Tuesday, December 31, 2013
So this year I'm going to make a resolution that will mean something. I don't want it to be a selfish resolution, or all about me. My resolution is to focus more on others.
I want to find ways to help other people. Not just seek out ways, but also stop trying to find excuses when the opportunities do present themselves.
This year, I want to be less self-focused, and more focused on those around me.
So what is your resolution this year? Is it about you? Will your resolution impact anyone besides yourself?
My first act to help others is to spread the word about my friend who is raising money to adopt 5 orphans from the Ukraine. Click the link below to see their story.
Then help out in any way you can whether it's a donation, spreading the word, prayer, or any other way you are able to help this family.
Tuesday, December 17, 2013
I love Christmas. I love that it reminds us that Christ humbled Himself to become human and live among us. I love celebrating what Christ did for us.
I hate what we have turned Christmas into.
Instead of celebrating the birth of Christ, we are celebrating a retail holiday. People go out and spend entirely too much money (money they don't even have and end up going into debt) to buy presents for people that already have everything. They buy gifts for people they don't even like. Gifts that are probably going to be either returned, or thrown into a closet and forgotten about.
I watch kids open their Christmas presents, and after they open one, they toss it aside and ask for the next one. Is this really what you want to teach your kids that Christams is about?
I choose not to participate in the retail side of Christmas. I don't buy Christmas gifts.
I know people think it's because we don't have a lot of money, but it's not a money issue. If we had tons of money, I still wouldn't buy Christmas gifts.
I would much rather spend Christmas celebrating Christ with my family. Doing something nice for someone else. Spending the money I would have spent on gifts, giving to someone who has nothing.
If I find something during the year that makes me think of someone, I'll buy it for them. That has a lot more significance than buying something out of an obligation.
I know many people enjoy giving, they get as much out of it or more by giving someone a gift as the person receiving the gift. I recognize that God gave at Christmas. He gave us the gift of His only Son. And if that is the true spirit that you have behind giving Christmas gifts, then keep doing it.
But most people are buying out of obligation. Then the receiver feels obligated to give back, and feels bad if they can't.
If there's no occasion, it's just a gift of love. I can give my friend a gift in January and say "I saw this and thought of you" and there are no strings attached. My friend feels honored that I thought of her, and has no obligation to give me anything back. However, if I give that same gift at Christmas, it is a gift because of an occasion, not a reflection of our relationship. She also feels obligated to give me a gift back.
A couple years ago, my family decided to do something nice for someone else. Then when we got together for Christmas, instead of exchanging gifts, we exchanged the stories of what we did. It was the most memorable Christmas I've ever had. I remember very few gifts I have received over the years, but I remember sharing those stories.
So for Christmas, instead of buying gifts, I will be celebrating the birth of my Savior. I will be looking for opportunities to bless other people that don't involve gifts. I will be looking for ways to share Christ. I will be attending church, and fellowshiping with friends. I will spend time with family, enjoying the gift of their presence.
How will you be celebrating the birth of Christ, other than giving gifts?
Tuesday, December 10, 2013
Judas was not just a disciple of Jesus, he was an apostle. He is known as the one who betrayed Jesus, but that’s not always how he was seen by others. In Matthew 10, Jesus sends out his 12 apostles to “drive out impure spirits, and heal every disease and sickness” (Matt. 10:1) and Judas is named as one of those 12. He was given power to “Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons” (Matt. 10:8).
When they are at the last supper, and Jesus says that one of them will betray Him, they all look around, wondering who it could be. No one looked at Judas as the obvious choice. Judas looked just like the other apostles. He performed miracles, he healed the sick and raised the dead, he had a personal relationship with Jesus.
Jesus knew from the beginning that Judas would betray Him, but no one else seemed to. So how could someone who walked with Jesus, saw His miracles, performed his own miracles, and had a relationship with Jesus turn around and betray him?
What made him different from the other apostles?
Judas was in a relationship with Christ for what he could get from it. As soon as following Jesus stopped benefiting him, he turned on Jesus.
I was thinking about this on my drive to work. I felt like I was missing something. That’s when it hit me.
This is exactly what we as Americans have done.
We follow Jesus so long as we get something out of it. We will do what he asks as long as…He gives us a spouse…He gives us a good job…we make a lot of money…we get a family…He heals a family member from a disease…
As long as Jesus does something for us in return, we have no problem following Him. But when He doesn’t do what we expect, we turn on Him.
We are only in the relationship for what we can get out of it.
I really had to examine my own heart. Am I upset when God doesn’t answer my prayer the way I think He should? Do I get angry when I feel like He isn’t holding up His end of the deal?
What is His end of the deal anyway? Where in the Bible did Jesus ever promise that He would give us things this side of heaven? Where does it say “follow me and I will give you everything you want” or “follow me and your life will be everything you picture”?
It says say we will have problems. “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds” (James 1:2). “Blessed are those who are persecuted because of their righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 5:10). “In fact, when we were with you, we kept telling you that we would be persecuted” (1 Thes. 3:4). “In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (2 Tim. 3:12).
Opposite Judas is Paul. Paul was a devout Jew who persecuted Christians. He didn’t have a relationship with Christ until Christ appeared to him and struck him with blindness. Then Paul spent the rest of his life following Christ. He was persecuted. He was shipwrecked. He was beaten and left for dead. He was imprisoned, yet he never turned back.
Paul wasn’t in it for what he could get from Christ, he followed because he believed in Christ. He followed because he was grateful for what Christ did, and following was his natural response.
Take a good look at your own heart. Why are you following Christ? Is it for what you think you should get from it? Or are you following Him because He loved you so much He sent His only son to die in your place, while you were still a sinner, and you can do nothing to earn His love? All He asks is that you love Him back, that you try to live according to what He laid out for you in His Word, the Bible.
Are you a Judas, or are you a Paul?
Tuesday, December 3, 2013
1. Forget about boys for now.
You're too immature to understand what a serious relationship takes. It's not about you. It should be two sided, and he isn't there to make your life better. You can't change him no matter what you think. So don't be with a boy who you think needs changing. Don't chase after a boy who doesn't want you. If you do insist on being in a serious relationship, remember that as you get older, what you want from life will change. Don't do something know that you will regret if that relationship doesn't last.
2. Focus on your relationship with God, that's the one that really matters.
When everyone else lets you down, God will still be there. He will forgive you when what you have done is unforgivable. He will be there for you in your darkest times, and on your highest mountains. Spend time growing that relationship and He will give you wisdom in all the other areas of life.
3. Listen to your parents, they know what they are talking about.
I know you think the times they lived in were different, but they were teenagers once. They know more than you give them credit for. They are trying to keep you from making the same mistakes they did. They are trying to do what's best for you, cut them some slack.
4. I know you think you know everything, but you don't.
Be open to learning opportunities. When you are in an argument and think you're right, give the other person some grace. They may think in a way that's different from you. It doesn't make it right or wrong, just different. Even if you really do know it all, you are still too emotional to use the knowledge effectively. Your hormones are changing, and your brain is still developing. There is more that goes into a decision than just knowledge.
