“I need to share something and it’s not good news. In fact, it’s really bad. And there is no easy way to say this but I was diagnosed with Stage IV cancer and it is ……”

My mind tuned out as soon as our therapist Megan* shared her news. My heart dropped and I felt sick for this woman who has led me through troubled waters. 

“It started in the colon and has gone to the liver and there are spots on the stomach lining…”

Ugh. I hate this. How could this even happen? My mind keeps wandering to the moments her wisdom carried us. This beautiful woman was an answer to prayers I offered as I navigated life with one of my children. Heaven brought her to me and I have learned so much sitting in her office. Feeling somewhat desperate and definitely frustrated/confused, I shared what was happening in our family and she immediately said, “Sounds like we need to build up some resilience.” In that moment, I felt hope because I suddenly had someone to help us in exactly the ways we needed right then. 

“Fortunately, the baby was born healthy and I am going to do everything I can to fight it. I want to walk into remission and live a long life and be there for my kids…my 3 children but also my other kids…like you.” 

Two weeks after delivering her newborn, Megan found out her body was covered in cancer. She presented our options and laid out what is going to happen as she fights for her life. She expressed her desire to keep working with us and that she planned to only keep four clients. She wanted to keep giving back to the world and not just be someone fighting cancer at home. Megan wanted to make a difference while she still could but also shared it may be hard to watch her health change as the chemo continues on. 

My heart broke as I watched my child process this and as I considered everything this means for Megan and her family. Three little kids, one of which is only a couple months old. One brilliant woman, fighting for her life. One husband, trying to find a miracle in a sea of brutal facts.

“How can this even be?” I find myself silently asking. “Be strong. Stay present. It’s not about you,” I remind myself.

And then I watch my teenager totally show up strong and vulnerable. I see him show up in love, focus in on her pain, and respond with the very things she has taught him to do. Resilience, faith, emotion come out. “We will pray for you, every single day. We will never stop and you will get better.” The tears flow for all of us. Megan instructs us to go home and talk about it – she doesn’t want us to feel obligated to come back if it is not right for us. My son immediately says he isn’t ready to be done and will walk this path for a while and will speak up if it gets too hard. We review her chemo schedule and talk about what the process will be like and then she says, “I don’t want my cancer to get in the way of what you need.” And my son says, “I don’t want what I need to get in the way of your cancer healing.”

Sheryl Sandburg wrote, “We plant the seeds of resilience in the ways we process negative events.” My heart swells with pride for both of them. They are both living and breathing resilience! How easy it would be for her to only focus on herself? And how easy it would be for my teenager to only think of his needs. In a time where so much selfishness exists in the world, we are practicing the skills of compassion, vulnerability, and resilience in this tiny office where healing takes place. This relationship has been miraculous. I could probably write a small book on what we have learned together sitting on her grey couch anchored on the floral rug that has never been centered quite right. Every single week I wanted to fix that rug and suddenly it doesn’t matter one bit.

We work through a couple of things and my son ends the session by saying, “I guess we will both be practicing resilience together this week.” To think that he is getting it! In the midst of his life lesson showing up in a way that breaks my heart, I feel so lucky and blessed and overwhelmed. This woman has helped my progress as a mother, provided key stability for our family,  and I can hardly process that now her own mothering future is in question. Her kids deserve to know how amazing she is. They deserve to know how she just understands teens and unites families. They should learn every tool she has to combat depression, anxiety, false thinking, self-confidence and more. My kid would not be able to respond to her unimaginable challenge if she hadn’t given of herself and invested in him. This isn’t fair. I know this may seem dramatic, but we had an immediate connection and Megan impacted our lives forever.

I come home and just lay in my bed and cry tears for what might happen and what might not. I can’t imagine where we would be if our paths hadn’t crossed and I can’t help but think how I can help her right now. The tears come in waves and roll down my face. My sleeves aren’t enough to handle the accompanying snot and it doesn’t matter because sometimes ugly crying is part of real life. Justin comes in and starts the diffuser. He can’t make this hurt go away but he knows the oils will help me gather myself and bring some balance back in. I roll some Comforting Blend and Rose on my heart and wrists. These two essential oils have never smelled so good and within minutes I have stopped crying, feeling grateful in this moment for the simple way oils can help in these moments of grief and confusion. The hurt doesn’t go away but the hope has woken up to accompany me in this unexpected experience.

“Resilience comes from deep within us and from support outside us. It comes from gratitude for what’s good in our lives and from leaning in to the suck. It comes from analyzing how we process grief and from simply accepting that grief. Sometimes we have less control than we think. Other times we have more. I learned that when life pulls you under, you can kick against the bottom, break the surface, and breathe again.” 

Sheryl Sandberg, Option B

I start breathing again and realize that I am still here learning resilience while praying for a miracle. And while it hurts, and I wish I could make cancer go away, I can feel the gratitude and lean in, together, because that is what we have right now.  

