• October 28, 2016 /  Uncategorized

    #17. FIND A SUPPORT GROUP OF LIKE MINDED FOLKS
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    One of the biggest blessings for me since I broke my brain 19 months ago began when I “stumbled” upon an online FB support group for head injured folks just like me. Wow. To be able to read my life in print from so many others that were struggling through very similar things gave me hope and encouragement.
    It let me know I was not alone.
    It gave me some connection in this isolated place.
    It reassured me I ain’t crazy and this stuff is real.
    It opened dialogue to new treatments and therapies.
    It allowed me to weep with others who just couldn’t take one more day and to be comforted by others when I hit rock bottom and couldn’t get up.
    The Bible says there is fellowship in suffering.
    We relate to people who have like stories and who have traveled identical paths.
    We nod reassuringly when we read comments written by flesh-n-blood humans that echo our own thoughts and experiences.
    We breathe a sigh of relief when someone opens up in honesty about their latest struggle and their hardest night because somewhere in there we find ourselves.

    I would encourage anyone who is walking through a difficult time to lift your head up and find a support system.  Seek out a group of people who can understand the challenges you are facing and will surround you with good clean compassion.
    Pick and chose wisely. You don’t need more toxic people in your life if you are at a painful point…yet you don’t want to exclude those who are willing to speak some hard truth even if it hurts a bit.
    Know that everyone in your support group won’t be the friend for you.
    The support group I am in is full of folks from all walks of life with differing points of view, but we have one thing in common…we all have broken brains.
    I gravitate towards some more than others and vice versa.
    This can be done without tearing one another down.
    In support groups, you learn how to pick up the stuff that is most valuable to you and lay down the stuff that isn’t your cup-of-tea.
    You learn to scroll past while shrugging your shoulders.
    And you learn to look with eyes of compassion at another one of God’s creation whose life choices look nothing like yours but their situation does.

    Google is wonderful. Use it.
    Call local churches.
    Phone books are still valid, right?
    Search FB using titles of the pain in your life and see what pops up.
    There are groups for widows, mom’s who have lost children, single parents, addiction recovery, suicide and depression,  mom’s with young kids, empty nesters, women in ministry, homeschoolers, diabetics, migraine suffers, athletes and on and on it goes.
    If you are feeling alone in your struggle, you don’t have to anymore.
    Though no one can walk in your exact shoes, there are plenty of folks jogging the same path next to you. But you gotta lift up your head and glance to the side to see them.

     

  • October 24, 2016 /  Uncategorized

    #2. GOD’S WORD WORKS FOR ME TODAY JUST LIKE IT DID 3 YEARS AGO.
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    Sometimes on lonely days
    I am tempted to believe that I am an exception to the rule.
    That somehow, someway God’s Word isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.
    Since I have cracked my head, I figure everything must be cracked.
    My brain is cracked.
    My emotions are cracked.
    My abilities are cracked.
    My talents are cracked.
    So, God’s Word must be cracked….
    cause if it wasn’t…
    I would be able to apply it today
    to all my cracks and get all mended up.

    Funny thing that it takes me the darkest of times to realize and remember again that God’s Word is completely sufficient to stand on its own.
    In every single situation, station and manner of life
    GOD’S WORD STILL WORKS.

    God’s Word didn’t lose its power when I bashed my brain.
    God’s Word hasn’t lost its strength while I recover.
    God’s Word is the same yesterday, today and forever.
    It doesn’t shift or change depending on my circumstances
    or my latest happenings.
    It doesn’t bend to the tide or popular opinion.
    On the good days…and on the bad…..
    GOD’S WORD STILL WORKS.

    I can and should apply the healing salve of the Scriptures to my broken brain,
    my injured expectations, and my damaged dreams.
    I had better learn how to “speak” the Word and “do” the Word today in this place
    cause if it doesn’t work here…it won’t work anywhere.

