Mother and daughter

Loving Angry Family Members Leaving The Church

One of my clients recently approached me with the following questions, and my answers might be helpful to you. The questions: “How do I have a better relationship with my daughter who has left the church?  She is attacking the church on social media, and that’s all she wants to talk about with me.”  And their follow-up question was, “I want to love and understand my daughter without listening and reading all the things she is listening to and reading. How do I do that?“ Here is how I answered my client: Without taking into account your daughter’s actual words, what do you think she is thinking and feeling right now?  It sounds like she has strong negative feelings about the church and wants you to validate those feelings. This is very common for us humans. We want our group, in this case, the family, to all do the same things. It sounds like she loves you and wants the best for you, and she believes that the best thing for you is for you to leave the church too.  You can and should validate her feelings. Sometimes this is hard for us to do because we think if we validate someone’s feelings, we are condoning their actions.  The word “condone” means to accept and allow something that you consider morally wrong or offensive, as acceptable.   You can validate the hurt your daughter feels without agreeing with her on other issues. You can show empathy and compassion for what she is going through.  Perhaps you could say something similar to this, “This topic sounds like it really hurts, is that how you feel?” Then LISTEN. Validating her feelings doesn’t mean that you have to listen to her endlessly talk negatively about the church or listen to all the information she is listening to.  Decide in advance how much, if any, you want to participate in, and then set a limit. “Sweetie, I love you and want to understand you, but this stuff is hard for me to listen to.  Let’s set a timer for 10 minutes, then let’s find something to do that we both enjoy.” The formula is: These conversations can be hard. Don’t judge yourself if you don’t have them perfectly the first few times. It can take practice to learn how to respond to your child, but if you use genuine love and compassion for them, you can improve your relationship with them by making the effort to understand them better. In my Becoming A Whole-Hearted Woman coaching program, I work one-on-one with women to answer questions just like the above example. I help them navigate their relationships with loved ones who are leaving the church, if you are in this situation, and I can help you too.  Are you worried about your eternal family? Becoming A Whole-Hearted Woman is the place for you to learn to build strong relationships within your mixed-faith family, and also access your strength and wisdom to be a light to them. If this is something you want, let’s talk.  Click on my picture below and sign up for a complementary 45 minute session.  We can talk about what’s going on with you and decide if we want to work together.

Loving Family Members – Right Where They Are

Last month my daughter had her baby dedicated at her church.  It is interesting, a few years ago I might have felt bad for her “choices”, possibly even thinking that she was making the “wrong” choices.  My focus for the last few years has been learning to soften my heart around my mixed-faith family, love them exactly where they are and have eyes to see the good in their lives. I can see the progress I’ve made because I sincerely loved baby J’s dedication and felt only love and appreciation for being there. I loved how their congregation spent the first 10-15 minutes of their meeting standing on their feet, singing and worshiping Jesus. I loved how warmly we were welcomed. I loved how my daughter has been accepted and loved by her congregation, and I loved how they have embraced my daughter and her baby’s dedication.  I am able to see all the good things that my daughter is experiencing in a different faith, and it feels really heart-warming.  I continue to love my daughter and now have added respect for finding her community.  We have found common ground in our mixed-faith family, and it’s based on stronger unconditional love and respect for each other’s choices. How are you doing with your mixed-faith family? Take a second to check in with your emotions. Do you feel peace and love towards them and their choices or do you feel worried and anxious? It’s a BRAND NEW month, and I have space for two new 1:1 coaching clients. We meet weekly for 12 weeks, just the two of us.  Each week is personalized for where you are and what you need.  If you feel worried about your spouse or child and the decisions they are making, I can help you see how YOU may be the one impacting your relationship.  I can help you develop the skills needed to master your mixed-faith relationships.  Because that’s exactly what it is – developing new skills and “muscles” for ourselves. Understanding that we aren’t responsible for choices our spouse or our child make – but we are responsible for how we respond to them. I can help YOU learn the skills that lead to increased peace and love with all members of your family.  SIGN UP HERE AND LET’S GET STARTED!
One Way - My Way

Making Decisions For Others

Several weeks ago, I bought a workbook called, “Heavenly Parents: A Couple’s Guide to Creating a More Divine Marriage“.  (More info to come on this.) Even though my husband doesn’t participate in my faith anymore, the marriage we’ve created together has always been based on principles that we learned from church, and we usually enjoy taking marriage courses together. After I bought the workbook, I looked through it and liked the 12 principles, one for each month, but thought that there were too many General Authority quotes and that my husband probably wouldn’t like it.  So I didn’t show it to him… I read his mind and decided for him that it wasn’t something he would be interested in because it was “too churchy”. A week later, he found the chapter that I had printed and asked about it. It turns out that he loves the principles and thinks that he is perfectly capable of overlooking the quotes that I thought he wouldn’t like. This kind of mind reading and then editing information is something that we all do in marriage.  In a mixed-faith marriage, assuming we know what our no-longer believing spouse is thinking, can result in missed opportunities.  In this case, I would have missed out on conversations with my husband that bring more of the unity and closeness that we both want in our marriage.  Lesson learned (again) – DON’T “assume”, simply ASK!
Love as Christ Loves

