Accidental Casualty Survivor, Faith, marriage, Uncategorized

“We don’t see things as they are. We see things as we are. ~Anais Nin

I have no idea who Anais that quoted this title but it holds so much truth whoever they are!

Topic: Perception: Filters that can be deceivingIMG_3525

There are two sides to the story, there are facts, and thoughts and somewhere depending on our worldview there are perceptions. They can quickly become twisted and misinterpreted. I took this pic after reading some hurtful words, actually hurtful is low balling their true caliber they were low blow words. It happens!

Even people sharing the same life can have different perceptions of situations. I remember the first seven years of marriage very differently then my husband, but we shared space.

If you ask me I will tell you it was utter chaos. We were married young and despite loving people who meant well they knew what we would be up against.

Still finding ourselves…

Working with at-risk youth…

3 babies in under 4 years…

Financially strained…

So I will tell you it was hard, how I cried and struggled at times to see how we would ever make it. Glad I was so very wrong but my vision was jaded. I had suffered some postpartum depression. I was on a hormonal roller coaster between pregnancy and nursing. It.Was. Crazy.

If you ask Chris he would say it was great! Sunshine and roses, we were blessed with 3 babies in 4 years. We were poor but never went without. Our arguments discussions were passion filled and totally normal.

Want to hear a perception that haunts me? When I sat at that stop sign listening to Katy tell me about her volleyball game, my guard was down. I felt safe, nothing seemed urgent or pressed. Quiet. Peaceful.

From my left the approaching motorcyclist saw my car yielding at the stop sign. He, I am certain felt safe enjoying the evening ride shifting gears to climb that hill. He felt safe because from his view I was waiting at the stop sign. (Broken!)

But he wasn’t safe because I did not see him approaching up the hill. I did not hear him, I heard my daughter’s story.

I made myself drive up that hill many times after the accident. I wanted to see what he saw, I wanted to understand. I did not want the hill to have power over me. I wanted if I am being honest maybe for someone to pull out in front of me so I would know this was a dangerous intersection.

Perceptions go both ways and our worldview and how we have previously been hurt can alter or differ from other people we do life with. Both individuals are right in how they feel.

Ever talked with a teenager about why they are grounded, probably a very different view from the parent who took the phone away!

I once told a very close friend, and not just told but argued with him that I did not believe racism still existed. I have never been so wrong in my life! It would take years before the “kneeling protest” that took the blinders off for me. Invisible hate suddenly spewed everywhere. I was heart broken. I was wrong.

I love the cartoon where two people are facing a 6 or a 9 depending on their view. They stand toe to  toe arguing instead of leaning over and chuckling over the fact that they are both right.

So many are hurting or have been hurt and it’s hard to not become callous. Build up walls…

I don’t share to seek attention or pity, I gain nothing except maybe a friend along the way that shares my sorrow. I share with the purpose to educate and I will not apologize for the message that burns in me. It is not for you, I share for me and the one that created me!

XOXO ~Jenn

Galatians 5:13 New International Version (NIV)

Life by the Spirit

13 You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh[a; rather, serve one another humbly in love.

Accidental Casualty Survivor, Faith, Struggles are Real, Uncategorized

Try not to step in “you know what” with your story…

“Don’t step in you-know-what with your testimony”

 

To share or not to share…a personal decision

 

For me personally navigating this road is trial and error. More error! I am a talker always have, I drove my middle school teachers crazy. I will forever try to exercise restraint in taking over conversations and responding before listening. It is a struggle but a vice I strive to change.

 

This quote from my cousin resounds in me. I do in fact have a testimony, many testimonies where I believe God has shown to be faithful. I never want to “one up” or boast in that sense but I sure feel compelled to shout from the mountain tops the love and grace received. Processing grief is different for everyone, some will retreat inward (I did this for a while) some will need to talk it out (I err on that in this moment.) Either way we must respect each individual space, process and terms.

 

A testimony is sacred. A tragedy like an untimely death is certainly not something to be marketed or exploited or become numb to the circumstance. I am broken when I share and I pray it never loses the sting in many ways.

 

Recently I have shared, quite possibly too much. I am an over-share-er (please forgive me) and I am self conscience if I am making my fellow CADIs proud/comforted, am I helping a cause, am I representing Christ in a way that draws someone in or turning them away? These are the questions that swish about in my inner voice.

 

I PRAY that I don’t leave a stench “stepping in IT” as I walk away from sharing. It’s like when someone walks up to join a conversation, and everyone glances over and checks the bottom of their shoe. Who stepped in it??? I won’t know until it is done, and I will either be embraced and helped, or I will hinder…But believe me I will analyze every spoken word and criticize it.