5. Even though you are mature for your age, you still have a lot of growing up to do.
Don't make any major life decisions right now. You can't fathom the emotional maturity just a few more years will bring. Don't try to rush into anything. Take your time making decisions. You have arguments with people now, that in a few years you will think are silly.
I know I can't go back in time, I know I can't change the past. It does no good to dwell on it, but I can learn from it. I change the future for someone right now by sharing the wisdom I am still gaining. This is the advice I would want my teenage daughter to know. What would you tell your younger self, or someone you know in that stage of life right now?
Tuesday, November 26, 2013
Graduate high school, go to college, finish graduate school, get married, work a few years as a teacher, start a family, stay at home and raise my kids...
Then I have specific pictures within the bigger ones that I expect played out. I want my husband to be a strong Christian, I want my kids to be happy and healthy.
None of these things are wrong, they are what most people want and expect of their lives. But I have to remember not to get so caught up in my pictures that I don't let God work in my life.
He has pictures too. Only His pictures are way better than mine.
I can share my pictures with God. I can tell Him what I want from life. However, I have to be alright if they aren't what He has planned.
Sometimes, things don't always work out the way I plan them. And looking back, sometimes they are so much better, even though I never would have wanted it to happen that way.
Look at Jeff's accident. I never wanted to take care of my husband as if he were my child. I never wanted to sit next to him in a hospital room while he lay unconscious.
But that accident changed everything. If it weren't for that accident, we wouldn't have the marriage we do now. I wouldn't have the job I do now. I wouldn't have been able to witness the miracles I did. I wouldn't have the same relationship with Christ as I do now. I wouldn't understand what it's like to be completely dependent on God and know that it's ok.
My life took a major detour. But we are so much better because of it.
I have to remind myself, as the pictures start to form, that I may still get what I want, but it can look drastically different than what I expect. It will be God's way though, so it will be better than anything I can dream up.
Thanksgiving is this week, so what am I thankful for? I am thankful that God knows what I need better than I do. I'm thankful that He doesn't shield me from difficulties in life, but instead carries me through them. I'm thankful that I am learning to let go of my "picture perfect life" and allow God to create His own masterpiece in us. I'm thankful that I'm not in control.
Tuesday, November 19, 2013
I look at myself, and most of my core values are still the same as they were in high school. Minus my "wild" moments of course. However, I think that I am a drastically different person than who I was back then.
I was a Christian then, but my beliefs were based on the legalistic side of things. I was definitely a hypocrite. I didn’t understand grace the way I do now, nor the relationship aspect of being a believer.
I try now to be more open minded and forgiving. I recognize my own faults more readily. It just makes me wonder though, if someone I knew 10-15 years ago would see me know and think nothing has changed.
I want to live a life so different from the world, that it is obvious. I challenge you to do the same.
Don’t be the same person you have always been, allow Christ to transform you. Even if you are already a Christian, the Holy Spirit should be evident in your life. While we can never achieve perfection this side of heaven, we should be striving towards it.
This isn’t something that we can do on our own, it requires the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Allow Him to not just make you a new creation, but allow Him also to continue molding you into the image of Christ every day.
Tuesday, November 12, 2013
It has also made me realize how many people have endured some type of tragedy. Whether it’s a brain injury, a heart attack, cancer, the loss of a child, and the list goes on… most people have endured something difficult in their lives.
However, instead of sharing the story, we often keep it inside. We don’t want people to feel sorry for us, or look on us with pity, so we don’t say anything.
But we have gone through it for a reason. Maybe you haven’t figured out the reason yet. By sharing your story with someone else, they may have new insight that could help you come to terms with it.
It can also help the other person come to terms with their own tragedy, if you would just share with them.
It’s difficult to share our hurts with others. We fear judgment, vulnerability, and looks of pity. Or maybe, we don’t share because we don’t want to burden someone else with our problems.
But what if it is the one thing that will bring hope to someone else’s life? You don’t have to share every detail, but when you open up your life to others, it opens a path of healing.
What have you gone through that you are afraid or think would be a burden to share?
Tuesday, November 5, 2013
I tried living a split life, with God being in only the parts of my life that I felt comfortable with. Then lived my own life separate. I had my Christian friends and my other friends. I was a different person depending on who I hung out with.
I tried turning my back on God and living my life completely apart from Him.
I tried the legalistic route. Religion became a checklist of to-dos and not to-dos. Go to church, read the bible, pray, go to bible study. Don't drink, don't cuss, don't hang out with certain kinds of people.
I tried doing the "right" things so that God would bless me. I looked for something in return when I did something for God. "God you want me to tithe? Sure, as long as you bless me in return."
But I never found the true peace and joy that the Bible claimed I should get. I still felt like I was missing something.
It wasn't until I began to form an actual relationship with Christ that I found that peace and joy. I still had the lists of dos and don'ts, but instead of it being a checklist that had to be accomplished, it became a tool to know God more fully.
I realized that it is more about love than obligation. I do what I'm told in the Bible not because I have to, but because I want to. I know that it pleases God. Not that I could ever do anything to earn my way to heaven, Christ already paved that road for me.
I love Him, because He first loved me. 1 John 4:19
He continually shows me His love, and I want to show my love in return. So I try to do all the "Christian" things. But it's no longer a requirement or a chore, it's an expression of my love and gratitude.
So I've come to realize, it's not about what I do, or the way that I try to be a Christian. It's about the relationship. It's about knowing God on a personal level, rather than as something distant and as someone I have to work to please.
The relationship changes everything.
Tuesday, October 29, 2013
If my book is titled How I Survived My Husband's Brain Injury, and my blog is supposed to help people dealing with brain injuries, you may be wondering why I talk about religion and marriage so much.
I talk about marriage because I cannot really help my husband through his brain injury, or deal with it myself, if I don't have a good marriage. The reason we stayed together through all this, and are happy, is because I believe in marriage. I believe what I vowed to my husband on our wedding day. I believe that we are in this for better or worse.
And religion...well that is my foundation for everything. I wouldn't have the peace or strength to get through my husband's TBI without God. I wouldn't care about my marriage if I didn't hold to the belief system that I do. My belief in what Christ did on the cross changes everything.
I am different because of Christ's sacrifice. I see things through different eyes. I change the way I act because of what He did.
Not because I have to, but because I want to, out of gratitude. Just like a wife does nice things for her husband. She doesn't have to, but she loves him and wants to please him. I love Christ and want to live a life pleasing to Him.
I will mess up and make mistakes, but I try to live a life that reflects God as the center. When I do that everything else falls in line.
I am a better wife because Christ calls me to be. I have the ability to thrive in tragedy because I have God's strength in me. He is the underlying reason behind everything I do.
Tuesday, October 22, 2013
I was reading the daily reading from "Jesus Calling" yesterday and it was a great reminder that God is ultimately in control. It said "The best response to losses or thwarted hope is praise" and then quotes Job 1:21.
I hear so often people saying they "deserve" something. They deserve a good job, healthy family, to be treated a certain way, to have a certain status...the list goes on.
The only thing we deserve is death. Yet, God saved us from that by sending His son to die on a cross for our sins.
