Healthy me, Struggles are Real

Accountability, finding people that hold you accountable physically, emotionally, morally, and all the space in between!

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1 Thessalonians 5:11 ESV / Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.

Proverbs 27:17 ESV / 

Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.

I don’t like to sugar coat things, most time I will say things plainly especially if I love you.

I was not always compassionate with my approach, over the years and by choking on my words I wish I could take back I have learned to be honest without borderlining cruel.

I speak plainly about myself and many do not know how to receive that well. It’s ok, it’s how I do life.

I am what I am, popular is not a personal priority, I do however hold my standards that I am accountable to the Lord. I do not want to be a person that causes another “man” to stumble.

Surrounding yourself with people that hold you accountable is treasure worth investing time and energy in. I want people to say, “I love you but it’s time to stop hiding behind this excuse and ______!”

Or Jenn, I love you but I don’t agree and so I will pray for you and support you but this is what my heart believes!

For many years I have let “myself” go, I did not give energy to my personal needs including self care. I would feel guilty spending time improving myself, spending money on things for me, but instead poured out until I was drained and bitter if I am being honest. There was a time where I spent life in a constant state of “survival mode.” If you are in a season, maybe a child struggling with illness, the throws of motherhood, single parenting, or going through a trial…there is a time of adjustment but do not stay stagnant in that space!

I have been there! More times than I can count sometimes it was out of my control and sometimes it was out of throwing in the towel and accepting this as life.

But God wants us to live a full life even through trials. Grab the hand of someone positive around you and lean into one another. God always provides people who will hold you accountable, astonishingly you will see where you will also be the answer to their prayers. It’s amazing how that works.

I think the day my husband truly fell in love with me was when we had just begun dating and I stood up him.

I can think of two instances where he looked at me as if no one had ever spoken so plainly to him and it was not what he wanted to hear.

Wish I had a pic but I can still see his face when I said, “well I think you should take me home,” 10 minutes after arriving at a party with drinking and smoking, etc.

Another time was I was driving ( we were 19) and he had moved his seat belt as to not wrinkle his shirt. I pulled over and refused to drive until he was safe… He was so frustrated and yet so hooked.

Today, seventeen years of marriage behind us we hold each other accountable as spouses, as parents, as believers, as people.

Also, I seek out the people God has called into my life where I know they will speak life and truth to me, likewise I can’t be just a life-sucker…I have a responsibility to return the favor in love of course.

Right now I am taking an honest inventory of me.

I haven’t just set goals and hopes but a plan and accountability. God has blessed me with friendships that challenge me, encourage, and especially will not sugar coat places that need change. This is spiritual, physical, mental, moral, and all other aspects of life that are nearly impossible to go alone.

There are no excuses to being unhealthy and obese. I want a full life with confidence, you can’t have both.

I have friends who have stepped up to be accountability partners! So grateful for them!

If you are needing someone to help hold you accountable, with honest answers and prayers then message me! We can do his together!

Be iron!

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!

 

Accidental Casualty Survivor, Struggles are Real

Hello my name is Jennifer, a wife, mom to 4, teacher, and an accidental killer…

Woah ya that’s a loaded title. I don’t type it easily, or with pride, but slowly I am also sharing it with a little less shame/guilt, or self -hate. I share to find others, I share to show as my friend and fellow CADI terms, the flip side of a very painful road!

I always loved a great tragedian play, never guessed I would live one. My 2016/2017 in lyric would have been the saddest country song ever sung.

I was involved and responsible for a life-altering, world shattering accident that claimed a man’s life. I joined a club of accidental killers. I actually feel like throwing up each time I type that. I/we prefer the term CADI (Causing Accidental Death or Injury) or ACS (Accidental Casualty Survivor).

Most people do not think of us unless slinging hatred and judgment. Unfortunately, I am guilty of that. I once and I quote said, “If this ever happens to me I would pursue that person to the full extent of the law!” This statement was me talking a bunch of hot judgmental air that really breaks my heart now. I was talking with my mom after we had learned of someone who tragically and unexpectedly lost their husband in a car accident and she was now widowed and raising 4 children alone. The other driver survived and is a CADI. Little did I know that one day I would be on the other end, bringing the worst pain to another family.

How could I ask for or expect grace?

