Hope in the midst of grief and loss

Leanne Mallett talks to Aspire team member Julia Lawton about her new book, ‘The End of The Beginning’.

Congratulations on your new book, Julia. What’s it all about?
It’s my personal story – a story of hope in the midst of grief and loss. I was widowed with three little boys under five years old and I thought my life was over.

The book tells the story of how I found God and how he slowly but surely began to restore my life to the extent that I found love again, re-married and had two further children.

I’ve tried to be as honest and transparent as I can, and I really hope it will help others who have been, or are, experiencing grief.

There is some gentle humour in the mix too – one friend said that whilst reading one particular page, he was at first in tears and then having a ‘laugh-out-loud moment’.

The book is about more than just my personal journey through grief. I also share how God set me free from anger, helped me face my guilt and fears, and then continue to live a life where I no longer live in fear of failing.

In fact, he turned my life around to the extent that I now know that if Jesus wants me to do something I can do it. I no longer shrink back in fear of failing.

Why write it now?
At the start of the pandemic I was out of work. I had decluttered my home, transformed my garden and baked for England, and was getting really bored.

My husband Simon suggested I got on with my book, as he had felt for a long time that I should share my story. Several people had also prophesied that there was a book in me.

I had actually managed to write the first chapter the year before but was struggling to continue. I had lived in failure for over 30 years so never thought I could achieve anything.

So I began to write again and, whilst I found it quite painful to re-visit places I thought I had left behind, it was actually quite helpful to me and sharing those experiences will, I hope, bring comfort and hope to others.

If there is someone reading this who has just lost a loved one, what advice would you give them right now?
Don’t be too hard on yourself. Allow yourself to grieve and don’t let others put pressure on you to do things that you don’t have to do if it’s too painful.

Family and friends mean well but they are not walking your journey. We all grieve differently.

Also learn to really trust in God and depend on him totally. Pour your heart out to him and he will sustain you and carry you through the darkest of seasons.

He is also the God who rescues, restores and re-builds broken lives.

What has the feedback to your book been like?
To be honest I’ve been a bit overwhelmed with the incredible response. I’ve received some amazing commendations from people whom I really respect, and some wonderful Amazon reviews too.

For me it wasn’t a project to sell books but rather to bring God’s comfort, healing, encouragement and hope for those not just experiencing grief but going through life with all its challenges.

A number of people who have recently lost close family members have expressed how ‘real’ the book is and how it has helped them see that the feelings they have as they grieve are okay and normal

I’m actually amazed at how many women in particular feel like I did – a failure. This has definitely resonated with people.

In fact, one young mum recently bought copies of the book for her friends who she said all feel failures yet they have successful jobs, run homes and care for families.

I continue to pray each day that the book will bring comfort, healing and hope to those who are struggling.

If you would like to order a copy of 'The End of the Beginning' by Julia Lawton, it is available through Amazon here.

First published in the May 2022 issue of Direction, Elim’s monthly magazine. Subscribe now to get Direction delivered to your home.

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