Learning to Love As Christ Loves

Have you seen the multi-season series about the Life of Jesus called, “The Chosen”? It portrays events in the life of Christ from a whole new, much more relatable perspective. I love watching it, and after finishing season 3 last week, I went back to Season 1 and started again. I love watching the character who plays Jesus. He shows love in such a genuine way in the series. I especially enjoy watching him because the character of Jesus is teaching me what loving kindness, also known as charity and the pure love of Christ, looks like. For a long time I was confused by what I learned about “love” at church.  I heard so much about service and sacrifice, which is absolutely part of the pure love of Christ.  Unfortunately, I was always worrying if I was loving enough.  I even had a mental checklist of service to perform, and I worried that I wasn’t ever doing enough. I just thought I was really bad at love. Watching the Jesus in “The Chosen” series show love and compassion is teaching me that I can do it too. Before I went to church yesterday, I took a few minutes to quietly meditate on the parts of the day in front of me. I mentally went down my planned activities for the day; Sacrament Meeting, Relief Society, daughter and grandsons coming for dinner, planning my week, taking part in a workshop on marriage with Lee.  I thought about the people I would be with and how I always want to show up as a little bit better version of myself.  The moment came during Relief Society when the lady who sat behind me was introduced as new to our Ward. I turned around and introduced myself, and invited her to sit next to me.  During the meeting I thought about what I could say to her when Relief Society was over, to get to know her a little better. The question I asked her was, “ tell me the story of how you came to be part of our Ward?” I didn’t want to assume that she was married, had children, etc. We had a delightful conversation about where she lived and what she was doing, and that she has three fur babies and no human babies yet.  I went home feeling great about how easy it was to talk with someone when I was not simply crossing off “speak to someone new” on my checklist.  When I genuinely enjoyed getting to know her, I caught a little glimpse of my better self.  How are you doing at becoming the “better self” that you want to be? What are you learning about love from Jesus Christ? Sometimes, when people we love choose different paths than we’ve chosen, it can be a challenge to accept their choices, not be disappointed or perhaps even “love” them. I coach faithful women affected by family members losing their faith or leaving the LDS church. It’s a really rough time – I know from my own personal experience and that of many others I have worked with.  I would love to help you negotiate this overwhelming time. We learn that loving choices are always available to us.  If you are in this type of turmoil, perhaps now is the time to get some help?  I invite you to set up an appointment and we can just talk about what’s on your mind and in your heart.

Changes Come ALL The Time!

Christmas sad or happy

Love / Hate Relationship With December?

The Christmas season is here. Are you looking forward to it with anticipation or dread? For many years, I had a love/hate relationship with December and the whole Christmas season.  This was especially true after some members of my family left the church.  I started to wonder if all of my efforts to help my family love Christmas and the reason for the season, which is the love of our Savior, Jesus Christ, had backfired in a horrible way.  Was I the reason that some of my children and spouse no longer even believe that there is a Savior? Many of us mothers are particularly sensitive and vulnerable during the Christmas season. As self-described “Christmas magic makers”, we feel responsible for making this the best time of the year for everyone we love. As a matter of fact, many of my “natural woman” tendencies can be particularly active during this time of the year: My “Inner Judge” likes to point out all the ways that I am falling short during December. Someone who has it all together would have gotten family photos, written personal Christmas cards to friends, planned exciting activities, gone shopping to buy the perfect personal gifts for everyone on her list, and most of all – managed to bring the true spirit into her home everyday in December.  The “Controlling” part of my personality is screaming that if everyone would just follow MY plan the holiday would be perfect! My personal “Stickler”, the one who loves all the rules and keeps track of all the things I “should” be doing, and letting me know where I fall short.  My inner “Victim” feels so sorry for herself – everyone else has a perfectly behaved family.  Poor, poor me, I have to make do with what I have instead of the perfect life everyone else I know has.  And finally, the “People Pleaser” in me tries to keep everyone happy all the time, which is an impossible task, yet one that I think I can do. If anyone is less than happy, I failed indeed. Is it any wonder that I had a love/hate relationship with Christmas?  Perhaps this sounds familiar to you?? Somewhere over the past few years I have discovered the spiritual gift of COMPASSION. This gift, which is the gift of empathy and the desire to relieve my own and others’ suffering, has allowed me to quiet those inner voices and approach the Christmas season with joy and anticipation. I’m happy to report that those inner critical voices are so quiet now that I can barely hear them. With this gift, I am changed. I am currently looking forward to the holiday with love and anticipation. If you are dreading the Christmas season, I invite you to schedule an time to let me coach you before December 13, 2022.  This is my “Cyber Monday” gift to you.  I can help you look forward to December with happy anticipation, even if you have always dreaded the season.   You know who you are… I would love for your December to have more love and compassion and fewer critical inner voices. Schedule 50 minutes with me between now and December 13th and we will identify your inner critical voices and talk about how to quiet them so you can feel the love and peace you desire. Perhaps your Christmas season is already perfect and you have a friend that could benefit from some help with those above inner voices?   If you know someone that could use a dose of self-compassion this time of year, please share this gift with them. This is simply a gift I am sharing.  You can be confident knowing there is NO cost, NO pressure, and NO sales pitch.  Simple coaching to help you make your Christmas season merrier and brighter than ever.  Click the link below. Yes!  I want the gift of Compassion for Christmas! Oh yes, I nearly forgot to mention that I was on my good friend Tina Gosney’s podcast a couple of weeks ago and we discussed “Navigating the Holidays with a Mixed-Faith Family”.  If you are looking for some ideas on this topic, I invite you to give this podcast a listen.  I would be very interested to hear your thoughts after listening.