to Christ, I grew up in the church, but I really came to Christ in my late 30s, early 40s. And it was a direct result of my mothering of my kids. And I praise God for that.

And I think that sometimes when we put ourselves in as moms too much, we kind of lose ourselves. And so I would think that, especially when you go through this type of tragedy, a lot of times you’re just like thrown a loop. And that’s an understatement. I can’t even imagine, like I said, but I would imagine a part of your coaching is kind of allowing them to be where they are, and then kind of rediscover who they are. Is that does that. Does that make sense?

Yes, it does. It does in part of it is not? Well, a big part of it is navigating those emotions a lot, like I said, allowing you to feel those emotions, not skipping over them. But you know, knowing that it’s okay to be sad, you know, because it the biggest part is the reason that I started this is when Isabella first passed away, it wasn’t even, probably a month after she had gone was gone, that I felt like I couldn’t talk to anybody. I felt like personally, nobody wanted to listen to me, it is so important when you’re going through a grief to be able to speak out and to talk about it and get it off your chest and not stuff it.

And we have to have a great support system. You know, even if it’s that one good friend that’s gonna just sit beside you and listen, you know, and let you just cry. I mean, maybe you don’t want to speak, maybe you just want to cry, you know, or maybe you just want to hug, but it is so important to be able to have that support. And, you know, like I said, I didn’t know where to go, because I felt like everybody else was tired of hearing what he had to say.

Case, but that’s that’s kind of what you felt. Yeah, that’s the grief, totally the grief talking that grief? Does that was
strange. Yeah, it’s the enemy saying, you know, shut up already. Get over it. He’s the father of lies. So he’s gonna be making us feel worse. And, and I think also, he gets us to be isolated. Because one of the things that you say here is, you know, you can’t be alone. And I and and if you’re grieving right now, realize you’re not alone. Like, I don’t know you.

But if you’re listening to my voice right now, I love you, I don’t even know you. I don’t even have to met you or know your name. But I love you. So you are not alone. And that is why I wanted to bring Christina on. So but can you speak to that part of kind of, I’m curious as you work with your clients, Is there like a journey, a curriculum, that’s a stupid word, but you know what I mean, that you walk them through, to get to get through this journey, and move forward.

Yes, and you know, I, it’s different for each person. But when I like I said, the first thing is just being able to sit in it. And then it’s to start recognizing what those emotions are. Sometimes when, when we go through things, and it doesn’t just have to be grief from the loss of a loved one. But when we go through things, things boil up in us, and we don’t even know what’s going on. We don’t know what those emotions are. So it’s very important to identify what those emotions are. And once you identify what they are, you can really start breaking them down and thinking about it. And you can do something that I call capture it, challenge it change it. And the three CCC is something I learned years and years ago, which is very important to understand your truth.

And what was that again? What were those three C’s, it’s capture it, challenge it and change it. So it helps you understand your truth. So you’re going to capture that thought whatever it is that comes into your mind. And you’re gonna think about it and you challenge it and say, is it true or is it not true? You know, and if it’s not true, then you have that opportunity to change it. You know, say, you know, for instance?

Yeah, I’m never gonna feel joy again. Okay, well, is that necessarily true? No, that’s not necessarily true. And I can tell you why it’s not necessarily true because the Lord tells us that we’re supposed to see his goodness The land of the living. That is a promise that he gives us in Psalms 27. And when you look at things like that, then you have a choice, you can change it. So you have the choice all the time, your choice is to say, Hey, you know what, I’m never going to find that joy. Or you can change it and make that choice in saying, You know what? I’m not feeling very good right now.

And I’m going to be able to have joy in the future. Mm hmm. Yeah. And being okay, if right now you don’t feel joy, because you’re going through stuff, right. And I think grief is a huge thing. But as you said, there are other life circumstances that, that allow you to feel it in a certain way. And we to be okay with that. But as you said, You know, I love reciting scripture back to God, when I’m not feeling good, then I, you know, it’s so neat when you read the Bible, and I never remember Bible verses, but I know like, verses come to me, and I say, Lord, God, you promised, bla bla bla bla, so I’m gonna claim it, and I know it’s coming.

