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.

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!

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!

 

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!

FullSizeRenderkids and I

 

 

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

 

 

 

Catch all drawer (random)

My why

Content shmontent…starting a blog is hard!
I mean there is the technical stuff that I hope to get better at but there is the emotional stuff too.

You suddenly care about the content. Despite that when I dreamed of blogging before pulling the trigger, of course I second guess everything!Suddenly you feel a little self-conscience about what you share topic, title, pic, and even words I pick… It’s a nightmare for people who suffer with the following:
Anxiety ✅
People pleasing 🙋🏼‍♀️
Technologically challenged 🙋🏼‍♀️🙋🏼‍♀️

What was I thinking? So when brainstorming on areas to share that I haven’t already openly told the world…I wrote down fitness, and stories about the kids, books I have read but I realized I need to be authentic in this blog if I want to heal.
My “why”

I would like to say it’s because I have brilliant stories and ideas to share…
The truth is I have lost myself along the way.
Pieces of me, scattered. Pieces of my heart, shattered.
Over and over they come back together different, still broken, but in time I saw the trial as beautiful.

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Example, of a more recent lesson in faith was finding a grape size tumor behind her right eye. We’re still healing from this one, the journey is fresh, but God is good!

So this blog is a challenge to do something new therefore grow.
This blog is about reflection and GRIT which leads to empowerment!
My stories and “niche” are scattered! Literally my mind is often splintered and this safe place will hold them all…
🙌🏻
God bless the blogging world! 🤯
Pieces of me I am working on first:
Health- I plan to post my health journey. I have gained weight, it’s dangerous around my midsection. The struggle is real!
Mind- I want to be less scattered mentally. Anxiety is a battle I am currently off my medicine. I am exploring other homeopathic options. (Personal preference)
Heart- In the last year my heart has been through more than anyone should have in a lifetime let alone within a year. My heart was pounded and pounded with blow after blow from all directions…
But God
I owe it all to God, the fact that I am put back together amazes me!!!
Some things get left out in the picture of me.
I mourn the things of me I can’t have back similar to losing your innocence.
But things I am grateful for like the fact I did not or at least not yet pick up worrying over trivial things. 🙌🏻

What are your broken pieces?
Know that if your world broke apart you will put some things back together Tetris-style and somethings you will need to let lay to the side.
It hurts.
But God
I owe it all the fact that I am put back together amazes me!!!
Some things get left out in the picture of me.
I mourn the things of me I can’t have back like losing your innocence.
But things I am grateful for like the fact I did not or at least not yet pick up worrying over trivial things.
What are your broken pieces?
Know that if your world broke a part you will put some things back together Tetris-style and somethings you will need to let lay to the side.
It hurts.
Have courage because it’s also beautiful!
Matthew 10:39
39 Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it.
Matthew 16:24
24Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone wants to follow me, he must deny himself, pick up his cross, and follow me continuously. 25Whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it, 26because what profit will a person have if he gains the whole world and forfeits his life? Or what can a person give in exchange for his life?

I am so so grateful! These scriptures are everything #truth life-giving truth!
I have lost my life, and through it I have gained life! ❤️

My why is to share hope, speak life into desperate situations and anyone with an ear to hear! I’ve got some crazy stories!
Things I can’t make up, like WILD y’all!
If you connect with any or all of these ramblings on the page connect with me, I love good stories of people!

XOXO