An Unusual Path to Publication

As a Marriage and Family Therapist of 30 years, I’ve watched my clients grow as they learned to be kind and compassionate with themselves, while working through difficult issues. I hadn’t found anything written in this area integrated with our faith. I wasn’t interested in writing on the subject.

Kim Fredrickson_450pxBut God had other ideas.

In March of 2013, I felt God prodding me to attend the Mt Hermon’s Writers Conference.  I finally gave in. Unwillingly. I was happy as a therapist and didn’t want or need anything else to do.

To my surprise, one editor was interested in my work, and asked me to send her a lengthy book proposal. I did, and crossed it off my list.  Now I could go back to being a therapist and professor.

Four months later my life changed. I was diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer and went through treatment over the next nine months. Seven months into treatment I received an email from the publisher offering me a book contract. I was stunned and delighted…and got on the phone that night to find an agent. I was through the worst of the treatment at this point and thought I could work on the book.

One might think this is where the story ends…but no.  Four days after I finished treatment, I couldn’t take a deep breath. I was diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis from the chemotherapy and radiation (a rare side-effect). PF as we call it, is a progressive lung disease that has a 3-5 years life expectancy. In July 2014 I went on supplemental oxygen and closed my counseling practice. I finished the edits, and Give Yourself a Break: Turning Your Inner Critic into a Compassionate Friend was released July 7, 2015.

Throughout this process I experienced God in powerful ways:

~ He set up a writing career for me before I developed huge health problems. I received a contract easily…not because of anything unique about me, but because He knew I needed to be on the fast track to publication.  I am grateful to Him for giving me a new purpose, and a way to contribute to others in a meaningful way. This has made all the losses easier to handle.

~ Having a terminal illness with no cure is rough. Despite such devastating news and the way my life has changed, I’ve been blessed by God’s support and the love and encouragement of family and friends. There’s still much to be grateful for.

Self-compassion (S-C) has helped me get through this season. When I was diagnosed with cancer, and then PF, I decided to be a good friend to myself. S-C helps me be kind and caring in the ways I talk to myself, take care of myself, encourage myself, and accept the volumes of prayer and support from my friends and family. I am committed to not turn on myself or abandon myself during these difficult times.

I know God has a purpose for PF in my life, and in the lives of others. I don’t need to know what those plans are. I trust Him.

I still do radio interviews and limited speaking (via Skype/facetime), blogging, writing and encouraging others. My life has changed and shrunk because of this illness. I focus on what I am still able to do…which is a lot. My lungs are disabled, but I’m not. I’m still the same person with Christ by my side…just with an oxygen tube.

Kim is the author of Give Yourself a Break: Turning Your Inner Critic into a Compassionate Friend. Her blog, “Self-Compassion for Real Life” integrates the transforming power of self-compassion and faith


  1. Kim — thank you for this lovely testament of God’s provision for you before you even knew you would need. Your story has and will blessed others, and I hope it will serve as encouragement to us all to trust God and write our stories.

    • Thanks so much for your kind words, Hope. It is my desire to use this path in whatever ways He chooses. Thanks for taking the time to encourage me.

  2. Thank you for sharing such a wonderful inspirational story. I need to put off procrastinating and get busy. Like Jesus said, You never know the day or the hour.

  3. “My lungs are disabled, but I am not. I’m still the same person with Christ by my side.” Wow. Courageous compassion is what I see in you, Kim. Thank you for being an inspiration to so many, especially encouraging each of us to not let our limitations hold us back from what God may be unfolding in our lives and through our writing.

    • Thanks so much Jan…I so appreciate your kind words. It brings me joy to know that my story is an encouragement to not let our limitations hold us back. Thanks for taking the time to encourage me.

  4. Having health issues and being over 60, at least I am, is not for sissies. My health issues, while serious, are not life threatening in the short term. I can only imagine what it is like to have a disease or condition likely to take my life in the next couple of years. Kim is the embodiment of the true Christian. She does what she can do and trusts God for the rest. It is that simple, though by no means easy. Job, a man God praised for his faithfulness, bore the loss of all he possessed and the death of all of his children. All on the same day. When given the news from his servants, the Bible says, “At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship and said: “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.” In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing. Job 1:20-22 NIV.

    Kim truly exhibits the faith of Job in her life. She is a hero in that she chooses to focus on others and what she can do for them through her writing instead of whining about how bad things are for her. She has my utmost admiration and respect. May God richly bless your writing and your life.

    • Thanks so much Jan…I so appreciate your kind words. It brings me joy to know that my story is an encouragement to not let our limitations hold us back. Thanks for taking the time to encourage me.

    • Thank you so much Paul. You blessed me so with your kind words. I think that while I have a lot to handle, God has also given me an extra measure of faith and trust in Him that I didn’t used to have. God has blessed me through this process in unexpected ways, and it is joy to know that my story is an encouragement to you. Blessings to you as well as you deal with serious health issues. They are a real challenge…and God is good, no matter what.

  5. Oh, Kim! I believe there are few like you. I’m convicted and encourage by the way you are living your life. I deeply admire you.
    God’s Richest Blessings,

    • Thank you so much Sharon…you are so kind. I’m so grateful to God for giving me strength and His perspective. Thanks for taking the time to encourage and bless me.

  6. I am thanking God as I write for your testimony Kim. Some of us who struggle with health issues often wonder how can we be useful when our bodies don’t want to function normally. I love the phrase “my lungs are disabled but I am not”. Our God is amazing and prepares the way for us on whatever journey He takes us. It is so encouraging to hear about His Faithfulness in your life.

    • Thanks so much Mary…I’m so sorry that you know the struggles and frustrations of significant health issues. It sure takes a lot of adjusting, praying, grieving, and adjusting some more. You are so right – He prepares us and the way ahead before we are even aware of our need. I know He is being faithful in your life as well. Blessings to you.

  7. Thank you for sharing your story. Though I do not have a fatal disease, I lost my son to one and thus God has created an inspired writer from my heartache.

    This is a beautiful story of God’s sovereign plan and personal love for us. I would love to read your work. I will go on Amazon now and get it.

    I am almost finished with my own memoir about God’s grace through grief, “Grace Upon Amazing Grace.”

    I pray you receive a continued abundance of His amazing grace and joy through your struggle. God strength for the moment, Coleene VanTilburg

    • Thanks so much for sharing Coleene. I am so sorry that your son passed away. I don’t think there are any words I can say. That seems so much harder to me than personally going through a fatal disease. I look forward to reading your memoir of God’s grace through grief. Please let me know when it is released. Prayers, strength and joy to you as well.

  8. Kim, you are such an inspiration. There are times when I feel like giving up, when I’m tired of the constant pain or the fact that it takes me longer to finish writing projects. Then, I think of your beautiful smile and contagious joy. God uses you to encourage me toward persevering faith. Your book was a timely gift. I am grateful for your transparency and am looking forward to reading more of what God is doing as you continue to write to inspire!

    • Dear Xochitl…I could write this lovely encouragement to YOU. I am so encouraged by your steadfast faith in the midst of extreme physical pain and adjustments. While my illness is dramatic (the whole terminal thing), I am not in a lot of pain as you are. Isn’t God wonderful to use our frailties and faith as an encouragement to one another? Thanks so much for taking the time to bless me today 🙂

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