Yesterday I got an e-mail which I thought was pretty cool. I didn’t believe it was legit until I looked at the details, and realized it really was free. So here’s the deal. In the last week or so, I took our car in for alignment. It was really out of line. (I’ve had that said about me too! “Mister, you’re really out of line!”) Alright, back to the offer. As part of my service, I got two months Sirisu XM radio for free. I don’t get the connection between alignment and radio, but that’s okay. It was free, and it sounds great!
So here’s the point – 49 years ago I received another free offer, this one lasting more than two months. That free gift was actually paid for by another party – Jesus Christ. “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” That is an incredible offer.” For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. (Eph. 6:23) That’s a gift we can open and enjoy every day!

scattered brain
Scattered Brain

#specialneedskids #traumaticbraininjury #frontallobedamage

It is true how you take things for granted. Then when it is damaged or lost for good it is so missed. I never realized just how much my brain did for me. Your brain is who you are, it regulates everything in your body. It gets damaged you are never the same. After that fateful car accident in 1988 my scattered brain took a long time to function properly.

The frontal lobe is the part of the brain that controls cognitive skills of the body. These cognitive skills include the emotions, memory, problem solving skills, judgment, language and sexual behavior.
https://www.braininjuryinstitute.org/brain-injury-types/frontal-lobe-damage

As explained in my last writing for my testimony I broke the windshield with the front of my head. This was diagnosed as left frontal lobe brain injury. I am considered mildly brain injured, but for me it is severe. For my kids even worse. For my marriages devastating.

My scattered brain symptoms

Cognitive skills, I had to relearn everything. In the hospital I had occupational, physical, and speech therapy. Learn now to function in every day life. Remember to do hygiene, what to do when to do things each day. How to talk, I would call my closest family members by their full names. I had to relearn the loving familiar names of mom, dad, sister, brother etc. Cognitive? Remembering what I learned in school was lost forever. My car accident happened maybe weeks after I graduated high school. Trying to learn things new took a long time to stick. College, ya never successful for me. High college loans with no college degree.

Emotions, ya, emotions. My control over my emotions was out the window for many years. Especially my first marriage. Being a baby Christian I did not know how to seek God in any of this. I found out long after I divorced my first husband he also has brain damage. Us together with young children was not a good mix. I would worry all the time, I was volatile in that I would through things at him. He could not hold a job so trying to pay bills and feed our babies was always a stress. My kids ended up in the middle of our fights many times. I left him several times just to go back because I was scared of being a single mother.

When I did finally leave him I had to move back home. That is the only way I felt like I could stay out of the relationship. I am now living with my mom, step dad and three babies diagnosed with special needs. I think a lot of my fear of being a single mother was my problem solving skills were out the window. It is hard for me to think on the fly, and having three kids all under the age of 5 a lot of spontaneous things happen all at the same time.

Some how I was able to stay employed, the structure and coworkers made it so I could function. At home though, cleaning, caring for my kids, planning, emotions, it all overwhelmed me. I felt so lost, my kids never had a stable mom, but I was the only one that was determined to be there for them. I finally found our own home for us in another state living near my real dad.

It was during those couple years that I finally got my oldest and my daughter diagnosed with aspergers syndrome. My oldest son was very violent and I did not know how to help him. I am sure he was just as lost and confused as I was. My daughter, well a girl diagnosed with aspergers is a whole different set of symptoms. She was more passive aggressive just like I was when I was young. If she got overwhelmed she would just sit frozen. She still does this as an adult to some degree.

When my daughter was sexually abused by some neighborhood boys is when I really lost it. I had enough in me that I prosecuted the boys. But I no longer felt safe. I did not feel like I could protect my children there anymore. I needed to escape, and I felt I needed a man to help me raise my kids and keep them safe. I met someone in an online Traumatic Brain Injury chat room. Of course he had a brain injury too….but the way he talked I felt like he was the answer.

