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Navigating Grief, Trauma, and the Freedom to Feel: A Conversation with Lea Turner

#faith journey #family strength #finding hope #grief #healing #inspiration #resilience #the abiding ceo #the freedom to feel #trauma healing Jun 06, 2024

Ever juggled multiple responsibilities when life throws you a curveball? Tried to maintain your personal and professional life while facing grief and trauma? How do you find hope in the midst of darkness?

Meet Lea Turner, an inspiring mom of five, author, speaker, and grief coach. Lea’s story is a testament to resilience, faith, and the power of vulnerability. In our conversation, she opens up about navigating through unimaginable loss, including the passing of her father, her mother’s cancer diagnosis, and a devastating house fire. Yet, amidst the trials, Lea discovered strength in her faith and learned to embrace the healing power of community.

Keep reading to discover Lea’s incredible journey of finding hope in brokenness, the lessons she learned about grief and trauma, and the advice she has for others facing similar challenges.

Lea’s Story: When Life Happens

Lea shared openly about a particularly challenging time in her life. In 2020, her family faced a series of devastating events, starting with the loss of her father in 2019. She explains, “My dad had just passed away in 2019. Then, you know, we were in COVID and quarantine and then my mom was diagnosed with cancer.”

While dealing with these immense challenges, tragedy struck again when their house burned down. Lea shares, “I was driving home with my mom from an hour away from her doctor’s appointment and I get a call from my daughter who was 14 at that time, she was home with our three youngest babysitting them and she said mom, the house is on fire.” The fire left the family devastated and displaced, adding another layer of grief to their already heavy burdens.

As if that wasn’t enough, her family faced yet another hurdle when her son struggled with addiction. Lea shares, “My son, then, after the fire, he got addicted to drugs, and he was in and out of rehab. And that was very difficult on my children, and especially my oldest...” It was a period of immense pain and uncertainty, but Lea’s faith and the support of her family helped them navigate through the darkness.

Finding Hope in the Brokenness

In the midst of the pain, Lea found herself questioning God’s goodness. She felt distant from Him and couldn’t understand why all this was happening. In her words, “I had a very strong foundation in the Lord. So, all the years of building my foundation on the Lord was for those moments, because I had even trouble reading the Word.”

But one day, while driving and expressing her frustrations to God, something shifted. She recalls, “There was a song playing and it’s the repeated chorus is He is good. He is good… So once I said to him, ‘You are not good, you are not good to me, you are not good to my children, you are not good’. And it felt like something broke.” This raw honesty and vulnerability led to a profound experience of God’s presence and peace. Lea realized that God wasn’t distant, but was actually drawing near to her in her brokenness.

This turning point allowed Lea to find hope and healing, even as life’s challenges continued. She explains, “And I mean, life carrying on life was the same. But this peace that I was like, ‘He’s there, He’s there. And He’s a God that draws near to our brokenness. He’s not a God that is far from us’.”

The Power of Vulnerability and Community

Lea emphasized the importance of vulnerability and community in navigating grief and trauma. She candidly shared, “Hiding it put a weight on my husband and I knew lacked. We had, we had like two couples that we shared with during that time and our parents. But other than that, that was it. But the weight of that, like not having a community of people to come around you was it was a lot for us.” This experience taught her the importance of reaching out for support and sharing her burdens with others.

As Lea started opening up to friends about her son’s addiction, she realized that the shame she felt was unfounded. She recalls, “I talked to her about it. And she didn’t even bat an eye. You know, she was like, ‘Why? Why did you not tell me this? You know, and, and why would you think I would look at you any different?’” This encounter highlighted the power of vulnerability in breaking down the walls of isolation and shame.

Lea’s story is a reminder that we weren’t meant to walk through these difficult seasons alone. By sharing our struggles with trusted friends and family, we can find the support and understanding we need to heal and move forward. As Lea puts it, “The enemy does everything to keep us alone and feel shame.” But through vulnerability and community, we can find strength, hope, and ultimately, freedom.

Holding Space for Others

Lea’s experiences have profoundly shaped her approach to coaching. She explains, “I am able to enter in with them able to hold that space for them to grieve and say that it’s okay. I will say it’s difficult.” Having walked through her own valleys of grief and trauma, Lea can empathize with her clients’ pain and offer them a safe space to express their emotions.

She emphasizes the importance of avoiding comparison and simply being present for others in their unique journeys. “We always want to compare our grief,” she says. “But then God reminds me like you’re bringing something different, you’re able to enter into people’s grief. That is different and unique.” This ability to connect with others on a deep level is a direct result of her own experiences with loss and healing.

Lea’s coaching style is centered around listening without judgment and offering a sounding board for those who are grieving. “As a coach, that’s really just what I love to do is just be able to be there for someone as a sounding board, because when you’re grieving, there’s not many people that can really enter in they want to be there for you.” Her compassionate approach and willingness to simply be present for others is a testament to the transformative power of empathy and shared experience.

Hope for the Future

Lea’s story is one of hope and redemption. Her son is now on a path to recovery, and Lea is pursuing her dreams of writing and coaching. She has a new book out called “The Freedom to Feel,” which explores how we can find God in the midst of grief and trauma. It’s a testament to the fact that even when life feels overwhelming, there’s always hope for a brighter future.

Advice for Abiding CEOs: Remember Who Gives You the Ability

Lea shared a powerful verse from Deuteronomy 8:17, “You may say to yourself, “My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me. But remember the LORD your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your ancestors, as it is today.” This reminds us to always remember that our abilities and strengths come from God. It’s a reminder to stay humble, to give credit where credit is due, and to never lose sight of the One who gives us the ability to produce wealth and achieve our goals.

Connect with Lea

If you’re inspired by Lea’s story and want to learn more about her work, you can find her at and on Instagram @LeaJTurner. Don’t forget to check out her new book, “The Freedom to Feel.”

Lea, thank you for your courage, vulnerability, and the hope you bring to others. Your story is a beautiful reminder that even in the darkest of times, God’s light can shine through and bring healing and restoration.

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