Seventeen months ago I slipped and I fell and I bashed my head on the concrete walkway below. I imagine I shall never forget the cracking sound that penetrated my hearing inside and out as I took that blow.
One icy walkway, one slippery step, one quick instant and my whole life changed.
It has taken me a very long time wrestling with grief, guilt, pain, shock, self-pity and denial before I could even seriously consider putting down on paper my many and varied adventures doing life with a broken brain.
After all, who wants to hear the torrid details of me…when everybody else has their own difficult stuff they are marching through every day?
Sooooo hoping to avoid more bellyaching (though I firmly believe there are places to stop, choke, wince, gag, gasp, and puke on this broken brain pathway.)
I would like to share some of the lessons I’ve learned on this unexpected journey.
Because, could be, maybe, there is someone out there that is facing their own rugged terrain… or deep valley… or high mountain.
And maybe, possibly, I could be the voice that calls to them in their darkness, letting them know that they are not alone.
And maybe, perhaps, through these little lessons, we can develop a community of life-doers who find some strength in numbers and comfort in the character of their God.
Maybe. Possibly. Perhaps.
Each post will reveal only one life lesson…short, simple, and to the point.
The blogs will be written so my readers can jump in anytime and follow,
or look back and reread,
or feast on several blogs at a time with a cup of coffee in hand,
or digest individual life lessons one by one.
I have a strong hunch you as the reader are gonna identify yourself wrapped in the pages of these blog posts…head trauma or not…
are all a part of everyone’s life
no matter our age, rank or serial number.
Stuff happens that we can’t control.
Life twists and turns at the most unexpected places.
Disappointment becomes a frequent visitor.
And we hang a banner over our unwelcomed hardships that reads,
“I didn’t sign up for this.”
Eventually, though, we move from crying in the dust to standing on wobbly legs.
When realization settles heavy on us… we come to grips with the fact
there is no other way but through….
so we take a deep breath, square our chin and proceed forward.
We have make the brave decision that we are gonna walk the pathway in front of us. The one that has our name on it
It is on this very broken walkway, where dreams have been shattered
and “normal” disfigured that we find secrets hidden along the way…
Buried beneath the rubble of suffering,
concealed amidst damaged hopes,
tucked away between fragments of pain….
We find, to our surprise, treasures hidden in the darkness.
Our own private collection of rubies, diamonds, and other gems
strategically placed along the path we are trodding.
Concealed in rocky crevices, sprinkled among thorns and thistles.
All there for the taking. All meant to be collected. All designed for the showroom.
What God whispers in the darkness is designed to be revealed in the light.
Glimmering jewels are purposed to be taken out and examined.
Shared and passed around.
I am blessed beyond measure to have a tiny little platform that allows me a voice.
As one traveling through a wildness, the mostly uncharted land of the brain injured, I have the honor and the privilege of sharing with my brothers and sisters the gems I have discovered along the way.
The secrets of darkness.
Welcome to….I BROKE MY BRAIN (and the lessons I’ve learned)
#16 SIMPLIFY IS NOT A NAUGHTY WORD.
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.
#15. TAKE THE COURSE TO STAY THE COURSE.
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.
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.
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.
#14. FIND THE PLACE OF ACCEPTING YOUR REALITY
WITHOUT GIVING UP HOPE.
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.
#13 Cry when you want to and laugh when you can.
While traveling along this broken brain journey
I have had to learn to give myself permission for certain things.
I have had to tell myself it is okay not to be okay.
I have had to encourage myself to laugh a little more.
I have had to let myself know crying is perfectly acceptable
and maybe even healthy.
So when an old saying began to resurface in my broken brain
I received it as a gift to be opened and used.
I then wrote myself a permission slip
that has no expiration date.
And I decided that gift would become
one of my “new normal” mantras;
I’ll cry when I want to and laugh when I can.
Little about this life’s journey is easy
broken brain or not.
We sometimes need gentle reminders along the way.
We sometimes need large print reminders as we move forward.
And sometimes we need flashing neon lights on a billboard
along the road.
So in whatever print is necessary for your leg of the race
allow me to write you your own permission slip.