My scattered brain results

This relationship took me across the country to the west coast. I grew up in the Midwest, my three adult kids were born in the Midwest. I had never seen the ocean in my life. But, in the hopes finding some security and safety of a man went west. Even though my impulse control was out the window in making this choice, it was out of love for my children I did it. We are now two hours from the ocean. We have been here for 18 long hard years. God was behind it all and I will discuss that in my next post on my testimony.

Outside sources
A Brain Injury and Frontal Lobe Damage
Frontal Lobes
Brain InjurySupport Group Links
Brain Injury Association of America

Watch for a new author to be posting every Wednesday.  Like the rest of you, God has given her a story to tell, something that God has laid on her heart. Does anybody else want to pick a day? Seriously. I have Wednesday and Saturday scheduled, but all other days are open. I am flexible. Pray and see what the Lord wants you to do.

Blessings,
Pastor John

jesus help me please

I believe in the power of people praying in agreement. We need each other and the Lord.

Please pray for a friend’s cousin who is not a Christian and has aids. So far from the Lord but so needy. Also, pray for each other as we let go of this year and cling closer to Christ in 2019. Emotions, pain, circumstances of life, loneliness, isolation, depression and anxiety – all of these things serve as traps from the enemy to steal our joy. The more we focus on Jesus, the less we focus on our circumstances and our stresses. Moments of fear and anger may come, but let them go as quickly as they come. They are not worth hanging on to. … Free advice from someone who has been there today.

Blessings,

Pastor John

#out with the old  #in with the new  #letting go #Jesus has a better way

fruitful and productive

Ps. 92:14  – “https://biblehub.com/nasb/psalms/92.htm

They will still yield fruit in old age;
They shall be full of sap and very green,”

Today was a productive day. We went to exercise class at the senior center, then to Karen’s mom’s house to feed her cat, then run a few errands. We got back home and stated “Wow, we got a lot done this morning.” With the Lord’s help, we were productive and “fruitful.” Now, full of sap? I don’t know about that. I’m afraid its more like full of Christmas candy.

Just a thought. When our bodies won’t let us be productive as much as we want, we can still be productive and bear fruit in our spirit. We can still get closer to the Lord. We can still pray and praise. We can still work to get our focus on Him and off our aches and pains. Thanks to grace, we can be strong in Him.

traumatic event changed my life

#traumaticbraininjury #copingwithmemoryloss #alcoholism #alateen

Last time I was writing my testimony I was living with my mom and step-dad again. The experience of the traumatic event changed my life trying out all night with my friend was the start of a change in me. I was ashamed and embarrassed by what happened. I could never tell mom the truth. I am the one who chose to go to the guy’s house. So, I took the punishment she gave me. I was 16 and she grounded me until I was 18.

Only things I could do while grounded was go to school and do Alateen things. I am not sure if I explained exactly what Alateen is. Teen Corner A place just for teens affected by someone else’s alcoholism.

That one decision by my mom led me to focus on me, to focus on friends who cared about me not just using me. My life became everything Alateen. While Alateen believes in a higher power, that higher power is what each person chooses it to be. I being a Christian could now recognize God in my life and discover Him in my own way.

I was not yet reading the Bible though so I really did not learn about God fully, I knew He was not what anyone else was saying He was. But what Alateen did do for me was provide loving caring friends and adult leaders who showered me with love. The love I yearned for from others. I stopped seeking out boys. Mom did not give me time to do any of that. I did not have a desire to do that anyways.

the traumatic event changed my life

Every year Alateen has a convention of three states of Alateen groups coming together to celebrate life and healing. To meet other teens and adult sponsors. We would gather in the middle state at a hotel. This weekend convention was crazy. Alateen meetings around the clock, filled with kids talking and supporting each other in healing. A weekend full of tears, hugs, and love. We would have a dance and a formal dinner. The closing meeting was everyone gathered together. It would be 500 or more kids crying and saying goodbye for another year.

