BW 099: Finding Hope and Rebuilding Life After Loss: Dana Johnson’s Inspirational Journey

widow interview May 28, 2024

(Transcript below.)

In this episode of the Brave Widow show, Emily sits down with Dana Johnson, a Jesus-reliant solo mom who turned her heart-wrenching loss into a journey of faith, resilience, and rebirth. Dana's life was irrevocably changed in June 2021 when unexpected revelations and a tragic suicide shattered her world. 


Through her steadfast faith in God, Dana shares how she has been crafting a beautiful life from the thorns of tragedy, mentoring other solo moms to find healing and move forward into freedom. 


This episode dives deep into the realities of widowhood—the pain, the process, and the potential for rediscovery and new beginnings. Dana’s story is not just one of survival but of thriving through faith, showcasing how we can find strength and beauty in our most challenging moments. 


Join us as Dana offers invaluable insights, hope, and encouragement to widows navigating their paths of grief and renewal. 


Dive into this moving discussion and discover how to embrace healing, faith, and the courage to build a life you love after loss. Remember, you're not alone in your journey. For more resources and community support, visit


00:00 Introduction to Episode 99

00:12 Brave Widow Community Updates

00:46 Special Sessions for Members

02:31 Meet Dana Johnson

05:14 Dana's Early Life and First Marriage

06:47 Meeting Mario and Building a New Life

07:42 The Revelation and Tragic Loss

16:06 Coping with the Aftermath

24:56 Moving Forward with Faith

33:54 Building a New Life and Helping Others

40:41 Final Thoughts and Encouragement



You can find Dana at:




Operation Freedom:



Dana’s bio: 

Dana Johnson is a Jesus-reliant Solo Mama to two beautiful daughters. In June of 2021, her life changed forever. Nine years into what she thought was the perfect marriage, Dana's husband revealed some disturbing events that occurred years prior.  Later that day, while walking, praying, and trying to process it all, God gave her a vision of a blooming cactus flower with a promise that "right now you're in what feels like thorns, but I'm creating beauty - the beauty is coming".


The next day, her husband ended his life with a gunshot wound. In a matter of two days, the beautiful life that she cherished was shattered in every way.


Discover how her full reliance on God during that traumatic time changed her life. Hear the story of how, with God's miraculous provision, she bloomed through thorns, and how she is now mentoring other solo mamas to embrace the healing and move forward into freedom.






Dana Johnson

[00:00:00] Emily: Welcome to the Brave Widow Show, where we help widows find hope, heal their heart, and dream again for the future. I'm your host, Emily Tanner. After losing my husband of 20 years, I didn't know how I could ever experience true joy and excitement again for the future. I eventually learned how to create a life I love, and I've made it my mission to help other widows do the same.

Join me and the Brave Widow membership community and get started today. Learn more at BraveWidow. com

Introduction to Episode 99

[00:00:35] Emily: Hey, hey, and welcome to episode number 99 of the Brave Widow show. Today I talk with Dana and she shares her story of loss and recreating a life that she can love again.

Brave Widow Community Updates

[00:00:47] Emily: But before I dive into her story, I want to share a couple of things that are going on in the Brave Widow membership community. So in our membership community, we have live calls, we have courses, we have forums and places where you can connect with other widows.

And I am adding more, this is a more content, more actionable strategies and tools that can help you in your journey through grief and in your journey, really, and moving forward to creating a life that you love.

Special Sessions for Members

[00:01:21] Emily: In June, I'm going to host a special session specifically on Father's Day, how you can honor your person on Father's Day, some ideas for ways to keep his spirit alive.

Even if you had a strained relationship, even if your relationship wasn't perfect or beautiful and you struggle with that, I'm going to have some ideas for you. In that live session, but the only way you can participate in that is if you're part of my coaching package, or if you're part of the Brave Widow membership community in July, we're going to do a special bonus session, specifically on traveling, how to regain confidence in traveling, how to, how to confidently travel as a solo traveler.