Thank you, God, you promised it. You know, I really love doing that. And it’s kind of just what you’re saying that you’re challenging it? Is this what God says? And if it’s not, then it’s a lie. So we have to change our script. And I also really appreciate how you say, we have a choice. So I really hope to land on that for a little bit. Because this, this idea of decision, and our choice comes up in everything in life in business. So what can you just unwrap that a little bit more about the choice, you know, and it doesn’t feel like you have a choice, but you do?
Yeah.

And so what I tell people is that you don’t have a choice about your circumstances necessarily, okay, things are gonna happen this year, if you’re a Christian, it doesn’t mean you’re going to have a perfect life. It doesn’t. In fact, the Bible tells us that we are going to see trials, we are going to see bad times. So we we may not have that choice of what happens to us what we experience. But the choice comes when we take what we have been given. And we figure out how we’re going to move forward. So we can stay firm, in our sadness and our anger in in any kind of I don’t want to say that negativity, but any any kind of place where you you just don’t feel like you’re going to have anything else in the future, no hope nothing like that hopelessness, I guess that would be the best thing.

So you can stand firm in that and not but in really sit in it and you know, simmer in it and that kind of thing. Or you can entertain it for a little bit, kind of unwrap it. And then you could say, Okay, I’m going to put it to the side. And I’m going to start bringing in these things, I’m going to start to look at what is really good in my life, I’m going to make that effort, that choice. And at first, it may be something that makes you angry. And it also may be something that is very difficult for you. Or you may even be kind of doing what I call acting opposite, like you don’t feel grateful for something, but you’re kind of making yourself find something that you’re grateful for, like the little things. And then what happens is that once you start entertaining these things, they begin to snowball.

And then you receive that little bit of hope and that little bit of joy. And I was actually listening to Joyce Meyers today. And I don’t know if you listen to her or not. But she talks about something like this. And she says, You know what these things are going to happen. And you know, then you’ll get back up, and then something will happen and it’ll push you back down again. And that you have to continue to fight it. You have to continue to persevere. You have to continue to stand up and say I’m going to keep on this path. Because eventually it will get better and better. And it snowballs into something wonderful. But yes, I mean, just because you find something good ones. That doesn’t mean you’re in the clear. Yeah. To fight for what we want.

Yeah, nice to move forward. It’s so fun how God brings everything together. So many things are going through my mind right now. Um, I was listening to Caleb, and one of those little moments in between songs was just what you were talking about. That the fight the perseverance that we are soldiers for the Lord. And, you know, there’s spiritual battles all around us that we have no idea what’s going on the angels fighting for us against the demons. And, you know, so we really are fighting a battle and it can be a minute by minute battle. Just even what am I going to think about? I love Philippians four, eight, I’m only going to think about what is true right is noble, what is pure, admirable, lovely, what is excellent or praiseworthy, and if it isn’t on the list, and God says, I shouldn’t think about it. Now, when these powerful emotions come like grief and sadness and anger, you know, we shouldn’t feel guilty about that.

You know, and this is some thing that I had to fight through I suffered through domestic violence, which was another tragic situation. And just like that, it’s when you’re in that low place, it’s so hard to imagine like good. So it’s one of those things where we have to trust God, right and Romans 828 everything works for the good of those who love Him and who are called according to His purpose. So that’s, that’s one of my life verses Romans 828.

I like it. I love it. So yes, you do you just have to keep moving on. There’s a song by Toby Mac that really, I don’t know the whole song. I probably don’t even know the the title or anything. But basically it says, God’s not finished yet, soldier keep marching on. And I don’t know if anybody is familiar with that song. But I remember driving home from the queue many days just listening to that song and crying out to God, and just saying, you know what, you’ve got more for me. And it’s not over. And I just have to keep standing back up knitting, and you’re so right. We just have to keep doing that. And it’s, it’s so important to have a good support system to have people who around you who can just help hold you up when you’re weak. In your family.

