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 πŸ™β€

Outcasts

Do you ever feel like an outcast? An outcast in your family? In your community, or among your circles? For me, I can say……yes. (Not in my blogging community though, y’all are great!)

Sadly, when most people are brain injured it causes a standoffish reaction from their community of people. Their closest friends slowly back away….and the other not so close ones vanish like soap bubbles. I had no idea in 2016 this was the all too common reaction from the majority of well bodied people. I naively thought I would be loved and supported but instead, I was cast aside.

Although this response shocked me then, I’ve come to see past this and seek answers beyond. Jesus has taught me this: He loves and came for all of us outcasts, misfits, losers, and those labeled as abnormal by worldly standards. He didn’t really have much to do with those who had it all together…..instead, he hung out with the out crowd.

My security comes from Him. He is my everything, not people’s reactions to me. He loves me just like I am. Physically broken……yes, but spiritually I am whole, healed!! He sees past my TBI to a woman bought, redeemed, and justified. He is my everything because He is perfect in every way and lives inside of me.

Knowing my security doesn’t come from anyone other than Jesus comforts the sting of being an outcast because this world is not my home. I’m just here on a temporary basis because my real home is in Heaven with Jesus my Lord.

Much love,

Viv 🌷🌺🌻

Yes You Can

My daughter was able ride her bike without training wheels yesterday!! Whoo Hoooo!! It felt so good to watch her triumph after weeks of being afraid to ride without her training wheels. Plus, her wheel had a slow leak so that hindered her for progress for a time. Her big brother bought her a bike patch and fixed up the inner tube quite easily.

So last night she actually got on her big brother’s bike and rode for the first time ever! Yes!

You can hear me telling her in the video that she could…….she didn’t think she could……but she did!

Here’s the video I took of her (my Monkey) on her brother’s bike. She gives me a big hug at the end. 🀣

Much love,

Viv β˜€οΈπŸ’

With All Your Heart

God’s timing…….why am I always amazed at how the Lord gives my soul comfort at precisely the moment I need it? Sitting in the van today, TBI symptoms flaring and tears starting, the Lord directed me to my favorite bible verse via brother Ryan’s post, ‘In All Your Ways.

Proverbs 3:5-6 King James Version (KJV)

5 Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.

6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

I was instantly quieted and comforted as I struggled to fight the intense nausea due to an overloaded brain. I went back over twenty years to my grocery store job at Winn Dixie. I remember cutting out of construction paper a red heart and writing out that verse (Proverbs 3:5) on it then taping it up on the glass partition separating me from my customers. My eyes often fell on those words over the long hours while I iced and decorated cakes. I used it to comfort myself in the early days of marriage, growing up in the marriage, and learning the ropes of life. But then, God used my red heart bible verse to encourage others…….others came and told me how it blessed them and gave them hope.

And that verse came back to me again today! Today God whispered to my heart lean not on your OWN understanding. How freeing is this? So completely freeing since I really don’t understand what’s going on in my life or why. I’m free to just trust that God knows and understands not me. His guidance and knowledge is the light that lights my path ahead. I can rest fully in His sovereign care while I have no answers.

He also whispered to my heart in ALL your ways. Not 50%, 75% or even 99%…….ALL of my heart given to the Lord in full surrender and trust. Trusting in His guidance and direction. Trusting in His provision and timing. Trusting that He will guide and direct me as I cry out to Him in a posture of full submission.

These verses from Proverbs are so very uplifting! I praise God for the blessing and gift of His word as He uses it to quiet my heart.

Much love,

Viv ❀

The Next Thing

One of my favorite Christian authors Elisabeth Elliot has a phrase she quotes ever so often in her books to encourage others during times of hardship or waiting. She often says; “Do the next thing.”

This quote came to me last week when feeling in a funk about how to carry on now that my husband’s job is gone along with our medical coverage.