Or if you're like me and you have. Or kids, how to confidently travel as a solo parent with a herd of children through a crazy airports and other places, but I'm going to share some very actionable things that you can do to start rebuilding confidence and trust in yourself and start rebuilding a life that you can love and that you can enjoy again.

But again, you have to be part. Of the membership community to be able to participate in these calls and to be able to go back and watch the replay or to take the worksheets and start actually doing the work to make things happen. So, to join the membership community, go to brave widow dot com slash join join the community today.

And we will help you take the next steps you need to move forward.

Meet Dana Johnson

[00:03:06] Emily: All right, let me introduce Dana. Dana Johnson is a Jesus Reliance solo mama to two beautiful daughters. In June of 2021, her life changed forever. Nine years into what she thought was the perfect marriage. Dana's husband revealed some disturbing events that occurred years prior.

Later that day, while walking, praying, and trying to process it all, God gave her a vision of a blooming cactus flower with a promise that, right now, you're in what feels like thorns, but I'm creating beauty. The beauty is coming. The next day, her husband ended his life with a gunshot wound. In a matter of two days, the beautiful life that she cherished was shattered in every way.

Discover how her full reliance on God during that traumatic time changed her life. Hear her story of how with God's miraculous provision, she bloomed through thorns and how she is now mentoring other solo mamas to embrace the healing and move forward into freedom. I love Dana's story and her beautiful spirit, and I know that you will too.

Let's dive in.

​Hey, hey I am with Dana and she's going to share her story and some of the insights and tips that she has for other widows that are out there. So Dana, welcome to the show and thank you for agreeing to come on.

[00:04:42] Dana: Of course. Thank you so much for having me.

I'm really excited to share my story.

[00:04:48] Emily: Yeah, I know our audience would love to know more about you, about your background, and then we can just dive into your story wherever you want to start.

[00:04:58] Dana: Okay, thanks. I know it sounds odd if somebody says, I'm excited to share my story about being a widow, but I'll talk more about that in a minute.

But my name is Dana. I am 49 years old and I'm a mom to two girls. I have a 23 year old and an 11 year old. And. I homeschool, I manage my household, of course, and work from home. I telework full time and I have a business as well. So a lot of things happening.

[00:05:29] Emily: You have a very busy and full.

I like how you just said, and I have a business in there too. Awesome. So, okay, let's. Diving into your story, where, where would you like to start?

Dana's Early Life and First Marriage

[00:05:49] Dana: I'll start with, so, okay, I was married once before, so I have the, my 23 year old daughter. Growing up my, um, I remember, you know, those days sitting on the porch, waiting for my dad to get home from work. And when he got home, I would just hop on his lap and that feeling of comfort and safety of a daughter, with her daddy. And when I was a teenager, my dad decided to leave our family.

And since then For years, all I wanted was a whole family. I never, ever wanted to get divorced. I always wanted to have that. I always sought out that feeling of safety and comfort and security that I remember feeling sitting on my daddy's lap as a child. And so I think the trauma of all that led me into the first like bad relationships.

I got married and he ended up being, you know, abusive to himself abusive to me. And, uh, it just was not a good situation. And all the while, all I really wanted was. You know, I actually stood in that relationship a lot longer than I should have, because I made a promise that I will never get divorced and break up a family.

But that did, it ended up in divorce. And so, um, my older daughter was, years. I mean, we spent eight years, just her and I, so I was used to being a single solo mama. And I had prayed and prayed for God to send me, you know, the man of my dreams, the love of my life.

Meeting Mario and Building a New Life

[00:07:22] Dana: And finally, I met Mario and that was in 2012, I was in my late thirties and I, I felt like God just totally blessed me with this beautiful man.

And we met, fell in love so fast, got married. We were, um, engaged, married. I moved across the state and had a baby all within the first year and a half of knowing each other.

[00:07:52] Emily: Wow.

[00:07:53] Dana: Yeah, it was just, it was a whirlwind and it was just, it felt like one of those things that was just meant to be. And, um, he, he gave me that feeling, you know, I was searching for that feeling of safety and security and comfort.