Yeah, this is gonna happen.
Yeah. Oh, for sure. And like you say, you might, you might over time go through a stretch. I know, when I lost my dad and my mom, especially my dad, he went first. It was I was devastated. I mean, he was at but I still thought no, he’s never gonna die. You know, they say that he’s gonna die. But he’s never gonna die, you know. But it really threw me for a loop. And but then you go through times when it’s good. And then all of a sudden a wave of, you know, bad feelings hard, powerful feelings come. So yes, it is a daily daily kind of battle that we’re fighting. But that’s why I love your podcast. And I listened to several episodes. They read hope podcast, how did you name it, and tell my listeners about that podcast and why they should listen. Okay. And the, the book, I’m sorry, the blog was called just breathe mama life, faith hope.

So originally, I was going to name it life, Faith, Hope. But I did some research. And I found I think, another podcast or something else that was titled that as well. Now, I don’t want to go there.
So actually was very, I was very disappointed at first because I wanted everything to kind of work together. And I didn’t want to change it. But then, you know, reluctantly, or, like I said, acting opposite. I went ahead and change it to faith breeds cope. Because I knew that I wanted it to be a Christian podcast. And I wanted to speak to Christians and non Christians alike who wanted to hear God’s word, and how God had transformed people’s lives and is using other people. And then breathed is so important to me.

Because when Isabella passed away, I just as a mother, I felt like I couldn’t breathe. And I remember something from years ago, and I believe it was a audio by Max lucado. And he was talking about God, His breath, the Holy Spirit, his breath. And I just looked it up. And I found the word ruark, which is the Hebrew for spirit or breath. And so I just knew that was, that was what I, you know, my everything I was doing was about was about how the Holy Spirit is breathing life back into me, as a mother, as a wife, as a human being as a Christian, even, just needing that breath, that that ease, that calmness, that peace that comes with that. And then the whole piece is the fact that you know, we all go through things, and we need hope. The podcast was originally going to be something that was about grief as it is, as it means for like loss of a loved one. But then I thought why don’t make it so morbid.

And there’s so many other people out there who are grieving because of maybe they lost a job or they’ve lost a relationship or, you know, a friendship or something else is going on in their life. You know, we can grieve when when we pass rite of passage is you know, going off to college, we’re grieving because we miss our family, you know, getting married, where we’re excited, but we’re still maybe we’re grieving our independence. You know, just different things. I know this don’t sound comparable to losing someone you love to death. But we all experience things differently.

So I try to have people on the podcast that I interview that have gone through things that are tragic, or things that they are having a difficult time dealing with, and how they know that God has turned 30 life around. And a lot of people that I speak with have created ministries, nonprofits, businesses, from that, but you don’t have to, you know, just knowing that God works in your life so that you can have, as cliche as it is to sound that beauty from ashes, you know? Yeah, character development that comes with things that have happened to you. And also that rich relationship that you develop with the Lord might start accepting his peace. From all those things that happen.

In the background, I’m sorry, no, I love it. I love it. But, you know, why are three boys and then three step boys, although they’re all men now. So Believe me, I appreciate that. It makes me smile to know those kids are having fun. But about your title, what I loved about it is just what you said, hope, you know, those that aren’t Christian, they may use that word hope. But it’s kind of like it’s in the air. But for Christ, that hope doesn’t really have substance, like there’s nothing really to hold on to. So I love that it’s faith breathed. Hope podcast. So I really, really appreciate that. Um, all right, well, I can’t believe we’re getting near the end of the time. I have two questions for you.

The first is, the first is a what’s on your heart, maybe that you would love to tell our listeners that we haven’t yet touched on? Is there anything that you’d like to say?

Yes, yes, yes, yes. So ironically, as I listen to my children in the background, one of my biggest challenges is all the noise in life. And I know that is a challenge for everybody. And noise does not necessarily just mean your kids running around, you know, we have noise of all the social media, all the news, all the differences of opinions, and the the conflicts that may come from, you know, different friends talking and thinking about different things and all the distractions and so, and distractions can look like, the stuff that you’re going through that that adversity and loss and things like that. And so, um, you know, my, my encouragement for you is that God can push away that noise. He can help you focus on him, and he can give you joy. You’re Matt, I’m sorry. We are meant no.