    When life throws us curve balls,
    smacks us in the face
    or runs us over on the road….
    let’s remember that the unchanging,
    constant,
    reliable Words of our Lord
    are as firm a foundation as ever they were.
    And in these places…the broken places…
    we can rest assured…because…
    GOD’S WORD STILL WORKS.

  • October 21, 2016 /  Uncategorized

    #16 SIMPLIFY IS NOT A NAUGHTY WORD.

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    After 19 months of repeated head injuries, I was forced to face
    some pretty grim realities.
    My life had not been rolling along as I had expected it to
    and I was at the something-has-to-give point.
    The I-can’t-do-my-usual-stuff-anymore point.
    The you’d-better-make-some-changes point.
    The downsize-now point.
    In other words, even more decisions had to be made regarding my broken brain lifestyle and how to make it work for me.

    Sparing you the details of all the changes I have found it necessary to make I will cut straight to the heart of the matter. Yes, the heart.
    My head may have been the injured part, but my heart kinda got broken too along the way.
    I found I had to pep talk myself into the unavoidable changes.
    Almost daily I would have to encourage myself in the downsizing.
    Strengthen myself in the less is best.
    And admonish myself in the path of slower.
    My favorite saying to myself became,
    Simplify is not a naughty word.”
    I said it over and over again as I was getting rid of some of the stuff in my life that I no longer had the time for, or the strength for,
    or the energy for, or the balance for, or the brain cells for.

    Maybe there are areas in your life when you are feeling the tug of change.
    You know that you have overbooked.  You sense that you are overburdened.
    Yet, the cost of removal seems too high.
    It’s hard to let go of the things we have become accustomed to.
    Paces we have learned to keep up with and activities that we enjoy.

    When you find that changes are unavoidable
    (and really, in the long run, may be for the better)
    you can share my new favorite words with me.
    You can put them in your own mouth when you are feeling kinda blue and you can chew them up.
    Then you can swallow them down so that they become part of your new mantra.
    Simplify isn’t a naughty word.
    Now…say it till ya mean it.

     

  • October 17, 2016 /  Uncategorized

    #15. TAKE THE COURSE TO STAY THE COURSE.

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    Welp, here I am 19 months out from the crash and burn that
    injured my head and changed my life.
    Nineteen months and four head concussions later actually.
    19 months.

    Now, I love my Christian brothers and sisters.
    We are all doing our best to make our way in this upside down world
    while still honoring Jesus in all our stuff.
    We are each at different places in our journeys.
    We have all lived through varying experiences.
    We all gots a story to tell. Some have two.
    So it is not a surprise to me at all
    that I would be met with such an accumulation of viewpoints
    on why I am not healed,
    how I should get healed
    and what God has to say on the matter.
    I usually find there is a thread or more of truth
    wrapped up in each skein of opinion.

    Now, I have good God-loving friends that believe
    a child of God should never, ever have to be sick.
    That it is God’s will to heal every single time.
    These friends put God in the “God always heals box.”

    I have other pals that think healing is not for today,
    that this is old school teaching.
    That the miracles of healing died out with the first church.
    They have put God in the “Healing isn’t for today box.”

    And I have seen too many Jesus people hurt by
    some well-meaning church folks
    that have boxed up God and handed Him to the suffering saint.
    Those who don’t receive their healing hang their head in shame
    at their apparent lack of faith
    while those who are ill and could use a bonified miracle
    don’t even bother seeking the Lord
    and simply pray “Thy will be done”
    never asking what that will may be.

    Aaahhhh, 19 months of broken brain
    gives a girl some time to “hear it all” and then some.

    During my many years of loving Jesus, I have read His Word,
    walked His Word and taken a few life courses.
    All of these courses I’ve taken more than once.
    A couple I have failed and had to repeat.
    But nevertheless the courses I did take…
    and I will continue to take… and learn from.
    I realize in this life I must take the course to stay the course
    or I will end up falling off a cliff somewhere
    and most likely die in a dried up ravine.
    And that sounds worse to me than sifting through
    the challenges and opinions of others.