And we have this, you know, beautiful family, um, our two daughters and it was amazing for nine years.

The Revelation and Tragic Loss

[00:08:17] Dana: And and then some things started happening with his work he was in law enforcement and it's just a really stressful job anyway, but a situation happened at work that was causing a lot of stress and it ended up in resulting in like an investigation and another woman was involved. And apparently throughout the time we were married, there was some dark secrets that he was keeping from me and with this situation happening at work, he felt like those would all come out.

And he started sharing these things with me. Um, that he had done and obviously I was devastated, but I said, you know, we'll, we can make it through. I love you. I forgive you. Like, I'll forgive you. But then let's start the healing. Like, you know, get it all out. And then we'll move forward. Um, the, the day that he shared these things with me.

I was outside walking and just trying to process it all and praying. And I, I, I saw this flower blooming out of a cactus in our neighborhood and God, it was like a vision that God gave me. He said, you feel like you're in the thorns. That's where you are. You're in the thorns right now, but there's beauty coming.

I'm. I'm developing this beautiful flower that's going to bloom. So hang in there. It's like, it's coming. It's like, it's okay. It was just so reassuring for me. And I thought, okay, God's going to, as long as we stick in there, rely on God, everything's going to be okay. He's creating beauty from this. And obviously I thought he was talking about, God was sharing that my marriage would be saved and all this., The next day I got home and I shared this with my husband and I said, you know, it's going to be okay. God gave me a vision he was just really distressed in this time. He wasn't talking very clearly or thinking very clearly, but I was sharing this with him. And I was late at night and I said, find.

On search on Google and find the prettiest picture of a cactus flower that you can find. And he pulled up this beautiful picture of a cactus flower. And I said, just save that. And we'll, this is what we'll focus on as we move forward and try to heal. And, um, uh, the next day he took his life. So obviously it's like, okay, God, this is not what I was expecting at all.

And. You know, how there was, of course, moments of how can you create beauty? Like, seriously, what does that mean?

[00:11:01] Emily: And I'm curious because for a lot of people, they tend to go one of two ways, which is closer to God and faith, or even if it's this very conflicted feeling, or like, God, how could you do this to me? You just told me things were going to get better. As the shock and the impact of that. Settled on you.

How are you feeling in your faith or how are you feeling about that vision God had given you?

[00:11:33] Dana: I'm so glad you asked that because I see that as the same way. And there's been circumstances in my life, like with my first marriage where I went the opposite way of God. I was like, God, I'm done. Like all I've ever wanted was a beautiful family.

And you just, you won't give it to me. And like a spoiled girl, I was just like, so mad. And I went the opposite way. But I think miraculously and In an act of like supernatural grace, God literally like held me in, in, in moments after this happened, I almost physically felt, felt him holding me and it reminded me of that feeling I had sitting on my dad's lap.

And I said, okay, this is, this is what I need to hold on to. And I did. I fell fully into the arms of God. And I'm so grateful for that because in that safe space in that comfort, he's literally changed my life. I'm skipping ahead, but I look at my life now, three years after that, almost three years after that moment.

And I never, I never would have imagined my life could be so beautiful. There's things in my life now that I never, I just never imagined that would be for me. And so I'm just so grateful like you said that it didn't go the opposite way. And then I fell into the arms of, of God and allowed him, I just fully surrendered and allowed him.

I stood true to the promise, the vision that he gave me. Okay. You know, God's, um, plans are different than ours and he's, uh, all knowing and okay, God, in my mind, I thought you're going to heal the things happening in, in our, in my marriage. But now I see that you have different plans and I just fell into being open and surrendered to whatever that was.

[00:13:42] Emily: That's so important that you shared that because. Especially when we're in the early stages of grief and we're newly widowed, we think there's no light at the end of this tunnel that our lives are forever ruined or scarred or that we can't have a life that we enjoy again. And I can't even imagine the pain that you must have felt first in learning about these things that your husband had kept from you, but then also feeling like again, you're being robbed of the opportunity of having that family that you desire so much. And it's incredible that you clung to God and that you stay close in your relationship with him. And now You know, here almost three years later, you're able to have a beautiful life that you love again.

