How I went from a burnt out, spiritually bankrupt Advertising Executive to guiding others to deepen their relationship with God and find joy, flow & freedom.

I confess. In my 40’s I bought the convertible, got my ears pierced (that was a big move for me), and bought books on success for “late bloomers.”

Can you say midlife crisis?

Looking back on what moved me from the path of burnout and busyness to a spiritual path of joy, flow, and freedom, three questions came to mind.

Red Convertible

These Three Questions Changed the Trajectory of My Life - Could they Change Yours?

Question 1: Is this all there is?

Radio Station

This question came at the start of a new year. I was a Senior Account Executive at a radio station. It marked the 20th year of a meteoric rise to success in the advertising business.

I had exceeded all the budgets for the prior year and the New Year meant starting all over again with very little on the books.

In the past, I enjoyed the challenge to beat the prior year’s numbers. But this year–I was tired.

The industry had changed drastically. All my lofty goals had been met–the dream home, luxury cars, designer clothes, marriage and family, and a full social calendar.

Outside I was wildly successful. Inside I felt spiritually bankrupt.

The Missing Peace

After the is this all there is question, my soul yearned to find the God of love I knew had to exist.

First Presbyterian Church of Kirkwood

I was raised in the Christian faith. I loved the youth group and sang in the choir as soon as I was able. The message from the pulpit, not so much.

If I was supposed to be “saved,” why was I constantly reminded that I was a miserable sinner?

My perception of God was the great scorekeeper in the sky who would squish me like a bug if I stepped out of line. It didn’t help my image of God where I had an angry earthly father at home and was presented with an equally angry heavenly Father at church.

The youth group broke up about the time I graduated from high school. Most of my friends went off to college or got married.

Adding insult to injury, I was deeply hurt by the church. So, I not only left the church but my faith too–for twenty years.

With this yearning to find a loving God, I searched for a new church home. I found that God and church home at First Presbyterian Church of Kirkwood (also known as First Pres by its members).

Question 2: Why won't you let go?

Jackie Trottmann Letting Go

First Pres has an incredible music program. My choir director took an interest in me and offered one-on-one voice lessons.

During a lesson, he abruptly stopped, looked me in the eye and in an exasperated voice barked, “Why won’t you let go?!!?”

His question felt like a bucket of ice water had been thrown in my face waking me up from a trance.

I knew why I wasn’t letting go.

Of course, he was talking about my voice not my life!

But I knew that I had built my entire life around what I should be doing and not what I truly wanted.

I was completely overwhelmed knowing that not just a few things needed to change, but almost everything needed to change.

Question 3: Have you heard of co-dependency?

Office At Night

With this feeling of overwhelm and new awareness, I shared with a co-worker what was going on. I opened up about the problems in my marriage and the toxic work environments that I kept finding myself in.

I shared that my father had been an alcoholic – how he physically and verbally abused my mother.

In our household, we never talked about it, so I stuffed down my feelings–I stuffed them down with food. That led to an eating disorder. When diets no longer worked, I turned to bulimia as my solution – until it wasn’t.

She listened very attentively then asked if I had heard of co-dependency? I answered, “No.”

She told me to get a book called Co-Dependent No More.

I did and was shocked to discover that this book was all about me!

I thought my father’s alcohol problem was his problem not mine, because I wasn’t an alcoholic.

But I was a workaholic. I used food and alcohol to numb out. And I never spoke up to express my own needs.

What if it’s not a midlife crisis but the spiritual process we go through?

What if our culture forms so much of our behavior with the emphasis on everything that is outward: building a career, having a family, acquiring knowledge, even staying in physical shape?

The result is that there’s no emphasis given to the inward journey in matters of the heart and our spirits communing with God’s Spirit.

I Discovered a Three-Part Process to Spiritual Wholeness

I had no self-awareness of the issues these questions uncovered. Once I became aware, I sought God’s love and guidance.

Looking back, I discovered a three-part process to heal to now live life with joy and flow. This process is on-going as I journey with God.

The Process Is:

Peaceful Lake with Two Chairs to Commune with God

By being still, all my wounds and struggles came to light. I no longer stuffed them down. I surrendered them to God’s healing power.

They miraculously vanished like bubbles that pop in the wind.

When I said that everything had to change, I let go of my marriage, dream home, and career.



I found a little two-bedroom rental house. For three months in that little house I healed through meditation, journaling, and prayer seeking God’s love and guidance.

Unemployed and down to the last nickel in my checking account, my ability to trust God was stretched! But God provided the perfect job at the eleventh hour and fifty-ninth minute.

Nine months later, Robert Trottmann came into my life. We met at church and married nine months after that.

I was living out Psalm 37:4, “Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.”

Living into Joy, Flow, and Freedom

God called me to leave the corporate world to write, create, and teach others how to live with joy, flow, and freedom too.

So what about you? Can you relate to my story?

Are you a caught up in the stressing and striving? Or are you contemplating what God is calling you to do next and need discernment?

Join me in living a life with joy, flow, and freedom. It is an on-going but worthwhile process! Here are four ways to get started.

Letting Go Meditation

Letting Go Meditation

Finding it hard to let go? This free meditation in the form of an affirmation prayer will help you along with 3 Steps to Let Go. 

Four Steps to FLOW

Four Steps to Flow Guide

What happens when you let go of stressing and trying to control everything on your own? You learn what it means to abide and be in flow. In this free short guide, I share the story of abiding and trusting God that came in the form of four steps.

Journal Class


You won’t find answers to your deepest questions on Google. The answers are within you. Journaling helps you answer those questions to live life with more meaning. It’s also a powerful way to dialogue with God. 

Spiritual Direction

Jackie Trottmann Spiritual Direction

Want to discuss and focus more deeply on the movement of God in your life? Spiritual Direction is a way to do just that.