It will be dated today and have no end date listed.
You can use and reuse as often needed.
Stick it in your purse, stash it among the pages of your Bible
or tack it up on your bathroom mirror.
You now have all the permission you need to…
CRY WHEN YOU WANT TO AND LAUGH WHEN YOU CAN.
Yes, I wrote the word demons and I wrote the word thorn in the same sentence, just like the Apostle Paul did.
Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. 2 Corinthians 12:7
During my vast and varied experiences in this life
there are only two times that I have had to live with the
unending, not going away, God hasn’t changed it proverbial “Thorn in the Flesh.”
I have walked through many a brier patch,
and stumbled among thickets full of prickers and thistles.
But “Thorn living” is different than the everyday scrapes and tears.
And “Thorn living” is never given by itself.
It always comes with a demonic being or two
that smell the pain and suffering your thorn has produced.
And these ungodly angels hang around looking for the opening in your wound waiting for an opportune moment to move in for the kill.
They will gladly sprinkle the dirt of unbelief,
the grime of self-pity and the filth of bitterness
into that splice in your flesh.
The revelation of this truth coupled with my tiny bit of Scriptural understanding
has helped me to fight off the numerous attacks of the enemy that echo the words of Jobs wife into my tired ears…
“Really, your still hanging on to your faith in Christ?
Why don’t you just curse God and die?”
Thorn living ain’t easy.
Thorn living ain’t pleasant.
Thorn living ain’t something I would naturally choose.
Living with a thorn in your flesh…
that you know your Heavenly Father could take away at any moment…
is one of the hardest things a child of God may be asked to do.
If you like me are going through a thorn living time then open up the Word and read 2 Corinthians 12:1-10.
God tells us in advance so we can be prepared when it happens.
It’s all right there in the Bible.
Use the gift of His Word to encourage yourself when your thorn is bleeding again and you are starting to get a fever cause infection wants to set in.
Remind yourself that this gift of thorn living comes with demonic attacks.
The enemy wants to take you down
cause he knows the Word too.
He is keenly aware what thorn living produces
in the child of God who submits to it.
The last thing God’s foe wants is
God to be glorified and made known.
And he is ever mindful of the truth that…
when we are weak in our thorn living God shows up strong.
I learned about the fear of man
long before I became a Christian.
And fear of man is probably the #1 reason
for much of my blatant disobedience since then.
Recently I was plopped into the category of
and fear of man took on a whole new level for me.
“What are they thinking of me?
Do they believe me?
Do they assume I’m faking?
I bet they think I’m not trying hard enough!
I can’t go out with this cane!
For crying out loud!
And these dark sunglasses!
They all think I’m soaking this,
trying to get folks to feel sorry for me!
Or worse yet…
they think I am lazy!
I have to wear these earplugs in public
or I will not survive.
To much noise and confusion!
But they don’t get it.
I don’t want them to see me like this.
Welp, there came a point in my broken brain journey that I had to decide between the fear of man and the fear of not doing anything public…ever.
And I had to pull on my big girl panties
and put on my sunglasses
and insert my earplugs
and holster my cane
and grab my neck pillow
and enter the arena of people in public places.
Now, I am well aware that most of the problem
is lurking inside of my own head (pun intended)
not inside of other people’s heads.
I am well read on “What do you care what other people think anyways?”
I understand the “Count your blessings” mantra.
But still, I have to struggle with the “me of me”
that says, “I don’t like this, I look like an idiot, I feel like I’m 85years old!”
And if the “me of me” is thinking those thoughts
what are the “them of them” thinking inside of their heads?
So while I muscle through this one
I have to return to the truth that is bigger than my
thoughts, imaginations, and feelings.
I have to stick with the Words of the Bible
that tell me…the fear of man is a snare.
It’s a trap to make my current broken brain situation worse.
A design to trip me up, pull me out
and keep me worried about external things that I can’t control.
A snare that will entrap me unless I learn the secrets
that will keep my foot from slipping.
I have found a great verse in Psalms to combat the fear of man;
My eyes are ever on the LORD,
for only he will release my feet from the snare.
Pretty good, huh?
