Jen’s Story

This is the true story of a TBI survivor near and dear to my heart, Jennifer Barrick.

It was November 2006 and a much anticipated evening for the Barrick family as they watched Jennifer’s first participation in a choir concert performance at church. The video of Jen singing glory to God with a radiant face turned up towards heaven is simply amazing. Following the exciting event, the busy, happy family of four grabbed a big bucket of KFC and were driving just a few miles from their home when the unthinkable happened……

Out of nowhere a drunk driver speeding away from an arrest with his lights off, hit the Barricks head-on going about 80 mph. Jen’s dad said he didn’t see him coming or have time to react. The impact of the collision was so forceful the engine of the drunk driver’s truck dropped out onto the road.

Miraculously, all four members survived the accident, but fifteen-year-old Jen was not supposed to live past that night because her injuries were just too severe….

Nothing is impossible for God, and Jen did miraculously survive that night after hundreds from their church and community gathered in prayer together, pleading to God for Jen’s life to be spared. Having received a severe traumatic brain injury, Jen remained in a coma for five weeks and in the hospital an additional five months. Jen’s mom Linda related in her devotional, that one night the on-duty nurse told her, “She’s going to be ok…..I see God in her.” And that was enough to give her distraught mother a little ray of hope.

Usually a person with a TBI wakes up from a deep coma thrashing, cursing, and screaming which is a very difficult thing to watch, but not Jen. Jen woke up with God in her soul and Jesus on her lips. She was blind, weak, and could barely form words together to speak, but when she prayed she was strong and sounded like herself again.

I think my favorite recap from her amazing story was related from Jen’s mom Linda, and her mom’s best friend Pamela. During one especially difficult moment for Jen, Linda and Pamela were sitting with Jen while singing “Silent Night.” Suddenly, Jen’s face became radiant and she, even though blind, started smiling at something and said, “Amen!” Her face was lit up with joy clearly showing that she saw something and Jen’s mom whispered, “Jen, what do you see?” Jen responded, “It’s Jesus, don’t you see him? He’s…..right…..here next to me.” Pamela said they literally cried about that experience “all day” and I have thought about that recap with awe for years!

Many years later after a long and difficult recovery Jennifer’s story has touched the lives of thousands (mine included) as she and her family reach out to those who suffer through their Christian ministry Hope Out Loud. Jen and her family speak at churches sharing their story and offering hope to the broken while sharing Jesus Christ and helping many know the riches of a life lived in Him. Linda’s book,” Beauty Marks” has been influential in helping me to heal the devastating scars of my own trauma and it also gave me the courage to begin writing.

This hope necklace my hubby bought me was designed by Jen. You can find more of her jewelry, and books at http://www.hopeoutloud.com

I highly recommend taking a moment to watch this video, which Jen’s mom has personally given me permission to share here on my blog. It is one of the most powerful stories of hope, faith and healing I have ever heard of.

Much love,

Viv

I may be slow in answering comments as I’m currently battling more TBI issues. I love you all. Hugs!🤗💜

Our Suffering Is Not In Vain

Philippians 3:10 King James Version (KJV)

10 That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;


I have lived in poor neighborhoods infested with crime in inner city Philadelphia among drugs, gangs, and violence. I have lived next door to a meth lab while rearing my four babies. I have also lived next door to a violent cocaine addict who beat his girlfriend. However, I have learned that the scariest place to dwell in is the broken, shattered, human body.

Nothing compares to the fear one feels when the body spins out of control and symptoms seem to play first fiddle in the symphony of every day life. Sometimes the simplest tasks like turning your head to roll out of bed become a dreaded nightmare because the room starts swaying and spinning with you stuck inside a broken brain. Even the easiest tasks become so scary because even if you are mentally fit, physically you are as weak as a newborn kitten, and those tasks become obstacles that seem insurmountable. The physical overrides the mental and you become captive inside the bars of this broken body, willing and trying to break out but stuck and trapped instead.

But, the reality of this is, it’s your own reality. No one else can enter into this prison because they are locked out. Here’s what I said to my friend one day regarding this:

“I think they’ve given up on me as many others have too. It’s hard when we know the reality of our condition but others disregard this reality and make our health a reality that they don’t believe. Therefore, it’s in their thinking not a reality at all but only in our minds. It feels like a nightmare sometimes…..”

Image by Todd Trapani on pexels

I’m well aware that these words feel weighty at the moment but I hope that others who struggle with the VERY real reality of living inside a broken body can relate and know they are not alone.

We are loved by the One who fearfully and wonderfully made us.

He is always with us in every challenge we face.

Nothing is impossible with Him.

Wonderful things await those who love Him.

One day we will be rid of our broken bodies and that means being in the presence of Jesus.

Never ever give up.

Never lose hope.

Jesus cares always and forever.

He gets it.

By His strength and grace we will be set free from these bodies and given new ones in glory.

As believers in Jesus his Spirit dwells inside of us and in our suffering we find true comfort in him. It’s because He suffered so much while here, we too gain deep fellowship with him that nothing but in our suffering can come even close. So really, our suffering is a gift. Simply put; it’s a unique way to have intimate communion with God. It’s hard, yes, but what it’s accomplishing in us is priceless because in our refining we are becoming more like Christ as we grow in faith.

Much love,

Viv 🙏❤