Confession:

My greatest fears are glass in feet, looming doom, and turning someone away from Jesus because I am human and a hypocrite!!! If I am being forthright I also fear judgement that I do anything for my own gain.  How could this story ever be praise worthy? It won’t but the people who carry on despite daily struggle to find new normal, face the guilt, lay down the brokenness and try to make it beautiful. You guys are my hero!

 

I wish not to remain in victim-mentality but move forward changed and a better person. Our community of CADIs/ACS grows daily, it is heart-wrenching. I can’t reach everyone but there are a few people who are committed to this community who want to help each other. It is a beautiful thing to be a small part of something bigger than yourself.

 

Everyone has a unique story that can benefit this world, as much as I am a talker I also love to listen to the different stories. Over-comers! World-changers! Humble and brave people that share their story.

 

For me I revisit my “why” I share because when someone (Johnny) was brave enough to share with me I immediately felt less alone.

I go back to the purpose of sharing, is it to educate about the state of mind, is my focus on sharing hope, did the Lord tell me to? If my purpose is to wallow in self-pitty…I should refrain.

When I mess up or I am insensitive, admit it plainly, ask for forgiveness, make it right as if possible.

 Find your voice! Never lose hope! Show compassion and embrace our differences!!!

Faith, Miracles Happen, Uncategorized

Lent 2018, what I learned from fasting from posting to social media and our second vehicle…

I’d like to say that I waited so long to share my experience from Lent this year was due to self reflection and waiting on the Lord…But that would be a lie! I have no amazingness to share with you except that it did bear fruit.

I gave up posting to social media kinda on a whim. I had just been pondering my need to post and wondered if I would have withdrawal from posting, I mean did I need to really share/over share so much about our life????!!! Big fat NOPE, my posting was not meaningful, and it was certainly not for the purpose of why I have a Facebook. I chose to buy-in with this platform is to connect with people in life I cared about, this is my why. What I make for dinner and ever random thought is not hidden in the agenda, it was obviously becoming a flesh=issue for me personally. So for 40 days I refrained (for the most part.) I don’t count the prayer request about our bank information being stolen (the enemy was throwing punches left and right) or the final respect to one of my most favorite evangelists, Billy Graham, totally understandable!

Life lesson: Life will go on without social media. Not documenting play-by play for people is totally good for the soul and for time! My friend’s still remember me despite the lack of me popping up on their feed!

So since Easter I have paused to think about what my purpose in sharing is, will it be a memory I want to revisit the years to come?

Would I roll my eyes at it’s context if it weren’t mine?

Am I self-seeking?

So basically I post 90% less! Shameful!

Coincidently during this time our van “Big Blue” also received it’s last $40 oil change before the attendant let me know just.how.dangerous it was to drive. Apparently we were a 1-0 on a scale of 1-10. The blessing is it was brought to my attention before making my trip to Houston alone with the kids! Thank you Jesus!

Here is the bigger growth, I felt content in the very inconvenient circumstance of a 6 person family with a 5 seater vehicle. Was it easy? Big Fat Nope! But did I throw a tantrum, lash out from frustration, or covet my neighbor…No I really didn’t, not to boast of myself. Really these are all things I am guilty of pre-accident. Unfortunately, there was a time I would believe the lie that maybe my marriage was the reason for our financial woes. We weren’t doing it right! Lie! I knew God would provide, I did not know when but we chose to be grateful for preventing another accident with the van, we chose to work together and up our communication, and most importantly we prayed for God to work things out at some point!!!!

ANd he did! On Good Friday we were able to bring “a new to us” van home. Blessed does not adequately describe gratitude!

So on to the next test, the following week myself along with many other teachers learned our school is closing. As much as I wish none of us were facing this time of uncertainty, I also know God is faithful! I will enter into the season of job hunting with eyes wide open seeking out God’s will, direction, and most importantly HIS peace!

Whatever we face we will do it together and trusting the outcome!

So cheers to a fruitful Lent 2018! What did you fast from?redeemed

Faith, Miracles Happen

After my accident I wasn’t just in a low place, I was living a hell inside my head but a miracle happened!