Now when I am struggling with the “them of them”
and their assumed thoughts…
I try to remember to hike up my big girl panties
lift my sunglassed face to the sky
adjust my earplugs
steady my cane
fluff my pillow
and say, “Hello, Lord, I’m looking straight at You!”
Cause when I’m looking right at Him
I can’t possibly look at anybody else!
Then the “them of them” all kinda fade off into my peripheral vision right where they were always meant to live.
And when that happens I become free to be
the “me of me” right here, right now, today
in my big girl pretty panties
with my cool shades
wearing my groovy earplugs
toting my nifty cane
and enjoying my comfy pillow.
And I am able to walk right through any ol’ trap laid for me.
And I have the victory.
About 18 months into my head injury when time seemed to drag on
and progress was barely inching along (if not completely stalled)
I made a startling discovery.
I…was very mean…to me.
Somewhere along my bumpy path I had allowed
crummy, impatient, self-hating thoughts to
creep into my mind and settle there.
Yeah, settle like…
and make themselves at home.
I guess in the pain and frustration of life changing disability
I had lost the disconnect button
between my injury and myself.
I was allowing my broken brain to become who I was.
My disability became me, not something that happened to me.
And I let “me” know it all the time.
I was standing in my kitchen one morning
after a lengthy conversation with myself.
A conversation that was not edifying encouraging or comforting.
It was then that I asked myself this question,
“Kim Barnes Waterman, would you talk to your best friend like that?”
And myself answered,
I took that as an open door for communication.
So I proceeded,
“What would you say to your best friend,
Kim Barnes Waterman, if she were struggling as you are?”
Myself answered again,
“I would say you’ve been through a lot.
Give yourself some time.
Cut yourself some slack.
I am proud of your accomplishments.
Your faith in this struggle blesses me.
God has great things for you.”
That’s when a third party joined in
and me, myself and I
all spoke simultaneously
“Learn to be your own best friend!”
Some of the best advice I ever gave myself.
I couldn’t spend my days waiting around
for some kind friend to show up
and encourage me out of my blues.
I had to be that friend.
I had to speak kindly.
I had to declare blessing.
I had to pronounce compassion.
Over my own head.
Into my own ears.
Through my own mouth.
It was time to cut myself some slack.
I had to unwrap the twisty vines of disability
from the core of who I was
and let them straggle off on their own.
No longer could they suck the life out of me
and morph me into someone that even I didn’t care to be around.
I had to release all that I no longer was, due to my accidents,
but still, hold hands with the Kim Barnes Waterman
that I once knew and loved.
I had to learn to become my own best friend.
How about you?
How many bestest friends do you have?
I hope you are one of them.
I hope you are your favoritest friend of all.
A true friend to yourself, rain or shine.
A buddy that gives yourself good, life-giving advice.
A pal that doesn’t belittle, mock or scorn.
A friend that recognizes when you’re tired
or has had a super hard day
and speaks kind encouraging words that
make your shoulders relax
and the tension dwindle.
I hope you are learning right along with me
how to be your own best friend.
#9 “Maybe” can be the greatest of answers.
I pushed my aching head comfortably into the contour pillow
in the back seat of my car.
I sighed a big, deep, long breath.
I wriggle my foot.
I shifted my weight.
I sighed again.
“If I see one more person 30 years older than me drive by I am gonna lose it,”
I said out loud to no one but me.
A sweet looking old lady with silver gray hair and a pretty blue shirt pulled up two feet from my sighing, put her car in park, fumbled with her keys, opened her car door and headed into Aldies.
“Of course,” I muttered and pushed my head deeper into my pillow.
I was twiddling my thumbs passing the time when two of my kids emerged with 15$ worth of groceries and loaded them into our trunk. Then they plopped themselves down into their respected seats and zipped us out of the parking lot.
After a few minutes, I broke the chit-chat coming from the front seats
with a question addressed to the oldest kid in the car…
“Bekah, do you think I’ll ever drive again?”
Bekah, my second daughter, didn’t lose a beat.
She shrugged her shoulders matter-of-factly and replied
with a solid, firm, unwavering…”Maybe”
“Maybe,” I repeated to myself, “Maybe.”