So when we receive blessings, whether it's financial, emotional, friendships, whatever, we have to remember that it is in spite of what we have done, not because of it.
Everything we have is a gift, and it can be taken at any moment. We should enjoy what we have while we have it, but we can't get upset when it gets taken from us.
Just because it does get taken doesn't mean that God wants to punish us, or that we did something wrong. It may be for our own good. I don't know why He allows it, but He has the right.
When Jeff had his accident, everything I had placed my hope in was taken away. It made me realize that my hope was in material things, in MY plans for the future. It wasn't in God where it should have been.
It turned out to be a huge blessing. I was reminded that nothing was mine to begin with, and whatever God chooses to give me in the future I should count a blessing, not a right.
Job lost everything, and yet he praised the Lord. This should be our response as well.
We can praise God that even though we may lose everything in this world, we have eternal life through Him. We can have peace and joy through Him that can never be taken away.
Tuesday, October 15, 2013
We had smaller breakout sessions where the women got to choose which speaker they wanted to listen to. It was humbling to see how God selected the women to join my group. He knew just who needed to hear the message He gave me.
We focused on being transparent, so I was blessed with the opportunity to openly share the struggles I had after Jeff’s accident.
Too often we put on a mask and pretend that we are better off than we really are. But when we take the mask off, and let people really see us, not only does it help us, but it helps them too. It doesn’t mean we have to tell everyone every detail of our lives. But there is a time and place where it is appropriate to share our struggles, to be human, to let others in.
It was great this weekend to do that, and then watch how it impacted the women listening. They were able to open up and share their own struggles. Many who seemed to have kept it in too long. I was able to see in their eyes the weight that had been lifted by opening up.
We can’t be afraid to share our struggles. We don’t have to be perfect all the time. You never know how opening up will help someone else.
Tuesday, October 8, 2013
Last week I shared about having a purpose in life. If you missed it, you can read it here.
I realized that the way I am to live out my purpose is through sharing the story God has given me. I've been trying to do that through my book, and through speaking engagements.
Recently I have been on KSAT12, and in the San Marcos paper the Daily Record. If you missed the newscast you can view it here.
I will be speaking at a women's retreat this weekend also. I love how God is opening these doors for me to share. It really seems that as soon as I recognized this, the doors started opening.
I would love your help to share my story though. Here are some ideas of how you can help!
1. Share my website, book, or blog on your Facebook, Twitter, and/or LinkedIn accounts.
2. If you have a blog of your own, mention me.
3. Tell your friends about my book.
4. If you know of someone looking for a speaker, tell them about me.
5. If you know of anyone I should contact, leave me a message on the contact form of my website at www.howisurvivedmyhusbandsbraininjury.com
And I love to hear from you. It is so encouraging when someone reaches out to me to share their own story. If my story has touched you somehow, feel free to contact me, or you can leave a comment below. I would also love to hear your own story of how God has changed your life! Let’s break the cycle of the depressing news, and share how God has worked in our lives!
Tuesday, October 1, 2013
However, having the knowledge of my purpose, and the picture of what that looks like in my life are 2 very different things.
I have always known what my purpose is, but I've had a hard time trying to decipher how I'm supposed to live that out.
That has left me feeling inadequate, and useless.
Recently though, God has revealed how He wants me to fulfill that purpose. It is freeing, and exciting!
God has given me a story to tell. He allowed me to go through tragedy and strengthen me through that process. I experienced the joy of watching God work in a situation where there was no hope. I watched miracles unfold before my eyes.
And now, I get to share that story! I get to share how God has worked in my life. I get to share the miracles I’ve seen. I get to share how God gave me strength beyond what I was capable of on my own. I get to share hope with others who have none.
What a blessing to finally know why God has me here, and how exactly to make the most of this time He has given me! When I realized this, a wave of relief and excitement washed over me.
When people look at me, I want them to see Christ. Now obviously, I’m human, I’m going to mess up and make mistakes. I’m not perfect, and I won’t always reflect Christ. But I can strive for it.
And now I can live each day looking for opportunities to share my story. To share how Christ has overcome! He conquered death, and paid for my sins. But He didn’t stop there, He continues to help me overcome obstacles in my life over and over again.
Are you looking for your purpose in life? It is to share Christ, it is to live for Him. Now you just have to figure out how God is calling you specifically to do that.
Tuesday, September 24, 2013
It's so easy to make plans for the future. To picture what I want, or where I want to be in 5 or 10 years. It's easy to see what I want my life to become. I can see all the choices I need to make to get that picture.
But God doesn't always let me have my picture.
Sometimes, his picture and my picture are drastically different. I don't always like the strokes His paintbrushes take. The colors may be too dark. The picture isn't pretty as it's being painted.
If I had it my way, there would be no sufferring. All the colors of my picture would be bright and beautiful.
But His ways aren't my ways. And I thank Him for that. Because those strokes that I thought were too long, too dark, too hard...those were the strokes that created the contrast to make the rest of the picture more beautiful. A picture more beautiful than anything than I could create on my own.
I think of the sun. In the daytime, it's bright, at night, it's gone. There is nothing special. But at sunset and sunrise, it casts beautiful colors across the sky. It's the most beautiful when the dark and light collide.
My plan for my life included working for a few years, and saving up some money. Then I was supposed to quit working, stay at home and start a family. We wouldn't be rich, but we could lead a comfortable life. My husband would go to work, and I'd have dinner ready for him and the kids when he got home.
God's plan included unemployment, brain injuries, being broke. He shattered my plans, and took away all hope I had for the future.
But now, my life is better than what I had pictured. We are learning to be content with what we have. We have a new appreciation for life, and a level of intimacy with God that I didn't know was possible.
And He has renewed my hope. Jeff is better now and we have the possiblity for a family again. It may not be the way I pictured it, but the possibility is there again.
I have a purpose to my life. I have always had purpose, but I didn't know what it was before. Through this journey God has taken me on, I have learned my purpose. God gave me a story to tell. He gave me a powerful testimony, and formed it into a book.
He gave me the ability to share my story in a very public way, sharing my hope with others.
I have a joy that is indescribable. It is an incredible feeling to not only have a purpose in life, but to know what it is, and be able to live it out everyday.
I may not be able to understand why God chooses to allow suffering in my life, but He does have a plan. He also knows me better than I know myself.
He knows what can make my life better than anything I can even imagine. He knows my desires better than I do. He can take me down paths that I never would have chosen for myself, but turn out to better than anything I would have known to ask for.
While I may sometimes wish I could plan out my life, wish I could understand God's ways, I'm so glad I don't. God is so much bigger than anything I can even begin to comprehend, and I am grateful that I can't fit Him in my little box.
Tuesday, September 17, 2013
When I look at statistics for Christian marriages lasting in the US, my heart breaks. It's no different than that of secular marriages. That simply shouldn't be the case. Of course those that call themselves Christians and those who live it is another story altogether...
Regardless, Christian marriages shouldn't be ending in divorce at the same rate as those who don't follow Christ. So why is it?