I did not let the enemy win my faith, my marriage, my joy, my future…there were/are days he got the upper hand by taking my peace but not without a fight! This is the hard cold reality and one of the strongest reasons I share, most people like me succumb to the depression.
I won’t even spell it out for you but there are tons of statistics.
I now have PTSD. I don’t look like the face of PTSD and the anxiety is already getting more manageable. 🙏🏻 Loud noises (especially the sound of a throaty Harley) startle me in a rush of adrenaline that eventually causes heart palpitations and a headache. I hate that I don’t have control over this!  ❤️ There are accidents involving fatality everyday yet I felt completely alone and hopeless…
Before my accident I had many thoughts and opinions over mental health and how selfish suicide is, even thinking about ending one’s life is selfish, it was the wrong word. The word is hopeless.
I held on to hope when I could not see or feel anything. My faith and the prayers of those who love me were just enough and I am so grateful! Forever grateful!
Something I did that was a miracle one very low day is I looked up all the promises of God. I had to hold my thoughts accountable! I got out a sheet of paper and divided it down the center (hotdog style for my teachers out there 😌)
God is TRUTH| The enemy LIE
God is love
God wants to forgive me
God has answered other prayers
God is answering current prayers
God blessed me with family
God provides the perfect songs when I need them
God is bigger than all things
With tears I wrote the list and on the other side…
The enemy steals, kills and destroys
he lies, deceives
he wants me to stay sad and rob my joy
he wants to destroy the future of my children
So from that day forward I kept that notebook with me if I was out of the house and when I went back in. I would refer to it when a thought came and it was categorized.
I did recognize I would need help so I did make an appointment with a licensed counselor that specializes in PTSD.
I rested in the promises of God! I took captive my thoughts and I still battle them!
Thank you for letting me outlet here what has been a crock pot of emotions in my head. If you are struggling with the negative talk, or influenced by lies it is time to take captive the thoughts and words you speak and believe. Put some emotions in a clear box and recognize them but don’t play with them. Instead label those things healthy/unhealthy and begin to replace the unhealthy thoughts/actions.
Today I still struggle as different situations pop up, new layers of dealing with a new reality. In just a couple days it will be 18 months since my accident that claimed a life of an innocent person. I still think about this person and his family everyday, sometimes many times a day. The difference from a year and half ago is I have HOPE restored, I am so grateful for things in life that are eternal and lasting! My worldview has forever changed, my lens is focused on helping others while helping myself. I will never lie and say it’s all roses or easy but I also will not entertain guilt that I am branded or shamed or selfish to celebrate healing! Sensitive, yes! Guilty, NO!
You may not be able to relate to my particular situation ( I pray not) but the road to healing means searching the broken pieces and acknowledging them without entertaining them.
Maybe you are not a believer, but you want healing. The short reality is this is the only truth I know personally. That does not mean you (non-believer) are without hope. Make you list of thoughts and ask verbally and internally for your eyes to see and your very being to guide you to your truth! If you ever would like prayer please message me!
Claim that miracle!
Be accountable to your thoughts and actions!
Make a plain list, don’t just set a goal but a plan on how to get there!
XOXO 😘
2 Corinthians 10:5-6 The Message (MSG). 3-6 The world is unprincipled. It’s dog- eat-dog out there! The world doesn’t fight fair. But we don’t live or fight our battles that way—never have and never will. The tools of our trade aren’t for marketing or manipulation, but they are for demolishing that entire massively corrupt culture.

2 Corinthians 10:3-5 New International Version (NIV)

For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does.The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

Faith, Uncategorized

Breaking a cycle of spiritual attack with a hedge of protection, work in progress!

There was a time when my sweet friend from high school was like Jennifer I swear you guys are cursed. It kinda felt like that, sometimes I joke about our 3 month cycle of crazy circumstances but y’all the devil has no new tricks.

I’m a visual person so here is a quick reference timeline to our chaos.

 

Good news, the enemy does not win in our life. We love the Lord deeper, love for each other stronger, our children may need therapy when they are older but that’s normal, right?

What I learned through mentorship (women God has put in my life) and hard-knock lessons, and some out of pure desperation.

  1. I use previous trials and overcoming hardships are sources of strength. I also seek out stories of others that I can admire and be encouraged from. Possibly why I share, the Lord has brought other testimonies in my path that deeply move me, I pass that on. It’s amazing to look back and reflect on how God was merciful and provided during the times that for lack of a better word, sucked. You think you won’t ever survive but you do! Use that, reflect on it, see where things came together and give God glory!
  2. Pray specifically. I learned this in desperation. I don’t pray fluffy prayers in the midst of trials, I try my best to keep up the same intensity and passionate communication with God even in between the chaos. By fluff I mean “your will Lord, whatever that is…” If I need a miracle I ask for it boldly. I trust the Lord to provide. If Katy or Haven are in pain from their chiari malformation for example I pray specifically for the pain to stop in Jesus’ name. I expect it. This may sound a little wonky and that is ok by me. I am honest about what I feel, my emotions on my sleeve and an open book!
  3. Pray for protection. Pray for the cycle to be broken if you feel there is one. Pray and plead the blood of Jesus over your life! Shout it out, cry it out, think it out loud that anything the enemy tries to steal, kill or destroy in your life is protected and broken by God and his angels! I believe this with my whole being, you may think what you want but I have lived it out. I also now pray that I am protected from myself, my short comings, my humanness, that I will cause no harm.