So I hope that for people that are watching or listening, that they really take it to heart that in the beginning, it feels like things are hopeless, but just know that so many widows have made it to the point where they can live life again.

[00:14:52] Dana: That is such a strong message to widows because it is such a stark change.

I mean, everything goes, I know some people have some inclination that their partner is going to pass away. But for a lot of us, there's accidents and things that happen and it happens suddenly. So one day you're going along, everything's beautiful and the next day, boom. Like it feels like half of your life is just torn away, but it gets better.

And, I would encourage people who've lost a loved one in this manner or otherwise to focus on what is possible. I know it sounds like counterintuitive. Um, but I think it's so important because there is life after loss. Sounds a little cliche. Right. But, um, especially if you believe in God, that he, you know, it reminds me that scripture and Psalms where, you know, you formed me in my mother's womb fearfully and wonderfully created.

He knew my whole path and the what's to come. And I just feel like, how could it not have beautiful parts? Of course, there's going to be very painful parts too. But I think, um, as widows, like our tendency is to

get sucked into this, like vacuum of grief and just feeling so sorry and lost for the memories and the, the hope that we, and the visions that we had for the future with that person, when there's just so much waiting for us.

[00:16:39] Emily: Yeah.

Coping with the Aftermath

[00:16:41] Emily: So take us to, you know, those moments where your husband took his life and you're in that aftermath.

And there's probably a flurry of activity of things that happen shortly after. Maybe you're just going through the motions. Maybe it takes a while for the shock to, to wear off, but what were those next few days or weeks like for you and your two, two children?

[00:17:12] Dana: Yeah, my, my oldest daughter is, she was away she did a volunteer project, so she was not living with us and she actually hasn't lived with us since.

So it was just me and my younger daughter. She was eight at the time. Um, the very next day we had already paid planned and paid for a family vacation, um, to come to Southern California. We were living in Northern California and this all took place in our house. garage and, um, my, to the shock and dismay of my in laws, I said, we're still going to Southern California, um, because the trip that we're taking was for my dad's surprise 70th birthday party.

So my older daughter was flying in my mom, everybody, my whole support. System was flying to Southern California. Obviously, my dad's birthday ended up not being a surprise because we, you know, it kind of changed focus a little bit. We did obviously still celebrate him, but that was, um, I was, I was in a bubble, literally in a shock.

Shock bubble, um, but I just kept moving forward. I remember having a friend come over and help me pack because I couldn't even, you know, pack to leave to Southern California because I couldn't even. Think I couldn't do anything and she was like going through the house with me as I'm like walking around like a zombie wanting to get out of there.

She's like, you know, grab your toothbrush, grab Ava's toothbrush. Okay. Um, so we went on the trip and it was, It was beautiful how the timeline of everything happened because all the people like I said that were there were all the people that I needed in those moments. Um, and then I made the decision to move to Southern California.

I was going to move out of that house anyway. There was no way I was still going to be able to live in that house. So I returned from our little trip to Southern California, put the house for sale. He passed away in June by the end of August, I was in Southern California with a new home. Wow. I was not messing around.

I, I'm like the, I'm like the type of person to like make stuff happen anyway. I'm not, I'm like, um, Faith without works is dead. So I'm like the one who I'll have faith, but I'll just keep moving forward. Even if I know I have no idea what's happening. So it was, but I could see in all of these steps that I was taking, that God was there.

Like moving to Southern California. We thought, I thought not we, I, all the decisions were mine. I thought, let me rent an apartment and save up for a year because handling all the finances and everything that comes along with losing your husband, there's a lot to manage. And I had no idea how the finances were going to lay end up.

Thank God I did have my job and was employed. And so I thought, well, let me rent an apartment. We got here and it was, this was in 2021 when, um, all the housing market was crazy. So when I went down to Southern California, the housing market was crazy. And so I thought, well, let's it's, you know, it's probably better to rent anyway. So when I looking for apartments, there was nothing to rent. And we finally found a one bedroom apartment in South Fontana, which is, you know, not my ideal location.

