What I Learned (Again) About Grief, Pain, and Healing


It’s amazing how many times I have to “learn” something.

Recently, I traveled to Colorado Springs and joined friend and New York Times Bestseller Cecil Murphey for a radio taping with Focus on the Family. The topic was healing from childhood sexual abuse.

I hadn’t spoken on abuse in a while, but I live with the results every day. The pain is there, right under the surface, waiting for a trigger. In this case, I would be doing the triggering, deliberately going back into all that…again.

As my wife Jen and I were driving up to Colorado, I asked myself, “Why am I doing this?”

The answer came quickly: healing.


A Journey of Healing

Ironically, the 800 mile route went through my hometown. We got off the highway and drove to the house I grew up in, where much of the abuse happened. As I parked in front, grief and pain washed over me. Yet the house didn’t look as big as I remembered.

Then we drove across town to find another “house of horrors” from my childhood. It was gone, an empty lot in its place. I could almost see its shadow still looming there.

The next morning before the interview, I had an anxiety attack. I knew what was happening. My mind and body were preparing to go “back there” again.

The people at Focus were wonderful. Their hospitality and kindness put my heart at ease. Halfway through the interview, the pain hit and the tears came, followed quickly by a strong sense of the love of God and other people in my life. I saw again all I had been rescued out of.

On the return trip, we stopped at my dad’s grave. Emotion gushed out of every pore, even though he’s been gone almost 40 years. Of course, the grief wasn’t just about dad. Grief is never that simple.

We arrived home drained, but encouraged.


Six Things I Learned about Grief and Healing…Again

Through this experience, I was reminded of some truths about grief and healing:

    1. Healing takes guts. It’s scary and painful. Facing life as it is takes courage.
    2. Some wounds heal, but the scars remain. And they hurt when life bumps them. These scars say, “It happened, and it mattered.”
    3. Healing takes time. It’s more a journey than a destination. To see healing as anything but a lifelong adventure only sets us up for frustration and disappointment.
    4. Healing occurs as pain is processed.  Each time we talk, share, and write, we heal a little more. Others hear, decide they’re not alone or crazy, and begin to believe healing is possible. It’s a win-win.
    5. Healing happens as we turn our pain outward. Extraordinary things occur when we intentionally help others heal while we ourselves are hurting. We can use our grief instead of letting it rule us.
    6. Healing is worth it. The benefits along the way are astonishing – for us, those we love, and those we haven’t even met yet.

As we heal, pain’s grip weakens. Our grief house won’t seem as large or daunting as it once did. Perhaps one day we’ll find a clean, empty lot where our pain used to be.

In the meantime, we help each other heal – moment-by-moment, day-by-day.

Healing is possible, and it’s closer than we think.





Something is happening, and we get to be a part of it.


A quick update

The past 10 days have been amazing:

  • Heartbroken: Healing from the Loss of a Spouse was released.
  • The Heartbroken video has been viewed over 7000 times.
  • Wonderful emails, Facebook posts, and messages are flooding in from people who are being comforted and helped.
  • People are passing along the healing, getting the book for others and delighting in making a difference (though they are in pain themselves).
  • Heartbroken is a new Amazon Bestseller in Grief and Loss (it’s been as high as #8).



It’s about people

This isn’t about a book. It never has been.

It’s about people. Heartbroken is a tiny part of the much larger story of men and women recovering from devastating wounds, seeking help, joining hands and hearts, and walking the road of healing together.

This is a movement of healing and growth.

This movement isn’t new. It’s been going on a long time. And yet, out of all the times and places we could have been born or lived, we are here, now. We’re in this together, and we’re here to make an impact. Part of that impact is to bring healing.


Hurt people hurt people, or help them heal

We’ve all been wounded. Hurting people tend to choose one of two paths.

  • Some hold on to their pain and project it outward, hurting other people in the process.
  • Others seek healing, and allow their grief and suffering to expand their hearts. In the midst of pain, they love and serve.

We heal in part by passing healing along to others.


Join the movement

I invite you to join me in a movement of healing.

This is bigger than us and our personal pain and grief. It’s not about me or you. It’s about us – all of us. Imagine the impact we could have if we joined forces and made it our mission to help others heal and grow!

Thousands would be encouraged, comforted, and helped, and we would heal a little more too.

That’s what love does.


Join the movement, share the healing

Here’s how you can join me in this movement of healing:

  1. Make healing a priority. Invest heavily in it. You love others when you do this.
  2. When you run across something helpful to you (book, blog post, website, Facebook post, etc.), share it!
  3. When you share Heartbroken, remember it’s not about the book – it’s about the bigger picture of helping others heal and grow.

Many out there are waiting for us. Will we show up?

Yes, we will.


For 3 more days, Heartbroken is available at the hugely discounted introductory price of $5.99 or less (up to 70% off) through Sunday, March 8. Grab your copies now, and give the gift of healing.

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