The other morning I woke up in unique way for me: I was filled with joy, hope, expectation, and vision -- and that was before I even had a cup of coffee! It was an encouraging time for me. I am not what one would call a "morning person." I would like mornings if they were a little later in the day. I am not at my best at the earlier part of a day.
Over the past two years I have been wondering what is "next" for me. I needed to step down from my position as the Director of Women's Ministries at Lakeside Church as I went on full-time disability. In my early stages of recovery, that was not my game plan at all, as I planned on returning to Lakeside.
As life continued on I was able to see that was absolutely the right decision to make, though it had been a hard decision to make. I was also able to see that there was still time needed if I was going to work at any job at all. My recovery from my brain injury still had much healing to go.
Thankfully I didn't just hide in my apartment and feel sorry for myself. There have been plenty of moments that I have felt sorry for myself, but I was not going to give up: continuing to cultivate my relationship with God; staying connected with family and friends; volunteering; beginning to learn to ride my bicycle again; meeting with my TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury) support group; and meeting with a counselor have been some of the things that have been very important to me.
But what was "next" for me?
I have been doing some writing, as I hope to one day share my story on the written page. I have begun interviewing family and friends. It has been helpful for me in numerous ways, but I also see that it is helping me fill in some blanks.
There is about a three month period surrounding the injuries I sustained which I do not remember. As I speak with family, friends, medical personnel, as well as read some of the blog entries that were written, a picture is developing.
Though it is sad, hard, amazing, and miraculous of what I have gone through, I appreciate the clarity and the answers that are coming my way.
Is writing what is next? I think writing is included, but that is not all. The primary area of focus I believe God is leading me is that of helping, encouraging, and supporting brain injury survivors.
God has saved my life in a miraculous way and He has been enabling me to heal and recover in a miraculous capacity as well.
The number of people who suffer TBI's in the United States per year is staggering: approximately 1.7 million people! TBI's are a horrendous injury and there are a lot of us walking around recovering from one.
Before I sustained a TBI, I don't believe I had heard of it before. Now that I have, my eyes and ears have been opened to an incredible need. In fact, within my own extended family, there are at least six of us who have sustained some sort of traumatic or acquired brain injury.
My desire is to help raise awareness and even money for recovery, therapy, and other needs and expenses.
How will that look? Well, I'm still dreaming in that area, but will share one day soon a couple of areas. This I will share:
- I am part of a trio of people: we've each sustained brain injuries in some capacity, who are beginning a small group this fall at Lakeside Church for brain injury survivors and caregivers.
- I volunteer at Mercy General Hospital in the Acute Rehab Dept. (where I was a patient.) I get to help those who helped me who are now helping other survivors.
- With writing, I want to continue to get the word out about brain injuries and other traumatic injuries to extend hope, love, encouragement, care, and resources.
- I will be volunteering to help local events take place to communicate the reality and needs for brain injury survivors.
I would appreciate your prayers as I continue to seek God for His plans and purposes for me.
I am extremely encouraged and thankful for the direction I believe God is leading me and the dreams He is giving me to dream.
I will keep you updated on the process and progress.