I felt the pressure of the pillow against my head, the pillow that was designed to keep my brain from jostling around during car rides.
I pressed my finger to the bridge of my blue tinted sunglasses, the glasses that were intended to take the edge off of glare and ease the pressure in my brain.
I clasped my hands together and held them in my lap.
“Maybe,” I rehearsed again.
Maybe had just become the greatest word in the world of words.
Saying “Yes” would have been assuming and presumptuous.
Responding “No” would have been cynical and hopeless.
Maybe was perfect. Simply ideal.
Maybe was satisfying. Wonderfully filling.
Maybe was real. Not fake, not fluffy, not fantasy.
I learned on that car ride, to give real answers
to real questions in this real world.
I learned to talk less.
I learned that I didn’t always have to produce a statement for everything.
I learned not to offer “pat-covers-all-situations” responses.
I learned not to flatter. Not to pretend. Not to counterfeit.
I learned “Maybe” is a viable answer when the real answer can’t be found.
And “Maybe” perhaps in those unknowing situations…
is the best answer in the world.
So…will I ever drive again?
#8 The Lord assigns me my portion and my cup.
Those of us who live with long-term illness or disability
understand the conflict from within.
Sometimes we war inside ourselves;
against our illness
against our expectations
against the devil
against the fear of man.
And we fight, fight, fight
trying to make sense of;
why were not the healed ones
and why they are.
And sometimes when you are sitting long in your chronic
You begin to wonder it maybe, just maybe
you are not doing enough
to secure your healing.
And the inner war rages on.
One summer morning, being sick of all this struggle
that I knew was only adding insult to my injury
I prayed a phenomenal prayer,
rising up from the depths of my desperate heart.
“I bind and release all python and constrictor spirits
that think they can place any restrictions and limitations
upon my life. I belong to the Christ.
And it is by His Blood I pray.”
Pretty good one, huh?
But not better than this….
The LORD assigns me my portion and my cup.
He makes my lot secure.
The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places.
What a release of joy for me to remember
the enemy has no right, piece of or say-so
in my life.
It doesn’t matter how broken my brain is
or what the limits to my abilities may be…
God sets the boundary lines in my life!
He hands me my daily portions!
He pours me my cup!
I am free to love, serve and magnify my King
right smack dab in the middle of where I am today.
I receive only the limits and boundaries
the Lord establishes for me…
For His times and seasons
for my own good
and for His glory.
I want you to wake up tomorrow dear friend
open your eyes to your new day
with all your own unique situations and circumstances
The LORD assigns me my portion and my cup.
He makes my lot secure.
The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places!
I know I’m gonna. 🙂
#7 One thing at a time and that done well is a very good rule as many can tell.
After I broke my brain I found that most simple tasks became very hard to do.
And combining two everyday activities into one came to a screeching halt.
Drinking coffee AND jotting a list simultaneously were not an option anymore.
Doing dishes AND planning dinner at the same time wasn’t gonna happen.
Answering the phone AND mouthing threats to a teen ceased from my existence.
I found out very quickly what remains to this day…
I CAN NO LONGER DO TWO THINGS AT ONCE.
Since I am a self-accomplished multi-tasker from way back
this came as a shocking, disappointing and disturbing discovery to me.
Things that I could easily accomplish without a second thought
became unbearably hard and unmanageable.
I found I needed (and still do)
every ounce of determined concentration
for the project directly in front of me. Never mind two.
It was therefore a pleasant discovery for me
when I came across an article,
then two…then three…
that revealed a truth previously hidden from me.
For the past 18 months I had been blaming my injured brain
for yet another malady of my broken life…”Un-multi-tasking”…
when in actuality my brain was never, ever wired
to multi-task to begin with.
Here’s the skinny..
IT IS IMPOSSIBLE FOR OUR BRAINS TO MULTI-TASK,
EVEN HEALTHY BRAINS.
How’s that for a newsflash?
Evidently our brains are not made to do two things at once
so what they do instead as we are rushing around
performing several tasks at the same time
is switch vigorously back and forth
between the two or three activities!