Yeah, I said, Amen. Amen. I’m sorry. I’m one of those types of Christians. If somebody says something, I feel like
I’m sorry, the train of thought, but yes.
Keep going, sister, preacher, yes. You’re fine. No, because like I said before, in Psalms 2713, through 14, it tells us that we are meant to see his goodness, in the land of the living, you know, heaven is perfect. And this is one of my main things that I tell everybody. So if you’ve heard me say this before, but I’m gonna say it again, because heaven is perfect. We don’t need miracles. In Heaven, we have the need for them here on earth. And we need to seek the Lord’s goodness here on earth. And he promises us that we’re going to see goodness here on Earth. So that is, for me, what keeps me holding on to that hope, knowing that, you know, we are supposed to see his goodness here. And that goodness comes from deepening our relationship with him from allowing him to give us that peace, from accepting his mercy and His grace. And for, you know, working through us to help serve other people to help give to other people. When you begin finding things that you’re thankful for. When you begin allowing yourself to work and help other people out of the goodness of your heart. What happens is that it turns around full circle, and heals your
heart.

Wow, that is so good. That is such a good word. because like you said, the noise. And even in the quiet even while we’re laying there in bed trying to fall asleep. I know for me, some nights are very noisy inside my own head. And that’s why I say okay, Lord, God, please shut. Shut down the thoughts. The voices helped me to go to sleep. Sometimes I say, sometimes I say to him, Lord, will you please just knock me out? And you know what’s funny? I will tell you this, Christina. And this is this is the truth. that there has never been a time when I prayed that prayer. And I stayed up whenever I pray that prayer, Lord God, and I laugh because he knows I’m kind of a goofy lady. I laugh and I say, Lord, will you please knock me out? Please, Lord, help me get to sleep. And he always does it. I never have to say it twice. So encouragement for anybody else out there.
That’s so good. I’m sorry.

I just did Definitely and you make a good point with the noise in your head. I didn’t mention that, that that is huge, you know, having all the things, all the thoughts, all the overwhelm, not being able to clear your mind. Yes, definitely.
Yeah. Well, this has been so good. I always end each podcast with same question. Look, this is called the she is extraordinary podcast. So I would love for you to share with our listeners an extraordinary woman in your life. And what makes her extraordinary.

Okay, well, I have the first person that comes to mind other than my own mother, who I love dearly, but is a woman who I actually wanted to write about for a contest and did not make it. So I’m glad that you give me the opportunity. Her name is Carlota. And she actually lives in Cyprus. She has an online magazine called the daily inspired life, I believe it is. And she actually was the first person I believe that published one of my articles, and she and I had conversation one time, that really helped open up my idea of being able to not hold back as much, you know, something that I didn’t realize I was doing and I just really appreciate her she shares so many stories of people you know, just good feel good stories of overcoming. And you would definitely get to check out her online magazine is amazing. And she has been just an inspiration to me.
Thank you for that good word. Wow. Go check it out the daily inspired life. That sounds really good speaking check out please tell everyone listening. How can they find you? Where can they find you?

Okay, so you can find me at Christina Reisner calm which is my website. You can also find me on faith breathed hope. If you go to iTunes, it’s faith. Pope’s Apostrophe S is five guests, because when I set it up, I had an oops moment. And so it all runs together. And you can find me on Instagram Facebook, I can.

What’s your handle? for Instagram? is Christina ry singer underscore ruark Are you a CH ugly? And then Facebook is just Christina right singer or my book is Mind Body soul? Well, that’s not my book, my group sorry. Yes. Made again. Your group is what? Mind Body soul wellness. Okay, mind body soul wellness. Christina. You’re one truly extraordinary woman. And I so appreciate your time today. I have enjoyed
my time with you today. Thank you so much for having me.

All right. Well, thank you again. Ladies. We will see you next time. And if you’d love this episode, would you please take a moment right now and leave a rating and a review we would so appreciate it. Thanks again and we’ll see you next time.

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