Christian Life Coaching for You?



When a friend reached out to me recently saying her life was falling apart, I knew what I wanted to do. Instantly, my life coaching heart kicked in.

I know she's in distress. I know she's in transition. I don't know the story yet. But she thought enough about me to reach out to me. And in that instance, my love for ministering to others and desire to life coach women was reignited.

We are a sophisticated society that sometimes I undervalue my skills. I undervalue what I have to offer. Yet I know I make good, well-though-out decisions. I know I have lived through a broad number of scenarios myself so I get it. I have rubbed shoulders with enough women to know we are not all the same, but we need others at just the right time.
So I want to be ready to minister to those who need it. I will charge most clients.

I know what I'm about to say seems like I'm undervaluing myself. No, it's about being affordable to those who need it most. I've rubbed shoulders with enough women who think $50 an hour is way over the top especially if they don't make that kind of money themselves. But a life coach splits her time up a lot and much is unpaid. Thus, the high fees.

Until December, my fee of $75 will be cut in half because I want to be affordable to those who need life coaching. Fifty percent of my time will be ministry-oriented. I won't get a tax credit for it though. My client will pay only $37.50 for a 55 minute life coaching session. I suggest a minimum of 3 sessions. It takes time to make sense of a journey.

See more details are here on my website.

Let me know if you want to investigate coaching. email me here.

Falling Out of Church in the Empty Nest


Bear with me, this article is a departure from what I usually write. I don't mean to discourage anyone by writing it. I simply want to share my own personal experience and dilemma about my midlife empty-nest church attendance. 


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I read an article the other day about empty nest couples backing away from church attendance. It even suggested not much has been written on this phenomenon, but the phenomenon certainly exists. 

And it is problematic. For one, empty nesters are often big tithers. For another, the Bible teaches us to not forsake assembling together. Christians are better together. They need each other. So what is the church to do to retain empty-nesters? 

I have to admit, I was relieved to read this article about the migration of this crowd, because I thought my husband and I were the only "sinners" of this nature. We had already backed off church attendance going only every other week, and lately, even less. It was interesting to read that is a common thread amongst this age group.


***

Let me clarify, my husband and I had our children later than many. I was 33 and 36 when I had my children. By the nest-emptying phase, we were well into our 50s while others in a similar stage may still be in their 40s. 


A Little History 

I was raised in a church-going family. I became ministry-minded. I had great passion and held a number of volunteer church roles over the years. 

I was happy to find a church I loved--the church we were married in. But things turned bad. The church split, splintered, and eventually dissolved. My husband and I were so let down, disappointed, disenchanted. 

That event wielded long-term wounds causing us to be tepid going forward. Perhaps that adds to our disenchantment now. 

But we didn't give up on church. We were involved in church plants. I worked hard at every Sunday School class I taught. I worked hard at every ministry endeavor I tried. The list was long. And now I am weary. 

Changing Churches out of Necessity

We changed churches twice after the dissolution, never finding the same wonderful feeling in a church. 

We job transferred several times always finding a new church--always being the new people. 

Since our marriage, we have been in 8 churches--never again becoming members (oh, yes, we did once just before we job transferred again). 

We gasped that each church wanted new people to start over with a 101 class and front-of-the-church confession should they choose to become members. How off-putting for some like us. It didn't seem to matter where we'd been, our level of spiritual maturity, the number of roles we'd held in other churches. It felt insulting to have to go through church kindergarten again--to prove ourselves.

There was no membership letter transfer protocol any longer even though such is biblical and I think that is a shame. 

Once the Children Leave 

Let me not get bogged down in details. Let me get to the point of our current empty-nest 50-plus church going dilemma. 

We took our children to church until they became adults and became responsible for their own choices. My daughter moved out and my university-aged son just wouldn't get up in time when he was home. So my husband and I shuffled along to church ourselves. 

Navigating how to handle our children's choices added yet another stress to our lives. Our entire parenting role was changing. 

