Three Responses to Suffering

You can’t live very long without getting a few “dings” to the heart. By that I mean trials, loss, sorrows of various kinds.

And when it happens, we tend to have one of three responses.

  1. Ignore and Stuff.  One response is to stuff the painful event far away, as if you put it on the back shelf of the closet of your heart, hoping the painful emotions will just go away.  But they won’t.  The heartbreak becomes lodged in our hearts and, as a result, we ourselves become “stuck”.  Stuck in our woundedness, our lack of trust, our belief that “life is hard, and then you die”.  That wound needs lancing.  The way to release the poison is in telling your story – not to just anyone, but to a trusted friend. There is a cleansing that comes from confession to a trusted friend.
  2. Tell Anyone and Everyone.  Another response is to repeatedly shout our story from the rooftops to anyone and everyone that will listen.   Not with the purpose of cleansing our hearts, but rather to declare over and over (and over again) how we’ve been “done wrong”, either by God or by others.  This response keeps a person in victim mode, always the helpless casualty of a particularly painful event, long after the event is over.  When confronted with these destructive attitudes and behaviors, this person is fond of rehearsing his hurts, then concluding with something like, “And that’s why I’m the way that I am.  End of story,”
  3. Your Story for His Glory.  And then occasionally you meet someone whose painful event has caused them to surrender, abandoning all hope of solving the problem or healing the pain on their own, becoming ever dependent on God, and always looking expectantly for His glory in their unwanted circumstance.  It’s not all wrapped up neatly with a pretty bow.  They still have unanswered questions.  There are tears on occasion.  But their painful event now serves, not as a justification for their behavior, but as a testimony to God’s grace in their lives.  Through the tears, there’s a submission to His will resulting in a more tender heart, an outward focus, and a compassion for others who hurt.  There is brokenness, yes.  But there is also joy.  Why? Their story is for His glory.

So, in which response do you see yourself?  

We all have a story of having been hurt.  But some people surrender their stories to God – and He uses them for His glory.  They confess their tears to God – and to others.  And it is those same tears that give them a platform of credibility and hope for others who are hurting.  They don’t claim to understand loss. Nor do they pretend to have it all figured out.  What I hear in their words is this declaration:  “God, I don’t know what You’re doing.  I don’t understand it.  I don’t like it.  But I’m Yours.”

May you and I declare the same, walking forward and seeing God do for us and through us what only He can do.

From “Falling UP:  Lessons Learned on the Way Down”, available on Amazon August 8.




Double Launch!

I’m excited to share with you two events in my life that are both happening in August!

1. My new book, “Falling Up: Lessons Learned on the Way Down” will be released and available on Amazon August 8.

2.   I’ll be competing at the International Speech Contest sponsored by Toastmasters, International in Malaysia later in the month.

So, if you’re in the Middle Georgia area on August 7, please join me for a “Double Launch”!

I’ll be sharing my two short talks that I will present at the upcoming contest and sharing the story behind my book, which will be available that evening.  And of course, there has to be a little music sprinkled in!  It’ll be an evening of music, humor and inspiration!

I’d be delighted to see you!  See the scoop below.  And bring a friend…just give me a shout back by July 31 if you plan to attend (

Double Launch Release InvitationV3

“Falling UP: Lessons Learned on the Way Down”

Have you ever felt like you were falling?

Without a parachute?

Have you ever felt you were on a joy ride when life’s events took a sudden unexpected turn? Maybe you feel like you’ve been shoved out of a plane and are now falling through the air, out of control and headed for a terrible crash.

Maybe you’ve had one heartbreak after another and feel like you can’t take one more. Everything in you screams, “This was NOT supposed to happen to me!”

When we feel like we’re falling, other thoughts may flood our minds as well. These thoughts might include: “MY God would never let (you fill in the blank) happen.” “I feel like I’m going under, but God will never give me more than I can handle, right?” “I just don’t deserve this.”

Those same thoughts have knocked on the door of my heart and mind. And while I don’t know everything you’re feeling, I do have an idea of some of the things you may be experiencing.

Having gone through divorce, the loss of my dad to suicide and a few other personal tragedies, I know firsthand that when you go through loss so deep it changes your world, the pain seems to define you for a while. When those thoughts came knocking, I needed truth – not myths or hunches – to help me deal with my circumstances.

My new book, “Falling UP: Lessons Learned on the Way Down”, addresses those times in life we didn’t sign up for.

"Falling UP: Lessons Learned on the Way Down"

I’ve written this book for the person in a season of sorrow, whether through failing health, loss of a loved one, financial disaster or relationship problems. But this book is not just for the hurting. It’s also for anyone who loves someone who is hurting and wants to know what to say to help comfort them.

“Falling UP” is even for the person whose life is rosy at the moment. Why? Because it’s wisely been said we are either coming out of a storm, in the middle of a storm, or about to go into a storm. And I want you to be ready the next time a storm comes your way.

And it will come.

I’ve learned that when heartbreak hits, with God by your side, it is possible to do more than just fall. You can “fall up.” You can make it to the other side of grief stronger in your broken places.

“Falling UP” will be released in August and I’ll be sharing more about that with you soon! My hope is that this will be a valuable resource for those experiencing grief and loss of any kind.

“A powerful resource for anyone facing grief and loss. Connie’s story will bring encouragement and healing through practical steps and solid Biblical truths. A must-read and must-share!”
– Sandra Stanley, North Point Community Church

My Try at a Triathlon: 5 Unexpected Life Lessons

While enjoying lunch on a Thursday with my friend, Amy, she dropped this bombshell:

“Hey, I’m doing a triathlon this Saturday.  You should join me.”