Our role as parents, grandparents, and teachers is to lead, guide, and walk beside our children.  It is our privilege to help them become mature and capable adults, yet sometimes challenging curve balls our thrown at our children. The bumps in the road cause parents to want to do more to help their offspring more than they have in the past.  Loving parents grasp for tools, resources and inspiration that help a children deal with:

  • Fear
  • Self-doubt or confidence issues
  • Relationship Issues
  • Confusion
  • Frustration
  • Anger
  • School and learning challenges
  • Unhealthy behaviors
  • And a host of other issues and concerns.

Wise parents use prayer, faith, and hope to bring miracles into their children’s lives.  I have found a few other tools that complement the other positive approaches you are already using to help your children.

1. Use the power of intention and your mind. Our intentions can create needed and desired miracles!

2. Think Positive. Our thoughts have energy and sensitive children pick up on this energy and often internalize whatever vibrations we are sending out.  As new challenges pop up with each child, a parent spends time thinking about what is going on, how the situation is impacting their child, and what can be done.  Kids pick up on these thoughts because EVERY THOUGHT HAS ENERGY TO IT!  If you are thinking and analyzing a particular child’s current challenge, always end your thoughts with loving TRUTHFUL affirmations. Examples to use include:

  • I believe in you.
  • You will be fine.
  • You are stronger than any problem or challenge.
  • We will help you.
  • You are worthy of our love, concerns, money, and efforts.
  • We love you no matter what.

Whether your child is a toddler or a child-adult, they need to be receiving positive energy and light flowing from you.  There is so much negative energy flowing from the world to our posterity, we must do all we can to flow the truthful powerful and positive statements we can to combat the negative.

3. Practice verbal affirmations with your child.  Children yearn to feel good and any chid who can talk can repeat positive affirmations.  Planting the affirmations in a young child’s brain is equivalent to building a solid foundation in a new building.  The building is added to brick by brick, but the foundation is the key to the building.  Think of the phrases that that run through your own head, don’t you want to be the one to plant the seeds that forever grow in your child’s mind?  Effective affirmations to begin with include:

  • I am loved.
  • I am heard.
  • I am understood
  • I matter.
  • I am safe.
  • The world welcomes me.
  • I am talented.
  • I belong.
  • I am strong.
  • I am healthy.
  • I am good.
  • I have angels with me.
  • I am a child of God.

At our house, we effectively use affirmations to release the negative energy in a few common situations. The process is extremely simple, yet it works. Here are two examples:

  • Fear:  When my son experiences fear, we wrap our arms around him and listen to his concerns.  We take deep breaths together and then replace the fears with truths. If he is scared at night, we use affirmations like, “I am safe. I will always be safe.  I can peacefully go to sleep.  I dream about things I love like Legos, Sea World, and family vacation.”  I have my child repeat the affirmations until he feels better and then send him back to bed.
  • Self-doubt:  If my child doubts his ability to perform or learn or do anything, we use the same approach described above.  We listen and talk for a few minutes, take some deep breaths together and then move into the affirmations.  I have my child repeat affirmations like, “I am capable.  I will always be able to do great things.  I have help when I need it.  I am beautiful.  I am smart.  I am talented and I am discovering new things I love about myself.”  We repeat affirmations until I can see in the child’s face that he feels okay.  The face always tells me if a child truly feels okay or not.  Seeing his countenance change confirms that his energy has changed and the energy work is completed.

4. Create with your children. Drawing, dancing, reading, pretending, and imagining are just the beginning of creative activities you can do together.  Any type of creating will feed your child’s spirit.  Strive to allow your child to indulge in creative pursuits of all types.  We were created to create!  Engaging in any positive creative activity increases our energy because it allows our spirits to reconnect to our bodies and we feel replenished, recharged, and more capable.

5. Give ‘em some of your good vibrations! Japanese researcher Masaru Emoto conducted numerous studies exploring the energetic power of certain attitudes and words.  Love and gratitude were proven to be  two of the strongest vibrations available.  We all “love” our children and always carry that love for them.  But did you know you can send your children that love in a way they can immediately feel?

I find it helpful to visualize my love in order to “send” it to someone. Picture all the love you have for your child, imagine his birth, the good moments you have had with him, the moments of pride as you watched him conquer new activities, and times where you knew he is a special gift from Heaven.  Picture yourself just gathering pockets of love and putting them in a giant, ever-growing, overflowing basket or box.  I then will mentally ask that Heaven add whatever love can be sent to my child.  I picture sending the basket of love and my child opening it and receiving the love just like a special Christmas gift.  Sometimes others are closed to our energy vibrations. In this case, I just leave the “gift” for the recipient by their bedroom door and let them know it is there as soon as they are ready to receive it.  I have been amazed as I have sent “gifts of love” for my family members to receive.  I find the recipient always feels more whole, is more loving themselves, and is more at peace with the world.

A quick way to still send powerful energy to a child (or anyone!) is to just say, “I love you! I love you! I love you!”   You can also send gratitude, “Thank you! I appreciate you! You are wonderful!”

Have you ever felt an unexpected connection to someone in the middle of a busy day?  Perhaps they were either sub-consciously or consciously sending good thoughts your way.  Practice using these tools to help your children.  You will find your children (no matter their ages) will appreciate remembering their true selves and worth as you shift the energy in your family.