I think we become so focused on ourselves and what is not being done for us that we forget, or stop caring, about what we should be doing. Then when we decide we want to save the marriage we look horizontally instead of vertically. We try to fix things ourselves, try to please our spouse. Instead, we should turn to God, allowing Him to change us from the inside. In turn, it will change the way our spouse sees us, and God can change our spouse as well.
But that takes work, patience, and denial of our own wants. It goes against our human nature. But that's the point! Nothing is about us!
God created marriage and uses it as an example of our relationship with Him. We take it and try to make it about ourselves.
Marriage is hard, most couples at some point think they made a mistake, they married the wrong person. I know I felt that way early on in my marriage. But it doesn't matter anymore, you've already made the commitment.
I'm not saying all this because I have a perfect marriage. I'm saying this because marriage is worth fighting for. My husband and I have had our share of difficulties. Not to mention that he now has a brain injury. He went through an aggressive phase the doctors didn't think he would move past. I was facing living with an abusive spouse. And now, he's still not the same man I married.
I have wanted to walk away more than once, but I can't. No matter how bad things get, I remember the vows that I made to my husband, and more importantly to God. When times got tough, I turned to God. I told Him about my impossible situations. And He helped me get through them.
I am watching friends now go through their struggles and finding it easier to give up. I'll be honest, it is easier to give up. But God doesn't call us to do the easy thing. He calls us to do it His way. It will be harder, but the rewards are so much greater. But you have to be willing to give up your own desires.
I've grown up in a family of divorce. On one side of my family, every single person from my grandparents on down to my cousins have all been divorced at least once. I know what it does to the families, to the kids. It is not what God intended.
I'm not saying this in judgement. And I know there are a FEW exceptions. I'm saying it because it breaks my heart. There is another way, but either people don't see it, or decide that it's too hard. But just like living for Christ in everyday life, the hard times refine us, and eventually bring joy.
When we make marriage about ourselves, we detract from what it was created for...to make us more holy.
Tuesday, September 10, 2013
This is the 4th week of school and the earliest I've been home during the week has been 7:30pm, and I leave at 6:45am. That's a loooong day... (it's a good thing my husband gets to be home more than I do or our dogs might get neglected)
This weekend was another busy, yet productive one. I was able to do a book signing at Hastings in New Braunfels. Then my husband and I went to donate blood. I learned the hard way that you shouldn't run 9 miles within 24 hours of donating blood...I didn't pass out, but I came close a few times.
Sunday was our church picnic and baptism Sunday, so that was fun. Then Sunday evening, I finally got to sit down on the couch for an hour and spend some time with my husband watching one of our favorite TV shows.
Then it was off to bed to start the week all over again.
I know around the end of October, I'll be readjusted to all this busyness (and the half-marathon will be over so I can cut back on running so much), but right now it's exhausting. These are times when I'm glad I don't have kids at home to take care of.
Right now, I just miss my husband, and I miss girl time with my friends.
Tuesday, September 3, 2013
However, I often forget the work that it takes to get there. Currently, I want God to change my mind. I’ve realized that the way I think impacts the way I interact with people. Just by thinking a certain way, it affects the relationships around me.
So I prayed to ask God to change my thoughts to more positive thinking. Not just positive thinking, but not looking at the negative in people. Not thinking that I can do something better than someone else, or that the decision that I make is better.
I forgot that when I pray for something like that, God gives me opportunities to put it to practice.
So I’m finding myself in situations where I need a lot of patience. Where there are many ways to do a task, and I can see the “easiest” way (which of course translates to the best way). However, I don’t have the power to do it my way. Or I’m put in a situation where I have to respect and follow someone else’s decision, even though I disagree with it.
When that happens, I think that maybe I just shouldn’t pray for God to work on me. He’s done a lot of work already, and I can be happy with that. No one’s perfect, so why should I strive to be better?
But then I am reminded of the finished product. I’m reminded of the many times I’ve asked God to change something in me, and while the road may not have been easy, it changed me in ways I wasn’t capable of changing on my own. I know that the struggles are worth it.
So it’s time to stop resisting the way God chooses to teach me the lessons I ask for, and learn what I can. The quicker I learn the lesson, the quicker I reap the rewards.
What have you asked God to change in you recently?
Tuesday, August 27, 2013
This morning, I was driving to work and saw an ambulance pull out of a hotel and get on the highway. It had the sirens on, but wasn't going super-fast, it kept up with the flow of traffic. So I could see it for most of my drive into San Antonio to work.
About halfway there, it dawned on me that Jeff's ambulance did the same thing. It didn't go to the hospital in New Braunfels where the accident was because his injuries were too severe. Instead it got on the highway and made the drive to San Antonio.
Suddenly all the memories from that night started flooding back. Waiting for the ambulance to arrive, talking to the EMTs, following the ambulance to the hospital. All the images were playing back, and the emotions came back with them.
Like I said, I've pretty much adjusted to it, so it didn't make me cry, but feelings of anxiety overwhelmed me. It was stunned by how something so trivial could trigger such strong memories.
So I just started praying for that person in the ambulance, and the family. Then I have to go back to life as normal, because time keeps ticking by. I can't dwell on the past.
It's time to start another day, and look for an opportunity to encourage someone else today. I refuse to allow Satan to use Jeff's accident to hinder me. Instead, I will allow God to use it as a tool to lift others up during a dark time in their lives.
How will you allow God use you today to encourage someone else?
Tuesday, August 20, 2013
School starts today so it is a busy time for me. I am amazed though at my anxiety level this year compared to last year.
I am a planner, and like to have everything ready and know how it's all going to work out. This time of year though, it really isn't possible because there are so many changes and uncertanties.
Usually, my anxiety level would be really high during these times. However, I have a wonderful sense of peace. I have watched God take care of everything before, and now I'm able to trust that He will again. Even if it doesn't go the way I plan, it will all eventually get worked out.
I am completely awed at the changes that God has made that I am able to feel within myself. God promises to give me a new heart and He has truly done that. I feel like a different person than I was just a couple years ago.
It wasn't an overnight transformation, and I'm definitely not perfect, but I can see and feel the changes God is making within me.
Comment below, what changes have you seen God make in you, or someone you know?
Tuesday, August 13, 2013
You get up, dress nice, fix hair and makeup, and head to church. On the way there, you argue with your family and cut people off in traffic. When you walk through those doors though, you put on your prettiest church smile, and when someone asks how you are, you respond with "Great!" Forget that your husband lost his job last week, you were just diagnosed with cancer, had a miscarriage, or found out your spouse is leaving you.
No one wants to open up and share those things. We want to put on the happy face and pretend that nothing is wrong. We want to look like we have it all together.
I've found though, when I open up, it's amazing what other people will do. When they find out that my husband has a traumatic brain injury, and the journey that took us through, all of a sudden, people are willing to share their own struggles.
Suddenly, I'm not some perfect, put-together, have it all woman. I'm real. I'm broken. I've experienced tragedy and prevailed. People can relate to that. We are all broken. We have all experienced tragedy in some form.
I've found that people want to talk about their hurts, but they are afraid of being judged. But when I open up first, and share my honest struggles, it grants a free pass for them to do the same. I don't put icing on my struggles. I'm honest about what I was thinking. I struggled with how to pray, how to get through the day, how to stay married to a man who wasn't the person I said "I Do" to. I have real struggles, real feelings.
