Outcasts

Do you ever feel like an outcast? An outcast in your family? In your community, or church? 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 🌷🌺🌻

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Good News! We Found Work!

Dear readers, my husband secured a job this week at a company close to our home. We praise God for this blessing and for easily opening up this door for our family. We only went without income for seven weeks and yet, so many of you loved on us tangibly which warmed my heart, and helped greatly. I’m blessed beyond words to have such a supportive community here on WordPress……who are my family of brothers and sisters in the Lord.

The last seven weeks have had spiritual ups and downs for sure. While I remained hopeful, I do admit at times I pretended to be okay when I wasn’t. I didn’t want to depress my dear readers or show the community a lack of stability. Maybe I should have been more real as I’ve always been when writing of my brain injury but I felt myself closing up and going into survival mode once again. It’s a bad habit of mine……pretending to be okay while probably obvious to others that I am not. God’s working on me here. I want to be a blessing to this blogging community and not scare anyone away with my messy existence. Yet, I’m learning that showing our weakness always reflects how strong Jesus is and ultimately brings glory unto His name. He is teaching me daily through His word how to remain faithful to Him through not just what I say or do but also in how I think. Our thoughts are important because they reflect what’s in our hearts and consequently directs our actions. I’m learning to seek His face first when troubles hit me and lay my burdens down at His feet. Running to Him when the negative thought processes slam me and drag me down has been such a beautiful comfort and spares others from the domino effects of my venting.

Thank you for prayers on behalf of my family and for the beautiful ones who donated to my blog. You know who you are and I praise God for your love.

Much love,

Viv πŸ’ž

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.

You Don’t Look Sick

Has this been said to you? Those of us chronically ill or injured have probably been given this all too common line, “You don’t look sick.” Or how about this one, “Well, you look good!”*

If we look sick, we are sick, if we don’t look sick we aren’t. Right? No!

Most people have five senses; taste, touch, see, smell, and hear. Now, we can mistakenly use our sense of sight to judge someone’s sense of touch.

An injured brain can not be seen. The brain is enclosed by the skull and a protective water layer called dura matter (both of which are damaged on me). Injured brains are felt.

Fatigue can not be seen, it’s felt.

We can’t judge a person’s sense of feeling based on our sense of sight.

This is why invisible illness is so misjudged ending up with the ill feeling very much alone.

I met a lady in my brain injury group whose teenage son suffered a severe traumatic brain injury after being struck by a car and then run over by a second car which dragged his body underneath it before stopping. When she arrived at the hospital she told me he looked to her like an alien. His brain was actually visible and he was so beyond recognition, she could only identify him based on the fact that he bit his nails which was the only recogizable part of him. This is probably the worst case of TBI I have ever heard of, and by some miracle, her son survived his brain injury but with many many deficits.

Yet, this is not the norm. TBI is typically an invisible malady. It effects all of life in so many various aspects most of which go unseen to onlookers. TBI is felt. Chronic fatigue is felt. Autoimmune diseases are felt.

We want to be well. We don’t want to wake up every day wondering what we have to do to just barely get by. We don’t want to tell our best friend we can’t receive her visit because we are too weak. We hate missing church. We want to get up, feet hit the ground running and get everything done while having strength and energy to play with our kids and make chocolate cake for dessert.

Not all ilnesses are visible, rather, they are hidden inside the intricate workings of our very fragile bodies that can easily become disfunctional living in this fallen world. While we may not look sick, believe me when I say we are bravely fighting every day and never, ever giving up….. and are courageously smiling and enduring through the pain.

Much love,

Viv 😍

*This post was written a long time ago. I’m no longer frustrated over the way people respond to invisible illness, but I still feel this post holds a few valuable insights worth sharing with others. ~Viv

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