My focus has been to carry on, play with my kids, school, craft, and stay cheerfully occupied instead of remain in that old funky frame of mind because the rug’s been pulled out from under me. Truly, helping my youngest learn to ride her bike, crocheting stuffed animals for my kids Christmas presents, and carrying on with life has been a great blessing and has helped our family continue to carry on. Doing the next thing is something we can do and is a genuine gift from God while we wait or endure whatever it is we are faced with.

The tasks I have right before me, the next thing, is a genuine comfort because life goes on and although things aren’t perfect, I can still keep my family functioning and with God’s help we can still stay happily focused on what’s in front of us.

Much love,

Viv πŸπŸ‚πŸ„Airing out my yarn. There is one rather different skein in there. πŸ˜‚My little “Monkey” riding her bike.

We Will Praise Him!

My heart has felt heavy lately. I’ve felt like my dog Molly’s stuffed moose “Gregory” with all the stuffing ripped out of him, one eye missing, and half of one antler gone, leaving nothing but a rag. Head injury and job loss just seem like too much.

But, after reading a chapter in Martha Peace’s book Damsels In Distress I was hit by so much conviction. Do I praise Him in the good times AND in the bad? Or just praise Him when all is well like my wayward heart was doing the last few days. She went on to mention how praising God in our trials because He is working them out for our good is something we can do as believers to glorify His name. If we go around all down in the mouth and slump shouldered that brings shame to our testimony as believers in Jesus. He deserves our praise in every storm we face no matter how hard or how scary or real they are. When we praise God, the world looks at us in wonder, and marvels at our faith in our Savior as we journey these valleys keeping our eyes on Him. They observe us steadfastly holding onto and clinging to Him while we sit at the foot of the cross in full surrender to His will. This brings glory, honor and praise to His awesome and majestic name.

Exodus 15:2 King James Version (KJV)

2 The Lord is my strength and song, and he is become my salvation: he is my God, and I will prepare him an habitation; my father’s God, and I will exalt him.

Jesus is with us in every storm. Every test or trial is from His loving hand and He carries us through them to refine us bringing forth gold. He could give us nothing but sunshine and lollipops but then we wouldn’t need Him and we wouldn’t mature. These trials give us the opportunity to showcase His grace, mercy, love, and strength.

Will you praise Him with me?

In the darkest hardest times, let us continue to praise Him with a thankful heart.

Much love,

Viv β€πŸ™Œ

Molly

A Fun Surprise

I had to share with you all the neatest thing that came from the UPS man today via my friend Kim….

Okay, let me backtrack here a bit. I am required to swallow several supplements daily to keep me going and help heal my central nervous system. Unfortunately, my swallow muscles aren’t quite right and so I have to crush up everything I take and stir into applesauce just to get it down. Otherwise, I just can’t do it.

So, for years I’ve taken a heavy ice cream scooper and an old rag, beaten the pills into a fine dust before stirring into my applesauce. I know I look as stupid as it sounds…πŸ˜‚

Well, not anymore folks! Kim lovingly sent to me an Ezy Crush Pill Crusher from Amazon. I’m literally so excited right now because taking my supplements will be so much easier and I won’t conveniently forget anymore due to the hassle.

Whoo Hooooo!! Looky here folks, I’m moving up in the world. No more waking the hubby and neighbors because I have to beat up pills!! I’m so thrilled and excited to get this and humbled too. She also generously sent a yummy flavored pre-biotic powder to help aid in digestion. I’m overwhelmed by such love!😍

God knows how bummed I’ve been lately but He continues to send loving kisses from friends like Kim because He knows, cares, and uses people to lift us up and urge us forward. We’re not ever alone in any of our troubles. In response to others who haven’t been nice, I find myself wanting to pop my turtle’s head back into my shell for protection but that’s not what God wants! He knows we need each other, community, and fellowship, and that’s why we are to reach out, to share, to pray and to never ever give up hope!

Much love,

Viv