This song always brings tears to my eyes. Three Alateen conventions, singing this song all 500 kids and sponsor adults. We hold hands and sing as loud as possible to each other, crying and hugging. Knowing we had to leave the safety of our friendships to go back to our sick families where alcoholism was involved.

the traumatic event changed my life

It was Alateen that showed me I was more than what I felt I was. I was 18, really no friends at school. But Alateen friends where my world. I graduated from High School and had a plan. I was going to work in the field that my Alateen sponsor worked in. She used to work in the Mental Health field. Helping others hurting as I used to hurt. I felt good, I felt strong. Then that fateful drive with my friend Eden. The drive home from an Alateen meeting.

I do not remember much about that day. I did not have my license yet because of my epilepsy but Eden had hers. She would drive me everywhere, she was my best friend. The road to take me home we had to drive a 2 lane country road. On the other end of this road was a 4 lane highway. For some reason, I did not put on my seatbelt even though Eden told me to. She had to make a left turn to go towards the town I lived in. What she failed to see because we were busy talking was an oncoming pick up truck. This truck hit us just as she was making the left turn. It ended up on top of me and if I did wear my seat belt I would be dead today. (no, I do not recommend going without your seatbelt, more people die from not wearing them.)

While Eden walked away from the car accident with a twisted ankle, I was rushed to the hospital with a traumatic brain injury. I hit and cracked the windshield with my head before I slid below the dashboard. I was in a coma for 24 hours and the hospital for 2 weeks or so. I do not remember. I think I have been told that I had to be restrained during this time because I just wanted to go home. I also called Eden several times a day I guess because she was the last person I saw before having my head scrambled.

the traumatic event changed my life

Remember I said my mom and I thought I had high functioning autism? Well she and I think the car accident scrambled my brain so much that now it is not the autism I deal with but brain injury. No doctor would say that happened, but I no longer deal with the symptoms of autism. As an adult, my counselor even said I show no signs of autism. But what I deal with now is just as hard as autism I think.

To begin with, in the early days I had to learn everything over again. Who I was, who my family was. I guess I did know them because I called everyone by their full names. Even my parents. I do not remember any of this. First thing I remember is going with nurses and therapists on a riverboat ride. I had a crush on a fellow patient who was just as lost as I was. My seeking love from boys was back. The accident sent my maturity back to 16 years old.

On top of all that I was too old for Alateen! The only way I could be involved in that was to be an adult sponsor. I was really lost, then to add fuel to the fire my friend Eden sent me a “Dear John” letter. Telling me she never wanted to see or talk to me again. I was devastated, I wanted back what I lost but could not get it back. (I am fighting back tears as I write this).

the traumatic event changed my life

I am going to stop the story here. The next in this series will be how I got through my healing from my TBI (traumatic brain injury). Where my decisions took me. But I can promise you this, if my TBI did not happen I would not be where I am today. I would not be writing to you. God uses my TBI and everything to show that He is real and there is hope for anyone out there. He will use your life experiences to bring about His glory and you will gain so much. Maybe not in material things, but in your inner self. Just hold on to the hope that He will see you through.

Outside Sources

Effects of Traumatic Brain Injury

101 Tips for Recovering from Traumatic Brain Injury

Who Are Al-Anon Members?

 

troubled teenager

#troubledteen #testimony #godslove

Trouble teenager

I tend to think my teen years were troubling, but then don’t most of us? Was I really considered a troubled teen, and how can Jesus be seen through my teen years?

me with grandpa

I am being held by my Grandpa with three of my Uncles around him.

How did I go from this sweet and innocent young child pictured here with her grandpa and uncles? What happened that sent me into spiraling violent fits? As my memories are not clear I will try to explain it to the best my ability.

Yes, I call my temper tantrums violent fits. What I remember feeling in my youth was fear, hurt, sadness, like I could do nothing right, I was ugly and no one liked me. I so wanted to fit in, to have friends. My worst enemy it seemed was my mother. I just could not listen to her.

But, the thing is, don’t most of us have similar feelings during their teen years? Why did I get so violent? So stubborn. It would get to the point my mother would tell me to go to my room and I would sit on the stairs while she spanked me with a wooden spoon. I still would not go.