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I share because maybe someone is struggling to forgive a CADI for an accident that claimed a loved one, I hope my openness helps in some way.

I share because my story may help other CADI/ACS feel less alone.

I share because I now am on a healing journey from anxiety,  panic, and depression.

I share because I was broken, still broken, and plan to make my broken beautiful by not giving up!

This story is in lots of pieces that I will share little by little.

In May of 2017 I stumbled upon a post looking for CADIs to share their stories with a nationally published journalist, I thought here is my chance to share my heart. Maybe just maybe people can see we are not monsters. Alice Gregory other than my therapist heard more details of my accident than my own husband. I was very lerie of sharing at first, I wanted to know her intentions. She just had a thought, she wanted to know the flip side…what happens to people who cause the death of another. She was incredibly easy to talk to, I can not imagine taking in all of our stories in raw form. Beyond words of gratitude!

Her bravery to explore a taboo and sensitive subject opened discussion. Most people feel that by defending or lending compassion to me (CADIs) that they suddenly become insensitive to the real people that lost in the situation, the families of the deceased.

It is true! They lose in ways I cannot fathom. Asking for their forgiveness, seems very selfish. How to ask for such a thing, yet this request is behind many of my thoughts and prayers.

What the public does not know is the grief, trauma, PTSD, anxiety, shame, suicidal ideation, and nightmare cocktail that a CADI/ACS will suddenly and abruptly swim/ drown in.

You can read the article here.

Thank you Alice, for giving us a voice! I feel especially grateful because through that interview I have now joined a community. I have formed some friendships that are bonded in tragedy.

No, I will never “get over it” even time will not heal this,it is unlike situations you can relate to.

Yes, I accept that I am not the one who lost a life, I still grieve something. I hope the mental health community will eventually research and study us.

Most importantly God is faithful and I owe everything to my Savior! I may have not survived without my faith!

Miracles happen! I hope to share them with you!

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marriage, Struggles are Real

We still do…

Oh my word this man!!!!

This. Man! He may look like he is grabbing my boobs (And He definitely is!) but he has my heart! (teenagers were mortified by their daddy’s hand placement, ha!)

We are a special kind of crazy-in love! ️

Lesson # 728493 on why I love my husband! 16 years of bumps, bruises, and all out brawls, but we still do…

He is a coach, I am a coach’s wife (if you are one, then you know)

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Our life is juggled by the seasons, literally (what sport is in season?!! and there we will be) and spiritually!

There was a time I thought he loved video games more than me.

Loved sports more than me.

Players/athletes more than us…

It took years to see the unhealthy thinking!

 

Truth is he is a talented coach and it is his ministry. Supporting him in his passion is incredibly important to his confidence as a man and leader of our home! It took a series of events for me to see. As much as I hated to share him with the players, parents, officials, other coaches, and ________, I also knew I was/and still am his biggest fan!

 

We rode the bus, traveled with the team, with a baby on my hip, one in the stroller and one clinging to my shirt… it was rough but I learned I would rather be there than wondering what the score was. Before he started coaching we were in youth ministry and we worked for a children’s home. (Oh the stories of our 4 years there!) God was blending his youth ministry calling with love of all things athletic.

*side note when we were dating and falling in love Chris would volunteer coach tennis with my dad (who was a  HS tennis coach at my alma mater)

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I had 3 children under the age of 5 and I felt what I would describe as my love-tank was on empty. I was running on fumes in the love area. This was before the “cake” illustration but God was working on us both. Chris was asked to help coach football and run the weight room. This was in addition to our house-parent duties. He loved it! He came alive and spoke into the lives of these young men. However, there is sacrifice with a dedicated coach…I felt alone.

So in an attempt to help him see what he was missing I made a plan.

 

-God has a sense of humor!

 

Secretly I packed bags for the kids and I made a plan to leave while he was at practice “teach him a lesson” I was only going to visit his family 3 hrs away with a note on the counter… (drama)

The jokes on me because I learned the lesson.

I told God, “Ok Lord when he leaves today for practice we are leaving!”

3:00 rolled around and he had made plans for another coach to cover for him and we went to the park.

Mind you no one, Not a Soul knew my “plan” but God!!!

We had a great time as a family, I even made a few snarky remarks about practice and he didn’t take the bait but said he wanted to spend time with us.