And it was 1, 800 for this, uh, apartment, which was more than my mortgage was and more than my mortgages now. And, uh, we, we got everything moved down. We, the house was still on the market. In Northern California, and we stayed, we got into that apartment and a week after we moved in, there was like this domestic violence situation right next door to the window where Ava and I were sleeping.

And when I woke up in the morning, I went outside their window. That was like, a few feet away from ours was smashed in,


shattered. And I said, I can't live like this. Like there's no way. And so I, um, I ended up saying, okay, well, let me see if I can just get pre approved for a house. Well, it turns out I got approved and I could actually afford a house.

And God was in the whole thing because there was, I was looking at houses everywhere with the house we ended up getting it turns out the owner heard about my story. He's the father in law of my realtor. And he said, if Dana wants this house, I won't even put it on the market. Just let me know.

[00:22:02] Emily: Wow.

[00:22:03] Dana: Yeah. A great deal.

We ended up getting the house and then it turns out that this man is a deep, um, an elder at the church that I've been, that I had been attending that I still attend to this day. So this house is like totally prayed over him and his wife wrote us this beautiful letter and this continue to pray for us to this day.

And it's just, um, I have like hundreds of stories like that, where God just kind of led us and guided us. Um, and I tell people that when I moved, it felt like the community here was like this big, massive, like one of those 1500 piece puzzles and there's one piece missing and me and Ava were the piece and we just like clicked right in because we got here and it just, the community opened up for us and it's been beautiful.

[00:22:57] Emily: That is


[00:22:58] Dana: I mean, in those moments. You asked about like the moments after. So yes, I was in this like shock and grief bubble. And honestly, I feel like I didn't come out of that for at least a year, maybe more. And I remember sitting in church one day and it was like, A year and a half after he had passed away and the pastor was talking about grief and I was sitting in the front row and I like the floodgates opened up because he was talking about how people avoid feeling by stuffing their life with grief.

With a ton of things and they stay busy and I thought,

that's me, that's me. And I just, I lost it. I, entered a new level of grief that day. And I, I actually had to like stumble out of the sanctuary because I was like almost scream, cry, do those moments where you just cry so hard. You can't breathe.

And, um, so it's a process, right?

[00:23:58] Emily: Yeah, it is. And I just, Obviously, you're a woman of action, so it is easy to keep moving forward and to take action and to do all of these things. And one of the things that, you know, I learned through the grief recovery method is that there are all types of. Things that we can engage in, like going to church or exercising or shopping or whatever, but sometimes we can keep ourselves so busy doing all of that, or we don't do it in moderation.

We overutilize something or underutilize it, and it becomes kind of a crutch in our grief and a way to distract us from just. I mean, it was almost like you were holding your breath this whole time, like, got to move, got to find this place. And then we're not safe here. Let's find a house. And, you know, that's so much change for you and your daughter.

And it's amazing to hear your story and how God just. Guided you and opened doors and really made you feel accepted and like you belonged in this new family, in this new community of people. I love that. Did you ever have moments of, God, I'm angry about this or, I, I don't know how all of this could happen to me when it's like the one thing I wanted. Did you ever struggle with any of those types of feelings or conversations that you had with God?

Moving Forward with Faith

[00:25:31] Dana: Yeah, that's actually, you hit the nail on the head of the one thing that I'm still processing is like the anger of why is this my path? As much beauty as there is in my path, what do I still need to learn to have that one thing that I want?

And obviously it still brings me pain, right? To think about it but I think the lesson that I'm supposed to learn here is That God is my foundation. He's the one that can hold me and give me that feeling of safety, security, comfort. If he decides to bring, uh, another husband into my life, that'll just be icing on the cake.

[00:26:18] Dana: Like my focus should be the foundation of, of God being all of that to me. And he, I mean, he's shown himself to be my comforter, my provider. All of those things that I have wanted. And so definitely processing the anger and disappointment of that chapter, not being my forever chapter, but also still holding on to hope because.

