Miracles Happen

My reason for natural labor may leave you shaking your head…

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Confession: I had my babies naturally sans “drugs” but hold off on my badge of honor…

“Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear.” ~Mark Twain

“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.” ~Nelson Mandela

I was just a baby (barely 22) when I had my first born, he was due on our first wedding anniversary. From the moment we found out we were pregnant we were shocked and terrified. Who knew that antibiotics can lower your potency of birth control, either way we wouldn’t change a thing!

A few months in and I realized I really was going to have a baby, and fear reality sunk in. I have a confession that I am ridiculously afraid of needles. I sweat profusely, palms, pits and my heart starts beating like I am fighting for my life. I have fainted, my mother tells me that once when I was 9ish I fought off several nurses and they had to restrain me. I imagined that the need le broke off in my cheek area (pretty sure I imagined that). So when doctors need to draw my blood and I realized an  epidural meant a needle where I could not see and in my spine…

I opted for natural birth.

Fear was my motivation, not courage.

I started reading all I could about natural birth, I read books, and talked with the women older than me that did not have a choice. I talked with my doctor who smiled and nodded who I believe thought “sure you want natural birth.”

At 30 weeks my placenta began to tear from the uterine wall and I was hemorrhaging. We were newlyweds, having our first baby and emergency delivery would mean I had no choice. (side note: this is how crazy scared of needles I am, the ER nurse tried to start an IV and I asked her to pray with me, ridiculous, I was bleeding out) Chris held my hand and looked in my eyes, he could see things that my belly and sweet baby were protecting me from seeing. The look in his eyes I will never forget and treasure. The doctors stopped all the bleeding, but I was on pelvic (no sex) and bed rest for the remainder of my pregnancy.

I followed through and had my natural delivery at 37 weeks. 12 hours of prayer and meditation and we welcomed our first child a strawberry-blonde healthy boy.  Maybe someday I will write a post about what helped me through labor if anyone shares my fear of needles or wants that “badge” of personal choice. *Disclaimer-all births are beautiful, and all mothers are amazing*

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What was founded on fear became a beautiful experience. Here is the lesson and purpose of this post. It isn’t about labor at all, or my gross image I generously shared about my early labor (sorry); I want to pass on that fear as a motivator can produce unexpected blessing when we overcome those fears. Over and over I fight the things that scare the you-know-what out of me.

Example 1) Driving the road of my accident to see what David saw from his perspective, I could not be afraid of a street/place. I mean I was terrified, shook the whole time but I won’t let it win victory in my mind!

Example 2) Sharing my accident and transparency of PTSD, anxiety, overcoming suicidal ideation. JUDGEMENT I am a people pleaser, I don’t want people to know just how crazy I am. I am in education, I am of sound mind and love what I do, but I have private struggles with anxiety. It shouldn’t change how people view me but it will and I have made peace with that. I will take the punches and throws of cruel and blunt opinions of my story if it helps one person to not lose hope!

Isaiah 41:13

“For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear, I will help you.” I want you just to imagine yourself as a small child and Jesus takes your right hand and you wrap around his pinky. He loves us like a father loves his children.

Philippians 4:6

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” This verse! God says talk to him, talk about what is heavy, what makes you anxious, what fears are there. Often when we talk them out we answer our own questions, we find solutions, we realize we made a mountain out of a mole-hill! What is a mole-hill?

 

In case you are wondering it became my method of choice after that and no longer driven by fear. Four babies each delivery unique and I have zero regrets. Each of them also have a miracle-story.

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.

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

 

 

Faith

My testimony may shock you…

 



At a very young age I was drawn to all things spiritual. I always was drawn to adult conversations and I asked an exhausting amount of questions. My parents are neither religious, my mom (hi mom!) I think has her own personal ideas of God but it is very private. My father would be closely described as agnostic. He may believe in a higher being or creator but there again is not a relationship, connection, or a sense of worship for the creator. My sister like my mom very private. And then there is me…

I remember going to church with my Nana on holidays and weekends when we visited. I grew to love her century-old United Methodist Church of Paris, TX. (*side note I was baptized there after Easter service when I was 16 and later married my man there in 2001) She passed away from cancer when I was nine, so God sent other women mentors to pour into me spiritually.

I am eternally grateful for my Great Aunt Christine, who took up the torch and loved me not as a great niece but like a granddaughter. We had many conversations about Jesus and faith. One of my greatest memories is to hear her sing hymns like “How Great Thou Art,” “It is Well”, and “He is Risen!” I can’t tell you what I would give to hear her Sunday school class sing again!

Miss Millie, a neighbor she loved the Lord and often invited my younger sister and I to church. As a young person I did not know what “Spirit-filled” meant but as I look back so many things make sense. I can see the hands raised in the air, people gathered laying hands and praying for one another, it’s a beautiful fragmented memory.

My faith was greatly influenced by a bus ministry. A white bus driven by an older woman with a servant’s heart. She is nameless but believe it or not I can still see heer curly hair and smile! We sang songs like This Little Light of Mine, Jesus Loves Me, and I am a C, I am a C-H….back and forth from apartment parking lot to mysterious white church. It was in that church that at ten I asked Jesus in my heart. I did not completely know what that meant but I sure felt it, felt Him!

Moving into my teen years I dabbled and explored. I visited a Mosque and vividly remember a gathering after with food and dance, I bought a Buddha statue with my own money because I thought the round belly was cute and visited Mass at an Episcopal church that was extremely moving. However, despite my freedom to explore and my supportive parents I was drawn back to a relationship with Jesus, The Messiah, my Savior…Creator of all things, I rested in his Word and found home.

It is a beautiful journey, my Jesus is mine and not passed down tradition. I have felt his presence in my life, I have watched miracles unfold, and see in plain sight answers to my most intimate prayers.

I wish I could say the journey was easy and things laid out in pretty paths through gardens but nope I made many many mistakes, and learned very hard lessons that fortified my love for the Lord.

God is good and faithful. I promise!

If ever you need me to, reach out and I offer my prayers to stand with you, pray over you, and especially share my Jesus, our Jesus!

Do you have a Life Verse? Here is one of mine.

Roman 8:28: And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

Here is a quiz for fun:

https://www.crosswalk.com/home-page/todays-features/quiz-what-is-your-life-verse.html