When I am open to share that, it's amazing what people will tell me. There's a sense of acceptance in their eyes. Not acceptance for me, but a feeling that they will be accepted by me. I see in their eyes that they can believe that I will understand if they share their struggles too. And it gives me the opportunity to share of someone else who will accept them no matter what they have done.
Over the years, I have tried to share Jesus with people. But I always got in the way. I went about it wrong. I tried to tell the story instead of share the love. In the last 2 years though, I've found that all I have to do is share my story, just open up. When I share what I've gone through, my struggles, it gives me an opportunity to share Christ's love without forcing it. When I set aside my agenda, God gives me the opportunity to serve Him.
Jesus said to love others. When I love others, His love shines through me. God has given me a story to share. He has provided me with an opportunity to love others through sharing the story He gave me. When I share this story, it provides me with the opportunity to listen to someone else's hurts. It makes me real again. All I have to do is open up.
What story has God given you to share?
Tuesday, August 6, 2013
We were able to lounge by the pool, swim in the ocean, and go fishing. We took a walk on the beach at sunset, which was beautiful.
I love watching the sunset. The brilliant colors in the sky bounced off the surface of the water, making it that much more beautiful. We try our best to capture that beauty with pictures and paintings, but nothing compares to the real thing.
We try in so many areas of our lives to imitate something that God created, and we fall short. Our imitations may be nice, but compared to what God can do, it’s just a child’s drawing. We try to fill the void in our lives with money, prestige, careers, family; but nothing can compare to the indescribable joy of following God’s will for our lives.
So the next time you watch the sun set, or witness some other beauty only God can create, remember that He does the same works in our own lives, if we will only seek His will before our own. He will create masterpieces in our lives that we couldn’t even begin to imagine.
Tuesday, July 30, 2013
In the book though, it describes Rome at its peak, before it fell. It reminds me a lot of America today. The people were consumed with self-indulgence. Their focus was on "me". Just as my generation has been labeled the "me generation".
In that time, promiscuity was commonplace. Abortion was not frowned upon. Homosexuality was rampant. People spent their money on pleasures of the flesh. They held parties and drank themselves happy.
Sounds all too familiar if you ask me. When Rome became so proud, they thought they couldn’t be defeated, that’s when they fell. And we are headed for the same fate.
As a nation, America has turned her back on God. We are pursuing pleasures of the flesh. Money, cars, houses, position, careers, possessions, physical pleasures. We look down on those less fortunate than us, thinking it’s their own fault they didn’t do more with themselves. We choose convenience over right and wrong.
And if we don’t do something to change that, we are headed for the same fate. Rome isn’t the only nation this has happened to. Just look throughout history. Nations rise, they become proud, they fall. Look through the Old Testament. It is the same story over and over. God’s people follow Him until He gives them prosperity. Then they turn their back on Him and pursue their own desires. They are taken captive by another nation, and punished until they turn back to God again and start the cycle over.
Have we learned nothing from thousands of years of history repeating itself? When will we ever learn? We continue to pursue the pleasures of this world trying to fill a hole that was meant for Christ. If we would just turn to Him, go against what society says is right, we will find the fulfillment we are looking for.
It comes from emptying ourselves, not filling up with worthless things. It comes from giving of ourselves to others, not from taking everywhere we can. It comes from surrendering our lives to Christ and doing His will, not trying to find purpose on our own.
Our purpose is to serve and share the Gospel. Until we realize that, until we turn from the ways of the world, we are headed for the same fate as every other nation in history. You may not be able to change the world, or even the nation, but you can surrender to God and watch Him work miracles.
I'm by no means perfect, but I recognize that I am sinful and in need of a Savior. I am saved by grace. Out of gratitude for that saving grace, I surrender my life to Christ and allow Him to change me. Because I recognize that I can do nothing to earn or deserve my salvation, I strive to live my life for Christ. I do this not because it makes me any better or more deserving, but because I am so overwhelmed with God's love for me, that I want to love Him back. And the way He tells us to show Him love is by loving others, not ourselves.
It's time for a change, so what are you going to do about it?
Tuesday, July 23, 2013
Last year, some friends in my church group were adopting a baby and participated in the Chosen Marathon to help them raise money. It was for a good cause, and several of my friends were doing it, so I figured I would try again and do the half marathon with them. This time we trained to walk it, which was much more pleasurable than running.
We walked 10 miles the weekend before the race and were ready to go. Then 2 days before the half marathon, I had to have my gall bladder removed. I was still in the hopsital the day of, so needless to say, I didn't get to finish.
I vowed that I would run it next year though. I started training again in January (race was in October), but new that if I didn't have a sooner goal, I would give up again. So I decided to train for one in July. (I live in Texas where it usually hits over 100 most days in July, not one of my brighter ideas)
I researched running, and how to avoid injuries. I decided that I could do run/walk intervals. That sounded great to me. I could avoid injuries, finish faster than walking, and it wasn't as tiresome as running the whole thing.
This Saturday, despite the heat and humidity, I finally finished my 1st half marathon in 2 hours and 29 minutes!
Now to start training for the Chosen in October...
Tuesday, July 16, 2013
Instead of praying for healing, sometimes I just want to pray for Christ to return.
The Bible says that the end times will come like labor pains. As it gets closer to His return, disaster gets worse and closer together. When I look around I see earthquakes, tsunamis, hurricanes, floods, tornadoes, school shootings, murders of innocent children. I can't help but think that it has to be coming soon.
I remember the words of Solomon in Ecclesiastes "meaningless, meaningless, everything is meaningless." "There is nothing new under the sun." We go to school and work our whole lives so that we can retire and have time off, but by then we're too tired to do anything about it. After 12 chapters of describing life and everything in it as utterly meaningless, Solomon concludes that the purpose to life is to "follow God and keep His commands."
Our purpose in life is to follow God, to share His Word, His love, with others. That is the only purpose to life. We all have different ways of going about it, but that is what we are here for.
But I can't help but wonder, when will He return? What is taking so long? It's been over 2000 years, isn't it time to come back already?
I prayed hard for this for about a week. Constantly asking, why He hasn't come back yet. I went over every possible answer that I could think of and came up with a solution for it. The only one that held any weight for me was that He was waiting for more people to know Him first. But He's God. Yes we have free will, but He also knows what our choice will eventually be. So if He already knows the choice we're going to make, can't he just speed it up a little? Can't He just take the ones He knows will choose Him and come back now?
After about a week of this, God finally answered. It's the same answer that He gives me for many of the questions I ask. "My timing is perfect, just trust me."
I always try to rush God. I think I have the perfect plan, and if God would just listen to me, then it would make things so much easier. But again, God knows what I can't even comprehend. God sees what I can't. He knows that if He waits another hour, day, week, year, millennium, it will be better (for some reason that I can't understand) than if He came back now.
I just have to be patient.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not depressed, or suicidal. I have joy and peace in my life. I have a great life. I am blessed. But to be in the presence of God? Not just feeling Him near, but actually standing before Him...I can't even imagine how amazing that will be.
