Tammy Helfrich

Life begins right where you are.

Finding Purpose in the Wreck

From Tammy: I am pleased to have my new friend Erica McNeal guest posting today. Erica is the author of Good Grief!, a 3-time cancer survivor, and has also experienced the loss of 5 children. Erica is passionate about equipping people to love others well through difficult times. She uses her experiences to teach people what not to say, what to say, and how to help when people are hurting. You can follow her on twitter: @toddanderica, or visit her website: www.ericamcneal.com.

I also have the honor of posting on Erica’s blog today. You can read my post here. If you’re visiting from Erica’s blog, welcome! I appreciate you stopping by.

In Jeff Goins new book, Wrecked, he says, “It is hard to get your heart broken on the couch!” And while I agree this can be difficult, it is not impossible. Sometimes you do get wrecked sitting on the couch, or perhaps sitting in a hospital bed.

I remember the days vividly.

“Erica, I’m afraid to tell you that your cancer is back!”

“Your labor has progressed too far and there is nothing we can do.” “But, I’m only 22.5 weeks pregnant!”, I said.  “I know. I’m sorry to tell you your daughter Kylie will die shortly after birth!”

“Todd and Erica, the birth mother has changed her mind and wants her son back! Do you want us to come pick him up, or do you want to give him back yourself?”

Shock. Brokenness. Completely wrecked.

The Grief Ministry my husband and I have found ourselves immersed in was not a ministry we sought. We did not see a need in others, and then find a way to meet it. We found ourselves smack dab in the middle of the personal brokenness, pain, and hurt. We had to work through all of the “what if’s”, the unanswered questions, the anger, the resentment, the well-intentioned yet hurtful comments from others, and all of the unpredictable emotions that went hand-in-hand with our grief.

And, I think Jeff hits the nail on the head in Wrecked.

“Shock can stun you so badly that you don’t do anything. Or it can be used to help. But eventually, the shock goes away, and what remains is what we choose to do with the pain that lingers.”

While Jeff does not share the experiences of those he serves and cares for most (the poor and homeless), he does share how we need to get wrecked by not only seeing the brokenness of others, but by becoming compassionate enough to stay committed to help.

This is the key; not just for the brokenness around us, but also for the brokenness that happens to us. When we become the bereaved, the broken, the cancer patient, or the one burying a child, are we going to become (or remain) bitter and angry? Will we drown in our desire to find the purpose or reason why this happened to us?

Or, could we work through our brokenness to eventually find purpose in the emotional scars and pain that linger?

This world would be very different if we each took our personal brokenness, and used our experiences, to help heal and love other people; to help others not feel like they are alone. When we become the one personally broken, we are given a unique understanding of the emotions others feel with this kind of pain. We love and care for people more intensely, more deeply, and with a greater insight because we have a rapport of understanding.

Will you be that type of compassionate person? The one who builds relationships from those experiences which once left you broken?

Q. What purpose have you found when you have personally been wrecked?


You can get Jeff’s new book, Wrecked, along with $158 of bonus gifts if you order before Saturday, August 4th.


  1. Thanks for sharing. Your story stirs my heart. Blessings on your journey.

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