    The first course I took began about 28 years ago.
    It was called Christianity 101… God Heals.
    To me, that is a fundamental of my faith.
    There ain’t no way on earth I can be believing my God
    for a new resurrected body
    and not believe that He can heal me today.
    So basic…so 101…so no-brainer.
    Guest speakers on this “God Heals” subject include;
    a leper, blind Bartimaeus, Lazereth, a guy who was crippled from birth, some crazy possessed by a legion of demons and Peter’s mother-in-law.
    They were all quite convincing.

    The second course I have been enrolled in for many years.
    It Christianity 102.
    It is called God’s Grace is Sufficient.
    This is the course that teaches you about suffering
    and broken dreams and thorn living.
    It’s a rough one. I’ve failed it a couple times.
    But I keep opening the Book and reviewing the syllabus
    determined to pass this course with honors.
    The teachers here are honest and raw.
    They have scars.
    But they speak with the greatest of power.
    People like Trophimus who was left behind sick
    while Paul went to minister.
    Timothy who was instructed to drink wine for his frequent stomach ailments.
    A bunch of people who registered without names
    to talk about what it was like to lay by the pool of  Bethesda
    and watch Jesus walk by them to heal another.
    And then there was Paul, the guy with the thorn, who begged God three times to take his suffering away and each time God said, “No.”

    The newest course that I have enrolled in is Christianity 103
    The title? The I Don’t Know Nothing Course.
    Yep, that’s where the student has sat in enough classes
    and accumulated enough life lesson time
    that now she sits at the feet of the Master and says,
    “I have no idea what’s going on. Good thing You do.”
    Great people of the Faith have sat there.
    You can read about them all through the Bible.
    A summary of them is supplied for us in Hebrews chapter 11.
    Snuggled beside each other in this “faith chapter” are two paragraphs; one declaring the victories, the healings, the deliverances of God’s people and the very next one announcing the defeat, the trials, the torture of His Kids.
    And God labels them all faithful, whether they lived their lives in the first paragraph or the second.  Whether they got their healing or not.

    Here’s a poem I am required to memorize
    for this Christianity 103, I Don’t Know Nothing Course…
    I’ll share it with you as a preview
    in case you decide to sign up for this class one day.
    Lord, my eyes are not proud
    Nor my heart lofty
    Nor do I involve myself in great matters
    Or in things too difficult for me
    Surely I have composed and quieted my souls
    As a weaned child leans against his mother
    So my souls is as a weaned child within me
    Hope in the Lord, Kim Barnes Waterman
    From this time forth and forever more.
    Psalms 131

    Welp, wherever you are in your journey remember
    to be a continual student of the Word.
    Don’t shun the work study.
    Show up for the on hands training seminars and labs.
    Eat lunch with the other students.
    Stay after class for extra help.
    Find a tutor if necessary and
    Take The Course to Stay the Course.

  • October 14, 2016 /  Uncategorized

    #14. FIND THE PLACE OF ACCEPTING YOUR REALITY
    WITHOUT GIVING UP HOPE.
    rock-cleft
    Well, I done did it now.
    I have officially received my fourth head injury in 18 months.
    That puts me 2 over the “line of no return.”
    And I ain’t even adding the 3 concussions
    prior to my countdown or the several concussions in between.

    Up until my recent car accident
    I have been hanging around waiting for the neurons in my brain
    to forge new pathways and stand me up again.
    I was resting at the stalled part of my broken brain journey
    in the traffic jam of my life
    looking forward to shifting her into drive
    and pressing my foot on the accelerator so I could
    get back on the road of the living.

    But now I sit silently at the wheel of a car that has run out of gas
    because it has sat a long time idling.
    I cross my arms and sink back into the driver’s seat.
    I rest my tired, aching head on the cushion and
    take a big-deep-here-I-am-again breath.
    And I ask myself this question,
    “How do I find the place of accepting my reality
    without giving up hope?”