I look forward to that day. But in the meantime, I will continue to fulfill my purpose. I will continue to share about how great my God is, how much He has done for me. He has proven time and time again in my life, that His timing is perfect. I just have to keep trusting Him.
Wednesday, July 10, 2013
Thursday morning Jeff and I went to the 4th of July Parade with his sister, brother-in-law, niece, and nephew. Then we spend the rest of the day relaxing at the house.
We watched the fireworks for about 2 minutes from our backyard, then got bored and went to bed. Lame, I know, but we don't have kids, so we enjoy our sleep while we still can. :)
Jeff's birthday is the 11th, he'll be 34. Happy Birthday Honey!
Yesterday, I was sent the video trailer for my book! You can view it here!
Sunday, I was reminded that we are so blessed to have freedom here in America. Not just our independence, but true freedom. We are free to worship God. I love looking at it that way.
It's not a chore, it's not a duty. Jesus died on a cross in my place and bought my freedom.
I am free from the chains of sin. I am free to go to church on Sunday. I am free to sing praise and worship music. I am free to pray in public. I am free to write this blog and talk about God. I am free to share Christ with others. I am free to read the Bible. I am free to spend time with God. I am free to make good choices. I AM FREE!
Tuesday, July 2, 2013
There are so many different ways to praise Him now. It can be through singing songs, saying thanks, telling of His greatness, through actions...
So I want to take a moment to praise my God for the many many things He's done.
The first amazing thing He did was give His life for me. He died on a cross to take my place, so I could spend eternity in heaven with Him, when I did nothing to deserve it.
Then He acts like that act alone isn't enough, He continues to lavish me with blessings on a daily basis. God cares about my every day details. The mundane stuff no one else really cares about.
He knows every worried thought in my mind, every tear I cry (good or bad), every moment of joy in my heart. God cares about it all. He cares enough not only to listen to my prayers, but He wants me to pray, to spend time with Him.
The God of the universe, wants to know me personally, and wants me to know Him.
God has blessed me with a wonderful loving family, and an amazing husband. He has given me great friends to walk through life with. He has fulfilled all my basic needs, and then goes above and beyond to give me nice things.
He has given me a job that I love, and enjoy coming to, but where I still get vacation time to enjoy life outside of work.
He brought me to a wonderful church and small group that is active and alive. A group that cares about each other's needs and puts the caring to action.
He loves me and knows me so well that He knows my desires better than I do. He knows my stubborn mind, and what it takes for me to learn something. Then He takes the time to teach me.
He has allowed difficulties in my life so that I could learn a million new lessons about who God is, and what He expects from me.
I could go on and on all day, but the bottom line is GOD IS GOOD! He is amazing! He is beyond my comprehension! He is soverign! He is God. Praise God!
What has God given you to praise Him for?
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Tuesday, June 25, 2013
1st: It has been 2 years since my husband's four-wheeler accident which resulted in a traumatic brain injury changing our lives forever.
2nd: My book "How I Survived My Husband's Brain Injury" is released.
I never imagined the night of the accident the change that would happen in our lives. We have been through many ups and downs since then.
Those first few months were just a roller coaster of emotions.
But now, I can look back and be thankful for all that we have been blessed with. We would never be where we are today had it not been for the trials we went through.
I love that God chose us to watch Him work miracles in our lives.
So go to www.howisurvivedmyhusbandsbraininjury.com and get your copy of my book so you can see how God got us through the most difficult time in our lives, and made us better because of it.
Tuesday, June 18, 2013
There is something about the way that he looked at her. The way he interacted with her, he couldn't live without her. It's the kind of love portrayed in the movies. The idea of a soul mate. That one person that you are drawn to. You don't have a choice but to love them.
I had that love in high school. There was a guy, and when we were together, it felt like we fit. We were made for each other. You just can't explain that feeling. It was the love in the movies.
But it was the love that the world offers.
And just like anything the world offers, it seems good at the time. It provides instant gratification. But in the end, it was a feeling, it withers, it causes pain.
Nothing that the world can offer will last. There is a love though, that does last.
It is the love that God offers. It doesn't always seem appealing. There is heartache and pain with it too. But it lasts, and while it may not have the instant gratification of the world's love, it provides so much more than we could ever hope for or imagine.
That is the love I have now. It's the kind of love that gets you through the difficult times. It lifts you up in the high times of life, but it carries you through the low.
I have experienced the love that God offers. I have turned my back on God a few times in my life. Yet, he still loves me. He calls me back to Him, no matter how far I run.
It is the love that discipliines. It may not be romantic, but it is real, and lasting. It isn't just a feeling.
Because I have experienced God's love, I am able to love my husband more fully. Obviously, I'm human and therefore my love will never be as perfect as God's. But I have an example to go by.
It may not be the dramatic, can't exist without you, soul mate feeling kind of love, but it's so much more than that. I choose to love my husband. Love is a feeling, but feelings fade. So true love, the love that lasts, is a choice. It is an action. It's not some unexplainable emotion that I have no control over.
And that is the kind of love I want, and am blessed to have. No matter how appealing the movies make their love look, it can't compare to real love.
I was driving in the car as I was thinking about all this, and the song "Oh How He Loves Us" by David Crowder came on the radio. It was like a little love song from God, reminding me once again, how He loves me.
And He is jealous from me, loves like a hurricane, I am a tree
Bending beneath the weight of His wind and mercy
When all of a sudden I am unaware of these afflictions
Eclipsed by glory and I realize just how beautiful You are
And how great Your affections are for me
And oh, how He loves us, oh
Oh, how He loves us, how He loves us all
And He is jealous from me, loves like a hurricane, I am a tree
Bending beneath the weight of His wind and mercy
When all of a sudden I am unaware of these afflictions
Eclipsed by glory and I realize just how beautiful You are
And how great Your affections are for me
Oh, how He loves, yeah, He loves us
Oh, how He loves us, oh, how He loves us
Oh, how He loves
And we are His portion and He is our prize
Drawn to redemption by the grace in His eyes
If His grace is an ocean, we're all sinking
And heaven meets earth like an unforeseen kiss
And my heart turns violently inside of my chest
I don't have time to maintain these regrets
When I think about the way
Oh, how He loves us, oh
Oh, how He loves us, how He loves all
How He loves
Yeah, He loves us, oh, how He loves us
Oh, how He loves us, oh how He loves
Oh, I love
Yeah, He loves us, yeah, He loves us
How He loves us, oh, how He loves us all
DAVID CROWDER - HOW HE LOVES LYRICS
How has God shown you His love?
Monday, June 10, 2013
As the date for my book release approaches, I've been working really hard to get the word out about it. Of course, my target audience are spouses of those with TBI. So to get the word out, I've been visiting some of the hospitals that Jeff stayed during his recovery.
It has been encouraging to visit with some of the people that took care of him during those uncertain days. Everyone is so amazed to see how well he is doing. Espeically the first hospital he was in.