This is like the deepest desire of my heart is to have a husband. And I feel like God wouldn't give that to me. I feel like God created me to be a wife and he wouldn't give me that long if he didn't have something so special that he's preparing for me. So I do hang on to that hope. Uh, and it's that hope that keeps me going and helps me to kind of get through like those moments where I'm just like, so angry.

And it does bubble up. I mean, you have kids too. So I think it bubbles up sometimes for me when I think about, um, erasing and being a single mom a second time and now like raising my second daughter in the same age frame as my first daughter, um, without, you know, without a father. And so those are the things that really, I get upset, but I also have been through enough in my life to know that like God.

Can bring beauty from this and he does have a purpose no matter how painful the circumstances.

[00:27:49] Emily: Yes And there was a Bible study book that was really helpful for me. Um, it's by Priscilla Shirer called Elijah, faith and fire.

[00:27:59] Dana: Yes.

[00:28:00] Emily: And it's a good, you know, 10 minute read and, and reflection, like a daily study.

I think it's six or seven weeks long, but. It's a really good deep dive into Elijah's story and how I think it really applies to us as widows is we find ourselves like in this in between, like in this in between stage, we feel really invisible. We feel unseen. We're like. Hello, I'm here in this very weird spot, like I want to move forward.

I am moving forward, but there's so much unknown about my future. And I liked it better when I had plans and something that I was working towards. And it just really talks about like what God is doing and what we can focus on in this In between time and that how in scripture it talks about that he in a way is hiding us away from things that are going on or from other people or keeping us in a point where we're not really visible to other people and what's going on there.

And that just really helped me try to find peace about. Waiting in the desert and how long is this going to take? And waiting in the wilderness, like all alone, feeling like you're alone. And then being able to focus on creating a life that I really loved and that I could be at peace with saying, okay, if I don't have anyone else in my future, then I can still love my life and still work towards building that and live in surrender that I'm going to do my part.

God of putting myself out in the universe. I'm going to make trips to Home Depot. I'm going to go on dating apps. Like, I'm going to put myself out there, but I'm not chasing anyone. So if there's someone you have for me, then, I don't know what they're doing. They need to quit messing around, but I'm not here.

They can come find me. Yes. Yeah.

[00:30:11] Dana: Yes. Oh my gosh. I love that. And that's, that's a great point. I'm definitely going to check out that Bible study, but that is something that I feel like God has been working with me on is being content in my current circumstances. And so even in those moments where like on Mother's Day, it's a great example of Mother's Day was a hard holiday for me for the last couple of years, but this year was a lot better.

And the reason why is because I was hanging on to like, oh, I used to be spoiled by my husband and there's no husband here to spoil me. And, you know, it's different. And this year I just really. Surrendered again, that word keeps coming up too. Okay. Like this is my current circumstance and I am going to have joy and be content right now.

And I thoroughly enjoyed my daughters that day and, and just appreciated and felt so grateful that God trusted me to be a mom. So just that change of perspective, it's so interesting how just a slight change of perspective can Bring so much healing and joy,


definitely been working on that.

[00:31:24] Emily: It's hard.

It's hard when you love being a wife and you feel like that's so much of your identity. I just talked with one of my coaching clients last week and she said I realized that I idolized my husband and that he was just the center of my universe and he was everything. And now I don't even know who I am.

I don't know, like, I, I don't want to make all these decisions. I want to be with somebody. And I realized that they had even become more important to me than God, because I focus so much on that person. And so I think that's something that we as widows can struggle with is wanting to have that other person to do life with and really being consumed by that and by practicing our contentment and practicing building a life we love, not only do we learn not to be.

Almost dependent on someone else for that, but it makes us more attractive to maybe someone we are going to be with someday we're out doing things, we're trying new stuff. We're going new places. We're, we have stories to tell about things that are going on. It's not just, Oh, I sit at home and watch Netflix all day, every day.

So yeah, it's like that.