“This Saturday?  As in day after tomorrow?”  I laughed so hard I almost choked on my cornbread. “I haven’t ridden a bike in 20 years!”

“I’ve got an extra!  And it’ll all come back to you when you hop on.   Just like, well, riding a bike!”

In a lapse of sanity, I agreed.

Now to tell John.  “Ahem.  I’m going to do a triathlon.”

“What?” He was concerned.  “How long do you plan to train?”

“A day,” I replied, trying to sound logical.

“And what’s the course?”

“1750 yard swim, 14 mile bike ride, 3.1 mile run.”  I sat down, feeling suddenly tired as I said that out loud.

He smiled, shook his head and said, “Knock yourself out, Baby.”

Actually, I was afraid I might do just that.

So what did I get from this experience besides a t-shirt and some really sore muscles?  A few life lessons.

1.  There’s power in pacing yourself.  When the gun sounded, hundreds of us charged into the lake.   The adrenalin was overpowering and I took off like a mad woman!  Halfway to the first buoy, I heard myself gasping louder than I’d ever gasped. It then occurred to me my competitive swimming days were 40 years ago.  “Oh, no!  I’m going to be one of those that has to hang on the side of the safety canoe while they haul me in!”

Instead, I switched momentarily from freestyle to breaststroke, catching a second wind. From that point forward, I swam more even strokes and reached shore, leaving a respectable number of swimmers behind me in the lake.

What’s the take away? You don’t sprint at a triathlon.  You can’t go full-throttle and finish a race of considerable length.  And in life, pacing yourself (mixing hard work with enjoyable activity, making room for quality family time, working on projects a little at a time instead of cramming at the last minute, etc.) helps you to ‘catch your breath’, better manage your to-do list and take care of yourself, making you more effective in the long run.

2.  Work smarter, not harder.  It wasn’t long before all those swimmers I’d left in the lake passed me on the bike.

www.conniecarey.comBut I’d learned a great tip from Amy during my “one day training”.  Think ahead: maximize your speed going downhill to make your next uphill easier. The natural response is to coast downhill.   But the wise biker prepares herself for the hard work of the next hill by shifting gears and pedaling hard on the downhill, gaining power and momentum while saving valuable energy for the upcoming hill.

Are there some ways you could maximize your efforts at work or home?  Maybe it’s prioritizing your tasks,  learning to say “no”, delegating other tasks to the right person, putting a stop to procrastination or simply getting more rest.  Work smarter to make your life more productive and enjoyable.

3.  Two are better than one.  Just when I thought I might have to get off my bike and push, I heard my name cheerfully shouted by Amy, gaining behind me.  (The ONLY reason I was ahead of Amy was that her bike chain had come off and she’d spent several minutes getting it back on.)   She slowed to my pace and rode the rest of the way with me, turning my laborious journey into hilarious laughter!

By the time we reached the 5K, if I’d had any money on me, I’d have gladly called a cab.  I was so DONE.  But Amy kept me going.

“Let’s run to the white post, then we’ll walk a minute.”  I didn’t think I could finish the 5K, but I could make it to the white post.  And then the blue mailbox.  And finally, the finish line!

We need our friends!  Your encouraging words might be just the refreshment your friend needs to keep on keepin’ on.

4.  You can do more than you think you can.  Believe me, I’m no star athlete.  But somehow, I made it to the finish line and lived to tell it!

What uphill challenges are facing you that seem more than you can do? Stay the course and dig deep.  You’re going to get through this, finding within you a reserve of power and resolve you didn’t know you had.

5.  Don’t quit.  You’re doing better than you think you are!  I stayed a while afterward, enjoying food and festivities, but left after a bit.  Later, my phone rang.  “You’re not going to believe this: YOU WON A TROPHY!”


Turns out I won 3rd place in my age group!

(OK, so there were only four women in the category and hey, the 4th place winner had a hard time swimming with that cast on her leg, but that’s not the point.  The point is…I WON A TROPHY!)

Remember, don’t quit, no matter how discouraged you may feel.  You’re probably doing a lot better than you think you are.

My rear end hurt for a week from that blasted bike seat.  I was stiff for days.  But I wouldn’t take anything for the experience of having tried my best and completed the task.

Great lessons for us all, whether trying a triathlon or just living life.

But hey, next time, I think I’ll train for more than a day!

Malaysia Bound!

I’ll never forget the day I got the call, so many years ago.  “Hi, I’m looking for a piano teacher for my son.  He loves music, is a hard worker, and is a special needs child.  Will you take him?” Recently divorced, my fairy tale had just gone up in smoke. Disappointed, disillusioned, and swimming in self-pity, I was unwilling to take a chance on this child…or anything else. Have you ever been there? But I reluctantly took him on as my student. Little did I know the lessons this amazing boy would teach me…

This is the true story, entitled “Leap”, that I shared last night at the District Speech Contest in Atlanta.  Here we go again!

Many of you were so kind to pray for me and encourage me as I represented Georgia last August in Cincinnati at the International Speech Contest sponsored by Toastmasters International. I placed 2nd in my semifinal.  What an incredible experience to be in the presence of such gifted speakers with life-changing messages!

Toastmasters International Convention

The annual global competition, drawing more than 30,000 contestants, began again this past January. Tonight was the fourth level of competition, the District Contest. I had the honor of sharing the platform with six other amazing speakers with compelling messages.

Having placed first,  I will compete in August at the semifinals and hopefully in the finals two days later, both in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia!









I would appreciate your prayers as I prepare!