He was unconcious the first 8 days, and when he did wake up, nothing looked promising. They were so excited to see him walking and talking. Then to hear that he is working full time, and leading a normal life...it brought huge smiles to their faces. We were able to give them a little hope that what they are doing makes such a huge difference.
This weekend I had a book signing at another hospital Jeff stayed for about a month. At that hospital, they were working on his memory, and everytime someone saw him, they asked if he could remember their names, most of the time he couldn't.
But this time, he did remember, and was able to joke with them about it.
It was just another reminder of how much God has done for us. We continue to be blessed every day.
At church this Sunday, there was a couple who shared their testimony. She found out she had breast cancer during her 6th month of pregnancy. Yet there they were, a year later, beautiful baby in their arms. They were able to share the blessings that God brought through such a difficult and uncertain time.
I just love when God takes the bad and turns it to good. I love it when God's people turn to Him during difficulty and are then allowed to see the wonderful blessings in the midst of tragedy.
Tuesday, June 4, 2013
When I see someone trying to cut in front of me in traffic on the highway, I quickly try to speed up and get as close to the bumper in front of me as possible, so that person can't get in. Or, when I'm merging from 2 lanes into one, and there's someone next to me, I speed up and cut them off. I know you do it too, don't lie.
Oh, but if you cut me off in that traffic line, or speed up so I can't be in front when merging, then you're just a mean person. I mean, I'm usually in a hurry when I'm driving, and whatever I'm on my way to do, is much more important than whatever they are on their way to do. Right?
That is of course, until I see that it's the pastor, or someone I know... then I pretend like I didn't see them at first, and give them the right of way.
I do this with many things in life, I feel entitled. I feel like I deserve something. I've worked hard, I've been through a lot, I deserve happiness in my life.
But then, I look at the cross. What did Christ deserve? Surely not to be crucified for MY sins. The Bible says "the wages of sin are death" (Romans 6:23a). It doesn't matter how much good I've done, or how hard I've worked. I have sinned at some point in my life. Some times more than others (depends on how much I have to drive).
So really what I deserve is death. I'm not entitled to anything. I deserve to live a life of misery and punishment.
But the verse continues "but the gift of God is eternal life" (Romans 6:23b). I did nothing to deserve it, but God chose to give up His seat in heaven, come to earth, become human, suffer and die...for me. I've known this for a long time, but I still can't wrap my head around it. Why would a perfect God love me so much? It doesn't make sense, but it's true.
I work with kids, and we use an illustration to help them understand what it means to follow Jesus. It's a car with 2 holes one behind the other. In the front hole sits a person. That person represents you. You are driving the car. Then you ask Jesus into your life, and He gets in the backseat. So now you are still driving, but you have Jesus in the car with you. As you grow and trust Jesus, you switch places and let Jesus drive.
So the next time I think I'm entitled to cut someone off, I have to remind myself to "let Jesus drive". The next time I feel I deserve better than the life I'm given, I have to remind myself to "let Jesus drive". He died for me even though I did nothing to earn it, the least I can do is trust that He knows best. Who knows, maybe He will even take the bad things I didn't "deserve" and use them to help others, or write a book. ;)
I want to hear from you. When have you received something you didn't think you deserved, good or bad?
Tuesday, May 28, 2013
Then I have somewhat of a social life, so between girl's night out, prayer groups, writer's groups, etc., I usually don't get home before 8 most nights of the week. And then, because I have to get up and go to work early, I usually only have about an hour or so with my husband before going to bed. Then most weekends are filled with book signings, or family stuff, so Jeff and I really haven't spent much time together lately.
Now don't get me wrong, I do work long hours, but I love what I do, so it's worth it. However, this last week has been wonderful to have some time off. The last day of school was Wednesday, and we have a week between the end of school and the beginning of our summer program. So I actually get some time to relax! On top of that, Jeff chose to be on call the same week I'm off. That means, he gets to be home during the day, and just has to answer the phones at night. So we are actually able to spend some time together!
Yesterday, we just sat on the couch all day watching TV. Now I know that sounds boring to most of you, but in our fast paced, busy lives, it was wonderful just to kick back and do nothing for a day.
It also gives me more time to reflect on how blessed we are. I am reminded of how well Jeff is doing. He is so sweet, caring, and thoughtful. I love that he does his own laundry, cleans dishes, picks up dog poop in the backyard. Yes, I said poop. He takes care of the yard, and feeds the dogs. He watches chick-flicks with me, and will take my car to fill it up with gas, or change the oil so I don't have to.
These are all the mundane things in life, but I'm so thankful for them. I could have a husband who doesn't care about me, or doing things around the house, but I don't. I have a husband who is thoughtful, and goes out of his way to make me happy. I am so blessed, and thankful that God chose me to be his wife. For better, for worse, in sickness, and in health.
Next weekend will be our 6 year anniversary. While that may not seem very long to some, we have been through more in those 6 years than most go through in a lifetime. We have lived through every word of our vows, and we are more in love now than the day we said them. So happy anniversary Jeff! I love you!
What are you thankful for?
Tuesday, May 21, 2013
Having a celebration to honor Veterans, ResCare invited me to set up a table to sell my books. The residents, families, and staff were all in attendance. Honored to be a part of it, and excited to share hope with family members, I had the chance to talk to many of the residents that have suffered TBIs. It also reminded of Jeff at that stage, and where he could still be now.
I am so blessed, and thankful that God chose my husband to perform a miracle on. Our story could have turned out so differently. I had the opportunity to talk to parents and spouses of those with a brain injury, still dealing with the everyday trials of caring for someone with a TBI.
I gladly offered hope to some. Jeff's doctors told me, he would need 24 hour care for the rest of his life. He would never stay home alone, never work, and never drive. He would always have the mental capacity of a child. Yet here we are today, and he defied all those odds.
While the doctors’ assessments may come true, there is always hope because we serve a God of miracles. We have to hang on to the hope and peace that He alone can give.
I was listening to a song on the radio yesterday about praising God "even if the healing doesn't come." I found it so appropriate. We often only want to praise God in the good times, but sometimes, for reasons we don’t understand, He chooses not to heal, or answer our prayer the way we expect. We have to trust that God knows what’s best and worship Him anyway.
If we can worship in the hard times, it becomes that much sweeter when God does heal. So keep hoping, keep praying. But trust in God’s perfect timing, and exalt His name no matter what the answer is, or how long it takes to reach fruition.
What “healing” are you waiting on? How have you been able to praise God in difficult times?
Tuesday, May 14, 2013
I started thinking about why people read my posts on Caring Bridge after Jeff's accident. Yes, those people care about us, and wanted updates. But there was something more. I thought about why people are reading my book now. When I was doing the journal updates, I got so many comments about how honest I was. And now, I have had so many people tell me that they enjoyed my book because I'm honest. I talked about things that most people wouldn't talk about, or shared things that most wouldn't admit.
I had trouble praying during a tragedy when I should be on my knees constantly. I yelled at God. I worried about where my marraige would go when Jeff went though the mean and angry phase. Most people just put on a mask and hide their struggles. But how does that help anyone?
People seem to like my honestly, the fact that I'm real. So that's what I want to do. I want to continue to be real with you.