Considered a Troubled Teenager

Now as an adult with the experiences I have had my mother and I tend to think I could have been diagnosed with Aspergers Syndrome. My social skills were lacking and I had sensory triggers. I remember I used to love the sensation I would get from sucking on a metal spoon. When my emotions were overwhelming for me I would freeze and not be able to move at all. You couple this with lack of knowledge about anything autistic, a family that was trying to put itself together in the free love, sex, and experimenting with other religious society, I feel like I was a mess.

The only way I made it through to be who I am today is because I believe God kept putting this yearning for Him, for something more than what I could see around me into my heart. He knew what was going to happen before it happened. He did not stop some things from happening because He knew I needed to experience it to do His work.

Considered a Troubled Teenager
me-as-a-teen

I am standing in front of my mom and stepdad

Between my parents getting divorced about the time the above picture was taken and then having multiple siblings from both parents getting remarried, I did not feel part of either family.

I believe this is me with my mom and stepdad. I appeared happy here. But in this family, I had my stepdad, older stepbrother, and little half-brother. My step dad was a truck driver so he was not around much which left my mom to parent all three of us. My older brother had issues with drugs and my little brother, well he was just a baby. I remember only really feeling connected to my mom and being left out of a close relationship with my stepdad or brothers.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my mom, she was dealing with a very hard situation. My older brother on drugs and unwilling to listen to her, me fighting her tooth and nail and trying to care for my young brother all at the same time.

Considered a Troubled Teenager
me-with-a friend

I am sitting with my friend and siblings behind us

Now bring in my second family, my dad. Pictured here the blond is my friend who I will call Jan, my little brother standing between us and my little sister.

I lived most of my childhood with my mom until I was about 13 to 15. Because of circumstances at home, I decided I wanted to live with my real dad. By this time he had gotten divorced and was living as a bachelor.
My time with my dad was a mess. I never felt close to him, I would not let him hug me, I would see my brother and sister cuddling with him and I was too scared to join in. Some of it might have been the sexual abuse I suffered and never got help for. (that is until I reached out for help as an adult finally) I still had trouble listening and obeying but I do not remember as many fits with him. I was more scared than anything.

Considered a Troubled Teenager

Thing is, I needed to live with my dad. My dad was the only Christian out of all my parents. He would take me to church every week. Jan above is from a Christian family, many of dad’s friends were Christians and I became friends with their children. I finally started to feel connection and acceptance from others.

It is in that United Methodist Church with Pastor Sarazin that I found God. I do not remember the specific sermon, but I do remember saying the salvation prayer with Pastor and really wanting the love of Jesus in my life. The youth group in the church had a major influence on my life. The Youth pastor who is now a doctor got me through much of my troubles.

Considered a Troubled Teenager

It was this youth pastor that helped me decide at about age 15 I needed to move back in with my mom and stepdad. I had shared with him everything about living with my other family. But, we both decided it was time. You see I have bad knees. I first injured my knees when I was out caroling with my mom and I slipped on ice. My knee popped out of joint. Living with my dad as I got older both knees would pop out just by walking down the street.
My real dad could never hold a job, not a regular job and especially one that gave him insurance to cover him and me. (my young siblings were living with their mom at the time.) My knees were getting so bad that dad did take me to a doctor and it was decided I needed surgery. My youth pastor helped me to see that my stepdad could cover my surgery with his insurance. So, it hurt my dad terribly, but I did not want to bankrupt him. I moved back home to mom and stepdad.

Considered a Troubled Teenager

Another transition in my life, another major change. So much happened in the next few years that are better told in next weeks post. Just to say, I now knew Jesus, was a baby Christian moving back in with atheist parents. I finally knew what it was to be accepted and loved for who I was and that would carry me through the next adventures.

If this touched you or if you feel if others need to read this please do share this post. If you need someone to pray and talk with you I am here.

If this touched you or if you feel if others need to read this please do share this post. If you need someone to pray and talk with you I am here.

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Outside sources

Resources for Parents of Troubled Teenagers
Parent Resource for Guiding Troubled Teens Through Life’s Challenges