A time to speak

The following post is my story in a nutshell which a dear friend has strongly encouraged me to share. We all have a story. We all need to share. There is healing in sharing. There is healing in reaching others with our brokenness and pointing up to Jesus who heals and restores. Thank you for reading and blessings on your 2021!❤


I have often heard it said that brain injury comes in all different shapes and sizes. Whether it’s mild, moderate or severe brain injury, they all hold a very similar characteristic; they are all traumatic.

My traumatic brain injury occured as a child of barely thirteen years old. On the summer of 1991, the minivan full of us five church youths rolled down a steep embankment after missing the guard rail by just a few feet. The seventeen year old driver spaced out at the wheel. Tragically, two beautiful girls went up to heaven that day due to massive head injuries. The investigators of the accident guessed that the 1980s van didn’t explode due to a malfunction in the van’s interworkings, but I know it was God who spared us passengers and it was a miracle any of us survived.

My vague recollection of that frightening day remembers passing out when we finally came to a stop but how long I remained unconscious I do not know. Being the last person to be pulled out of the wreckage and the first to be put on an ambulance, I was taken to a small hospital in the middle of nowhere to be looked over. Surprisingly, I could walk, talk and though suffering a few bumps and cuts appeared to be relatively normal. However, the discovery of my brain injury came many years later.

Fast forward to a mother of four in her mid-thirties who was starting to fall apart physically but had no idea why. Sure there were plenty of signs that something serious was going on but where do you start to get to the bottom of so many crazy symptoms?

I went to the Dr. who ran a plethora of tests and said it’s hypothyroidism. Okay, that’s easy enough to deal with, just take a small white pill and there, no biggy right? Nope. While hypothyroidism is a very serious condition in and of itself, for me it was just the tip of the iceberg.

In 2016 I went completely numb from the waist down. My husband dragged me to a chiropractor who after tests and taking imagining discovered the root cause: head and multiple spine injury. She told me my condition was progressing and we began the journey towards healing through cranial and spinal treatments. These gentle care adjustments for accident survivors are designed to restore healing to the central nervous system while drawing out the injury so the body can heal and gain strength, mobility, and function.

Nothing can fully prepare a person for the emotional, physical, and spiritual impact a broken brain and body brings into one’s life. The hard months of physical pain, exhaustion, and frustration are not the only challenges but also how a TBI effects a person socially. Therefore arriving at the discovery of my head trauma in 2016, I had no idea then that the overall response from others would be……indifference. Thinking maybe it was because in my case my injury went undiscovered for so long, that people just didn’t or couldn’t understand that yes, there are cases in which trauma shows up years later. Yet, upon further reading and researching I’ve learned that sadly the majority of TBI survivors live socially in solitude. This is because friends vanish, relatives are distant, and acquaintances judge which is heartbreaking.

Taking all my emotional and physical pain and sadness, I decided to begin blogging my thoughts in order to speak out in the hope that it would help people understand and offer support. This did not work either because then I couldn’t get anyone to read or follow my blog except for my best friend and parents who always supported me anyway. After a few posts my mom, being my number one fan, told me that reading about my faith was an encouragement to her and gave her hope. It was at that point my mom’s words spoke to my heart whispering gently that my writing endeavour wasn’t about me anymore. It was about bringing hope and encouragement to others and that was when my blogging purpose changed.

Writing words of encouragement in a blog to others who battle brain injury, MS, Chiari, and other chronic illnesses or injuries has been a amazing way to help others which in turn has brought the same to me. While old friends vanished like soap bubbles, I found a few amazing new friends through the blog who have been overwhelmingly supportive of me and a huge blessing to my life.

I don’t know why God allowed me to survive the accident that tragic day when my two friends died, yet I do know God is good and wise and has a plan for my life. I thank Him every day for a chance to grow up, marry, and have my four beautiful kids who bring so much joy. While there is no known cure for a TBI, I have heard that there can be improvements with proper therapies and treatments which gives this brain injured mama a whole lot of hope.

Written December 27, 2020 by vivjoywriter

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!🤗💜