Now that explains a bunch!
If a healthy brain is striving to produce and keep up and calculate
as we over load it with our huge to-do-now lists
how much more a broke brain?
It makes sense to me.
And this revelation makes me feel…well…not quite so broken.
I am aware that my readers are not of the Broken Brain Club.
But all of us have broken places, or places that were broken that need healing.
And everyone one us faces the demands of our day,
the giants that tells us to “Move it, do it, hurry up and complete it.”
Maybe it will give your hurried brain a rest as it has mine
Only one thing and that done well is a very good rule as many can tell.
Evidently it’s a good rule that our wise Creator came up with…
for our benefit.
#6 There are Appointed Times and Seasons.
Many years ago in another place, another time, another life
God pressed into my heart a lesson I have never forgotten.
A lesson so deeply rooted inside of me
that it took a bashed in brain to shake it loose again.
“Don’t call it a bad day because of a bad morning.
Don’t call it a bad week because of a bad day.
And don’t call it a bad life because of a bad season.”
Pretty nifty, huh?
Appointed times and seasons come into our lives
and then they are gone.
Like the rising tide with its ebbing flow…
in and out, in and out we go.
Things change all the time.
Nothing lies stagnant for long.
Moments turn into whole sections of life that reel us in
and then release us again.
Wherever you find yourself today, in the happenings you are in
remember appointed times and seasons.
Take strong comfort in the truth
that where you now is a piece of the whole.
And all the pieces jigsawed together
will make up the beautiful, crazy, puzzle of your life.
For everything, there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven.
#5 The Hidden Parts Receive The Greater Honor
One good thing about having a broken brain is that your compassion grows for other folks with broken brains.
And your concern increases for other people with various disabilities,
like the elderly, and the housebound, and the shut-in.
When you have a broken brain you spend a little time each week thinking about
how other broken people are faring in their daily lives
and you wonder if they are feeling as lonely and left out as you.
You sigh big sighs while you inhale deeply and exhale slowly,
pondering those big thoughts
that are rolling around in your injured head.
Then you open up your Bible and run your hand over the well-worn pages that have become the theme of your life.
You turn to familiar verses that comfort you in your loneliness
and hold you in your left-out-ed-ness.
You skim and skip… until you land… then settle in
to read and reread a verse that reminds you
just how important you still are to the body of Christ.
In this hidden place, it reads, you deserve the greater honor.
The parts we consider less honorable, we treat with greater honor.
And our unpresentable parts are treated with special modesty.
1 Corinthians 12:23
So there you have it
from my Bible
to this page
into your eyeballs
and hopefully sinking deep into your heart.
The Hidden Parts Receive The Greater Honor.
#4 God’s Gifts and His Call are Irrevocable.
So… here I sit with a broken brain waiting for recovery to happen
and healing to come.
So I can press restart and “get back to” the life I once knew.
A lot has changed. A really, really lot.
One sloppy, slippery spot in my timeline and BAM
life as I knew it was over.
Well, pretty much.
So much changed at that moment… too much to list.
Thankfully, nine of my most important things have held steady
like little anchors in my unsteady world.
The Word of God has also held steady. It is always rich.
Never for one moment does it lose its power
to transform, encourage and heal.
Several months ago I found a sparkle of gold amongst my rubble
and I have held onto it ever since.
Seven little Words that remind me of God’s Sovereign plan for my life
despite my current abilities, lacks and heartaches.
God’s Gifts and His Call are Irrevocable. Romans 11:29
I know what I am called to do during my little earth-stay.
I am fully aware of the gifts God has invested in me and expects me to use.
The Word of God burns within me and like Jeremiah said,
But if I say, “I will not mention His word or speak anymore in His name,”
His word is in my heart like a fire; a fire shut up in my bones.
I am weary of holding it in; indeed, I cannot.
Having a head injury does not disqualify me from the call of God.
It does not exempt me.
It does not ban me.
It does not make me ineligible.
And God didn’t change His mind.
He didn’t rethink, recalculate or reassess.
He hasn’t withdrawn His original plan.
Or revoked my God given talents
Or renounced His investment in me.