We were pleased to fall into a small group of empty-nesters which helped fill a gap for three years. We were able to share with each other many of our struggles.  

Illness, Tiredness, Boredom 

Then I came down with physical issues interfering with life enjoyment. I had tinnitus and anxiety and, for a time, the loud worship music added to my anxiety. 

I have chronic fatigue and lately dealing with recovery from a mild concussion. I am hypothyroid and am always tired.

Working from home and not having to be anywhere in the mornings once my children moved out, I made all my appointments in the afternoon. Church became the only thing I had to get dressed to get out to in the morning.

One church started a 1 pm service which was perfect for me. But it didn't last. I haven't been able to find any churches in my area with more interesting service/gathering times. It seems appalling. The big buildings sit empty during the week.  They all copy each other and do the same thing. I don't get it! 

Stress 

My husband changed jobs at age 57 and is tired too. He needs his weekends to de-stress. It is more pleasurable to sleep in and enjoy a leisurely breakfast together than it is to go to church where we might doze off. It's become quite a dilemma. 

Guilt

We made a point to get to church at least every second week and found doing so was more guilt-driven than desire. We want to please God and we wanted to stay accountable to our small group. 

Then my husband's mom was hospitalized and regular visits to see her was added to our schedule. Our attendance dropped even more.  

More Tiredness 

During the nest-emptying phase, we felt in demand. 

I have a large home and yard to look after which is harder at our age. My husband holds a high-level engineering role. His expertise is always sought. He grows weary.

Added onto our stress was moving our university-aged children in and out of their dorms. We moved my daughter 13 times! 

We picked our children up every couple of weeks so they could come home for weekend breaks. We grocery shopped for them or with them. We delivered them back to their dorms Sunday nights, hauling bags of groceries to their rooms. 

Our energy isn't what it used to be. Church feels like one more demand. 

Wondering Why

Until I read the article, I didn't know what was going on with us. I now see I'm not the only one struggling. 

We want to be good examples for our children, so we set to figure this thing out. Either I had to start getting up and dressed and get there, or we needed to find another solution. 

We wondered if our new disillusionment was because our church had changed pastors--one more change to adapt to. We wondered if it was because the focus of the new pastor was different than that of our heart's desire for a church. We wondered if we could find what was missing in another church, so have looked into other churches. 

But the idea of starting over again seems energy-draining. 

Investigating Churches 

We visited one church that was warm and small. But the pastor made a point to put a guilt trip on the audience saying Jesus died for us, the least we can do is show up every Sunday. (That wouldn't work for me.)

Another church was obviously geared to the younger set and the message was delivered by satellite. My husband didn't like that idea. 

A local couple wants to start a church, but their "flavor" is vastly different from ours. They're into having a church where you just let the spirit lead--no prepared message. They are prophetic-minded. We are not. 

There are churches where they love to worship 45 minutes to music. My husband despises that length of music worship time. We get tired standing that long. We don't get into the (ever-changing lyrics) the same way. Our voices aren't practiced enough to sing for that long without getting sore. 

There are churches designed for the under 40 crowd and even for the under 30 crowd. Though we have nothing against them, we know we don't fit. 

There are many young families in churches. Again, we no longer fit. We've done our time as nursery workers and SS teachers. 

Then there are churches that are like senior's centers. At 58 & 60, we are still young at heart. We aren't interested in spending our time with 75 yr olds. Admit it--those already retired and who qualify as seniors in Canada (65) think differently. 

I looked for a church that started at a different time of day thinking that may help. But there is nothing at the right time, the right style, the right distance, the right flavor, etc. It's too complicated. Or is it just me, excuses, or even the enemy? 

What's In it For Us?

I despised a comment on the article I read that suggested too many of us ask what's in it for us. The Bible tells us to weigh the costs. There needs to be something in it for us, otherwise church going is just legalism, isn't it?

So the dilemma becomes what is there out there for us? Where are empty nesters to end up? What do we want? What do we need? 

Have we just been around the block too many times? Are we just too tired of the politics, the demands, the routine?