It is not always popular to do the right thing,  I will probably get critiscm for sharing these radical thoughts I am not a student of theology, but I sure have a relationship with a loving, providing, and personal God, my Heavenly Father, Jesus Messiah! I get all pumped up sharing about what he has done for me, what I have witnessed him do for others!

How can I pray for you?

If you do not know what I talk about but would like mentorship, encouragement or prayer please message me!

 

chiari malformation, Faith, Struggles are Real

That time a couple nurses tried to hold me back…

Life Lesson: Does God really know the number of hairs on our head??? And I change my answer!!!
When I was a “baby” Christian and even young adult I would have answered, ummm it’s not literal but figurative! Until God showed me I was wrong! 😂
A little background…Katy our oldest daughter the one who was in the accident with me, has an amazing testimony to be so young! Man am I thankful to be her mama! I could write 4 posts as quickly as lightening how God has worked miracles and taught me things from her! I mean she is still 13(and carries my temper genes 😉)
When she was 3 she underwent neurosurgery. Children’s hospital in Dallas was amazing and God blessed us with a team of ah inspiring surgeons (including Dr. Bradley Weprin that was on Ben Carson’s team) Favor of the Lord! Complete!!!
Anyway, the day of the surgery there were some inner struggles! We were facing a 7 hr surgery on around her spinal cord, skull, and vertebrae. She was 3 and 27 lbs. We had also learned she probably spent every day of those three years in pain. Daily! You would never know it! 💔
We had a few family members there with us, countless praying, we were young parents clinging to hope, faith, and more faith!
At around 5.5/6 hrs in we got a page to meet the doctor in a private room…
It’s the longest walk to the private room!
Dr. Weprin still in scrubs from cap to booties looked as white as a ghost, blood completely washed out, nothing like the crisper man we met bright and early at 5/6am…
It went like textbook! He pulled his cap off and eased into the metal/plastic hospital chair…
I think Chris and I just sat in shock because of looking at him we secretly were waiting for the worst! It’s funny now, and I apologize if you have heard this story but…”we can’t imagine what “challenging” difficult, close-call, or even tragic looks like”
So here is the point to this post… in recovery only one can go back, from there we would be moved to ICU. I looked over at Chris like over my dead body you go back first!
He didn’t even challenge it’s just a funny thing the maternal mama bear 🐻

A nurse led me back to a recovery room. There was a long row of children… I didn’t count but a lot. The nurse explained that Katy was not doing well coming out of anesthesia!
Ok! I was ready for whatever that meant!
If God brought us this far like “textbook” the rest he has!
She brought me to a child with think beautiful black hair and olive skin. The child was screaming and squirming. She said Katy is not doing well!
Ok what do I do?
Well she might do better if you hold her or comfort her!
Ok 😳😳😳
I still did not get it! She motioned for me to come forward and hold “Katy”
Um that’s not my Katy
(Slight panic but Katy is common name mid-grade level of concern)
Another nurse realizing there must be a mistake she said, ” oh this is Katy Eeeerkenohrst”
( ☝🏼highest level of panic📈)
No! I’m Jennifer Eikenhorst and this is not Katy Eikenhorst! Where is my baby? She just had brain surgery!!!
Like at once or at least I remember it this way 3 nurses surround me trying to get me in the hall to figure out the mess and out of the “quiet” recovery room.
But I wasn’t budging
I’m not leaving here until you tell me where she is!
Ma’am we just need you to..
“That’s her foot!” I shouted
😧😮😲the nurses I’m sure we’re like what?
That’s her foot! I repeated already plowing through to get to her side! I spotted the curve of her small chubby, still toddler foot from across the room! It was just poking out of the warm hospital white blanket! Her face was harder to see because of the breathing tube and wires, etc.
But I recognized her foot!
Of course I did! I bathed and kissed those toes, tickled them!!! They were mine! I helped make them! You don’t know you have these special skills as a mother and intricate knowledge till you need them! 😉

Needless to say lots of “people” from hospital staff came to check on us! Her name sticker had been put on the other girls chart! I am happy to report they did not do the wrong and unnecessary brain surgery on the other sweet child that was mad as a hornet!
It took a while after Katy was better for me to feel normal again! It’s exhausting when something is wrong with your baby!
While reflecting one day I realized! 💡
God knows the exact number of hairs on my head and on your head!