[00:32:42] Dana: Yeah. The grief vacuum, as some people do, they get stuck in that. But I think that's so true. It's like It is. It's so important to be in community to put yourself out there, like you said, and it's so helpful in the process of healing to, to just stop focusing just on you and like focus on what's out there and who can I help, who can I serve in this time of waiting?

How, how can I be, you know, shine God's light even when I'm sitting here, not fully feeling like fully. Redeemed to the wife that I want to be.

I can

still put myself out there and I agree. I think it is attractive to the right kind of man. Some that are really intimidated by that.

[00:33:32] Emily: Yeah, they are, but you know, I think the right person a lot of people would be intimidated by but I think it's just the right kind of person is like you said, just that missing puzzle piece. Like they're just going to fit right in and they're going to love everything, you know, about you. So I know you mentioned that, uh, you lost your husband. It's been almost exactly three years ago. And now you find yourself at a point where you are starting to enjoy your life again, and you're really starting to focus on taking some of those steps forward.

What would you tell people that has been really helpful for you in not staying focused on everything that you have lost, but also being able to say, okay, I've, I've got to try to rebuild something for myself. What have, what's been something that's just been really helpful to you in doing that?

Building a New Life and Helping Others

[00:34:30] Dana: That's a great question.

Um, one of the things that I absolutely love is this the business that I started and You know, after when you lose a husband, especially in the way that I did, there's no life insurance payment first, like you're losing more than half of your household income and there's not a lot there, but I think in God's miraculous like provision, he brought this business to me and in, in the business, I'm able to focus on helping other women step into the provision that God has for them.

And build like this financial confidence is what I like to call it because when you're newly widowed and you, or you have traumatic circumstances in your life you wonder like, how am I going to survive? How am I going to make, um, make ends meet? And so building that financial confidence to me, um, is really important.

But like I said earlier, taking the focus off of me and focusing on how I can help others. Women is something that has really helped me and really honing in on the type of woman that I want to help in this is I know there's other women out there like me, and I feel like you're this type too, where we're not going to just sit down and like lay down and give up.

Like we are going to keep moving forward. We're gritty. We have faith, and we're not going to let like these So I'm going to be talking about how these traumatic circumstances in life, define what our life is going to look like moving forward. And so it's been amazing to attract those type of people into my life.

And it's like this community, this added community. I talked about like my family and friends all being in Southern California, but now I've got this added, beautiful. Community that we meet on zoom meetings every day and every week and hardly ever see each other in person, but we are lifting each other up and and finding success.

And it's just been such a blessing. And that's 1 of my favorite things.

[00:36:38] Emily: Oh, I love that so much. It's building that purpose out of pain. It's also solving a challenge and providing additional income for you. And it's helping other women rebuild that confidence, which is something we definitely lose when we lose our partner is even just someone to.

Think things through with like, is this a good decision? Is it not a good decision, so share with us what are some of the common challenges or problems that you help other women solve in rebuilding that, that confidence from a financial perspective?

[00:37:13] Dana: I think the biggest thing is a lot of. A lot of women see a lot of different opportunities out there and automatically they think I can't do that or that's not for me or that won't work.

And so one of the biggest struggles that we overcome is being open to the doors that God has opened for you. So it's a matter of having faith, but also stepping forward. So getting out of this analysis paralysis and just do the thing, like just move forward, do the thing. If that thing ends up not working out, it's okay, but you'll never know if you didn't try.

The other thing is just tapping into the strength and confidence that we have innately. I think women that go through like these traumatic situations, if we're able to come out of it and heal. We are so much stronger. I tell people like, if you want to, if you want to talk to an amazing woman and see like the miraculous redemption of Christ, speak to a widow, because we are some of the strongest, most resilient women that you will ever talk to.

Um, but just stepping into that confidence and saying, okay, like I have come through this to the other side. And. I can be unstoppable and just really stepping into that. Um, that's one of my favorite things about mentoring the women that I mentor and not all of the women are widows. Actually, there's very few of them that are widows, but they're women who, you know, maybe, um, have never worked outside of the home.

Um, but now they need to bridge a financial gap for their family. Maybe they're still married, but they need to bridge a financial gap. You know, how can I step in, how can they step in and really embody that confidence and know that you, you can contribute and you can have a part of it.