Do we need to give ourselves permission to lay low and recuperate?

Alternative Ideas

In my search for another church I got a little excited. The church had an empty-nesters group on a weekday evening. Included were snacks or dinner and discussions relevant to their life stage whether it be caring for aging parents, reaching out in ministry, parenting adult children, or the like. It sounded like the church being the church--ministering to each other. Isn't that what church should be? 

But my excitement fizzled when I realized this group was in a location in the US, not in my vicinity. 

I think that's what I want, though, to go somewhere where we minister and encourage each other. Not just a social group, not listening to lectures and leaving. Not listening to the loud music of a worship band and feigning glorious rapture. Sunday afternoon would be a good time for us.

Perhaps the time will come when the Lord will lead us to this something new. Perhaps for now we will lay down guilt and striving and be satisfied with resting in God's love and grace. 

God is still active within us. We are trying to discern what he is saying. I hope he creates something spectacular for us and all midlife empty nest couples in the days ahead.  

Are Empty Nesters Leaving the Church?

So I want to end this by pointing out it isn't so much that empty nesters are leaving the church because they don't need it any longer or because they've changed their beliefs. They are just not going for all the reasons listed above. That is very different from "leaving the church." 


Midlife Crisis Checklists


Could you be having a midlife crisis?

Several themes emerged through conversations with women I coached. Some women seemed to feel stuck and lost. Others didn't have a description for how they felt, they just knew they wanted more out of life.  

They were Christians, but even Christian women struggle with life fulfillment and purpose. Even Christian women face life transitions. 

LIFE TRANSITION

In many cases, some type of transition was involved in the women's lives--kids were leaving home, kids were going off to college, they or their spouse had lost a job or quit one, and so on. 

Many of these women I coached were also in the age bracket for perimenopause and menopause--a time where hormones can upset the apple cart. 

Not only were their bodies changing, their roles were changing. Some were moms whose roles were changing. Others were not moms but sought something new

These women wanted to look inside at who they were now in the current moment and gather insight on what to do next. 

MIDLIFE DILEMMAS

Also came dilemmas that felt unsolvable in spite of very good efforts--the inability to find a new job, the inability to narrow down something they were interested in, feelings of confusion, feeling the need to refocus their life but not sure how, feelings of sadness and sometimes depression. 

Some doctors would merely say these women were "depressed" but I would suggest an alternative viewpoint. A more apropos term may be that a woman like this is having a midlife crisis. 

A midlife crisis is something that has to be walked through. Various life areas are under siege and help is needed all around.  

LABELS CAN BE HELPFUL

It is helpful at times to be able to put a label on a situation because then a person knows what they're dealing with. 

Without direction, it can be too tempting to take stabs at what's going on and to make drastic life-altering decisions. 
It's easy, for instance, when in crisis to assign blame where it doesn't belong. A woman may blame her husband, her marriage, her boss, her children, her husband's ex-wife, and so on. Some secular counsellors might suggest she throw it all away and start over. In my opinion, unless there are deep issues calling for a divorce or job change, taking drastic measures won't solve her issues. 

A woman in a midlife crisis will make more progress when she stops looking for someone to blame and takes responsibility for how she feels. Then, the hard work comes of identifying action steps to take.  

It's always better to make changes from a place of health and understanding than from a place of despair. 


This Wheel of Life can help a woman look at various life areas out of balance. 

I wrote the book Midlife Crisis Checklists as a companion to my other midlife crisis book on Kindle. The Midlife Crisis Checklists book presents issues that may help a woman find her way out of the thicket. 

If you feel you fit the criteria for a midlife crisis, embrace the label. You don't have to tell everyone, just realize what you are feeling is fairly common. Take responsibility without blaming others. Then, with guidance, walk through your midlife crisis, chipping away at a number of distressing issues in your life until you find balance and peace. 

Kids off to College? Feeling Emotional?