When I was @ 16 my parents asked me if I was fanatical in my walk with Christ. As a teenager I said No!
I change my answer mom and dad! I am fanatical!

I have tasted the goodness of God and my eyes have seen his wonders!

 

Catch all drawer (random), Faith

Do you have an enemy?

Dun dun duuuun. No really the word enemy is rarely used because it has this dramatic connotation. I am a normal gal I lean on the make love/friends, peace/ not war mentality as I believe most human beings do. We all have been wronged at some point and we have all wronged someone else even if unintentionally.

 

What if wronging others or being wronged was apart of our story on purpose, with purpose???

2bible

I can’t answer that. I do want to break this down into some smaller bite size pieces as I sort through my own thinking and you guys are welcome for the ride through my thoughts! You are welcome! I will likely owe you a glass of wine or piece of chocolate when we are done!

Yesterday I prayed for an enemy, I mean someone I felt wronged/mistreated by. And when I describe wronged I mean they hurt the people I love most in the world in a roundabout way, not directly, well sorta they did, anyway! I prayed for them in their time of need and I prayed fervently until my nose burned and my eyes stung. I don’t get an award for that, but I sure did feel relief. Because it bugged me, the spirit festered knowing what I should do, what I needed to release. We all need prayer, especially those hard to pray for or with, they need it most, we all need it most!

#truth1 I want forgiveness, therefore I offer forgiveness

#therealtruthOne I believe the Bible and it’s Holy Words in entirety, therefore I look to be like Jesus, one who forgives ALL things (man that is hard to really picture) and release that energy of hatred, frustration, hurt, pain, all to God alone.

Does not make it right!

Let me say it again, it does not make it RIGHT!

What happened to my family through the decisions of this person were 100% wrong in the manner it was handled, yes I will go to the grave with that opinion.

But God. But God worked it out for our good. If it wasn’t so snotty I should write them a thank you note, so I won’t because I don’t wish to be snotty. God allowed a door to close for another to open, it’s that simple.

I release acceptance, grace, and understanding for the people who have “wronged” me in my lifetime.

Likewise, I pray with all my heart I am forgiven. Like the guy in Elementary school that  I stood as bystander and watched a girl make fun of his lips, I knew it was wrong, but I said nothing. Nowadays we would define what she did daily to this young man as bullying. This breaks my heart! That stuck with me until highschool and junior year I had a random class with him. I saw an empty desk next to his one day so I nonchalantly slide my backpack down in my cheer uniform like it was normal and looked over.

“Hi Bryan, you might not remember me from elementary school but …”

“I remember you,” he said quietly, yet still in a way he still immediately was reminded of  the chanting and belittling.

“I am so sorry for what we did back then, I hope you can forgive me!”

God is in those little things, and he is in the big things like when I asked a man to forgive me for pulling out in front of him, an accident that took his life.

These situations can not be humanly compared, one is a pebble splashed in a young man’s pond of childhood, the other a monsoon of permanent consequences for an entire family.

I have responsibility and ownership of both.

Therefore, I forgive grievances and not just because I want a shiny prize on earth or in heaven but because I desperately would long for forgiveness for those moments I fall short.

*If the spirit moves you (that little nudge inside) it does not matter what time and space has passed, if you need to own something and say sorry, do it! Big Courage means, bigger freedom!

Here are the scripture that God graciously surrounded me with while I struggled to pray for my sister-in Christ. (shameful, really I am sorry I struggled)

But seriously I received two email notifications with subject line: Forgiveness, and a bunch of other fun little hints everywhere I turned!

So dig deep and ask God to show you areas where you have not truly forgiven.

Bonus fact: I sucks your energy staying angry and bitter, and it also gives you terrible wrinkles so let it GO!

Matthew 5:44

“I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those that persecute you.”

1 Peter 3:9

“Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult.On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.”

Romans 12:20

“On the contrary, “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”

Lord,

This is hard sometimes. There are people who have betrayed us, there are people who are selfish and have hurt us. We can not forgive on our own, each time I try it’s like I pick back up the anger when convenient. The heart of this is trust and pride. I need to release control and trust you have made a way through this person’s actions. Help me to see this person as you see them. Help me to have compassion for those that remain in their own sin that hurts others. Protect me, guard my heart, and make is tender so that I do not carry on a cycle of unforgiveness.

Amen and amenbible1