[00:39:13] Emily: Yeah, that is awesome.

I love that so much. And I was trying to think of that. I was looking up the verse. Um, I think it's Proverbs 16, 29, where it says a man's heart devised his ways, but the Lord directs his steps. And I am very much like you, a believer in taking action. And I think, okay, if I'm not taking any steps, God can't guide me in any direction.

Like, I'm just standing there. I'm just standing there. God can't make things happen. Yeah. Here's the door. If I'm not walking to any doors, none can close and other ones can't open. So yeah, I very much resonate with that. Like just start taking some baby steps forward and see what comes out of it. See where you need to pivot, see where, you know, you might be called to a, a, Explore a new path you never even thought of, but if you just sit there, you're not going to discover really anything.

So, I love that. And I love that you help women do that. So how, if someone wants to work with you, or they want to learn more about what you do, where's the best place that people could find you?

[00:40:26] Dana: Oh, thank you for asking that. So the community that I partner with and that we, um, that all this happens in is called Operation Freedom.

And we call ourselves a volunteer army because this is entrepreneurship. So it's not something that we're forced to do as a decision that we make. We, we move forward, um, and under our own decisions every day. But people can find me at Dana daughter of the King. And I also have a Google form, to find out more about operation freedom. And I think you can find that in the show notes and also on my Instagram.

[00:41:02] Emily: Perfect. Yes. And for those of you that are mowing the lawn or driving the car or multitasking, then you can find the links to find Dana in the show notes of this episode, wherever you're watching or listening to it. All right.

Final Thoughts and Encouragement

[00:41:16] Emily: Well, Dana, any last words of encouragement or wisdom that you would want to tell widows who maybe are struggling with some of the same things that you struggled with or haven't really.

found hope in being able to move forward or take that next step?

[00:41:37] Dana: Yeah, I would say, first of all, there is hope available, but it's harder to grasp if you don't believe in Jesus or God. So I would find a way to learn more about Jesus, um, and becoming a Christ follower. If that's not something that you currently do, because without God, uh, in my life, There's no way I would have made, made it through any of this.

So I, that's the first piece of advice. And if you'd want, if you'd like to reach out to me on Instagram, I would be happy to share more with you about God. Um, but if you are already a Jesus reliant woman, what I would say is tap into that hope, even if you don't feel it to the depths of your soul right now.

Find, you know, I'm sure God has laid some scriptures on your heart, or he's nudged you to open the Bible. Find some truths in God's word that you can grasp onto and help you to carry through this healing process, especially for those who are really near the time. Like if it's only been days or weeks or months since your husband or wife passed away, You need those truths to hold on to.

And at some points that'll be the only thing that you can grasp. And, um, the last thing I would say is that I promise you that it gets better. I promise you that there is more life out there for you to live.

[00:43:12] Emily: Thank you so much. I completely resonate with what you said. And I know there are some of you that are listening that You may went a little bit hearing that maybe you have mixed feelings now about your relationship with God.

Maybe you're angry and That's okay. We can work through that. I've had very open conversations with God. I hate this. I don't like this. I don't understand this. This is not what I would have chosen. And I still know that ultimately you're a God in control and for whatever reason this has happened and we've got to come to a point where I feel close to you again and you can have those. , it's open and very real conversations and there are several people out there, including data and myself, that would be happy to help guide you in reconciling some of those mixed feelings and emotions are very real. So Dana, thank you again so much for coming on the show. I appreciate you giving your time.

[00:44:17] Dana: Thank you. This has been such a blessing to me and I hope that our conversation blesses others out there. Thank you so much.

[00:44:25] Emily: Are you a widow who feels disconnected? Do you feel like you're stuck or even going backwards in your grief? Widowhood can be lonely and isolating, but it doesn't have to be. Join us in the Brave Widow membership community and connect. We teach widows how to find hope, heal their heart, and dream again for the future.

Find your purpose and create a life you love today. Go to bravewidow. com to get started.