Why Some People Move Forward
and Some Don’t

by | Jul 12, 2023

Not long ago, I was having a talk with my assistant and friend, Judi Cotignola, about trauma, grief, loss and moving forward. We noticed something about the people in our lives who had experienced these tragedies. Some had moved forward and were seeing great things happen in their lives, while others had not only failed to move forward but were almost worse than when the loss first occurred. I realize there are various reactions and timelines in the aftermath of loss. Judi and I analyzed what the difference might be. Suddenly, I had an epiphany…all of the people we personally know who had moved forward had redeemed the loss in some way. Or, they were actively seeking a way to find redemption in the midst of loss.

I’m sure we are not the first people to notice this, but to me this was huge.

I realize there is no “getting over” loss. We cannot, nor should we be expected to. But moving forward…now THAT is a different story.

I have discovered that those who do not move forward, view the loss as something from which no good can ever come. There is absolutely nothing redeeming that they can find about it. On the contrary, others look for redemption everywhere. And those are the people who seem to flourish.

I believe this is just in my blood, so to speak. I look for redemption in everything little and big hardship I face. For me, writing is the greatest avenue for redemption of loss or anything negative. When I was younger, I wrote songs about the painful things I had been through. Now, I write online posts and books.  I will write about it until I think I have exhausted everything I can possibly say on the topic, and then I will write about it some more.

There are so many ways we can redeem loss. God wastes nothing. Why should we?

It is impossible to list every way to accomplish this, as God will give new creative ideas all the time to those who seek Him. But just a few that I have discovered for myself or others are:

  • Writing a book
  • Writing a blog
  • Starting an online or in-person support group
  • Starting a YouTube Channel
  • Writing songs
  • Recording songs
  • Crafting a message about it/speaking/preaching/teaching
  • Performing a dance
  • Starting a foundation
  • Starting a new ministry focused on that type of loss and overcoming
  • Leading a retreat for those who have experienced that type of loss
  • Reaching out one-on-one to help others through loss
  • Creating art as an expression of triumphing over the loss

The possibilities are endless. The important thing is to seek redemption of every kind through the pain.

I want to speak to an issue related to this that I believe someone may need to hear today. I am feeling in my heart that someone needs to hear this in order to have peace about moving forward.

I am part of a group online that concerns a family whose children were murdered. It was a tragic situation none of us would ever want to face or could imagine ourselves facing. Since the murders occurred, this family has looked for every way possible to find redemption in the situation. They have definitely taken their lemons and turned them into lemonade. As they have, big things have unfolded. Not only have scores of people been helped, but this has been a real blessing to the family as they are receiving not only a lot of attention but financial blessings from it. This has caused a bit of criticism, as they have profited from their loss. I was happy to be one of the people to speak up on their behalf and say that not only was it not wrong what they were doing, but I hoped and prayed that the blessings would continue hundred fold!

It is not wrong to profit from loss. It is some of the best kind of redemption. It’s almost like the devil has to pay you back for what you’ve been through. Of course, it will never equal your loss, but it is perfectly acceptable. And as real believers are blessed, they keep giving back to bless other people. (And usually, as they do the blessings of every kind just keep increasing.) When people speak out against you profiting in some way from loss, they are simply jealous. Let it go.

I write books about my traumas. I profit from those books. I make no secret of that. I would not want anyone to ever have to go through what I have. Many people focus on the glory, without ever knowing the pain of the story! They see your blessing, but they don’t understand the nightmare you walked through to get there. Again, it’s jealousy.

My doctoral dissertation was about trauma, and my final sentence of the thesis was this:

“Because of the finished work of Christ on the cross and the power of the Holy Spirit, a sufferer’s pain can become a platform from which they minister from to declare God’s power to the world.”

It is not only fine, but it is the way of the Lord to make that pain your platform — or rather to allow Him to make that pain your platform — to minister from that place, and if you are blessed as a result of that, so be it!

Now that we have established that it is perfectly acceptable to be blessed in every way imaginable in the aftermath of your difficulties, what are you doing to look for redemption everywhere? What can you do to see good come out of the evil you have been through?

To summarize, people who look for redemption everywhere seem to move forward in their trauma, loss, and grief while those who do not often get stuck. 

Great things await you, But will you partner with God in those things? That is the question.


  1. Dr. Carol Kennedy

    I met you at Faith Assembly, N. Ft Myers. I spoke with you afterwards and showed you my 4th book, THE GRIEF MONSTER, which God and I wrote and illustrated when my sister was killed. I was stunned when you said as I approached you, “I know you and this beautiful book”!

    Most recently though, hurricane Ian ate our house, all.our belongings, a Jeep. what remains is concrete, studs, and a toilet.

    God’s been in this since the get go, sending our church disaster team, and Samaritan’s Purse to clear out our house.
    I brag on Him to all who ask how we are.

    We have a cash offer on the house, sale pending. I pray harder and longer in a crisis.

    God’s the only one who came through.
    I too write, showing how God can reframe my pain.

    I love your blogs.
    I’d like to share my site.
    Carol Kennedy

    • Dr. Deanna Shrodes

      Yes, of course Dr. Kennedy. I remember you and have purchased your book for a number of people. I love The Grief Monster! So good! I am sorry you are dealing with the ramifications of Ian. My heart goes out to you. I am so glad that you have received so much help. I am praying for your pending sale! Much love to you!


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