Strength and courage are two very powerful words. Those words conjure up images in my mind of a person physically strong and without fear, perhaps a member of the military, a firefighter,  or someone else who shows bravery in the face of danger. Rarely, if ever, would a picture of a bereaved person come to mind. When I think of myself, a bereaved parent, I tend to think of myself as weak and in great pain, not someone with strength and courage.

In today’s episode, Gwen Kapcia, from Starlight Ministries, shows me that grieving people actually are strong and courageous. That strength is demonstrated in in ways that at first glance might not seem all that strong, but it takes amazing strength just to get out of bed after you feel like your whole world has been destroyed. It takes great courage to go on living when your child no longer does.

Today, we talk about that strength and courage and how to find ways to encourage yourself and others. A couple of weeks ago, I was feeling exceptionally down, just tired of hurting and tired of missing Andy every day. I shared that frustration first just with family and then on my blog. Amazingly, almost as soon as I started having these thoughts and before I had even written them down, I started getting encouragement from many people, even complete strangers.

That helped me more than I could have imagined. I am actually glad now that I did have that rough day, for the blessings that I received from others far outshine the sadness was feeling at the time. I know now, more than ever, that this podcast is how I find my encouragement. This is one thing that truly helps me to have the strength and courage to get up every day and keep living. For me, helping other parents share the stories of their children and their grief journey is what encourages me in my own journey.

Over the past year, I have talked with many parents and have seen the various ways that they are encouraged to keep living each day. I have experienced the ways people offer encouragement to each other in life. My question for all of you is, “How do you find encouragement?” Really think about this today. What gives you the strength and courage to go on each day and to keep fighting through the pain of grief? Hopefully, you can find one or more answers to that question, and with those answers feel just a little more hope for the future.