Updated: Apr 14
By Chelsea Ohlemiller
God's Brave Women - Chelsea's Story
I grew up surrounded by the Catholic faith and family that believed in the Lord and his influence fiercely. I grew up with a mother who lived by that strong faith, each and every day. When I was little I was just like her. But then, I grew up.
Barely into true adulthood, the Lord took my mother from me. And in the instant he called her home, he became a stranger. He became an enemy. He became a lost influence on my heart and life.
The day I lost my mother, I also lost my faith.
"The day I lost my mother, I also lost my faith."
Grief is hard. It’s complicated. It had suddenly stolen part of my heart, and also part of my identity. In an instant, I no longer considered myself a Catholic woman. Suddenly, I was no longer a person living in faith or Christianity.
My pain was immense and I needed someone to blame. Naturally, you blame the person who has been there the longest. The person in charge. The person calling the shots. That person was God. He became the keeper of death’s responsibility and the cause and root of my loss.
It was a messy year after my mother passed. I walked with debilitating heartbreak each and every day. That year, I lost my mother and God. Losing both, felt like losing key pieces of my being. It felt like losing pieces of my existence. Nothing seemed to take the pain away. Nothing alleviated the immense ache in my soul. Nothing.
Until the day I fell to my knees and let God in again. The day I decided to forgive God. The day I decided that running from Him wasn’t the answer because I was running in the wrong direction. One day I became brave enough to sit in my grief and pain and fearful thoughts. I sat in my emotion. I sat in my reality. And eventually, with powerful prayer, my heart opened and I felt refreshed.
"One day I became brave enough to sit in my grief and pain and fearful thoughts. I sat in my emotion. I sat in my reality. And eventually, with powerful prayer, my heart opened and I felt refreshed."
I had forgiven God, he had already forgiven me, and together we started walking a faithful path again. It wasn’t easy, but it was an important journey of reconnection. I became a stronger Christian than ever before. Not a perfect one, but one that was courageous enough to pick up the pieces of my lost faith and create something meaningful with them.
Losing my mother changed me. Finding God changed me too. How many relationships can start again after rejection and distrust? Not many. But that’s what makes Him so good. He will always take you back. In fact, He welcomes you bigger and better each time.
Suddenly I felt wrapped in comfort and healing. I felt encompassed by love - all led by a faith and fire that had been sitting in my soul the entire time. I simply needed to set it free and embrace it. Finding God allowed me to find myself in new and significant ways. It allowed me to find my mother again, even in her absence. It allowed me to connect with Jesus.
In finding faith again, my life transformed into something incredible. I left fear, resentment, and anger behind and fiercely embraced hope. I embraced happiness. I embraced the beautiful life I was given, including the parts that were painful and unappreciated.
I found God and Jesus and faith, again. Not through others leading me there, but by being courageous enough to lead myself back. When I was ready and open, I confronted the fear and heartbreak. I confronted the doubt. I confronted all of the things I had been running from.
"When I was ready and open, I confronted the fear and heartbreak. I confronted the doubt. I confronted all of the things I had been running from. I confronted my faith, and it confronted me."
I confronted my faith, and it confronted me. I embraced my entirety and became surrounded by a love bigger than I remembered, guidance more substantial than I could have hoped for, and a life both blessed and burdened, but uniquely made in His plan.
Brave Woman Manifesto
Make sure to check back next week as another courageous Sister shares her story!
And by the way...
You are Brave! No matter what you are facing, God has made you in His image, which means you are full of His strength and power. I would love to connect with you more and give you a FREE gift - the BRAVE WOMAN MANIFESTO: Five Things to Tell Yourself When Life Gets Hard. Click HERE to sign up for my monthly newsletter and you’ll receive the FREE Manifesto, as well as recent blog posts, updated resources and personal details delivered only to my lovely email tribe.
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Chelsea is a thirty-something wife, mother and educator who has Indiana roots and a passionate spirit. She’s a sappy romantic, coffee junkie, book collector, and person who wears her heart on her sleeve. She’s sarcastic, full of jokes, full of tears, and enjoys writing most when life gets messy or complicated. In 2017, Chelsea's mother passed away. Through her grief journey, she decided to take her mother’s advice and share her writing with the world. One day she gained the courage to honor her mother's wishes and write. It turned out to be one of the best decisions she's ever made. Chelsea is the creator and owner of the blog Happiness, Hope and Harsh Realities - a blog that celebrates life, honors grief, and remembers all of the moments in between. You can follow her on her website, as well as Facebook and Instagram.