Art by Rosalie Garde.
I'm glad to be mostly finished with my "kids off to college phase." Both my kids stayed in student housing away from home though their universities were close-by. Moving them into residence or student housing (sometimes up several flights of stairs), helping with setup, making visits to pick them up to bring them home on weekends or holidays, refilling their apartments with what always seemed to be $120 worth of groceries was part of the routine. . 

I began this "off to college" journey with our daughter 7 years ago. She's now been working fulltime for two years since graduating with BSc Biology & Family Studies.

This year my son will be commuting to finished a few courses for his BA Archaeology & Heritage Studies 

Part of Life 

As they did their thing at university, my husband and I were forced to do ours. Generally, this kids off to college phase is one most of us parents meet up with. 

Though it is part of life, it can be an emotional phase. Our routine as we've known it is disrupted. New feelings emerge. We have questions and concerns at a new level. Our role as parent shifts. Our relationship with our children changes as does our role with our spouse. 

Before my husband and I entered this partly empty nest phase, we had routines and knew what to expect. But we've now discovered we never really arrive. We don't get to a point of life where we coast. Life circumstances dictate changes. 

WHAT TO DO WHEN YOUR KIDS 
LEAVE FOR COLLEGE

So what do you do when you're in this kids off to college phase? 

You walk through it. You feel the emotions. You process them. 

You step up and do things you'd rather not do (like move that mini fridge one more time). 

You pay to rent a van when needed. 

You give away your groceries and you and your spouse live on what's left. 

You get used to downsizing your meals and eating with just the two of you. The cupboards look empty, but somehow it's enough. Soup and sandwich replace steak and potatoes many times. 

Letting Go 

I think most of us moms know that eventually we have to let go. We are meant to launch our kids. 

You can do it! Launching your child means making adjustments to your routine, but mostly to your thinking. 

Take a step back from controlling your children. Understand they are building a whole new life for themselves. Rely on your relationship with them less. Resist manipulating their circumstances. Realize since they are adults they are allowed to make their own decisions. When you don't like the decisions they make, don't blame yourself. You are no longer responsible for their choices. 

ACCEPT CHANGE 

It's helpful to realize you are in a metamorphosis too. The off-to-college phase is a period of us moms shedding yet another life phase ourselves. Our role changes dramatically.

Let go of your kids and of your former role with a series of small adjustments. Don't think you have to figure it all out quickly. Metamorphosis takes time. You're going to have to walk through a lot of change. 

You can feel put out of a job or you can feel released from pressure and enjoy the time. 

Once we figure out our place, we are able to embrace the idea we are being remade into an entirely new woman yet again.

Art by Rosalie Garde.

BE KIND TO YOURSELF 

Be kind to yourself. Acknowledge your feelings and trust that as you walk through this letting go phase, you will emerge again as a new person!

Dealing with Your Grown Children's Choices

My daughter is on the far left.

My husband and I have conversations regularly around how much the world continues to change. 

As we embarked on marriage and parenting, we brought our own upbringing into the relationship and found common ground. We raised our kids as best as we could and defied anyone who suggested our kids would "turn out" any different than we expected. 

Then we were thrown for a loop. We saw our daughter change her ideals. She decided drinking was okay, though we raised her in a non-drinking household. She engaged in a relationship heavily attached through technology. Even when they were continents apart, he was right there in her back pocket (texting her). While we hoped she would take the time away from him to see things in a different light but that was not to be the case. 

When our children become adults, we lose our ability to set our own rules for them. We lose control.  They are allowed to make choices for themselves. Often, we won't like their choices. 

When our children adopt new ideals, it can be hard to fathom. "Where did she get that idea from?" we wonder. "We raised her such and such a way, why is she doing what she is?" 

Seeing our children make choices that are different than what we expected can be troublesome. We can blame ourselves for not teaching them well enough. We can be overcome with fear. We can become full of worry and stress. It can be a tough channel to navigate our life's ship through. 

I've decided, there comes a time to give our children over to God even more than we have. To let him deal with them.

