When life throws you a detour...
I love my life as a Life Coach. The great purpose of life coaching is to help people who are moving through change or need to make a big change in their lives and don’t know quite where to start. Whether it’s dealing with changes in career, life stages, or health, I’m usually in the “helper” seat working with clients to take steps toward something big in their lives. But sometimes, life can change everything and the teacher becomes the very reluctant student.
On February 7th, everything in my world changed when I suffered a broken vertebrae… and my doctor revealed that I had breast cancer. Having gone through breast cancer treatment in 2007, I considered myself a healed survivor. I had moved on and was living life to the fullest (I thought)! Most survivors know that little twinge in the back or your mind that says “what if it comes back” – but we try to ignore it and push that to the back of our busy lives. When it smacks you in the face, that’s pretty hard to ignore.
I spent a week in the hospital and had to be fitted with a hard clamshell brace for my torso. For the next 6 months, I had to use a walker and relearn how to stand, walk, bathe, get into bed, wash dishes, and cook. Pretty much everything that a busy wife and mom has to do, I had to relearn.
When I was literally brought to my knees, I fought hard against my limitations. I was SO frustrated and angry. I felt like I was failing my family and my world. My self worth was at zero and I didn’t see a light at the end of the tunnel. I’m an independent, self-sufficient woman– I felt like I was required to prove to the world that I have value. And when I realized that the fight wasn’t going to make it better, I got really sad. My patient husband would encourage me to try and do things to grow stronger and all I wanted to do was watch Food Network!
Beyond the physical, I questioned my relationship with God and why he let this happen. What is he trying to teach me? What is it that he wants me to learn from this time? Is he using me in some way to help others with their healing? Well, God really had some answers!
God revealed to me that life was frenetic before that day. I moved at a crazy pace that didn’t create a sense of peace for my life or for my family. I was not a calm person. I had a lot to learn about slowing down and truly LIVING my life rather than checking boxes every day. My time working with my precious clients was the most calm, focused time for me...but then I was off like a rocket to get through the rest of my day.
But then God gave me a HUGE gift of insight. Every day when my girls would get home from school, they would come to my room as I was lying there and we would talk. We talked about their days, their friends, and their dreams. I realized that God needed me to slow down for THIS. This precious time that I will never get back with my amazing family. I spent lots of time talking with my husband about life and true health. My mom came to stay with us as I worked to get stronger and I got to spend 4 months reconnecting with such an amazing lady. I got to see how strong my family is and that it wasn’t healthy for me to try to do it all – they got strength when I asked for help. THEY gained value and self worth in being needed! We spent time that would create amazing memories. LIGHTBULB! Wow! And that revelation gave me the motivation to continue to gain strength and heal, but relish the slow pace. Soak in those precious moments because we just don’t get them back. As they say on my favorite Food Network show, “Chopped”, the clock stops for no one (yes, I’m still a foodie).
I am so happy to announce that as of September 1st, I am returning to Barnhill and Associates in the role that I love and feel called to do, Life Coach. These last 6 months have enriched my coaching so significantly and I can’t wait to walk with my precious clients to achieve bigger and better life goals. If you have a goal that seems too big to reach or are at a crossroads and don’t quite know where to move, let’s talk! I would love to work with you as we reach these goals together.
To reach Natalie, email Natalie@BarnhillCounseling.com.