There has been no recall on my gifts.
Nor will there ever be a recall on yours.
Hold tight my friend to the investment that God has made in you.
Discover it, dig it out, uncover it, dust it off (if it has been a while.)
Shine them up, pass them around and enjoy them.
God has without question and according to His Word
handed each of us one, or two, or three or four gifts
that we are to use for the building up of the body
to edify one another.
And in the situations, you are in, right in the middle of your life stuff
God will show you a way to use those gifts for His glory!
#3 BEING GROUNDED ISN’T ALWAYS BAD.
In the months after my head injury, I noticed that I was doing something kinda weird all the time, at least it seemed like all the time.
I had this subconscious addiction to touching…
everything and everyone.
When I was standing, I placed my hand on a nearby object.
When I was walking, I held an arm or ran my hand along the wall.
When I was chatting, I poised my hand on the other person shoulder,
their forearm or elbow.
I was always forever touching, placing, holding, resting
on someone or something.
Yes, I am dizzy from my repeated falls.
Yes, my balance is off.
But even on good days, I found myself becoming… well…
a touching addict.
I had a lengthy conversation with my daughter-in-law about my fetish for touching.
We discussed the possibility of my subconscious need to control my surroundings especially since my life had spun out of control.
We talked about my desire for human contact as a single disabled woman.
We explored my thirst for connection since I had been severely severed from my community due to my current inabilities.
We mentioned my longing to be “seen, heard and needed” during this trying time of separation and disjointedness.
And we ended by checking every box with a yes, could be, likely, and probable.
One day I was flipping through some information for head injured folks like me and to my sheer delight, I ran across an article on “Grounding.”
“Grounding” is the medical term for something broken brain people do to help steady themselves in their unsteady world.
Not only physically…but just as much mentally.
It seems as though science has proven that once a person receives an injury to their brain, the rest of their body begins to make up for the loss and attempts to stabilize itself using its other senses.
One of the most common ways is through “Grounding.”
Touching. Placing. Resting. Laying. Holding. Reaching. Steadying.
Without realizing it, my wonderful, marvelous, fantastic brain was instructing the rest of my senses to pick up where there was lack and help me feel secure.
Cool thing, this broken brain. It still works hard to be my friend.
I really want to feel safe.
I so desire to rest in secure.
I love the feeling of steady.
“Grounding” provides all this for me.
How about you?
You ever wanna feel the warmth of a security blanket, even as an adult?
Do you ever feel like calling out “Steady as she goes!”
as your plodding through your life events?
I do. And that was before a head injury.
I think God knew that we were gonna need some sure footing
and a sticky grip.
I think He understood that we were gonna have to have a dependable, immovable anchor to keep us steady during the course of our lifetime.
We all desperately, maybe secretly, possibly unknowingly,
desire to be “Grounded.”
Since us, humans are creations of a 3 in 1 design…
it makes sense to me that each of those 3 part of us
longs to experience “Grounded.”
My body feels “Grounded” as I use a cane to walk.
My soul senses “Grounded” as I rest my hand on a friend’s arm and converse.
My spirit knows “Grounded” through the wonderful truths found in God’s Word.
Truths like this gem hidden in Colossians
holds me steady when canes are misplaced
and friends are not near……
“(Jesus) presents you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in His sight:
(so) continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel.” Colossians 1:22-23
What I pray for myself I also pray for you today, friend.
Whatever your circumstances… may you daily feel “Grounded” in His love.
“I pray that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to comprehend the length and width and height and depth of His love, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.” Ephesians 3:17-19
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,
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.
#1. NOT FOR ONE MOMENT HAS GOD STOPPED BEING GOD.
I remember it well. One chilly day in April 2016 my boys were heading out the door to “shoot some hoops.” My kindest son yelled back to me as they made their way outside, “Hey, mom, ya wanna come?”
Well, “Hey, mom” was laying on her favorite couch in her
“concussion position again” feeling the agony of a long-term head injury.
But “Hey, mom” was sick and tired of bypassing everyday fun and stood to her feet and said to herself, “I pray hard. I’m gonna play hard too.”
The rest of the story goes down in my head injury history.