So I'm just going to start sharing my mind with you, telling you about my struggles even now, 2 years post accident. Some of it will be brain injury related, but some will just be about life in general.
Here goes nothing...
I shared in my book about my struggles through prayer. At a time in my life when I should have been praying the most, I couldn't find the words to say anything but "God please." God has taught me a lot about how to pray, and since then, my prayer life has been more vibrant that it has ever been.
I have been able to have open conversation with God, and pray throughout the day. I have seen the power of prayer both in big miracles like Jeff's healing, and in small day-to-day prayers like how a difficult conversation with a friend will go.
However, lately I've been busy. I have said yes to more commitments than I should have, and frankly am just too tired to pray most of the time. When I have my quiet moments in the car driving to and from work, instead of having my deepest conversations with God like I used to, I'm finding myself just sitting in the quiet. Not having the desire to spend time in conversation. I just want to rest.
I recognize that my prayer life will have seasons, just like life, just like my relationship with God. There will be times of euphoria, and times of neglect. However, just because there are seasons, doesn't give me a free pass to neglect my time with God.
God never ceases to amaze me, and I've noticed now that I'm more busy and tired, when I do show up, God blows my mind. I love that He waits for me, that He is excited when I make time to spend with Him. Even if it's just 2 minutes here and there.
Just because God taught me new insights about prayer, doesn't mean my prayer life is perfect. I think that's the point. It is ongoing.
You have to have open communication with God. Many think that they don't have time to pray because they have to have this long drawn out prayer every time following the example that Jesus gave us in the Lord's Prayer. While it is good to do that sometimes, that doesn't have to be the prayer every time. Sometimes a prayer can be a simple as, "Thanks God!" or "God please!"
No matter what you say, make time for God. He is waiting for you, and if you show up, you'll be amazed at what He wants to show you.
What's your excuse for not praying?
Tuesday, May 7, 2013
When I think about how God is choosing to use me, I am completely humbled. Me, a broken, sinful, unworthy girl. I could have been born anyone, anywhere. I could have been born into a Muslim extremist family, or to a tribe in Africa who has never heard of Jesus. But I wasn't. God knew me before I was born. He created me as I am, and placed me in the family and location that I am.
I don't understand why He would choose to do that for me, but He did. He gave me my mind and created it to think the way it does. Yet, I am still sinful. I still fall short. I don't deserve anything except death. But out of God's amazing grace and love, He sent his only son to die in my place. That should have been more than enough in itself, but God didn't stop there. No, He continues to bless me beyond measure.
I am humbled and honored that God chose me for the journey He did. I didn't enjoy the trials surrounding my husband's traumatic brain injury, but I am amazed by what has come of it. I am humbled that God chose to give me this story to tell. I have nothing to offer, but God is using me. He gave me the story. He gave me the words to put on paper. He turned in into a book. He is giving me the words to share my testimony.
Me...the girl afraid of a microphone, who hated to even write a paper in college, is now an author and speaker. God is using me to tell His story. He is using me to share His miracles.
I really can't understand it. When I try to wrap my mind around God's greatness, I am overwhelmed. He is so far beyond anything that I could ever comprehend. He is perfect and holy. Yet, He chooses to love us, and He loves us as we are. That is the real miracle "God demonstrates His own love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8).
Wednesday, April 24, 2013
I think not. First, I don’t think that God looks at us and says “You can have tragedy A, and this person over here can have tragedy B.” I think that tragedy happens for many reasons. Sometimes, it is to strengthen us. Other times, it’s a punishment for something we did. Still others, it's simply the result of living in a fallen world with sinful people.
We are only as strong as our trust in God. I have heard many times “God doesn’t call the equipped, he equips the called.” Our own independent strength doesn't matter. Something will always arise that is beyond what we can handle. God means for those times to draw us closer to Him, not tear us from Him. When you can turn to God during difficult times, He will give you strength beyond your own capability.
The ability and freedom God allowed me to sometimes just scream at Him provided huge relief. I could tell Him that I couldn't handle the pain any more. I had someone I could vent to, share my raw emotions with, and He would never think any less of me for it. Then He could hold me in His arms when I reached the end of my strength, and carry me the rest of the way. It allowed me to appear strong to others because I could be weak before God.
I had no strength of my own, God's strength became my strength.
Monday, April 15, 2013
I’ve read so many books about other people that suffered a TBI, and while they made amazing recovery, they weren’t like my husband’s recovery. His truly was a miracle. I have a hard time understanding it.
It’s easier to look at families that don’t know God and see why they wouldn’t get a miracle. They don’t know to ask for one, and if they got one, they wouldn’t understand what it was. But what about those families that have thriving relationships with God and don’t get the miracle? I know a pastor whose son has a brain injury and he still has major life-altering struggles years after his accident. I know she has prayed for a miracle for him, and so have I. So why hasn’t he received the miracle healing?
I know it’s not because of anything we have done. I’m not perfect, I have sinned just as much as the next person. I’m not any more righteous or deserving than anyone else. I probably didn’t even pray as much as some other people have. Yet, my husband is a miracle. He made more recovery than what was possible in our human standards and capabilities.
The only explanation is the grace of God. He chooses who He wants. It’s part of His plan. “Why me?” isn’t any more explainable than why God choose to leave His throne in heaven to come down to earth and live among us, to become one of us. Not only that, but He died for us. He died for me. I didn’t do anything to deserve that. On the contrary, what I did was deserving of death. “But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).
I can’t even wrap my mind around that. God’s love for us is so great that we can’t even fathom it. The love parents have for their children can’t even hold a candle to God’s love for us. He chooses to bless us all in different ways. God knows our wants and needs better than we do. For Jeff and I, what was best for us, and what glorified God the most, was to heal Jeff. For others, what is best for them is the journey itself.
We may not be able to understand it this side of heaven, but someday we will. Someday, we will be able to look back on our lives and see all the things we thought were curses and realize they were blessings in disguise. Maybe for us, maybe it was for someone else. Either way, we have to know that “God works out all things for the good of those who love Him, who are called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28).
What is God asking you to trust Him with?
Tuesday, April 9, 2013
When my husband suffered a TBI though, it was a different story. He didn’t wake up and go right back to normal. He didn’t wake up for 8 days. Then when he did, it was nothing like the movies. It also caused me to start doing all kinds of research on brain injuries. I was interested in their typical progress, but more than anything, I wanted to know how other people dealt with the changes in their loved one.
Specifically, I wanted to know from another wife’s perspective. How do you stay married to someone who isn’t the person you married? How do you go from being a wife to a mother of your husband? How do you go back to being the wife as he gets better? How do you deal with the mood swings and the verbal abuse? On the other hand, I was afraid to ask these questions because I was afraid the answer might be to leave him, and I wasn’t willing to do that.
Living with someone that has a TBI is a lifelong journey. Even if he fully recovers, life will always be different than it was before. But depending on your outlook, and your support system, that can be good or bad. I choose for it to be a good thing. I have a great support system, and most importantly, I have great faith in God. He has given me more strength than I ever could have found on my own. Where does your strength and support come from?
Visit my website at www.howisurvivedmyhusbandsbraininjury.com