    I reach over and pull up my Bible
    that I had laid neatly on the passenger’s seat.
    I open it, not even knowing where to begin.
    I believe that God will be faithful to me whenever I search
    His Word for answers.
    Sometimes the digging is deep and is a lengthy process.
    Other times it’s like finding a shiny new coin…
    it’s right there for the taking.

    Today I found a coin in Exodus 33.

    “Behold, there is a place by Me, and you shall stand there on the rock…I will put you in the cleft of the rock and cover you with My hand.”

    There it is. The place I’ve been pining for.
    The place where I am able to accept my reality
    but can still hope.
    It is the place next to God that He has reserved for me.
    A place on the rock where I can stand.
    Stand… not lay down and die. Stand.
    And when the days get tough, and life seems unbearably long
    He will be sure that I am hidden in the cleft of that rock.
    My God will personally cover the opening with His hand
    so I can withstand the moments that have been portioned to me.
    And in that hidden place, I am assured to see His glory.

    How about you?
    Do you need a place to stand these days where
    your reality can be looked at square in the face and dealt with
    while still maintaining a vibrant hope?
    Well, there is lots of room on this solid rock on which I stand.
    Here, take hold of my hand…and I will help you up.

     

  • October 5, 2016 /  Uncategorized

     

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    Life. Sometimes it’s hard to figure out.
    Some of it’s fun. Plenty of it is rough.
    Much of it comes wrapped in a package called unexpected,
    tied up with a bow just for show.

    As Christians, we sometimes struggle with the
    “Which one was it syndrome.”
    especially when our stuff turns sour and the pain sets in.

    We have been taught (and rightly so)
    that we each have three enemies;
    ourselves
    this world
    the demonic.
    Along the road marked with suffering,
    we like to look in the rearview mirror
    at least long enough to squint backwards
    and find out who is responsible for our current mess.

    Sometimes God tells us. Sometimes He don’t.
    Sometimes there is a sole culprit.
    Sometimes a nice mixture.
    And sometimes it’s simply too big for us to understand.

    When I run into detours along my way
    I will often pull over and sit, then idle for awhile.
    Frequently there are no other choices.
    It is inevitably follow the detour signs
    and drive forward into the unknown
    hoping this unexpected road will eventually lead me
    back to a quiet more familiar path.
    That’s usually when I begin to ponder the big one,
    “Who is responsible for this mess anyways?”

    And that’s when I take out my sifter…
    I made it myself for times such as these…
    and I plop on the top of my homemade contraption
    my three enemies;
    myself
    this world
    the demonic
    and then I begin to shake and sift and shake
    until one of those three breaks up and falls through.

    After my recent car accident and head reinjury
    I shook and shook that sifter real hard
    but nothing passed through except a few bits and straggles
    which were unidentifiable to the naked eye.

    “Hmmmm,” I thought, “Guess I’m not gonna know this one.”
    And that’s when I began to do
    what I’ve learned to do when answers don’t come quick
    and mystery stares me in the face.
    I reminded myself that;
    Sometimes God tells us. Sometimes He don’t.
    Sometimes there is a sole culprit.
    Sometimes a nice mixture.
    And sometimes it’s simply too big for us to understand.

    Next, I proceeded to open my mouth really wide
    and I said aloud into the air
    because that way I know whoever the culprit is
    would hear me and I quoted;
    “Lord, my heart is not proud
    nor my eyes lofty
    nor do I involve myself in great matters
    or in things too difficult for me.
    Surely I have composed and quieted my soul
    as a weaned child leans against his mother
    so my soul is as a weaned child within me
    you hope in the Lord, Kim Barnes Waterman
    from this time forth and forever more.”

    Finally, I looked around for those detour signs
    and I began to follow them…all the way through.