The idea of letting go isn't just us letting go of them, it is us freeing ourselves from them. It is cutting the tie of motherhood that is so heavily ingrained in us. It is resisting getting involved. It is recognizing mounting stress and denying its entrance into our life. It is letting others know we are no longer responsible for the choices our children make. It is resisting the urge to manipulate situations to our comfort level. It's learning to love and support our child in new ways.

I'm learning this a-day-at-a-time, a situation at a time. In so doing, I'm being remade. I'm entering my next quarter of life as a completely different woman than I was in the last quarter. 

How about you? Can you relate? 


Thank You for Buying My eBooks

hursday, July 27, 2017



I want to thank all the anonymous people who have 
purchased one of my Amazon Kindle eBooks.
 Lately, there has been a flurry of sales and I'm humbled.
 I don't make much on from them, but seeing them being
 purchased enriches my soul, confirms my path and gives 
me hope that maybe someone out there will be helped 
by even one thing I've written. 

So, if you have purchased one of my books 
Design Your: Midlife Transition Roadmap (Module 1) (Design Your Midlife Transition Roadmap) by [Life Coach, Rose Garde](featured on the sidebar), I am truly grateful. 




Cravings of a Woman's Heart

Art by Rosalie Garde
Through my research and interaction with others, I know this about women:


  • We crave connection. To have people we call "friend."
  • We crave safe places to share ourselves with others (ie. groups). 
  • We want to know where we fit, who are our peers. We need the support of like-minded women at similar life stages. 
  • We like to have someone to give us feedback, someone whom to bounce ideas off and people to encourage us. 
  • We want others with whom we can share details of our life, including our feelings, struggles, and joys.  
  • We also crave to be seen, heard, and acknowledged. Someone asked me if that's the same as connection? I think this goes beyond connection. For instance, when someone really hears us and lets us know they have, we feel as though our thoughts and feelings have been acknowledged. On the other hand, we can have a connection with someone but not have our thoughts and feelings acknowledged by them. Still, even a store clerk can acknowledge us (or not as is often the case these days).


All these cravings, when satisfied, lead us to greater contentment and wellbeing. 

All this being said, there is one important factor to consider. 

If we seek God and a relationship with him, all these things will be added unto us. 

It is helpful to take steps to have these cravings satisfied, but the way to go about doing that is to ask God to step in and lead the way. He can make the best connections for us. He can see to it we are acknowledged. He can surprise us when we least expect it. 

Tidbits for Midlife Women who Feel Lost


If you're an "older" woman who has achieved several goals and are wondering how to live your last half of life, let me assure you some of your questions are common. 

It is daunting to wonder what's ahead. It's a horrible feeling to not be recognized as having value in the workplace as an older woman. It's frustrating to knock on a lot of doors and not have them open. 

If you feel a little displaced in midlife, let me assure you that you are not alone. It's an epidemic. If you are of the baby boomer era (born 1946 to 1965), we are many. We were brought up to believe anything is possible. We were brought up as liberated women. 

But now as we creep over 50 and onward to 60, we learn not anything is possible. We are expected to stand aside while our children's generation take on roles we might like. 

Rather than fret or fear, let me give you a tidbit of advice you may put into practice:

1. Your period of feeling lost will not necessarily be easily solved. Finding your way may be a long process. Are you willing to go through it with God?

2. God wants all of you. He will encourage you to trust He is in control. He will wait until you seek contentment over striving before showing you your next new thing. 

3. You are more important than anything you will do. You are more important than a job title. If you have no busy job to run to daily, consider yourself special. God has set you aside for other special work. You are given more time to pause, pray, and ponder than those who are busy at paid jobs. You are given time to meditate and listen to His voice. You are being prepared to be released for ministry. If you are willing.

4. Use this time to rest, restore, refresh, renew and reeducate yourself. Learn something new daily. Work on your health. Interact with new people online and in person. 

5. Stop looking too far ahead. Live in today. 

6. Read my book "What's Next in Midlife." It is designed to help you narrow down your top passions. When you do, work on them! See where God takes you with them.