Split second timing.
Shot gone bad.
Ricochet off the rim.
Severe blow to an already damaged brain.
Falling to the cement below.
Holding head in hands.
In shock exclaiming, “What are the chances.”
And I hadn’t even stepped on the court yet!
My generous boys helped me back to my “concussion position” yet again.
I remember laying in shock like disbelief.
This would be the “one too many” concussions I had been warned about from several of my doctors.
The ONE thing I was NOT to do. Get another head injury.
And it had been done. In a glorious, all-out, full-force fashion.
Welp, the boys headed back out the door to resume their game.
I watched as one, two, then three passed by.
By the time the third one was strolling by I grabbed his attention.
“Hey,” I said, “I want to tell you something…..
There has not been one moment in my life when God has stopped being God. Not. One. Moment.”
I then closed my eyes to rest. I knew the routine.
Darkness is a friend when you have a head injury.
Silence is your buddy.
Quietness and solitude are your pals.
I lay still contemplating the events of the last 10 minutes.
I retraced my steps from couch to court to couch again.
That is when my broken brain realized the treasure that had been hidden deep inside somewhere.
So deep, in fact, it took this most recent blow to bring it out.
To pull it up to the surface for all to see.
Some of the treasures of darkness I have had to work for
to labor for
to search out
agonizing in pain
crying out in frustration.
Some of the treasures of darkness I having willingly panned for
as an old gold miner content to search for that one piece of gold
hidden among the sand.
But this treasure of darkness was just given to me.
Placed in my hands and in my mouth by a Sovereign loving God.
This treasure came easy and lasted long.
It is one of my favorite gems.
I take it out often and admire it.
NOT FOR ONE MOMENT HAS GOD STOPPED BEING GOD.
Sometimes I wonder about others.
I can’t be the only girl in this world that has struggled with the apparent disinterest of an Almighty God.
Surely there have been times when someone else felt as though Gods silence was His lack of attention.
After all, a Holy God who controls the spinning of this universe
and all the events therein
ought to be able to control a spinning basketball.
On this broken brain journey, I have not found all of the answers.
But I have discovered an abundance of treasures.
Gems, rubies, and diamonds. Silver and gold. In abundance.
Beautiful shining and shimmering jewels that I have strung into a lovely necklace that I put on and wear
when I am laying on my couch in my “concussion position” again.
Here now, take some of my extras.
I have plenty.
Let’s make a necklace for you.
The Face of Suffering
There is a place in Suffering where few dare to go.
This is a place not all are called to travel.
It may well be a door that remains closed to some, as intended by God Himself.
All suffer, that is to be true. And all suffering is real. It’s deep.
Not one of us shall escape Her winding paths or ridged cliffs.
But the door…
the doorway to the deepest suffering is reserved for the few
who have been placed in this life by God Himself
to taste the deepest of fellowship
the choicest of darkness
and the depths of pain.
That doorway, if unopened by one’s own choice
will lead in a circle round about and back to the main.
Ever re-presenting itself on the path of one’s life.
Begging to be opened and beckoning one in.
Eventually, slowly, one dares open the door
to the deep recesses
and steps through.
She is a quiet place.
A dark friend.
In the choicest part of Her room…. all is still.
One cannot move, or pray, or cry.
One cannot think, or blink or sing.
One dare not close her eyes too long
for fear that even her heart shall stop beating.
And another breath might not come.
And one would be suffocated in this silent darkness.
Left to die.
Behind the doors of Suffering.
The very depths of the room of Suffering is a peculiar place.
There seems to be an altar there
laced with Blood, as of a Lamb
where once there was made
When the time is full and, one is ready
one leans in close
and lays herself on the altar
receiving the Blood into her very self.
This room is always quiet.
This darkness is always deep.
This taste is unkind on the lips.
And one gasps as the smell of suffering penetrates the room.
Yet this is the only place
where one has found
the resolution to the age old question
of how one learns
Close the door on suffering
if I dared leave it open a crack
for fear that I’d be locked away forever
managing a quick retreat
Close the door on suffering
and let me stay
a little longer
in the very presence
of my GOD.