So the next day I said, “Ok Lord today when he goes down to practice, we are leaving and all he will have is that letter telling him that we need to be a priority!”

 

And then 3:00 rolled around and our time into Ft. Worth “town” had run long and we were not back in time for practice.

I just started laughing watching the clock and he reached over and grabbed my hand as we drove back.

I was convicted! God showed me the plan he has trumps my plans!

I am so very grateful for the Lord in this lesson!

After about 2 weeks I pulled the bags out from under the bed (secret spot 🤣) and confessed to Chris my big selfish plans.

We both cried.

We made a few compromises, hashed a few things out and most importantly grew deeper in love!

 

Be mindful of a few things…things I’ve learned the hard way…

Pray for his passions!

Pray for his direction!

Let God fill your cup!

Be careful what you TELL God! The joke will always be on you!

Be mindful of the spirit trying to intervene when we are veering away from God’s will!

Laugh *Love* Learn* Lean on each other!

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Struggles are Real

How a picture of cake saved my marriage

E01B4218-D3C5-4E40-9BE2-B19483A8E88BIf I had a nickel for every time I thought about divorce…
Shameful I know but my acorn app would be stocked with more acorns then I will ever admit! While I am confessing I threatened divorce and manipulated my poor husband in ways that literally break my heart now.
We were young (no excuse), newly married(not an excuse) and walking through the fire of trial (still no excuse). Almost a decade later and I am so grateful for the stubborn loyal man God gave me! The first seven years were extremely difficult, stories I hope to share in bite size pieces.
Changing point…
Chris (my love for the last 19 years) was gifted The Purpose Driven Life and journal and I was emerged in a Bible study that I can’t remember the name. 🤷🏼‍♀️ I do remember the illustration explaining how my relationship with Jesus mattered like the most decadent cake you can imagine. My marriage is the frosting and the adornments of fresh fruit or sprinkles are my children.
My happiness is also my responsibility and no one can or will be able to fill the void in me like my relationship with Jesus!! 💡
Our ship (marriage analogy) shifted directions and avoided collision with a glacier and sinking.
I thank God everyday now for the change in current that lead to a healthy and loving relationship! It took years of dying to or personal needs and learning to love unconditionally.

I almost believed the mainstream talk shows that were promoting that divorce was “healthier” than being in a less than ideal marriage. Things aren’t going as planned, the arguing, the disagreements, better for the kid, the financial struggles, etc… Beyond grateful God showed me who was in charge of my life, reminded me of the vows I committed to, and gave us just enough hope to cling to!
If you are passionately in love with your soul mate, count your blessings and never ever take it for granted!
If you are struggling and fantasizing about nickels 🤭 I mean divorce… cling to hope! God can steer any ship and he can even emergency floating device if the water has begun to capsize your boat. Guess what he can even give you a new one!
Keep your vows scared!
Remember no one can “make” you happy! Not the home, not the physical appearance, not the numeric balance in your accounts…You and your relationship with the Lord is the answer. The other things fall into place once that is healthy!

Protect your marriage!

Now here is this disclaimer my marriage was not unhealthy in the area of abuse, if that is your circumstance please get help! We were just selfish! But we were both actively hanging on!

If you have lost a marriage my heart breaks for you but at the same time I know God can taken broken and make it beautiful! He restores! He rejuvenates!

Dear Lord,

Thank you for the struggle now that I am on the way out of ruts in our marriage. I am so grateful to see where my flesh (selfishness) and my sin almost deceived me in my decisions. That I would be better or happier without the man you gave me! I was wrong for making it an idle and I died to all those fairytale dreams and made your will first. Thank you, I praise you! Lord please touch those that are in those valleys, those that are losing hope and feel irreconcilable differences is the answer… We say no, make a way where there seems to be no way! Make our hearts new, I pray for my spouse from head to toe, go before them, soften their hearts towards you! May their walk with you be greater and most important in their life, trusting our love will grow in ways we can’t imagine! Thank you for what I am learning, how you shape me because of my marriage!

In Jesus precious name,
Amen!

Recommend:
https://www.amazon.com/Pillow-Talk-Couples-Drawing-Closer/dp/0849996627

https://www.focusonthefamily.com/marriage